Friday, August 8, 2014
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
One of the conceits of those in power in Washington is the belief that as elected leaders and bureaucrats they know better what is best and right for you and me. This is manifested in the desire to consolidate power for daily decisions in the halls of government.
We are seeing it play out in healthcare, environmental laws and regulations, and in the myriad of rules that are enacted by Congress and the gargantuan bureaucracy in Washington.
The illusions and misconceptions of those that think they know better how you and I should live our life results mostly in costly nuisances.
Sometimes, they are disastrous.
The conceit of central planning fails because of three reasons: first, they believe they know the exact state of the community for which they are planning (the wants, desires, resources, and capabilities); second, they believe they know what future is best for you and me; and perhaps the biggest conceit of all, they believe they can create that future.
F. A. Hayek, the noted economist, called these beliefs "the fatal conceit, the belief that man can shape the world according to his wishes."
Now there is no doubt that each of us plans for our future. We establish goals as to where we want to be financially, where we want to live, what kind of job we want to have. Sometimes, those goals are achieved.
Sometimes, we have to adjust our goals because of circumstances.
Yet when we make those adjustments, they are still made with our best interest in mind.
The pretension of the central planner is that he knows a better future for you and me. And these central planners pursue their objectives with ferocious tenacity.
Central planners presume to know not only what you and I want, but more dangerously, what you and I should have.
Even when central planning is ruthlessly applied, there is no success. We have yet to achieve a "workers paradise" even though the Soviet Union spent 70 brutal years trying to do so. We have failed miserably and wasted billions of dollars in the War on Poverty. We are no where close to winning the War on Drugs. Or Crime. Or Terror.
Life is not so rational that it lends itself to the heavy hand of a naïve social engineer or bureaucrat in Washington.
Now make no mistake- we can plan and do some things more efficiently in a centralized manner. I am glad we have the best military in the world and it is controlled centrally. I am glad we don't have to organize our defenses at the state or city level. We can design safely roads and bridges because of planning and standardization.
But we cannot design economies. Or families. Or lifestyles.
Yet we persist in trying, even though the track record is one of miserable failure.
Central planning, to the extent that is effective, is repulsive to individual freedom. The more power the government grabs, the less freedom that you and I have. The more power that government takes, the fewer choices that you and I will be able to make.
This is the battle that is playing out now in our country. We have a government that is more than willing to usurp our freedom for their control over our lives. It is a matter of power over our future being taken from you and me and centralized in the hands of a nameless, faceless bureaucrat. While the battleground that is getting the most attention is healthcare, it also plays out in environmental laws that restrict the use of our property; economic measures that debase our currency and ultimately our standard of living; and numerous laws that limit our freedoms.
I will vehemently dispute any bureaucrat that thinks he knows better what is good for me regarding my health, finances, family, or occupation.
It is a fight that you and I have to undertake with passion.
Or we will be less free in the future.
And that, my friends, is my view.