April Freeman Banner 2014


Ends and Means


Mr. Bayes recently retired from the U.S. Air Force.

The honest seeker of truth faces an exceedingly difficult task in penetrating the murky fog of claims and counterclaims made by the zealous advocates of various causes. All men proclaim lofty ends. No man proposes to demon­strate the evils which will follow the adoption of his plan. No as­sociation or religious sect that hopes to acquire a large influence and many members sets out to show how affiliation with it will be detrimental to one’s interests. Still less are political parties dis­posed to persuade voters that they intend to bring the nation to ruin if their candidates are elected to public office. Even dictators must convince their people that they are working for the "common good."

The only general agreement among men is that all ends should be good. Problems arise because men do not universally agree on what is good. The conceptions of good multiply as the view narrows from the general to the particular. Thus men agree that life is good, but they do not agree that life should be preserved in all cases: the lives of an honest man, a con­victed murderer, a steer, and a mosquito are not regarded with equal reverence.

Men disagree, also, concerning the means which may be legiti­mately used to achieve even those ends upon which they completely agree. They generally agree, for instance, that all should have an opportunity to obtain an educa­tion; but some believe that the education should be provided by the state (taxpayers), while others believe it should be earned and paid for by the recipient.

The noncommunist world generally subscribes to the belief that the end does not justify the means. (This truism should be stated: The end does not always justify the means. I will explain this re­vision later.) The communists be­lieve that "… the end justifies the means, and that the means can find no other justification than that it serves the end."¹

Marxist Morality

Karl Marx, who is now often pictured in the West as a great­hearted social reformer, originated this immoral code in his com­munist movement (though not ab­solutely, of course):

He expelled people from his Com­munist party for mentioning pro­grammatically such things as "love," "injustice," "humanity," even "mo­rality" itself. "Soulful ravings," "sloppy sentimentality," he called such expressions, and purged aston­ished authors as though they had committed the most dastardly crimes.²

Marx would be proud of his political heirs, who have not de­parted from his peculiar path to morality. (It must be remembered that even Marx envisioned what he believed to be a noble end, the paradisiacal classless society.) Oth­er persons, who are not commu­nists but who, as experts on com­munism, have drunk too often at the Marxist fount, seem to have ingested some unsound ideas:

Nor does the assertion stand up that moral systems, however utopi­an, do serve as checks against bar­barian excesses. Neither Christian­ity nor humanist ideals succeeded in preventing the bestialities of Ausch­witz and Buchenwald. Indeed,… it often seems that the existence of moral sentiments or moral convic­tions permit [sic] inhumanities of this sort; they serve as some sort of other-worldliness, which lulls us into the pleasant belief that, somehow, somewhere, the perpetrators will be punished. Thus moral convictions al­low us to bear the evil against which, without these, we might rebel.3

Should we, then, aim no higher than at a balance of terror? Mr. Meyer seems to forget that, with­out "moral sentiments or moral convictions," there can be no con­ception and identification of evil. Are we no more capable than the animals of discerning good from evil and aiming at the good? Mr. Meyer, like so many others today, seems to have trouble identifying causes: the proximate (though not the ultimate) cause of inhumanities is men’s failure to live up to the standard, not the standard it­self. But he cannot really believe that the standard should be dis­carded, since he soon lapses into writing about the "good life on this earth."4 To call something "good" is to refer to a standard. All want to retain the standard: good men so that they may im­prove themselves by aiming at it; bad men so that they may justify their acts by citing the "good" end they have in view. Since no one wants to discard the standard, it is vain to blame it for men’s failings. In any case, we are not without tools with which to meas­ure and weigh men’s announced intentions and acts.

We may analyze the end itself to determine whether it is indeed good. But we may also compare the end to the means to reveal whether each is compatible with the other. The means, after all, contains the end. Emerson wrote that "cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed."5 But the means, it should be empha­sized, contains only its natural end and not necessarily the end pre­dicted by ardent advocates.

