Liberty Requires Citizens with a “First Rate Moral Nature”


An excellent treatise is linked below, by Leonard Read, on liberty and the way one must think to have a true mind for it. he starts with this precept:

As do most others, I have numerous views which I believe to be right and not even debatable. But to list or classify them? Far easier, I think, to define right actions as those which are not demonstrably wrong. For it is possible to bring within our purview and make some reasonable assessment of the wrong; what’s right is so vast that it hardly lends itself to any such analysis.

Read the piece here:

Leonard Read – “Find the Wrong and There’s the Right”

He further points out that those who believe in freedom but who support freedom-encroaching activities by some other agency (e.g. government) are not truly believers of freedom:

“While there are many who will agree that they, personally, should not kill, steal, enslave, it is only the individual with a first-rate moral nature who will have no hand in encouraging any agency — even government — in doing these things for him or others.”

And finally to summarize what describes the ‘elevated moral nature’ required for a society to be truly free:

What distinguishes the individual who has an elevated moral nature? For one thing, he cares not one whit about what others see him do. Why? He has a private eye of his own, far more exacting and severe than any force or fear others can impose: a highly developed conscience.

Not only does such a person possess a sense of justice but he also possesses its counterpart, a disciplinary conscience. Justice and conscience are two parts of the same emerging moral faculty. It is doubtful that one can exist without the other.

It seems that individual man, having lost many of the built-in instinctual do-nots of his animal cousins, acquires, as he evolves far enough, a built-in rational, prohibitory ethic which he is compelled to observe by reason of his sense of justice and the dictates of conscience. I repeat, proper prohibitions are just as important to the survival of the human species as to the survival of any other species.

This is a very enjoyable piece for those who love liberty. Interestingly (my last point!) he references a quote where some politician says “government and its citizens…” and points out that the possessive “its” tells you exactly how the speaker feels about individual freedom – i.e. its = people belong to the government, not the other way around.  I think what he is saying is that in the speaker’s subconscious mind, he prefers subjugation(or control?) to liberty. This type of talk is prevalent today, even though the writer wrote this many years ago. Perhaps a campaign against so called control freaks is in order?

Closing Warning: Guard your freedom – every decision you hand off to someone else is a decision you have lost the right to forever.