tryanny of the miniority


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xd9fan
October 4, 2005, 07:51 PM
To Name a College:
Adam Smith or Jennie Lee?
10/3/05
by Richard M. Ebeling
Printable Format

Richard Ebeling is the president of FEE.

Few books have influenced the world in the direction of economic freedom and prosperity as much as Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. It was published in March 1776, just a few months before the signing of the American Declaration of Independence, which hailed the complementary ideal of individual liberty and limited government.

If anyone deserves permanent recognition for a lasting contribution to the improvement of humanity it is Adam Smith. But to a band of leftist students in Smith’s hometown of Kirkcaldy (pronounced "kercoddy"), this is the last thing that should be done.

Two merged colleges located in Kirkcaldy, Adam Smith’s birthplace in eastern Scotland, were recently renamed after the town's most famous figure. But the new name, Adam Smith College, has not sat well with 30 radical students who refused to call their campus club the Adam Smith Students’ Association. According to the Sunday edition of The Scotsman, as far as these student activists are concerned, “Adam Smith’s name is linked to exploitation and greed” and with “socioeconomic policies that work against the people.”

Let us remember what it is that Adam Smith contributed to human understanding. Smith brilliantly demonstrated that government planning of economic affairs is not only unnecessary, but harmful to society. The eighteenth-century regulations and controls on trade and commerce known as mercantilism kept the vast majority of the population in a degree of poverty that could be overcome, Smith explained, if only a “system of natural liberty” were allowed to prevail.

If each person was secure in his life, liberty, and property, and if human relationships were based on the principle of voluntary exchange and mutual consent, then self-interest would guide individuals of their own accord to act in ways that would benefit not only themselves but other members of society as well.

Men need one another’s assistance, Smith reminded his readers, but a reliance on charity and benevolence has its limits. To get the assistance of others, it is far more effective to offer them opportunities to improve their own circumstances through trade. Smith identified the essence of every exchange as, “Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want.” He then added, famously, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

The very interdependency of people in the division of labor generates incentives for each person to apply his knowledge, ability, and creativity to produce what others want as a means of obtaining what he wants.

This is the idea behind Adam Smith’s conception of the “invisible hand.” The patterns and relationships among people in society emerge spontaneously without government direction or command. Freedom of choice and association brings about its own social order without the necessity of political design.

Government’s role in this system of natural liberty is to protect each individual from violence and fraud so that everyone may go his peaceful way, making his contribution to the good of society as a byproduct of trying to improve his own situation.

This simple but profound idea has been one of the linchpins in revolutionizing the material, cultural, and spiritual condition of mankind over the last two centuries. It has been the basic idea that has, slowly but surely, liberated people around the world from oppression and poverty. Adam Smith showed that freedom works when people are left at liberty to act peacefully of their own accord.

Who Is Jennie Lee?

Instead of honoring Adam Smith, these students in Kirkcaldy have chosen to call their group the Jennie Lee Students’ Association. Who is Jennie Lee? She was a notorious socialist born near Kirkcaldy in 1904; she died in 1988. As a teenager she enthusiastically supported the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and participated with the socialist agitators who worked to see that the British government did nothing to undermine the budding “worker’s state” being built by Lenin. After graduating from Edinburgh University, she stood for Parliament in 1929, becoming the youngest member of the House of Commons and the first woman Labor Party member elected.

Though she was defeated for reelection in 1935, Jennie Lee worked with those pushing for the Popular Front movement against fascism under the global leadership of Comrade Stalin in the Soviet Union. After the war she was again elected to Parliament; in the 1960s she served as the minister of arts in a Labor government and was responsible for setting up the Open University, a hotbed of socialist radicalism.

Those leftist students at Adam Smith College insist that “Jennie Lee would be an excellent role model for students because of the courage and conviction she showed in achieving the aims she believed passionately in.” Indeed, the students are pushing for the whole institution to be re-renamed Jennie Lee College. And it appears that the college authorities may give in to this demand.

Jennie Lee, and many other leftwing activists like her in the twentieth century, were the intellectual apologists for the most destructive and murderous ideology in modern history. In the name of making a new socialist man in a new collectivist utopia, tens of millions were slaughtered around the globe: 65 million in the Soviet Union and upwards of 80 million in communist China alone. The Black Book of Communism, published in the 1990s, chronicles this dark episode in human experience for those who want to know many of the details of this worldwide crime against humanity.

These same apologists worked unceasingly to impose the same type of socialist madness in their home countries in the West. Their lasting legacy are the infected minds of people—including many in the younger generation—who believe that socialism was a “beautiful ideal” that only went bad because the wrong people were put in charge, or because the “evil, imperialist West” worked to undermine this “noble experiment,” or because it just wasn’t given enough time to prove itself superior in every way to the corrupt capitalism we are “forced” to live under for the benefit of the handful of blood-sucking businessmen who manipulate society.

Jennie Lee was a foot soldier in the cause of human enslavement and economic misery. Any monument to her would be a twisted tribute in place of one for that true friend of mankind, Adam Smith.

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cuchulainn
October 5, 2005, 08:35 AM
Sometimes I think we should tag our schools with simple numbers and save ourselves a lot of grief.

Of course, then we'll get stuff like "the patriarchy of even numbers" or "the oppressive hegemony of integers."

antarti
October 5, 2005, 04:52 PM
Nope, not surprised at all...

Imagine walking into your first Masters class and hearing "My name is Ms. xxxx, I am a socialist and a femininst. We will be evaluating the writings of the Revolutionary period according to that template. Anything that doesn't bubble-up through that template is irrelevant for the purposes of your class assignment, a 40-60 page scholarly work."

She wasn't punning either, putting socialist/feminist and "scholarly work" in the same sentence.

At least I had a previous (undergrad) class with another teacher that prepared me for that, in that one I heard "Your report concerning Melville selections are to strictly correspond to the feminist template." IOW, put the feminist template over Moby Dick and see (only) what could possibly be construed as feminism, and (only) write about and find some way to reinforce that, and conclude Moby Dick is a terrific defense of feminism.

That was one damn slim paper. Even slimmer than the one I did on Ben Franklins various (auto/non-auto)biographical discrepancies and how that proved he was a socialist/feminist in Colonial garb.

At least I got to study Hemingway with a different instructor...

Once you've seen it from the inside, the outside doesn't look so crazy anymore, just sad. And that was over 10 years ago. Our colleges are even bigger dens of iniquity now.

MrTuffPaws
October 5, 2005, 05:12 PM
Sometimes I think we should tag our schools with simple numbers and save ourselves a lot of grief.

Of course, then we'll get stuff like "the patriarchy of even numbers" or "the oppressive hegemony of integers."

:what: BAWAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Henry Bowman
October 5, 2005, 05:16 PM
Sometimes I think we should tag our schools with simple numbers and save ourselves a lot of grief. There'd be a huge battle of which one got the honor of being #666. :rolleyes: :evil:

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