The limitation of governmental power

General Douglas MacArthur left us many words of serious thought. Among them were these about the limitation of governmental power (from his pictorial autobiography Duty, Honor, Country, page 210):

There are many who have lost faith in this early American ideal and believe in a form of socialistic, totalitarian rule, a sort of big brother deity to run our lives for us. They no longer believe that free men can successfully manage their own affairs. Their thesis is that a handful of men, centered in government, largely bureaucratic not elected, can utilize the proceeds of our toil and labor to greater advantage than those who create it. Nowhere in the history of the human race is there justification for this reckless faith in political power. It is the oldest, most reactionary of all forms of social organization. It was tried out in ancient Babylon, ancient Greece and ancient Rome; in Mussolini’s Italy, in Hitler’s Germany, and in all communist countries. Wherever and whenever it has been attempted, it has failed utterly to provide economic security, and has generally ended in national disaster. It embraces an essential idiocy, that individuals who, as private citizens, are not to manage the disposition of their own earnings, become in public office supermen who can manage the affairs of the world.

We struggle against this tyranny of idiocy today.

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