“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
If you’ve never taken the time to read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, I’ll do my best to sum it up in a paragraph or less (spoiler alert): An allegory of the Bolshevik Revolution that lead to the creation of the Soviet Union, the story begins on Manor Farm, with a pre-revolutionary fervor growing popular among the farm animals. Suddenly aware that the farmer reaps all the benefits of their hard labor, and led by the pigs, the animals chase the farmer off, and rename ‘Manor Farm’ as ‘Animal Farm’. Finally free of human oppression, the Animals set off to create an animal utopia. A place where all animals would be equal, and all animal needs would be met by the state (er, I mean farm). A place where the use of advanced technology would make it so that eventually machines would do all of the work for them. A place where they would never need to use money, as the oppressive humans had done. Of course, things gradually go sideways, the promises of utopia unwind, and the pigs rise up to rule over all the other animals. By the end, life is much worse for all the animals (except the pigs). The pigs, eventually walking on two legs, become completely indistinguishable from the humans who had ruled before them.
By the end of the book, the reader is forced to one of two conclusions: Either the pigs should have never been trusted by the other animals to lead the revolution, or the animals should have kept a much tighter reign on the pigs, to prevent the necessary positions of power from being so grossly abused. The reality that we face, much like the reality that the farm animals faced, is that we thought we had appointed more trustworthy pigs. Pigs who were looking out for us. Pigs who wanted us to have all the best. Pigs who wanted us to retire in comfort. Pigs who wanted us to have all the basic necessities like housing, and food, and medi-care, and yearly vacations, a pension, cheap gas, $5 foot-longs, and all the Viagra that fiat currency can buy. In short, we thought we voted for more benevolent pigs.
Well… They are pigs, stupid. What did you think they would do? It should have been obvious from the get-go that they were going to eat everything.
I find myself more disturbed than excited by the general nature of the #OccupyWallStreet protestors. Rather than seeking to remove the pigs, it seems that a good solid majority of them are really asking for the pigs to simply be less… well, pigs. A majority of them certainly seem to want our leaders to become “Robin Hood” pigs… Pigs who will take from the rich animals, and give to the poor animals… all the while ignoring the fact that their dream of a “JOBS for ALL @ Union Wages” society is still run by pigs… Pigs who eat everything.
At the heart of this debate is the question of wealth redistribution vs. wealth creation. In general, I do not hear the protestors demanding that the government get out of our way, remove senseless regulations, lower taxes, cut entitlements, allow for sound money to compete with fiat currencies, reduce the size of the federal government, allow states to manage more of their own affairs, end the military Keynesianism spending, and deconstruct the police state grid (FEMA, TSA, Homeland Security, Patriot Act, etc, etc…). Instead, they want the government to create jobs, “put people over profits” (whatever that means), provide every possible social service under the sun, end child poverty, build schools, provide houses, food, cheap fuel, and a comfortable pension… all while screaming “Shut Down Wall Street!“, as if the financial heart of the entire nation has nothing at all to do with the funding all of the entitlement programs that they believe the pigs should be providing for us, with our own funds.
Let us start by accepting the basic reality that jobs do NOT create wealth. Were that the case, Ethiopia could solve all their poverty problems by having the government hire everyone to dig holes, and fill them back up again. Pay the people in a national currency, and then everyone will have enough currency so that they can afford to eat, right? No… there is still no food to buy, because everyone is digging holes for a living, and nobody is growing any food. It is actually very simple, you see. If you want to have enough food for everyone, you need to produce enough food for everyone. If you want to have enough gasoline for everyone, you need to drill enough oil for everyone. If you want to have enough housing for everyone, you need to build enough homes for everyone. This stuff really isn’t rocket science, when you take a few steps back.
Wealth comes from P-R-O-D-U-C-T-I-O-N, not from redistribution. You can redistribute all the wealth in the world, but if you’re going to PRODUCE less goods, the standard of living will drop, irregardless of all the redistribution schemes under a clear blue sky. No amount of government promises will change this reality. America’s production sector has all but packed up and moved away. Flip over almost anything in your house for me, and fill in the blank:
“Made in __________”?
Even the vast agriculture industry of the heartland, which is realproduction, depends on large amounts of imported oil, mostly from Canadian oil-sands. The only products that America produces are little green pieces of paper, and the weapon systems to be used against nations that don’t want to trade their labor and resources in exchange for those little green pieces of paper. It really is one hell of a racket, if you are the guy printing the paper.
You need to ask why there’s no NFL games to stimulate the Ethiopian economy, and why they can’t end their poverty situation by hiring everyone to teach in schools, and to be policemen, or take census surveys, or be prison guards, or doctors, or lawyers, or firemen, or prostitutes, or politicians (ooops, I named the same profession twice in a row there… I could hit the backspace, but why stop now? I’m on a roll…). None of these professions PRODUCE anything. They add NOTHING to the real economy except tax revenue for the government; more redistribution. I’m not saying that we do not need a service sector in the economy, only that it does not produce any REAL wealth. Obviously, society will benefit from a sound education system, but having everyone with a university degree does not, in and of itself, produce any real wealth for society. It is only the increased PRODUCTION that comes from having a better educated society that increases our overall wealth. Smarter people, making better decisions for themselves, to produce more, using less.
Wealth comes from the people who bring abundant cheap energy to market, and those who grow food, and those who produce livestock. Wealth comes from the companies building automobiles, and the mines bringing industrial metals to market. Wealth comes from the infrastructure that we build, and the houses we construct. Wealth comes from PRODUCTION. The Keynesians want you to believe that wealth comes from spending. They want you to believe that wealth comes from destroying a bunch of houses, and the boom in spending that it takes to rebuild them all again. So they champion ideas like ending the recession by spending on all the necessary preparations for a space alien invasion. You can’t generate wealth by printing & spending currency foolishly, or by working to replace something that you already previously owned.
So, the next time that you are listening to a news clip of some protestor on the streets, ask yourself if the person you are listening to is demanding more wealth production, or more wealth redistribution. Time and again, it is absolutely clear that we have been conditioned to demand the latter, even while it adds nothing more to the wealth pool which we all draw from.
We don’t need more benevolent pigs. We need to make ourselves some bacon: Production.