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 Title

Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism and the Division of Labor - Part 4 of 4 & Notes

 Synopsis

First published in Modern Age XV, Summer 1971, pages 226-245.

Also published in the book Modern Age: The First Twenty-Five Years, A Selection, Edited by George A. Panichas, Liberty Press, 1988. Republished with permission.

 Author

Murray Rothbard

 Author Notes

Noted economist, S.J. Hall Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, editor of Journal of Libertarian Studies. A Washington columnist for Faith and Freedom from 1954 to 1956, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1956 and became a consulting economist for the Princeton Panel from 1957 to 1961. In 1962 he published Man, Economy, and State (in two volumes), heralded by Henry Hazlitt as "the most important general treatise on economic principles since Ludwig von Mises' Human Action in 1949." He is also the author of America's Great Depression (1963), Power and Market (1970), and Conceived in Liberty (1975 - 1979) and made significant contributions to serious journals in his field.

Books by Murray Rothbard
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America's Great Depression (2000)
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Ethics of Liberty, The
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Irrepressible Rothbard : The Rothbard-Rockwell Report Essays of Murray N. Rothbard (2000)
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 Essay - 7/1/1971

[SEE THE FIRST PART OF THIS ESSAY under the title Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism and the Division of Labor - Part 1-3 on canadian conservative org]

IV

The Left, of course, does not couch its demands in terms of stamping out diversity; what it seeks to achieve sounds semantically far more pleasant: equality. It is in the name of equality that the Left seeks all manner of measures, from progressive taxation to the ultimate stage of communism.

But what, philosophically, is "equality"? The term must not be left unanalyzed and accepted at face value. Let us take three entities: A, B, and C. A, B, and C are said to be "equal" to each other (i.e. , A = B = C) if a particular characteristic is found in which the three entities are uniform or identical. In short, here are three individual men: A, B, and C. Each may be similar in some respects but different in others. If each of them is precisely 5'10" in height they are then equal to each other in height. It follows from our discussion of the concept of equality that A, B, and C can be completely "equal" to each other only if they are identical or uniform in all characteristics - in short, if all of them are, like the same size of nut or bolt, completely interchangeable. We see, then, that the ideal of human equality can only imply total uniformity and the utter stamping out of individuality.

It is high time, then, for those who cherish freedom, individuality, the division of labor, and economic prosperity and survival, to stop conceding the supposed nobility of the ideal of equality. Too often have "conservatives" conceded the ideal of equality only to cavil at its "impracticality." Philosophically, there can be no divorce between theory and practice. Egalitarian measures do not "work" because they violate the basic nature of man, of what it means for the individual man to be truly human. The call of "equality" is a siren song that can only mean the destruction of all that we cherish as being human.

It is ironic that the term "equality" brings its favorable connotation to us from a past usage that was radically different. For the concept of "equality" achieved its widespread popularity during the classical liberal movements of the eighteenth century, when it meant, not uniformity of status or income, but freedom for each and every man, without exception. In short, "equality" in those days meant the libertarian and individualist concept of full liberty for all persons. Thus, the biochemist Roger Williams correctly points out that the " 'free and equal' phrase in the Declaration of Independence was an unfortunate paraphrase of a better statement contained in the Virginia Bill of Rights . . . 'all men are by nature equally free and independent.' In other words, men can be equally free without being uniform." [46]

This libertarian credo was formulated with particular cogency by Herbert Spencer in his "Law of Equal Liberty" as the suggested fundamental core of his social philosophy:

... man's happiness can be obtained only by the exercise of his faculties.... But the fulfillment of this duty necessarily presupposes freedom of action. Man cannot exercise his faculties without certain scope. He must have liberty to go and to come, to see, to feel, to speak, to work; to get food, raiment, shelter, and to provide for each and all of the needs of his nature.... To exercise his faculties he must have liberty to do all that his faculties actually impel him to do.... Therefore, he has a right to that liberty. This, however, is not the right of one but of all. All are endowed with faculties. All are bound to ... [exercise] them. All, therefore, must be free to do those things in which the exercise of them consists. That is, all must have rights to liberty of action.

