By the Left Coast Rebel
Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek finds inspiration after reading a Michael Gerson’s column excerpting a 2008 campaign quote wherein then-candidate Obama instructs Americans to cast aside negative feelings about politics and, "just believe."
The "just believe" Obama quote was one of many 2008 elections examples where team Obama ™ effectively created a cult of personality (the Messiah Obama!) using completely undefinable bromides.
Anyway, though it is ancient political history today, Boudreaux rationally counters the "just believe" statement as thus and I simply just had to post it:
Believe in what? Believe in the miraculous power of power? Believe that a handful of telegenic and charismatic individuals will sacrifice their personal welfare to work as servants for millions of strangers simply because those strangers are citizens of the same political entity as are the telegenic and charismatic individuals who furiously fight each other for the privilege of sacrificing their personal welfare to work as servants for millions of strangers? Believe that a handful of telegenic and charismatic individuals – who do not know you personally – can spend your money and regulate your behavior better than you can spend your own money and regulate your own behavior? Or believe that if a majority of your fellow citizens vote to give power to a handful of telegenic and charismatic individuals, then it’s moral and right and proper and economically sensible for that handful of telegenic and charismatic individuals to take money and autonomy from some politically impotent people in order to enrich you and other people less politically impotent than are those whose money is taken and whose freedom of action is constrained?And, Boudreaux brilliantly concludes with:
Religion of no sort has ever appealed to me. This fact is one important practical reason why I strongly advocate freedom of religion. I wish that that freedom extended to being free of having to support the cult of the state and to participate in the rituals that the state’s priests and faithful laity impose on us all.
I believe, in short, that collectivism of any sort is a religion without rational foundation or beneficial consequences.
This last point is something that Ayn Rand noted years ago: that although the Soviets of her homeland rejected religion and were in fact atheistic, it did not mean that they didn't adhere to a religion, or to a faith.
For them, the Almighty was the state.
Collectivism was their religion without a rational foundation or beneficial consequences.
And tens of millions died at the alter of collectivism in that dark, dreary prison state - and way too many Americans want the same thing here; blindly and foolishly thinking that somehow America will get (and is getting) collectivism "right".
We know better. There is no right way to go about collectivism. Collectivism, wherever it is tried, has always created misery and prison-state societies. Capitalism and individual liberty, wherever it has been tried, has created the exact opposite.
FURTHER READING: At Cato, "Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?"