20A031 Ten Government Merits by Jim Davies, 8/4/2020
Ever eager to find new, stimulating material for this Blog, I hunted the other day for what its supporters think government is for. I asked Ixquick for good things that government does which a free market could not.
There was no exact reply, but what did emerge was amazing; Market Watch, no less, an outfit in the center of Wall Street and associated with Barron's, which I'd always thought was a useful resource about the stock market, offered The ten best things government has done for us, by Rex Nutting.
So the market itself, supposedly, has some nice things to say about its mortal enemy.
Read Nutting first by all means, but here comes my rebuttal of all ten. These, remember, are the best things government does. He subtitles his piece "Government's greatest hits", though if we interpret "hits" in a certain way, that's a bit less inaccurate.
1. Protecting our freedoms. How's that again? Nutting says "political and economic" freedoms have been expanded to all, from what was initially reserved to propertied whites. Reserved by whom, if not by government itself?! First, it breaks your leg, then it hands you a crutch and expects your gratitude. The whole notion that the principal violator of natural rights can possibly "protect" them is utterly absurd on its face, the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding.
In any case economic freedom consists of being left alone to trade as each of two or more parties may choose; hence, if government exists to do anything at all it can only reduce economic freedom. So it's impossible for government to "protect" any such thing. Political "freedom", meanwhile, consists only of the right to choose who will be your master; and that's not freedom at all.
2. Giving away the land. Splendid, that penniless immigrants eager to make it productive and themselves, prosperous could acquire free land. But that would have taken place anyway had the simple, Lockean principle of acquisition by working wildnerness soil been followed; no government required. But the utterly ridiculous, unsupportable premise here is that government owned the land in America in the first place! It did not! And nobody can validly give away anything he does not, in the first place, own.
3. Educating everybody. This alleged market-advocate wants us to suppose that the universal system of government indictrination educates anyone? - on what planet is Nutting living? In real life it has dumbed down eight successive generations, teaching primarily the need to obey Authority.
4. Helping us retire with dignity. I'm retired, and am recovering some of the money forcibly removed from my hands when I was earning it; had it been left where it was I could have purchased a retirement plan that yielded two or three times as much. The SS scheme has not increased the dignity of retirement, it has decreased it; again, Nutting must be an alien.
5. Improving public health. His premise here is that, absent government, cities would have no sewer systems and Big Pharma would kill off its customers. Yet this man has a master's in economics, from American U. It just boggles the mind. Let's guess how American U obtains its revenue.
6. Building our transportation networks. Again, his unsupportable premise is that without government and its odious, self-granted power of Eminent Domain nobody would have constructed roads and, earlier, canals and railroads. Rubbish! The profit motive is such that such infrastructure would have been built as yielded optimal profits, and the main difference is that waste would have been minimized and quality, optimized. Notably, rail networks would have been formed with the care of James J Hill instead of the carelessness of tax-funded capital, and later on the automobile industry would have more slowly displaced rail transport because it would have to have borne all its own costs. Government management of transportation is a disaster.
7. Investing in communications. This suffers from the same fundamental error; that capital could not be raised voluntarily for large, profitable firms. Utterly false. Indeed, telephone systems were all developed privately, until government granted a monopoly to AT&T for fifty years; it became so grossly inefficient and arrogant as to be the butt of sarcasm and humor.
It's quite true that businesses took advantage of government's taxing power to lobby for such funds, and got them; they found it cheaper to lobby than to sell shares on the market. The key fault lies in the existence of the taxing power.
8. Building our energy supply. Nonsense! Oil drilling was begun by profit seeking, risk taking entrepreneurs, as was coal mining. Nuclear power is under tight government government control, but without necessity; the science is there, ready to be exploited by anyone. Nuclear power developed faster than it should have - with near-tragic accidents resulting - because government artificially limited liability with its Price-Anderson Act in 1957. And to the extent that its military intervened to secure supplies from overseas (which Nutting applauds!) it actively began wars.
9. Inventing the future. Nutting also applauds the space program, for it spun off a range of useful products and technologies. Again, his unsupportable premise is that such products would never otherwise have been found. Possibly more slowly - but again at an optimal rate, without the massive waste generated by NASA in what was, in reality, just a "space race" with the USSR, to show the world how clever was the US Government. Our money was stolen, to raise its prestige.
10. Defeating totalitarianism. True, the FedGov has spent "trillions of dollars" waging war, but not one of them was needed because "fascism and communism" are utopian systems; they are unstable and always fail, collapsing under the weight of their own false premises. Never once did any of them threaten the USA without extreme prior provocation, and could not have sustained a conquest anyway. Every dime in those spent trillions was a total waste.
So in the opinion of the only apologist I found, the ten best features of government are actually ten of its worst. The question remains: what is government for? The archist Left loses no chance loudly to pour scorn on "capitalist greed" and proclaims its wish to "occupy Wall Street" - but on this evidence it's already in residence. Either that, or that section of the market has already become a partner in the Crony Capitalist state, a.k.a. Fascism. Stand clear, in that case, of the coming inevitable collapse.
Have you checked out TinyURL.com/WearNoMask yet? - a useful resource, I hope, to combat the muzzlers.
Also, I added an entry on 8/1 to Jim's Wuhan Bug Blog. Surprisingly, NATO might be involved!