Don Boudreaux, of Cafe Hayek fame, posted his thoughts yesterday on the entitlement mentality that many harbor in this country and around the world. In his post, the object of felt entitlement was for the fruit of another’s labor, a sense of deserving that which one hasn’t themselves produced. I know very few people who would come right out and say that they had a morally-correct claim on another’s wealth, but when rephrased into political language, almost everyone falls into the entitlement camp. Indeed, this type of entitlement mentality is highly conducive to government growth, the Political Class builds their Leviathan State upon it. Politicians can induce envy and resentment in the populace against various hobgoblins and harness it to create the legislative monstrosities that result in rampant taxation, regulation, and war.
But what about another entitlement mentality, one that is imminently unpopular with the Political Class because to allow this mentality to flourish would mean the obliteration of their power? I’m talking about the sense of entitlement one has for liberty. The liberty to keep your entire paycheck, to voluntarily enter and exit personal and business relationships at will, the sense of entitlement for unhampered voluntarism.
I don’t mean merely liberty for oneself, but liberty for everyone. I’m greatly benefited by whatever liberty supermarkets have to operate in the market, or whatever liberty doctors have in treating my family and I. A sense of entitlement for liberty is the one entitlement mentality the political elite will not tolerate, because it is the immovable object blocking their path to power. That’s why liberty is portrayed as selfish, dangerous, reckless, etc., despite the fact that whatever liberty we still retain is responsible for the degree of prosperity, peace, and civilization we enjoy. Liberty addresses social dilemmas far better and far more quickly than bureaucrats, who, rather than solving social dilemmas, merely exploit their existence to increase regulation and taxation, effectively creating more social dilemmas. And whether it’s the Drug War, terrorism, poverty, crime, pollution, etc., government is the chief source of social pollution.