Friday, April 08, 2005

Compromise in the Pursuit of Liberty Is No Virtue

In the preceding post (full version here) I quoted Jennifer Roback Morse's Policy Review article, "Marriage and the Limits of Contract." In that article, Morse makes a telling point about the limits of compromise in politics:
No one disputes the free speech rights of socialists to distribute the Daily Worker. It does not follow that impartiality requires the economy to reflect socialism and capitalism equally. It simply can’t be done. An economy built on the ideas in The Communist Manifesto will necessarily look quite different from an economy built on the ideas in The Wealth of Nations. The debate between socialism and capitalism is not a debate over how to accommodate different opinions, but over how the economy actually works. Everything from the law of contracts to antitrust law to commercial law will be a reflection of some basic understanding of how the economy works in fact. Somebody in this debate is correct, and somebody is mistaken. We can figure out which view is more nearly correct by comparing the prosperity of societies that have implemented capitalist principles with the prosperity of those that have implemented socialist principles....
There is enormous room for debate, but there ultimately is no room for compromise....We will be happier if we try to discover the truth and accommodate ourselves to it, rather than try to recreate the world according to our wishes.
Every serious comparison of welfare-statism with free-market capitalism gives the advantage to free-market capitalism. (See here and here, for example.)

It is time to stop debating the matter and follow the truth where it leads us. It is long past time to reduce the state to its proper role: defending us from foreign enemies and protecting us from force and fraud. And when the state won't do its job, the people will have to do it for themselves.

I commend to you the Declaration of Independence.