Hence, it appears that such “of the people as have no vote in the choice of representatives, and therefore are governed by laws to which they have not consented, either by themselves or by their representatives,” are only those “persons who are that they are esteemed to have of their own.” Every every free man, possessing a freehold of forty shillings per annum, is, by the British constitution, entitled to a vote in the election of those who are invested with the disposal of his life, his liberty, and property.
And here let me point out that the money competition of the world, against which men so often thoughtlessly declaim, furnishes the soil, out of which that marvelous system of insurance against the physical evils of life has grown and is growing. Apart from profits and active competition in business, benefit societies and trades unions would find no profitable investment for their funds; and those, therefore, who would destroy or restrain the free movement of capital are destroying the bird that lays the golden egg. But the matter goes far beyond the range of what exists at present. No man can foresee today the full development in the future of the system of insurance. If it is allowed to grow naturally, without disturbance from the politicians, without impediment of any kind, in response to the wants that are calling it into existence, it is possible that in a certain number of years a man, without taking on his shoulder any great burden, may find himself sheltered, as far as shelter is possible, from much the larger part of the world's material troubles. But this development of voluntary protective organizations can never take place unless trade becomes wholly free, having ceased to be half strangled by taxation and official interferences, and unless personal enterprise and voluntary associations of all kinds are allowed to mutually stimulate each other to the full, so as to produce the richest results. Under such a competition we must at the same time expect evils and frauds to show themselves, but we need have no nervous misgivings on this account. The practical intelligence of the people, continually developed by a free system, will discover the fitting safeguards. We must remember that the world is still very young, as regards the application of voluntary combinations for supplying our wants. It is only in the last few years that voluntary association has begun to disclose its great powers for good; and we have no right to expect that we shall suddenly become efficient masters in the use of so new and so great an instrument. Many high qualities in ourselves are required before this can be the case. You can regulate a mass of half-men half-slaves under government systems, under enforced association, almost when you choose, and as you choose; but it is only free men, with the qualities of free men, that can take their place in voluntary associations. When once our eyes are opened to this great matter, we shall see, perhaps with some indignation, that those who are constantly striving to extend the area of government management, and to make men do by compulsory association what they could learn to do by voluntary association, are pronouncing the doom of the race, and condemning it to perpetual inefficiency.
No taxation without representation: A chant for the …
It is to Mr. Herbert Spencer's clear and comprehensive sight that we owe so much in this matter of liberty. Mr. Mill was an earnest and eloquent advocate of individual liberty. He was penetrated with the leading truth that all the great human qualities depend upon a man's mental independence, and upon his steady refusal to let a church, or a party, or the society in which he lives think for him. His book on liberty remains as a monument of a clearer sight, a higher faith, and nobler aspirations than those which exist at the present time, when both political parties compete with each other to tread their own principles underfoot, and to serve the expediency of the moment. But Mr. Spencer has approached the subject from a more comprehensive point of view than Mr. Mill, and has laid foundations on which, as men will presently acknowledge, the whole structure of society must be laid, if they are to live at peace with one another, and if all the great possibilities of progress are to be steadily and happily evolved. We owe to Mr. Spencer the clear perception that all ideas of justice and morality are bound up in the parent idea of liberty–that is, in the right of man to direct his own faculties and energies–and that where this idea is not acknowledged and obeyed, justice and morality cannot be said to exist. They can only be more shadows and imitations of the realities. I should advise all persons to read Mr. Spencer's and I ought perhaps to add here that I have reason to believe that Mr. Spencer disagrees with the conclusions regarding taxation, which I have drawn from his principles. I have discussed this question of taxation shortly in the last chapter of a little book called published by Messrs. Chapman & Hall, and would beg to refer any persons who may be interested in the subject to what I have said there. I hope soon to have ready a special paper dealing with this matter.