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John Whiting, “LAISSEZ FAIRE — 2,”
The Bulletin, July 20, 1974, p. 9, as a letter to the editor.

It is a great pity that the author of the ASIO assessment of Dr Cairns (The Bulletin, June 22) had not acquired the mental habit of defining his terms. This would have given him the inestimable advantage of knowing what he was talking about. He naively believes that “the parliamentary system of government is the only known means of combating Fascism.”

A dictionary definition of fascism is “a governmental system with strong centralised power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc).”

By any objective standards the ideological trends in our democracy can only be viewed as a headlong rush towards the principles of fascism.

If the ASIO writer’s obvious anti-fascist persuasion was motivated by a desire for political freedom, a more profitable line of inquiry would have been to discover why the abrogation of individual rights in a democracy is not only possible but inevitable.

Democracy is a collective term; it assumes that the right and authority reside in the collective whole. But if even only one person disagrees, the whole then ceases to be operative. For this reason, to be a workable system in practice, democracy must abandon its own pretended entity of the collective whole and rely upon majority.

Therefore, as a political system, democracy is unlimited majority rule; the guiding principle being that one may do anything one likes to one’s neighbour, provided one has the biggest gang.

The inherent danger for those living in a democracy is that the practice of substituting numbers for moral principles, in determining what a government should or should not do, provides no protection against that society lapsing into some form of totalitarianism.

The only means of guaranteeing political freedom, that is, freedom from political coercion, is, by means of the constitution, to limit the role of government to that of an agent of the individual; the government existing only to protect the individual’s life, property and contracts from the criminal actions of others.

If Australians are to remain even semi-free for much longer, they will need to learn that pure, laissez-faire capitalism is the only rational, moral social system ever devised. They will have to realise that the scope and range of actions permitted to governments must be strictly limited if prosperity and freedom are to be protected.

JOHN WHITING,
Chairman, Executive Committee,
The Movement for Limited Government
Adelaide SA