The view from down here

Bitch Slapped By The Invisible Hand

October 22, 2008

Two things.

First, you can't blame the current financial problems on capitalism. What is happening, and has been happening, is far removed from the competition and innovation of the free market. It is corruption at its most ruthless and professional. People acted carelessly, selling and buying worthless financial bilge, counterfeit paper promises, and got the government to take your money to pay for them. This is no more a failing of the free market than creationism is a failure of science.

But here's the second thing, the bigger and perhaps more troubling question is: can a free market exist without becoming corrupt?

I was an active member of the Libertarian Party for several years, and I came to understand how things can work in a libertarian system. People would argue, "That will never work," and what I heard was, "I'm to close-minded and unimaginative to consider it." Usually we were both right.

I was right because an open, free market is the most honest and effective means for achieving the greatest prosperity, health, and happiness for the largest number of people. Taking money by force and using it for someone's perceived social good is, in fact, a great evil. The idea: from each according to his ability to each according to his need, is a tremendous evil, because it encourages need and punishes ability and initiative.

The other person was usually right because they just didn't see how we could get people to play by those rules.

The whole point of Libertarianism is to reward innovation, hard work, and ability while punishing sloth, irresponsibility, and ignorance, you really can have a better society.

The free market thrives when the force of government is used defensively, as punishment for one party using force and lies against another party.

The idea is embodied in the pledge that all Libertarian members must sign: "I certify that I do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals."

When this is the rule, and when breaking of the rule is punished, you can have a just judicial system, an honest government, and a legitimate free market.

But most people who want to succeed take a different oath: I certify that I will fuck you as hard and raw as it takes to achieve my political and social goals.

These people run for government. They get elected. They run the media. They run the country. They take your money and run.

Do not let corruption of one kind let them sell you on swallowing the deeper and more subtle corruption of socialism. They screw up, take our money, and the answer is taking more of our money?

We are going into a tunnel. More so even than before people will be defaming free market capitalism with even more renewed vigor. Even as the boa constrictor is squeezing the rat, the rat will cry for more compassionate snake intervention.

But keep the light alive.

Remember that we should want to encourage intelligence, ability, hard work, compassion, sobriety, and peace. We should want to discourage ignorance, incompetence, sloth, greed, addiction, and war.

Whatever you use to get there, by whatever name, seek out the good.

Socialism is not good, unless it is run by good people. Like any tool, it can cut. And I wouldn't trust this mob with limited representative federalism, much less a goodie bag full of trillions of our dollars.

Likewise, capitalism is only good in the hands of people who understand that limiting force and deceit is better than using them harder and faster than the next guy.

Just keep your eyes open, seek out the good, and seek out leaders who will do the same.

Copyright 2008 Daniel LaFavers