Regardless of how you feel about last night’s election results, Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education reminds us of the big picture when it comes to politics. What is important to remember, Tucker notes, is the contrast between the harmony created by voluntary social interactions versus the conflict created when government gets involved.
If you go to the mall, the local bar, a bustling restaurant, a neighborhood cookout, a house of worship, a movie theater, a concert, or even a sports event, you will see signs of blessed harmony. Here, for the most part, people get along. No one is gouging each other’s eyes out or calling people enemies of the nation or race. Strangers find ways to cooperate. You are served in a friendly way by people you don’t know, even people from all over the world. The food you eat, the drinks you drink, the clothes you wear are all produced for you by people you have never met. They are strangers, yet they work for you and you work for them….
Perhaps politics is not revealing but actually exacerbating or even creating chasms. You create a huge state and invite people to struggle for control over it. You extract trillions in revenue and have a contest for who gets the cash and on what terms. You create a gigantic regulatory machine that micromanages lives and suggest some use it against others, depending on their preferences. You create a war machine and look around for ways to use it. That seems like a great plan to divide society.
Civility and harmony reign where individuals interact voluntarily, for instance in a truly free market. However, as Tucker notes: “The larger the state grows, the more it invades the peaceful areas of our lives. It creates division where none should exist and then proposes more of itself in order to fix the problems it creates.”
Tucker ends his article by issuing a challenge to readers:
So in our times, you live in two worlds, one of conflict and one of harmony. Which do you believe in? Which do you long for?
Do you embrace and celebrate the harmony of interests that is in evidence in our everyday lives? Or do you long for the conflict we’ve seen on display in the great political struggles of our times?
The choice you make not only identifies your ideological loyalties; it contributes to the kind of society in which we will live in the future.