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    Default The First Leftist

    https://mises.org/library/first-leftist

    05/28/2009
    Dean Russell[This essay appears in Essays on Liberty, (volume 1, 1952).]

    "Liberty Leading the People" (1830)
    Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863)

    The first leftist would not be popular in America today. That is true because the original leftists wanted to abolish government controls over industry, trade, and the professions. They wanted wages, prices, and profits to be determined by competition in a free market, and not by government decree. They were pledged to free their economy from government planning, and to remove the government-guaranteed special privileges of guilds, unions, and associations whose members were banded together to use the law to set the price of their labor or capital or product above what it would be in a free market.
    The first leftists were a group of newly elected representatives to the National Constituent Assembly at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. They were labeled "leftists" merely because they happened to sit on the left side in the French Assembly.
    The legislators who sat on the right side were referred to as the party of the Right, or rightists. The rightists or "reactionaries" stood for a highly centralized national government, special laws and privileges for unions and various other groups and classes, government economic monopolies in various necessities of life, and a continuation of government controls over prices, production, and distribution.



    Early American Ideals


    The ideals of the party of the Left were based largely on the spirit and principles of our own American Constitution. Those first French leftists stood for individual freedom of choice and personal responsibility for one's own welfare. Their goal was a peaceful and legal limitation of the powers of the central government, a restoration of local self-government, an independent judiciary, and the abolition of special privileges.
    Those leftists, holding a slim majority in the two years' existence of the National Constituent Assembly, did a remarkable job. They limited the extreme powers of the central government. They removed special privileges that the government had granted to various groups and persons. Their idea of personal liberty with absolute equality before the law for all persons was rapidly becoming a reality. But before the program of those first leftists was completed, a violent minority from their own ranks — the revolutionary Jacobins — grasped the power of government and began their reign of terror and tyranny.
    That development seems to have risen from this little-understood and dangerously deceptive arrangement: two groups of persons with entirely different motives may sometimes find themselves allied in what appears to be a common cause. As proof that this danger is not understood even today, we need only examine the results of our own "common cause" alliances with various dictators against various other dictators. So it was among the leftists in France in 1789. The larger faction wanted to limit the powers of government; the leaders of the other group wanted to overthrow the existing rulers and grasp the power themselves.



    Separation Of Powers

    "The Death of Marat" (1793)
    Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)

    The majority of the original party of the Left had been opposed to concentrated power regardless of who exercised it. But the violent revolutionists in their midst, led by Robespierre, Danton, and Marat, were opposed to concentrated power only so long as someone else exercised it. Robespierre, who represented himself as spokesman for the people, first said that the division of the powers of government was a good thing when it diminished the authority of the king. But when Robespierre himself became the leader, he claimed that the division of the powers of government would be a bad thing now that the power belonged "to the people."
    Thus, in the name of the people, the ideas of the original leftists were rejected. For all practical purposes, local self-government disappeared completely, the independence of the judiciary was destroyed, and the new leaders became supreme. The program of the first party of the Left was dead.
    Most of the original leftists protested. So they too were soon repudiated in the general terror that was called liberty. But since the name leftist had become identified with the struggle of the individual against the tyranny of government, the new tyrants continued to use that good name for their own purposes. This was a complete perversion of its former meaning. Thus was born what should properly be called the new and second Left.
    The leaders of this new Left were greatly aided in their program of deceiving the people by using this effective device of changing the meaning of words. The term "tyranny" had been used to describe the powers of the old government. And the term "liberty" had been used to describe the ideas of the original leftists. Well and good. But when the second leftists in turn became tyrannical, they continued to call it liberty! In the name of liberty, mob violence was encouraged, habeas corpus was abolished, and the guillotine was set up!



    Look Behind The Label


    $15 $12

    Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727–1781)

    Now who is opposed to liberty or progress or any of the various other desirable ideals that government officials claim will result from their "unselfish programs for the people"? Probably no one. Thus do the people tend to accept almost any idea — communism, socialism, imperialism, or whatever — if those ideas are advanced under attractive labels such as freedom from want, defense against aggression, welfare, equality, liberty, fellowship, and security. Since most of the world today still suffers from this disease of "word confusion," it is hardly surprising that the French people in the 1790s were also misled by the same device.
    The rallying cry of this new Left was, All power to the people! And, as always, it sounded good to the people. But the point that the French people missed is the same point that haunts the world today. It is this: the people cannot themselves individually exercise the power of government; the power must be held by one or a few persons. Those who hold the power always claim that they use it for the people, whether the form of government is a kingdom, a dictatorship, a democracy, or whatever. If the people truly desire to retain or to regain their freedom, their attention should first be directed to the principle of limiting the power of government itself instead of merely demanding the right to vote on what party or person is to hold the power. For is the victim of government power any the less deprived of his life, liberty, or property merely because the depriving is done in the name of — or even with the consent of — the majority of the people?
    It was on this point that Hitler, for instance, misled the Germans, and Stalin deceived the Russians. Both of them hastened to identify themselves as champions of the people. And there appears to be little or no doubt but that the majority of the people approved or acquiesced in the overall programs that were initiated in their names.
    As the "leaders" murdered millions of individual persons, their excuse for their deeds was that they were doing them "for the people."
    As they enslaved countless millions of human beings, they brushed all criticism aside by exclaiming: "But the people voted for me in the last election."
    As they confiscated property and income, they claimed to be doing it "for the general welfare" and by "a mandate from the people."
    Hitler and Stalin merely adapted to their time and circumstances the philosophy of the French Jacobins, the new leftists, who declared that power is always too great in tyrannical hands, but that it can never be too great in the hands of the people — meaning Hitler, Stalin, a Jacobin leader, or any other person who wishes to possess and increase the power of government over the individual citizen.



