Carabini's Liberty, Dicta and Force
About a decade ago, I first met Louis Carabini when he sponsored a Mises Circle event in Newport Beach, California. At that event, I picked up a copy of his small book, Inclined to Liberty. Not long afterward, I had read it, been impressed with its insight and Mr. Carabini’s ability to turn a phrase, and had even done a bit of a teaser article to encourage others to read it.
Now, a decade later, I have read another short book of his that is similarly insightful, with well-worked ideas and language. It is Liberty, Dicta, and Force , although its subtitle may bring out its theme best: Why Liberty Brings Out The Best in People and how Government Brings Out the Worst. The themes of both books, in fact, are well-represented by two sentences on p. 22:
Those inclined to liberty accept their lives as their own responsibility, take responsibility for their actions, and view those claiming to be their masters as charlatans. Being responsible for your life includes being wary of the state, just as you would be wary of any other form of intrusion.
I believe that, as with Inclined to Liberty, the best way to stimulate more — and more careful — reading of Liberty, Dicta and Force would be to highlight some of Mr. Carabini’s most on-the-money and inspirational words. With that in mind, consider some of my favorites.
- Hobbes and Madison imply…that governments are needed to curtail man’s worst behavior; however, in actual practice, governments instead encourage man’s worst behavior…government provides a political safe harbor for the most abhorrent acts committed on its behalf.
- Each political group [has] as its essential common theme the use of dicta and force to gain obedience…Dicta and force are the heart and soul of governments.
- Those in government see solutions to problems they are certain will work. Yet …when their solutions are adopted and enforced the problems either get worse or create other problems worse than the ones for which the solution was designed.
- The worthiness of any given solution in …the marketplace…is determined by potential beneficiaries. In contrast, a top-down political process is a one-size-fits-all solution in which worthiness is predetermined by the designer.
- Allowing freedom to whatever extent government decrees requires the subjugation of some to the will of another…those who so prefer a master require everyone else…to be subject to the same master.
- In the political world, those who demand respect are enforcers to be dreaded, not leaders to be followed.
- We are awash in double-standard political jargon that manipulates our minds into transforming uncivil private behavior into civil public behavior…The same act that would land a private person in jail is praised when done by a so-called public one.
- Why do people today have a deeply held conviction that slavery is inhumane and demeans the very essence of life, yet will condone and even enthusiastically endorse enslavement when the state is the master?
- [Our] natural inclination toward cooperation and away from force tends to bring out the best behavior in people. In direct contrast, government authorities insist that dicta, obedience, and punishment are necessary to bring out the best behavior in people who, if left to their own volition, would become savages in a lawless society.
- In the upside-down political world… cheaters gain entitlement to that which they did not work to produce, while those who would ostracize them as cheaters are disentitled to that which they have worked to produce.
- Myriad government welfare programs have been devised…with a common thread of predation as the means to improve human welfare. Yet, despite the negative consequences of such programs, politicians remain convinced that predation — taking from some to give to others — if done their way, can…actually improve social welfare.
- Politicians use the word “fairness” to shroud the act of theft in an aura of righteousness.
- One would have to be most gullible to fall prey to the devious political tactic of criminalizing wealth, victimizing poorness, and moralizing theft.
- If [people] were truly convinced about the validity of their beliefs, they would welcome scrutiny as an opportunity to showcase them and demonstrate the invalidity of the opposing view.
- It is counterproductive to use dicta and punishment to command good behavior and conformity to another’s prescribed standards.
- Government force is incapable of accomplishing that which volition accomplishes naturally…The tragedy that sensible people are able to avoid when left alone is the very tragedy governments perpetuate.
- The tragedy of communal access to human resources is exemplified in a political democracy, where free riders have equal say about the distribution of resources as do those who produce them.
- The state only exists at the expense of the working, cooperative members of society, while disrupting…their natural proclivity to orderliness.
- Liberty is a concept of non-subordination that those who embrace politics find most difficult to accept because without subordination political governments would not exist.
- The belief that there is a plan that if implemented will bring about a better society begs for someone with exceptional insight who knows the plan and can make it a reality. With that mindset, people open their door to every sort of political pundit claiming to be that messiah, ready and willing to implement his or her miraculous plan if given the chance.
- Real people…do not become more brilliant, energetic, efficient, moral, creative, or superhuman by way of the state…the very opposite is engendered in people at the hands of the state.
- Using force to make people behave better will only make them behave worse!
- Outside the political world, people have myriad differences of opinions and preferences they can express without repressing the expression and preferences of others. The market seeks out every kind of expressed preference as an open invitation to provide satisfaction…In contrast, the political world is a battlefield where you had better shoot down the other guy’s preferences before he shoots down yours.
- If political democracy were as wonderful as many claim, the threat of physical force would not be needed to gain allegiance. Only this threat gives politicians an audience because without it, people would, for the most part, mind their own business.
In Liberty, Dicta and Force, Louis Carabini makes a forceful case that “There are no stronger or more peaceful means for bonding humans of different cultures than the synergism of open markets, where interactive trading is neither forced nor prohibited.” Consequently, it provides one of the central reasons for why “Liberty is not something to be doled out by, or subject to, a superior authority.” Americans would profit by learning, or re-learning, that increasingly counter-cultural conclusion.