A Vision Worth Contemplating


By Richard Kieninger (adopted from L. Neil Smith)


The United States was founded on a single, overriding principle—free­dom. Not the freedom of a dog to roam as far as its leash extends, but the freedom of an eagle to fly as high and far as its wings will take it.


When the Founding Fathers cast off the leash of King George, their first concern was to protect their posterity from ever suffering such tyranny again. But they knew we could abuse the democratic processes by which our new republic would operate, which might lead to a new form of tyranny—the tyr­anny of the majority. They warned that factions would emerge, each trying to gain special favors and advantages from government at the expense of their neighbors. They did their best to structure the new government so that minori­ties—ethnic, religious or political—would always be just as free as their more numerous neighbors. But they never imagined how cynically the factions we call the Republican and Democratic Parties would pervert their original design.


Our Forefathers pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the cause of individual freedom. Republicans and Democrats have squandered that legacy in pursuit of the very majoritarian abuses the Founders feared and ab­horred. Raw political power now tramples the U.S. Constitution. There are Americans who believe the Founders got it right, and they are today willing to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to revivify the most important principle the world has known—freedom.


Maybe you do not believe we can get out of this present mess. Maybe you are not sure just how much better off we would be without the leash of govern­ment hampering our every movement. But take heart! Let us envision a truly libertarian world and personalize it for you instead of presenting the usual philosophical abstractions. Most people benefit from a series of pictures that will inspire everyone to work toward their fulfillment. This is a mind experiment, and you should not be surprised if this dream and vision are similar to your own. One should never be bashful about such dreams, for no one has achieved things greater than what they envisioned.


Read history. The future is malleable, sometimes by a single individual standing at a sensitive leverage point. Consider that in 1666 the Great London Fire wiped out a third of the total wealth of England—a cataclysmic loss amounting to $10 million. Could it be we are using the wrong scale to assess our own problems? The United States and the rest of the nations of the world are awash in crushing debts. Trillions seem like about as much money as there ever will be. But “seems” is a very conditional word. We have in our hands the means to create a market so vast and strong that even quadrillions will seem trivial by comparison. Our vision of the future can hasten the day when a free economy straightens out the mess left to us by our predecessors.


The shape of the future will be determined, just like the shape of our present was, by two factors, almost exclusively. The first is the virtually unlim­ited power of the individual human mind and of the free market system which is its most monumental achievement. The second—frequently forgotten, but no less important—is the inefficacy of evil. Mind alone is the reason our species became dominant on the planet in a geological microsecond. Yet we are con­fronted every day by the victorious gloatings of evil. How can evil be deemed inefficacious when it presently owns the world? We need only consider what condition humanity, its culture, technology and economy would be in if the villains always won. The overall progress in the human situation over the past several thousand years has produced the scientific method, an Industrial Revolu­tion and a Declaration of Independence despite the evils of the most ravenous governments, the most pointlessly murderous wars, and the most disgustingly despicable bad guys in all of history.


Progress of humanity is due to the human mind overcoming the inepti­tude of its enemies—governments, wars and bad guys. Most of us have already learned that mind and market always find a way. The achievement of the highest standard of living, the longest life-spans, and the greatest amount of individual liberty that have ever been available is no reason to avoid asking what kind of future world can be created by completely uninhibited human minds, economically, socially and technologically. The three areas overlap, but we will begin with economics.


The future in the Nation of God will be as different from our times as ours is from the pre-industrial era of history. No one in 1666, for example, could have imagined our present relative freedom from the constant threats of death from starvation, exposure and disease that characterized those times. It is hard to visualize a future of vastly greater wealth, peace, and no bureaucrats to pry into every moment of one’s daily life. The IRS will seem barbaric to our great-­grandchildren, and they probably won’t believe us.


The average person today is forced to expend about half his income pay­ing income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and taxes that are indirect. With all taxation gone, not only will we have twice as much money to spend, but those who provide the goods and services that we desire won’t have to pay taxes either. In a single stroke, we’ll be effectively twice as rich.


There is no equally simple way to estimate the cost of governmental regu­lation of business. How can you estimate the cost of lost opportunities? Some trucking companies say that they could ship goods for one-fifth the present price by removing those regulations. The worst damage is done to planning and innovation. Since you don’t know what the whim of legislatures will be next year, how can you plan? Some projects take twenty or even fifty years to mature, so you might as well forget them. Economist William J. Laffer III estimates that the total cost of regulation now exceeds the total cost of taxation. Calculating conservatively that deregulation will cut prices, once again, by half, now our actual purchasing power, already doubled by removal of taxes, is doubled again to four times as before. What kind of lifestyle do you think will be permitted you by quadrupling your current income?


