My readers sometimes question why I include the term “altruists” with “progressive/ statists.” I usually say that I do not object to individuals being altruistic, but that “it is no way to run a government.”
As it turns out “altruism” is more insidious than that when it “takes the reigns of power in government.” I recently became aware of the following quote from Justice Louis Brandeis.
Louis Dembitz Brandeis was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939. He attended Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of twenty with the highest grade average in the law school’s history. He is regraded by many as one of the Court’s most influential justices. Brandeis was regarded as a staunch supporter of the liberal policy of “the right to privacy.” So, if he had concerns about “altruists,” then citizens on both sides of the political spectrum should share his concerns.
Justice Brandeis explained in Olmstead v United States (1928): “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
Amen to that, Brother Brandeis!