A man who generally has good points in his commentary, and whom I will NOT embarrass by identifying him publicly, recently published a generally good opinion piece.
Sadly, he ended it with this: “Bad economic decisions cost lives around the world. Society works better when people make decisions for themselves. Democrat voters created this hardship. Fortunately the US has options that many poor countries don’t have. We can elect better politicians.. maybe.”
It is obvious to readers of The Price of Liberty that this writer has not correctly understood our situation here in the States and the world today. But we all can fall into this sort of trap.
- Who makes economic decisions? Is it government (bureaucrats, autocrats or politicians/elected officials) or individuals and families? He correctly states that “Society works better when people make decisions for themselves.” But clearly, by his next sentences, he IMPLIES STRONGLY that this can be done “democratically” through government. NOT individual decisions. And MORE than just individual decisions on who to put into government office.
- He blames “Democrat voters” but this is FAR too narrow a target picture. Certainly Democratic voters are at fault for electing idiots – and voting for stupid initiatives and referendums. But so are Republic voters, AND the “independent” voters who let themselves be swayed by personalities and often poorly-reasoned and illogical issues and claims. And even “third-party voters” and activists. As well sling mud at those who do NOT vote, particularly on issues if not against the politicians. (Oh, and what about the corporations who push and push and whinge and push.)
- The biggest trap is “We can elect better politicians… maybe.” Certainly I applaud his “maybe” for it seems more and more that Gresham’s law (bad money drives out good money) applies to politicians as well as fiat and counterfeit currency. But the real point? Politicians may be BETTER but they are constrained, molded and warped by the SYSTEM. Assuming they are not corrupt BEFORE they are elected, the system quickly does corrupt them. Even the most idealistic and brave. And even with changes to the system which attempt to make them accountable.
- In other words, the economic bad dream we now find ourselves in will NOT be corrected by politics as usual or even a massive turnout to throw the trash out. Because all it does is put a NEW batch of trash into power – power which NO human should have, let alone be trusted with. All we are doing is doing the same thing over and over again – and expecting different results.
This writer, observant as he is, caring as he is, and passionate as he is, has swallowed a whole batch of lies.
He promotes the idea that government can and should solve the mess created by “bad” government. Just as good people can (and usually do) solve the mess created by bad people.
But… there is a problem. There is NO SUCH THING as good human government. Even Winston Churchill, statist, imperialist, racist, warlord and murderer recognized this, stating that ALL forms of government are bad. Of course, he then tried to tout democracy as being at least more tolerable.
As we can see today, democracy can be and often is just as totalitarian, just as tyrannical, just as injust, as any other form of human government. It is not a matter of WHICH faction (minority or majority) is calling the shots – it is the shots! The power which the institution wields: the ability to force others to do something. To do ANYthing without full and completely voluntary agreement.
To give humans the power to meddle, to tinker, to impose their will on others is to ensure that humans WILL meddle, tinker, and impose on others.
There IS a better way. Live and let live. Let people do what they want to do WITH the caveat, the understanding, that they are responsible for their own actions AND the results of those actions. With that understanding, all things: especially peace and prosperity, are possible. Without them, no matter how well Hercules cleaned the stable, it again become a mess.