At the Manhattan Contrarian family dinner table the other day, the subject of conversation turned to this question: Should we be optimistic about the future of the United States? Good and valid points were made on both sides of the issue. But the most important point weighed for the side of optimism. That point was that, of all the countries in the world, the United States is the place where the people — rather than the government — really run the country. Here, more than anyplace else, people can pursue their own initiatives and dreams without the government having the ability to obstruct and stymie private efforts, and force resources into pathways chosen by elite government functionaries.
Why does this matter? It’s not complicated. From the perspective of aggregate economic performance, the simple answer is that a trial-and-error process with hundreds of millions of participants will come up with much better and more numerous solutions to human problems than the small number of the very smartest people with government authority can ever come up with. From the perspective of the individual, the answer is that the only worthwhile life to lead is the life of freedom, where you make your own choices and take responsibility for your own success or failure. . . .Read More