There’s been a whole lot of talk since October about the necessity of the government to step in to correct the failures of the free market. Many very intelligent people have argued both sides of the many proposed stimulus packages but very few (obvious exceptions being Congressman Ron Paul and his ilk) discuss the real crux of the problem- it was never a free market to begin with. Especially over the last 130 years, the government- at the urging of those who represented many of the isms- has tinkered with and ruined any semblance of laissez-faire. As we are now witnessing, the results have been terrible.
As a proponent of limited or self-government, I naturally have some ideas on how this all came to be but I’d like to start by offering this very non-scientific, only vetted by me observation: There can be no free market without very limited or self-government; the model we’re watching implode would be more aptly described as a perverted combination of all the isms- capitalism, fascism, communism and socialism- a combination of market ideas which relies on twisted truths and clever marketing done by those who lust for power.
The notion of limited or self-government has taken quite a beating over the last couple hundred years and there are a great many who are fearful of the idea of life without the government behemoth. In my own life there are many who tell me that life as we know it would stop if we no longer had the government taking care of things. I could only hope! Alas, cocky answers do nothing to comfort my friends and I had to sit and think about the reasons behind their fear. I’ve come up with a few possible reasons and will attempt to explain them here.
Lack of true self-esteem. It may seem folly to suggest a lack of self-esteem when, for several generations, all children were awarded participation ribbons and trophies in schools and competitive sports leagues. After all, everybody was trying to build self-esteem by making certain the little rug-rats who came in last didn’t get their feelings hurt. Society has been molded- either with intent or as a by-product of more noble goals- to believe that it’s sufficient to show up and participate. True self-esteem requires one to overcome obstacles and perceived limitations and competition is the best teacher.
Lack of good personal character. A person of good character either innately knows or has learned to exercise good judgment and, upon the occasional failure, is honest with himself and others. This may also tie into self-esteem; after all, it’s difficult to be self-critical if one never fails. If a man, when looking in the mirror, doesn’t have any reason to trust his value, he will find no ability to trust in the value of others.
Legitimate fear of evil in the world. There are of course people who have no desire to live peacefully with others but examples of such are, thankfully, very rare. While it’s certainly not my intent to oversimplify the matter, I do think it interesting to juxtapose the numbers of U.S. homicides with the numbers of U.S. deaths from the common flu. According to FBI data from 1976-2005, the murder rate per 100,000 was 7.8. Comparing that number to a WaPo article (interestingly enough, the article is cautioning against flu panic by breaking down numbers) about flu virus death rates, one easily starts to understand that our fears can be quickly alleviated.
People will always lust for power. Sure enough, that’s the case but you must remember that the ability to seize power only flourishes in the fertilizer made from fragile human hearts and psyches. The aforementioned issues with esteem, character and fear make a fabulous growing agent and are thus tended with care. The power hungry of each ISM dogma, whether or not by design, use the brute force of government in their quest to incite division. The surest way to wreck self-esteem is to make disappear the common aspects of humanity by inciting division based on class, gender, ethnicity or religion.
What makes you think you’re so smart? I’ve actually heard this question and the answer is always the same: What makes the rest of them smarter than us? Seriously, this isn’t about advanced education. This really is as simple as a baby knowing to take the breast. Humanity hasn’t changed, our societal construct has. The answer really is as simple as allowing ourselves to respond humanly to our fellow man and anybody who tells you otherwise is damn sure pulling a bait and switch on you.
It boils down to common courtesy. I have been lucky enough in life to know people all over the world. They’ve been from every ethnic, political, economic and religious background and, believe it or not, they’ve all, whether they knew it or not, had the ability to navigate life without an outside governor. I just respect them enough to let them figure that out on their own. I wish that, even in their fear, they’d extend me the same damn courtesy. Since it’ll take making normal of this type of conversation, I hope you’ll join me while I discuss this topic on Tuesday (8:00 CST) at Break The Matrix TV.