It Is all the Wokesters’ and Government’s Fault

By: Walter Block

All major problems can be fairly laid at the door of the government, particularly on the woke philosophy that energizes all too much of its behavior.

They take half the GDP away from us. Most of these funds are spent in wasteful ways: paying people not to work; welfare, which breaks up the family; subsidies to all and sundry. Worse, an awful lot of it is spent on inculcating regulations, licenses, dictates, which further reduces the ability of the private sector to create affluence. Maybe, without their “helping us,” our prosperity could be quadruple what it is now. In sharp contrast, during the feudal days, the lord required the serfs to work on his lands only two days per week, for a grand total tax rate of about 28%. This compares rather favorably to our above 50% tax take. True, there were other onerous requirements imposed upon the serfs, but still, this gives us pause as to how far down the garden path we’ve gone.

What would we do with these great riches were we to have them at our disposal?

One thing for sure would be to invest in weather control. The Ida storm has wrought havoc in southern Louisiana and has led to death and destruction in a large swath of states to the north and east of the Pelican State. In a hundred years, maybe even fifty, cloud seeding technology could make this sort of weather outrage a thing of the past. What can bring this happy date a bit closer? For one thing, if we were much richer, a least a portion of that capital, human and physical, would be used for this purpose. For another, stopping affirmative action and going back to merit as the criterion for choosing our scientists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. would be a step in the right direction. Instead, wokester Harvard and its ilk are busily attempting to justify the quotas they impose upon very bright students who have the wrong skin color. The National Institute for Health is demanding that the laboratories of the nation “look like America” in terms of pigmentation if they want to be funded. Happily, the Mississippi Levies have not failed this time around, as they did during Hurricane Katrina. Then, they were under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of these flood protections to the present day. Had this portion of the economy been privatized, that would not have long endured. As philosopher-economist Thomas Sowell reminds us: “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

Another avenue for investment would be the battle against COVID. The Biden administration is imposing all sorts of regimentation on the citizenry while not doing very much at all to stem the invasion of this disease from carriers flooding through our southern border. It is complicit, too, in undermining merit in terms of laboratory membership—the very people upon whom we rely to innovate our way out of this mess. Instead, the powers that be are focusing their energies on canceling naysayers, lifting their medical licenses. They supposedly rely on “science” to justify their ham-handed orders, but this is the opposite of open-ended inquiry.

One of the problems in this regard is the doctor shortage. We hear tales of heroic physicians working around the clock into exhaustion. This is admirable. But why do we have so few people in the medical field? This problem, too, may be laid at the door of the government. They support and are complicit with the American Medical Association’s vicious practice of restricting entry to this sector of the economy.

Then there is the debacle of Afghanistan. The U.S. poured billions in treasure, and thousands of precious lives, into an attempt to turn that country into an Asian version of New Hampshire. They learned nothing from the failure of the French, and then our American forebears, to accomplish something similar in Vietnam, nor from the Russian decades-long failure in Afghanistan to impose institutions that are foreign to the Afghans. The U.S. military, instead of focusing on preparedness, turned its attention on a whole host of mission-irrelevant politically correct social justice concerns. Perhaps that is all to the good if it lessens U.S. adventurism abroad. Unfortunately, this is not bloody likely. This institution is like a small weak boy who is mouthy and derisive: not a good combination.

What is the best way ahead? Less social justice. More plain old ordinary justice. Then reduced statism. “That government is best which governs least” is a truism for a good reason: it is tried and true.

Reprinted with permission of the author.

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