    What Is Government?

    Here is another illogical reason why the people of France traded the freedom-with-responsibility offered by the policy of the first leftists for the bloody tyranny offered by the policy of the second leftists: They believed that an organized police force — government — could be used to force people to be good and virtuous.
    "Since the name leftist had become identified with the struggle of the individual against the tyranny of government, the new tyrants continued to use that good name for their own purposes."
    It is true that this organized force of government can be used, and should be used, to restrain and punish persons who commit evil acts — murder, theft, defamation, and such — against their fellow men; but this force that is government cannot be used to force persons to be good or brave or compassionate or charitable or virtuous in any respect. All virtues must come from within a person; they cannot be imposed by force or threats of force. Since that is so, it follows that almost all human relations and institutions should be left completely outside the authority of government, with no government regulation whatever. But this seems to be a difficult idea for most persons to grasp.
    The idea of concentrated government power — force against persons — is easy to grasp. And it is easy to imagine that this power can be used to force equality upon unequal persons. Possibly this explains why so many persons believe that the world could be near perfect if only they had the power of government to force other people to do what they think best for them. That concept of government is, however, the direct road to despotism. Any person who holds it is, by definition, a would-be dictator: one who desires to make mankind over in his own image — to force other persons to follow his concepts of morality, economics, social relationships, and government. The fact that such would-be dictators may seem to have fine intentions, and wish only to do good for the people, does not justify their arrogant desire to have authority over others.
    Thus it was that the terror of the second leftists reversed the advance of freedom that had begun in France in 1789. And the French Revolution finally became nothing more than a fight among would-be rulers to gain possession of the power of government.
    The new leftists — as is the case with all persons who desire authority over other persons — did not fear the power of government. They adored it. Like Hitler, Stalin, and other despots, their primary reason for inciting the people to reject the old order was to get this power for themselves. And the people did not object at first because they did not understand that the power of government is dangerous in any hands. They just thought that it was dangerous in the hands of a king. So they took the power from the king and transferred it to a "leader." They failed to see that it was a brutal restoration of the very thing they had rebelled against! In fact, those second leftists held far more power than Louis XVI ever had.
    "The French Revolution finally became nothing more than a fight among would-be rulers to gain possession of the power of government."
    Is there a lesson for present-day America to be learned from this French experiment with a highly centralized "people's government"?
    The majority of the American people voted approval of this "Robespierre philosophy of government" as expressed by the holder of a high political office in 1936:
    [I]n 34 months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people's government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people.
    When translated into simple English, that statement reads, power is a good thing, so long as I am the one who has it.
    That concept of increasing the power of the national government seems to have even more support today, by the leaders of both major political parties, than it had in 1936. All of them claim, of course, that they will use the power "for the good of the people."



    Something For Nothing


    $15 $12

    Claude Frédéric Bastiat (1801–1850)

    Have we fully considered where this road may lead? Have we forgotten the teachings of our forefathers and their warning that the only hope for permanent liberty lies in restricting the power of government itself, regardless of who the government officials are or how they may be selected? Have we forgotten their warning to be especially wary of the demagogues who promise us something for nothing?
    Our founding fathers, along with the first leftists who were of the same political faith, were well aware that individual freedom and personal responsibility for one's own welfare are equal and inseparable parts of the same truth. They knew that history amply supports this truism: when personal responsibility is lost — whether it be taken by force or given up voluntarily — individual freedom does not long endure.
    [bio] Comment on the blog.
    This essay appears in Essays on Liberty, vol. 1 (Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education, 1952), pp. 38–46. It was first published in 1951.
    This complete archive of The Freeman (1950–1999) is made possible by a generous grant from Guillermo M. Yeatts, in cooperation with Walter Block, and additional assistance from Gary North.







