Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Laurence, The great Leonard Read said it best in this little parable from his Elements of Libertarian Leadership:

Saint Peter’s List
A person reputed for his libertarian views was a visiting guest at a chamber of commerce meeting. Favorable action was taken on three committee reports, all of which were pleas for the federal government to use its compulsion to obtain the property of others that the local community might be “benefited.” At the conclusion of the meeting the visitor was invited to “say a word.” This is all he said:

Remus Papwagon passed away and his spirit floated to the Pearly Gates. The spirit knocked. Saint Peter responded and inquired as to the purpose of the visit.

“I crave admittance,” said the spirit.

Saint Peter looked over his list and sadly announced, “Sorry, Mr. Papwagon, I don’t have your name.”

“Don’t have my name? How come?”

“You took money from others, from widows and orphans as well as the rich, in order to satisfy your personal notions of doing good.”

“Saint Peter, you are in error. I had the reputation of an honest man.”

“You may have had that reputation among those who acted in a manner similar to yourself, but it was an undeserved reputation. Specifically, you were, a financial supporter and a member of the board of directors of the Opportunity Chamber of Commerce, and that organization sponsored a government golf course, to mention but one of the many irresponsible actions that required the coercive extortion of the earnings of widows and orphans to benefit would-be golfers.”

“Ah, but that was the Opportunity Chamber of Commerce that took those actions, not your humble servant, Remus Papwagon.”

Saint Peter looked over his list again and then said, “Mr. Papwagon, we don’t have any chambers of commerce or labor unions or councils of churches on this list. There is nothing but individual souls.”

Saint Peter closed the Pearly Gates.

Whereupon, the meeting adjourned, but some in attendance that day are still speculating on the whereabouts of the soul of Remus Papwagon and on the prospects for others who similarly deny self-responsibility.