I am not writing to defend the DA’s economic policy, nor the party as a political organisation, nor their vision to create an open opportunity society for all. I am of the opinion that the DA’s policy plan still affords way too much scope for state intervention in the lives of individuals. I am writing to defend libertarianism.
The term “Libertarian” is too important to be tarnished by false association to such a group of nanny state central planners as the DA.
Mr McKaiser criticises the DA because they make no reference to eliminating inequality in their policy document.
On planet earth, individuals can never be “equal.” Individuals cannot ever earn exactly the same income, nor can all individuals have the same ability, nor can they be equally good looking, nor can they run at the same speed, nor can they live in the same physical space as someone else.
What exactly do you expect a government to do in a world where it is impossible to have equality? The current income inequality in South Africa is a result of too much state intervention in the market economy during the past century. Professor William H. Hutt of UCT explained[i] in 1964 how private enterprise in the first half of the 20th century wanted to employ black people rather than white labour, which would have eliminated income inequality, but that the state intervened to prevent this from happening owing to white labour union pressure which eventually swelled into a political movement that spawned Apartheid.
In other words, it is the inequality of the relation of the state to the people that caused the current income inequality crisis we face today.
Here’s the thing: people cannot ever be equal in their success to achieve ends, but they can be equal in their right to protect their property, life and liberty. In a libertarian society, people are equal before the law.
In a libertarian society, the state cannot tell a white owned business that he cannot employ a black worker, as was done during apartheid. Nor should the state be able to tell an unemployed black worker that it is illegal for him to voluntarily take a job because it pays less than the minimum wage negotiated by the state and labour unions who don’t know or have forgotten the indignity of being unemployed and idle.
Ironically, this is the single biggest inequality in this country: The relationship of private citizens to those employed in the state. The state lays down its law, which infringes on the rights of citizens, and if private citizens do not agree or abide by the state’s legislated ‘law’, they are imprisoned or fined.
Furthermore, under the threat of violence, the state forces those who serve their fellow person in voluntary exchange on the free market, to hand over a portion of their hard earned income. This is how the state survives, by keeping a gun to the head of producers, threatening to pull the trigger if they do not pay their taxes.
Does the constitution allow private citizens to take unearned income from the state or another private citizen by threatening force if they do not pay up? That would be judged a crime, but when the state does it, it is called “tax collection.”
Is this what you call “equality”?
Libertarians believe in property rights, the right to keep the fruits of your labour. Is there anywhere in the DA policy document where they advocate reducing the income tax to levels that existed before 1914? Before 1914 income tax was zero percent.
Has the DA ever addressed this inequality before the law of private citizens and those employed in the state?
The DA is anything but libertarian. The DA and the ANC are two wings on a single bird of prey – the state. If only they were libertarian, I would have a party to vote for.
Chris Becker is an economist at ETM Analytics. He is editor of liberty blog chrislbecker.com, and founder of the Mises Institute South Africa. Follow him on twitter @chrislbecker
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.