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    Cain was the first leftist, he killed his brother to steal his sheep and rebel against authority.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

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    Thats the stupidest response I`ve ever heard. Based on what? Is there an actual record of Cain the first communist? That and you didn't read the article in the first place.
    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 07:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    Thats the stupidest response I`ve ever heard. Based on what?


    Genesis
    Chapter 4


    1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
    2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
    3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
    4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
    5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
    6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
    7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
    8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

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    Could we get a actual DNA reading here????????

    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 04:46 PM.

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    Yeah thats what I thought. If your going to make the claim that religion provides the only basis for human rights then your just parroting that whole "old is gold" mentality without doing any critical thinking whatsoever. Your claims are basically standing on shifting sand dunes that that any paleontologist, geologist, archeologist with knowledge Neolithic populations or thinking philosopher in general could pick apart with the slightest ease.

    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 05:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    Yeah thats what I thought. If your going to make the claim that religion provides the only basis for human rights then your just parroting that whole "old is gold" mentality without doing any critical thinking whatsoever. Your claims are basically standing on shifting sand dunes that that any paleontologist, geologist, archeologist with knowledge Neolithic populations or thinking philosopher in general could pick apart with the slightest ease.

    As an atheist, do you believe morality is objective or subjective?
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilymc View Post
    As an atheist, do you believe morality is objective or subjective?
    Whoever said I was an athiest?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    Whoever said I was an athiest?

    Just answer the question please.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilymc View Post
    Just answer the question please.
    Objective.

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    Now I'LL ASK YOU a QUESTION.

    Where do you get off claiming that you have the basis for human rights when you don't even know how old the Earth is or basic DNA passaging with regards to the inbreeding of a small population of animals descending from a single pair?
    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 07:08 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    Objective.
    Ok, thank you. Now, in your view what is the basis for that objective morality? In other words, in a godless material world that came about by chance, what is that objective morality grounded in?
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Cain was the first leftist, he killed his brother to steal his sheep and rebel against authority.
    Lol i have no idea how you christians reconcile your religion being statist to it's very core with your skepticism of government. Cognitive dissonance is so common in the minds of the religious
    Quote Originally Posted by hells_unicorn View Post
    Nope, I'd actually favor giving Baptists similar treatment to sodomites if they opt to proselytize their heresy in my presence.

    Quote Originally Posted by hells_unicorn
    I'm fully aware that Ron is a Baptist

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    Now I'LL ASK YOU a QUESTION.

    Where do you get off claiming that you have the basis for human rights when you don't even know how old the Earth is or basic DNA passaging with regards to the inbreeding of a small population of animals desending from a single pair?
    The age of the earth is irrelevant to the nature of morality and human rights.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilymc View Post
    Ok, thank you. Now, in your view what is the basis for that objective morality? In other words, in a godless material world that came about by chance, what is that objective morality grounded in?
    First prove that there is one in the first place then we can talk about the basis for rights.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    First prove that there is one in the first place then we can talk about the basis for rights.

    No, you claimed that morality is objective. Therefore you must show how, in your worldview, that morality is grounded, what is its basis?

    I actually didn't even make a claim one way or the other, I was just asking you questions.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilymc View Post
    The age of the earth is irrelevant to the nature of morality and human rights.
    OH BUT IT IS! If you claim that every passage in the most authoritative book ever written in human history is unfalsifiable then when one clearly unfalsifiable detail explaining the history of mankind and creation of the Earth is refuted and thrown to dustbin of history then the whole Theory of Natural God Given Rights connected to it and relying on its existence FALLS APART LIKE A JENGA TOWER and we have to start all over again.
    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 07:51 PM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilymc View Post
    No, you claimed that morality is objective. Therefore you must show how, in your worldview, that morality is grounded, what is its basis?

    I actually didn't even make a claim one way or the other, I was just asking you questions.
    I derive my morality from the Bible. Now please refer to verse below and act accordingly.

    1 Timothy 2:11-15 ESV / 412 helpful votes

    Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
    Quote Originally Posted by hells_unicorn View Post
    Nope, I'd actually favor giving Baptists similar treatment to sodomites if they opt to proselytize their heresy in my presence.

    Quote Originally Posted by hells_unicorn
    I'm fully aware that Ron is a Baptist

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    OH BUT IT IS! If you claim that every passage in the obviously greatest book ever written is unfalsifiable then when one clearly unfalsifiable detail explaining why this earth is the way it is refuted and thrown to dustbin of history then the WHOLE THING FALLS APART LIKE A JENGA TOWER.
    Different topic and completely irrelevant to this topic. Besides, I didn't make any such claim.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Regarding rights I think Argumentation ethics is the most grounded in reality

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentation_ethics
    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 07:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    I derive my morality from the Bible. Now please refer to verse below and act accordingly.
    Thank you @Influenza you proved my point for me

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    I derive my morality from the Bible. Now please refer to verse below and act accordingly.
    Real original. And I was talking to Lamp. No offense, but if I'm going to have a discussion wth an atheist, I prefer to deal with the ones that aren't bitter or angry.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

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    I'm not angry or anything I'd just desperately like some CONTEXT grounded in reality here. This is why the majority of libertarians and conservatives can't appeal to a millenial audience.
    Last edited by Lamp; 10-12-2017 at 07:31 PM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilymc View Post
    Real original. And I was talking to Lamp. No offense, but if I'm going to have a discussion wth an atheist, I prefer to deal with the ones that aren't bitter or angry.
    Why do you think I'm bitter/angry? Funny how if that was in the quran all the christians would scream "Look!! Sexism!!!" If it was in the old testament they would say, "that's not important anymore, it's not part of the new covenant!"

