Monday, June 1, 2009

The Burden of Freedom

We often hear that our government must do something to protect people who have been injured by the brutal world of free market competition, especially the poor.

What we don't know is that this argument has been used before, to justify the ultimate social safety net. We called it slavery.

In 1854, the antebellum slavery apologist George Fitzhugh published Sociology of the South or The Failure of Free Society.

Fitzhugh argued slavery was preferable to free society, especially for the poor. He wrote, "The dissociation of labor and disintegration of society, which liberty and free competition occasion, is especially injurious to the poorer class; for besides the labor necessary to support the family, the poor man is burdened with the care of finding a home, and procuring employment, and attending to all domestic wants and concerns. Slavery relieves our slaves of these cares altogether, and slavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism."

When does freedom become a burden? When does relief become slavery?

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