Evil Means Cannot Achieve Good Ends

In defense of the use of evil means, some social engineers have said (with the assurance of hav­ing produced an unassailable argu­ment), "You’ve got to break eggs to make an omelet!" And if per­chance that argument should fail because no human is injured when the egg is broken, resort is then had to an analogy between surgery on a human and surgery on a so­cial body.

It should not be necessary to point out the fallacies in the egg argument (one has already been mentioned).

Let us consider for a moment the surgery analogy. We must first observe that surgery is performed only with the patient’s consent. Does the social engineer hope to obtain the consent of every mem­ber of society who will be affected by his "operation"? Secondly, the patient submits to surgery only when no other, less extreme, means is available to him. From the pa­tient’s viewpoint, as well as the surgeon’s, the operation is a defensive measure. Finally, the re­sults of surgery are far more predictable on the whole than are those of social planning. The sur­geon confines himself to an inte­gral unit whose processes are pretty well known and whose reactions to the stress of the surgery may be predicted with a large measure of success.

Good cannot come from evil. Since the end pre-exists in the means, evil consequences must flow from evil acts. Just as life can come only from life (the doctrine of biogenesis), so good can come only from good. Most persons would not dispute the fact that like comes only from like (which is the reason the alchemists were never successful in their endeavors to transmute baser metals into gold), but many do not believe that this principle can be applied to human relationships. (But none are so skeptical as to believe that the way to win someone’s love is to behave uncivilly toward him or her.)

If we can transpose the physical law that like can come only from like to the moral realm, we may infer that a good end can not be achieved by the use of evil means and its corollary that good means, rightly construed, must attain a good end. We are able to observe and understand this principle when only two persons are in­volved, such as in a marriage or in a business partnership; but we cannot clearly see that every act, whether for good or for evil, must inevitably cause a like reaction in the larger and more complex relationships within a social body. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to trace the consequences of a public act, since delayed reaction and multiple causes and effects oc­curring concurrently often obscure the ultimate result of a single act. Such difficulties do not usually at­tend the observation of the im­mediate results of our acts; these can be seen and felt immediately and absolutely.

Means Become Ends

Having selected a means, we do not automatically carry it out. Each means becomes, and must be­come, an intermediate end: when we decide that we will use a cer­tain means and plan the steps to implement that means, we thereby make of it an end. We cannot so much as take a pen in hand with­out first purposing to do so. Every act and, therefore, every means is preceded by a purpose, or plan, to act. That purpose is an end. If my end is to go to work in the morn­ing, every act I must perform to reach that end—including rising from bed, washing, shaving, dress­ing, breakfasting, and the like—must first be purposed. When it is purposed, it is not yet an act, but is an end. Each of these acts may be further broken down into multiple ends and means. Every purpose, then, however fleeting and insignificant, is an end; and the consequent act, however sim­ple and brief, is a means. We es­tablish thousands of such ends and means in getting through a normal day, most of them in an unconscious manner.

Let us consider a simple ex­ample. Let us imagine that we are standing in a crowd of people as­sembled to view an important per­son or event. In order to get a better view (first end), we de­termine that we must rise on our toes (first means). But note—selecting the means is not the same as executing the means. We must now establish the end (sec­ond end) of rising on our toes; the means (second means) used is to press against the earth with the balls of our feet. We should observe that the means had to become an end before it could be carried out. We should also ob­serve that the "end-in-the-means" was the only certain end, i.e., we knew we would rise on our toes by pressing the balls of our feet against the earth. But we were not certain we would obtain a better view by doing so.

Each Means Is First an End

We have seen that every act or means is first an end. It is there­fore nonsense for a person to cite a remote lofty end which he hopes to achieve in order to excuse him­self for committing a present evil deed, as if that deed were not even more directly and absolutely his aim. He had to intend, or purpose the evil deed, else it never would have become an act. The stark fact is that, given an opportunity to choose from a number of possi­ble acts, none of which would certainly produce any effect or end except the one immediately flow­ing from the act, he chose to com­mit an evil act.

