Laissez Faire

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“So you are asking us not to act?” he interrupted. “Asking us to let things as they are and watch, numb, as folly, madness, and cruelty unfold? Are we supposed to stand still, resigned, while the hungry hungers, the poor lacks, and the sick aches? This, when right by the rich squanders? Is that what this laissez faire — «let act» — of yours means? Is that, that, the sum total of man’s economic wisdom? Economy, the moral science?”

“There are two words in the phrase,” she responded. “Laissez, the first one, means, yes, «to let», but don’t forget the second word, its complement: faire, «to act». Never forget it speaks at you: act, go out and change the world, give it the best you have. Pursue what beauty and goodness is in you.”

“But let others do the same. Don’t envy the rich for what they have, nor, much less, steal it from them — create your own wealth instead. Don’t belittle other people’s effort and goals. Don’t dismiss their talents. Don’t dismiss the beauty they hold dear. Don’t be so quick to judge. Feed the hungry, help the poor, cure the sick, and strive for that purpose you find noblest. But why not do it with your own wealth? What could possibly be nobler? Can’t you create it yourself? Then what right have you to judge what others who can do with theirs? Act! But let act. Laissez faire.”

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