Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

The Two Towers

Free market capitalism isn’t perfect.

But it is the best we have ever managed – after all, WE are not perfect either.

As I have said elsewhere, free market capitalism fails safe and socialism fails horribly (and anyone that thinks socialism has never been properly tried despite two centuries of improperly trying, probably needs to accept that’s because we are incapable of ever properly trying it)

So why don’t we all just agree on that and move on with our lives?

Well, because people are deluded and like to think they are good and this means their plans will be good too – they like to believe that if they have good motives (they don’t but they think they do) then surely good outcomes will follow.

If they WANT to help people, they reason, then being in power will mean their policies will surely do so – that their delusional policies are well-meaning will be enough to guarantee their success.

The mountains of skulls we see in our recent past tell us that it doesn’t work like that.

Think of a competition to build a tower of cards, between a completely selfish and greedy free market capitalist (aka The Bastard) and a well-meaning socialist (aka The Woke), with a prize of a million dollars.

Now imagine I told the competitors that for every card they could add to their tower, as a bonus, a million people would be rescued from poverty and suffering and would get to sleep safely and warmly in a nice comfy bed, having had a lovely homecooked meal.

Then imagine I showed them a picture of those people suffering right before they started building their towers.

They begin, and after a while there comes a point where the two towers are as high as they will go – there is literally no way to add more cards without a minor or major collapse taking place.

The Bastard stops at this point. Because he wants the million dollars.

He recognises that this is the most cards that will ever constitute the tower, and so he stops. To him, the extra suffering millions left in squalor because more cards cannot be added is not important and in any case an unsolvable problem, because our card-building capabilities are finite.

Liberals. Can’t. Stop.

They cannot bear to see the suffering, so even though adding a card will reduce the tower by at least two cards, they cannot help themselves. Their emotionality overcomes their reason.

The Woke adds a card.

It falls away, taking another with it.

Grimacing, they try to add them back.

Now they fall away and take a third with them.

Each minor collapse introduce micro-instabilities further down the tower – each time those that fell away are added back, yet more fall away.

Add two, lose three.

Add three, lose four.

Add four, lose five.

And so the tower slowly deteriorates, as the spiral of well-meaning activity produces worse and worse outcomes until the tower disintegrates utterly, leaving us with just a pile of cards on a table.

And this is how government works once it has passed the point of doing the minimum – it tries to solve problems, and creates them instead. And in trying to solve THOSE problems, it creates more. And so on – the dead weight of the State burdening the productive ever more heavily, and then in reaching out to help them, burdening them further.

Or as Tom Sowell put it “The problems of today are a result of the solutions of yesterday”

In pursuit of zero suffering, extra suffering.

Free market capitalism is the pragmatists tower – the construction is just about having the highest tower, and little regard is paid to the suffering that will go unalleviated when considering how high to build the tower.

Because we are not perfect, and cannot alleviate all suffering, no matter how wise and well-meaning we consider ourselves to be.

It’s said that the greatest evil is not done by the man who wakes determined to cause suffering, but the one determined to make the world a better place.

Or as C.S. Lewis said “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience”

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