Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Bedrock Of Britain

"So the land remained (in the attack of J. Bentham - a man who dreamed of 13 great departments of state controlling every aspect of human life) "feudal despotism" in theory and "anarchy" in practice.

But it was a rather peaceful "anarchy" (outside the big cities). True there were no police - but people could call on the general population to help them, and population generally did (even in the big cities).

Marxists might cry about false "ideology" distrating the poor from their true "class interests" and other folk today might talk about how the property of the rich was not "justly acquired" (to this sort of person no individually owned property is "justly acquired" of course - to find a flaw in ownership they will search all the way back to the Ice Age if they must), but the fact remains that if a rich man or women (in rural area or city) was attacked by robbers and called for help - they could expect to be helped.

Not only would the rich person be likely to be armed (poor people were quite likely to be armed also) - but they could count on the active help of poor people if attacked by robbers (either in their home or walking in the streets).

This basic respect for property rights was the bedrock on which everything Britain achieved was built.

"Anarchy" with general and active (i.e. people will join with you in defence of your property) respect for property rights (in both person and possessions) is the foundation of progress - "anarchy" without such general and active respect is indeed evil 'chaos'."
Part of Paul Marks' excellent first comment on a Samizdata piece about a WSJ review of Joel Mokyr's "The Enlightened Economy" by Brian Micklethwait.

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