Why We Regress

Try to imagine a country where theft was the principle means of survival. It is easy to see how such a society would soon become bankrupt.

The article below was published in the Gwinnett Daily Post on January 17, 2003.


Some people think theft can be more rewarding and less strenuous than persuasive production and trade. When this occurs thievery grows until the pain, or cost, exceeds the pain associated with honest labor. Suppose every person in America became a petty thief. What type of country would we live in?

Instead of producing goods and services that sustain and comfort us, we would spend our time stealing from each other. Our efforts would be geared toward stealth, subterfuge, violence, or the avoidance of these things. Theft, violence, and the inevitable countermeasures would naturally escalate.

There would be no point in producing goods for future use because the cost of protecting those goods from theft would exceed their value. Any surplus would attract thieves instead of customers. Products and services unrelated to theft would be nonexistent. Scarcity and survival would become the focus of our lives. Those clans with the most guile and violent methods would rule every region. Life would become the “Ultimate Survivor” game without commercials.

Margaret Thatcher once said,

Half the countries of the world claim to be democratic, but being democratic is not enough, for a majority cannot turn what is wrong into what is right.

Stealing is wrong. Stealing is a bankrupt policy and this becomes apparent when everybody does it. It is wrong for two or more neighbors to jointly steal from a third neighbor. Voting to steal–DOES NOT–absolve the theft.

Whenever people urge government to create laws that rob Peter to pay Paul or themselves, they participate in legal theft. Whenever politicians pander to expedient demands for access to the public treasury, they participate in legal theft. The farmer paid not to farm, the homeowner and college student given below market loans, the industry tariff that limits access to competitive markets, and the federal giveaways for everything from Amtrak to zygote research are legal theft.

Every person reading this letter receives some type of government extracted benefit. Prior to 1913 there was no federal income tax. Forced withholding didn’t start until WWII. The pace of legal theft has been accelerating ever since. Every special interest, industry association, and bleeding heart is now on the “get government to steal it for you” bandwagon.

Over the last 80 years we have evolved into a population of thieves and yet; we wonder why our society is failing.