At my day job, every day I give people free stuff – genuinely free stuff by virtue of my employer’s loyalty card scheme. It’s the most pleasing aspect of my work. The look of satisfaction, surprise or even delight on the customer’s face when I give them something for free reminds me that the peaceful world of retail is the closest thing society has to a real life Santa Claus – as our gifts are always things that people want (because they choose them themselves).
No one is harmed in the making of our gifts. On the contrary, everyone involved is left better off. But the same cannot be said of all the free stuff politicians promise to people in return for votes.
Every goodie from government is necessarily a loss for someone else. Its (seemingly) bottomless sack is stuffed with loot, not gifts. Government is the closest thing to a real life Grinch that society has. The Grinch of government is a monster, its heart is an empty hole – to paraphrase the famous Grinch song.
There is one difference between the Grinch and government. The former, in the end, returns everything he stole after seeing the error of his ways. This kind of happy ending, however, will remain the stuff of fiction for as long as the State has the legal right to expropriate property.
Santa Claus ‘exists’ for every kid that believes in him. The Grinch of government exists for real because most adults believe society needs an institute with the right to take people’s stuff by force.
About this time of year many parents probably tell their children that belief is a powerful thing. They don’t know how right they are. Belief in power is a disastrous thing. The history of civilisation screams this lesson out loud, if nothing else.
The ultimate goal of active advocates of individual liberty everywhere is to change public opinion of the State. It is to convince people to replace their misguided belief that the Grinch of government coercion can improve our lives with a rational faith in the Santa Claus of society and in individual freedom.
Man’s faith in the freedom of men (the opposite of faith in the State) varies a great deal over time as events, misfortune, knowledge and ideas weaken and strengthen it. It is fragile, but it is the key to humanity leaving behind an unstable and unsustainable world of statism, and entering a new epoch of lasting peace and prosperity across the globe.
The greatest gift any generation can give to humanity is to bequeath the next with the knowledge and ideas to build a better world, and the social and economic freedoms necessary to do so. Liberty-lovers of the 21st century, with the sum of virtually all human knowledge at their disposal, the ability to communicate with the world and the means to create and use technology to bypass centralised Authority, are better placed than any people of the past to achieve this.
For the first time in all of history the vast majority of the peaceful people on earth have the means to play their part in vanquishing the greatest threat to lasting peace and prosperity there has ever been: coercive Authority.
These are troubled times, but they are also hopeful times. Rarely in the past has this been true for the common man. Now, meaning at this point in humanity’s story, is the time for peace on Earth and goodwill to all men to become a reality.