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John Stossel vs business bashing meddlers at Emory – part two

[Part one of Mike DeVine's report on Fox Business Channel's, John Stossel's speech last week at Atlanta's Emory University Law School may be reviewed here.]

No more Emmys for you

John Stossel made a name for himself at ABC as the nation’s best consumer affairs reporter. Last Wednesday, before his “Bashing Business” lecture at Emory Law School’s Tull Auditorium, John Stossel was introduced as a six-time Emmy award winner.

john stossel

After describing his metamorphosis from big government liberal to free market libertarian, Stossel advised the audience that he won no more Emmys when he started defending private business. He thinks that the fact that market competition actually protects consumers more than government is just too counter-intuitive for too many people in an affluent society that take wealth creation for granted.

DeVine Law agrees, but during a conversation with Atlanta’s guest, we both also agreed that possibly the best hope for a political education in the incompetence of Big Government is taking place as we speak, courtesy of the ObamaDems.

Americans don’t like meddlers

Your humble rooster greeted Stossel as a conservative fan, and even after he described his radical libertarianism (favors abortion on demand; same-sex marriage and drug legalization), we still welcome his philosophy with open arms as his consistency in opposition to government meddling in the affairs of adults, is quite impressive.

No, DeVine Law is still a pro-life defender of marriage who favors a go slow approach on surrendering in the Drug War, and would a oppose such libertarian GOP primary candidates who face strong conservatives that share Stossel’s pure conservative economic views.

But we can’t build a governing majority at the federal level without libertarians, and Stossel is as good an advocate for the free market in economics as one can find. Stossel recently on the Health Care Bill now before Congress:

The 1,990-page bill is breathtaking in its bone-headed audacity. The notion that a small group of politicians can know enough to design something so complex and so personal is astounding. That they were advised by “experts” means nothing since no one is expert enough to do that. There are too many trade-offs faced by unique individuals with infinitely varying needs.

Government cannot do simple things efficiently. The bureaucrats struggle to count votes correctly. They give subsidized loans to “homeowners” who turn out to be 4-year-olds. Yet congressmen want government to manage our medicine and insurance.

Competition is a “discovery procedure,” Nobel-prize-winning economist F. A. Hayek taught. Through the competitive market process, we producers and consumers constantly learn things that force us to adjust our behavior if we are to succeed. Central planners fail for two reasons:

First, knowledge about supply, demand, individual preferences and resource availability is scattered — much of it never articulated — throughout society. It is not concentrated in a database where a group of planners can access it.

Second, this “data” is dynamic: It changes without notice.

No matter how honorable the central planners’ intentions, they will fail because they cannot know the needs and wishes of 300 million different people. And if they somehow did know their needs, they wouldn’t know them tomorrow.

His opposition to “meddlers” reminds of what I consider the sine qua non discourse on same at Hillbilly Politics:

We all know at least one person who meddles in everybody else’s business… and we hate them. There are any number of reasons why we hate them but the most frequent answer to such a question as why is we are adults, not children, and can handle our own lives just fine without interference…

So what does that have to do with politics, you ask?

Simply, if we hate that kind of interference in our daily lives, why did a majority of Americans elect to office a bunch of meddling mothers and mothers-in-law?

* You can’t stimulate the economy by restricting it. If you’re lucky you merely maintain the status quo. If you’re unlucky, as is usually the case, the meddlers make things worse. Propping up failing businesses that didn’t tend to the business of business, aka customer service, only closes the window of opportunity for others to do it better. Entrepreneurship languishes in limbo in this case.

* You can’t replace existing energy with energy that hasn’t been developed yet and you can’t force it by restricting the use of existing energy resources…

You can read all of StephC’s essay here.

After that, check out John Stossel’s 2006 bestseller, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel – Why Everything You Know is Wrong (now in paperback).

Liberals prefer to pass new laws when existing laws are more than adequate

One of the most prescient points that Stossel made in Atlanta last week, that was also made by Bob Barr of the AJC, echoes something I discerned about liberals long ago, when in my trial lawyer heyday. Someone would commit a crime or someone would be hurt at work or by a product and the liberal (and, to be fair, not a small number of Republicans in legislatures) knee-jerk response would be to pass a new law to “solve the problem.”

No matter that the “problem” is us. Since Eve bit the apple or, to be more specific, since Cain slew Abel, man has killed, stolen, and been negligent. Moses gave us the Ten Commandments and England gave us the Common Law, and there hasn’t been much improvement on them over the past 3000 years.

But that doesn’t stop leftist Utopians from thinking they can meddle with Titanic deck chairs and make man perfect, and it surely doesn’t stop politicians from the goal of being seen as “doing something” in order to keep the cushy job that requires them to hold their hands out like beggars 24/7 365.

The (Bob) Barr Code:

At a recent Commerce Committee hearing, during which concerns were raised about the constitutionality of such legislation, and about the principle of “federalism,” Rockefeller proudly proclaimed his constitutional disinterest thus — “I don’t really give a hoot about states’ rights or federal rights on this one. I care about results.” The “results” include another nail in the coffin of constitutional governance in the United States.

Meddlers will never cease, so neither must we small government conservatives and libertarians. Let us reason together at the federal level and compete over social issues at the state level.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all verification links may be accessed.

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