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Quotation of the Day…

is from page 219 of philosopher David Schmidtz’s excellent 2023 book, Living Together:

One mark of adulthood is getting past thinking of oneself as the center of the universe. An adult conception of justice will be a conception of our place and our due, alongside a conception of what other people are due within a community that has a logic of its own.

DBx: Yes. And one too-frequent result of political decision-making is to encourage us to act as children.

The worker who doesn’t want to lose his job because fellow citizens no longer want to buy what he makes at prices that he finds acceptable convinces the government to obstruct fellow-citizens’ freedom to spend their money in whatever peaceful ways they choose. This worker ignores the unseen, and greater, costs to fellow citizens (as well as to foreigners) that protecting his existing job creates. Politicians and pundits pander to this worker, they baby him, assuring him that he is noble, good, and right to demand that countless other people suffer in order for him to avoid having to play by the rules of a market economy. ‘Other people – your fellow citizens – don’t count, or they don’t count as much as you do,’ is the ultimate message of the protectionist to this worker.

The protectionist politician or pundit continues: ‘Poor baby! We’ll protect you from having to adjust to the peaceful decisions of your fellow citizens. You’re too precious to be troubled to play by the rules of the market order. We will force your fellow citizens to absorb the costs that you prefer to be relieved of. You are special and deserve special treatment.

And maddeningly, the politicians and pundits who exempt this worker from the responsibility of playing by the rules of the market order have the gall to describe their efforts as ensuring that this worker leads a dignified life. Only those who do not know what true dignity is can possibly suppose that treating someone as a child – forcing others to pander to this someone’s wishes – is a means of bestowing dignity on that someone.

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