Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Thomas Sowell Gives A Good Reason Not To Be A Liberal

No nation ever protested its way from poverty to prosperity or got there through rhetoric or bureaucracies.

It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.

Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing "compassion" for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about. link


Still, some will use class envy or imagined ills to try to take from the productive and give to the poor and the non-productive.

6 comments:

mazenko said...

Oversimplification. It's not an either/or.

Edison's electricity is worthless without the use of public land and regulation to bring it about efficiently.

Any new Wright Bros are free and encouraged to develop and innovate in today's economy precisely because they have a safe and firmly established market which is protected and preserved by the government.

In all the ranting of the last thirty years, has government stifled the incredible innovation of American business?

The govt hasn't even stifled the "innovation" in mortgage investments that have been so wonderful [sic].

Darren said...

Of course, as the "free market" cannot function adequately without government controls--contracts have to be enforceable, for example. But it's not saying to much to believe that too much governmental interference is antithetical not only to the functioning of the market, but to creativity and entrepreneurialism as well.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Actually, the free market doesn't need government controls, not even the rule of law. It's just that free trade operates most efficiently when those engaged in commerce don't have to divert their resources from productive pursuits to protecting what they've got.

In fact, capitalism in its most basic form is practiced by some of our hairy relatives. Capuchin monkeys and chimps both engage in voluntary exchanges of considerations of value - free trade - under the right conditions. Any government around to "facilitate" that free trade?

And yes, those new Wright brothers may well have to contend with all sorts of government interference. It may not seem that way given the blistering pace of progress that results from even a heavily-burdened free market economy but the conclusion's inescapable. A subsidy for something as inherently idiotic as wind power reduces the amount of wealth available for more productive pursuits.

Sowell however misses the obvious point that there are very good reasons to be a liberal. They just aren't reasons that can be freely discussed if one is to maintain the illusions by which the political left ensnares people who might, with a more honest appraisal of their own qualities, be disinclined to affiliate with leftist political causes.

Anonymous said...

Who got us to the moon? The free market or NASA?

Darren said...

And the last time we went to the moon was...?

Joseph said...

I've noticed that science fiction's biggest prediction failures have tended to be in areas backed by central planning. Nuclear power (although it appears to be reviving), space travel, artificial intelligence, large-scale urban planning, brainwashing (this applies to dystopian predictions too), ...