Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

J. H. Levy

Looked at from an economic point of view, I hold socialism to be the active or direct distribution of products by the state. Regarded from its more general or political aspect, I designate as socialistic any extension of state interference or activity beyond the point up to which that interference is necessary in order that freedom may be at the maximum. Individualism postulates that some government — that is, some compulsory cooperation for political purposes — is needed in order to keep freedom at this point, that so much government is justifiable and good, and that all government beyond this is unjustifiable and mischievous. This quantum of government desiderated by the individualist constitutes a norm from which anarchism diverges on one side and socialism on the other. If we are suffering from a poison we find it advantageous to take a second poison, which acts as an antidote to the first. But, if we are wise, we limit our dose of the second poison so that the toxic effects of both combined are at the minimum. If we take more of it, it produces toxic effects of its own beyond those necessary to counteract, so far as possible, the first poison. If we take less of it, the first poison, to some extent, will do its bad work unchecked.

Joseph Hiam Levy, The Outcome of Individualism (1892), Chapter Two.

By: Redactor

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