Freeman

ARTICLE

Dont Sell America Short

APRIL 01, 1986 by ROBERT AWENIUS

Mr. Awenius is a retired attorney and free-lance writer in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

We have much to accomplish and much to be proud of in America.

Too many persons take a dim view of the problems that America has faced and solved—and in a negative manner disparage America and its future. They say that the glorious days of our country are over and will not be repeated in the future. Some even contend that we are no longer the world’s leader; that Russia has supplanted the United States as a world power. Some of these prognosticators even say that we are through as a nation.

To many foreign nations, America has seemed to be an implausibility—but an actuality, a reality. Our coins contain the motto: e pluribus unum, meaning one out of many. But it takes more than a phrase to give unity to 235 million Americans, composed of adolescents and adults, men and women, whites, yellows and blacks, city dwellers, farmers and ranchers, liberals and conservatives, protestants and catholics, Jews and gentiles, factory workers and shop owners, public employees and private employees, and retired persons and workers. A foreigner looking on this melting pot of mixed human elements would expect to hear jeremiads and witness untold trouble, rather than to see the harmony that arises in this nation. Instead of wrenching disharmony, the republic proceeds on a note of unity.

Three centuries ago—1651 to be exact—Thomas Hobbes in England wrote a book entitled Leviathan, advocating the doctrine of sovereignty, setting forth the theory that all men fear each other and hence must submit themselves to the supremacy of the state in all secular and religious matters. In Hobbes’ time that meant the King. Hobbes would have had considerable trouble accepting the fact of the American experiment of self-government outlasting many kingdoms, dictatorships and assorted despots.

America has thrived in an arena of free enterprise, where the self-regulating free market economy maximizes the free choice of our citizens. Here private entrepreneurs are relatively free to start a business—any business they wish—without obtaining permission of an official; and they can set their own prices and locate in any place in the country. This is in contrast to the authoritarian practices in much of today’s world where centralized planning is the motif. Such planning is much akin to the mercantilist regulations of European economies in the seventeenth century. In this country the invisible hand of the market place can better organize an economy than the command economies of autocratic nations.

Yes sir, under our form of limited government and free enterprise, America is in good hands. Don’t sell America short.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

April 1986

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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