It follows, therefore, that those who would use evil means to achieve a distant and as yet un­real noble end, while ignoring the very real noble behavior now pos­sible to them, do not intend to do good. It is deeds, after all, which have consequences that can be ex­perienced (felt). If such persons habitually resort to acts involving the use of force or fraud, they reveal thereby their disguised ends. To refer always to some ultimate good in order to sanction evil acts is to deceive first oneself and then others. Men’s character, it seems clear, is revealed more in their choice of means (which, we must not forget, are ends) than in the ends they profess.

Nor may the reality of the pres­ent deed be taken as a call to go about doing "good deeds" which rely upon the involuntary contri­butions of others to carry out. If we are capable of thinking, feel­ing, and acting, we must assume that other humans are similarly capable. Making that assumption is the most noble behavior a human can practice. Some persons in our society, who are considerably en­raged at the prospect of self-appointed censors’ determining what they shall be permitted to read or view in a theater, are not at all reluctant to do another’s thinking for him in order to achieve what they call "social justice." They are apparently un­aware of the monstrous inconsist­ency of their positions.

The Means Must Qualify as an End

Thus I arrive at what I believe men should take as a maxim: Where there is a better choice available, no means which cannot itself qualify as an end should be used. No man could justify terror as an end, yet the communists have attempted to justify the use of terror as a means of forwarding the revolution and industrializa­tion toward the ultimate end of the classless society. Only the means was certain. The commu­nists therefore traded a certain, immediate evil for an uncertain, remote "good." While waiting for this paradise on earth, the peoples of communist nations have been subjected to a species of slavery cloaked as a necessary means. In spite of their horrendous example, we have our own social engineers whose means always involve in­voluntary servitude.

That an ideal society cannot be built by the use of such means has been eloquently stated by Milovan Djilas, the former Vice-President of Yugoslavia:

Throughout history there have been no ideal ends which were attained with non-ideal, inhumane means, just as there has been no free so­ciety which was built by slaves. Nothing so well reveals the reality and greatness of the ends as the methods used to attain them.

If the end must be used to con­done the means, then there is some­thing in the end itself, in its reality, which is not worthy. That which really blesses the end, which justi­fies the efforts and sacrifices for it, is the means: their constant perfec­tion, humaneness, increasing free­dom….

No regime in history which was democratic—or relatively demo­cratic while it lasted—was predom­inantly established on the aspiration for ideal ends, but rather on the small everyday means in sight. Along with this, each such regime achieved, more or less spontaneously, great ends. On the other hand, every despotism tried to justify itself by its ideal aims. Not a single one achieved great ends….

Thus, by justifying the means be­cause of the end, the end itself be­comes increasingly more distant and unrealistic, while the frightful reality of the means becomes increasingly obvious and intolerable.6

Where it is certain that there is no better choice, an apparently evil means may be used; but it should be discarded as soon as a better choice appears. Cutting the body of a human can never qualify as an end in itself; but, as sur­gery, it may be the indispensable means to save a life. Its necessity, which almost completely eliminates choice (except, perhaps, the alter­native to be crippled or blind, or to die), seems to remove it from the category of good and evil. Thus, to justify the use of what would ordinarily be evil means, the end must be the preservation of life itself or of a value without which life would not be worth the living, and there must be no better choice of means available to achieve that end.

How can we recognize means which really bless the end, means which could themselves qualify as ends? Immanuel Kant has given us two imperatives that may be of enormous help in this primary task of determining just means.

The Categorical Imperative

The first is what Kant called the categorical imperative: "Act as if the maxim of your action passim, were to become by your will a general law of nature."7 This im­perative, when used to assess vari­ous modes of human behavior, helps us to see what the ultimate effects of those actions would be if practiced by everybody.

