Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Intentions and Results

Back in January when I wrote What We Got Here Is . . . Failure to Communicate, essentially a book review of Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, I quoted extensively from that work. One of those excerpts was this:
Where in Adam Smith moral and socially beneficial behavior could be evoked from man only by incentives, in William Godwin man's understanding and disposition were capable of intentionally creating social benefits. Godwin regarded the intention to benefit others as being "of the essence of virtue," and virtue in turn as being the road to human happiness. Unintentional social benefits were treated by Godwin as scarcely worthy of notice.
To which I added:
So in the Constrained vision human nature is flawed, and while some flaws in some - even most - men can be ameliorated with time and teaching, this does not hold true for the whole of mankind. We are imperfect, and being imperfect the systems we establish, the institutions that we build, the traditions, laws and rituals that we practice carry along with them vulnerabilities to our inherent flaws. In order to achieve social benefits those institutions, traditions, laws and rituals must offer individuals some incentive. But more, those institutions, traditions, laws and rituals must also carry protections against abuse by those in which the flaws are extreme. In the extreme Unconstrained vision, intentions are more important than results, and results without intention are "scarcely worthy of notice."
I was reminded of this when I read that the Dalai Lama proclaimed himself a Marxist, because:
(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits.
Marxism has moral ethics.

However, he does admit:
(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people's living standards improved.
But those improvements were unintentional, and apparently don't count, because capitalism is only about how to make profits.

In Bill Whittle's most recent PJTV piece We are Iron Men, Bill has a clip from this series of YouTube videos of Milton Friedman being interviewed by Phil Donahue in 1979. I invite you to watch all five pieces, but here's the point that's pertinent to this post:

Thomas Sowell authored another book that I think should be mentioned here, Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulations as a Basis for Social Policy. Perhaps the Dalai Lama should read it.

Communism, the "real-world" application of Marxism by the flawed humans we of Sowell's Constrained Vision recognize, has resulted not in an improved standard of living for millions of people, but the deaths of millions of people at the hands of their own governments.

The Dalai Lama proves that the beautiful lie of Marxism truly does lodge deep in the hopes of some men.

But I wouldn't trust even the Dalai Lama to organize society for us. I trust capitalism, self-interest, and Adam Smith's "invisible hand." We have the track records of both, and I KNOW which one works.

He ought to, too. Because he's seen which one kills.

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