About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

UPDATED: The Inherent Goodness Of Government

I had a discussion with a co-worker yesterday about laissez-faire capitalism. Call him Jim. Jim is somewhat of a fundamentalist Christian conservative. He told me he believed in capitalism, but he also believed that capitalism must always be regulated by the government so as to protect people from scam artists and con men who cheat and steal.

I asked Jim if he considered himself a gullible man. He said he didn't. I then asked him why he needed a government regulator to protect himself from con men. Jim said he didn't need such protection. Other people, more gullible than he, needed the regulators.

After agreeing with him that some people were scam artists and con men and other people were gullible, I asked Jim what makes him think such people do not also work for the government as regulators. I pointed out that it's common knowledge that corrupt and stupid bureaucrats exist in virtually every regulated industry. "Greasing a palm" to get what you want from a building inspector is not unheard of. Block-headed, naive and gullible bureaucrats are commonplace. Corrupt policemen who regulate gambling and the drug trade are in the news virtually everyday. Other co-workers around us who were eavesdropping on our conversation quickly agreed with me.

Jim countered that at least the people have recourse with a corrupt government regulator. They can monitor his activities and report him to higher authorities, he said. Wait a second, I said, you can't have it both ways. If people are so gullible that they can't recognize scams perpetrated by businessmen, how are they able to recognize scams perpetrated by government regulators?

Jim said that less gullible people like himself could police the police. I asked Jim if maybe it wouldn't be easier for smart people like himself to police industry by forming trade organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce, or private consumer watchdog companies, such as Consumer Reports or the Better Business Bureau, to educated the gullible and expose con men. That way corrupt people wouldn't be entrusted with guns and legitimate authority with which to harass the public, and gullible people could learn their lesson and become less gullible in peace.

Jim wasn't convinced, but our discussion got him to stop and think about his blind faith in the inherent goodness of government.

The problem with our political candidates, especially most of those on the Republican side, is that they really don't believe in laissez-faire capitalism. They are suspicious of it; they can't defend it. In a one-on-one discussion they are more apt to take Jim's side of the argument than mine.

So long as our political candidates believe in the inherent goodness of government, how can we rationally expect to exorcize government from our lives by voting for them?

UPDATED: Congressman Ron Paul, a current Republican candidate for President, is definitely not a political candidate who believes in the inherent goodness of government. Paul is not only aware of Ludwig von Mises and Austrian economics, he also understands.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute just posted on its blog an old essay by Ron Paul called Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View. The essay is a good primer on the subject for those who are not aware and do not understand.

The Republican rejection of Ron Paul's candidacy is truly the nation's loss.

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