The world is divided into builders and destroyers, liberators and oppressors. The good news is that a destroyer can become a builder, and an oppressor can become a liberator. History is replete with examples.
This past week, Boris Johnson, the U.K. prime minister, who has been incompetent (not quite on the scale of President Biden, but still embarrassingly bad) and an oppressor, suddenly became a liberator. As Jeffrey Tucker reported, Mr. Johnson announced “an effective end to all restrictions in the U.K. masks, vaccine passports, capacity restrictions, travel limits, social distancing, and so on. He said that from now on, the U.K. would trust the people to manage risks and not rely on government.”
Imagine, treating the citizens as adults! Why the sudden change?
“Johnson was caught at a party just a few days ago, maskless and having loads of fun in a way that would have ended in fines if anyone else had done that. That seemed to trigger something in his mind. It wasn’t just his own hypocrisy. It was the sheer stupidity and brutality of the law.”
Americans will probably have to continue to suffer because Mr. Biden has not demonstrated that he is bright enough to understand the hole he continues to dig for himself. What may now save America is the tradition of individuals taking necessary actions in the absence of government or its failure. Americans are the descendants of those who left other countries, often because of oppressive or incompetent governments.
In 1620, some who felt oppressed in England fled to the wilderness of America and then ironically promptly set up an oppressive theocracy in Massachusetts. Within two decades, some of these early colonists and others fled to what is now Connecticut and established the town of Windsor — as a more tolerant place.
By necessity, most of the early colonists were builders. They created towns, meeting houses, roads, ports and, most importantly, the first voluntary associations, including schools and governmental institutions. They did not ask for permission — they merely did what needed to be done.
The current pandemic, coupled with an increasingly incompetent federal government, once again is causing many Americans to do on their own and with others what is necessary. Many of the public schools have been turned into ideological training academies, so parents are taking the initiative, both to reform the existing schools and create many more and different types of private schools and networks of homeschoolers.
Those who can read a balance sheet and income statement can easily see the federal government is headed toward fiscal insolvency. There has been a widespread, but incorrect, belief that government must have a monopoly on money — even though such government monopoly monies are for the most part recent creations of the state. The rise in cryptocurrencies and other “private monies or currencies” is a direct response to the understanding that the U.S. dollar and other major government monies may well fail to provide the basic functions of money — so prudent people are experimenting with alternatives.
Banks have become over-regulated — and thus more costly and more inconvenient to use — so entrepreneurs have filled the void, resulting in the rapid rise in private non-bank financial institution.
Many big cities have become less safe as traditional law enforcement has been undermined by political correctness. The private response is to create more gated communities, often with private police. The most dangerous places in America are largely cities that have the most restrictions on private gun ownership, such as Chicago. People are responding by leaving such cities for places where the police are competent, the judicial authorities lock up the criminals, and private ownership of guns is easy. The “constitutional carry” movement (which allows individuals to carry concealed weapons without permission) has expanded to the point where variations of the law are in more than half of the states.
Big and oppressive government may be growing at the federal level, but many states are becoming freer. Florida, Texas, South Dakota, etc. have proven that a state can provide good schools and high levels of service without excessively burdensome taxes — including a state income tax. Thus, more states are heading toward lowering or even abolishing their state income taxes. It is only a surprise to the brain impaired that there is a mass migration of the most productive and liberty-loving citizens from places like New York and California to Florida, Texas, Tennessee, etc.
Miami may arguably be the most dynamic city in America — as were New York, Chicago and Los Angeles at times in past decades. The Miami skyline is now the third highest in the U.S. — after New York and Chicago. The city of Miami and the state of Florida are fiscally solvent and beautiful. The Miami metroplex improves in almost every way month by month. It is a magnet for talented individuals and businesses. For the past 60 years, the Miami area has been a welcoming home for those fleeing communism and socialism — first from Cuba, then from Venezuela, other places in Latin America and the old Soviet Union. People came here to be builders and entrepreneurs, and most of all for liberty.
By their votes and actions, they have shown they want nothing to do with socialism and communism. They are the modern example of what America once was and can become again.
• Richard W. Rahn is chair of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and MCon LLC.
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