Liberty and Law: a Bull Moose Future?

Liberty and Law: a Bull Moose Future? November 12, 2019

My grandfather was killed by Union Carbide.

They couldn’t bother to give him asbestos protection, knowing the pittance they would pay my grandmother would not matter to the bottom line. This is not a free market, but powerful plutocrats with politicians in their pockets banking on being kept safe from the consequences of evil.

Liberty for all requires government that will push back on this plutocracy. Whatever his faults, and like any man they were many, Theodore Roosevelt knew this, felt this, lived this with a passion. The rich, and Roosevelt was one of that class, did not need protection: people like my grandfather did.

Yet. 

Roosevelt understood that over time freedom would have punished Carbide. The justice of the market is slow, but sure. Killing your employees is not the way to long term prosperity. Left alone, with a justice system that does not play favorites (!), companies that do evil will perish.

The wages of corporate sin is bankruptcy: eventually.

If this is true, and I accept that it is, there is a problem. Time is sure, but slow, too slow. How many good men like Papaw must die painfully before Carbide is penalized? The answer? A good few. . .

Mayhap one is too many!

Theodore Roosevelt got this in his bones. Carbide must be slapped back. Freedom is not absolute, not for an individual and surely not for a corporation, because absolute freedom kills liberty. Papaw’s liberty required he be allowed full human flourishing, the pursuit of happiness promised him in our social contract. Carbide denied this to to him and so government should have intervened and sent the robber barons to prison. These executives were slow motion killers:calculating like worse than Scrooge that all the Tiny Tim’s dead would cost them less than a few safety precautions.

TRex knew that waiting was immoral. We could not let citizens be denied the promise of liberty to merely preserve freedom. Liberty and freedom are not quite the same. Freedom produces inequality, given different aptitudes and plain old luck some will do better, some worse. Some will be spectacularly successful, some unbelievably unlucky. Liberty accepts this must be in the broken world, but demands that all be given justice: the ability to flourish if worthy.

If a man does good, he should do well. Everyone should be able to flourish: body, soul, and mind. 

Once I said this to a group of leaders in a wealthy part of the nation . . . And they called me a socialist.

This is how one gets real socialists.

TRex knew this: Revolution is bred by those who allow freedom to deny liberty to all. God knows that I hate Bolshevism, just as Theodore Roosevelt did. If only for that reason, I would support justice for men like my Papaw: no corporate welfare, no special rules for corporations, and no corporate contributions to politics.

Forget, however, what is worst (socialism) and fight for what is best: liberty with justice. 

We need a state governments that refuse to give special breaks to big business. We need a central government that will not punish success, we do not fear billionaires, but also does not fear saying “no” to the rich. A just society will not create “successes” by special favors. Smaller businesses need little regulation, international, trans-national business needs more pushback from patriots.

Or so it seems to me: it’s what Papaw taught me.

 

 

 


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