We know, for instance, that there are fundamentally only three ways to obtain something of value that we need or want: (1) steal it from someone else; (2) receive it as a gift or as charity from some­one else; or (3) produce it oneself or work to acquire the money to buy it. Kant’s categorical impera­tive, applied to each of these meth­ods in the economy, results in the following possible standards:

1.       Everyone steals from every­one else.

2.     Everyone depends upon the production and generosity of everyone else (charity or pub­lic welfare).

3.       Everyone who is able to do so produces, i.e., works.

Number one was the standard until the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Because the requisite technology was not available to ex­tract large quantities of raw ma­terials from the earth and to con­vert them easily and cheaply into an abundance of tools and consumer products, wealth was thought to be static. One could not produce or create great wealth; one could only plunder it from those who possessed it. Only the mighty suc­ceeded, of course, in acquiring reasonably great wealth. Such a standard obviously limits the pos­session of a good living standard to a very few; the majority is condemned to a life of grinding poverty. Universal plunder is clearly not a worth-while standard, not only because of its moral im­plications, but also because of its low productivity.

Number two is obviously a state of universal dependency. This con­dition will never be truly approxi­mated because, fortunately, there will always be large numbers of producers—persons who work and create simply because they must, because they reject dependency, because they want to build. Dan­ger arises when their numbers be­come too few to sustain a viable economy. It is clear that number two is really no better a standard than number one—for the same reasons.

We may observe that the only possible and the only moral econ­omic standard is that of universal production. Whatever motivates individuals to devote their wills and efforts toward personal pro­ductivity, including the positive factor of the possibility of re­ward and the negative factor of (not punishment but) stern ne­cessity. It was as much the spur of necessity as anything else which has resulted in the extraordinary technological progress man has made—necessity operating in an atmosphere of freedom to think, to plan, and to implement that plan, and to bear risks and to win any rewards ensuing from suc­cessful plans and efforts. On the other hand, whatever encourages or permits persons to defraud or to steal or to depend upon public wel­fare when they are able to work obviously diminishes the number of producers and the total prod­uct, besides causing the growth of a class of perennial dependents. These facts may seem very ele­mentary, but public officials often behave as though they do not un­derstand the principle involved—that production is the only path to prosperity. It is the so-called obvious that often escapes critical analysis, particularly when the in­terests of some collide with facts.

Modes of Social Conduct

When applied to government, the categorical imperative reveals various modes of organization of society:

1.       Everyone does everything he pleases. (No organization; anarchy.)

2.       Everyone does what everyone else pleases that he shall do. (Impossible!)

3.     A variation of number two: everyone attempts, by law, to restrain or compel everyone else.

4.     Everyone does as he pleases, except that he must not vio­late the constitutional rights of anyone else.

The absurdity of numbers one and two will, I believe, be readily apparent to all.

Every form of oppression—whether autocracy, oligarchy, or majoritarian democracy—results, in the political realm, from num­ber three: the tendency of each of us to fear our fellow men and at­tempt to prevent them from acting freely, whether by restraint or by compulsion. (Most of us, of course, are not fully aware that our guid­ing principle is force.) We believe that we should be free to act, but we doubt the good intentions of our neighbor. This principle is self-defeating. Just as "the only way to have a friend is to be one,"8 so the only way to have freedom for ourselves is to permit it for others. Every act of force must cause a forceful reaction, and so the cycle keeps repeating. If we seek and obtain restrictive or com­pulsory legislation, we gain noth­ing; for we ourselves shall be restricted or compelled as much as our fellow men. Though we may see only the particular law in which our will seemingly works, we shall have advanced only the principle of force and shall have inhibited the creative activity of free men. Thus, if all (or nearly all) of us work for the principle of force, and none of us for that of liberty, we shall be responsible for the monster who chains us.

