Monday, June 15, 2009

Prudent Virtue

While reading, "What has Government done to Our Money?", by Murray Rothbard and available on, I was enchanted by Rothbard's use of a quotation, uncredited, "Liberty is the Mother, not the daughter, of Order." (see pg. 49)

I thought about this for several minutes, and decided that it was self-evidently true. I wanted to know what man was so brilliant as to have uttered this phrase, selected by Rothbard as I'm sure many others before him, to with great brevity capture the proper relationship of order to liberty.

How masterful. Government would have us believe that to enjoy liberty, we must first order our world. Government then offers insists to do this for us by its regulation and coercive power (often by appealing to our base sense of envy, and offering to use that power of coercion against some fashionable "them" to the popular benefit of poor "you"). But in so doing the order which results only confers more liberty to the state, not its people, by restricting the liberties of the people.

Some internet searching yielded an answer as to the identity of the originator of that quote, and also an expansion of its idea to yield a sort of family tree of the virtues which generate individual liberty. Foremost among them is prudence.

Today I offer that article as a source of inspiration to you, dear reader.

It is my hope that this humble blog helps convey some of these Libertarian ideas which your own curiosity impels you to explore further.

On the political talk circuit, folks are always calling the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin and pleading with them about what possibly they could do that would make a difference in the present situation. It seems hopeless that mere individuals of limited means could have any power to frustrate the plans of enlarging state control. But, I think it must be far simpler than we imagine.

If we all practice prudence in our lives, relationships, and economizing, then prudent culture will naturally spring forth. And that culture will have the awareness and expectation necessary to naturally diminish state control and restore natural individual liberty. We know how to behave, and we know what's good. Thousands and millions of small, individually prudent actions in all facets of life naturally have the effect of restraining government authority.

Demand for the services of a coercive government will be reduced, because we assert our ability to govern ourselves, and by prudence extricate ourselves little by little, from our imprudent reliance on government, instead of ourselves, as a provider of all our needs.

Prudence begets Thrift. Thrift begets Liberty. Liberty begets Order.

Maybe I can suggest one more offspring to this tree of virtues: Order begets Peace.

If you hadn't already, do check out this article.

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