Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm reading--desultorily--Jude Wanniski's THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS. I ran across a quote that more than caught my eye, from the little frenchman himself:

Writing to his brother Lucien on Christmas Day, 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote:

"Whilst an individual owner, with a personal interest in his property, is always wide awake, and brings his plans to fruition, communal interest is inherently sleepy and unproductive, because individual enterprise is a matter of instinct, and communal enterprise is a matter of public spirit, which is rare."
A big AMEN to that. The recurring problem I have with a massive takeover of anything by government is that gummint, by nature, is sleepy and unproductive. Its real success lies in the absolute need for its workers to be dedicated and devoted, in a way that is supplied naturally to owners and private operators by, hate to say it, the motive of profit and pride. That is difficult to sustain year after year when one has no PERSONAL interest in the stewardship to which he/she is called. When an entire bureaucracy is asked to sustain it, the results are going to be much much worse than the fettered capitalism we now enjoy.

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