Recently, Salon writer Michael Lind in a caricature of a obstinate school boy, claimed he had posited a single question so damning that it could undo centuries of free market philosophy. Lind asks Libertarians and free market supporters, if the free market is such a great way to organize a society, why are there no countries modeled after it?
Lind goes on to point out that if you include the Vatican and Palestine, there are 195 nations in the world that for whatever reasons have chosen to form societies around a centrally planned state instead of a free market.
Lind cites these country’s decisions to form a centrally planned government to suggest that either the free market is such a disastrous philosophy that no one would dare try it, or that a centrally planned state is superior to a society built around a free market.
While these implications appear to have some validity, we must remember that the effectiveness of economic models is not subject to a popularity contest. If whatever was popular was right, or at least good, as Lind suggests, then scholars would be squabbling over the escoteria of Michael Bay films, while the works of David Lynch would rot in clearance bins. Popularity determines nothing but popularity.
No one, save Lind’s prepubescent intellectual peers, would cite Justin Bieber’s record sales as proof that he is a greater musician than Jimi Hendrix. Luckily, this line of reasoning does not follow most of us past our middle school graduation, and we as rational thinkers can examine something past its popularity.
While Thomas Woods and many other free market thinkers have given beautifully eloquent and obvious answers to Lind’s unanswerable question…I simply can not resist heaping another answer onto the mound of responses to a question that the author says should have left me paralyzed with a, “baffled look”.
Lind’s argument dissolves instantly when you consider the counter examples follow his logic.
If murder free societies are so great, why aren’t there any?
If a society free from poverty is so great, why aren’t there any?
If a society free from theft is so great, why aren’t there any?
Well Mr. Lind? It’s not as if there haven’t been many earnest attempts to achieve the societies mentioned above. Why can’t those against unjust killing point with pride to a murder free utopia on a globe? If you count the Vatican and Palestine, there are 195 nations in the world that are fertile testing grounds for an experiment in a murder free society.
Yet, not a solitary state in the sea of 195 nations exists a society free from any of the above ailments. By your logic, it follows that no murder free state exists, because there is some problem with the philosophy that taking an innocent life is wrong.
In nature, there are more parasitic species than non parasitic species. The reason why there is no truly Libertarian or free market state is because there is always a parasite trying to lock its jowls onto something productive so that it doesn’t have to be.
Why run a business properly when you can simply throw your hands up in the air, shrug, and receive a bailout paid for by your geographic peers? Why work a real job when you can simply take from others? The idea of a centrally planned state has been so effective at spreading itself across the globe for the same reasons that parasitic organisms have been so successful at spreading.
When thinking on a skin deep level like our inquisitive Salon writer, it might appear baffling that there are no countries modeled after the free market. However, this does not speak to the efficiency nor morality of the free market. It is rare that utopia is found in the world.
Societies molded after the free market does not exist in the world today simply because of those who have decided it is easier to steal than to produce. Then the hysterical cries of men like Lind codify people’s fear of the unknown and dogmatic dependence of the state. So long as there are men with the lawful use of insidious fingers to scrap the linings of our denim and take out money that is not theirs, we will not have a purely libertarian society.
No one would look at a dog dripping with parasites and be surprised that its growth has been stunted. Likewise, one should not look at a society with a market burdened by a parasitic bureaucratic class and assume it can or should not live without its leeches. It seems strange to me that Lind would damn the dog and praise the fleas, but then again I think the only way one could give Lind’s objection any credence is to hold such a sickly world view.
For those so masochistically inclined, included below is the link to Michael Lind’s article.