The only flaw in John Stossel’s logic (“Why We’re Losing,” June) is the premise that free markets are “counterintuitive” when compared to central planning. On the contrary, I believe the workings of freedom and free markets are very intuitive, while central planning is counterintuitive. The problem lies not in any failure of human intuition but in the short-circuiting of human intuition by 6,000-plus years of elitist authoritarian propaganda.
Stossel expresses distress at our failure to learn about the “folly of central planning” from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the stagnation of socialist economies around the world. But how can one be expected to learn about the fundamental reasons why those systems failed, and will always fail, when we have failed to come to terms with the failures of our very own socialist experiments? To this day, the Great Depression serves as the poster child for the inherent evils of laissez-faire capitalism, and FDR is lauded by historians for having the political courage to save the world from its excesses. Emerging in 2011 was a new poster child, brought to us via the comprehensive report recently issued by the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which describes widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision as one of “the main culprits of blame” for the 2008 financial meltdown. In short, the same conclusion reached regarding the Great Depression: too much individual freedom and too little government control.
In the battle of ideas, the best often lose to the worst, and the creative and truthful often lose to the corrupt and deceptive, in the short run of the political cycle.
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I’d like Obama to commit more emphatically to a Simpson-Bowles-type deal. But without any Republican give on taxes, that’s impossible. And his actual record on spending is, as usual, better than his Republican predecessor’s.
—Andrew Sullivan, in response to Tim Cavanaugh’s “Is the GOP an Echo or a Choice?” (June), writing at The Daily Beast
Raise your hand if you don’t live within the whacked out extreme leftist fringe of Chicano academia and had no idea that this kind of thing was even something that anybody spent time thinking about. Raise your other hand if you find it ironic being called a gabacho (an ethnic slur) by an ethnic grievance monger born in the USA to first- generation immigrant parents who thinks the term “roach coach” is an affront to his heritage.
—reason online commenter “PM” in response to “Taco USA” (June)
The Democratic Party is almost entirely taken up with people who either believe that, given the chance, they could formulate a perfect social structure, or that there are such people and they should be supported. The Republicans also have this sickness, but to a slightly lesser degree.
—reason online commenter “C.S.P. Schofield” in response to Peter Suderman’s “The Technocratic Mind” (June)