The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones. ~William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act. 3, Scene ii.
It’s easy to identify evil and evil men. They are the ones who break all of the Ten Commandments. Beatings, torture, murder, theft, rapine … you know, same-old same-old, the usual.
But we are thinking of good men, and women, yes, especially the women.
These are the ones who want to “do good” by making others “be good.” Advocating for and passing laws to accomplish these “good” goals. They are infinitely more creative than the evil ones. Their ideas are a constant kaleidoscope of new ideas for new laws.
But. as has been noted many times, these laws rarely, if ever, accomplish their stated goals.
It is said that there is another law that applies to explain this phenomenon. It is called “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” This formulation assumes the intentions of the proponents.
No one can ever know what another person “intends.” We can only see what he does. “By his deeds shall a man be known,” Psalm 28:4. With politicians, we can guess. Intent? To get re-elected. Deed? Get a law passed that favors someone, or even just propose the law.
But passing or proposing a law isn’t the deed itself. It is a way to force other to do what you, yourself, say you want to do. Does that make you good? Not in IFO’s book. If you do it yourself – give food/money to the poor, defend your country, etc. , you may be doing good, but forcing people, against their will, to do your will, is not good.
If you think “paying taxes is voluntary,” consider what happens if you refuse.
If you believe that “everybody wants this,” then why do you need a law to do it?
We Libertarians have a hard time explaining this to Liberals/Progressives and Conservatives. They ALL seem to want to force people to Be Good.
Our Founding Parents were under no illusions that people were good. They did realize that people had to have some government (force), of sorts, to accomplish government-type objectives – law courts, record-keeping, etc., but they spent much intellectual energy trying to figure out how to keep from over-reaching and getting into the realm of evil – causing harm to the population.
They were well-aware of the difficulty they faced, but generally did achieve their stated aims, of keeping government, especially national government, as small as possible. To our everlasting benefit.
Investment Lesson: Look behind the curtain as you do your due diligence. Watch what they do (profits, dividends, etc.) more than what they say.