All Commentary
Monday, January 1, 1990

Perspective: Statements from Poland

We recently received the following statement of principles from three members of the Union for Realpolitik in Breslau, Poland. We have made a few editorial changes for the sake of clarity:

“The Union for Realpolitik is a political group whose main goal is to introduce the free market economy to Poland. We believe that state property should be transferred to the private sector by stock sale. Governmental and parliamentary interference in the economy should be forbidden and secured by the Constitution. All governmental subsidies, allocations, etc. should be repealed. The socialist welfare state, which already has failed, should be liquidated. Our ideal is an independent man, not a social welfare recipient.

“Leftist demagogues, social reformers, planners, and ‘enlightened’ progressives should be fought ideologically and politically. Trade union activity should be allowed only under the condition that such laws as the inviolability of private ownership, freedom of work, and the prohibition against violence are respected. Taxes should be as low as possible and not progressive.

“The future educational system should be-based on private schools. Compulsory school attendance and legally forced coeducation should be repealed. People should be free to found schools of all kinds with different curricula and freely chosen languages of instruction.

“A strong, modernized, and technically well-equipped army with additional military training for men (in the Swiss fashion) is a necessity in Poland’s geopolitical condition, it will be the best safeguard for our independence—not peace demonstrations or friendly statements made by other countries.

“Liberty is the basis for economic development as well as for diversity of social, cultural, and intellectual life.”

The three Poles also included a statement on the idea of a United Europe. Again, we have made a few editorial changes:

“We categorically reject the idea of a United Europe. We are for a Free Europe. That means a Europe where each country maintains its sovereignty, but all the impediments that hamper the free exchange of people, goods, and capital (entry visas, tariff walls, restricted freedom of settling) are repealed.

“We believe that the ideas being born in Brussels [headquarters of the European Community] and Strasbourg [seat of the Council of Europe] are dangerous for freedom and the peaceful development of Europe. In our opinion these ideas will lead to the leveling and bureaucratization of Europe. In this way efforts are being made to restrain the freedom movement in Europe and to spread centralism on an international scale. The idea of a United Europe will help Eurocrats, bureaucrats, lobbies, and politicians to keep and strengthen their power.

“Aiming to establish a common European government as well as armed forces is utopian and dangerous. What Europe needs is a free market economy based on private property and free competition, total freedom of trade, and the end to state intervention and planning. It is also essential that the welfare state be gradually liquidated. Each man should have the right of settling, living, and working wherever he can and wishes.”

Those Who Seek Freedom

Some people fear that this country will be over-populated and impoverished unless we close our borders, but nothing could be more untrue. Where the rights of mankind are denied, where people are chattel, where the politically powerful eat out the substance of the powerless, those places have population explosions, famines, and disease. Where people are relatively free, left to their own devices, those places have stable populations, good health, and increasing wealth. The quality of life rises and falls in proportion to liberty. People seeking freedom are achievers, not burdens.

—Bernard I. Sommer

Glenview, Illinois

Rent Control

After 46 years, rent control [in New York City] seems the normal state of affairs. Yet it’s a stifling state of affairs. In the early 1920s, after World War I, rent controls were allowed to expire; apartment house construction boomed, then flickered in the early 1930s in New York and revived as the economy improved before Pearl Harbor. If there were a continuing development of new apartment houses now, more people could move up, opening apartments for families in income groups below them.

Never having seen a free housing market, today’s tenants fear that without controls they will be subject to gouging and capricious eviction. They do not understand that rent control has benefited the lucky, not the needy. As the prospect for profitable ownership of apartment houses improves, the supply increases. Competition for tenants among owners controls rents more effectively than governmental regulation.

—from an editorial in the

May 30, 1989, New York Times.

The Freedom Philosophy

Some claim they are powerless to halt the encroachment of government, but anyone can apply the freedom philosophy by independent, personal removal from the government doles. Each should examine his life; locate his area of involvement with public funds, if any; then act according to what he has learned. Certainly we can’t expect others, especially elected officials, to practice the freedom philosophy if we ourselves don’t.

—Joe Ogrinc

Bratenahl, Ohio