"If government half a century ago had provided us
with all our dinners and breakfasts,
it would be the practice of our orators today to assume
the impossibility of our providing for ourselves."
by:
Auberon Herbert
(1838-1906) English writer, theorist, philosopher, 19th century individualist, member of the Parliament of the U.K.
Source:
"State Education: A Help or Hindrance", Fornightly Review, July 1880; reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), p. 77
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Yndrd1984, Ames, IA      
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
Notice how this is from an essay "State Education: A Help or Hindrance", and I'll assume the writer was opposed to state education too. Just what is it that people like this and todays "conservatives" want to see in society? Something like the world that Charles Dickens wrote about where there are a very few wealthy people and everyone else is dirt poor, working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week in unhealthy and dangerous conditions, where children don't go to school but work instead, where health care is only for those who can afford it and the rest stay sick and die? Where the commons - the nations land, air and water are lierally owned and despoi8led for profit by the tiny wealthy elite? Please, one of you, point to the time and place in history that you think most closely resembles your perfect world! It has been government intervention and redistribution of wealth through a progressive taxation system that has given us our modern world where most people are middle class, most people can get as much education and health care as they desire and need, most people can do more with there lives than work constantly...this is what you are trying to destroy. Why???
 -- Simon, Victoria, BC, Canada     
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    Most people can work for a living, not simply collect a welfare check. Reston or Victoria want to pretend The United States is socialist and communist, but we are a Republic.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    Joe - how absolutely predictable of you. The issue here is not about welfare checks or socialism or communism. It is about having a government that works in the best interest of the majority of its citizens. This is what we have had in the western world to varying degreess for the last 100 years, this is what created our middle class, this is what made us great. The alternative to the current extreme right wing is not socialism or communism, it is a return to the middle of the politcal spectrum called liberalism. And if I hear one more of you idiots say "we are a republic not a democracy" I'll scream! As if you know the definition of either. Republic just means "not a monarchy". Democracy these days means a country where the government is periodically elected by the people. Or is the implication that Republic = Republican and Democracy = Democrat? Is that the kind of Orwell speak you are trying to propagate? There is no extreme left in the USA, there are some moderates who are opposed to the creeping fascism that the Republican party has come to represent. If you want to support these people go ahead but know that you are the extremist who is going against the flow of human progress and civilization, not those of us in the middle of the polical spectrum. Do you think there are more than a handful of people in the USA who actually want socialism of communism? You need to start seeing a few shades of grey and not just black and white. And if you think that my opinion makes me a leftist, that is only because you are so far to the right that the middle looks like the left.
     -- Simon, Victoria, BC, Canada     
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    Simon says, "There is no extreme left in the USA... if you think that my opinion makes me a leftist, that is only because you are so far to the right that the middle looks like the left." LOL! Sir, I invite you to consider the possibility that your own stance is somewhat left of center and that those defending liberty and personal responsibility are not 'fascists.' I, too, am tired of the 'Democracy vs. Republic' rhetoric as it usually is treated as semantics. But the distinctions are worth making. Canada is not a republic because all the Land is owned by the Crown (and it is not for sale). That is why the Queen is the Head of State -- she is not called the 'Queen of Canada' for nothing. In the USA, for the first time ever, the common man could own land. Owning land is what qualified a person as an 'elector.' Only electors could vote for state Governor or President. Those that did not own land could vote on other issues, but not on everything. In a true Republic those that do not have land cannot seize it with votes or public decree. However, America does not operate like that today -- it in fact operates as a de facto democracy. In a Republic the rights of the People are self-declared inherent and unalienable -- in a Democracy (like Canada) the rights of the People are declared and granted by the government (i.e. the democracy). There is a difference -- it is not a right vs. left issue -- it is about Power, where it comes from and the rules under which collective power may be enforced. Just look at the US if you want to see what happens when the collective power of a nation is centralized in the hands of a central government instead of being distributed locally as is the intent of a true Republic. So don't be so quick to lash out at those reminding their fellows that American government is supposed to be Republican -- pay attention, you might learn something.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    And this is how the people lose their freedom and independence -- and most importantly -- their ability to reason and think for themselves. Little by little, the collective consciousness is transformed into a slave-mentality -- which they will defend.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    We should support the disabled, the orphans, and the elderly, not the lazy, the thieving, or the able-bodied.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    It is a tragedy that people have their heads so far up their asses that they cannot see that they do not belong to the priviledged class. Few of us do. And when you lose everything you have, some rich capitalist will be employing you to clean his toilets.
     -- andi, bakersfield     
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    You know I spent half an hour with google trying to find the difference between a Democracy and a Republic and I still can't state it in a couple of simple sentences. There only seems to be a difference to those who are trying to find a difference and what that purpose is I don' t know. So what is the real difference between the USA and Canada? We both have elected provincial/state governments, 2 houses of federal government and a supreme court and a head of state. The only difference is in the details - our head of state is merely a figurehead with no real power, your head of state is a fascist dictator who claims all powers for himself, including scrapping your constitution : ) Is a Republic supposed to be more free or have more guarantees for freedom than a democracy? Then that isn't working out very well now is it? The People's REPUBLIC of China would claim to be a republic I assume. This quibbling about the meaning of words is meaningless. What really counts is tha tin the end a society best serves all of its people, and I think at the moment Canada and the European social democracies are doing a pretty fair job of this while maintaining personal liberties and freedoms while the USA seems in a huge hurry to chuck all of this away and become the worlds newest empire with wealth for a few and a few crumbs for the rest. so call is what you like.
     -- Simon, Victoria, BC, Canada     
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    Auberon Herbert was one of the 19th century's English 'radical individualists' who was, to the exclusion of any possible restraints, completely committed to the laissez-faire/'Natural Rights' school of thought. Laissez-faire/'Natural Rights' is what's giving us (among other things) our current gas prices coupled with record oil company profits - like it did during the Rockefeller/Standard Oil Reign - nice! I mean it's 'nice' to be so aristocratic and insulated from the general population that you can formulate this sort of philosophy with impunity and gain some 'standing' in the community of your peers while justifying your aristocracy. It was the 'Age of Empire' and this sort of posture suited the upper crust 'quite nicely, thank you very much'.

