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What Am I?

Comment

I used to be a Kennedy-style "liberal." Then I wised up. Now I'm a libertarian.

But what does that mean?

When I asked people on the street, half had no clue.

We know that conservatives want government to conserve traditional values. They say they're for limited government, but they're pro-drug war, pro-immigration restriction and anti-abortion, and they often support "nation-building."

And so-called liberals? They tend to be anti-gun and pro-choice on abortion. They favor big, powerful government — they say — to make life kinder for people.

By contrast, libertarians want government to leave people alone — in both the economic and personal spheres. Leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams, as long as we don't hurt anybody else.

Ironically, that used to be called "liberal," which has the same root as "liberty." Several hundred years ago, liberalism was a reaction against the stifling rules imposed by aristocracy and established religion.

I wish I could call myself "liberal" now. But the word has been turned on its head. It now means health police, high taxes, speech codes and so forth.

So I can't call myself a "liberal." I'm stuck with "libertarian." If you have a better word, please let me know.

When I first explained libertarianism to my wife, she said: "That's cruel! What about the poor and the weak? Let them starve?"

I recently asked some prominent libertarians that question, including Jeffrey Miron, who teaches economics at Harvard.

"It might in some cases be a little cruel," Miron said. "But it means you're not taking from people who've worked hard to earn their income (in order) to give it to people who have not worked hard."

But isn't it wrong for people to suffer in a rich country?

"The number of people who will suffer is likely to be very small. Private charity ... will provide support for the vast majority who would be poor in the absence of some kind of support. When government does it, it creates an air of entitlement that leads to more demand for redistribution, till everyone becomes a ward of the state."

Besides, says Wendy McElroy, the founder of ifeminists.com, "government aid doesn't enrich the poor.

Government makes them dependent. And the biggest hindrance to the poor ... right now is the government. Government should get out of the way. It should allow people to open cottage industries without making them jump through hoops and licenses and taxing them to death. It should open up public lands and do a 20th-century equivalent of 40 acres and a mule. It should get out of the way of people and let them achieve and rise."

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, took the discussion to a deeper level.

"Instead of asking, 'What should we do about people who are poor in a rich country?' The first question is, 'Why is this a rich country?' ...

"Five hundred years ago, there weren't rich countries in the world. There are rich countries now because part of the world is following basically libertarian rules: private property, free markets, individualism."

Boaz makes an important distinction between equality and absolute living standards.

"The most important way that people get out of poverty is economic growth that free markets allow. The second-most important way — maybe it's the first — is family. There are lots of income transfers within families. Third would be self-help and mutual-aid organizations. This was very big before the rise of the welfare state."

This is an important but unappreciated point: Before the New Deal, people of modest means banded together to help themselves. These organizations were crowded out when government co-opted their insurance functions, which included inexpensive medical care.

Boaz indicts the welfare state for the untold harm it's done in the name of the poor.

"What we find is a system that traps people into dependency. ... You should be asking advocates of that system, 'Why don't you care about the poor?'"

I agree. It appears that when government sets out to solve a problem, not only does it violate our freedom, it also accomplishes the opposite of what it set out to do.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="http://www.johnstossel.com" <http://www.johnstossel.com>>johnstossel.com</a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

32 Comments | Post Comment
John, I find the same problem in talking to my people. They find the liberterian platform cruel or simply can't shake off the current brain washing by Lib and CONS. I would like to see a more structure forming of a Lib party but I don't know where to turn.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Steve Clark
Wed Apr 7, 2010 6:56 AM
John Stossel, you are my hero! I shared this with everyone I know, regardless of their political distinctions. Hopefully, it well set some wheels to turning...
Comment: #2
Posted by: Jamie Myers
Wed Apr 7, 2010 8:29 AM
John, thank you so much for this article. I always thought of myself as a conservative that never fit in. I knew I wasn't a liberal. For years I've heard of libertarians, but didn't quite understand what it meant. Your article hit it right on the head. I know have conformation that I really am a libertarian. I also agree with Steve in that I don't know where to turn. However your article has sparked an interest in me to look harder. Great Work!
Comment: #3
Posted by: Katy Wright
Wed Apr 7, 2010 10:07 AM
John, thank you so much for this article. I always thought of myself as a conservative that never fit in. I knew I wasn't a liberal. For years I've heard of libertarians, but didn't quite understand what it meant. Your article hit it right on the head. I know have conformation that I really am a libertarian. I also agree with Steve in that I don't know where to turn. However your article has sparked an interest in me to look harder. Great Work!
Comment: #4
Posted by: Katy Wright
Wed Apr 7, 2010 10:08 AM
I am a conservative. My opinions on drug usage, abortion, gay marriage, limited government and open markets would classify me that way.
What separates me from my contemporaries, however, is that while I may or may not believe a certain thing and apply that philosophy in my own family, I would never, NEVER presume that I have the right to enforce my beliefs on my neighbors who disagreed.
So I'm also a libertarian. Of all my values, FREEDOM is the highest. And if you believe in freedom for yourself, you MUST ALSO believe in freedom for others, even if their opinions and values disagree with your own. Anything less and you are a hypocrite.
We all have natural rights. The right to defend your home, your loved ones, your property and your liberty. If someone is threatening these, you have a natural right to take action to protect them.
The state gets its rights from US, as we band together for the common good. But the state has no more rights than we ourselves gave it in the first place. When it creates rights for itself that a person wouldn't have on his own, it oversteps the bounds of good government. A right can't be created out of thin air.
That's the key in underpinning your philosophy. If you would feel comfortable with going to your neighbor and telling him he must do, or could not do a certain thing; if you go to him and say he had to pay money for a certain thing; and that if he didn't comply you would force him to, than the government is justified in requiring the same.
If you would NOT feel comfortable telling him he what he must do, or not do, or pay for a certain thing, the government doesn't have that right either.
When judging laws, fiscal and social policy, refer back to this 'good neighbor' example. It will let you know what is proper and what is not.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Nelson Phillips
Wed Apr 7, 2010 10:33 AM
I am a conservative. My opinions on drug usage, abortion, gay marriage, limited government and open markets would classify me that way.

What separates me from my contemporaries, however, is that while I may or may not believe a certain thing and apply that philosophy in my own family, I would never, NEVER presume that I have the right to enforce my beliefs on my neighbors who disagreed.

So I'm also a libertarian. Of all my values, FREEDOM is the highest. And if you believe in freedom for yourself, you MUST ALSO believe in freedom for others, even if their opinions and values disagree with your own. Anything less and you are a hypocrite.

We all have natural rights. The right to defend your home, your loved ones, your property and your liberty. If someone is threatening these, you have a natural right to take action to protect them.

The state gets its rights from US, as we band together for the common good. But the state has no more rights than we ourselves gave it in the first place. When it creates rights for itself that a person wouldn't have on his own, it oversteps the bounds of good government. A right can't be created out of thin air.

That's the key in underpinning your philosophy. If you would feel comfortable with going to your neighbor and telling him he must do, or could not do a certain thing; if you go to him and say he had to pay money for a certain thing; and that if he didn't comply you would force him to, than the government is justified in requiring the same.

If you would NOT feel comfortable telling him he what he must do, or not do, or pay for a certain thing, the government doesn't have that right either.