Fear and Freedom Inversely Related

There appears, then, to be an in­verse ratio between fear and free­dom: as a people’s fear—of for­eign or domestic enemies or of economic depression—increases, freedom decreases pari passu. Hence the enemies of freedom in every nation seek to keep the peo­ple in a state of fear. Fearful people, after all, need the protec­tion of an all-powerful state. It is not accidental that every nation today has far larger armed forces than during the era of laissez-faire capitalism, which was a time of relative peace, nor that com­munist nations have so immense and pervasive a police apparatus. As fear and freedom function inversely, so courage and liberty rise or fall together. There is no way in which we can retain our liberties if our courage fails. (Witness the inroads made by state intervention during the Great Depression.) And the cur­rent practice of conditioning citi­zens to be dependent upon the wel­fare state is not likely to increase their courage. Courage, at once the cause and effect of self-reli­ance, grows when one encounters and overcomes obstacles. This be­ing so, what will be the effect if all of us rely upon the state for our security? Disaster. For the state is a mythical entity, which has no existence apart from the individuals who compose it; it cannot receive, as if by blood transfusion, the courage and vigor which flow out of the people. That courage and that vigor are lost—to the individual and to the state.

The fourth maxim listed may be recognized as the essence of constitutional government. It is often said that ours is a govern­ment of laws and not of men. This statement means (or should mean) that no man, or group of men, is free to make arbitrary judgments or decisions in the conduct of pub­lic affairs. It should also mean that rights of individuals are protected from the assaults of combinations of men. In implementing the Con­stitution and the laws, therefore, public officials have a duty to con­sider only the rights of individu­als, since groups, as such, have no rights. Nor may the individual rights of members of a group be added up to defeat the rights of a single individual. The so-called rights of groups inhere in and flow from the rights of the indi­vidual who is a member of the group. No matter how large the group, it can assert the rights of only one individual. To believe otherwise is to accept the "might makes right (s)" philosophy.

The Practical Imperative

Kant’s second imperative, which he calls the practical imperative, is this: "Act so as to treat man, in your own person as well as in that of anyone else, always as an end, never merely as a means."9 An individual may be used as a means only when he, the individ­ual himself and not some collective man, is simultaneously the end. When taxes are taken from one person and applied to the support of another (whether through aid to education, Medicare, a guar­anteed annual income, or anything else), the first person is being used as the means and the second as the end. It is deceptive to say that these aids will be available to all, because many persons will never use them. The government, which is supposed to be the guardian of justice, thereby violates the first principle of justice: it dispenses, not a uniform brand of justice to all citizens alike, but a brand which varies with the social or economic status of citizens. If it had the blind eyes of justice, it would insure that every public act reached every citizen as an end. The so-called common good can thus mean only the total of indi­vidual "goods."

It is safe to say that no dictator or totalitarian government in his­tory has ever emphasized the rights of individuals, a fact which should stand as a beacon to all whose highest aspiration is the freedom to become. On the other hand, those who hope to further the collective society know their enemy and have always inveighed against individualism:

Karl Marx wrote, "The Demo­cratic concept of man is false be­cause it is Christian. It holds that each man has a value as a sovereign being. This is the illusion, dream and postulate of Christianity." To Adolf Hitler wrote, "To the Christian doctrine of the infinite significance of the individual’s hu­man soul, I oppose with icy clarity the saving doctrine of the nothing­ness and insignificance of the indi­vidual human being." 11

But, if the individual—who thinks, feels, and acts—does not have supreme worth, who or what does? Obviously, the collective. Jules Monnerot calls this the Myth of the Species:

To abstract the individuals who compose it is to endow the Species with transcendence; but, in fact, the Species is only accessible through the individuals. Hypostatized as an ab­straction, it becomes a transcendent and all-devouring entity; and to im­molate existing individuals for the sake of future individuals—or of the Species (the ambiguity is the essence of mythical thinking)—is to feed this transcendent entity with human sacrifices. But if the whole chain is present in each of its links, if the individual and the Species are each immanent in the other, then this immolation of individuals may be the destruction of the Species as well.¹²

We should not forget that Kant said we are not to use ourselves as means only. Thus a man may not elect, rationally, to be used merely as the means for the ends of others, even though he may be­lieve he is being very unselfish and noble in doing so. He cannot logi­cally assert that he is concerned with the humanity of others while disregarding his own humanity, any more than he can logically refer to the mote in other men’s eyes while disregarding that in his own. This accords with the Commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"" (em­phasis is mine). If Karl Marx, for instance, had been more concerned about his own welfare and that of his wife and children, we could perhaps better believe the portrait of him as a lover of all humanity. Instead, he lived as a frequent dependent of his collaborator, Friedrich Engels, often in grind­ing poverty. If a man sacrifices himself and his family, whose ex­istence is more real and normally more dear to him than that of others, we may be pardoned for be­lieving that he will not hesitate to sacrifice others.

