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I like some of what you say but most sounds a little too simplistic. The Fp stance on gun control is scary as well as your economic policies. I work in a very cooperative environment. Piece work. It is the ultimate form of freedom to make good money in a non unionized work place. However I must compete with the guy beside me for my living and when I am no longer able to work as hard and as fast as I can now, my income will plummet. The company does not care who does the work and who has a life to support. I have a feeling the Fp policy would be that I chose to take the job and that is my responsibility. If I had my choice I would be in a unionized shop with some responsibility put on the employer to ensure the survival of the citizens that allow them to do business. If my employer got a tax cut it would right into their pockets or into the stock market.

What is your position on the MAI [Multilateral Agreement on Investment] and a tax scheme like the Tobin Tax? Do you see bank service fees the same as a tax? My feeling that I get from your page is that the Fp is not a very compassionate group but a 'survival of the fittest' type. Some of my best friends are poor and unhappy. They would love to just work in relatively unskilled work but with at least a livable wage. The free market has exported their jobs. We have a minimum wage, so how about a maximum wage? Believe me, the incentive to do well in this life would not be lost. If you think so, call me and come and try keeping pace with me at my work place. I would make mince meat out of your free market ideals. I am a true socialist in my heart but when I am in Rome I do as the Romans do.

I work in the dental business. There is pure free market forces hard at work. When a dentist charges you mega bucks for work you didn't need because you didn't shop around, do not complain about the bill or [what] they may or may not have done.

Anthony Sinn,, August 10, 1999

Hello Anthony! Thanks for taking the time to write us regarding your concerns, which we'll respond to roughly in the order in which you raised them:

You state that our economic policies and our stance on gun control are 'scary'. We think that gun control is scary because the only thing it accomplishes is to disarm law-abiding citizens while criminals remain armed. The right to self-defence is a fundamental right. However, no one has a right to INITIATE force against anyone, whether with or without a weapon. By controlling a person's right to self defense we have morally equated such a person with the person who uses a weapon as an instrument to INITIATE force. That's why we believe that people who use force in the commission of a crime should be given much more serious sentences that those who do not. Gun control is very much like drug prohibition. It opens the door corruption in our police forces, makes criminals out of people who are not criminals, and gives undue powers to the government that cannot be justified in a free society. Every totalitarian society has gun control.

Economically, we believe in freedom. As Bernard Shaw, one famous socialist, once said: "Freedom means responsibility. That's why most people dread it." There is no doubt that many people find individual responsibility 'scary', but no matter how scary it may seem, its alternative is definitely more scary. You are quite correct when you say that "Fp policy would be that I chose to take the job and that is my responsibility." The fundamental moral question is: If it is NOT your responsibility, whose is it? Mine? Your neighbour's? Your family? The stranger down the street? If so, consider how scary YOU would seem to them. Or even worse, if they felt the same way you feel, then it would be YOUR responsibility to provide them with the things they want in life. And the only way that could be accomplished is by INITIATING force against you. Now that's scary!

With respect to the MAI, we support the principles behind it, that all investors in a particular country should be on an equal footing before the law, regardless of where the investor may live in the world. It works both ways: Foreign investors investing in Canada would have the same rights and freedom as Canadians, while Canadians investing abroad would have the same rights and freedoms as the citizens in the country where they invest. To do otherwise would be to promote inequality before and under the law. We'll be publishing a full article on this issue in the near future. Watch for it when it is posted to our web site later this year.

We are opposed to the imposition of ANY further taxes and would lower taxes across the board, something that would benefit those with low incomes the most. Bank service fees are not the same as a tax, since they are technically a 'user fee', whereas a tax is a 'NON-user fee' which would have to be paid even if a person does not use a particular service. Does this make any sense at all?

You speak of compassion and socialism. They are not the same thing. Socialism is the use of government force to achieve a given political and social end. Compassion is the voluntary giving by some individuals to others in need. We would support the right of anyone to give their own money to anyone of their choice; we do not support the right of anyone voting to spend SOMEONE ELSE'S money on the programs they may happen to agree with. If you are indeed a 'true socialist' in your heart, then in practice you will be forced support the initiation of force in human relationships, and worse, you will require an instrument of force (i.e., a gun) to implement any such policies. The contradiction of socialism (i.e., the use of violence vs compassion) is self-evident and that is why no socialist system has lasted very long.

Your example of a dentist who charges for services not required is not unique to a free market. It is probably more prevalent in a socialist system, where the consumer does not even know when and how much a doctor is charging for a visit. But there is no way to fairly compare such statistics under a state monopoly, since the issues of 'shopping around' or 'complaining about a bill' do not exist.

Remember, a free market does not mean an absence of laws or consumer protections. It simply means that consumers within a marketplace are free to choose with whom they deal with and what they buy. Its alternative is an unfree market, which means that someone else (politicians) will tell you what price you must pay and whom you must buy your products from. Similarly, minimum (or maximum!) wage laws restrict the right of employees to negotiate their own terms of employment. For example, because I am self- employed, I am often working for less than minimum wage, but I believe that it is my right to do so. Those who would set the value of my work at some legal minimum or maximum level are in effect saying that I am not the owner of my own labour; if that is true, then I do not even have the right to my own life. Consider the consequences; they extend far beyond the self- interest of any given individual.

Thanks again for writing. We hope that some of these responses are helpful. Many of the issues you have raised are dealt with in greater detail on our website; Check out our issues index page which is accessible from any page on the site. [rm]

Originally published: Freedom Flyer 34

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