Category Archives: Anything that’s Peaceful

Ch.5 – How Socialism Harms the Individual

(This is the fifth entry from a series of excerpts from Leonard Read’s 1964 published work “Anything That’s Peaceful”) The progressive income tax, federal urban renewal, federal aid to education, and a host of other welfare and unemployment measures are precisely what Karl Marx had in mind with his ideal for the Communist Party, “…from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” (p.57) [There] are three distinct classifications of persons involved in the social leveling process, the archetypes of which are; (1) the person with “ability,” that is, the one from whom is taken, (2) the person with “need,” that is, the one to whom someone’s else’s property is given, and (3) the person who does the taking and giving, the political Robin Hood, the authoritarian. (p.58) The saver, by pursuing his own interest, is led, regardless of intent, to equipping others for self-help. This is quite different from the Judeo-Christian concept of charity but, when it comes to helping others, savings have no equal. (p.61) The fullest possible employment of one’s faculties is what makes for strength of body, of character, of spirit, of intellect. Non-use of faculties leads to atrophy. Life’s problems – obstacles – are not without purpose. They aid the processes of self-development, as well as of selection and evolution. They demand of the individual that he gather new strength to hurdle each new obstacle. The art of becoming is composed of acts of overcoming. (p.62) Rewards not associated with one’s own effort tend to weaken the sinews which make for growth. Such rewards – handouts – remove the necessity for production and invite potential producers to remain nonproducers. In short, there is an ever-present danger that they may encourage a person to become a parasite, living off what others produce. Parasitism is not associated with man’s upgrading. (p.62) The person who attempts by force to direct or rearrange the creative activities of others is in a very real sense a slave-master. And here is the crux of it: a slave-master becomes a slave himself when he enslaves others….He can not upgrade himself while he is employing his energies to downgrade. (p.65)