of envy, politics of guilt and now the politics of simplicity. If
we wanted to use an evolutionary analogy, I would suggest that a
branch of Homo Sapiens Libertarius had "evolved"
into Homo Sapiens Socialisticus. The trouble is that this
is what they call an evolutionary "dead-end" (no further progress
possible) and they allegedly attribute such a status to insects,
for example. But, if we leave the insects aside and look closer
at the taxonomy of Homo Sapiens Socialisticus, the reason
for his dead-end status is that he is a species of immaturity and
shielded in a fatal way from the driving forces of socio-economic
evolution. He is a Chihuahua instead of a Wolf, doomed to die outside
of his cosseted cage. Why should this be so?
seems a strange aspect of the human condition that, in times past,
he needed to incarnate the natural forces which flowed about him
in seeming caprice to his desires and goals. The need for God, we
are assured, was to actualise and focus forces beyond men's control.
That is not quite how it panned out. Men didn't so much want an
invisible God to account for invisible forces. They wanted a diversity
of tangible gods before their very eyes to placate and petition.
Thus, the touchy-feely idols of the pagan world came into being,
but the ancient Hebrews bucked the trend when they went intangibly
monotheistic. Nevertheless, old habits died hard and the admixture
of a Jehovah-Baal synthesis occasionally reared its ugly head. The
invisible was acknowledged, but the visible stood alongside it in
the oxymoronic manner of a mixed economy.
don't get me wrong. I have no objections about having a visible
leader or owning statues, but it is when we enter the realms of
fiscal politics that this actualisation process becomes rather ridiculous.
In ancient times, the storm god, Baal was devised to petition the
whirling maelstrom of wind and rain above them (or lack of it).
Now switch to modern times and behold men gazing with wonder and
bewilderment at the forces of the free market swirling and whirling
around them. Like the storm, it seems chaotic, unpredictable and
they fear it and wish to control it. It will not be controlled;
neither will it respond to men's prayers. They need a modern pagan
god, a Baal, a visible entity they can relate to and come before
with their petitions and pleas.
Socialism and its god, the Party Leader. He stands aloft like some
demi-god and receives the earnest petitions of men. In a treaty
of servitude, he offers them economic stability and prosperity in
return for the worship of votes and taxes at his sacrificial altar.
He offers to plant his footsteps in the sea of capitalism and ride
upon the storm of market forces. He claims he will place a bit in
the mouth of the unbroken steed and steer it for the public good.
He will be that visible incarnation of invisible forces.
return, the masses get a face, a friendly face. A face, which responds
to their cries and says, "I feel your pain!" (Or is it their wallet?).
Likewise, the apostates can blaspheme the last elected god when
they hurl their beer cans at the TV and bring in Osiris for Baal
when the rain doesn't appear. Furthermore, this god can give them
fiscal numbers, pie charts and budgets they can understand, discuss
and debate. After all, they say, you cannot see or touch the Free
Market. You cannot order a pound of it; you cannot assassinate it
or shake its hand, it does not commiserate with you. They want something
that they can reach out to and kiss ... or strangle. However, like
Baal on Mount Carmel, they may find that the invisible triumphs
over the visible when they set to their plans.
god of the Chinese Communists decreed a decree. His name was Mao
Tse-Tung and, by all accounts, he was pig ignorant of the forces
around him but the people loved him to a fault, a fatal fault. The
rice crops needed to be increased. No doubt the evil capitalist
yields were walking all over them (again). One semi-demi-god suggested
it was because the sparrows were eating up all the rice. Kill the
sparrows and the crop yields shoot up. So, thus saith the Lord Mao,
ye will hearken unto my commandments and kill those counter-revolutionary
sparrows, I will bless thee with an abundance of rice!"
ardent followers went forth with their weapons of warfare and set
about those little flying enemies of the Revolution. This consisted
of banging saucepan lids for days and nights until the critters
fell down dead from exhaustion. Millions were killed, the rice crops
went up and there was much rejoicing ... until the insect population
the sparrows were keeping in check exploded like an atom bomb and
devoured more crops than the sparrows had ever managed (see broadband
by this less than convincing display of god-like wisdom, Lord Mao
proceeded with his Great Leap Backwards and set about increasing
steel output. After all, iron is a vital material for economic growth.
This is true, but only if the product is in demand and of sufficient
quality. So, once again, the followers of pretended divinity set
about their economic self-destruction with even greater zeal than
our previous tale. Backyard furnaces of inadequate design were set
up all over China. Forests were stripped for fuel as tin pots, cans
and then farming tools were insanely thrown into something which
bore little resemblance to a smelter. The end product was iron only
fit for tin pots, cans and farming tools.
forces of economic reality impersonally and impassively watched
on and then unemotionally let that reality have its devastating
way. Time spent on furnaces led to neglect of crop maintenance.
Time spent on reducing farm tools to scrap metal ensured renewed
crop maintenance would be far less efficient. Time spent removing
forests ensured topsoil erosion and eventual dustbowl conditions.
Famine set in and people were reduced to eating tree bark. Some
say it was the worst ever famine in human history, certainly it
was the worst ever piece of economic planning in human history (I
am open to suggestions on that one).
Mao was not available for comment, as he tried to make sure there
was no Osiris waiting in the ranks. The invisible hand had broken
the hand of the visible yet again, for the pretended gods of this
economic underworld do not comprehend the silent way of forces which
impinge between men and nature. They cannot compute the next move
or how it will react to their comic book economics. They are children
before it and they act like it when they donít do as they are told.
The situation today is much like the ancient Hebrew accommodation
of Jehovah and Baal as a mixed economy prevails over Western Europe,
the invisible and the visible in unredeemable conflict. The invisible
market forces adjust and adapt economic society to the innumerable
transactions between men whilst the visible idols of men pontificate
like King Canute and command the waves to go back.
some would say it takes something akin to a faith to trust one's
economic well being to such invisibility. That seems agreeable to
me, for, just as the Invisible One of Judaeo-Christianity prevailed
over the idols of the pagan world, Free Market Capitalism has delivered
the wealth and prosperity that the gods of Communism failed to do.
But, this Homo Sapiens Socialisticus, in capitulating his
economic genome to mere men, has reached his dead end. He will proceed
no further. Like the gods of pagan old, he will be weighed in the
balance and found wanting.
of future freedom will dig up their remains and discuss them in
the dusty, academic, paleoeconomic tomes of the future. Then, they
too will join the other failed gods of millennia past. Pagan gods
and economics gods together at last in the museum displays of tomorrow.
Watson [send him
mail] writes from Edinburgh, Scotland. He now runs his own Christian
© 2002 LewRockwell.com