Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Optimal May Not Look Pretty

Given that it is relatively easy to achieve short-term effect of apparent improvement via some form of redistribution, our concepts of reality can get swallowed up by touchy feely thinking. In this case, I am thinking specifically of the idea that anyone's particular situation can be improved. This isn't to say I think that improvement is impossible, quite the contrary, I pray that we could experience true freedom precisely so that so many of us, who have been pushed into our various corners, could come out again. But those who see a particularly sad situation and decide to use the sledgehammer of government to fix it, well they are often assuming more improvement is possible and/or that there is a solution for the less than ideal situation with which they are confronted.

Being poor and hungry is a natural condition. It is wealth and abundance that is the miracle. Wealth and abundance get destroyed by governments engaged in redistribution, so the path to a permanent solution, rather than solving other people's problems directly, is letting them be free so that they can work out solutions of their own. These solutions may be less satisfying to us from many perspectives, but that doesn't mean they aren't optimal.

As our rather excessive attempts to educate people in this country have shown, effort and money shall count for little when no though is given to the will and capabilities of those being institutionalized. In a free market, it's the student's desire for the education that helps determine who the effort and money get spent on. Less waste, and better still, more education. This would drive the meddlers crazy, as they would see children at all sort of stages which they would consider sub-par, or worse yet, they'd see children who were being taught naughty things like Christianity, or that saturated fat is good for you.

But genuine improvement occurs in freedom; dependency occurs in coercion. Sometimes you can make the dependency look prettier than the improvement, but it is not wise to confuse the two. Though, in my darker moments, I wonder how many people do confuse the two; political officials benefit from people (voters) being dependent on them.

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