    Herbert himself is unlikely to have ever provided his own 'dinners and breakfasts' since his 'class' invariably had servants to do that sort of thing for them. I know my grandparents and great-grandparents did, but then, my great grandfather was a Lutheran minister who aspired to all of the 'charms' of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - i.e., that would be a haughty tyranny over the 'underclass' who 'knew no better anyway'. I'd personally be loath to recommend Herbert for a job as 'chef' - even at McDonald's.

    Though Herbert's discourses (essays) are very compelling (given his selective, self-serving premises), he, personally had little contact or experience with the 'boots on the ground' functioning of the lower echelon of society other than to observe them from a comfortable distance and decry their 'laziness' from the comfort of his library.

    Where, oh where, have I heard this relentless, tired song before - LOL?
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Here is as good as any layman's definition of a Republican form of government:
    "The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent ...
    - To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations ...
    - The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and administration of what concerns the State generally.
    - The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests within itself.
    It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best." -- Thomas Jefferson
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Sadly, this is very true. No matter what basic responsibilities government takes over from the individual you should always find support for it amongst the well-intentioned high-minded fools.
     -- Simon, Krakow     
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    andi, I fear that the Bakersfield sun has baked your brain. When you lose everything, you may need a job cleaning toilets. Rich capitalists create jobs that poor people need.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    The real issue is about Independence rather than Freedom. How did we get into this sorry state in which we have traded our independence for government dependence? Are there no problems that we can solve ourselves, or do we have to petition bureaucrats for everything? Most of those demanding their rights are in fact merely demanding more of their sustenance from the government. And because the government cannot ever take care of all the People, it will never be enough, their promises of perpetual security and fulfillment can never be achieved, but other social problems are created as a result. Indeed today's youth expects much more from government than earlier generations. The concentration of power into a central government that regulates all the power and resources of the People and the States has transformed the free and independent States into bankrupt serfs on their own land. Now all the people cry for Bread and Circuses.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Very, well said, Archer :) !!
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Awesome Archer strikes again! Take THAT, you economic ignoramuses!! You history class dunces! You wastrel Welfarians!
     -- H Rearden, Burr Ridge IL     
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