Often times during political discussion I see terms like "free market" and "capitalism" batted around in what seem, at least in my views, divorced from their proper contexts.
Therefore, I would like to look at such concepts as I define them, merely for the sake of clarity.
Let me begin by stating that a true Free Market's engine is competition. The thrill of victory and the ever-growing desire for power has fueled this competition since the beginning of time, and although not always well intentioned, self interest is a powerful resource.
The US Government's role should be to provide an environment that guarantees equal opportunity, within its prescribed powers, for the natural drive to compete and to thrive.
This view raises two points of contention I have with commonly held views by the left and right. I say that libertarianism has not a middle answer but a unique third solution to questions like:
1. What are the extent of government's prescribed powers to regulate the marketplace?
2. What is equal opportunity?
I am highly irked when the left attacks the "free market" using examples of some corporation's fraud or abuse. Crime is not capitalism.
The most basic libertarian idea is that people are free to exercise their liberties however they choose, as long as they do not infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. This principle is something upon which I feel most people agree — the practical application is where my disputes arise.
I hate be the one to tell you this, but liberty often times means letting others get away with pet peeves. I may think baggy pants are unfashionable, but I have no right to use force of law to tell other where their belt-line should lay.
But what happens is that unethical behavior (see: infringing on the rights of others) is used as a target for criticism, or worse defended as a necessary component, of capitalism. But fraud is not part of the free market, and prosecuting theft on any scale is well within the rights of the government.
What should be not be within the scope of the government's power?
Enforcing equal opportunity through subsidy and favoritism, or what is called corporatism, a term that has been brought back into use recently by figures like Ron Paul, et al.
Under the banner of creating opportunity, the government dangerously distorts the engine of competition by giving an undue advantage to some, which is a privilege vastly amplified by the centralization of power. This is something I think the Wayne Allyn Roots of the world don't quite understand.
It is this power from where all corruption derives, not the money which is so often the target of campaign finance reforms. The money is only the medium, and being a politician would be a far less profitable venture if the power were drawn back in scale.
But I digress. The point is that the government, by attempting to create equality, actually magnifies inequities. I will attempt to prove this claim in the pages that follow and as future events provide good examples.
It follows that the free market must be permitted to take its own strides and tumbles, not because we desire bad results, but because we lack the tools to adequately prevent bad results and the tools we have (i.e. the Government) can easily produce worse results, even with the best intentions.
Sadly this means that bad thing will happen to good people. Negative results must be allowed to teach their sour lessons, as this can accelerate positive change. And why does that positive change happen?
As the victorious rest on their laurels, the defeated must evolve to survive. This axiom has been true for all life on Earth, and is described as, you guessed it: