Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Families And Nations And The Difference Between The Two

"The idea that the nation is one big family that must pull together translates in practice to the idea that the politicians are our parents and we are dysfunctional children who can't be trusted to spend our own money or make our own decisions."   - Harry Browne

3 comments:

Fester said...

Great man Harry Browne, and much more of an influence in my life than others who have more acclaim now like Rothbard.

Nick said...

On my ride home today I was reading Democracy in America. Tocqueville contrasted European aristocracy with primogeniture rules of inheritance with American tendencies toward proportional distribution of inherited wealth among all heirs. The latter system tended to break up large estates and (by his assessment) created greater marginal effort of the offspring to raise crops on a smaller plot. The result was greater income equality and strong incentives for young men to become industrious citizens in their own right. It conferred an inherent sense of equality among all children.

Intellectualism, while revered in America, was rare because men with the faculties didn't have the time (they were working) and when they became wealthy and had the time, they no longer possessed the inclination.

the intellectual classes in Europe arose from the aristocracy who could afford to live a life of leisure from the luxury of wealth. Hence, the liberal arts were truly knowledge for the sake of knowledge rather than the means toward making a profession.

in America young men were forced to learn a useful trade as an apprentice, and were gainfully employed by 15. Having earned rather than being granted the rights of citizenship, they took their duties of citizenship in the community more seriously.

With aristocratic primogeniture, the honor and wealth of the family were paramount, while the self-made man formed his own family unit.

Income mobility was much higher in America, and it was scarcely seen for more than two generations to enjoy wealth.

The South, however, held on to it's aristocratic roots and with slaves for labor they more closely resembled European culture. This contributed to a less industrious and more patrician nature that, over time, worked to their disadvantage.

Something as simple as a particular facet of civil law created dramatically different circumstances.

But government nowadays believes it can replicate through mimicry the incentives for industrious behavior through confiscatory taxes upon estates. We are what we pretend to be?

That's a shallow substitute for a man to receive his fair share of inherited legacy, and a thin excuse for redistribution and expropriation. History hath shewn that the man who does not discover for himself the virtues of toil and thrift typically squanders every good fortune which was bestowed upon him. Society tends to equate men with their effort, intellect, imagination, character, and temperament.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Wish I could've met Mr. Browne. I've gotten my hands on a few of his books. Pure greatness.