When judging laws, fiscal and social policy, refer back to this 'good neighbor' example. It will let you know what is proper and what is not.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Nelson Phillips
Wed Apr 7, 2010 10:34 AM
Sorry, didn't mean to post twice... Now three times.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Nelson Phillips
Wed Apr 7, 2010 10:43 AM
I was raised as a conservative, but it didn't take me long to realize that conservatives just wanted to control a different part of our lives than the liberals [wanted to control]. While George Wallace is certainly NOT my hero, I had to agree with his observation that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. Perhaps it is part of the liberal scheme that our public school system turns out so few people who can look at history and recognize that this country's greatest advances came at a time of VERY small government...the bigger our government has gotten, the slower our country has progressed. Government has no place in ANY part of our lives, yet today somewhere between half and three-quarters of what the federal government does is unconstitutional because it violates the clause which reserves everything not otherwise specified "to the states or the people." I want government to get out of the way and leave us alone!
I look forward to the time I can vote Libertarian without feeling I am just throwing my vote away.
Keep up the good work, John.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Robert Gilson
Wed Apr 7, 2010 3:07 PM
"But it means you're not taking from people who've worked hard to earn their income (in order) to give it to people who have not worked hard."
-- Hmmm, that statement makes a judgment and who is qualified to make such a judgment? I am certain that the Harvard prof. is not qualified as I am sure that neither he nor you has walked a mile in the shoes that you judge. I know enough to realize that making such a judgment is quite wrong and is the basis for many if not all problems with our country. Rather than enlightenment through research and study and thoughtful analysis of information, you and so many in this country just judge with little information to support a pre-determined judgment.
I consider myself a libertarian liberal. My view of the world through the lens of the US Constitution and through my faith leads me to believe that freedom is most valued and yet is restrained/restricted by responsibility to do no harm directly or indirectly to others. I live by "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", ie. the golden rule. Additionally, I am a computer programmer and have had to write code for 24x7x365 systems that require/mandate no down time. I learned from this process, that while individual pieces of programs written in isolation generally work, they are always prone to abuse in exceptional conditions. Therefore those program pieces needed to be regulated or managed. Those management pieces typically required their own management and redundancy in order to ensure that exceptional conditions were minimized, mitigated, never allowed to mature. So in my view of the world, regulation by govt is a necessary thing.
That said, regulation is needed and meant to reduce and eliminate exceptional and boundary conditions. The public Utilities Commission that managed/regulated power companies for over 50 years before Clinton partially deregulated the industry was a perfect example of a well run govt program that allowed the power industry to generate a modest profit while maintaining our power infrastructure, and kept prices reasonable. After deregulation the power industry took advantage causing brown outs, blackouts, no longer maintained the infrastructure, allowed Enron and its ilk to abuse our citizens and our economy. Phil Graham caused the Banking crisis we suffered from by getting legislation passed that prevented the govt from regulating the very business practices that nearly brought our nation into another Great Depression, fortunately we had leaders whom imperfectly resolved the issue poorly and thus allowed us to delay the new Great Depression.
Our country became a rich nation because for about 30-50 years we focused on fair markets not free markets. We changed our focus to free markets and began exporting our high paying jobs overseas or across the border. How stupid can we be? Individualism is fine as long as we remember "United we stand, divided we fall". So be an individual, but if we dont work together to make this a better country, then surely we will fail. Until we stop paying property taxes (ie govt rent) our property will never be private so your reference to private property is a red herring.
One has to realize that the problem with our country is because we elect politicians that dont believe in good govt. As such they do a poor job at running govt. It's that simple. We used to elect politicians that were more interested in a well run govt and then we elected Reagan and the complacency (ho-hum) of the democrats at the time to make this a better nation turned into absolute fear. The democrats had lost their way in improving the nation and were complacent to just let it be. Reagan comes to power and immediately begins to break the govt causing the well run programs to slowly deteriorate and break down. That destruction swept into govt has yet to be reversed. Obama is doing what he can but such destruction for nearly 28 yrs is hard to turn around in the 14+ months he has been in office. He obviously needs time and needs folks in congress that are interested in good govt. Clearly republican leadership cant stand a well run govt as they dont believe in it and thus work hard everyday to stop it and destroy it. Their primary interest is to their principles rather than to the people.
You cite income transfers are the second most or most important way to generate economic growth. Well you ignore the fact that the founding fathers instituted Estate tax in order to prevent massive transfers of wealth for fear of creating our very own aristocracy. They recognized that excessive wealth was a hindrance to a free society. Certain family assistance to improve economically is helpful and a reasonably good thing, but recognize that it has its limits.
If govt programs effectively make the poor of our country wards of the state, then clearly the rules need to be altered to fix that problem, not eliminate the program. Clearly the rules need to be modified to encourage independence of govt assistance. As a nation we need to decide what is appropriate. I keep hearing that babies and children are our most important assets, so why dont we treat them that way? Why do you and others feel that govt assistance programs dont help and how do you prove that to be the case? Anecdotal evidence is not grounds for anything other than pointing out a possible problem.
I say stop your complaining and fix the problem; rather than destroy the system make the system work, otherwise your just a good for nothing, lazy complainer.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Richard "The Hammer" Burk
Wed Apr 7, 2010 3:23 PM
Absolutely! Paris Hilton has worked hard all her life and deserves all that family money. And the government did nothing whatsoever to help, other than provide -- at public expense -- the infrastructure that allowed the widespread travel that allowed the hotel business to flourish. I say, let's make certain that the rich always get richer, and the poor always get poorer because, doggone it, that's the way God intends it.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Geoffrey James
Wed Apr 7, 2010 5:36 PM
I am confused! We are talking about a rich country and mentioning the US in the same sentence (or paragraph). "...isn't it wrong for people to suffer in a rich country?" Ha! HA! HA! What rich country? is a country with a multi-trillion dollar deficit a "rich country"? Is a country with unfunded liabilities, such as future Social Security payments and medicare services, amounting to tens and hundreds of trillions of dollars a "rich country"? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! If a country has debts so large that it can't possibly repay them unless it completely debases it's currency and destroys the accumulated wealth of those who made it their business to work and save as opposed to endlessly sucking from the government's teat a rich country? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

And then there's the obama-bama-bo-bama apologist claiming that "we need government regulation" and that the obama messiah hasn't had a chance to fix everything in 14 months. Awwwww! How touching! I'm SO impressed! Sounds almost like the old carter messiah apologists! Because we all know that the government regulators who sponsored and directed the Fanny Mae bankruptcy can save us now! And the government regulators who sponsored and directed the Freddy Mack bankruptcy can save us now! And we sure know that the obama messiah's $800 billion grants to his banking buddies to shore up their banks (without seeing the money go to the people who allegedly "needed" it) can really save us now! Oh! And I'm sure that the lackey Fed politicians who served as the clinton messiah's pawns, keeping interest rates artificially low to create a false prosperity to help him get reelected and - by the way - fundamentally cause the mortgage disaster a decade later, they can really help us now! Oh yeah! We REALLY need government regulation! YEAH! Like nancy pelosi - in her own screeching, obnoxious, arrogant and petulant way needs a Halloween mask! Oh yeah! And this is all REAGAN's fault! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! What a neuron scarcity problem!

We see all these non-arguments actually being proposed by people who actually BELIEVE this clap-trap about the "need" for more intervention by bureaucratic bumblers, power hungry pin heads who'd have serious problems bagging groceries, and idiotic legislators who think themselves deities and are mainly concerned with getting themselves reelected so they can keep "jobs" which pay them 50 to 100 times more than what they could earn doing work commensurate with their abilities, and then we actually WONDER why the country is going the route of the Roman Empire in its final days? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

I've heard more logic from braying jackasses (which interestingly enough, is the appropriate symbol for one of the political parties)!

But...hey! This is America. Where any moronic idea - just as long as it has the support of the thought police of the "liberal" establishment, and the political correctness police of the "liberal" establishment, all supported by the "we need more government regulation" crowd (as evidenced by neuron deficient's post above)... and all filled with their one thousand points of spite (to paraphrase the elder Bush) - can be expressed freely... at least, until now. Don't know if that will continue now that the "we need more government regulation" crowd has passed a law which permits the indefinite detention of any American on US soil who is declared a "belligerent" by obama's rabble.