Since government primarily regulates business and money, there will be a drastic lessening of the vast bureaucracy that we have today. An economically free culture with a four-fold increase in purchasing power will put an end to the importance of the state in our lives. We will be able to do whatever is in our own best interests with our money.


Increased spending appears in an economy as increased demand, leading not to shortages but to increased production. With all that money loose, there is new investment in present companies as well as the creation of whole new industries striving to satisfy everyone’s newfound consumer wants. The United States did not abandon manufacturing to convert itself to a service economy be­cause it wanted to. Manufacturing was driven out of business by taxation and regulation. Under a free economy, however, factories will spring up almost overnight, old ones expand, obsolete machinery junked and new installed. More people will be working to produce all those goods and services demanded by a newly rich population consisting of themselves!


Naturally, unemployment will disappear. As labor becomes scarcer, hours will shorten as well as work-weeks in order to entice workers. ‘Headhunters” will flourish, not only stealing away managerial talent, but assembly workers as well, who will desert their employers for better conditions and benefits. Unable to figure out what happened, labor unions will dry up and blow away. Despite increased wages and benefits, leading to more buying, production and jobs, prices will continue to fall as demand drives industry to ever-greater efficiencies. Plants now standing idle half the time will operate full blast around the clock, seven days a week. Against a chronic labor shortage, “capitalists’ will offer their employees free child care and free health insurance. Everything that socialism ever led us to expect from government at the point of a bayonet will be provided voluntarily as companies compete for workers. Companies will resist at first. They will try imports and foreign labor, but as expectations and living standards begin to rise abroad, as they did here, the effect will be increased demand, more jobs and lower prices. They will try automation, but historically that always results in more employment—not less. And automation has another side effect: It increases production and lowers prices.


In a free society, the availability and quality of goods and services in­creases constantly while prices drop. What we call a “boom” becomes a normal and permanent condition. Advances in technology move rapidly as money is available for research and development employed to bring new and better goods to entice the consumer and make a profit. Presently, we live within a cramped, narrow, chronically depressed culture, largely unaware of the limitations it im­poses on us, simply because we have never seen anything better. Solving today’s problems demands a vastly wider scope. We have to think bigger than we have ever dared dream before. For instance, there is the routine objection that firing millions of bureaucrats would lead to economic disaster. But ten million GIs were absorbed into the post-WWII economy with scarcely a ripple. A booming free economy suffers perpetual labor shortages; nobody will need to persuade bureaucrats to desert the government in hordes and enter the private sector to enjoy its benefits. The state apparatus will’ shrink to inconsequence.


Underdeveloped nations will not just emerge; they’ll splash into promi­nence. New territories opened up by the free market will make concerns about overpopulation disappear. As it is, the State of Texas is large enough for all six billion people in the world to live within its borders while providing enough room for every family to have a house there. Within a century, poverty and unemployment will become a half-believed nightmare of the remote past. The supposed burden of private charity in such a world will become academic when any “basket-case” who can twitch once for yes and twice for no will be desperately needed for quality control on a production line. With wealth for all, crimes of theft and robbery will disappear. Middle class values are market values. A wider regard for property, education and long-range planning will mean less crime.


One’s basic material well-being will be much easier to maintain when a loaf of Grandma’s Automated Bread goes for a nickel. How about suits and dresses for ten bucks or disposable outfits for a quarter? Decisions between durability versus disposability will be common place. Should you drive an imposing Rolls Royce Fusion-mobile, good for generations, or a plastic Mattel Yugo, easily discarded when you tire of it? Increased leisure and plenty of cash will mean, as it always has, more emphasis on hand-crafted one-of-a-kind items, giving artists and craftsmen a ready market. Airlines will be able to fly you anywhere in the world for a penny per mile. Breakthroughs in free-energy generation, which have been artificially suppressed with the collusion of govern­ment, will do away with air pollution and be almost free of cost other than the original purchase of the equipment. The techno-miracles of the future are beyond our imagination.


Far more important are the social and psychological effects of freedom. There is no single free-economy future, but as many different futures as there are individuals to create them. Imagine now that you will never for the rest of your life have to worry about money again. Affordability is no longer a significant factor in your plans. How many dreams have you denied yourself because there was not enough money?


We can take big bites of the future, and the only way it is going to happen is if we do what is necessary to make such a dream part of the near future. If this dream appeals to you, then may you be inspired to do your part to make it reality. At least, spread the word to vote for fewer taxes and less government regulation. Vote for more freedom.