To Have No Self

While cleaning up some bookshelves the other day I found a compilation of high school student literary works, one of which was authored by my daughter. The following quote was on the first page:

“Better to write for yourself and have no public,
than to write for the public and have no self.”
Cyril Connolly

This quote resonated with me because it describes the conflict between self and state. Effort spent on behalf of the public is effort that cannot be spent on yourself. That effort is gone. You cannot spend it again. It’s one thing to spend effort on the public if you do it by choice. What we have today is a state that mandates effort on behalf of the public. It demands that effort and punishes you if you don’t comply.

So this is our decision:

Will we allow people to write for themselves?

Or will we force them to write for the public and lose their identity in the process?

Remember that every fraction of effort you force someone to work for the public cannot be used again on themselves, so every fraction of effort forcefully taken by the state (taxes) is a fraction of self that cannot be developed, that cannot be attained. Imagine the musician who does not become a concert pianist because they could not attend that lesson, or the mechanic who does not become an engineer because they could not spare the time.

These are the human costs of the leviathan state.

To have an all-powerful state, is to have no self.