Economic Freedom and Individual Freedom are Inexorably Linked

If the reality of America was truly what progressive Democrats see in their mind’s eye, every single street would be filled with racial violence, disease, crime and squalor – in essence all of America would look like inner city Detroit, the south side of Chicago or sadly, a city close to my heart – Memphis, Tennessee (I grew up 60 miles south of Memphis).

Yet these fevered visions do become real in isolated microcosms only after decades of progressive Democrat control. The civil unrest and violence of 2020 validated how much the progressive dystopian view is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seattle, Portland, Kenosha, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Francisco were all open-air laboratories for progressive governance.

It is no coincidence that all the cities noted above have been under the thumb of anti-free market progressive control for generations.

In the face of such total failures of governance, it seems lost on the leftist factions that their own policies are creating the very conditions they blame capitalism for creating. Homelessness continues go grow under progressive leftist government. Economic stagnation is increasing, inflation is growing, lawlessness is increasing, as is racial strife. Paying people not to work is – hold on to your hats – causing them not to work, robbing them of opportunities of economic mobility and the nation of their productivity.

Somehow, the idea that being “for the people” means one must adopt hard left, communist realities – but being pro-people does not mean being anti-capitalist.

A simple fact proven over and over is this: a certain standard of living cannot be “given”, because it must be earned. The overall economic success of a nation determines how high that standard can be raised – and since there is a direct tie between individual freedom and economic freedom, any inhibition of the free market via vampiric government action will decrease liberty and increase exactly that which the government claims to be trying to alleviate – poverty.

The great economist, Milton Friedman, wrote:

“There’s no justice in the distribution of income and wealth. I never would argue there is. Those who are wealthy don’t deserve to be wealthy anymore than those who are poor deserve to be poor. It’s pure accident. And we — but if you start to look at things that way, you’re going to go down the wrong line. Because you’re going to get back into this kind of a situation of destroying the good things, destroying what is possible, in the search of an impossible ideal. The only way in which you can redistribute effectively the wealth is by destroying the incentives to have wealth. And the question is: What is the way, what is a system which will offer those people who are so unlucky as to be born without good positions, what is a system which will offer them the greatest opportunity?”

Wow! What a concept! If only someone would invent a system based on the idea that a transaction can occur at a given price when a buyer wants to buy and a seller wants to sell and that price was a signal to the market to manage supply and demand!

If there was only some sort of system where there is free exchange and the individual can decide for themselves what they want to do. If someone would invent something like this, they might call it something like “capitalism” and the economic freedom it creates might just be directly tied to individual freedom.

What would this “capitalism” thing be?

At its most basic, capitalism is the free market philosophy that uses price as a signal to the market to change, to adjust. Capitalism isn’t a cause; it is an effect, a result. Capitalism rests upon a very simple concept, an economic transaction occurs at that point where a seller is willing to sell and a buyer is willing to buy. This one on one, individual philosophy allows the price of a good or service to be established by the individuals involved in the transaction based on the value of the transaction to each.

Capitalism, or any economic system for that matter, is merely a reflection of the actions of individuals in a society. In a free society, the quality of that society (and in this case, the quality of the economic system) depends on the quality of individual. Both Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman base their positions on the simple proposition that a society is comprised of individuals and those individuals, acting in their own best interests will yield the best result for society.

Uncle Miltie also said:

“The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in ‘On Liberty’…The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual. Government, he said, never has any right to interfere with an individual for that individual’s own good.”

Only in a capitalist system resting on classical liberal foundations can the individual be free to determine how far he or she wants and can go to improve their standard of living. Government “help” always comes with limits and strings.

This is even proven in the inner cities – the drug and prostitution trades are illegal, that much is true – but there is a reason these activities tend to flourish in impoverished areas – there is a market with a demand for the “products” and the raw materials are present. Free markets do not have to be legal – commerce always finds a way to succeed. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is always omnipresent.

In my mind, there is no or more equitable or fair method of economic transfer than this, this thing called “capitalism”.

There is a cure for poverty and the social ills and strife that always arise from them – and that cure is capitalism.

Talk Amongst Yourselves:

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