Wednesday, October 19, 2011

America on the decline? Don't bet on it.

The unemployment rate is still at 9% with no signs of improvement in sight. Economic growth is anemic. The hippies are back on Wall Street. Regulators are going berserk. It certainly seems like things are going downhill. So why am I not worried? Because in the land of the free and the home of the brave, the people demand results. They may not always choose the right approach at first, second or even third try, but failure will not be tolerated for long.

Americans are not on the same page politically. In tough economic times, socialist policies and mega-regulation always get a new look, even in the United States. the tide will turn though, because they don't work. Eventually these policies start to impact individuals at the personal level and individuals will demand something different.

Free markets and capitalism got a black eye when, over a couple of decades, the dreaded business/government partnership came up with a scheme to maximize home ownership by essentially mandating that everyone with a pulse qualify for a mortgage. Naturally home sales soared and lots of folks got rich. Also naturally, it was unsustainable and the bubble eventually burst. We'll be cleaning up that mess for a number of years yet. In the interim, people think they want government to step in and prop up markets, subsidize home-buyers, bail out and then restrict banks and somehow artificially fix things. This too shall pass, because it doesn't work.

We've had good times and bad times in the United States, but the trend as far as quality of life in this country, if you look at it objectively over the long run, has been upward. The reason for that is that we have maintained freedom of speech, freedom of association, peaceful transistion of power and value our individual freedom. Many people may not understand the dynamics or mechanics of a free marketplace, but they do understand when someone tries to stop them from doing what they want to do, or achieving what they'd like to achieve. They know when they're not satisfied and they'll keep voting for change until somebody gets it right, or at least more right.

The overall success of this country lies in our individual ability to debate, evaluate, innovate and repeat. So, while your advocating for this candidate or that, remember to take some time to promote the essential fundamentals that are fairly easy to get most people to agree upon. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, no matter how wrong. Everyone has the right to vote, anonymously and absent intimidation. Everyone has the right to the enjoyment of their property whether they have a lot, or a little. Government exists to protect the individual, not to rule over him or her. And if your favored agenda or candidate doesn't win out this election cycle, keep in mind there will be another one soon enough.

Our strength doesn't lie in getting everyone to agree on everything. It lies in maintaining an atmosphere where non-violent difference of opinion can can be expressed and tested on a continual basis. I have confidence in the controlled chaos that is the American way. Advocate passionately for your agenda, your ideals, your candidate. But as long as we remain free, there's no need to panic.

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