Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Laissez nous Faire "Leave us Alone"

If the Tea Party protests are to have a life beyond April 15th, 2009, they must stand for some enduring principles beyond many of those expressed on home made signs. These principles must express more than a yearning for freedom and a dislike of the government’s unprecedented spending. Our leaders have a philosophy which guides their actions. That philosophy is re-distribution; the idea that wealth should be re-distributed from those who are able to produce to those that the government considers victims of society. To answer that philosophy, we need a better philosophy.

The flaw in the system of today’s government is that they think re-distribution works…if they are merely mis-guided; or they seek to plunder our wealth and production for their own sakes…if they are cynical haters of men. If the latter is their goal, they seek to leave us impoverished and defeated in the face of a world that has enacted retribution against America for imagined wrongs. What they refuse to acknowledge is that they still need us to keep working if they are to continue their plundering.

All dictatorships are re-distribution schemes in one form or another. Fascism is the redistribution of wealth from productive property owners to the government and special interests that they designate. Socialism is a more advanced form of fascism where the government controls the major industries in order to accomplish the same goals. Welfare-statism is the focus of government on re-distributing income from the wealthy to the non-working poor. Communism is the re-distribution of property once owned by a propertied “class” for the sake of the workers who are an exploited proxy for government elites.

All these schemes result in the expropriation or theft of productive power by the means of political power. All re-distribution equalizes results for all people regardless of effort. Once re-distribution takes hold, the more able people will slow their effort because they know their product will be given to others. By the same token, the less able people will also slow their effort because they know the government will re-distribute money from the rich to them. There is no incentive to excel in a re-distribution scheme so all effort is reduced and the system becomes nothing more than finger pointing and bickering. This is why no socialist system ever works. Re-distribution is theft of property and energy and as such it reduces both the amount of property created and the effort required to produce it. It is statism that has failed, not capitalism. This is not an opinion. It is a historically proven fact.

There is always going to be a certain level of fear when you take a stand against government tyranny. You have to understand that fear should not be a reason to stop working for freedom. As I see it, the Tea Party movement is not about anger. It is not about fear of a police state. It is not about following what your friends think. It is about recognizing that only you, only the productive citizen matters in society because he/she has the self-esteem necessary to be successful and to thrive. You are the most important citizen in our economy, not because you spend money from a printing press. You are important economically because you make things that can be traded; things that make life better for others who buy them.

If we are going to have a viable movement, then it must be a philosophical movement. It must be a movement of ideas that recognizes this clear distinction between you, the productive citizen, and the looters in the government. What does that mean for you? It means that you must educate yourself on the reasons why we originally had a free society, on the genius of our principles and why they are the only hope for humanity. It means recognizing that you have a pivotal role in saving your country and defeating the enemies of freedom. It means that you stand for the Constitution and especially for capitalism as the expression of freedom, property and capital savings which are the pillars of an affluent and happy society. But it also means that you control the government; that whenever it becomes predatory and coercive you refuse to participate in the looting and refuse to be looted.

It is inconsistent for you to accept one form of re-distribution while being against only those forms that affect you directly. The re-distributive state always means coercion. Put another way, today, for our government, coercion is the means of political action. Force against property owners is coercion that consists of

  • Economic regulation of business that re-distributes market share to businesses favored by government
  • Taxes that re-distribute money from the most productive citizens to the less productive
  • Government ownership of businesses that re-distributes jobs, income and profits to bureaucrats
  • Welfare programs such as direct payments to “the poor” that re-distribute income from those better able to use property to those who can’t manage their money
  • Government management of industries that provides jobs for government appointees and siphons profits to party campaign committees
  • Government regulations that created sub-prime mortagages re-distributed loans from people with good credit ratings to people who were credit risks and created a massive shift of capital from productive banking activities to worthless packaged securities, shifting huge amounts from insurance companies and government to support banks that had thought the securities were backed by the government - resulting in re-distribution of half of the value in the stock market and almost half of the value in 401Ks from American savers to short sellers and the Cayman Islands
  • TARP that gives taxpayer dollars to companies that don’t need it or that should go out of business
  • Stimulus programs that re-distribute taxpayer income to government social engineering programs
  • Tariffs that restrict international commerce and destroy jobs
  • Onerous immigration regulations that keep freedom-loving people from being “legal” and reduces the pool of willing, needed and low-wage workers
  • Laws that favor unions over employers, creating unnecessary dues-paying jobs, forcing employers to pay workers too much, destroying the work ethic and raising prices while also sending businesses overseas
  • Government education of our children that indoctrinates them for collectivism before it teaches them viable job skills, and
  • Any scheme that involves the use of tax money for anything other than police, courts and military defense.

    In order to have peace and security, arbitrariness must be removed from the actions of government. The government should never be allowed to interfere in the private business of citizens. Lawfulness means treating all citizens equally and without caprice; it means having a respect for property rights and government financing that is voluntary. A proper government recognizes that the principles of re-distribution and expropriation are violent acts and the government which engages in them does not deserve to govern. A bad law is no law at all among free people.

    A market society provides the framework for efficient commerce. When property is left in the hands of those who are most able to use it; all citizens benefit – rich and poor alike. The rich provide factories that produce life-serving products. They also provide jobs and better lives for the formerly poor that are given an opportunity to earn their livelihoods, to gain property, even to become rich themselves and to enjoy life. This has always been the outcome when a society is left free. The idea that capitalism exploits the poor and keeps them poor is a lie. Government coercion exploits both rich and poor and reduces them to bare subsistence. The poor today were not made poor by capitalism; they were made poor by government.

    I have written before that the proper principle is that of “Laissez Faire” which means that the government should have a “hands off” restriction when it comes to regulating the lives of citizens. This means that government can never enact legislation that interferes in the lives and decisions of our citizens. This must be the principle toward which the Tea Party protesters work. This principle will save this nation if it is to have a future.

    More than anything, the idea of a limited government recognizes the sovereignty of man; the principle that he is his own moral agent and that his mind is capable of reason; capable of deciding what is in his own best interest. It rejects the idea that he is a helpless pawn of nature and that only a powerful government can mold him to a collective goal. It recognizes that the "utopian" ideal of forcing men into collectives is a deadly one that results in concentration camps, genocide and poverty. It is time to reject collectivism and recognize that the Founding Fathers had the right philosophy all along; man possesses inalienable rights derived from his nature; recognizing those rights helps moral men deal with one another peacefully. We need freedom, property rights, individual rights, the pursuit of happiness and a government that protects rather than expropriates.


  1. Bravo, Mr Villegas! You are exactly right that if this Tea Party movement is to have any effect, it must be a movement based on sound philosophical ideas.

    That is why I was at the Tea Party with my "Read Atlas Shrugged" sign and flyers for the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights and for The Objective Standard. (TOS is a journal of culture & politics written for the layman applying principle of Objectivism to current events and culture.)

    That is why I posted links to Ayn Rand's works and writing on the web board of the "Indy Defenders of Liberty" on meetup, the group who organized this protest in Indy.

    If you haven't seen it yet, check out Dr John Lewis' speech at the Charlotte, NC Tea Party. He's making it about ideas. (And that was one of my disappointments about our Indy Tea Party--If you attended, you know what I mean.)

    I expect to talk to you again, but I just wanted to drop a quick comment to let you know that you are not alone. You have an ally in your fight.


    Michael Garrett, M.D.
    Fishers, IN

  2. Dr. Garrett, thank you for your kind words and I have indeed seen Dr. Lewis' speech. I hope to chat with you at the next "Party".