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“Food for Thought” is an original column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. He is not a member of any social network, nor does he plan on becoming one. Dr. Imberman has written a fantastic Christmas song which he had professionally recorded as a demonstration record. He is looking for a publisher, or A & R man, or record producer to listen to his song. It deserves to be a permanent member of the lexicon of familiar and favorite Christmas songs. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” That quote was attributed to Victor Hugo but Victor Hugo’s quote was actually, “one can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”
Another not-so-famous quote is, “you have enemies? Why? It is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud [that] thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.” [Villemain (1845)]
It is historically provable that in the long run right ideas will replace wrong ideas. Galileo’s Law of Falling Bodies replaced the centuries-old Aristotelian assertion that heavier objects fall faster than light objects; Semmelweis’ idea that physicians must wash their hands before treating patients in order to prevent the spread of disease, replaced the centuries-old idea that there was no need to wash one’s hands before handling patients; the statement that “man will never be able to fly in a machine heavier than his own weight, was replaced by the invention of the airplane by the Wright Brothers; the belief that the bubonic plague was caused by people who were consorting with the devil, was replaced by the discovery that the plague was caused by the bacteria, pasteurella pestis, but not after millions of people suffered the death and agonies of the disease and not after hundreds of thousands, including women and little children, were executed, as they were thought to be the cause. The list is a long line of similar mistakes. The replacement of those wrong ideas by right ideas could not resist the invasion of armies. Their time had come. Nobody had to coerce Mankind to use those ideas, because they were right and good ideas.
Communism, also called Socialism, and Fascism, also called National Socialism have been a bad idea in principle and certainly in practice as history has proven. Even the hybrid (free markets tempered by government planning) also called the Mixed Economy with its punitive regulations, confiscatory taxes and free choice restrictions has proven to be a failure. Just witness the suffering, privations, economic hardship and lack of security experienced by the populace today. It’s natural for that which cannot work in principle, to fail in practice too.
Some of the greatest ideas of the past century that can rescue humanity from its choice of bad sociological and political ideas are the right ideas of Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig Von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Andrew J. Galambos and Jay Stuart Snelson. They all have enemies as the quote says. However, to quote Victor Hugo again, “one can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas,” especially right ideas. Bad ideas will fade away to be replaced by right ideas. Read the writings of these men to find out for yourselves.
Hope for the future lies in the fact that the correct ideas of these men will find their way into the mainstream of human thought in spite of the bleak outlook into the future. The invading armies of the State and the media are trying to stonewall those ideas. It was believed for many years that there was no chance that the people of the Soviet Union would ever break the chains that bound them to the State. However, their walls came tumbling down because Communism, Socialism and Fascism are bad ideas and so is our Mixed Economy, which is simply a mixture of coercion Communist style and coercion Fascist style. They are all based upon false premises and invalid conclusions.
The ideas of the great men to whom I referred, state simply that coercion is no way to run a country or a world. As long as coercion is the method of choice of the rulers, and favored by the people themselves, injustice, economic hardship, poverty, homelessness, inequality, poor education, riots and war will continue until that society perishes on the ashes of an unheeded history. It’s a simple lesson of natural consequences. The use of coercion lays at cross-purposes with the very goals of the common man.
In the future, if we haven’t destroyed ourselves by famine, pestilence, revolution or war, it would mean that we have learned the lessons of Bastiat, Rothbard, Galambos, Snelson and history, and we have abandoned coercion as the modus operandi for dealing with one another. Once the world is at peace through the acceptance and practice of Voluntarism as an absolute, in the future, a person reading any history book will marvel at the fact that coercion was an accepted method of persuasion in the past.
The time for the right ideas of these exceptional men will come, unless we destroy ourselves first. It’s a race against time—Voluntarism, Win-Win Theory or annihilation.
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