Freeman

ARTICLE

The Non-System

NOVEMBER 01, 1969 by MARTIN F. SCHAFFER

I’m a firm believer in the notion that all that society owes any man is the right to do as he pleases  —to work, not to work, to provide a service, to dream, or to create  —so long as he doesn’t interfere with another man’s right to do likewise. If I want to do an honest day’s work to support my family, I should be free to do so. If I don’t want to work, then I shouldn’t bother others who want to, nor should I expect that they owe me part of their earnings.

Man is a needy being. If I feel that I can provide one of these needs, then let me do so. Galileo was troubled that the time for the swing of a chandelier was the same for a long swing and a short swing. Others in the same church saw the same thing. Only he dreamt and created. Left to do so without outside interference, most men will create, even if only to provide minimum sustenance.

And all the while, where is the system? We need none. Indeed, we have few systems in our society that are doing for man. Producers seem to get by despite systems and plans, however well-inten­tioned, that for the most part im­pede free enterprise. We have sys­tems, systems that watch systems, and systems that overlap. We have planners, planners that watch planners, and plans that overlap.

Give me a chance to act with­out roadblocks, because in the process of trying to eke out a liv­ing—a single working man or a corporation—I’m preoccupied with obstacles. Let’s not make others live as we do, but rely instead on mutual trust and respect. We can very well take care of ourselves if not over systematized by others.

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November 1969

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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