Magical Thinking About Government

By | April 29, 2012

A deeply entrenched mindset among many Americans is that the government is some magical entity that can dispense aid without doing any harm.  But this is a myth. Before the government can help, it must first do harm.

The government is coercion. It gets its resources by taking them away from producers. It can only expropriate, by figuratively sticking a gun to people’s heads, and by threatening them with the ultimate deprivation of their freedom in prison. There is no Underpants Gnome scheme where government + ? = utopia.

The left seems to think it is  justified for the government to intervene in the economy because they conceive of capitalists and manufacturers as inherently exploitative of labor. This is not true. People are not owed anything by virtue of simply being born. They must work to sustain their own lives, whether in society or a state of nature. Productive work is not exploitation. Magical fairies do not create Ipads.

Furthermore, the act of creation and production does not inherently take away from others. That is like arguing the expenditure of one’s energy takes away from the energy of the collective, a perverse thought. The left seems to think there is one “life force,” and we are all a part of it. Mystical nonsense. We are individual creatures with our own lives.

A business organization must rely on voluntarism in order to acquire labor in a capitalist system. Competing organizations create a “labor market,” whereby one can not only be rewarded for adding more value to the system relative to others, but one can increase his own worth by adding value to his capabilities, through training and education. Under socialism, the government has a labor monopoly, and thus the Iron Law of Wages, the idea that wages tend towards subsistence, becomes a relevant concept.

Under socialism, there is no real reward for personal improvement. Demoralization becomes de rigeur.

On the contrary, under capitalism people thrive personally and collectively. Wealth disparity is not an issue, per se, because creation and production does not actually come at others’ expense. The more some organization produces, the less expensive the product. Profits are made in a modern economy by tailoring to the masses, whether computers, Iphones, Kindles, etc. Greed makes goods more available to the masses, and this leads to more profit for the people who took the initiative to create the enterprise. Products are made less expensive and more available to others.

This is the other side to the socialist “labor theory of value” argument. Value is being added to the economy, not just money going into capitalists’ profits; they don’t then take Scrooge McDuck money baths, they turn around and reinvest that money, putting it, and more people, to work.

When a business starts its enterprise, it must invest. This means it must acquire resources and pay back those who loan them the resources in exchange for interest. The government, with a wave of a magic pen, can create a program and the debt to finance it, and then force others to pay for it, whether they benefit from the program or not.

Which brings us to the point. In order for government to finance its operations, it has to penalize producers, who are successful on the merits of the goods and services they produce as esteemed by the market. The government then gives those expropriated resources to the less successful or non-productive. Less products are made, leading to higher prices, hurting the middle class and even the poor. Less people are engaging in the most productive activities, as evaluated by the market, and there is less real employment (Paper shuffling and digging holes and filling them up is not “productive labor”).

Even more warped, under our current system the more productive and demanded one’s goods and services become, the more profit one makes, and the more that business is penalized by the government.

When the government is “here to help,” think of all the people it had to hurt first and the consequences of its behavior. The government doesn’t get its resources by magic; it must first harm before it can help. The answer for the economy is maximum self-sufficiency, whether for businesses or individuals. In plainspeak, that means it’s time for Americans to grow up.

“Together, we can accomplish anything!” makes for an awesome catch phrase on a My Little Ponies poster. But if you bronies sitting around combing your miniature horse dolls think the world owes you “free” healthcare, housing, employment, and the like, you might want to ask yourselves the question, who’s going to pony up for it? Because as it stands, the nation’s most parasitical generation has voted itself all sorts of goodies, and they’re looking at you, the most gullible generation, to finance them. Drop the playthings, start mobilizing against the real world menaces that prevent you from leading a full, happy life, and stop retreating into a world of fantasy and fiction.

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One thought on “Magical Thinking About Government

  1. JBrenn

    Another great read, Kyle.
    While the left loves to invoke mythical, ambiguous “pies”, and the pie-pieces that everyone is supposedly entitled to, once their theories are given a critical look, they completely fall apart. At the end of the day, socialism and its empty rhetoric, remains the turd that stubbornly refuses to take a shine.

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