Along with season’s greetings many wished their relatives and friends a good outcome of Lithuania’s presidential election. Even during the festive season our consciousness was turned to politics. Politics was elevated above personal matters. One may ask where such a great fervour comes from and how it goes with the order Lithuania seems to be aspiring to.
The Free Market is not agitating for disregarding politics, governmental powers, or official policy actions. Yet, it would be healthy for everyone to reflect on the mythologising of the state and wide-spread propensity to belittle personal life. Many continue to show an inclination to live, not their own, but the nation’s life, and to pursue, not self-interests, but the welfare of the state. They continue to expose the legacy of collective reason, which they failed to abandon even though socialism was tempestuously rejected.
Entrepreneurs appear to sweat blood, not to prosper, but to pay off in taxes the demands of the state. Exporters toil, not to gain profits, but to earn hard currency for Lithuania and to improve the country’s trade balance. Couples start families, not to raise offspring, but to better Lithuania’s demographic situation. It’s no big deal if people talk clichés, but it’s distressing when that’s the way they think. It is fairly obvious where such fallacies come from. They are so close to the socialist spirit, which has been carefully “implanted” in people ever since those days by the Establishment.
The populace was told that socialism was a mistake and that the order was going to be changed. We were abandoning the empire of evil. We were going to start living according to market laws. Yet, none of those at the helm of the state said that man had to change too. That he had to drop the mask engraved in his mind, the mask of collectivism, pseudo-devotion to others, and anti-privacy. That to LIVE is to live for oneself and be responsible for oneself. A free and unfettered market provides the best possible conditions to live but it also requires that people perceive themselves and their relationships with the surrounding world properly. By seeking his own-both material and spiritual-well-being, a man becomes an integral, harmonious part of the world. Even more than that. He becomes the nucleus of the world.
By living his own life, by not being a burden on others and not interfering with others’ pursuit of happiness, a man does his fellow men the biggest favour. Just look around and you will see that more and more people in Lithuania are growing in confidence. Those who have come to grips with the new rules are now creating their own, not someone’s and thus no one’s, prosperity. True, some waver between the engraved ideology and the intuitively perceived laws of life. They feel ashamed of their well-being and egoism. Egoism which most people vehemently and unjustifiably condemn.
Wealth created by virtue of one’s own abilities-not by rent-seeking in the corridors of power but by working in a free market-should be rehabilitated, for this is a thing to be proud of. People who are able to generate wealth in a free market should not be diffident about their merits. They should recognise the unique value of their lives. In many cases it is a lack of self-esteem and failure to appreciate their own integrity that prevent people from achieving the desired well-being and harmony. And open society…the order in which such people will feel comfortable.
Reverting to the beginning of this essay, one should not forget that a government is elected to perform certain functions. The fewer the functions and the lesser the effect on our lives, the lesser the proclivity to yield to the state. And… the more the space to LIVE.
We wish all of you, The Free Market readers, excellence in your creative and entrepreneurial undertakings. We wish you inimitable and blissful delight of being able to aspire and to win, the delight of seeing and feeling first of all for yourselves the crowning glory of your success. We wish you a gratifying search for fullness in life. The whole world stands by those who have genuine aspirations for their aims. The Free Market will also be among those who stand by…seeking their own goals and knowing how to win.