American Elephants


Confusion and Misconception are Rampant Everywhere by The Elephant's Child

Friedrich Hayek once wrote: “Buying and selling were a procedure for discovering facts, which if the procedure did not exist, would remain unknown or at least would not be used.” The full name of Adam Smith’s classic work was “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,“as the Coyote Blog noted today:

The fact that AOC and other modern admirers of socialism can fret about poverty is, as they imagine, attributable to capitalism, but not in the way they think. Capitalism did not cause the poverty, it created the situation in which poverty is an issue with but a minority of the population (rather than essentially everyone). Before capitalism, fretting about poverty would just have been fretting about .. the way things are for everyone.

One of the earliest things that someone learns about politics, at least in Democrat families, is that Republican tax cuts only go to the rich. They simply do not understand the workings of the economy. Because “the Rich” pay way more in taxes than the rest of us, they get proportionally bigger tax cuts. What we are seeing out there is the result of everyone’s tax cuts. Someone remarked on the radio this week, in the wake of the  3½% remarkable growth spurt in the economy, that “people have decided to go shopping.”

Well, yes they have. I learned some time back that apparently large numbers of people have chosen to have their income taxes withheld from their wages, and really don’t know how much they paid in taxes — but only how big their refund was. This year, their refunds were somewhat bigger, and they have the money to do some extra shopping. I guess they worry that if they don’t have taxes withheld, they may not have the funds to pay on April 15. The rich don’t have to wait for refunds, so when they receive a tax cut, they have the extra funds to expand, grow their businesses, hire, invent—and make the economy grow. How do we tell? By reading the facts of the buying and selling that is going on.

This explanation does not fit into the world view of Democrats. They don’t buy it. I remember a few years back, a writer at the Wall Street Journal wrote in astonishment that “Elizabeth Warren has only a childlike understanding of economics.” That is why you have so many Democrats who want to get rid of capitalism. Much of the climate activists’ purpose is to use climate as a way to rid the world of capitalism. Mentioning Venezuela as a notable example of the abject failure of Socialism gets you nowhere. They do not, and cannot, accept the starving people of Venezuela as the inevitable result of Socialism. It just does not compute. It is based, of course, on a failure to understand human nature and an ignorance of history.

There has been lots of conversation about the vast crowd of Democrats running for the presidency. All are positive that Trump is so despised, so awful, that only the few gap-toothed deplorables in flyover country would vote for a second term. Joe Biden makes the twenty-first Democrat candidate to announce a run. Some reporters have remarked that name-familiarity should help him, but according to polls, large numbers of Americans have no idea who he is, and do not recognize a picture.

Those of us who have always assumed that we can depend on the wisdom of the American people may want to give some consideration to running for your local School Board. Or at the very least picking up one of Hayek’s books at the Library: The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, The Road to Serfdom, or The Constitution of Liberty.



The Dismantling of American Culture and What to Do About It by The Elephant's Child

From David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge:

Let us assume, then, that each party partakes equally of the human capacity for good and bad, for corruption, for misguided compassion, and of overweening cupidity; and that each will suffer failures of projects both good-willed and merely monstrously self-serving.

The question as posed by Milton Friedman, was not “What are the decisions?” — any human or conglomeration is capable of decisions both good and bad — but “Who makes the decisions?” Shall it be the Government, that is, the State, or shall it be the Individual?

In some cases it must be the Government, which is, in these, the only organ capable of serving and protecting individual  liberty and freedom; notably, in defense, the administration of justice, and maintenance of and oversight of Federal Infrastructure, e.g. Roads, Interstate Travel, Waterways, Parks, and so on. But what in the world is the Government doing meddling in Education, Health Care, automobile Production, and the promotion of dubious, arguable or absurd programs designed to bring about “equality”? Should these decisions not be left to the Individual or to a Free Market, in which forces compete, to serve the Individual who will be the arbiter of their success?

“But which system,” Mamet asks, “Free Enterprise, or the State, is better able to correct itself?”

Nothing is free.  All  human interactions are tradeoffs.  One may figure out a way to (theoretically) offer cheap health insurance to the twenty million supposedly uninsured members of our society.  But at what cost — the dismantling of the health care system of the remaining three-hundred-million-plus? What of the inevitable reduction, shortages, abuses, delay and injustice caused by all State rationing?

All civilizations need and get Government. But how much and at what cost? Many governments began as Welfare States dedicated, they claimed to distributing the lands abundance to all. And as redistribution  increases, so does resistance to those choices, and the Welfare State descends into dictatorship. The cost of all this benevolently intended redistribution is shortage, famine, murder, and the eventual collapse of the state.

We are in the process of choosing, as a society, between Liberty— the freedom to pursue happiness free from the State — and Equality, which can only be brought about by a State empowered to function in all facets of  life which means totalitarianism and dictatorship.

Does the State decide for the citizen? Or does the individual insist on a reduction of State powers to that point at which the power is reserved only for the application as specified by law, where one individual or group abridges the liberty of another?

The latter is the revolutionary understanding of government spelled out in that Constitution elected officials swear to defend.  They are elected as public servants, the public granting them only that freedom of action necessary to fulfill that oath.  Is it not time for a return to that revolutionary understanding?

David Mamet is the noted playwright, author, director and filmmaker, Pulitzer prizewinner, and former liberal, who awakened,  examined his politics seriously and at great depth, and wrote a highly entertaining and enjoyable book about his conversion.




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