Richard Ebeling emails:
I have a new article on the Future of Freedom Foundation website on, “The Keys to Human Prosperity: Individual Liberty and Rule of Law.”
We live in a society of arbitrary and discretionary government over personal freedom, private enterprises and human association. The price of such things is a loss of individual liberty and less market-based prosperity and opportunity that otherwise could be ours.
Human prosperity has been inescapably entwined with individual rights, private property and the rule of law. The rule of law refers to the idea that all are subject to the same impartial rules governing human association, including those who administer the enforcement of those rules in government. But they also are rules of a particular type in a free society: end-independent rules that establish the procedures under which and through which people will associate and interact, but which do not command or control the ends for which individuals live their lives in the pursuit of their own self-interested happiness.
Private property has been considered inseparable from individual rights and liberty for two reasons: that each should be respected and protected in that which they have produced or honestly acquired in voluntary and peaceful exchange; and, when property rights are secure individuals have the motives and incentives to use their talents and abilities in productive ways that benefit not only themselves others in society with whom they interact in the market system of division of labor.
But if the purpose and practice of the rule of law and property rights are understood in this way, we must conclude that we live in an increasingly lawless society in which governments use regulations, interventions, commands and prohibitions in arbitrary and discretionary ways that serve those in political office and those special interest groups closely tied to politicians and bureaucrats manning the offices of State power.