Friday, October 22, 2010

Whittle Boils It Down, Part 3

Here's the third in the excellent series by Bill Whittle on the fundamental ideas which animate the Tea Parties (note: neither race nor religion enter into it at all). This time, the subject is the nature of wealth and its creation. (see here for Part One, and here for Part Two).

Once again, this is nothing new for those who grasp even the most rudimentary concepts of free-market economics...and that's pretty much the point: there is nothing particularly novel or radical about the basic tenets of the Tea Parties, however hard a dedicated cadre of spin-sters may be working to paint it otherwise. The 'kernel' of the Tea Party code is as elementary and intuitive as the transaction between two trade partners, both of whom walk away from a voluntary exchange of value with the sense that they got the better of the deal. Wealth is created, Whittle calmly and amiably explains, by the creativity of producers, who add complexity (or information, or value) to the world through their inventiveness and industry...then proceed to multiply that value via free trade.

It is the removal --to the greatest extent feasible-- of Government interference in the operation of this immensely powerful engine of wealth creation which is the main animating principle of the Tea Parties. Government is understood as a necessary set of negative feedback loops in the vast cybernetic edifice of the economy, governing the operation of that system to prevent its collapse into chaos. But an excess of negative feedback will stall and stultify the operation of the system, gumming up the works and diverting its energy into a great bureaucratic heat sink.

This is the principle which is so strongly opposed by adherents of the Liberal, Keynesian model of strong public-sector involvement in the operation of the free market which they so profoundly distrust. Now, it's clear that I have some pretty strong opinions on the topic, but I will not sit here and arrogate to myself some God's-eye view of what is correct (my positions on these things, were you to drill down to specific policies,  would probably engender a hefty dose of annoyance from both sides of the debate). But the beauty of the Tea Parties is that they have focused the attention of the GOP on these core questions, attention which it has been justly lambasted for allowing to be diverted by the K Street culture of irresponsible spending and creeping corruption. Despite the myriad distractions and smoke-screens which have been thrown up in the face of American voters with respect to these matters, the essence of the Tea Parties is the restoration to primacy of these elemental questions of where wealth comes from, to whom it belongs, and what is to be done with it. It really is as simple as that.

And, when you burn away the epiphenomena, when you tune your mind to the signal hiding in the noise, what emerges is a clear choice between incompatible visions of how an economy and a Nation should operate. Such clarity has been sorely lacking from this conversation for far too long, and far too many of the wrong people have been benefiting from its absence.

In that sense, the Tea Parties have already created considerable wealth for us all.

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