all power to the people!
April 17, 2009 1 Comment
The Mises Institute is digitizing half a century’s worth of The Freeman, thanks to the fact that FEE founder Leonard Read
eschewed the use of exclusive copyright. That is to say, he encouraged the widest possible distribution of his work and did not forbid others from copying his infinitely reproducible ideas. (Jeffrey Tucker, “The Works of Leonard E. Read”)
Through these collections, I’m discovering some great mid-century libertarian writing.
Here’s an example:
The rallying cry of this new Left [in the French revolutionary government] was, All power to the people! And, as always, it sounded good to the people. But the point that the French people missed is the same point that haunts the world today. It is this: the people cannot themselves individually exercise the power of government; the power must be held by one or a few persons. Those who hold the power always claim that they use it for the people, whether the form of government is a kingdom, a dictatorship, a democracy, or whatever. If the people truly desire to retain or to regain their freedom, their attention should first be directed to the principle of limiting the power of government itself instead of merely demanding the right to vote on what party or person is to hold the power. For is the victim of government power any the less deprived of his life, liberty, or property merely because the depriving is done in the name of — or even with the consent of — the majority of the people?