So, yeah! Bring on more government regulation. maybe it'll just help to bring down the decrepit, bankrupt socialist state that our governmental structures have become. Perhaps Margaret thatcher said it best when she said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. And the sad part about this is that, when you look at them from a philosophical standpoint, you find that neuron deficient above is no different from his republican counterparts. Same dog - they just changed the collar a bit.

So sit back and watch an empire fall. It's not the first time in history nor will it be the last. Remember when the sun never set on the British empire? Or the Armada that couldn't be defeated? Our turn, guys! And we're living in the historic moment that will witness the great fall. Humpty will be envious. But, hey! There's a solution!

More government regulation!

Got it from neuron deficient.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Angelo
Wed Apr 7, 2010 8:47 PM
Hi John,
I've enjoyed many of your reports over the years and you have great insights. In this topic, you've made some good points too, esp. on the 40 acres and a mule point and others (see below for crucial details on that). But, I've been studying quite deeply in this topic for several years and think that you should know about a 3rd way that does not make the serious errors of either the liberals or the conservatives (and avoids the problematic errors of the libertarians as well). Your 40 acres and a mule concept is getting close to the only just economic systems there are, systems that have the support of a wide range of many of the greatest thinkers in the world from many different perspectives: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Einstein, Confucius, Mencius, Voltaire, Rosseau, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Tolstoy, Churchill, Helen Keller and so many others.

The problem with socialism is as you said that it sometimes takes money from hard workers and gives it to lazy people who aren't working. This appears quite unfair and tends to cause the hard workers to not have as much incentive to work hard. It can be hard to sustain long term if too many people choose to be lazy and dependent. But, capitalism has just as serious problems if not worse. While it does make money, that money is often for a few people and as time goes by, it works just like the game monopoly. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and poorer until they go bankrupt. In a game that is not a big problem. But, in real life, when you don't have money for basic necessities, it causes desperation that leads people to immorality, crime, gangster activity, theft, murder, terrorism and it can also be a major factor in nationwide instability and even cause war. For example, it seems that one of the big reasons that Mao was supported by so many Chinese is that the landed gentry held so much of the land and natural resources as well as political power. Many Chinese thought that Mao's new ideas had to be better than the monopolization of land that was causing so much desperation. In this and many other cases, the vast disparity in wealth between the upper class and the lower class was a cause of instability, eventually war and eventually an entire regime change. I believe we are seeing some small echoes of this in America right now, unfortunately some of it incited by unbalanced conservatives like Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and certain others who do not know or do not tell people about the danger of vast disparities in wealth. I'll let Reagan explain the danger for you:

· “Our founding fathers knew that the American experiment in individual liberty, free enterprise, and Republican self-government could succeed only if power was widely distributed, and since in any society social and political power flow from economic power, they saw that wealth and property would have to be widely distributed among the people in the country ..Could there be anything resembling a free enterprise economy, if wealth and property were concentrated in the hands of a few?“--President Ronald Reagan

Others have recognized the same problem Reagan did—that Democracy is simply nothing but an illusion if economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few.
· “I slowly came to realize that political democracy cannot flourish under all economic conditions. Democracy requires an economic system which supports the political ideals of liberty and equality for all. Men cannot exercise freedom in the political sphere when they are deprived of it in the economic sphere.” --M Mortimer Adler, former professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago

· Rutherford B. Hayes (19th U.S. President) wrote this in his diary between 1881-1891, “December 4 Sunday. In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the many.”

· Baron M.A. Rothschild understood when he once said: "Give me control over a nation's currency and I care not who makes its laws."

Under Republicans especially that concentration of wealth that directly destroys the fabric of democracy has rapidly accelerated.
· “The rich-man, poor-man gap also widened {in 2008} with the nation's top one percent now collecting 23 percent of total income, the biggest disparity since 1928, according to the Economic Policy Institute.” http://66.35.240.8/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/31/EDEC12L3SN.DTL

· “Economist Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary and past president of Harvard University, says that in the last 29 years, those earning the top one percent of income have gained about $600 billion. Those in bottom 80 percent have lost about $600 billion.” http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000002977524

Is there an economic system that solves both the problems of capitalism and of socialism at the same time? Yes, there is. Actually there are two of them. The first is from the Bible and is called the Jubilee system. The second, Land Rent or the Single Tax, is based on the same principles as the Jubilee is but has numerous advocates among America's most famous pioneers and leaders (ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Lincoln to Reagan) as well as many other great thinkers from many different perspectives. More importantly it has been tried in many places in real life and has caused explosive economic growth far, far greater than capitalism does.

The fundamental basic idea of both systems is that land and all natural resources (oil, gold, water, gas, diamonds, airwaves, lumber, etc.) were created by God and not man (the atheist supporters agree that these resources were not created by any human being). Since this is true, it is wrong for them to be monopolized by anyone. It's not just wrong, it's a fundamental violation of their economic human rights. This is something so hidden and almost unknown by modern people that you will need to take some time to think it through and set aside all your education and preconceived notions, since they didn't say anything about this. But, this idea was absolutely crucial to our original founders. Before we briefly summarize the two systems, let's listen to what just a few of them said about this.

· “The land, the earth God gave to man for his home, sustenance and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water.”Abraham Lincoln

· “The fruits of the earth are a common heritage of all, to which each man has equal right." Voltaire

· “The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and to live on... Wherever in any country there are idle lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. Everyone may have land to labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age." THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and with Ben Franklin the most inventive and intellectual of the Founding Fathers, (Notes on Virginia, 1791)

· "The teachings of Henry George will be the basis of our program of reform... The (land tax) as the only means of supporting the government is an infinitely just, reasonable, and equitably distributed tax... The centuries of heavy and irregular taxation for the benefit of the manchus have shown China the injustice of any other system of taxation." DR. SUN YAT SEN (1866-1925), father of modern China.

· "When the Great Way prevailed, natural resources were fully used for the benefit of all and not appropriated for selfish ends... This was the Age of the Great Commonwealth of peace and prosperity." CONFUCIUS (BC 551-479)

· Mirabeau the Elder (1715-1789) wrote that Land rent {a way to divide natural resources fairly} would be a "social advance equal to the inventions of writing and money."

· "Who can or who could sell us the earth? Actually the earth belongs to these two: the almighty God and all his children who have ever worked on it or who will ever have worked on it or who will ever have to work on it. No generation of men can or could with even the highest solemnity and exertion sell the earth according to any other principle." Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

· “Whenever the ownership of the soil is so engrossed by a small part of the community that the far larger part are compelled to pay whatever the few may see fit to exact for the privilege of occupying and cultivating the Earth, there is something very much like slavery." Horace Greeley (1811-1872), abolitionist

I will summarize the only two economic systems that I know of that incorporate the wisdom above (neither capitalism or socialism come anywhere close to understanding and utilizing these ideas) and list 3 examples of how it's worked incredibly in real life. Then at the end are several links so you can read more deeply on the topic including ideas on how to implement it in our society now.

TWO SYSTEMS THAT SHARE NATURAL RESOURCES—JUBILEE & LAND RENT
There are only two economic systems that I'm aware of that avoid the evils of enabling laziness and destroying incentive (major problems for socialism) and that also give everyone basic equitable opportunities, a chance for a decent life and prevent wealth from being too concentrated in the hands of too few preserving democracy (major human rights that capitalism often fails to deliver and as a result causes much suffering and crime). Here is a brief explanation of the 2 systems:

A) JUBILEE
1) ADMIRES FREE ENTERPRISE
The Jubilee system strongly emphasized and lauded hard work, creativity, free enterprise, etc. Proverbs 31:16-18 speaks in high praise even of a woman who is buying and selling fields, works vigorously and does profitable trading. Men were expected to be self-sufficient and provide for their families. Ability to gain wealth (a gift from God) was praised and also considered a sing of God's favor.

