Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Ultimate Choice

A minimal government gradually grows into a larger government, which takes on more and more a social respect for solving problems, as problems are brought before it.

The problem with a social approach to problem solving is this: It ignores what economics is there for, which is to say, to distribute limited resources.

But government can distribute resources, you insist!

Well, yes it can.  That's exactly the problem.  There are more potential uses for resources than there are resources.  Drivers want well-maintained roads, sick people want good hospitals and advanced drug research, religious people want churches, biologists and climatalogists and economists want bigger and faster computers, gamers want fast consoles and new games once a week, on and on and on and on.

When it is their own money they are spending to acquire these things, they accept moderation; the limitation is their own.  When government provides these things, however, expectations change.

The gamer sees a still-drivable road being replaced while he's playing old games and thinks that's a waste.  The driver sees a church going up while the highway is too small for the traffic and thinks that's waste.  The religious person sees money going in to research a cure for a disease only gay people get and thinks that's waste.  The sick person sees games being developed while they can't get treatment and thinks that's waste.

Suddenly money spent on what other people want is waste; you don't mind them buying these things for yourself when it's your money and skimping a little bit, but when that money is coming out of a limited pool that you all share, everybody else suddenly looks like a selfish moron.

Resentment gradually grows, as government constantly fails to fix the problems people think need fixing - would fail to do so even under the most competent and well-directed hands simple because it will never have the resources to do so.  And there comes a point when society - which is hopelessly divided on what it wants - comes to see the legislative bodies as being hopelessly divided on what it intends to do.

And then it has a choice.

Accept that government cannot do what it wants it to do.  Or push for somebody to take power who has the resolve to achieve these goals.

That is how socialism turns to fascism.

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