The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Are We What We Think We Are?

The more I read (and, therefore, learn) the less I am impressed...

It is in the free market that self-interest finds its finest expression; that is a cardinal point in individualism. If the market is regularly raided, by robbers or the government, and the safety of property is impaired, the individual loses interest in production, and the abundance of things men live by shrinks. Hence, it is for the good of society that self-interest in the economic sphere be allowed to operate without hindrance.
But self-interest is not selfishness. Self-interest will impel the manufacturer to improve upon his output so as to attract trade, while selfishness will prompt him to seek the special privileges and state favor that in the end destroy the very system of economic freedom on which he depends. The worker who tries to improve his lot by rendering better service could hardly be called selfish; the description rather fits the worker who demands that he be paid for not working. The subsidy seeker is selfish, and so is every citizen who uses the law to enrich himself at the expense of other citizens.

What Individualism Is Not

I grew up in a time when individualism was stressed as a virtue. But some were chipping away at it in favor of collectivism, teamwork, esprit de corps. Schools discouraged individualism even while rewarding it (honor rolls, for example). A class was a collective of sorts; seen as an entity of its own, it achieved recognition as a group or team which was headed by a revered leader.

In the 60's I grappled with conflicting ideologies. A natural (maybe family induced) conservatism was shunted aside for a time in favor of the lure of the liberalism of the day. My motives were impure, of course, being a young man in my early twenties. My main goal in life was getting laid as often as possible and the most willing of young women were to be found in liberal circles.

Interesting how hormones shape one's life.


Joanne Noragon said...

Self-interest did not impel GM to fix ignition switches.

Douglas said...

Sure it did, Joanne, it could have continued to ignore the problem and failed as a corporation. Instead, it chose to survive. Just as Ford did with the Pinto. Do you think self interest exists in a vacuum?

Joanne Noragon said...

Oh, the ginormous picture. Got it.

Douglas said...

I don't know, Joanne, Perhaps it is the "macro" view.