EXT. CITY STREET - DAY CHARLIE and PENGUIN blink into fuzzy focus on the futuristic street next to the feet of the giant Seamus statue. Bob sits up and rubs his sore head. BOB Ugh! I could swear I just saw a 30- foot-tall status of Seamus. CHARLIE Well, yeah. You did. BOB Whaaaat!? Why does Seamus get a statue!? CHARLIE Oh, I think he made a bunch of important videos and managed to squeeze the statue into his contract. BOB Oh. My. Gosh. This is my worst nightmare! CHARLIE (in unison with background characters) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaactually... Bob faints again. When he wakes up, he's in motion. He sits up a little and shakes his head. BOB (groggy) Ughh... Bob realizes that Charlie is still with him and it all comes back to him. BOB Don't think I don't know what's going on here! The only way you can have a future this Utopian is if there's some kind of catch! SOYLENT GREEN IS PAPER! We reveal that Bob is now on a floating stretcher, just outside a hospital, being led by two ROBOTIC ORDERLIES. ROBO-ORDERLY **ZZZT*** HE'S DELERIOUS CHARLIE Come on, Bob. Let's get you into the medical center. The group enters the Medical Center. INT. MEDICAL CENTER - CONTINUOUS Charlie stops at the front desk of the hospital, with Bob & Penguin still sitting/laying on the levitating stretcher led by two robotic orderlies. A HUMAN WOMAN at the front desk hands Charlie a digital tablet. BOB (freaking out) SOYLENT GREEN IS PAAAAPER!!!-- Charlie is a little embarrassed, but takes the tablet before turning sharply to Bob. CHARLIE Bob, shhh! Turning people into food sounds like something a more primitive society would do! It's not like we have a Utopia, but the reason we're so well-off is just because we figured out how to treat each other better. Human and mutant! A MUTANT WOMAN at the front desk gives a thumbs up. Charlie scans her wrist over the tablet and some information pops up. BOB (startled by the Mutant) AAAH! CHARLIE For example, this is going to sound pretty simple, but here's one thing we realized: Only individual people act. BOB (blinks) What? Charlie hands the tablet back to the woman at the desk. She goes back to her computer screen as Charlie continues, drawing Bob's attention to the bustling scene surrounding them. CHARLIE I mean, think about it... Groups are just a bunch of people acting side by side toward the same goal. Look at everyone around us. They're part of a group. BOB Oh... So what you're saying is, it's not the "hospital" that's about to take care of me. It's the doctors and nurses themselves. CHARLIE Right, they're all still making their own decisions even though they share the goal of healing people and making them feel better. The front desk woman instructs the robot orderlies. DESK CLERK Exam Room 6. The robot orderlies start carting Bob (and Penguin) back to the exam room. Charlie follows as they... INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS ...continue down a hallway to the exam room. She keeps explaining the point. CHARLIE We're all individuals, Bob. We all make decisions based on our own preferences and values and when we act... The group turns to enter the exam room. INT. EXAM ROOM - CONTINUOUS The orderlies float Bob & Penguin over to the bed. CHARLIE (continuing) ...we're all looking to improve our lives and get more of what we value based entirely on our own preferences. Penguin hops off quickly and squawks indignantly as Bob is unceremoniously dumped on a hospital bed. BOB Oof! (to Charlie) You're saying we're all just selfish? I knew this wasn't a Utopia! Bob looks at the robots, annoyed with his treatment. CHARLIE I keep telling you it's not! (continuing her point) But think about it this way: Imagine feeling dissatisfied by something in your life. Like, when you got sick of hearing Seamus talk about economics. BOB Don't get me started. CHARLIE Well, when that happens, you start imagining a better alternative to whatever you're currently dealing with, right? Bob situates himself on the hospital bed. BOB (dreamily) Ahhhhhhh... A life without economics lectures! CHARLIE Yeah. So you took action in order to change conditions you weren't happy with and hopefully replace them with a situation you wanted more. Was that selfish? BOB No... CHARLIE I don't think so either. And look, people make mistakes and their choices don't always work out the way the they hope. Like going ice fishing in Antarctica and not telling anybody about it. BOB Yeah... That one didn't work so well. CHARLIE But they're still the only ones who can make those decisions. Back in your time governments would just ignore individual people's values and try to make decisions for everybody. But that didn't work at all! BOB (mumbling) Well... Didn't it work a little? CHARLIE Nope! That's why we don't do it anymore. Now we spend our effort just making sure people don't hurt each other or steal or do anything like that. As Charlie is saying all that, a medical robot comes in and begins examining Bob and Penguin while Charlie continue to talk. The doctor opens a compartment on his metallic chest and pulls out a device that looks like a ray gun. BOB I guess I get what you-- (noticing doctorbot) Hey, what are you... ZAP! The medical robot pulls the trigger and suddenly Bob & Penguin are no longer paper characters, but pixelated just like Charlie and everyone else in the future. BOB Hey! DOCTOR-BOT (robot voice) HOW DO YOU FEEL? Bob looks at himself. BOB Wow. I look so high tech! CHARLIE That's because you are! We've found all kinds of new and awesome technologies to improve our-- BOB (interrupting) Ugh. You sound like higher-pitched Seamus! But not even that much higher-pitched. Doctor-bot continues to perform some tests and inspects Bob and Penguin. CHARLIE Yeah, but Bob, our society learned a long time ago that these ideas were super important and getting a better understanding of economics is what allowed us to get where we are today. BOB What do you mean? CHARLIE The whole thing is about millions of individual people acting to better their own lives, not just abstract numbers like GDP. If we start there, we get a much better understanding of how economies actually work. And that way we can make everyone better off! BOB Harumph. Doctor-bot finishes the exam and turns to charlie, holding up his robot hand and displays a little screen with a blinking dollar sign. Charlie scans her wrist again and we hear a "Ca-Ching!" noise. BOB Wait a second. I thought this was the future! You mean you still have to pay for health care!?? CHARLIE (baffled) Of course we do. How else would we deal with scarcity? BOB Whaaat!? CUT TO: BLACK NEWS REEL: TEASER NARRATOR Next time, on a very special episode of Common Sense Soapbox... [Clip from Episode III]

Common Sense Soapbox

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About this show

Short videos with a punchy, comedic tone and entertaining Socratic characters taking on trending issues and important concepts from a classical liberal perspective, written & animated by Seamus Coughlin.

October 22, 2019

Bob wakes up in shock to find that he is, indeed, still in the future and ready to experience "Bob to the Future, Part II: Groups are Individuals Too". Now that he and Charlie made it to the hospital, she helps him understand the most basic fact of economics: Only individuals act.


CREDITS:
Written by Seamus Coughlin, Jennifer Maffessanti, and Sean W. Malone
Animated by Seamus Coughlin
Edited by Sean W. Malone

LINKS:
https://fee.org/articles/understanding-austrian-economics/
https://fee.org/resources/human-action-by-ludwig-von-mises/
https://fee.org/articles/what-human-action-has-meant-to-me-reflections-of-a-young-economist/
https://fee.org/articles/human-action-a-timeless-masterpiece/
https://history.fee.org/publications/the-historical-setting-of-the-austrian-school-of-economics/