by Henry George
“It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.”
- Henry George (1839 – 1897) was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the “single tax” on land. He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, whose main tenet is that people should own what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly the value of land, belongs equally to all humanity. His most famous work, Progress and Poverty (1879), is a treatise on inequality, the cyclic nature of industrial economies, and the use of the land value tax as a remedy. George began as a Lincoln Republican, but then became a Democrat. He was a strong critic of railroad and mining interests, corrupt politicians, land speculators, and labor contractors. George argued that the boom in railroad construction would only benefit the lucky few who owned interests in the railroads and other related enterprises, while throwing the greater part of the population into abject poverty.