Hilarious Reasons for Why We Need the Government

It doesn’t matter where you go, Fellow Reckoner…it doesn’t matter how far you wander or for how long you travel…you can’t escape the world improver brigade. Whether we like it or not, they are here to protect us from the horror of having to make our own decisions. And there’s an opening for one in every village.

We’ll get to that in a second.

The markets are up because…because…

And gold is down because…because…

Well, we don’t know. And we don’t believe anyone who tells us they do. Vigilant Reckoners appreciate that completion of the above sentence requires of the author a profound sense of delusion, arrogance…or both.

As it happens, almost none of the tools required for a deeper understanding of the events unfolding in the world are to be found in the daily news. By definition, the news simply reports on things that have already occurred. Think of it as a kind of running data stream of digits and statistics, the unfolding pages of history, clumsily recorded and with a meaningful delay.

In other words, we don’t know what’s going on…or why. Instead, we listen. We reckon. We try to understand what’s going on.

What we think is going on is a gradual, long-term shift of power and influence from debtors of the world to their respective creditors. It is a settling of accounts. Largely, this is a west-to-east phenomenon. It is reversion to the mean…and one that, for the most part, moves at a pace so slow it is difficult to detect with our naked eye and average mind.

It is a shift in power from the consumers of the world to the producers. And, as power tends to follow money, so too will come a rough realignment of geopolitics.

It is, as Bill Bonner puts it, a Great Correction.

What can we do to reverse this course? Nothing. What can we do to hold back the tides? Nothing. We can enjoy the ride, yes…we can ride the wave…but we can’t change the whims of the mob or the direction in which they are headed. We can simply look around and describe what is happening.

“Descriptivists” is the name Bill gives the role.

Of course, not everyone is wired to leave well — or unwell — enough alone. There exists a group of people with an obsessive compulsion to “do something.” Their role in the great play of history is to intervene in other people’s affairs. This group never met a solution they couldn’t turn into a problem…a problem in desperate need of their own unique and indispensable solution.

These people, to whom we alluded in the first paragraph, above, might best be described as “prescriptivists.”

We came across one such fellow, while thumbing through a copy of Melbourne’s The Age newspaper. On the rare occasion you do find an opinion in the news, it’s usually best left unread. Unless you’re in the mood for a good laugh.

Well, Chris Middendorp might just be our new favourite comedic writer. The title of his piece? (Are you ready?)

“A caring state is no nanny, it is doing its job.”

Your editor nearly spat his Burger Rings into the next aisle when he read that one. “A caring state.” Ha! The favourable personification of a non-human entity. The slavish, drooling adoration of one’s own keeper. This had to be one of the most poorly disguised cases of political Stockholm Syndrome we’d ever come across. But there’s more. Here’s a choice quote from a little later in the piece:

“Our government exists specifically to represent the best interests of citizens.”

Seriously. Did you read that, Fellow Reckoner? Bill Hicks had a line for this too: “Go back to sleep, citizen. Your government has everything under control.”

Of course, Bill Hicks actually was funny…as in, funny to laugh with, not at. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The author has more for us. Here he is again, struggling to explain something so simple it needs no explaining at all:

“Bodies that aggressively advocate free market economics are most vocal in their criticism of what they consider to be government meddling.”

Well…Yes! Free market advocates would be opposed to unfree, para-market intrusions, wouldn’t they? We would think it might even go without saying…for the same reason we don’t bother to accuse assault and battery victims of (aggressively?) defending themselves against “what they consider to be punches and kicks.”

What fuels this hatred for freedom of choice, we wondered. Further along we get to Mr. Middendorp’s primary vexation: Individual responsibility

“The central point is that human behaviour is often problematic,” he writes, winding up for the punchline. “We cannot rely on individuals to behave responsibly.”

So who will tell us what to do, Mr. Middendorp? Who will tell us how to behave? You?

Any thoughtful person would at least have the decency to feel embarrassed if called on to defend such a condescending, patronising position. Conveniently, and without a thought to his credit, Middendorp disqualifies himself from this group altogether.

When it comes to statist meddlers, decent people deserve less.


Joel Bowman

for Markets and Money

The “After America” Archives…

Debt-onomics and the Coming Debt-ocalypse
2012-03-17 – Nick Hubble

The End of Empires
2012-03-16 – Nick Hubble

Are Investment Ideas Useful?
2012-03-15 – Nick Hubble

A Chinese Mini Communist Revolution
2012-03-14 – Nick Hubble

The Final Countdown
2012-03-13 – Nick Hubble

Joel Bowman
Joel Bowman is managing editor of Markets and Money. After completing his degree in media communications and journalism in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.

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2008 – Kevin’s 2020 Summit featuring ‘1000 (and 2) of our Best and Brightest’ was a collection of 1000 (and 2) people who did not include me within their ranks and as such could never claim to have been 1000 (and 2) of our Best and Brightest. It’s kinda like measuring a photon. The only way to ascribe a photon’s properties is by using some means which will disturb the very properties you are trying to measure. Once you have measured it, it no longer has the same properties. Apparently the only proposal of substance that came from this summit… Read more »

When you hear the words, “I’m from the government, and i’m here to help”, it’s time to leg it,…. anywhere.

Chris Anderson

@ Joe, I loved your response. I totally agree with your idea on a universal consumption tax. I have been in favour of something like that for some time – as long as all other taxes and duties are abolished. Far easier to administer and the wealthy can’t get away from paying it.

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