Milton Friedman: Socialism is Force (plus my little rant on ‘The Golden Rule’)

I have ‘for ever’ argued that ‘the golden rule’ of ‘do onto others as you would have them do onto you’ is not just wrong, but a statement of evil, but I’ve always had difficulty expressing my visceral reaction to it.

Sure, I could make the accurate, yet humorous, retort:  “If you believe that, then I hope you don’t meet a suicidal masochist…’

In other words, I could explain it on an intellectual level, but I could not explain the depth of revulsion I feel whenever some intelligent person tries to explain that I am misunderstanding, that ‘the golden rule’ really means you should respect other people.

And, I am sure it does mean exactly that:  you should respect other people.  But how should you respect them?

After all, you can respect a person, but know a particular decision they are making will end very, very badly…

Indeed, ‘respecting a person’ hardly ever means ‘respecting their individual choices’.  Thus, throughout human history, this ‘golden rule’ has been used to impose what somebody thinks is good for others onto them by force, because the people in power respect other people’s ‘well-being’ more their right to choose.

Perhaps it has something to do with having lived in a ‘people’s paradise’, where socialism was imposed on everyone with an iron fist because the revolutionaries in power respected each and every citizen’s right to live in that ‘people’s paradise’, whether those people wanted to or not (and erected big walls to keep us all in – because they respected our right to this privilege, even though we were too stupid to know what was good for us)…

Perhaps it has something to do with my ancestors having had a Crusade led against them because their brand of Christianity was ‘heretical’ and, if all them nice Catholics would have fallen into heresy, they would definitely have wanted someone to care enough about their eternal soul to cleanse it of the body’s sins by burning it alive…

Perhaps it is because I am fully aware that, in the past, Christian priests/preachers instructed husbands to beat their wives – just as the current Islamic clerics urge pious Muslims to do – simply because it is for her own good, a way to help her improve herself

I could go on and on.

If ‘the golden rule’ meant ‘respect other people’s right to make their own choices in life’, that’s what it would have said.  But it does not!!!

To the contrary, it empowers those who consider themselves superior to their peers to impose their will onto others, while believing they are ‘doing good’.

In this video, Milton Friedman explains this so much better than I could ever have, by pointing out that even among evil dictators, the most dangerous, the most destructive – the most evil – were the ones who truly and honestly believed that what they were doing was for the good of their fellow humans!



In Defense of Being Offensive: Jonathan Rauch on the New Threats to Free Thought

The Last Tyranny in Europe

The mainstream media is not really shouting loudly about the horrible tyranny in Belarus – which does not mean that we should simply sweep what is going on there under the rug.  We must stand up for human rights of all people – even far away in a forgotten corner of Europe…

Like Mr. Hannan, I think we should stand up and condemn what is going on there and lend moral – if not more – support to those who are actively working to improve civil liberties in Belarus.

First step, of course, is education.

If you live in Ottawa or its environs, you will soon have an excellent opportunity for educating yourself about the situation in Belarus.  On th 25th of April, 2012, at 7 pm,  the Freethinking Film Society is going to host an information evening about Belarus at the National Archives Library in Ottawa, where they will be screening ‘Europe’s Last Tyrant’:

For those on the other side of the pond, it will also be screened at the London Film Festival on April 15, 2012 in Shortwave (10 Bermondsey Square, London SE1 3UN).  For ticket info, see here. (Sorry about the late notice – just found this out myself).

For the rest:  keep your eyes open for a screening in your area. This is not something we should remain ignorant about!