Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Via Fresh Bilge is a link to a piece at The American Thinker whose interesting, science-fictionish premise is that the Chinese, in dire economic straits around the time of the 2012 American elections, have decided to throw their influence behind defeating President Obama.
America, their largest trading partner, has become a lousy customer thanks to four years of increasing government "planning" of its economy. The Chinese, needing American prosperity, are contemplating a bold move in the next election, such as recruiting "a pro China billionaire to set up a group called Move Him Out Now ... to defeat Obama."
That is an interesting premise up to a point, but to the reader with a deep appreciation for capitalism, unbelievability quickly overwhelms:
China's future needs really, really depend on a nice capitalist return on their investment because with the one child policy, their population in future generations getting smaller .In fact, because of the preference for boys, there are already 35 million more men than women, so tens of millions Chinese men are unlikely to be even able to reproduce and have ONE child. He's screaming that if Obama's destruction of the U.S. economy keeps up much longer China will be in terrible trouble and the Party and its leaders want to stop this shift to socialism in the United States as fast as they can." [link dropped]Let's grant that China's ruling elite would be so compartmentalized that it would work to grow a foreign market with greater freedom, while failing to grow the vastly larger domestic one right under its nose by the same means. That goes hand in hand with any government trying to steer an economy in the first place. We see similarly muddled thinking all the time in America, anyway.
But: Our future Chinese saviors still have a One Child Policy and belong to the Communist Party? We can call the Party a historical anachronism for the sake of argument, because it's the first of these that really bothers me.
(It's at this point that I'll lose most conservatives, because so many of the ones who are not openly hostile to the idea that capitalism is moral, still fail to realize that it is much more than a utilitarian, purely economic arrangement. Furthermore, I am sure that some will chide me with words to the effect of, "That article isn't about capitalism." Actually, if you really are interested in propserity, it is. Oh, well.)
Capitalism, as Ayn Rand said in her seminal work, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, "... is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights..." [bold added] A "free market" where the actors are forced to act against their better judgment is not capitalism and will not produce prosperity for long. A slave market is not capitalism. The President firing the CEO of General Motors is not capitalism. China having a One Child Policy is also not capitalism, recent loosening up of government controls to the contrary. In each case, the government is violating individual rights, preventing individuals from acting on their own best judgment.
Since all economic decisions in a capitalist society are made by individuals on their own behalf, all government infringements on individual freedom ultimately do affect the economy (just as all economic interventions diminish freedom) -- no matter how much some conservatives wish to pretend that the moral and the practical are two separate realms. Furthermore, each such intervention both sets the precedent for others later on and, by distorting the economy, provides a convenient excuse later on for more of the same.
So, while it is conceivable that China might work to topple Barack Obama in 2012, it seems unlikely to me for the same reason I doubt China will be substantially freer under its present regime. Recent poor choices notwithstanding -- Obama is just the latest -- most Americans still understand freedom better than the Chinese leadership and personally stand to benefit from it far more than these fictional saviors anyway.
I find the prospect of persuading my countrymen to rediscover freedom much more intriguing and hopeful than fantasizing about the tactical choices facing the ruling clique of a country that has hardly begun to taste freedom.
Today: (1) Corrected a typo. (2) Inserted a missing word.