And hence there necessarily arises a limitation. For if men have like claims to that freedom which is needful for the exercise of their faculties, then must the freedom of each be bounded by the similar freedom of all.... Wherefore we arrive at the general proposition, that every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberty by every other man. [47]

Thus, only the specific case of equality of liberty - the older view of human equality - is compatible with the basic nature of man. Equality of condition would reduce humanity to an antheap existence. Fortunately, the individuated nature of man, allied to the geographical diversity on the earth, makes the ideal of total equality unattainable. But an enormous amount of damage - the crippling of individuality, as well as economic and social destruction - could be generated in the attempt.

Let us turn from equality to the concept of inequality, the condition that exists when every man is not identical to every other in all characteristics. It is evident that inequality flows inevitably out of specialization and the division of labor. Therefore, a free economy will lead not only to diversity of occupation, with one man a baker, another an actor, a third a civil engineer, etc., but specific inequalities will also emerge in monetary income and in status and scope of control within each occupation. Each person will, in the free-market economy, tend to earn a monetary income equal to the value placed upon his productive contribution in satisfying the desires and demands of the consumers. In economic terminology each man will tend to earn an income equal to his "marginal productivity," to his particular productivity in satisfying consumer demands. Clearly, in a world of developed individual diversity, some men will be more intelligent, others more alert and farsighted, than the remainder of the population. Still others, meanwhile, will be more interested in those areas reaping greater monetary gain; those who succeed at wildcatting of crude oil will reap greater monetary rewards than those who remain in secretarial jobs.

Many intellectuals are wont to denounce the "unfairness" of the market in granting a far higher monetary income to a movie star than, say, a social worker, in that way rewarding "material" far more than "spiritual" values, and treating "better" people unfairly. Without going into the peculiar usage of such terms as "spiritual" and "material," it strikes one that if the social worker's alleged "goodness" indeed resides in her "spirituality," then it is surely inappropriate and inconsistent to demand that she receive more of the material" amenities (money) vis i vis the movie star. In the free society, those who are capable of providing goods and services that the consumers value and are willing to purchase, will receive precisely what the consumers are willing to spend. Those who persist in entering lower-priced occupations, either because they prefer the work or because they are not sufficiently capable in the higher-paid fields, can scarcely complain when they earn a lower salary.

If, then, inequality of income is the inevitable corollary of freedom, then so too is inequality of control. In any organization, whether it be a business firm, a lodge, or a bridge club, there will always be a minority of people who will rise to the position of leaders and others who will remain as followers in the rank and file. Robert Michels discovered this as one of the great laws of sociology, "The Iron Law of Oligarchy." In every organized activity, no matter the sphere, a small number will become the "oligarchical" leaders and the others will follow.

In the market economy, the leaders, being more productive in satisfying the consumers, wfll inevitably earn more money than the rank and file. Within other organizations, the difference will only be that of control. But, in either case, ability and interest will select those who rise to the top. The best and most dedicated steel producer will rise to the leadership of the steel corporation; the ablest and most energetic will tend to rise to leadership in the local bridge club; and so on.

This process of ability and dedication finding its own level works best and most smoothly, it is true, in institutions such as business firms in the market economy. For here every firm places itself under the discipline of monetary profits and income earned by selling a suitable product to the consumers. If managers or workers fall down on the job, a loss of profits provides a very rapid signal that something is wrong and that these producers must mend their ways. In non-market organizations, where profit does not provide a test of efficiency, it is far easier for other qualities extraneous to the actual activity to play a role in selecting the members of the oligarchy. Thus, a local bridge club may select its leaders, not only for ability and dedication to the activities of the club, but also for extraneous racial or physical characteristics preferred by the membership. This situation is far less likely where monetary losses will be incurred by yielding to such external factors.

We need only look around us at every human activity or organization, large or small, political, economic, philanthropic, or recreational, to see the universality of the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Take a bridge club of fifty members and, regardless of legal formalities, half-a-dozen or so will really be running the show. Michels, in fact, discovered the Iron Law by observing the rigid, bureaucratic, oligarchic rule that pervaded the Social Democratic parties in Europe in the late nineteenth century, even though these parties were supposedly dedicated to equality and the abolition of the division of labor. [48] And it is precisely the obviously frozen inequality of income and power, and the rule by oligarchy, that has totally disillusioned the equality-seeking New Left in the Soviet Union. No one lionizes Brezhnev or Kosygin.

