The kind of nation Ayn Rand was looking at, with complete private ownership of everything and no government interference whatsoever, will probably never become reality. In the current scenario it would just cause problems, and I don’t see anyone agreeing to follow a completely open socio-politico-economic set-up in the foreseeable future.
But ultimately, it’s the only way men can truly be free.
Humanity started with monarchies and dictatorships, because that was closest to the concept of the alpha of the pack. Then we realised that that severely restricted our freedoms, that if we had to live under a single totalitarian ruler then we would essentially be under the control of his whims and the whims of his sycophants. So we eventually fought through to democracy.
This is an improvement because there is a chance that our rulers will tone down their whimsical disposal of our lives and livelihoods because they have to be re-elected.
But honestly, look at India’s democracy. Do you see them afraid? Do you see honest, dedicated individuals who want to better the country, succeeding in this system? Or do you see thugs and smug intellectual idiots sitting in power and making our lives a whole lot worse?
Let me give you an example of the kind of interference our government is capable of.Â I’m observing the processes and formalities a small business has to suffer in order to function, close up. My parents hardly have the time to get and do the work that earns the money that the government wants to tax, because there are too many forms and laws to fill and follow. And none is clear, and they’re all different for different income slabs, and even the auditor doesn’t know what they mean, most of the time.
Atlas Shrugged puts it rather well. A government servant: “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? … But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on the guilt.”
That, of course, is how whenever someone goes against the government they end up accused of tax evasion or stamp duty fraud. It is literally impossible to obey all the rules they’ve dreamed up.
It may be possible to live in this current system. (Live, not just survive – of course it’s possible to survive.) But why should it be necessary to force ourselves to struggle through this? After all, what does the government do that the Indian private sector haven’t proven they can do better? What administration do we need? Roads? Private companies make them anyway. If the land is bought from private individuals along the way and developed by the companies and toll charged to make up costs and profits, where is the government needed? Disaster management? The government does a pathetic job. If they get out of the way, I’m sure disaster insurance will very quickly become something that every village can invest in. Education? The private sector has proven that they are better than the government in education. And without governments, there’s no question of reservation. This is true of everything the government today collects money for,Â except for the defence and the judiciary, defence because it does need centralisation and judiciary because it needs neutrality, which it can’t have if it’s partly or wholly owned by private entities. (Judiciary even now needs more independence, of course.)
The question that I’m sure will have arisen by this point, is: but what about those who can’t afford it? Consider it. Yes, the best services will always be meant for the rich. But there are markets at every level. If there’s no free education for the poorest of the poor (any different from the current situation?), that doesn’t mean there won’t be inexpensive education. If every person looks out for his own interests and the achievement of his own principles, then the poor will gain education by any of the following three ways: (i) A businessman will see a market in providing cheaper education in a city, attracting poorer sections of society. (ii) An industrialist will set up a school intended to educate the youth in processes needed in his factories, subsidising costs since it gives him an employment bank. (iii) A philanthropist will recognise that the poorest children are intelligent too and he cannot allow them to lose their spark for lack of training, and set up a scholarship fund/low-cost school.
In other words, if you have a truly free state, where everything is privately owned and every interaction is a matter of fair exchange and every person acts only for his own selfish interest, to achieve his own betterment and the realisation of his own values, there is no need for a government at all.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? It does to me, at least, the thought of true freedom – the freedom to earn and the freedom to live.
This is not a call for revolution, because no one would join me and I’d feel rather silly standing alone and shouting for the establishment to “Get the hell out of my way!” It’s just a thought. A thought I’d probably never have had without the woman to whom I owe most of my thinking processes.Â A thought I’ve had endorsed by the view of my other favourite author, Terry Pratchett – that people lose their minds around kings, that they expect miracles from them, that the only kind of “honest” ruler calls himself a Tyrant – because that is exactly what he is.
This is not a call for revolution. It’s just something to think about.