CJay Engelcomment 0 Commentsaccess_time 7 min read
Market interventions will inevitably cause more of the problems they are supposed to cure, which leads to more and more controls and regulations until we finally reach full-blown socialism. If the current trend continues, it can safely be predicted that the democratic welfare state of the West will eventually collapse as did the “people’s republics” of the East in the late 1980s. For decades, real incomes in the West have stagnated or even fallen. Government debt and the cost of the “social insurance” schemes have brought on the prospect of an economic meltdown. At the same time, social conflict has risen to dangerous heights.
Perhaps one will have to wait for an economic collapse before the current statist trend changes. But even in the case of a collapse, something else is necessary. A breakdown would not automatically result in a roll-back of the State.
Ultimately, the course of history is determined by ideas, be they true or false, and by men acting upon and being inspired by true or false ideas. Only so long as false ideas rule is a catastrophe unavoidable. On the other hand, once correct ideas are adopted and prevail in public opinion — and ideas can, in principle, be changed almost instantaneously — a catastrophe will not have to occur at all.
Humans act according to the ideas that they hold. They assent in their minds and, in response, they act with their bodies. The works that a man does is always in response to the beliefs held. It is for this reason that changing the world around us starts not with the sword, but with the pen. It is for this reason that Ron Paul, in one of the most powerful speeches of his long career, exclaimed: “An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped by any army or any government.”
And Mises too wrote in Human Action:
that the rulers, who are always a minority, cannot lastingly remain in office if not supported by the consent of the majority of those ruled. Whatever the system of government may be, the foundation upon which it is built and rests is always the opinion of those ruled that to obey and to be loyal to this government better serves their own interests than insurrection and the establishment of another regime.
…in the long run, there is no such thing as an unpopular government.
We look around at the world in which we live, and we libertarians are aghast at the rampant statism of our fellow man. Everywhere before our eyes are victims of the state clamoring for more government interventionism into society. And not just from the mainstream left. The sorry excuse for a “Right” has just as well abandoned the principles of liberty and instead traded it for a Federal Government that stands as the greatest threat to our way of life.
Our task as libertarians, the role that we play in the historical struggle between Power and Market (as Rothbard referred to it), is to educate first ourselves and then those around us. We prepare for an uncertain future by maintaining physical and financial discipline; but it is just as important that we prepare our minds. Philosophy, history, political theory, economic theory– all these are the weapons that we have to combat the narrative of the state and its “court intellectuals.”
From the first grade through to the graduate level– so over 25 years– the state’s indoctrination efforts infiltrate every area of our “education” system. It wasn’t until my final year of undergrad that I began to discover the body of works that would lead me out of my intellectual blindness and into the wondrous and rich tradition of libertarian scholarship. Once I started to learn and read there was nothing to stop me. I read Rothbard, then Mises, then Hoppe. And the precious thoughts of these men and their forebears overtook me and radically affected the way I see the world.
I now know how to teach my children, to show them the way, to give them the tools that they need to overcome the propaganda believed by their friends. If the state is going to be properly confronted, the next generation needs to know the Truth. The State relies on falsities, on misleading “research” and “studies,” on cute and stupefied ad campaigns.
One of the most important resources in my intellectual development was my membership to Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom. I highly suggest that you consider it. You see, it’s not just for you. I’ve found that my ability to educate myself has put me in a much better position to interact with those who should be libertarians, but aren’t. I mean, just consider one example: we always hear from the left, and the right believes this too because they haven’t heard it any other way, that it was government and unions that saved the 19th century economic outlook for hundreds of thousands of people who would have otherwise been victims of robber barons, big industry, child labor, horrendous working conditions, and the like. I mean, capitalism is decent, but to have unfettered capitalism is to invite the horrors of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle!
Hogwash! But the state needs you to believe that. After all, they need this narrative to continue intervening into the economy, to justify their existence, and to support the very big industry that benefits from making it more difficult to operate a business. The reality of the situation is that civilization benefits from the accumulation of capital and the reinvestment of savings into the capital structure so that society can become wealthier. A wealthier society means that we don’t need to work as much and we can afford to take weekends, mothers can stay at home, and children can have a less strenuous childhood. It is capitalism itself that allows society to become more enjoyable, more ideal.
That’s the type of knowledge you can gain by knowing both American history and economic theory. Both of which, of course, are taught in the classes included in Liberty Classroom. From a full refutation of the dangerous Keynesian economic theory to a history of economic and political thought, Liberty Classroom is a much needed resource in our time.
For so many people, it is the thing that is going to take them to the next level intellectually; it is the single tool that they are going to have to rebut the entire enterprise of statism in their immediate circles. We spent 20 years getting a bad education. Why not take one year and get a good one?
I write all this on the occasion of the Black Friday sale over at Liberty Classroom.It’s a fantastic sale. In fact, the Master level membership, which gets you access to all the courses forever (yes, forever. That’s a long time), even includes 435 lessons on government and history that are part of the Ron Paul curriculum. Look, you know that you were planning on using the Ron Paul Curriculum for your kids anyway. Why not buy it all today? Never have to think about it again.