John Stossel

Surprisingly, he did show an understanding of the importance of the libertarian philosophy to America. "John, your way of thinking actually was great for this country. I mean it; it helped to found the country. It helped build us into one of the greatest nations, perhaps the greatest nation, that the earth has ever seen. Limited government, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, every man for himself, forward movement, pioneer spirit. That's why a lot of people in these other countries really admire us, because there's this American get up and go."

I interrupt here to point out another smuggled premise. Did you catch that "every man for himself" line? America was never about every man for himself. A free society is about voluntary communities cooperating through the division of labor. Libertarianism is far from "every man for himself."

After acknowledging that limited government helped make America great, Moore went on to say, "But I don't think that what you believe is what's going to allow us to survive."

He means that if government does not assure people health care and food, our society will disintegrate.

But why would a philosophy that was good enough to build a successful society be unsuited to sustaining that society? Individual freedom, with minimal government, made it possible for masses of people to cooperate for mutual advantage. As a result, society could be rich and peaceful. As the great economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, "What makes friendly relations between human beings possible is the higher productivity of the division of labor. . . . A preeminent common interest, the preservation and further intensification of social cooperation, becomes paramount and obliterates all essential collisions."

Freedom and benevolence go hand in hand.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate