RE: FW: Property [was Re: The Education Function]

Webb_S (
Fri, 18 Dec 1998 10:13:55 -0500 wrote

>Someone has already dealt with your concerns about those less able to care
>for themselves. I'll just add that the more the market is allowed to work
>unhampered by coercion, the more efficient it will be, hence the more
>wealth there will be to go around.

I agree that this sounds reasonable. I hope things work out this way.

[other good stuff snipped]

>>I don't mean to imply this. However, I also don't think the Japanese,
>>wrong for valuing social duties over individual gratification.
>Insofar as they value *imposing* "social duties" on anyone, I think they're
>dead wrong.

I'd point out that these social duties are imposed from the bottom up rather than the top down. The basic value systems are just different.

>By the way, referring to individual "gratification" was a subtle poisoning
>of the well that I can't let slip by. Freedom has to do with control over
>one's own life and property, not with (presumably sybaritic)

This was not a swipe at the concept of freedom, but merely a very generalized description of the Japanese viewpoint. They tend to believe, for example, that one should follow strict protocols in all social situations rather than just say what's really on their mind. When Americans do this, or fail to follow the required protocols, they are viewed as vulgar barbarians. The cultural relativist in me says that this way of doing things in neither better nor worse in an absolute sense, though it certainly would be worse me.

>>There are (or once were) many American "patriots" who would gladly lay
>>their lives for the state. I'm sure these people would all deny that they
>>were being coerced.
>Of course, to the extent they gladly (read willingly) laid down their
>lives, I agree they weren't coerced. What's this have to do with the topic
>at hand?

It goes to showing that so long as one does the things the government wants them to do gladly and willingly, one can reasonably argue that they are not being coerced.

>>I think this part is going nowhere, so I'll be direct. Do I stay awake
>>night wracked with guilt that I work for the government? No. I think
>>I'm doing is a proper function of a minimalist government, i.e., serving
>>an information clearinghouse and helping to keep the economic wheels of
>>country turning.
>Thanks, you've made it clear now, and I respect your standpoint. No more
>guilt trips, I promise.
>I think you're deluded, though, in thinking that force is required to keep
>the economy functioning. I think it has the opposite effect. May I suggest
>you check out (I believe) the second volume of Rothbard's _Man, Economy and
>State_ at your leisure?

I may, but I found parts of Rothbard's _Unconditional Freedom_ so laughable that I lost a lot of respect for him. I don't think force is required to keep the economy functioning, but neither am I sure that it's *not* required. I'm what R.A. Wilson calls a "model agnostic". I'd like to see at least one functioning A-C model before jumping on the bandwagon.