The Divine Dynamic Power Of Liberty
Some of you may be aware that as I have told people, Bill O’Reilly is not a conservative. Many think he is, for a simple reason: they literally don’t know what they are talking about. He inclines in a conservative direction on social questions and he believes that over exuberant government can douse the potential for economic growth. But the reason I bring him up is because I suspect that the reason he has the most popular news-related program on cable, is because a whole lot of Americans are roughly where he is. O’Reilly believes unregulated corporations will take advantage of and repress consumers and reap exorbitant profits. And polls and public behavior indicate that while a strong plurality consider themselves conservative, most Americans distrust both overgrown government and big corporations. Too much versus too little government is for these, a balancing act. It is very central to conservatism and classical economics to understand and appreciate how freedom works in society, but most Americans don’t. We could call it natural economics, because Adam Smith was describing free human nature, not prescribing system manipulations. ...The Wealth Of Nations. Many or most people today don’t understand the productive power of freedom and the natural sanctioning mechanism of a free market. These aren’t bad people. But the popular media and educational minority that has dominated the perception of recent generations has done fairly nothing to elucidate this fact. Why would they? They don’t comprehend it. And O’Reilly grew up in New York, where there is little appreciation even in a local community.
Understand at the start, that I’m not promoting the idea that corporations are operated by charitable people who primarily want good for society. They may be or may not be decent people. But they exist to profit, whether with or without government assistance (a subject for a coming post). They are constrained in their actions when markets are most free. When the buyer alone chooses the vendor, he or she will not tolerate abuse when a non-abusive one is able to compete for the business. Legal intervention corrupts this natural state, unfairly providing advantages to some and obstacles to others, weakening the efficiency of the market. Buyers receive generally inferior products and/or at higher prices. I use the word dynamic in the title, because freedom unleashes a miraculous reaction of optimal creativity, quality, production, and marketing and cost efficiency. And however it may be well-intended, government intervention dampens and can douse that fire.
Last week, Dennis Prager dedicated an hour to an idea of an American ritual for the Fourth of July, of the type of the Jewish Seder. The Seder is the annual celebration meal of the ancient liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This American idea is posted at Prager’s website. From a Christian perspective, the work of and relationship with Christ is in its liberation from the sanction of sin, a corollary to the liberation of Israel from slavery. And like when deliverance was repeatedly provided for Israel, the freedom from sin in fact, lays on individuals' greater accountability for the liberty they have been afforded; a challenge which men reliably fail to live up to. Every measure of freedom further enlightens human dependence on God for the instruction and justification of our lives.
The founding of The United States Of America was the climax of the historical evolution of liberty in The West. Protestant Christianity had slipped the human model of hierarchical authority in The Catholic Church, and the American founders threw off the authority of the English monarchy, devising a system that left men to self-governance, restrained only by the recognition and protection of some fundamental and transcendent unalienable human rights. This system of democratically elected representatives of free men was inevitably corrupted. And so here we are with rooms full of the coercion of federal law, like a once strong beast struggling weakly and aimlessly, tied up on its back. Won’t it take an uncommonly visionary and assertive leader to draw and guide this half-blind people out of this legislative bondage toward what America was designed to be? That individual doesn’t seem to be on the stage, yet.