10A057 Protesting Reality by Jim Davies, 10/29/2010

For a couple of weeks past, France has been close to gridlock because its government pension scheme is being changed; the retirement age is to rise from 60 to 62. Oh, the humanity!

The change is a done deal, by the rules of democracy that all the protesters presumably endorse; both legislatures have passed it and President Sarkozy is all set to sign it with a flourish. Demographic math has triumphed over political will; pensions at 60 can't be funded without either a tax rise or a benefit cut, so the circle is being squared - there, as here - by postponing the start date. The Grim Reaper will do the rest.

And yet they are out there, the Confédération Générale du Travail with their pretty red flags, just as if the slogan "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" - coined in France in 1840 - ever had the least trace of a link to the reality of human motivation, just as if the Soviet Union had been an economic triumph, and just as if those other wavers of red flags, the market-fascists of China, had retained key characteristics of Communism other than the name. Never mind facts, reason, arithmetic, they seem to say, we demand our rights! (by which they mean, their politically-generated privileges to live off the labor of someone else.) It's absurd.

Yet that very same absurdity - that there is a free lunch to be eaten, that it's possible to improve upon the choices made for themselves by sovereign human beings - is being celebrated fortissimo every day, right here, clearly visible on every TV screen; politicians are making promises (of jobs, for example) which they have not the slightest ability ever to fulfill, and are being cheered to the rafters.

All the claims of government are bogus; none of them relates to reality. It supposedly provides pensions, but delivers little more than one third of the money an honest, commercial retirement contract would deliver. It supposedly provides defense, but delivers more hazards, especially to travelers, every year. It supposedly provides education, yet dumbs down each rising generation worse than the one before. It supposedly provides jobs, but so regulates and taxes employers as to hobble their ability to hire. It supposedly provides sound money, the very basis of any economy; but destroys its value by 98% in one century.

These are the realities, which prove that government is a poison. Why protest them, why pretend they are not there?

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