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Somebody Decides. Why Can't it be You Instead of Uncle Sam?
by Jeremy Browning
Nov. 14, 2008 08:49

I didn't quite connect the dots in my post-election rant, mostly because I was paralyzed by that moment of watching history in the making, and for me it was making my skin crawl.

I wrote that Barack Obama's policies will "chip away at the principles I worship."

What exactly did I mean?

I was speaking of individual liberty and capitalism. We owe our prosperity and indeed our very lives to both principles.

It's clear both will be eroded under Obama.

We hear all around us that capitalism is the cause of the current financial problems. And the answer, coming from all directions, is that government needs a bigger role.

For me, it comes down to this: in all financial transactions, someone is "the decider." Someone makes the decision to go forward or not, to make the deal or not, to take the loan or not, to sell the property or not. And the idea of leaving that decision up to the individual citizens involved in the transaction is: capitalism. The idea of leaving the decision up to Washington politicians is Obama's and the democrats' position.

You really have to come to grips with the idea that someone has to decide. And the answer doesn't come magically from the sky or a fortune cookie. So you have to understand that either it's going to be Joe Citizen deciding what's best in for him in the next transaction, or it's going to be a government official.

How in the hell can anyone be so deluded to think that a bureaucracy will make better decisions than Joe Citizen?

Some might say that leaving it up to the individuals who make up The Market is what got us here. That's simply rubbish. Consider this quote from a recent Ayn Rand Center editorial:

But while capitalism may be a convenient scapegoat, it did not cause any of these problems. Indeed, whatever one wishes to call the unruly mixture of freedom and government controls that made up our economic and political system during the last three decades, one cannot call it capitalism.

If you fancy yourself as someone who wants to get to the bottom of things, who really cares about issues and who wants to stay informed, you must read that editorial. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins clearly explain how silly it is to declare economic freedom (capitalism) as the cause of the current problems in the financial industry. The article is called Stop Blaming Capitalism for Government Failures. It will challenge you to really think about the news you hear and question the popular conclusions that have been drawn.

Says Brook and Watkins

[W]ho can say with a straight face that the housing and financial markets were frontiers of "cowboy capitalism"?

And consider that while the current crisis is rooted in poorly vetted loans of hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who are now defaulting en masse, liberal democratic Senator Chris Dodd yesterday demanded that bank executives make lending more accessible or he and his cronies were prepared to legislate it.

We're stuck right now between capitalism and socialism. Ask yourself who has a bigger stake in perpetuating socialism. I say it's politicians who'd love to drive our lives. And then ask yourself who has a bigger stake in capitalism. I say it's each and every citizen who will remain free -- free economically. Remember freedom? I know it sounds so 20th Century, but I'm sticking by it.

Ayn Rand said that capitalism means

the abolition of any and all forms of government intervention in production and trade, the separation of State and Economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of Church and State.

Edited Nov. 14, 2008 09:14


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