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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7286/the-language-of-government-decisions/

The Language of Government Decisions

October 10, 2007 by

In the eyes of governments, writes Ben O’Neill, the private sector is a big buffet table. The enticing cuisine is just sitting there, waiting to be dished out to satisfy the appetites of the rent seekers who reinforce government power. This is not merely a consequence of the statist inclinations of the ministers and bureaucrats in power at any given time.

In fact, the interests of these rent seekers is carefully entrenched in the very fabric and vocabulary of the government decision-making process, where they are routinely consulted as “stakeholders” in decisions that concern their “interests.” And of course, this includes decisions that encroach on the rights of property owners to the benefit of these rent seekers, either through restraining the ability of the former to freely use their property, or through outright confiscation. FULL ARTICLE


Olev Maimets October 10, 2007 at 1:59 pm

The more I read articles like these, the more I see that the huge mountain the we have to climb in order to solve these injustices is growing. Government theft, violence, coercion, counterfitting, slavery, monopoly policies, expropriation, ‘stakeholding’, favouritism, special interest groups, pork barrelling, language distortion, etc., etc. How will any one person be able to influence society to change its ways except through making it his/her life’s work? Kinda depressing isn’t it?

DickF October 10, 2007 at 2:33 pm


It may not bring much comfort but the citizens as a whole understand this distortion of speech and understand property rights. The government uses this kind of speech to justify their central planning and totalitarian actions but as happened with the Kelo backlash citizens do recognize these abuses of power.

What is important is for us to make sure that our fellow citizens understand how important it is to voice an opinion to politicians in meetings and at the ballot box.

Jason Corkern October 10, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Never in my lifetime has the line between “us” and “them” been so blatant and so strong. My first stint with The People Who Run The Government was at age 16 when I found that free public education isn’t free and it isn’t public. I have been paying attention ever since.

You may have noticed that I write “The People Who Run The Government” instead of “The Government,” as this puts things in perspective. If you are a writer, please start writing this, and when you close your piece(s) please don’t end it leaving your reader with nothing more than the bitter feeling that yet something more is wrong and nothing can be done. Instead have the guts to leave a call to action, a step that can be taken to regain control.

Jean Paul October 10, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Jason, can you give an example of a call to action?

Rod Peet, Jr. October 11, 2007 at 7:28 am

The term “stakeholder”, in addition to distracting from the essence of government action, also encourages people to participate in their own destruction. If they don’t know any better the victims themselves buy into the “package-deal”. And many do not know any better because of their government “education”. Sure their property was taken – but they were consulted and their input considered (and ignored)so they have no complaint if they do not like the outcome. After all, they think, is was done democratically, legally, and for the greater good of society.

Alex MacMillan October 11, 2007 at 5:34 pm

What do you think about the case of a mother who continually, seriously abuses her child? I would presume that no-one would argue that the child is the mother’s property. Instead, I would guess people would argue that the mother should be interfered with to prevent further abuse to the child’s own person (property of the child).

What about street racing? I presume people would argue that others should not be able to use their cars in such a manner as to threaten the property (including the body) of others.

In other words, if the property (including the human body) of people is threatened or damaged by the actions of others’, I would argue that intervention to prevent such damage or compensate for such damage is justified. Is there any disagreement here?

Jean Paul October 11, 2007 at 6:08 pm

“What about street racing? I presume people would argue that others should not be able to use their cars in such a manner as to threaten the property (including the body) of others.”

If some behavior is contrary to the road’s owner’s rules, the offending parties can be barred from the road, and held accountable to whatever penalties their contractual use of the road stipulates.

Independent of ownership, the threat or act of aggression can always be responded to using no more force than the initial aggression warrants (i.e. that amount of force which was threatened), and only for the purpose of restitution, never for ‘punishment’.

You don’t need a state to awkwardly work this out for you ahead of time. Property owners can set whatever rules they think are right for them, and demand they be followed; and property owners may freely respond with the warranted degree of force in any situation. If such force is excessive, they themselves become aggressors and may be held accountable for the excess.

Ben O'Neill October 11, 2007 at 10:44 pm

Thanks for your comments on my article guys. I will endeavour to answer those comments pertaining to the subject of the article (I will leave other comments to others to chat about).

Olev: Thankfully, the task of influencing society does not fall to any one person. And thankfully, there are a few brave souls that have taken it on as their life’s work anyway.

Jason: Thanks for your comments. The absence of any discussions of solutions in my article was not intended to imply that nothing can be done —quite the contrary. It was merely a matter of confining the scope of the topic. But, having said this, it is important to understand that stating the problem clearly is the first step toward regaining control. Governments will lose the power to railroad people’s lives thonly when the widespread illusion of Government benevolence is shattered. As for specific action to achieve this, writing articles (or comments on a blog) exposing government swindles seems to me to be as good an action as any.


Alex MacMillan October 16, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Jean Paul: Sorry I’ve been away, but regardless of road ownership, what would the appropriate “restitution” be for killing a family of four by street racing? Also, arguing against “punishment,” I presume you are arguing against the revenge motive. Can’t disagree there. However, you presumably also believe that others’ potential bad actions are unaffected by well-published penalties.

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