The Golden Rule

Another guide to the selection of just means is the Golden Rule: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."" This principle is expressed in the negative by Confucius: "Do not do unto others what thou wouldst not they should do unto thee."" This rule is not valid, however, for everybody. It requires that the individual have a proper (i.e., just) self-image: he must evaluate his own intrinsic worth as a human as no greater and no less than that of any other individual. Re­spect for others’ individual rights to life, liberty, and property is the political expression of this moral precept. If a man believes his own person is more important than that of others, he will sacri­fice the rights of others to his own cause. If he believes that the per­son of another is more important than that of his own, he will sacri­fice his own rights (i.e., be used as a means) to the cause of that other person. If he believes he is as important as others, he will neither demand nor accept sacri­fice. This rule does not prohibit either the recognition and reward of individual merit or the identi­fication and punishment of crime. It merely requires that we do not value our own person, as opposed to our own achievements, more highly or less highly than that of another.

With the above limitation in mind, what are some ways in which we may comply with this Golden Rule?

First, we must respect other persons as the thinking, feeling, and acting beings that they are; and we should realize that no one, our­selves included, is infallible. If we pay this respect, we will be unlikely to decide that we know what is best for our fellow men and at­tempt to implement our own plan in the law. Frederic Bastiat ex­pressed this idea eloquently:

Oh, sublime writers! Please re­member sometimes that this clay, this sand, and this manure which you so arbitrarily dispose of, are men! They are your equals! They are intelligent and free human be­ings like yourselves. As you have, they too have received from God the faculty to observe, to plan ahead, to think, and to judge for themselves.16

We must resist force and fraud. But, in doing so, we must not be­come that which we have con­demned. If we do, in what essen­tial respect will we differ from those whose actions we deprecate? In the fact that we were not the first to commit a certain act? Every man since Adam has been able to seek that refuge. We can­not in good conscience criticize another for doing that which we would do in the same circum­stances. In resisting force and fraud, therefore, we may use force only in self-defense. This principle is of supreme importance in times like the present, when provocations abound.

Nor may we wait for every other person in the world to do the right thing before we will do it, else no one would act morally. The Golden Rule requires ex­ample: it says we should do to others, not what they do to us, but what we would have them do to us. If we regard a certain prin­ciple as good and just, therefore, we ought to practice it whether others do or not. This concept does not rule out legitimate self-defense. If it is right to protect others, either by not initiating force or fraud against them or by defending them against force or fraud initiated by others, it is right to protect ourselves, for we are human, too. The admonition Jesus gave his disciples is appro­priate: "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore as wise as ser­pents, and harmless as doves." 17

If we set out to reform our­selves, we will then not set stand­ards for others which we do not ourselves practice. One of the best ways in which we can guard against destructive criticism is to watch our speech. Our speech, a powerful means, reveals our ends. Our speech attracts or repels, praises or condemns, inspires or disheartens, honors or dishonors, conciliates or antagonizes, enlight­ens or deludes, identifies or ob­scures, unifies or divides—and thus with each expressed thought advances good or evil. As Leonard Read so frequently points out, we can advance the cause of limited government, liberty, and the free market best by the power of at­traction. If we wish our ideas to attract, we must be positive in our rhetoric.

We may—indeed, must—surely identify error and, to the extent we are able to do so, reveal the means of correcting it. But we must avoid the temptation to label everybody with whom we disagree a public enemy. We must, instead, find ever better, more lucid demonstrations of the cor­rectness of our own position. (It is, of course, equally important to insure that our own position is the correct one.)

