Economic Sophisms/137

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<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"and places to distribute. To meet all this, large sums of money are needed, and taxes and loans are resorted to.

If the nation is generous, government undertakes to cure all the ills of humanity; to revive trade, to make agriculture flourish, to develop manufactures, encourage arts and learning, extirpate poverty, etc., etc. All that requires to be done is to create offices, and pay functionaries.

In short, the tactics consist in representing restraints as effective services; and the nation pays, not for services, but for disservices. Governments, assuming gigantic proportions, end by eating up half the revenues they exact. And the people, wondering at being obliged to work so hard, after hearing of inventions which are to multiply products ad infinitum, … continue always the same overgrown children they were before.

While the government displays so much skill and ability, the people display scarcely any. When called upon to elect those whose province it is to determine the sphere and remuneration of govermental action, whom do they choose? The agents of the government. Thus, they confer on the executive the power of fixing the limits of its own operations and exactions. They act like the Bourgeois Gentilhomme, who, in place of himself deciding on the number and cut of his coats, referred the whole thing—to his tailor.

And when matters have thus gone on from bad to worse, the people at length have their eyes opened, not to the remedy—(they have not got that length yet)—but to the evil.

To govern is so agreeable a business, that every one aspires to it The counsellors of the people never cease telling them: We see your sufferings, and deplore them. It would be very different if we governed you.

In the meantime, and sometimes for a long period, there are rebellions and émeutes. When the people are vanquished, the expense of the war only adds to their burdens. When they are victorious, the personnel of the government is changed, and the abuses remain unreformed.

And this state of things will continue until the people shall learn to know and defend their true interests—so that we always come back to this, that there is no resource but in the progress of public intelligence.

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