Government is guns
by Rose Wilder Lane
“The pattern is as old as human life. The new rulers use more and more force, more police, more soldiers, trying to enforce more efficient control, trying to make the planned economy work by piling regulations on regulations, decree on decree. The people are hungry and hungrier. And how does a man on this earth get butter? Doesn’t the government give butter? But government does not produce food from the earth; Government is guns. It is one common distinction of all civilized peoples, that they give their guns to the Government. Men in Government monopolize the necessary use of force; they are not using their energies productively; they are not milking cows. To get butter, they must use guns; they have nothing else to use.”
- Rose Wilder Lane (1886 – 1968) was an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, and political theorist. She is noted (with Ayn Rand and Isabel Paterson) as one of the founders of the American libertarian movement. In the late 1920s, she was reputed to be one of the highest-paid female writers in America, and counted among her friends figures such as Herbert Hoover, Sinclair Lewis, Isabel Paterson, Dorothy Thompson and Lowell Thomas. Despite this success, Lane’s compulsive generosity with her family and friends often found her strapped for cash and forced to work on material that paid well, but did not engage her growing interests in political theory and world history. Lane’s occasional work as a traveling war correspondent began with a stint with the American Red Cross Publicity Bureau in post-WWI Europe and continued though 1965, when at the age of 78, she was reporting from Vietnam for Woman’s Day magazine, providing “a woman’s point of view.” She traveled extensively in Europe and Asia as part of the Red Cross.