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Jim Cook

 

RUNAWAY SOCIAL SYMPATHY

Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

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The Best of Jim Cook Archive

 
Best of Howard Ruff
August 9, 2012
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Free Markets

Freedom requires free markets. No free society can exist without free markets and a free flow of capital.

Laws are not required to regulate wages and prices if the people understand that wages and prices are best controlled by the almost mystical interplay of supply and demand, which rewards performance and ingenuity and hard work, and punishes
slothfulness, selfishness and greed.

For example, if I invent a brand-new widget that will improve the lot of a large number of human beings, I am free to build it and sell it, and to become wealthier in the process, assuming that I know how to tell the world that I have created this wonderful contraption. If I become greedy and charge too much because I am the only manufacturer of this essential widget, others will eventually begin to covet my profits and plot to get a piece of the action. They will go to work to invent a better widget so they can circumvent the patent laws or to invent something that does what my widget does, only faster and cheaper. The greedier I am, and the more money I make, the more attention I attract from others who may be equally talented. They will try harder and harder to do me one better.

Soon there is another widget on the market or something that makes my widget obsolete. I now have to spend money to improve my widget, and I now have to advertise and hire salesmen as more widget manufacturers move into the marketplace. Now price becomes a competitive factor and I can no longer charge what I wish. Sooner or later, the price of widgets comes down, and I find myself, along with the rest of the widget makers, making the five to seven percent return on investment that eventually becomes the norm in almost every industry.

No Need for Controls

In a truly free-enterprise system, government does not need to make official moral judgments about my greed and attempt to control me by governmental action. The free-enterprise system acknowledges that human greed exists, and pits one man’s greed against another’s, and neutralizes excessive greed through competition. Soon the competition has created a reasonable balance between supply and demand, and the customer benefits.

The America that the Founding Fathers created was founded on certain old-
fashioned concepts:

1) that free societies produce the most good and the least evil;
2) that theft is wrong; that work is noble and expected of everyone;
3) that a man should be willing to stand on his own two feet;
4) hat he should be free to succeed or fail and keep the fruits of his labors;
5) that it is ignoble to accept that which you have not earned; and
6) that when we are successful we have responsibilities to share our wealth with those who, because of youth, age, sickness or incapacity, cannot take care of themselves   especially our own families.

Until fairly recently, it was accepted virtually without question that the state owed you absolutely nothing but an opportunity. It didn’t owe you a “decent standard of living,”“dignity,”“an education,”“a cheap government-subsidized loan,” a “serene and worry-free old age,” or “a safety net” to protect people who failed from the
consequences of their failure.

We were expected to love our country and give it our support in time of trouble, and to give our lives if necessary in defense of its freedom and its principles. Now, nearly all of the above principles have disappeared.

Bedrock Principles

Is this a failure of government? There are those, and unfortunately they are now in the majority in both political parties, who believe that the solution is more government, more laws, more regulation, more taxes and more benefits from the public treasury.

If the majority of Americans reject those bedrock principles of personal character, the Constitution will be inadequate to maintain social order and a stable prosperous society. Even more laws and regulations will be created to fill the vacuum created by this failure of Americans to discipline themselves.

When the invisible, unconscious consensus, which manifests itself in mass behavior and economic cycles, swings from individual responsibility to the abdication of responsibility to an all-powerful omnipotent government, then there are no additional laws, regulations or political movements that can save free institutions from destruction. That doesn’t always mean the collapse of society, but it can mean the collapse of freedom.

The greatest threat to freedom today is government itself. It is growing exponentially, as it fills vacuums totally out of control, with no effective opposition to the trends.

The corollary to success is failure. Human nature is such that if we eliminate the consequences of failure from society, we eliminate the greatest incentive to succeed, and we wipe from our lives one of the most important drives that has fueled human
progress sheer desperation.