Monday, May 9, 2016

Abstract Liberty Versus Real, Personal Liberty

Among economic schools of thought, the Austrians appear to be the only ones that highlight what could be termed the "ripple effect" of new money into the economic system. Certain institutions benefit greatly by being closest to wherever the fed drops the next dollop of money into the pool. It takes some time for inflation to occur, and as the new money ripples through the economy, those that got it earliest benefit at the expense of those who have saved up.

It occurs to me there is a similar reality with production. The more production of various thing local to you, the more likely you will benefit. The more likely, indeed, that you yourself will produce, since there is already a readily available market of all things production oriented in a town where there is a lot of production. There will, of course, be a difference in direct benefit to yourself depending on what, in particular, is being produced.

But if nothing is being produced, you are probably looking to get the hell out.

Now, obviously, the first reason arguments against Trump based on appeals to liberty don't work is that everybody else is worse. I don't like that he thinks Snowden was a spy for some foreign government; Snowden did us a service at great cost to his personal liberty. But Cruz, Hilary, etc...- also not in the Snowden fan club.

Secondly, Trump is providing the vision of more personal liberty at the expense of abstraction versions of liberty. People intuitive understand if there is more production in their hometown, then they have more opportunities. Opportunities figure far larger in the human mind as meaningful freedom. The abstract versions of liberty work for the intellectual, and perhaps most dismally, for the paid academic, who, since they are often tenured, have conveniently forgotten the sense of stricture the rest of us tend to feel.

This is not to say arguments shouldn't be made for liberty in an abstract sense, but they should be made with some due deference to the realities people face on the ground, not to mention the realities of power. If we want anything done, permanently, then we need power, or those in power, to actually listen to us. Now, in the face of seeing someone genuinely new actually getting close to the reigns of power, shouldn't libertarians consider how they could shape their message for Trump? He doesn't see international trade as it currently exists as free trade. I don't either, since too many games are played by governments, especially ours.

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