It is the egalitarian attempt by the New Left to escape the Iron Law of inequality and oligarchy that accounts for its desperate efforts to end elite leadership within its own organizations. (Certainly there has been no indication of any disappearance of the power elite in oft-heralded Cuba or China.) The early drive toward egalitarianism in the New Left emerged in the concept of "participatory democracy." Instead of the members of an organization electing an elite leadership, so the theory ran, each person would participate equally in all of the organization's decision-making. It was, by the way, probably this sense of direct and intense participation by each individual that accounted for the heady enthusiasm of the masses in the very early stages of the revolutionary regimes in Soviet Russia and Cuba - an enthusiasm that quickly waned as the inevitable oligarchy began to take control and mass participation to die.

While the would-be participatory democrats have made keen criticisms of bureaucratic rule in our society, the concept itself, when applied, runs rapidly against the Iron Law. Thus, anyone who has sat through sessions of any organization engaged in participatory democracy knows the intense boredom and inefficiency that develop rapidly. For if each person must participate equally in all decisions, the time devoted to decision-making must become almost endless, and the processes of the organization become life itself for the participants. This is one of the reasons why many New Left organizations quickly begin to insist that their members live in communes and dedicate their entire lives to the organization - in effect, to merge their lives with the organization. For if they truly live and pursue participatory democracy, they can hardly do anything else. But despite this attempt to salvage the concept, the inevitable gross inefficiency and aggravated boredom ensure that all but the most intensely dedicated will abandon the organization. In short, if it can work at all, participatory democracy can work only in groups so tiny that they are, in effect, the "leaders" shorn of their following.

We conclude that, to succeed, any organization must eventually fall into the hands of specialized "professionals," of a minority of persons dedicated to its tasks and able to carry them out. Oddly enough, it was Lenin who, despite his lip service to the ultimate ideal of egalitarian communism, recognized that a revolution, too, in order to succeed, must be led by a minority, a "vanguard," of dedicated professionals.

It is the intense egalitarian drive of the New Left that accounts, furthermore, for its curious theory of education-a theory that has made such an enormous impact on the contemporary student movement in American universities in recent years. The theory holds that, in contrast to "old-fashioned" concepts of education, the teacher knows no more than any of his students. All, then, are "equal" in condition; one is no better in any sense than any other. Since only an imbecile would actually proclaim that the student knows as much about the content of any given discipline as his professor, this claim of equality is sustained by arguing for the abolition of content in the classroom. This content, asserts the New Left, is "irrelevant" to the student and hence not a proper part of the educational process. The only proper subject for the classroom is not a body of truths, not assigned readings or topics, but open-ended, free-floating, participatory discussion of the student's feelings, since only his feelings are truly "relevant" to the student. And since the lecture method implies, of course, that the lecturing professor knows more than the students to whom he imparts knowledge, the lecture too must go. Such is the caricature of "education" propounded by the New Left.

One question that this doctrine calls to mind, and one that the New Left has never really answered, of course, is why the students should then be in college to begin with. Why couldn't they just as well achieve these open-ended discussions of their feelings at home or at the neighborhood candy store? Indeed, in this educational theory, the school as such has no particular function; it becomes, in effect, the local candy store, and it, too, merges with life itself. But then, again, why have a school at all? And why, in fact, should the students pay tuition and the faculty receive a salary for their nonexistent services? If all are to be truly equal, why is the faculty alone to be paid?

In any case, the emphasis on feelings rather than rational content in courses again insures an egalitarian school; or rather, the school as such may disappear, but the "courses" would surely be egalitarian, for if only "feelings" are to be discussed, then surely everyone's feelings are approximately "equal" to everyone else's. Once allow reason, intellect, and achievement full sway, and the demon of inequality will quickly raise its ugly head.

