Posted tagged ‘The Road to Serfdom’

People Want A President Who Will ‘Get Something Done’

March 15, 2016

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.

 

 

Must Reads For The Week 2/7/15

February 7, 2015
The pen is mightier than the sword...

 The pen is mightier than the sword… (Photo credit: mbshane)

Video Of Cops Pulling Gun On Teens For Having Snowball Fight, Not Telling The Whole Story, at nydailynews.com. When I saw this video on another site, I was skeptical because there was no film of the snowball fight and no evidence of snowball residue anywhere in the video. Always try to check everything out that you see on the internet. This is a perfect example of how cops would be protected if they were wearing body cameras. The full story would be there for everyone to see.

Venezuela’s Socialist Paradise Turns Into Nightmare, by Peter Foster, at telegraph.co.uk. Individuals deciding what to produce, consume, exchange, and save in a free market increases people’s standard of living, and socialist central planning is “The Road To Serfdom“.

What Paul Krugman Thinks The Secret To The Universe Is, at economicpolicyjournal.com. This guy teaches economics at Princeton University! The students should ask for a refund. Does he understand that consumption is the result of production? Or does he think that what we consume appears magically out of thin air because of demand?

I Meet A Climate Concern Activist And Cave, at economicpolicyjournal.com. Trying to change the world, one person at a time. Their wasn’t much hope for this one.

Fixed, The App That Fights Parking Tickets, by Sarah Perez, at techcrunch.com. This is in the spirit that founded this country. Americans are always trying to find ways around Government interventions.

The Police No Longer Work For You, by Daniel Payne, at thefederalist.com. A SWAT team raided ten people playing poker. Fairfax police pocketed 40% of the money that was seized. Gambling is illegal in Virginia unless of course it is sponsored by the State. Government politicians and bureaucrats want anything outside of their regulates to be illegal. They want to control every aspect of people’s lives.

Wow…And Interest Rates Aren’t Even Climbing Yet, at economicpolicyjournal.com. The chart shows how the interest we pay on our national debt each year will almost quadruple in the next ten years. And that’s if the interest rates stay as low as they are right now. Unfortunately they have only one way to go, and that’s up. We all know who will pay for this.

Five Ways Liberals Ignore Science, by David Harsanyi, at thefederalist.com. Vaccines, global warming, genetically modified foods, fracking? What does the scientific process say about these and many other issues? Science is never settled. No one experiment can prove a theory correct, but all it takes is one experiment to prove it wrong.

Plane Hits Bridge In Front Of Car In Taiwan

Pilot’s Body Found Still Clutching Joystick Of Crashed Taiwan Plane, at reuters.com. The pilot saved lives by steering the plane away from buildings before crashing in river.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZING, OR INSANE!

1500′ Feet Tower

Most Insane Ski Line EVER

Walter E. Williams Explains The Long, Tragic, Ugly Story Of Government,

April 15, 2014

In a recent article by Walter Williams titled, How To Assist Evil, he makes the point that since the beginning of the 20th century,  170 million people have been killed by their own government, where as only 60 million were killed in wars. When it comes to killing your own citizens we always think of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Unfortunately it was just one of the many examples of Government atrocities against their citizens.

Here are some excerpts from the article.

THE HOLOCAUST

“Though the Holocaust ranks high among the great human tragedies, most people never consider the most important question: How did Adolf Hitler gain the power that they needed to commit such horror?

“Through the Enabling Act (1933), whose formal name was “A Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich,” Hitler gained the power to enact laws with neither the involvement nor the approval of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament……It was decent Germans who made Hitler’s terror possible – Germans who would have never supported his territorial designs and atrocities.”

OTHER ATROCITIES IN THE 20th CENTURY

“….since the beginning of the 20th century, governments have killed 170 million of their own citizens. top killers were the Soviet Union, which, between 1917 and 1987, killed 62 million of its own citizens, and the People’s Republic of China, which, between 1949 and 1987, was responsible for the deaths of 35 to 40 million of its citizens. In a distant third place were the Nazis, who murdered about 16 million Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians and others deemed misfits, such as homosexuals and the mentally ill.”

“We might ask why the 20th century was so barbaric. Surely, there were barbarians during earlier ages. Part of the answer is that during earlier times, there wasn’t the kind of concentration of power that emerged during the 20th century.”

IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE

“….The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects…..the elite’s use government to dupe and forcibly impose its will on the masses. The Masses are always duped by well-intentioned phrases….what German could have been against “A Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”?….and who could be against the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”?” 

“We Americans ought to keep the fact in mind that Hitler, Stalin and Mao would have had more success in their reign of terror if they had the kind of control and information about their citizens that agencies such as the NSA, the IRS and the ATF have about us…”

The Road To Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek was written in 1944. It is a book that answers the question Dr. Williams asks in his article. Hayek lived in Germany during the time before Hitler came into power. He explains how the concentration of power just doesn’t lead to serfdom, it is the road to serfdom.

Related Article, Terminus On The Road To Serfdom, by D.W. MacKenzie, at mises.org.

Here is The Road To Serfdom, at mises.org.

Here is The Illustrated Road To Serfdom , at mises.org.