2) NO WORK-NO FOOD, LAZINESS REPRESSED
The Jubilee System also had a law saying that, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10 This law is directly against socialism's error of enabling laziness by taking from hard workers and giving to those who are unemployed and refuse to work.

These 1st 2 laws are solidly capitalistic and frequently cited by conservatives. But, there were several more important principles.

3) SHARE NATURAL RESOURCES EQUALLY
The land was divided in such a way that each family had an equal share (Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25). This land could be leased, but never sold permanently and always reverted back to the original family every 49 years. This guaranteed that every family and person would have something to work on to make a living from. Principle #2 above is not possible to implement unless there is work guaranteed for every person able to work.

This sharing of natural resources is absolutely essential and foundationally crucial to any ethical economic system. Natural resources were not made by anyone and no one has a right to monopolize these things for their selfish benefit alone. How can it be considered fair or just for one lucky person to buy a piece of land for a few thousand dollars and then he and his descendants alone benefit from something that they did not create for the rest of human history? This just does not make any logical or moral sense. Capitalism unfortunately completely ignores and refuses to recognize this most basic of human rights. Without recognition of this human economic right and basic justice, no economic system can be just or fair or create a stable society long term. In fact, if this is not done, or an equivalent replacement is not given to all, it is a violation of their economic human rights and extremely serious theft.

Conservatives love to allege that taxing the rich heavily is stealing from them. But, if natural resources, which for most of history have been the most essential means of production, are not divided equitable, it is in reality those who have monopolized these resources (which also include oil, gas, gold, diamonds and even airwaves and much more) who are some of the most gigantic thieves in history. This theft ranks in the trillions of dollars if not much, much higher. So, the allegation of conservatives about stealing from the rich is some of the worst propaganda imaginable and the reverse is actually true and is the most massive theft that has ever happened.

4) CHARGING INTEREST IS FORBIDDEN
God banned charging interest in the Bible. Investing is honored in the Bible since it is win-win for both sides. But, for one person to profit at another's suffering and tragedy is completely against every principle that the Bible teaches. Charging interest is one of the biggest ways that the financial stability of the poor is destroyed and their wealth is siphoned off to the rich. Thus God condemned it as an unauthorized redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.
“If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would Exodus 22:25
“Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.” Psalm 15:5

Now if an entity such as a bank makes profits for example, then it's right and biblical for it to pay dividends to those who entrusted it with money. Investing is a valuable aspect of Bible economics and helps money be used much more efficiently. Ecclesiastes 11:2, for example, tells us to “Divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.” But, for a person to make money when another is suffering is immoral and that's why it's forbidden.

5. CANCEL DEBTS EVERY 7 YEARS
God made laws that debt must be cancelled every 7 years. Some people say this is unrealistic. But, we actually do almost the same thing by allowing people to declare bankruptcy. There should not be abuse of this on either side. But, people should not be forced to spend their whole lives as slaves to debt, esp. debts that they got that were not their fault as in the medical bankruptcy cases at the site at the beginning.
“At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money.” Deuteronomy 15:1-3

Dr. J.W. Smith writes about some powerful reasons to follow the principle of canceling debts and not charging interest:
"There are compelling reasons for paying attention to this potential for catastrophe as, every debt crisis in history since Solon of Athens has ended in inflation, bankruptcy or war, and there is no cause to believe we've solved this one, even if it has been postponed." (George, Fate Worse Than Debt, p. 196.)

This is particularly important in our treatment of undeveloped nations since 1 child is dying every 3 seconds solely due to extreme stupid immoral poverty and yet the real truth is this.
"An honest accounting would find the developed world owing the developing world for the destruction of their social wealth, the earlier enslavement of their labor, and the long term underpayment for their labor and resources." (http://www.ied.info/books/ed/debt)

Thus canceling their debts is a way to avoid horrific violence and it's just basic morality in numerous cases.

========
The above is a basic overview of a few biblical principles (there are more) and it is because modern society has ignored them so completely that we have so many dire economic problems. The above would be best to follow for a host of reasons. But, it seems that it might take a war to change countries to adopt that system. But, there's another system based on the same ideas as the Jubilee that has been tried and is very easy to implement and has been tried in modern times with incredible results and has far outproduced socialism, capitalism and almost every other system that has been tried to my knowledge. The concept is basically this:
1) Natural resources were not created by anyone (religious people believe God created them. Atheists agree that no person created them) and so they must be shared equitably by all.

2) Once this basic economic right is provided to all, then everyone can follow free market economics. So, it provides for the basic needs of ALL and enough for nearly everyone to have a chance at success or whatever dream they wish to follow as well. But, at the same time, it does not support laziness, doesn't steal from the rich or tax profit making businesses out of existence. In its pure form, the government is not allowed to tax anything except natural resources and then use those for the betterment of those who are not able to own any land. These benefits should be designed in such a way as to not enable laziness, but to compel anyone who receives them to do some work for the benefits they are receiving.

3) This system works incredibly well because it gives powerful incentives for EVERYONE to be actively working and contributing to society. It does not support laziness (like socialism does), it encourages maximum entrepreneurship (like capitalism) and eliminates extreme poverty in many national and state examples (unlike modern capitalism which causes disastrous tragedies for many poor due to it's violation of the basic economic rights to natural resources that so many great leaders have recognized). It also reduces crime, the size of government, and causes the maximum number of people to be gainfully employed.

REAL EXAMPLES OF LAND RENT PRODUCING INCREDIBLE GROWTH AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS:
Here are just three of many examples of how it has worked to produce explosive growth and many benefits to nations and states:
1) TAIWAN: Taiwan, 1940s. Old Formosa was mired in poverty and fast breeding. Hunger afflicted the majority of people who were landless peasants. Less than 20 families monopolized the entire island. Then the Nationalist Army, led by Chiang Kai-shek, retreated to Taiwan. General Chiang figured he lost mainland China in part by not reforming land-holding. Chiang did not want to risk losing his last refuge east of that isle lay nothing but open ocean.

A follower of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China and an adherent of Henry George, Chiang knew of the Single Tax. Borrowing a page from George via Sun, the new Nationalist Government of Taiwan instituted its "land to the tiller program" which taxed farmland according to its value. Soon the large plantation owners found themselves paying out about as much in taxes as they were getting back as Rent. Being a middleman was no longer worth the bother, so they sold off their excess to farmers at prices the peasants could afford.

Working their own land with newly marketed fertilizers, new owners worked harder. They produced more, and after years of paying taxes to cover the onerous public debt, at last kept more and lived better. From 1950 to 1970 population growth dropped 40%, and hunger was ended. (Altho' Taiwan did receive a billion dollars from the US, it was mostly military aid, spread out over eight years.) Taiwan began to set world records with growth rates of 10% per annum in their GDP and 20% in their industry. (Fred Harrison, Power in the Land, 1983)

2) CALIFORNIA: 1890s. Back then, many farmers and miners went without water because cattlemen like Henry Miller owned 1,000,000 acres of land. Miller could drive his herds from Mexico to Oregon and spend every night on his own land. In 1886 Miller won full rights to the water of the Kern River.

Some people concerned with justice figured the cattlemen had gone far enough. The state government passed the 1887 Wright Act, which allowed communities to create by popular vote irrigation districts to build dams and canals and pay for them by taxing the resultant rise in land value. Once irrigated, land was too valuable to use for grazing, and the tax made it too costly for hoarding. So cattlemen sold off fields to farmers and at prices the farmers could afford.