If, then, the natural inequality of ability and of interest among men must make elites inevitable, the only sensible course is to abandon the chimera of equality and accept the universal necessity of leaders and followers. The task of the libertarian, the person dedicated to the idea of the free society, is not to inveigh against elites which, like the need for freedom, flow directly from the nature of man. The goal of the libertarian is rather to establish a free society, a society in which each man is free to find his best level. In such a free society, everyone will be "equal" only in liberty, while diverse and unequal in all other respects. In this society the elites, like everyone else, will be free to rise to their best level. In Jeffersonian terminology, we will discover "natural aristocracies" who will rise to prominence and leadership in every field. The point is to allow the rise of these natural aristocracies, but not the rule of "artificial aristocracies" - those who rule by means of coercion. The artificial aristocrats, the coercive oligarchs, are the men who rise to power by invading the liberties of their fellow-men, by denying them their freedom. On the contrary, the natural aristocrats live in freedom and harmony with their fellows, and rise by exercising their individuality and their highest abilities in the service of their fellows, either in an organization or by producing efficiently for the consumers. In fact, the coercive oligarchs invariably rise to power by suppressing the natural elites, along with other men; the two kinds of leadership are antithetical.

Let us take a hypothetical example of a possible case of such conflict between different kinds of elites. A large group of people voluntarily engage in professional football, selling their services to an eager consuming public. Quickly rising to the top is a natural elite of the best - the most able and dedicated - football players, coaches, and organizers of the game. Here we have an example of the rise of a natural elite in a free society. Then, the power elite in control of the government decides in its wisdom that all professional athletics, and especially football, are evil. The government then decrees that pro football is outlawed and orders everyone to take part instead in a local eurythmics club as a mass-participatory substitute. Here the rulers of the government are clearly a coercive oligarchy, an "artificial elite," using force to repress a voluntary or natural elite (as well as the rest of the population).

The libertarian view of freedom, government, individuality, envy, and coercive versus natural elites has never been put more concisely or with greater verve than by H. L. Mencken:

All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. [49]

NOTES

1. On the interrelations between freedom, diversity, and the development of each individual, see the classic work of Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Limits of State Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969). On freedom as necessary for the development of individuality, see also Josiah Warren, Equitable Commerce (New York, 1852) and Stephen Pearl Andrews, The Science of Society (New York, 1851).

2. The economists Bauer and Yamey cogently define economic development as "the widening of the range of alternatives open to people as consumers and as producers." Peter T. Bauer and Basil S. Yamey, The Economics of Underdeveloped Countries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957), p. 151.

3. See George J. Stigler, "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy (June, 1951), p. 193.

4. Ludwig von Mises, Socialism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951), pp. 292-295. Also ibid., p. 303.

5. Historians have been reminding us in recent decades that neither in England nor in the United States did government confine itself strictly to the ideal of laissez-faire. True enough; but we must compare this era to the role of government in earlier - and later - days to see the significance of the difference. Thus, cf. Karl Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957).

6. The New Left, for example, ignores and scorns Marshal Tito despite his equally prominent role as Marxian revolutionary, guerrilla leader, and rebel against Soviet Russian dictation. The reason, as will be seen further below, is because Tito has pioneered in shifting from Marxism toward an individualistic philosophy and a market economy.

7. It is difficult, of course, to see how intangible services could be produced at all without "alienation." How can a teacher teach, for example, if he is not allowed to "alienate" his teaching services by providing them to his students?

8. Thus, see Alexander Gray, The Socialist Tradition (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1947), pp. 306, 328.

9. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (New York: International Publishers, 1938), p. 10.

10. Quoted in Gray, op.cit., p. 328. Gray amusingly adds: "A short week-end on a farm might have convinced Marx that the cattle themselves might have some objection to being reared in this casual manner, in the evening."

11. August Bebel, in Women and Socialism. Quoted in Mises, op.cit., p. 190n.

12. A recent news report disclosed that China has now softened its assault on intellectual labor. The policy of interchanging students and workers seems to have worked badly, and it has been found that "a lack of teachers and of technical training has hampered industrial development and production in recent years." Furthermore, "workers appear often to have been not tempered but softened by their exposure to a more sedentary life as many students, rather than finding life on the farm rewarding, fled China or killed themselves." Lee Lescase, "China Softens Attitude on Profs, School Policy," The Washington Post (July 23, 1970), p. A12.

13. On the Utopian socialists, see Mises, op.cit., p. 168.

14. It is probable that Mao's particular devotion to the communist ideal was influenced by his having been an anarchist before becoming a Marxist.

15. Quoted in Gray, op.cit., p. 328.

16. Italics are Lenin's. V.I. Lenin, Left-Wing Communism; An Infantile Disorder (New York: International Publishers, 1940), p. 34.

