John Gorentz (johngorentz) wrote in democracyreader,
John Gorentz

Sidney Hook: Bread and Freedom

I just barely got started on this item. I liked this from the opening paragraph:

Despite various doctrines of absolute and inalienable rights, no one can reasonably hold that any specific right or freedom should be gratified regardless of its consequences on the community and its bearings on other rights and freedoms. Some order of priority among freedoms must be recognized, and some method of determining that priority must be found."

A few years ago you'd hear libertarian types saying, "We should argue against the income tax on the grounds that it's immoral for the government to take blah, blah, blah..." And I would just roll my eyes. Yes, it's immoral for the government to take your money. And it's immoral not to have a government that protects our country and that protects the weak from the strong, etc. Whatever you're going to do, you can say it's immoral.

I haven't heard that line so much lately, but I'm not sure this isn't a weakness of libertarians, that they obsess on any one particular right. If you talk about the need to accomplish other social objectives, they accuse you of social engineering. Well, I now think I'm prepared the next time I hear that line, but I'll save it for then...
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