Column on Too Politicized to Fail

Too politicized to fail!

Tibor R. Machan

It may now be assumed that the only people allowed to fail in the world are athletes and some gamblers.  Businesses are not.

In Ireland, for instance, banks made bad loans and thus lost a lot of dough but no, they were not allowed to go under by the government and by its European pals.  Why?  Because economic failure is, well, not nice.  People do not expect it and politicians couldn’t hide from the responsibility for it.

Now on top of it all this is all being blamed on Ireland’s flirtation with free market economics.  The country’s government lifted some regulations so as to give support to a more vigorous financial market but when the results came in–namely, that some folks who undertook business ventures ended up losing money–well they were not allowed.  

Those who blamed free market economics for this are clearly economic imbeciles.  The free market is a place in which both winning and losing are possible and in either case the government must stay out of the game, just as in most sports the referees don’t bail out those who lose unless they are corrupt.  If Ireland did in fact have a free market economy, however extensively or minimally controlled or regulated by the government, banks would not be bailed out but left to lose if that is how they ran their business or if luck didn’t favor them.  

But once again something that is completely antithetical to the nature of a free society and market is said by foes of the these to be a part of them.  And very few people who must know better jump up and protest this.  On Judge Andrew Napolitano’s FOX Business News program, Freedom Watch, one member of his panel recently kept repeating the mantra about how the free market is responsible of Ireland’s woes. More regulations are needed, she kept saying, more government controls. Yet even if the free market is not, as it certainly isn’t, a perfect system of economic relationships, compared to governments across the globe and throughout history it is a marvel of virtue and efficiency!

Every government, as H. L. Mencken made it his business to constantly remind his readers, is corrupt.  Why? Well, because every known one of them extorts its funds from people many of whom have not given their consent to have their resources confiscated by anyone.  The consent of the governed–now there is a revolutionary idea!  And it doesn’t mean the consent of most of the governed but all of those who are being governed.  People aren’t ants or termites, so they must not be lumped together and dealt with as a collective.  Whatever collective people may be part of they must join voluntarily not be conscripted to.

I don’t know why it is so important for so many commentators to pretend that when bad laws make bad economics possible it must have been the free market that did it.  Why are those people so hostile to human freedom?  Why do they insist that governments know best and their control of economic affairs is wise and virtuous?  It is what Hayek called their fatal conceit, a flawed self-aggrandized vision of themselves as superior to all those they embark upon controlling.

Trouble is that for so much of human history there was not even any serious thought of an alternative to top down rule in societies.  The little protest against such rule that had been voiced by a few was quickly squashed.  

Just think how even in this supposedly free country public education is in charge of informing young people of the nature of politics!  Surely this is virtually handing to the most biased and corrupt faction of society the ultimate responsibility of guiding the population into adult citizenship.  Consider, also, that in no public finance studies is there any mention of privatizing the funding of the legal order!  Never mind actually treating the idea respectfully but it isn’t even considered.  There is more attention paid among public finance academics to the methods used under dictatorships and tyrannies–e.g., the much adored John Maynard Keynes did this–than those that would be under a fully free system! This is a most insidious feature of the governmental habit.

That, as far as I can assess, is the core corruption of the system, not a few judges taking bribes and politicians purchasing the support of some voters with the resources they have extorted from other members of the electorate! That’s peanuts compared to the massive indoctrination campaign perpetrated via the public education system, from kindergarten to grad school!!

Banks and companies that cannot cope with the market ought never be bailed out, certainly not by governments.  The idea undermines the principles of a free country, the notion of equality under the law.  Those who back such an idea are foes of human liberty, certainly not friends of it.  

It is time that the population of countries in which such ruses are carried out get wind of what is happening and do something serious and lasting about it.

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