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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Discovery of Freedom

From Mises.org:

What an American original was Rose Wilder Lane! What a treasure! She lived from 1886 until 1968, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and widely considered a silent collaborator on the Little House series. Regardless, she was a great intellectual, writer, and editor in her own right, and was even one of the highest paid writers in the US during her days as a journalist, war correspondent, and novelist.

[The Discovery of Freedom] is her non-fiction book (1943), one that had a huge impact on American libertarian thought in the 20th century. In fact, Robert LeFevre called it "one of the most influential books of the 20th century." [An excerpt]:

For sixty known centuries, multitudes of men have lived on this earth. Their situation has been the everlasting human situation. Their desire to live has been as strong as ours. Their energy has always been enough to make this earth at least habitable for human beings. Their intelligence has been great.

Yet for six thousand years, most men have been hungry. Famines have always killed multitudes, and still do over most of this earth. Ninety-five years ago, the Irish were starving to death; no one was surprised. Europeans had never expected to get from this earth enough food to keep them all alive.

Why did men die of hunger, for six thousand years?

Why did they walk, and carry goods and other men on their backs, for six thousand years, and suddenly, in one century, only on a sixth of this earth's surface, they make steamships, railroads, motors, airplanes, and now are flying around the earth in its utmost heights of air?

Why did families live six thousand years in floorless hovels, without windows or chimneys, then, in eighty years and only in these United States, they are taking floors, chimneys, glass windows for granted, and regarding electric lights, porcelain toilets, and window screens as minimum necessities?

Why did workers walk barefoot, in rags, with lousy hair and unwashed teeth, and workingmen wear no pants, for six thousand years, and here--in less than a century--silk stockings, lip sticks, permanent waves, sweaters, overcoats, shaving cream, safety razors. It's incredible.

For thousands of years, human beings use their energies in unsuccessful efforts to get wretched shelter and meager food. Then on one small part of the earth, a few men use their energies so effectively that three generations create a completely new world.

What explains this? Read more>>>>

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