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The Freeman Asks, "Why Compromise?"

OCTOBER 01, 1966

The Seamen’s Strike in England was disastrously prolonged, sug­gests Punch, because of an un­bending, uncompromising attitude by all parties to the controversy.

The American Machinists’ Strike which grounded five air­lines was disastrously prolonged, in many minds, for the same rea­son.

What goes on here? It seems that justice can be served only as everybody bends to the whims and desires of those who hold power. To what a low estate has justice descended: what’s right is the outcome of bending to ambi­tions for power!

Who likes to compromise? Em­ployees are as averse to backing down as are employers. Yet, there is no other recourse than com­promise in managed or socialistic economies — as in England and the U. S. A. When coercive powers rule the economy, adjustments of the numerous powers must be ceded by the warring factions. With fail­ure to compromise, the economy comes to a halt. Further, compro­mised or dictated adjustments are no more than temporary expe­dients, for no one has the knowl­edge or the ability to accurately predict the future.

No one likes to compromise, nor should anyone be expected to do so. Be done with the planned econ­omy and its inevitable compro­mises and failures. Give no more coercive power to a labor union than to a chamber of commerce. Free the market! Let government protect all willing exchange and inhibit all unwilling exchange —and not indulge in the forbidden exchange itself!

In the free market, humiliating compromise gives way to a gratify­ing freedom of choice by every­one, be he employee or employer, consumer or producer. If one sup­plier’s price for a can of beans or his system of management doesn’t suit, you have the freedom to shop around. And, if he doesn’t like your bid for beans or your serv­ices on your terms, he has the freedom to look around.

Why compromise when we could be free to choose?


October 1966


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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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