In ten years, the Central Valley was transformed into over 7,000 independent farms. Over the next few decades, those tree-less, semi-arid plains became the "bread basket of America", one of the most productive areas on the planet. (magazine of the Historical Society of California)

3) CHINA: Confucius' Great Harmony, Calligraphy by Dr. Ernest Chu Yen
http://www.noogenesis.com/Confucius/harmony.html

Translation:
When the Great Way prevailed, the world community was equally shared by all. The worthy and able were chosen as office-holders. Mutual confidence was fostered and good neighborliness cultivated. Therefore people did not regard as parents only their own parents, nor did they treat children only their own children. Provision was made for the aged till their death, the adults were given employment, and the young enabled to grow up. Old widows and widowers, the orphaned, the old and childless, as well as the sick and the disabled were all well taken care of. Men had their proper roles and women their homes. While they hated to see wealth lying about on the ground, they did not necessarily keep it for their own use. While they hated not to exert their effort, they did not necessarily devote it to their own ends. Thus evil schemings were repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless elements failed to arise, so that outer doors did not have to be shut. This was called the age of Great Harmony (Ta Tung)

To conclude, both socialism and capitalism have serious flaws that are very harmful to people in several different ways. Land Rent concept is a concept that many great thinkers, including well known atheists, have agreed solves these problems and it is very similar to the biblical Jubilee system and based on the same principle. Most importantly, these systems have been tried (esp. Land Rent) and work phenomenally better than anything else in history. THAT is the key test. Now when we have extreme economic emergencies is the right time to use this wisest of all economic systems. For more details on this system and how to implement ideas like this, check out these resources:

WEBSITES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
You can read 100s of thinkers thoughts on the crucial necessity to share natural resources, 30+ places where it has been tried and worked extremely well, practical ways to implement it and more at these sites:
·http://www.eslmission.org/docs/esl/Americas%20founders,%20philosophers,%20the%20Bible%20and%20explosive%20economic%20principles.doc (This is a book that I'm writing on this topic. It's not finished, but it has a lot of useful helps to understanding this topic as well as many links to other good sites on this topic).
· www.ied.info (Go to the free book section and download “Economic Democracy”. This is a phenomenal book that first helped me to understand why sharing natural resources was so essential and so critical to any just economic system. The synopsis is here: http://www.ied.info/books/ed/synopsis.html (This book gives well researched details on how to end poverty in 10 years. Chapter 24 refers to the land problem).

· http://www.landreform.org/reading0.htm (Summary of the Biblical basis for this idea, the Jubilee System.)

http://www.progress.org/geonomy/ Many useful links such as:
· http://www.progress.org/geonomy/geono05.htm (30 examples of land rent being used in cities, states and nations and producing explosive growth)

· http://www.progress.org/geonomy/thinkers.html and (100+ famous thinkers who recommend the land tax. Another good link with many more great quotes is: http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/georgism_01.html)

· http://www.henrygeorge.org/rem0.htm (The land rent remedy explained)

· http://www.earthrights.net/ (A good site developing that gives some nice presentations on the topic of how owning part of the earth is a natural right for all)

If we want to solve the serious problems we have today, one of the wisest things we could do is listen to those who founded our nation and designed it to maximize freedom but also to preserve human rights so that our nation could reach the highest potential possible.

Bryan Bissell
Comment: #12
Posted by: Bryan Bissell
Thu Apr 8, 2010 5:45 AM
Hi John,
I've enjoyed many of your reports over the years and you have great insights. In this topic, you've made some good points too, esp. on the 40 acres and a mule point and others (see below for crucial details on that). But, I've been studying quite deeply in this topic for several years and think that you should know about a 3rd way that does not make the serious errors of either the liberals or the conservatives (and avoids the problematic errors of the libertarians as well). Your 40 acres and a mule concept is getting close to the only just economic systems there are, systems that have the support of a wide range of many of the greatest thinkers in the world from many different perspectives: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Einstein, Confucius, Mencius, Voltaire, Rosseau, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Tolstoy, Churchill, Helen Keller and so many others.

The problem with socialism is as you said that it sometimes takes money from hard workers and gives it to lazy people who aren't working. This appears quite unfair and tends to cause the hard workers to not have as much incentive to work hard. It can be hard to sustain long term if too many people choose to be lazy and dependent. But, capitalism has just as serious problems if not worse. While it does make money, that money is often for a few people and as time goes by, it works just like the game monopoly. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and poorer until they go bankrupt. In a game that is not a big problem. But, in real life, when you don't have money for basic necessities, it causes desperation that leads people to immorality, crime, gangster activity, theft, murder, terrorism and it can also be a major factor in nationwide instability and even cause war. For example, it seems that one of the big reasons that Mao was supported by so many Chinese is that the landed gentry held so much of the land and natural resources as well as political power. Many Chinese thought that Mao's new ideas had to be better than the monopolization of land that was causing so much desperation. In this and many other cases, the vast disparity in wealth between the upper class and the lower class was a cause of instability, eventually war and eventually an entire regime change. I believe we are seeing some small echoes of this in America right now, unfortunately some of it incited by unbalanced conservatives like Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and certain others who do not know or do not tell people about the danger of vast disparities in wealth. I'll let Reagan explain the danger for you:

· “Our founding fathers knew that the American experiment in individual liberty, free enterprise, and Republican self-government could succeed only if power was widely distributed, and since in any society social and political power flow from economic power, they saw that wealth and property would have to be widely distributed among the people in the country ..Could there be anything resembling a free enterprise economy, if wealth and property were concentrated in the hands of a few?“--President Ronald Reagan

Others have recognized the same problem Reagan did—that Democracy is simply nothing but an illusion if economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few.
· “I slowly came to realize that political democracy cannot flourish under all economic conditions. Democracy requires an economic system which supports the political ideals of liberty and equality for all. Men cannot exercise freedom in the political sphere when they are deprived of it in the economic sphere.” --M Mortimer Adler, former professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago

· Rutherford B. Hayes (19th U.S. President) wrote this in his diary between 1881-1891, “December 4 Sunday. In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the many.”

· Baron M.A. Rothschild understood when he once said: "Give me control over a nation's currency and I care not who makes its laws."

Under Republicans especially that concentration of wealth that directly destroys the fabric of democracy has rapidly accelerated.
· “The rich-man, poor-man gap also widened {in 2008} with the nation's top one percent now collecting 23 percent of total income, the biggest disparity since 1928, according to the Economic Policy Institute.” http://66.35.240.8/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/31/EDEC12L3SN.DTL

· “Economist Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary and past president of Harvard University, says that in the last 29 years, those earning the top one percent of income have gained about $600 billion. Those in bottom 80 percent have lost about $600 billion.” http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000002977524

Is there an economic system that solves both the problems of capitalism and of socialism at the same time? Yes, there is. Actually there are two of them. The first is from the Bible and is called the Jubilee system. The second, Land Rent or the Single Tax, is based on the same principles as the Jubilee is but has numerous advocates among America's most famous pioneers and leaders (ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Lincoln to Reagan) as well as many other great thinkers from many different perspectives. More importantly it has been tried in many places in real life and has caused explosive economic growth far, far greater than capitalism does.

The fundamental basic idea of both systems is that land and all natural resources (oil, gold, water, gas, diamonds, airwaves, lumber, etc.) were created by God and not man (the atheist supporters agree that these resources were not created by any human being). Since this is true, it is wrong for them to be monopolized by anyone. It's not just wrong, it's a fundamental violation of their economic human rights. This is something so hidden and almost unknown by modern people that you will need to take some time to think it through and set aside all your education and preconceived notions, since they didn't say anything about this. But, this idea was absolutely crucial to our original founders. Before we briefly summarize the two systems, let's listen to what just a few of them said about this.