We must, then, examine the ends and means of those who would persuade us. To that end, I have devised a tentative series of questions, which the reader may improve upon, to assist in analyzing ends and means. These questions summarize the ideas ex­pressed here. Some of them over­lap, but I believe all are neces­sary—and perhaps more as well.

To Recognize a Legitimate End

1.         Is the end possible? Does it recognize man’s limited ability to predict any but the most immedi­ate consequences of acts?

2.         Does the end recognize each individual as a being able to think, feel, and act for himself? Does it recognize the individual’s fallibility when it comes to plan­ning for others than himself?

3.         Does the end recognize that one individual should not be the means while another is the end?

4.         Does the end recognize every individual, in justice, only as a human being and not as a member of a particular race, class, party, or other group?

5.         Does the end require the use of force as a means? If so, is the end defensive in nature, i.e., ab­solutely necessary to preserve the highest values (life, freedom)?

6.         Does the end contribute to the enlargement or the diminu­tion of individual rights to life, liberty, and property?

To Recognize a Legitimate Means

1.       Does the means recognize each individual as a being able to think, feel, and act for himself? Does it recognize the individual’s fallibility when it comes to plan­ning for others than himself?

2.       Does the means recognize that one individual should not be the means while another is the end?

3.       Can the means itself qualify as an end (though not necessarily the most desired end, just as labor is a worthy, though perhaps not the most desired end)? If not, is there any better means which may be used? If not, must that partic­ular end be attained?

4.       Does the means involve the use of force or fraud? If it in­volves the use of force, is that force used only by government, only in the degree necessary, and only to protect individual rights to life, liberty, and property?

5.       Would those using the means welcome such means being used on themselves in similar circum­stances?

6.       Would the result be good, bad, or indifferent if everyone used the same means or if the means were applied to everyone?

7.       Does the means, including speech and the printed word, em­phasize the positive? (It is impor­tant to remember the power of the word. The question occurs: If all speech and written matter were positive in approach, would ac­tions not follow suit?)

If the end is revealed in the means, then surely our character is revealed in our selection of both ends and means. If we believe in liberty and justice for all men, we will use only means reflecting liberty and justice. And these concepts—of liberty and of jus­tice—cannot be achieved separate­ly, because they are one. Their es­sential unity has been expressed by Abraham Lincoln: "My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me"¹8 (emphasis is mine). So-called so­cial justice is achieved by doing as one (the planner or the re­cipient) pleases with what belongs to another. The doctrine of social justice, therefore, agrees with that of communism in kind if not in degree: both, one knowingly and openly and the other unwit­tingly and tacitly, accept the prin­ciple that the end justifies the means. Though this is an unpleas­ant conclusion, it cannot be logi­cally avoided.

The libertarian argument is not that we should prefer the welfare state to socialism and socialism to communism, but that we should prefer limited government to un­limited government, a free mar­ket to government intervention, private to collective property, and individual rights to collective privilege.



1 Alfred G. Meyer, Leninism (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1962), p. 87.

2 Max Eastman, Reflections on the Failure of Socialism (San Diego, Calif.: Viewpoint Books, 1955), p. 85.

3 Alfred G. Meyer, Marxism: The Unity of Theory and Practice (Cambridge: Har­vard University Press, 1964), p. 148.

4 Ibid., p. 149.

5 Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Compensa­tion," Essays and English Traits, vol. 5 of The Harvard Classics, ed, Charles W. Eliot, LL.D., 51 vols. (New York: P. F. Collier & Son Corporation, 1937), p. 90.

6 Milovan Djilas, The New Class (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publisher, 1957), pp. 162-63,

7 Carl J. Friedrich (ed.), The Phi­losophy of Kant: Immanuel Kant’s Moral and Political Writings (New York: Ran­dom House, Inc., 1949), p. 170.



November 1970

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April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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