    But when it's part of the new testament and I absolutely destroy their entire world view, they can only resort to ad hominem attacks and ignore the point entirely
    Quote Originally Posted by hells_unicorn View Post
    Nope, I'd actually favor giving Baptists similar treatment to sodomites if they opt to proselytize their heresy in my presence.

    Quote Originally Posted by hells_unicorn
    I'm fully aware that Ron is a Baptist

  26. #25

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    Why do you think I'm bitter/angry? Funny how if that was in the quran all the christians would scream "Look!! Sexism!!!" If it was in the old testament they would say, "that's not important anymore, it's not part of the new covenant!"

    But when it's part of the new testament and I absolutely destroy their entire world view, they can only resort to ad hominem attacks and ignore the point entirely
    Because I've read your posts on other threads, that's why. If you would like to discuss the Bible, please start a new thread. I probably won't join in, for the same reason I stated a few minutes ago, and because I have to start dinner. But I'm sure the other Christians on this site would discuss it with you.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
    Regarding rights I think Argumentation ethics is the most grounded in reality

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentation_ethics
    I clicked on the link and as far as I can see it doesn't state where objective morality comes from, what it is grounded in. If you disagree, just sum it up, it's a pretty straightforward question.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

  29. #28
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    http://www.stephankinsella.com/2013/...ics-condensed/

    Argumentation Ethics Condensed


    by STEPHAN KINSELLA on AUGUST 7, 2013

    Someone on Facebook reminded me of one of my somewhat informal comments providing a summary explanation of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s argumentation ethics defense of libertarian rights. That post first quoted (a summary of) Hoppe thusly:
    The mere fact that an individual argues presupposes that he owns himself and has a right to his own life and property. This provides a basis for libertarian theory radically different from both natural rights theory and utilitarianism.
    Someone else posted one of my previous comments about this, which had been posted here and which probably originally came from some older Facebook thread track of which I have lost in the mists of Facebook history:
    Think of it this way. You don’t care about all this if people are leaving you alone. You just go about your business. But if there is a dispute over your body—say someone wants to rape you or enslave you. Then either they are willing to try to justify it, or not. If not, then they are just criminals and you have to deal with them with force or whatever. If they try to justify then they have to do so in a peaceful context. And remember: all justification is necessarily argumentative justification. That means any conceivable justification, that is, any possible norm that could conceivably be justified, has to be compatible with the norms of argumentation. And those include: peace; the presumption that there is value to cooperation; the presumption that it is desirable that people have the ability to control their own bodies (not only to argue during the argument, but to have survived in the world to the point of making the argument, which requires (unmolested) use of scarce means; etc.
    The point is that you can never justify a socialist or criminal ethic. How could you do so? You would have to make an argument, in the course of a peaceful argumentation, that peace is bad. This cannot be done. It is a contradiction. So if you want to commit aggression, you either have to just do it and give up on the idea that you can justify it; or, if you try to justify it, you have to recognize that it cannot be done. By examining the structure of this from the outside, we can recognize that no socialist ethic can ever, in practice, be argumentatively justified.
    And to say you do not own yourself outside of argument, is simply to say that some form of socialism is justified. How can two supposedly civilized, mutually-rights-respecting, peace-desiring people (in an argument) ever argue that it’s okay to hit people who have done nothing wrong? If you make that argument, then you have no grounds for refusing to coerce the other guy into accepting your argument—which is contrary to the nature of argumentation which presupposes that each side has the right to disagree with the other and is not being coerced.

  30. #29

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    Quiz: Test Your "Income" Tax IQ!


    Short Income Tax Video

    The Income Tax Is An Excise, And Excise Taxes Are Privilege Taxes

    The Federalist Papers, No. 15:

    Except as to the rule of appointment, the United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America.

  31. #30

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    Y'all need Terry.

    Last edited by Raginfridus; 10-12-2017 at 08:29 PM.
    They fought the Wars
    They lost.
    They turned friends
    into enemies.
    Who became
    friends of our enemies.
    They stood alone, in splendid isolation,
    And said it was their only choice.






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    Last Post: 12-25-2009, 04:47 PM

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