The Purpose of Society

And what is the one constant element in all these relationships? Why does one person want to meet another person? What is the human purpose in society?

It is to exchange one good for another good more desired. Putting it on a personal basis, it is a matter of benefiting yourself by getting something you desire from another person who, at the same time, benefits himself by getting something that he desires from you. The object of such contacts is the peaceful exchange of benefits, mutual aid, co-operation — for each person’s gain. The incalculable sum of all these meetings is human society, which is simply all the individual human actions that express the brotherhood of man.

To discuss the welfare and responsibilities of society as an abstract whole, as if it were like a bee swarm, is an oversimplification and a fantasy. The real human world is made by persons, not by societies. The only human development is the self-development of the individual person. There is no shortcut!

But even today, many civilized persons — nice people, cultured, gentle, and kind, our friends and our neighbors, almost all of us at some time or another — have harbored the pagan belief that the sacrifice of the individual person serves a higher good. The superstition lingers in the false ideal of selflessness — which emphasizes conformity to the will-of-the-mass — as against the Christian virtues of self-reliance, self-improvement, self-faith, self-respect, self-discipline, and a recognition of one’s duties as well as one’s rights.

Such thinking is promoted under the banner of social reform, but it gives rise to the tyrants of “do-goodism” — the führers, the dictators, the overlords — who slaughter their own subjects, the very people who look to them for the more abundant life and for protection against harm.

Today such killings are called “liquidation,” “blood purge,” “social engineering”; but they are defended on the basis of pagan barbarism — a sacrifice of the individual under the alibi of what is claimed to be the “common good.”

via The Pagan View – Henry Grady Weaver – Mises Daily.


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