17. Mises, op.cit., p. 190.

18. Gray, op.cit., p. 328.

19. Quoted in Mises, op.cit., p. 164.

20. Thus, one of the major criticisms of the New Left journal, The Guardian, by its rebellious split-off, The Liberated Guardian, was that the former functioned in the same way as any "bourgeois" magazine, with specialized editors, typists, copyreaders, business staff, etc. The latter is run by a "collective" in which, assertedly, everyone does every task without specialization. The same criticism, along with the same solution, was applied by the women's caucus which confiscated the New Left weekly, Rat. Some of the "Women's Liberation" groups have been so extreme in the drive to extirpate individuality as to refuse to identify the names of individual members, writers, or spokesmen.

21. Thus, a shock to orthodox communists throughout the world was the 1958 Program of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, which declared that the individual's "personal interest ... is the moving force of our social development .... The objectivity of the category of personal interest lies in the fact that [Yugoslav] socialism ... cannot subject the personal happiness of man to any ulterior 'goals' or 'higher aims,' for the highest aim of socialism is the personal happiness of man." From Kommunist (Belgrade), August 8, 1963. Quoted in R. V. Burks, "Yugoslavia: Has Tito Gone Bourgeois?" East Europe (August, 1965), pp. 2-14. Also see T. Peter Svennevig, "The Ideology of the Yugoslav Heretics," Social Research (Spring, 1960), pp. 39-48. For attacks by orthodox communists, see Shih Tung-Hsiang, "The Degeneration of the Yugoslav Economy Owned by the Whole People," Peking Review (June 12,1964), pp. 11-16; and "Peaceful Transition from Socialism to Capitalism?" Monthly Review (March, 1964), pp. 569-590.

22. John W. Aldridge, In the Country of the Young (New York: Harper & Row, 1970).

23. Quoted in Mises, op.cit., p. 304.

24. On the strong influence of these reactionary thinkers on the anti-individualism of nineteenth-century Marxists and socialists, see in particular Leon Bramson, The Political Context of Sociology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), pp. 12-16 and passim.

25. See the critique of Ellul in Charles Silberman, The Myths of Automation (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), pp. 104-105.

26. Thus, see the perceptively satiric article by Tom Wolfe, "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's," New York (June 8, 1970).

27. This worship of the primitive permeates Polanyi's book, which at one point seriously applies the term "noble savage" to the Kaffirs of South Africa. Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957), p. 157.

28. Both the passive and the tribal aspects of New Left culture were embodied in its ideal of the "Woodstock Nation," in which hundreds of thousands of herd-like, undifferentiated youth wallowed passively in the mud listening to their tribal ritual music.

29. Irving Babbitt, Rousseau and Romanticism (New York: Meridian Books, 1955), pp. 53-54. The New Left's emphasis on passivity, primitivism, the irrational, and the dissolution of individuality may account for the current popularity of Taoist and Buddhist philosophy. See ibid., pp. 297ff.

30. Mises, op.cit., p. 304.

31. Ibid., p. 305.

32. Silberman, op.cit., pp. 104-105.

33. Neither is the magic used by primitive tribes any evidence of superior, "idealistic," as opposed to this-worldly, "materialistic," ends. On the contrary, the magic rites were unsound and erroneous means by which the tribes hoped to attain such materialistic ends as a good harvest, rainfall, etc. Thus, the Cargo Cult of New Guinea, on observing Europeans obtaining food from overseas by sending away scraps of paper, imitated the Europeans by writing ritualistic phrases on slips of paper and sending them out to sea, after which they waited for cargoes from overseas. Cf. Ludwig von Mises, Epistemological Problems of Economics (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand, 1960), pp.62-66,102-105.

34. Bronislaw Malinowski, Magic, Science, Religion and Other Essays (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1955), pp. 27-31. Also see Mises, Epistemological Problems, loc.cit.

35. See the inspiring discussion in Peter T. Bauer, West African Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954).