· “The land, the earth God gave to man for his home, sustenance and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water.”Abraham Lincoln

· “The fruits of the earth are a common heritage of all, to which each man has equal right." Voltaire

· “The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and to live on... Wherever in any country there are idle lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. Everyone may have land to labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age." THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and with Ben Franklin the most inventive and intellectual of the Founding Fathers, (Notes on Virginia, 1791)

· "The teachings of Henry George will be the basis of our program of reform... The (land tax) as the only means of supporting the government is an infinitely just, reasonable, and equitably distributed tax... The centuries of heavy and irregular taxation for the benefit of the manchus have shown China the injustice of any other system of taxation." DR. SUN YAT SEN (1866-1925), father of modern China.

· "When the Great Way prevailed, natural resources were fully used for the benefit of all and not appropriated for selfish ends... This was the Age of the Great Commonwealth of peace and prosperity." CONFUCIUS (BC 551-479)

· Mirabeau the Elder (1715-1789) wrote that Land rent {a way to divide natural resources fairly} would be a "social advance equal to the inventions of writing and money."

· "Who can or who could sell us the earth? Actually the earth belongs to these two: the almighty God and all his children who have ever worked on it or who will ever have worked on it or who will ever have to work on it. No generation of men can or could with even the highest solemnity and exertion sell the earth according to any other principle." Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

· “Whenever the ownership of the soil is so engrossed by a small part of the community that the far larger part are compelled to pay whatever the few may see fit to exact for the privilege of occupying and cultivating the Earth, there is something very much like slavery." Horace Greeley (1811-1872), abolitionist

I will summarize the only two economic systems that I know of that incorporate the wisdom above (neither capitalism or socialism come anywhere close to understanding and utilizing these ideas) and list 3 examples of how it's worked incredibly in real life. Then at the end are several links so you can read more deeply on the topic including ideas on how to implement it in our society now.

TWO SYSTEMS THAT SHARE NATURAL RESOURCES—JUBILEE & LAND RENT
There are only two economic systems that I'm aware of that avoid the evils of enabling laziness and destroying incentive (major problems for socialism) and that also give everyone basic equitable opportunities, a chance for a decent life and prevent wealth from being too concentrated in the hands of too few preserving democracy (major human rights that capitalism often fails to deliver and as a result causes much suffering and crime). Here is a brief explanation of the 2 systems:

A) JUBILEE
1) ADMIRES FREE ENTERPRISE
The Jubilee system strongly emphasized and lauded hard work, creativity, free enterprise, etc. Proverbs 31:16-18 speaks in high praise even of a woman who is buying and selling fields, works vigorously and does profitable trading. Men were expected to be self-sufficient and provide for their families. Ability to gain wealth (a gift from God) was praised and also considered a sing of God's favor.

2) NO WORK-NO FOOD, LAZINESS REPRESSED
The Jubilee System also had a law saying that, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10 This law is directly against socialism's error of enabling laziness by taking from hard workers and giving to those who are unemployed and refuse to work.

These 1st 2 laws are solidly capitalistic and frequently cited by conservatives. But, there were several more important principles.

3) SHARE NATURAL RESOURCES EQUALLY
The land was divided in such a way that each family had an equal share (Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25). This land could be leased, but never sold permanently and always reverted back to the original family every 49 years. This guaranteed that every family and person would have something to work on to make a living from. Principle #2 above is not possible to implement unless there is work guaranteed for every person able to work.

This sharing of natural resources is absolutely essential and foundationally crucial to any ethical economic system. Natural resources were not made by anyone and no one has a right to monopolize these things for their selfish benefit alone. How can it be considered fair or just for one lucky person to buy a piece of land for a few thousand dollars and then he and his descendants alone benefit from something that they did not create for the rest of human history? This just does not make any logical or moral sense. Capitalism unfortunately completely ignores and refuses to recognize this most basic of human rights. Without recognition of this human economic right and basic justice, no economic system can be just or fair or create a stable society long term. In fact, if this is not done, or an equivalent replacement is not given to all, it is a violation of their economic human rights and extremely serious theft.

Conservatives love to allege that taxing the rich heavily is stealing from them. But, if natural resources, which for most of history have been the most essential means of production, are not divided equitable, it is in reality those who have monopolized these resources (which also include oil, gas, gold, diamonds and even airwaves and much more) who are some of the most gigantic thieves in history. This theft ranks in the trillions of dollars if not much, much higher. So, the allegation of conservatives about stealing from the rich is some of the worst propaganda imaginable and the reverse is actually true and is the most massive theft that has ever happened.

4) CHARGING INTEREST IS FORBIDDEN
God banned charging interest in the Bible. Investing is honored in the Bible since it is win-win for both sides. But, for one person to profit at another's suffering and tragedy is completely against every principle that the Bible teaches. Charging interest is one of the biggest ways that the financial stability of the poor is destroyed and their wealth is siphoned off to the rich. Thus God condemned it as an unauthorized redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.
“If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would Exodus 22:25
“Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.” Psalm 15:5

Now if an entity such as a bank makes profits for example, then it's right and biblical for it to pay dividends to those who entrusted it with money. Investing is a valuable aspect of Bible economics and helps money be used much more efficiently. Ecclesiastes 11:2, for example, tells us to “Divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.” But, for a person to make money when another is suffering is immoral and that's why it's forbidden.

5. CANCEL DEBTS EVERY 7 YEARS
God made laws that debt must be cancelled every 7 years. Some people say this is unrealistic. But, we actually do almost the same thing by allowing people to declare bankruptcy. There should not be abuse of this on either side. But, people should not be forced to spend their whole lives as slaves to debt, esp. debts that they got that were not their fault as in the medical bankruptcy cases at the site at the beginning.
“At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money.” Deuteronomy 15:1-3

Dr. J.W. Smith writes about some powerful reasons to follow the principle of canceling debts and not charging interest:
"There are compelling reasons for paying attention to this potential for catastrophe as, every debt crisis in history since Solon of Athens has ended in inflation, bankruptcy or war, and there is no cause to believe we've solved this one, even if it has been postponed." (George, Fate Worse Than Debt, p. 196.)

This is particularly important in our treatment of undeveloped nations since 1 child is dying every 3 seconds solely due to extreme stupid immoral poverty and yet the real truth is this.
"An honest accounting would find the developed world owing the developing world for the destruction of their social wealth, the earlier enslavement of their labor, and the long term underpayment for their labor and resources." (http://www.ied.info/books/ed/debt)

Thus canceling their debts is a way to avoid horrific violence and it's just basic morality in numerous cases.

========
The above is a basic overview of a few biblical principles (there are more) and it is because modern society has ignored them so completely that we have so many dire economic problems. The above would be best to follow for a host of reasons. But, it seems that it might take a war to change countries to adopt that system. But, there's another system based on the same ideas as the Jubilee that has been tried and is very easy to implement and has been tried in modern times with incredible results and has far outproduced socialism, capitalism and almost every other system that has been tried to my knowledge. The concept is basically this:
1) Natural resources were not created by anyone (religious people believe God created them. Atheists agree that no person created them) and so they must be shared equitably by all.

2) Once this basic economic right is provided to all, then everyone can follow free market economics. So, it provides for the basic needs of ALL and enough for nearly everyone to have a chance at success or whatever dream they wish to follow as well. But, at the same time, it does not support laziness, doesn't steal from the rich or tax profit making businesses out of existence. In its pure form, the government is not allowed to tax anything except natural resources and then use those for the betterment of those who are not able to own any land. These benefits should be designed in such a way as to not enable laziness, but to compel anyone who receives them to do some work for the benefits they are receiving.

