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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 92 of the 1978 collection, edited by Eric Mack, of Auberon Herbert’s essays, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State; specifically, it’s from Herbert’s March 1884 Forthnigtly Review essay “A Politician in Sight of Haven”:

You may use your own reason when you say that compulsory education, or compulsory temperance, is good for certain people, and proceed to carry it out; but in so acting you disallow the existence of reason in those whom you compel.  You have placed them in a lower rank to yourself, you retaining and using your reason, they being disenfranchised of it.

People who, obsessing over current differences in monetary incomes or wealth, call for forced ‘redistribution’ are blind to nearly all diversity and differences among people.  Not only are such ‘redistributionists’ blind to the differences in ages that account for much of the difference in incomes (for example, young people do not earn today as much as middle-aged people, or as much as these same young people will earn 30 or 40 years from now).  And not only are these ‘redistributionists’ blind to the different tastes and preferences that exist in any human population (for example, the person who chooses a career as a college professor chooses to take much of his or her income in the form of leisure and job security compared to the person who chooses a career as a hedge-fund manager).  Such ‘redistributionists’ are blind also to the inequalities of power necessarily created when some people, using the force of the state, assume the authority to compel others to do their bidding.  And this inequality is no less real or worrisome if those who have a disproportionate share of it are exercising power for their own narrow ends or are exercising power ostensibly to ‘help’ those over whom it is wielded.