I’m reading a book called “Excuse Me, Professor – Challenging the Myths of Progressivism” edited by Lawrence W. Reed. It’s a collection of essays from FEE. There was one I read yesterday about the differences between “economic” and “political” means of getting things that really clarified some things in my mind. I’ll try to elaborate on it with an example from my personal experience. Yes, I’m going to education!
Using “economic” means to fill a need in society is like me seeing through my experience in my social groups that my friends would like to have a weekly meet up, something more than a park day, maybe with some kind of organized craft or experience. I wracked my brain to come up with an idea that would work for us. It had to be something that parents would want to afford and attend along with their kids. It would be nice if this project would support me in a way that would enable me to continue to do it. That’s what profit is for. I offer something to the people in an effort to satisfy a need and support me while I do it. It’s a win/win for everyone.
The “political” means of filling this same need would be to rally people together to petition our government to offer this service. The government doesn’t have an income, they tax people for money to pay for these services. Taxes are not voluntary. Even if only three people use the service, everyone else has to pay for it even if they find the service against their ideals or morals. Using political means to get things done means to vote for someone else to give you want you find useful. It’s a win/lose situation. I win because I have my service. You lose because you pay more money for things you aren’t using.
I like the economic way of doing things way better. I might fail. There may be just too few people wanting what I’m offering to make it viable for me and that’s ok. Maybe I can find something else to support me while I offer this thing for these people as a volunteer thing, or hobby on the side because it makes my heart happy. All interaction is voluntary and everyone wins something. I’m tired of people looking to government and a vote to fill all their needs. I’m tired of the words “support this” in reference to going to some event put on by the community or local restaurant. I’d rather just patronize things that I find useful and profitable in this area. I will buy my plants at Home Depot because they are cheaper and better taken care of than the local nursery that looks like someone’s backyard garden. I feel more comfortable there. Other people can make their choice as well. Sometimes the local thing is better for you to buy because the owner is awesome to talk to and loves his job so much that he’s willing to help with all kinds of extra information and friendliness that the big national store doesn’t have. But that big store does hire more people and has cheaper products. Because I paid less for my new plants, I have enough money to take my kids out to lunch as well, “sharing the wealth.” They are both serving a portion of the community and there is room for both as long as government isn’t propping up one or the other with “political means.”