Moral Progress

George Tideman

[Reprinted from the Georgist Journal, Winter 1979]

Deep in every breast is a conviction that in human affairs we are governed by a supreme law of justice, which each one is aware of in the inner voice called conscience. By our endowed moral sense we are aware of the Law of Equity, which if violated, brings on certain retribution. In our social environment we have reaped involuntary unemployment, poverty, and a train of evils that grow out of inequity. In public concerns we must apply economic science if we are to deserve arid have full employment consistent with free enterprise.

Earth, sea and air are man's common inheritance. The right to use land is lost to millions by the incidence of land speculation and land monopoly. Without equal rights to use natural resources, how can we define Justice?

Speculation in land carried on in city, suburb and countryside, wherever progress is anticipated, is the only force in modern society with power enough to slow down production and bring on the unemployment that defeats all the make-work promises of lawmakers.

While the earth under our feet is used for monopoly and speculation, we do not have free enterprise. This is the iniquity that has brought on the Communist revolutions in the old world. The unemployment and flood of evils resulting prove that the natural law of compensation has been violated. That our learned men and women have turned their attention away from this phenomenon is the scandal of the century! Here is the prime violation of Law and Order in this age of material progress. This explains why, along with all progress in production and trade, poverty continues to be a social problem; the powers of a few sustained by special privilege, the rights of millions diluted by disinheritance.

Stop the land speculation which benefits very few people and serves only to block and slow down production} then any ambitious person will be free to acquire the luxuries that make life worth living, without depending on schemes that burden the conscience.

What is our moral progress if we fail to acknowledge that "all men are created equal" and that this concept is meaningless unless we see that this means equality of opportunity, not special privilege to a few?