“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.
This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, YOU move.”
The above quote is by Captain America in the Civil War story arc. A version of it is used in the movie Captain America: Civil War (although it is not credited to him).
Captain America is one of my heroes. Yes, I know he’s fictional, but so what? He stands up for what he believes in and symbolizes the idea of America. So, why am I writing about him in an economics blog? Because this post is going to focus more on the second part of the Force4Good mission statement: morality.
I support free markets because they are the most efficient manner at achieving justice. There are those who claim justice is a farce, that only might makes right. But physical power without compassion is meaningless. It’s brutality. There are others who claim justice can only be achieved through material equality, and that any use of force necessary to achieve such (such as taxation) is acceptable to achieve “social justice.” But physical power without restraint is tyranny, even if issued in compassion. Justice, true justice, is the combination of power, compassion, and restraint (another characteristic embodied in Captain America). They are the checks and balances that lead to wealth.
Free markets achieve these checks and balances though their operation. Courts and judges (which needn’t be state-run) ensure power to enforce contracts and agreements and to settle disputes. Compassion is achieved by allowing individuals to make their own agreements, outside of any interference. And restraint is achieved though property rights: no man may be compelled to use his property in a manner undesirable to him. Through these manners, markets can achieve true justice. And, conversely, I’d argue that any attempt to manipulate markets, regardless for what ends, is inherently unjust. And the outcome of markets is just, too. Through voluntary trade, all parties involved are made better off. What could be more just then an outcome where all parties win?
The glorious thing about this process is it requires very little effort. There is no need for voting, no need for government intervention. There is no need to run costly, long campaigns. All that needs to occur is for people to be free to live peacefully.
And that’s the thrust of it: freedom to live peacefully. Another Captain America quote:
Foreigners aren’t your enemy, son. I’m the son of immigrants. When I was a kid, it was my father’s people, the Irish, who were looked down upon. Called filthy foreigners. Discriminated against. Is that the xenophobic America you want? All religious, all nationalities, we all want the same thing: to see our children grow strong. To provide safety for our families. To live in quiet times. Peace, son.
Peace can be achieved, so long as people can trade for resources rather than having to kill for them. This is at the very heart of what I believe.
But lately I’ve been told that these beliefs are childish. That once I enter the real world, I’ll realize how stupid the idea of freedom is. I’ll see that we need a strongman like Trump (or Sanders or Clinton) to protect us from the coming wave of foreigners coming to steal our jobs, rape our women, or overwhelm our “pure” culture. I’ll see we need to sacrifice freedoms in order to make the world a better place. That trading without the watching approval of government, people will make bad choices and therefore cannot have freedom to choose. That we are phools. That none of these ideas have any place outside academia.
But these arguments hold no water. To quote Trump himself, they sell emotions not solutions. And they are hardly moral. I know I am in a minority in thinking this, but freedom is all about protecting the minority, the little man, granting power to the powerless. That is why I write this blog and work with others who work to spread the light of freedom. To protect the minority. And that is why when politicians or priests or SJWs or the Alt-Right tell me to move, to back down, to get out of the way of their social engineering, I will plant myself like a tree and say “No — You move.”