People Want A President Who Will ‘Get Something Done’

I hear a recurring theme from people when asked who they want as their next President? The answer goes something like this; I want someone who will ‘get something done’, or I want someone who will ‘fix things’, or I want someone to ‘run the country’. What do people mean when they say these things? More importantly what is implied by these statements?

People who make these statements are implying that government is the place where problems get solved. They seem to think everything emanates from government. This is 180 degrees from the principles on which our country was founded where individuals solved their problems and government stayed out of their way.

GET SOMETHING DONE?

If ‘getting something done’ is the standard for rating the success of an administration, than every President has been a success. The Federal Government has been growing at an ever-increasing speed over the last century and especially over the last fifty years. This couldn’t have happened unless presidents and politicians were ‘getting something done’. So from the stand point of growing the size and power of  Government, politicians have been ‘getting something done’ for quite some time. Unfortunately this ‘something’ that has been ‘getting done’ is destructive to the principles and institutions on which our country was founded, such as individual liberty, the rule of law, property rights, and a free market economy.

Everybody has their own idea of what ‘getting something done’ means. For me ‘getting something done’ would be cutting government in half and probably more. Of course the only person who agrees with what I ‘want to get done’ is me, and I’m not running for President.

When we say we want someone who will ‘get something done’ we are implying that ‘solutions’ to perceived problems can only come from government central planners. Even so-called conservatives, who are supposed to be for smaller government and greater individual liberty, seem to think that ‘solutions’ to ‘problems’ can be found if the right people are put in power. The world is so big, people seem to think that the complex order that exists in society can only be brought about and operated by top down planning from politicians and bureaucrats. People have no understanding that complex order can happen spontaneously when individuals are allowed to voluntary cooperate in free markets. Government central planners, can’t bring the amount of knowledge to bear on any situation as the total amount of knowledge that individuals acting in a free markets can bring. Thomas Sowell has said, “People who are very aware that they have more knowledge then the average person are often very unaware that they do not have one tenth of the knowledge of all the average persons put together. In this situation, for the intelligentsia to impose their notions on ordinary people is essentially to impose ignorance on knowledge.” Does this sound like our present day political and bureaucratic class? Now add their thirst to rule over the masses, and you have a dangerous situation for individual liberty.

Politicians have been talking about change for decades. My goodness President Obama was elected on Hope and Change. Unfortunately when you run on something as ill-defined as change, each voter ascribes his idea of change to the candidate. By using the vague phrases like Obama’s ‘hope and change’ or Trump’s ‘America’s going to win again’, the politician holds up a mirror in front of himself, allowing the voter to see his perfect candidate, himself. It’s a verbal sleight of hand trick that fools many in the audience.

SOLUTIONS? TRADE OFFS? OR TOLERABLE BESTS?

What needs to be fixed? Is there a solution, a trade-off, or just a tolerable best?  Where does the best possible outcome lie; top down decision-making by central planners in government, or individual decision-making in a free market?

Top down decrees can’t solve problems for two very important reasons. 1) There are no solutions to most ‘problems’ there are only trade offs. and 2) Top down decision makers don’t have access to the amount of knowledge that millions of individuals bring to bear as they make decisions about the trade offs they face everyday.

If government intervention caused a problem in the first place, the problem can’t be fixed by implementing another government solution. Many of the original ‘problems’ that Government tried to solve are not problems at all, they are the inescapable realities of the imperfect world in which we live. When it comes to these ‘tragedies of the human condition’ there are no solutions or good answers, only bad or worse choices (a tolerable best).

What would constitute a solution? Is the solution an end result, or is the real solution the process for making trade offs between tolerable bests? Because of subjective value, scarcity, and the passage of time there can’t be end results. The solution lies in the process of allowing individuals to freely produce, consume, exchange, and save whatever they want.

THE ROAD TO SERFDOM

When thinking about the possibility of solutions, trade offs, and tolerable bests, ask yourself, who should have the power to make a particular decision, you, or a government central planner? In  The Road To Serfdom  F.A. Hayek said, “Few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies. This is a truth which most people were unwilling to see even when the similarities of many of the repellent features of the internal regimes in Communist Russia and National Socialist Germany were widely recognized. As a result, many who think themselves infinitely superior to the aberrations of the nazism, and sincerely hate all its manifestations, work at the same time for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the abhorred tyranny.”….. “Hitler did not have to destroy democracy; he merely took advantage of the decay of democracy and at the critical moment obtained the support of many to whom, though they detested Hitler, he yet seemed the only man strong enough to ‘get things done.”

The growing power of the executive branch over the last two administrations is what should give us pause. We probably don’t have to worry too much if a Republican is elected President in 2016, because the Democrats and the media will push back hard against everything he would try to get done. The only reason President Obama has gotten away with ‘getting something done’ is because the Republicans were too afraid of being called racist to push back, and the media was cheerleading the Presidents usurpations of power.

How far down the road to serfdom are we? How many exits remain before there is no turning back?

I know, I know: IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE!

Related ArticleMilton Friedman: Moving Toward Serfdom, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article – Spontaneous Order Utilizes More Knowledge Than Central Planning Could Ever Hope To Utilize, at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleIs America Still On F.A. Hayek’s “Road To Serfdom“, by Richard Ebeling, at fee.org.

 

 

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