Returning from a nice little mini-vacation, I arrived at the office and made my usual rounds in the blogosphere. Before I even got a cup of coffee in me, I was greeted by this lecture on intelligent design – albeit from an unlikely source.
You see, the left – while so very fond of the distributed, unplanned selection processes that form vital ecosystems – fail to see any analog in markets (you know, those places where human values are exchanged). They believe that there is a perfect utopia out there to be created by, well, intelligent designers. And corresponding to this utopia are sacred ueber-values that somehow supercede the values of market actors. To build this utopia, an all-benevolent, omnipotent government should be able to implement these values by brute force of will. And who will do the forcing? The smart kids!
Rob Schofield would like to be an intelligent designer, too — joining that cadre of smart kids who grew up thinking that if you got all As in your Public Administration classes, you could figure out how to violate the laws of economics. It would be like scientists sitting around trying to figure out how to violate the laws of gravity. The central planners over at NC Policy Watch think demand curves magically bend at the will of people with politically correct ueber-values.
The trouble with this kind of thinking – nevermind your opinion about global warming or what people ought to value instead of air conditioning – is that it doesn’t work. You can explain how subsidies destroy wealth. You can explain the law of supply and demand yet again. You can explain opportunity costs and even the reality that subsidizing renewables results in all manner of negative unintended consequences (even for the environment) All the intelligent designer will do is make some grumblings about "free market fundamentalism" as if such a nifty bromide counts as an argument for why economic fundamentals (and yes freedoms) can (or should) be waved away by government fiat.
But understanding market fundamentals is not about preaching a gospel. It’s about communicating a science. And the fact is, economics is a science central planners would just as soon ignore. Marx did. Schofield, acting as a priest for the Big Green Church, would like you to accept his version of intelligent design. (He probably wants it taught in the schools.) But science is science, and scarcity is a solemn and severe master.
The only way faith-based central planning would ever be able to make a return is by the 21st Century’s version of an apocalypse myth. Clearly, when it comes to climate change, NC Policy Watch has been washed in the blood. Hallelujiah!
(If large-scale anthropogenic climate change turns out to be true, try adaptation.) -Max Borders