It’s easy for conservatives and libertarians to agree that those who profit through fraud should be punished and that one of the few proper functions of government is to enforce the rule of law. As a libertarian, however, I must disagree with Philip Klein’s conclusion (in “Wrestling With Capitalist Pigs,” TAS, April 2009) that, “For conservatives, prudent regulation focused on improving disclosure is a noble goal.” As Klein goes on to point out, “government regulators are also susceptible to corruption, conflicts of interest, and poor judgment.” What we need is less regulation and more personal responsibility. Caveat emptor. Whether it’s a firm buying derivatives, a borrower agreeing to a loan, or an insurer guaranteeing against risk, let the buyer beware. More regulation creates a moral hazard whereby the consumer believes that risk has been magically eliminated by an all-knowing third party, and thus even risky practices are perceived as safe. Why does Klein believe that suddenly these regulations will work, when all of the previous regulations have put us in the position we find ourselves today?
Live for Today
In his article about avoidance of personal responsibility (“The Long Run,” TAS, April 2009), Roger Scruton makes passing note that John Maynard Keynes was a homosexual but does not tie this aspect of the Englishman’s life in with Keynes’s promotion of economic irresponsibility. Mr. Scruton should have because the two are, indeed, related.
Keynesian economics is a live-for- today-type philosophy. It favors current pleasures over the future. This dovetails exactly with the childless homosexual view of life, and contrasts sharply with the view of parents who care as much, if not more, for the future as they do for the present, for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
And it is utter nonsense to argue that Keynes’s private life should be kept separate from his professional life. When something as emotional as the forbidden sex is fundamental to a man’s being as homosexuality was to Keynes, there can be no compartmentalization. Mr. Scruton, who studies the culture, should appreciate this more than most.
The essence of the Obama economic program is to rob from the future to avoid discomfort today. Call me politically incorrect, but I feel America would be better advised to move toward the Prophet’s advice and away from the homosexual’s.
Ways the World Works
Brian Wesbury’s contrast of supply-siders and demand-siders is on target (“Demand and Supply,” TAS, April 2009), but is only the economic manifestation of a broader phenomenon. He hints at this. I would propose to state it more plainly.
Demand-siders take a mechanistic view of society. They can’t conceive that anything will happen unless they create a mechanism— a law, bureaucracy, regulation, etc.—to make it happen. Perhaps more ominously, they don’t believe that anything important happens which is not caused by mechanisms of social coercion. If they “tax the rich,” they expect the rich to quietly give it up. It seems to me that this blindness, as much as anything else, accounts for demand-siders being soft on foreign policy. They don’t have the leverage over other societies that they enjoy over our own people. So, they prefer using the power of government to dominate America instead of defend it.
The mechanistic view also explains their anti-family policies. They hate families in the same sense that land developers “hate” trees. It’s not that they’ve got anything against trees; they’ve just got other plans, and the trees are in the way.
Supply-siders hold an organic view of society. They expect and enjoy the fact that things will happen that are not in anybody’s five-year plan. They are counting on unforeseen innovations coming along, and know that people need freedom to adapt and take advantage. Wealth is the seed corn of prosperity; if it is allowed to be planted, it produces more abundance for everyone. They understand that a society enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will be seen as prey by the predators of the world. So, a strong defense is government’s job number one.
Families are the vessels that carry a society into the future; they are not some curious sort of hobby. As France, Italy, Russia, and Japan are learning, a society that neglects its families cancels its own future.
Winter Springs, Florida