Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”     Voltaire

June 24, 2008

TLP Commentor Receives Name In Lights

by Brad Warbiany

Well, a letter to the editor, anyway. In response to a sycophantic article regarding government’s– in general, Obama’s in particular– ability to “plan” an economy, regular commenter Jeff Molby penned a letter. The critical points:

In a column Tuesday, deputy editorial page editor Stephen Henderson lauded Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s economic plans as bold investments that would pay off in the long run (“Obama’s economic agenda: Plan hurts now, helps later”). What he neglected to mention is that such attempts at centralized planning are inherently flawed — as Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek so thoroughly demonstrated in his seminal work, “The Road to Serfdom.”

No one seems to mention that anymore. Instead, we are offered a revolving door of politicians who claim that we can finally solve the problems we face — often the same problems their predecessors promised to solve. All we need to do, they tell us, is to put them in power and implement their plan. Being hopeful and trusting by nature, we keep electing them, hoping that one of these days we’ll elect a group smart enough and honest enough to follow through; we believe them when they tell us that we got where we are despite the individual freedom secured for us by our forefathers.

We don’t need elaborate plans or an all-knowing president. We simply need to let individuals make their own decisions about what to do with their time and money.

That’s not very exciting, though, and it’s hard to win a modern election on such a boring platform.

Sadly, he’s right. Promising a free lunch doesn’t impress economists or thinking individuals, but those constituencies seem to be rarities in today’s voting public.

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  1. That was an excellent letter Jeff. It was simple, stuck to the argument, and most importantly it didn’t come off as shrill or condescending to what is surely a mostly non-libertarian audience (as so many libertarians, including myself, often do). Bravo.

    Comment by Ben — June 24, 2008 @ 2:04 pm
  2. Clearly and succinctly put.

    I enjoyed reading Jeff’s logical take on what should be a truism. There is no such thing as a person or group of people who knows how to better “manage” the interactions of 300 million people than those 300 million people themselves.

    Comment by Akston — June 24, 2008 @ 3:37 pm
  3. Very nicely done Jeff!

    Comment by Stephen Littau — June 24, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

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