In our personal life we assume to be treated fair and just. We assume to have the right for things we have earned and thus achieved by our own effort. We are not claming the unearned. This is what we call justice. Everybody takes care of their own business and respect others’ similar rights as well.
A breach of this right we call a theft or stealing. We say it is immoral to take from another person what that person has earned by his own effort and action without violating other persons’ rights (i.e. not gained by force from someone else). We do not consider it fair to steal from one person and give it to the other even though the person who carried out the theft did not benefit himself by the action and it was done only for the purpose of helping someone else in a great ‘need’. A theft is a theft, full stop.
Our society has assumed a system where people have voluntarily given up some of their individual rights and granted a monopoly of those rights for a structure called government. The government is entitled to use physical violence and force against its people. This legalised right of violence (or a threat of it) has been given up by the people and granted for the government. Thus individuals have no right to use force against each other and all interaction between people are based on negotiations and voluntary agreements. The government is assumed the role of an arbitrator who is commissioned to make sure that each individuals’ personal rights are not violated by any other private entity (i.e. person or institution).
But because everything is done by us, the people, the government as well is nothing but a few persons acting on behalf of every individual with their mandate (i.e. with their permission by recognising the authority). So simply the government is only an abstract concept that we are accustomed to have in our everyday life. In other words the government is the total sum of all the individuals in its sphere of influence. In itself it is nothing—it has no opinions or values. It only acts by some people who are presenting the rest of the population. Therefore words like ‘public good, public opinion, moral right and so on’ are just plain meaningless and hollow without any substance. Public opinion or good by whose standards, values and decided by whom?
Our current society uses this concept called government as a vehicle to gain special rights and privileges by the cost of everyone else. The government’s authorised status as a monopolised violence machine makes its position entirely different to any other entity or person in our society. No one else can force people to obey under its will. It doesn’t really matter whether this is done by taxation, legislation or any other means as long as individuals have no negative rights (i.e. to say no and refuse to cooperate).
So, where is this double standard? Just look around you, and in the news. Every day media is full of persons, interest groups, and institutions that are asking for some favours, subsides, more money, restrictions etc. from the government in the name of the public good or whatever the ‘great cause’. They claim to get something they have not earned themselves from the government. In another words they are after violating someone else’s rights and using them for a particular purpose either directly benefiting themselves or some other third parties. Unearned gains from the ‘society’ and at the cost of someone else.
How does the government deal with these wishes and needs? Itself it does not produce anything. It is entirely useless. It can only redistribute and take from someone who has produced something already. In another words it uses its monopoly of violence to obtain what it wants. It steals by force. Keep that in mind when you hear next time that someone has a right for something; by violating who’s rights and at who’s expense?
“If you could write one law that would help the country the most what would that be?” asked Walter Williams some decades ago from Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek over dinner. Hayek replied: “Very simple: You should have a law that Congress cannot do for one American what it does not do for all Americans.” And continued by explaining that if Congress pays some people not to raise pigs or grow wheat, they ought to pay every American not to raise pigs or grow wheat.