3) This system works incredibly well because it gives powerful incentives for EVERYONE to be actively working and contributing to society. It does not support laziness (like socialism does), it encourages maximum entrepreneurship (like capitalism) and eliminates extreme poverty in many national and state examples (unlike modern capitalism which causes disastrous tragedies for many poor due to it's violation of the basic economic rights to natural resources that so many great leaders have recognized). It also reduces crime, the size of government, and causes the maximum number of people to be gainfully employed.

REAL EXAMPLES OF LAND RENT PRODUCING INCREDIBLE GROWTH AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS:
Here are just three of many examples of how it has worked to produce explosive growth and many benefits to nations and states:
1) TAIWAN: Taiwan, 1940s. Old Formosa was mired in poverty and fast breeding. Hunger afflicted the majority of people who were landless peasants. Less than 20 families monopolized the entire island. Then the Nationalist Army, led by Chiang Kai-shek, retreated to Taiwan. General Chiang figured he lost mainland China in part by not reforming land-holding. Chiang did not want to risk losing his last refuge east of that isle lay nothing but open ocean.

A follower of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China and an adherent of Henry George, Chiang knew of the Single Tax. Borrowing a page from George via Sun, the new Nationalist Government of Taiwan instituted its "land to the tiller program" which taxed farmland according to its value. Soon the large plantation owners found themselves paying out about as much in taxes as they were getting back as Rent. Being a middleman was no longer worth the bother, so they sold off their excess to farmers at prices the peasants could afford.

Working their own land with newly marketed fertilizers, new owners worked harder. They produced more, and after years of paying taxes to cover the onerous public debt, at last kept more and lived better. From 1950 to 1970 population growth dropped 40%, and hunger was ended. (Altho' Taiwan did receive a billion dollars from the US, it was mostly military aid, spread out over eight years.) Taiwan began to set world records with growth rates of 10% per annum in their GDP and 20% in their industry. (Fred Harrison, Power in the Land, 1983)

2) CALIFORNIA: 1890s. Back then, many farmers and miners went without water because cattlemen like Henry Miller owned 1,000,000 acres of land. Miller could drive his herds from Mexico to Oregon and spend every night on his own land. In 1886 Miller won full rights to the water of the Kern River.

Some people concerned with justice figured the cattlemen had gone far enough. The state government passed the 1887 Wright Act, which allowed communities to create by popular vote irrigation districts to build dams and canals and pay for them by taxing the resultant rise in land value. Once irrigated, land was too valuable to use for grazing, and the tax made it too costly for hoarding. So cattlemen sold off fields to farmers and at prices the farmers could afford.

In ten years, the Central Valley was transformed into over 7,000 independent farms. Over the next few decades, those tree-less, semi-arid plains became the "bread basket of America", one of the most productive areas on the planet. (magazine of the Historical Society of California)

3) CHINA: Confucius' Great Harmony, Calligraphy by Dr. Ernest Chu Yen
http://www.noogenesis.com/Confucius/harmony.html

Translation:
When the Great Way prevailed, the world community was equally shared by all. The worthy and able were chosen as office-holders. Mutual confidence was fostered and good neighborliness cultivated. Therefore people did not regard as parents only their own parents, nor did they treat children only their own children. Provision was made for the aged till their death, the adults were given employment, and the young enabled to grow up. Old widows and widowers, the orphaned, the old and childless, as well as the sick and the disabled were all well taken care of. Men had their proper roles and women their homes. While they hated to see wealth lying about on the ground, they did not necessarily keep it for their own use. While they hated not to exert their effort, they did not necessarily devote it to their own ends. Thus evil schemings were repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless elements failed to arise, so that outer doors did not have to be shut. This was called the age of Great Harmony (Ta Tung)

To conclude, both socialism and capitalism have serious flaws that are very harmful to people in several different ways. Land Rent concept is a concept that many great thinkers, including well known atheists, have agreed solves these problems and it is very similar to the biblical Jubilee system and based on the same principle. Most importantly, these systems have been tried (esp. Land Rent) and work phenomenally better than anything else in history. THAT is the key test. Now when we have extreme economic emergencies is the right time to use this wisest of all economic systems. For more details on this system and how to implement ideas like this, check out these resources:

WEBSITES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
You can read 100s of thinkers thoughts on the crucial necessity to share natural resources, 30+ places where it has been tried and worked extremely well, practical ways to implement it and more at these sites:
·http://www.eslmission.org/docs/esl/Americas%20founders,%20philosophers,%20the%20Bible%20and%20explosive%20economic%20principles.doc (This is a book that I'm writing on this topic. It's not finished, but it has a lot of useful helps to understanding this topic as well as many links to other good sites on this topic).
· www.ied.info (Go to the free book section and download “Economic Democracy”. This is a phenomenal book that first helped me to understand why sharing natural resources was so essential and so critical to any just economic system. The synopsis is here: http://www.ied.info/books/ed/synopsis.html (This book gives well researched details on how to end poverty in 10 years. Chapter 24 refers to the land problem).

· http://www.landreform.org/reading0.htm (Summary of the Biblical basis for this idea, the Jubilee System.)

http://www.progress.org/geonomy/ Many useful links such as:
· http://www.progress.org/geonomy/geono05.htm (30 examples of land rent being used in cities, states and nations and producing explosive growth)

· http://www.progress.org/geonomy/thinkers.html and (100+ famous thinkers who recommend the land tax. Another good link with many more great quotes is: http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/georgism_01.html)

· http://www.henrygeorge.org/rem0.htm (The land rent remedy explained)

· http://www.earthrights.net/ (A good site developing that gives some nice presentations on the topic of how owning part of the earth is a natural right for all)

If we want to solve the serious problems we have today, one of the wisest things we could do is listen to those who founded our nation and designed it to maximize freedom but also to preserve human rights so that our nation could reach the highest potential possible.

Bryan Bissell
Comment: #13
Posted by: Bryan Bissell
Thu Apr 8, 2010 5:46 AM
John's explanation is excellent. His logic is sound. As a social and fiscal conservative I have generally supported Republican candidates over the years. However, I have seen the role of government swell under Republican rule (though not nearly as much as under Democratic rule). The present trajectory of our government is forcing me to move more towards libertarianism.
As a Bible student, I have learned the value of free-agency. Though Jesus tells us to teach and exemplify His gospel message, He also tells us that we must not force our conclusions upon others. If they reject the message, we politely and respectfully turn to someone else (Luke 10:10, 11). In keeping with the principle of free-agency, we allow others to make their own choices. This, I have observed, is the basic operating principle of the libertarian philosophy.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Tim Haile
Thu Apr 8, 2010 6:15 AM
Amen. Proud to be a libertarian
Comment: #15
Posted by: Alan
Thu Apr 8, 2010 6:33 AM
Eschew redistributionist coerced egalitarianism! Stossel has indeed seen the light and is following it.
Comment: #16
Posted by: sam
Thu Apr 8, 2010 8:29 AM
John,
Loved both your books. You are right on about government. For clarification as to label yourself politically read "Are You Liberal, Conservative or Confused" by Richard S. Maybury. That is one of a series of Uncle Eric books by Maybury that should be required reading in all of our public schools (won't happen).
Comment: #17
Posted by: Stan Sorensen
Thu Apr 8, 2010 9:41 AM
Like Tigger, it is much more fun to be the only one there is! I have no label that fits other than registered voter. Oh, I name a party and contribute when it suits me...that's my right....but no ideology, no group of right or left wingnuts own my vote or friendship. Keep thinking, Stossel and you may get there too.
Comment: #18
Posted by: denim39
Thu Apr 8, 2010 10:10 AM
so much blah blah blah. justifications, pontifications, blatherings based on what? Ethics, morality, common sense, religous belief. all of you left brain geniuses better listen up to Mother Earth because She is the final test. societies that routinely ignore the degradation of the environment's carrying capacity will fail and all of the 'grand' ideas justifying a societies ill planned behavior will be swallowed up with the talking heads in oblivion. using derivatives and monetizing worthless bonds and 'paper' to create wealth is hypocracy that even the Old Testament Prophets would have an easy time condeming. someday, maybe, you will take a lesson from ants and bees who have a social order millions of years old: work, live, survive together in a sustainable way in a hostile world lest you fall prey to extravagance and over extension which is a death warrant as yet unexecuted. wake up fools with all your proclamations: you have no clothes on, you're naked as jaybirds.
Comment: #19
Posted by: avileb
Fri Apr 9, 2010 9:12 AM
Government is not the solution to every problem. If you take a good look you are likely to find that government programs or actions either cause or exacerbate most of the problems our society faces. The most important thing government can do is get the **** out of the way.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Roy
Fri Apr 9, 2010 1:33 PM
Constitutional Party?

