A Journal for Western Man

 

To Limit the Unlimited?

Leonid Fainberg

Issue CXVII - August 9, 2007

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Principal Index

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Old Superstructure

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Old Master Index

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Contributors

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The Rational Business Journal

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Forum

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Yahoo! Group

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Gallery of Rational Art

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Online Store

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Henry Ford Award

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Johannes Gutenberg Award

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CMFF: Fight Death

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Eden against the Colossus

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A Rational Cosmology

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Implied Consent

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Links

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Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on Helium.com

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Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on Associated Content

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Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on GrasstopsUSA.com

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Submit/Contact

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Statement of Policy

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When I first read Mr. Stolyarov’s article, A Plan for Cutting Big Government,” my immediate knee-jerk reflex was, ”Great! That may even work!” But when I took a second look, I understood – it cannot be done. The reason is that today's government is a stark violation of the Law of Identity. Let me elaborate.

Government, as every other thing, has to have an identity. Government’s identity is the definition of its function—what government should or shouldn't do. In our age of frenzied statism, government doesn't have defined functions. It has assumed powers bigger than ancient kings, emperors and pharaohs ever had. It became as omniscient, omnipresent, unlimited, and omnipotent as the alleged undefined God. It’s telling us what we should or shouldn't eat, drink, inhale, read, and watch. It takes care of the rich and poor, runs the health service and education, tells us how to build a bridge and to make a loaf of bread, handle racial, gender and sexual inequalities, and even natural phenomena of cosmic proportions like global warming.

A naturally undefined, unlimited government needs an undefined, unlimited amount of money. No matter how much it collects in taxes, by deficit budgeting, inflation, and devaluation, it's never enough. That is why all previous attempts to limit government spending failed. In logic, one cannot limit the unlimited. So if we want to curb government spending, first we have to define government's function. Incidentally, this job had been performed about 250 years ago by John Locke, who defined proper government functions as protection of unalienable rights and administration of justice. For such a government, people's voluntary contribution via different mechanisms—like payment for certain government services—would be more than enough.

The most objectionable part of the article is the proposition that government will invest money in the economy – that is, will buy part of the free market. Since at present government has an unlimited resource of revenue, it will cause full government ownership of the whole economy, in other words—nationalization. The economy, the market is a realm of ideas, innovations, and creativity. Government is dealing with physical force. That is why government should be divorced from the economy as it is divorced from the Church and for the same reasons.

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Leonid Fainberg is an Objectivist philosopher and a contributor to The Rational Argumentator.

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This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue CXVII Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here..

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.