29 December 2011

Where are all the bright interested people of conscience

We don't have people like that in this country. 

I found listening to these callers-in that none of them were raising really interesting and coherent questions. One would think that watchers of CSPAN, and worse, people calling into a CSPAN show, might possibly be modestly astute political observers. Instead I heard several calls that amounted to "I don't think I like the direction of the country", with no concept of a) what direction the country should be going in, and b) no idea what direction the country is going in. If this was a representative sampling of the sorts of people watching CSPAN, then it's possible that informed rational voters are going somewhere else for such things as information on politics. In which case, what's the point of CSPAN again?

I appreciate being reminded of the zeitgeist. I get it. You people don't like things. I have a pretty good idea that much of this is because many of you have no jobs or were fired, have trouble paying mortgages or health care. I'd like you to phrase this discontent in a way that says "this is what I want from x", x presumably being the state or some other entity to which you are aggrieved. But you're not capable of doing that and instead we get things like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.

Gillespie did duck one astute question about public choice problems relating to regulatory capture or rent seeking behaviors. But it was phrased more as something akin to "why don't we just abolish private property so we can have a functioning democracy". I'm not sure I can think of many places where that has worked either as a democracy or as an economic model. In fact I can think of none, particularly at a massive nation-state level like the US. So ducking that question made sense because that part is absurd. I'm also not convinced necessarily that "democracy" is a better model for sorting out most public choice problems than is "markets" or "social pressure in the absence of legal penalties and state involvement". So arguing for "democracy" instead of one of the bulwarks of a free society, private property, seems a little overdone. But so does the idea that these two things must be in conflict and that one must chose between democracy and private property. One reason they might end up that way is that the state often presumes to take private property by force and coercion and the public forms methods of fighting back against these takings. Very effectively I might add. When the state has less cause and method to seize property for whatever ends it views appropriate, generally people will have less desire to resist it (this is one reason why lowering taxes allows governments to increase spending as they often do, because the public has less concern what happens to fewer tax dollars).

Besides, based on these sorts of callers and their comments, I should think encouraging more "democracy" isn't a very encouraging thought anyway.

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