Is a Lack in Courage the most striking Feature of our Western Democracies?
Monthly Market Commentary: January 1, 2021
A few days ago, I read a tweet by Republican member of Congress Lauren Opal Boebert (she is a gun rights activist), which said: “How did we go from starting a revolution over a tax on tea to collectively shrugging our shoulders when the government locks us in our homes, keeps us from seeing our families and arbitrarily closes our small businesses?”
Already in 1978, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008) delivered a Harvard Commencement Address entitled, A World Split Apart. At the time, Solzhenitsyn opined:
“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society..... Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?”
If there was indeed, a loss of courage following the Second World War we need to analyze why this was the case. It seems to me that as the government's share of the economy grew in the last hundred years, personal freedom and responsibility diminished. Therefore, it is likely that the larger the government becomes as a percentage of the economy the fewer small businesses there are, and the more docile society will become.
But remember the words of mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford:
“There is one thing in the world more wicked than the desire to command, and that is the will to obey.”
I wish all my readers and their families good health in the New Year.