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.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Look To The Cookie!

Seinfeld, the classic sitcom, ran for nine years, from 1989 to 1998. It flourishes today as popular as ever in syndication. Why? Because Jerry Seinfeld's humor is timeless. It is famously "about nothing." Jerry's comedy dissects everyday life in our American culture, and then questions these banal slices of Americana from the critical but naive viewpoint of a child.

When faced with race rioting, the childlike Rodney King famously asked: Why can't we all just get along? Similarly, the infantile Jerry Seinfeld in the clip above wonders why black and white can't coexist in society as peacefully as chocolate and vanilla coexist in a cookie.

It strikes me that collectivists are like Rodney King and Jerry Seinfeld. They see the world as children see it, critically but naively. They are at once insightful and detached, practical and unrealistic, wise and foolish.

Collectivists are disturbed by conflict between the races, so they imagine baking a black and white social cookie in which individuals of both races magically mix in the right proportions and "get along." Collectivists observe "rich" and "poor," so they envision baking a black and white social cookie in which wealth is spread evenly across the surface of life like chocolate and vanilla frosting. They observe that some people have health insurance and some people don't, so they envision baking a black and white social cookie which will satisfy the palates of all.

The problem for collectivists is that social engineering is not baking a cookie. Neither are purposeful human beings the inanimate ingredients of a cookie recipe. If we were, Seinfeld's humor would be lost on all of us.

Some social engineers recognize and accept this fact. Lenin, for instance, understood that social engineers "have to be willing to break a few eggs." Somehow, I think, this realization eludes most of today's collectivists. Would they be so eager to bake cookies -- with the rest of us as the ingredients -- if they truly understood that the essential baking tool required was not a KitchenAid mixer but a SWAT team?

Like Jerry's character in Seinfeld, collectivists invariably see the world through one-way lenses. For instance, this morning on Politicususa,

in the NY Times. In it he talks about how modern medicine is good "at keeping elderly people with chronic diseases expensively alive."
At 83, I’m a good example. I’m on oxygen at night for emphysema, and three years ago I needed a seven-hour emergency heart operation to save my life. Just 10 percent of the population — mainly the elderly — consumes about 80 percent of health care expenditures, primarily on expensive chronic illnesses and end-of-life costs.
Callahan questions the "potential social benefits" of keeping seniors like him alive:
Is there any evidence that more old people will make special contributions now lacking with an average life expectancy close to 80?
My mother-in-law is over 80 and is currently consuming a vast number of health care dollars in order to stay alive. Would it be heartless of me to question Haraldsson about the social benefits of keeping his son alive? Or to ask him why my mother-in-law's egg should be scrambled so his son is able to dine on the ObamaCare social cookie?

Of course, such questions are never asked or even considered because the starry-eyed collectivists who baked the ObamaCare social cookie see only endless benefits. They ignore costs.

They live in the fantasy world of a Hollywood sitcom where endings can be manipulated as desired, where black and white social cookies can be baked to please every palate.

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