36. Bernard J. Siegel, "Review of Melville J. Herskovits, Economic Anthropology," American Economic Review (June, 1953), p. 402. On developing individualism among the Pondo of South Africa, see Bauer and Yamey, op.cit., p. 67n. Also see Raymond Firth, Human Types (New York: Mentor Books, 1958), p. 122; Sol Tax, Penny Capitalism: A Guatemalan Indian Economy (Washington, D. C., 1953); and Raymond Firth and Basil S. Yamey, eds., Capital, Saving and Credit in Peasant Societies (Chicago: Aldine Pub. Co., 1963).

On the responsiveness of African natives to market economic incentives, see (in addition to Bauer, West African Trade) Peter Kilby, "African Labour Productivity Reconsidered," Economic Journal (June, 1961), pp. 273-91.

37. Bauer, West African Trade, p. 8. Also see Bauer and Yamey, op.cit., pp. 64-67. Similarly, Professor S. Herbert Frankel reports on how West Africans habitually wait at entrances of banks to fall upon their relatives to demand money as they leave. Any man who accumulates money must go to great lengths to deceive his relatives on his actual status. Cited in Helmut Schoeck, Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970), pp. 59-60.

38. The works cited are Clyde Kluckhohn, The Navaho (Cambridge, Mass., 1946) and Navaho Witchcraft (Cambridge, 1944); Allan R. Holmberg, Nomads of the Long Bow: The Siriono of Eastern Bolivia (Washington, D.C., 1950); Sol Tax, "Changing Consumption in Indian Guatemala," Economic Development and Cultural Change (1957); and Oscar Lewis, Life in a Mexican Village: Tepozttan Restudied (Urbana, Ill., 1951). See Schoeck, op.cit., pp. 26-61.

39. Ibid., p. 50.

40. From Gerardo and Alicia Reichel-Dolmatoff, The People of Aritama: The Cultural Personality of a Colombian Mestizo Village (Chicago, 1961), p. 396. Quoted in Schoeck, op.cit., pp. 51-52.

41. Ibid., p. 47.

42. Ibid., p. 31.

43. Mises, Socialism, pp. 463-464. See also Jose Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1932), pp. 63-65.

44. Ibid., p. 97.

45. Ibid., pp. 98, 84. For Ortega, the great looming danger is that the mass-man will increasingly use the State "to crush beneath it any creative minority which disturbs it - disturbs it in any order of things: in politics, in ideas, in industry." Ibid., p. 133.

46. Roger J. Williams, Free and Unequal: The Biological Basis of Individual Liberty (Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1953), pp. 4-5. Williams adds: "Does not our love of liberty, which seems to be inherent in all of us, rest squarely upon our inequalities? If at birth we all possessed the same potential tastes ... would we care about being free to pursue them as we individually desire? ... It seems to me clear that the idea of freedom arose directly out of this human variability. If we were all alike there would seem to be no reason for wanting freedom; 'living my own life' would be an empty, meaningless expression." Ibid., pp. 5, 12.

47. Herbert Spencer, Social Statics (London: John Chapman, 1851), pp. 76-78. In the remainder of the book, Spencer spins out the concrete implications of his basic principle. For a critique of the Law of Equal Liberty, see Murray N. Rothbard, Power and Market (Menlo Park, Calif.: Institute for Humane Studies, 1970), pp. 159-160.

48. Robert Michels, Political Parties (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1949). See also the brilliant work by Gaetano Mosca, The Ruling Class (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1939), which focuses on the inevitability of a minority "ruling class" wielding power in government.

49. H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Crestomathy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1949), p. 145. Similarly, the libertarian writer Albert Jay Nock saw in the political conflicts between Left and Right "simply a tussle between two groups of mass-men, one large and poor, the other small and rich.... The object of the tussle was the material gains accruing from control of the State's machinery. It is easier to seize wealth (from the producers) than to produce it; and as long as the State makes the seizure of wealth a matter of legalized privilege, so long will the squabble for that privilege go on." Albert Jay Nock, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (New York: Harper & Bros., 1943), p. 121.

Helmut Schoeck's Envy makes a powerful case for the view that the modern egalitarian drive for socialism and similar doctrines is a pandering to envy of the different and the unequal, but that the socialist attempt to eliminate envy through egalitarianism can never hope to succeed. For there will always be personal differences, such as looks, ability, health, and good or bad fortune, which no egalitarian program, however rigorous, can stamp out, and on which envy will be able to fasten its concerns.


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