]]]]]]]]]]]]]        MORE COLLECTIVIST CLICHES        [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                        By Philip Smith                     (1/8/1989)

  From THE INDIVIDUALIST, vol 13, no.6, 1988, a very excellent 
 publication (virtually all of it in English), PO Box 92385, Norwood, 
               2117, South Africa, $15/year

     In her recent trip to the Sovet Union, British Prime Minister 
Thatcher challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to defend Soviet human rights 
policy. Grbachev replied that when Western leaders were ready to dis-
cuss poverty, unemployment and homelessness, he would address human 
rights in the Soviet Union. This is a typical Soviet response, 
designed to confuse the issue and to shift the blame once again to the 
     It is unfortunate that the Soviets take this approach, but it is 
even more unfortunate that the world press will let statements like 
this go unchallenged. In the newspaper accounts, not a single journa-
list felt obligated to point out that while Thatcher was addressing 
the question of human RIGHTS, Gorbachev's response dealt with human 
PRIVILEGES. Just as it is intuitively and logically obvious that all 
men have the right to be free, so is it also obvious that no man has 
the inherent right to be given a home.
     It is exactly with these type of issue-confusing answers that the 
collectivists continue to delude the world press. By reporting the 
above conversation as if both arguments had equal merit, the press 
imply that the problems of poverty, unemployment and homelessness in 
the free world are the moral equivalent of government oppression in 
the communist world. Let us address each of Gorbachev's issues indivi-
dually and explain why they are not the result of "human rights viola-
     First, consider homelessness. Obviously, every man has the right 
to buy a home, assuming he can find someone willing to sell him one at 
a mutually agreeable price. It is unfortunate that some individuals 
neither have the funds to purchase a home, nor the ability raise these 
funds. The collectivists, however, would have us believe that we are 
somehow morally obligated to PROVIDE these individuals with homes. 
     Naturally, the homeless are free to seek ways of earning income, 
and to use this income as they see fit. By the same token, I should be 
free to earn my income, and also should be free to do with it as I see 
fit; and this includes no obligation to provide homes for strangers. 
When the collectivists grant the so-called "right" to a home, they 
remove my right to do so as I please with my property -- and this is a 
true, basic right. Robbery is robbery, whether the homeless steal 
directly from me or to provide themselves with a home, or whether 
government steals it first and then hands it to them.
     Just as with homes, the collectivists imply that we are somehow 
morally obligated to provide a job for every person, regardless of the 
person's abilities, skills, or productivity.
     To say that every person has the right to a job is to imply that 
someone else has the obligation to GIVE him one. Here in the free 
world we recognize a man's right to seek employment, so long as there 
is someone willing to employ him. But to insist that someone (or 
everyone) provide him with a job, denies the right of the employer to 
do as he chooses with his property. Once again by establishing a false 
"right," the collectivists actually have taken away a basic human 
right: the right to use your earning as yu choose.
     What the collectivists fail to mention is that in a free, capita-
list society, the natural unemployment rate is very low. The most 
significant cause of high unemployment is government intervention in 
the economy, particularly minimum wage laws. By establishing a minimum 
wage, the government effectively declares that all persons whose pro-
ductive value to an employer is less than this wage shall remain unem-
ployed. The implication is that it is morally superior to live on 
welfare than to become self-sufficient by earning a "low" wage.
     Homelessness and unemployment are often accompanied by poverty; 
indeed, it seems that the three are nearly inseparable. Poverty, like 
homelessness, is the direct result of an individual's lack of funds. 
Once again, the collectivists imply that we should feel morally obli-
gated to give our earnings to those haven't earned anything of their 
own. Just as in the previous examples, to force someone to give up his 
earned income or goods to support strangers robs him of his natural 
right to do as he wishes with his property. It becomes apparent that 
the collectivists' accusations are all built around this common fal-
lacy: that some men have a right to the earnings of others. In the 
free world we recognize this as false.
     Now before anyone cries out that this is a cruel and unjust state 
of affairs, let me point out that VOLUNTARY charity is perfectly com-
patible with freedom. In a pure, capitalist society, everyone has the 
right to do with his income as he pleases; and if it pleases him to 
give it to the poor, then nobody will stop him. If it pleases him to 
give jobs to the incompetent or unskilled, then he is free to do so 
until his funds run out. If he wishes to provide homes for the home-
less, he not only will find himself unobstructed, he will probably be 
congratulated as well.
     The one thing that no man or GOVERNMENT has the right to do is to 
take the property of others by force. This is what our government does 
when it removes some of our income (by force) and gives it to others. 
This is the principle on which the whole collectivist economy is 
built: the right of some to rob from others in the name of "justice."
     As long as the press continues to report both factual and falla-
cious arguments as if they held equal merit, as long as Soviet cliches 
go unchallenged, then the collectivists will continue to pull the wool 
over the eyes of millions. Since publications devoted to exposing 
these cliches are few and far between, it is up to us, the defenders 
of freedom, to spread the word.

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