Monday, January 27, 2014

Liberty & Productivity

Liberty and Productivity

Tibor R. Machan

Statists routinely suggest their distrust of human initiative.  This is why they keep advocating government stimuli instead of free markets.

In a free market, one which prohibits government intrusions, regulations and regimentation, it is understood that when men and women are free of such intrusions, they will most likely--though never certainly--engage in entrepreneurial initiative, the main result of which is productivity.  No guarantee exists that free men and women will innovate and produce but that is most likely.  Indeed, while slaves can be scared into work, free men and women will usually see the point of work and engage in it with gusto.

Statists, of course, deny this and claim that only if government creates artificial incentives or issues threats will citizens become productive.  That is the basic theory behind stimulus packages, tax breaks, subsidies and so on.

But notice that all this omits the issue of why would bureaucrats and politicians be motivated to work?  Why are they exceptions to the rule that statists assume, namely, a lethargic citizenry? How can we trust government agents to go to work, to produce, to innovate, etc., but not free men and women? Statists never address this as they advocate pushing citizens around, nudging them, stimulating them, etc.  Who will nudge the nudgers?

At the heart of this issue lies a basic philosophical dispute: are free men and women capable of initiative, of getting to think and work on their own or must they be dealt with like barnyard beasts that need to be  driven to work by masters? Statists see people as such animals, incapable of innovation, of initiative, of creativity, so they need to be pushed around by bureaucrats and politicians.  Yet this is completely inconsistent with the powers they grant to themselves.  Why would only those running government possess the power to undertake productive, creative projects while the citizenry is deemed too passive?

Actually, a better way of understanding this is to realize that statists want to reserve to themselves the prerogative of spending resources on various projects--public works, they like to call them--and rob the rest of the citizenry of their resources to do as they judge sensible, prudent, and wise.  

In short, the statist wants to be in charge of what projects get to be undertaken, use everyone’s labor or property for these and not permit the rest of us to allocate our resources, including our labor, to projects of our own.  

The NYT is wrong once again!

The New York Times is Wrong Again
Tibor R. Machan
Here is the opening salvo in The New York Times of a lengthy piece on Rand Paul.  And it is dead wrong: “As Rand Paul test-markets a presidential candidacy and tries to broaden his appeal, he is also trying to take libertarianism, an ideology long on the fringes of American politics, into the mainstream.”
The fact is that the libertarianism was the gist of the philosophical foundation of the American political system.  Natural individual rights! Limited constitutional government! Free market! Due process of law!
All these were there at the start and libertarianism is simply restoring them to prominence.  But of course The New York Times care nothing for historical accuracy.  It wishes, evidently, to demean the ideas both the American founders and libertarianism champion.  No wonder, since The Times loves big government, extensive interventionism, both domestic and international.
It is also quite evident that The Times has a very distorted view of its own readership, as if they had no other sources of historical information aside from that of the editors of The Times. What was central to the founders is, to The Times, fringe!
Shame on them!