After watching the show I find myself leaning hard toward Libertarian but agree that the name is an anathema. I've been wondering why the Libertarian party couldn't join with the Tea Party to become a CONSTITUTIONAL party...the document is clearly responsible for the rise of this great nation and what little freedom remains in effect today. Let's get back to the basics of a limited government.

And in order to stop all the loophole governing by men and women only concerned with re-election we implement:
1) Term limits
2) ZERO LOBBYING
3) No back and forth between government and private jobs
4) Mandatory jail time for violations of any law while in office...especially LYING!
Comment: #21
Posted by: michael eiseman
Fri Apr 9, 2010 1:53 PM
John, I really enjoy your segments on Fox. The WORLD is literally on its head. Word definitions are reversed, black is white, up is down. Keep up the good work. Liberty is important and don't let O'Reilly run over you. Libertarians vote for Conservative candidates they are closer to your values than the alternative and elections have consequences. Live Free Or Die, Kevin S. NH
Comment: #22
Posted by: kevin sleeper
Fri Apr 9, 2010 6:34 PM
MJohn you asked what could we call ourselves other then Libertarians. I would like to suggest the term Constitutionalists. The label pretty much describes the core of our beliefs, ultimate liberties and limited government. I live in California and was wondering what your position is on registering as a Republican? I want to be able to influence the primaries in order to get Republican candidates closer to the Libertarian ideals. In California in order to be able to vote in the primary you must be registered in that party. What is your thoughts on this?
Comment: #23
Posted by: Bill Fuller
Fri Apr 9, 2010 9:30 PM
Mr. Stossel

I watched your show where you asked for a better "label" to identify yourself.
I think I have the answers..."AMERICAN"

Not in the "happen to be born here" sense, but in the "American Values" senses. You can be born anywhere but choose to be an Ameican, and you can be born in America and choose not to be an American.

What does it mean to be an American philosphically?
Americans believe that people should govern themselves. That goverments should exist only through the people's will and only to protect them.

Just look at our declaration of independence and the constitution. In essence these documents say what you believe. Do they answer questions like "what happens to people who cannot live without your help?" No. There are many specific questions the documents do not answer. They just address, in essence, one single solitary prevoiously unsolved question, ... How to construct a governement that is "by the people and for the people" without governing anyone.

An answer that required the remarkable braintrust of our great Founding Fathers and the excruciating details of checks and balances laid out in the constitution. But in the end all supporting the simple idea, we are not a people to be governed by the goverment. We govern ourselves and we allow a government to exist in order protect our
right to do so.

This is what it means to be an American. This concept changed the face of the world.
A concept with starts witht he recognition not of the rights of commoners, or groups, or races but with the rights of individulas, and any use of the power of the goverment for ANY reason that violate these rights can never be politically or morally correct.

So what to do about the welfare of people less fortunate than others?
In America anyone who wishes to help them is free to do so.
Anyone who wishs to INITIATE THE USE OF FORCE to do so is no American.

I am an American, Mr. Stossel. I think you are too.




Comment: #24
Posted by: Andrew DeFrancesco
Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:09 AM
Socialist Party of America presidential candidate Norman Thomas in 1948:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."
Comment: #25
Posted by: Peter Verkooijen
Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:59 PM
How about we call ourselves the OWLs? They can see at night. They kill and eat vermin. They fight to protect their young. We even came up with a theme song at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFourFathers2010?feature=mhw5#p/u/3/T5PdlQ6VkHQ
Comment: #26
Posted by: Napoleon
Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:27 AM
The correct definition of liberty or freedom is negative freedom, the condition of men in which coercion of some by others is reduced as much as possible.
Liberty, or freedom, describes the absence of a particular obstacle – coercion by other men.
The presence of liberty, or freedom, does not guarantee man wealth, good health, good looks, happiness, or indeed any circumstance in life except freedom from coercion.
The direct enemy of negative freedom is positive freedom, which derives from the desire by man to be his own master, to be independent of external forces of whatever kind, to be rich where he is poor, to be handsome where he is ugly, to be healthy where he is sick, to be happy where he is miserable, all by invading the negative freedom of others, by coercing them to his will, by divesting them of their properties for his own advancement and the supposed advancement of others in society.
In essence, the difference between negative and positive freedom is encapsulated in the difference between the classical liberal doctrine of limited government, private property, individual liberty and the rule of law, on the one side and the progressive socialist doctrine of unlimited government, communal property, the regulatory state, and rule by any vote majority, on the other side.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Black Flag
Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:10 PM
John, for a possible future revisiting of the libertarian issue.
1) Regarding gay marriage. If some libertarians advocate it is not government business, then what about bigamy? Where would a libertarian draw a line, or would they?
2) Regarding our federal government vs. states, as our constitution is written, would some things not allowed at the national government be alright at the state level. It may not be libertarian, but is it constitutional? Which prevails, the constitution or libertarian ideals?
Comment: #28
Posted by: Dr, Steve
Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:05 PM
Bravo, Mr. Stossel, except for one thing.
Being pro-life is more consistent with an authentic devotion to liberty. The "right" to end the life of the unborn is itself a fraudulent and tyrannical act of government. Don't we libertarians agree that the right of one citizen ends where it causes overt and obvious harm to another? And isn't it hard to do more harm than to take life?
Keep up the good work explaining the case for a limited state consistent with the principles that the US was founded on.
Kevin Davern
Comment: #29
Posted by: Kevin Davern
Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:11 AM
Dr, Steve:

The question that must be asked "Why does Person "A" want to involve themselves in the life of Person "B", when Person "B" has nothing to do with Person "A", does not harm Person "A", and really if either lived or died, wouldn't change a thing in their lives?"

The Principle is - Mind your own Business....

There are huge gaps between People who believe in "Liberty and Freedom" and People who are "Libertarians".

Libertarians are Statists - they believe that the power of government violence can deliver goods and solve human problems - it is the extent of their use of government power that defines them differently from other Statists.

But once you agree that government power is the best answer to solve some human problems - it is only an argument away to claim that government power is the best way to solve all human problems.

Comment: #30
Posted by: Black Flag
Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:40 AM
I no longer remember where I first head it, but my favorite definition of "libertarian" is "a Republican who still likes to get high". :)
Comment: #31
Posted by: Fred Ferkel
Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:16 AM
Easy solution to get fiscal responsiblity into the gov't....Only those who pay taxes should be allowed to vote. You have to wonder why anyone who is on the entitlement gravy train would ever vote against getting entitlements. It just won't happen. It's kind of like raising children; the adults, or money earners get to make the decisions on how the money is spent in a normal household. This country is now being run by the children who have popsicle ideas on how to spend, but have never had to put a dime in the piggy bank.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Fred
Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:26 PM
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