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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Man Versus the State

Man Versus the State.

But the State cannot save us. State regulation cannot make us rich and happy. We shall have to be content to progress slowly. Competence can only come after years of hard toil and patient waiting. There is no short cut to riches. Possibly that is a good thing, for one might "wax fat and kick." Easy come easy go. The tortoise beat the hare. It is the steady plodding at one thing, unallured by outside speculations, that tells. The page 18 great political superstition is in trusting to Government instead of oneself. The wolf in the heart often brings a wolf to the door. Material progress is not necessarily real welfare, and much discontent arises from the mistaken belief that it is. It is, of course, desirable that all men should be able to earn decent livings without being overworked. That depends more on self-help, humanitarian and moral, than legal remedies. Legislative interference will only intensify trade depression and obstruct industrial opportunities.

Our northern settlers have proved that self-reliance, hard work, and frugality can win victory from even an uncongenial soil on the margin of cultivation, where roads are bad and markets distant.

State regulation of interest, rent, hours of labour and of shopping, factory work, mining and general economic interests will make matters worse. There is too much legislation; there are too many experiments, too many bids for popularity and office, and the Association will do well to put on the brake to retard State coercion. Self-reliance is needed; and unless the people have that, no laws can help them.