The following is the fourth paragraph of Barry Germansky’s op-ed Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew, from earlier this year, interspersed with my rebuttals from within the last few days.
BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls’ mandate of applying economic terms – demonstrated in microcosm by their free market beliefs – to all societal sectors creates an enormous disconnect between their personal ideology and the individual matters pertinent to humanity, society, and government at large.
HENRY MOORE: What is more pertinent to humanity, society, and government, society in particular than understanding “the customs of the household,” which is all economics really is at the end of the day? Is this not the basic building block of the other “sectors”? But for some reason you must reduce economics to some bland science that involves only statistics and formula, and in which the chief end is money.
BARRY GERMANSKY: The Paul’s free market gospel would be appropriate for a CEO who deals with money all day long, but not for the leader of a nation comprised of so much more than money.
HENRY MOORE: Narrowing interest in or the uses of economics to CEO’s, who apparently think of nothing but money all day long is a fundamentally elitist notion. And your near king-worship is equally appalling. For your information, the executive office, particularly under the United States Constitution is not a position of leadership. It is a position of carrying out the orders of others. Or at least that’s what it was meant to be. For even when the President (or as you laughably describe him, the national leader) is fulfilling his most authoritarian role, that of Commander-in-Chief, he is merely executing acts of Congress, such as a formal declaration of war, which, in theory, is supposed to reflect the will of the people.
BARRY GERMANSKY: In fact, by examining the free market libertarians who seek to put money ahead of all other human considerations in government, the importance of a democratic government in preserving equality and social justice is revealed.
HENRY MOORE: Your, almost fetishistic, obsession with money as the mainstay of economics is also rather naive. Money is nothing more than a tool. A means to an end. It arises from convention, and only when it is monopolized or collectivized does it take on the role you seem to despise it for. It is very often those who focus all of their attention on the demonization of those that are, in effect, forced to engage in everyday activity on terms other than their own (that is monopolized, collectivized money or currency) who truly give it its horrendous power over people. In a free market, any and all activities, economic or otherwise, can be carried out without the use of money, let alone that of the monopolized, collectivized variety. I am not talking about just barter. It goes further than that. Cooperation and mutual assistance, as means, though not competitive in nature, are more than able to compete with competition, as a means, in bringing about desired results (and ancillary/peripheral benefits) without disregarding analysis of opportunity cost or risk/reward. This is the essence of voluntaryism.
Free markets are very democratic. They do not undermine democracy. One man, at least one vote. More votes to those who benefit society more. It is democracy without the fifty-one-percent-has-it principle. This is because, outside of cartelization (something that can only occur with the intended or unintended help of the state), there is no collusion of special interests, which is the lynchpin of mob rule. Only quasi-rational, and self-interested actors making decisions (thereby creating demand) based on their preferences or their needs for something as contrasted with its relative scarcity. Scarcity and supply, needs and demands are found in every sector, not just in your very deficient conceptualization of the marketplace as some sort of pecuniary orgy of materialists keen on developing their avaricious dispositions.
Equality and Social Justice are two such needs/demands whose scarcity can be substituted for supply. And not just as mere items for sale out in the agora, but as incidental benefits that necessarily arise from the increased standard of living that is an outgrowth of a free market system. There are whole schools of libertarians out there that are dedicated to understanding and promoting this concept. Many of them are left-oriented like yourself.
BARRY GERMANSKY: For example, contrary to what the Pauls will have you believe, property rights are not the most effective methods of combating global warming. This is an environmental issue and should be explored using science before any other school of thought. But, the Pauls stubbornly resort to an economic solution.
HENRY MOORE: Your case against property rights (human rights in the broad sense, private property rights in the narrow sense) is not the least bit compelling. You make two unrelated statements: Property Rights can not solve global warming; Science can solve global warming. The fact that you do not tie them together is troubling enough. But the statements themselves are disturbing as well.
First of all, “global warming” AKA climate change, remains unproven. There is no consensus in the “scientific community”. Whatever that means. Often, instances of agreement have nothing to do with anthropogenic carbon emissions, and other times, the scientists themselves are not peer-reviewed, have admitted to mistakes or wrong-doing, or are a particular type of scientist whose field of work did even not exist until well-after the combustible mix of government grants, environmental hysteria, and agenda-driven NGO propaganda was first prepared.
Second, you do not say why either of these statements or true (let alone why one proves the other). I suspect that this is because that would be an impossible feat without resorting to the most cliché rhetoric, probably involving some fiction about how property owners don’t know what is good for them, and may even get a kick out of pollution. Or perhaps those that own commercial property enjoy oppressing
Third, private property rights can solve problems such as air pollution (global warming is an argumentum ad ignorantiam if there ever was) in the same way it deals with vandalism, trespassing, or a an accidental broken window. It is really quite simple. If you own your property and the air at windpipe-level above your property, no one has the right to pollute that air or any air that comes in contact with that air. If you can prove who the polluter is, you can sue for damages. Odds are he and other polluters will try to cut back on their pollution to avoid lawsuits, or pay people off to avoid bad publicity. People that take the pay-outs obviously prefer them to clean air. As long as they aren’t forcing someone else to breathe it with them, that is their prerogative.
And lastly, science itself is best managed within a system of property rights. Public endowments and grants for science do not lead to new efficiencies of discoveries any more than private endowments and grants. And while both types of funding may be subject to various political pressures and biases that may impact the reported findings themselves, privately funded science is not in the same position as the state to claim it is working primarily for the public good. Publicly funded science has this moral hazard built into it. Privately funded science is also more efficient and subject to competition. There is little incentive to doctor findings when a competitor or opponent might expose them with their own, less tainted results. Science is not a means of solving societal problems. It is a means of observing and understanding the world around us. Science and the free market are not mutually exclusive.
BARRY GERMANSKY: It is through their free market brand of ideological tyranny that economics becomes their sole societal lens.
HENRY MOORE: Tyranny requires imposition and a continuing system of oppression. How can a voluntary society be imposed? It allows for alternatives, even within its own framework. How is that oppressive? How is that tyranny?