Principium Volume II, Book 7, Quote 774 and 776

774. (4-20-2010) [T]he State knows that people…desire…benefits, specifically economic benefits. And these that State endeavors to supply, if for no other reason than to keep them peaceful, to win their votes. But this presents a problem, for the State has no resources of its own with which to confer these benefits. It can give to one person only by first seizing it from another; if one person gets something for nothing, another person must get nothing for something. But the citizen-voter’s attention is so centered on the attractiveness of the things being promised that he forgets that the politician making the promises doesn’t have any of these things to give – and that he will have none of them after he gets into office; he will seize the earnings of one special interest group and distribute those earnings to another such group (minus the government’s 40% handling fee, of course.)

- John Hospers – The Nature of the State, 1978


776. (4-21-2010) Historically, “rights” had referred to guarantees given to individuals that neither the state nor society would infringe on their life, liberty, and possessions; later it came to mean also that they would be ruled by a government of their choice. Civil rights and political rights constituted liberty. Social “rights” are an altogether different matter. For when one promises the citizen “freedom from want” one accords him a guarantee which assures him not just protection of his own property but access to the property of others gained with the help of the state. This pledge opens the floodgates to a proliferation of spurious rights claimed by various groups formed for the purpose: “rights” of consumers, or renters, of nonsmokers, of patients, of the disabled, of immigrants,... and so on, all of which require the intervention of the state to enforce them and thereby lead to the enhancement of its authority. There is no limit to such “rights”, since they are purchased at someone else’s expense.

- Richard Pipes – Property and Freedom, 2000

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