Man is Moral

In his essay In the Name of Protection, written in 1984, Ridgway K. Foley Jr. writes the following:

“As the magnificent historian Richard Weaver chronicled, ideas do have consequences. Man is a moral creature, ultimately responsible for his actions and for the results of his behavior. Thus, each individual must bear the ethical burden both for the idea he espouses and for the consequences which ensue: The adoption of those ideas into hardened law or practice and the effect of those ideas upon subsequent deportment of other men and women. Like it or not, we are accountable, now and hereafter, for our handiwork, and we cannot ameliorate our responsibility by acting as a voluntary or cooperating adjunct to a team, a staff, a mob, or an electorate.

The state consists of those who partake of the power and of the beneficiaries of that coercive body. The state cannot create rights, but it can destroy them. The state cannot create wealth, but it can destroy it. The state cannot create life, but it can destroy it. The state cannot create moral conduct, but it can destroy it. All of these untoward events can occur only if the individuals within the state permit it to pervert the law. We who allow petty little irrationalities—restriction of market entry to purveyors of airplane tickets—with applause or without a whimper in the name of protection, stand accused.”

Read the entire essay here,


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