Thursday, February 13, 2014
Answering a "progressive" who (correctly) sees cronyism as an inevitable
consequence of central planning, but is untroubled by it; John Stossel makes the
following observations regarding its enormous visible and invisible cultural
and economic costs:
Politicians doling out favors quietly shift where society's resources flow, who gets employed, what ideas are pursued.Stossel calls this an argument for "smaller" government, but that is akin to a physician advising his patient to remove only part of a cancerous tumor. This analogy is inexact, as we shall see: What we really need is a proper government, which protects our individual rights, and isn't in the business of looting from -- or doling out favors to -- anyone.
It distorts the economy and the culture -- and it turns us into a nation of favor-seekers instead of creators and producers.
What about all the new businesses that would have gotten investment money but didn't have Gore on their boards? What new ideas might have thrived if old industries weren't coddled? We don't know. We will never know the greatness of what might have existed had the state not sucked the oxygen out of the incubator.
Without any government, we would have anarchy; but if we merely cut back, we would have the same problems on a smaller scale and would eventually see them get much bigger again with a vengeance. The progressive Stossel mentions knows this on some level, which is why he included the military and prisons (which the government and only the government should control) in his list of things he thinks we should get from the government. (Most people wouldn't have a problem with roads, either, but they are mistaken.)
Until opponents of the "progresives" start discriminating between legitimate and illegitimate uses of government, the "progressives" will own the debate -- which will look like a choice between advocating anarchy and merely quibbling over who gets what favors, and whose resources will be raided to pay for it.