From R.C. Hoiles
May 21, 1962
Dr. Ludwig von Mises
777 West End Avenue
New York 25, N.Y.
Dear Dr. von Mises:
Thanks for your letter of May 14. You asked a couple of questions and I always believe in answering questions. I want my ideas tested.
In your fourth paragraph you say: ”Mr. LeFevre suggests that every voter should choose the President he prefers and should have this man of his choosing as his President without any obligation as against those candidates whom other voters have chosen. Is this a workable idea?”
My answer is that it is a much more workable idea than having the government President selected by the majority. These different presidents would undoubtedly get together and try to promote, or try to defend, man's rights to property. And you are taking away a man's rights to property when you take away his right to choose how he shall defend his lie and property.
Your next question is: “Can these functions be performed by a multiplicity of Presidents?”
They can be performed by a multiplicity of Presidents just as newspapers can render a better service by having a multiplicity of newspapers than they would by having one newspaper elected by the majority, or any other business elected by the majority.
The insurance companies should take care of the fire department, and insurance companies should take care of protecting your life and property. and if you didn't like the service the one insurance company was giving you, you would employ another insurance company to help protect your life and property. Of course, there is no such thing as absolute protection, but we'd get more protection by a voluntary basis than by the coercion of the majority.
Now, I've attempted to answer your questions, and you did not make any attempt whatsoever to answer the two questions I asked you, which were: “Would you have the majority determine what the government should do? If that's the case, then where would you draw the line?” Will you please answer those questions? Or admit that you will be the final arbitrator, and that instead of being governed by principles, you're the one who is talking about anarchy. We're getting very close to anarchy now.
I would like to have your answers.
Yours very truly,
P.S. You use “anarchy” as a synonym of “chaos.” Funk & Wagnalls starts its definition of “anarchy”: “Without a head of ruler.” Oxford's beginning definition is: “Without a chief or head.”
Funk & Wagnalls says that common use has degraded it into being synonymous with “chaos,” but real anarchy means that each man is owner of himself and all he produces, not more, no less.
You scare people when you use the word "anarchy." We are close to chaos now because people do not understand the importance of private property, and the most important private property anyone owns is himself, his freedom, and all he produces.
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