The Redistribution of Fish

Takin' yo fish for his homies in the yoonyuns.

Legendary libertarian economist Thomas Sowell wrote a little reminder to America that redistributionisms (like public schools and food stamps) always end in massive poverty like Soviet Russia, WHERE FOOD STAMPS YOU.

He starts his article on Obama’s “recently” “uncovered” appearance at a conference at Loyola “University” in “1998” where the future President admitted to being pro-Communism/a Democrat.  Sowell, like everyone else, acknowledges that the video is not remotely important or interesting, or news. He conflates the young Obama’s (characteristically two-sided and critical) support for the Chicago public housing authority and school system with a Bolshevik kleptocracy, then reminds people of the shittyness of Soviet Russia and Castro’s Cuba, but as usual, neglects the redistributive dystopias of Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Finland, and the United States.

And he can’t resist the perfect libertarian metaphor of how “if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, [etc.]”  That ditty never really connects, however, when you think about how if you teach him to fish instead, you’re out of a job.  So if you want real Economic Freedom®, you’ve gotta let the people who know how to fish keep catching fish and selling the fish, but don’t take that fish and give it to someone for free! ‘Cause that’ll make them full now but poor forever.  And don’t take a fish and give it to a teacher in return for teaching kids to fish, cause then we’ll all have too much fish, I guess? Bottom line is don’t take my fucking fish or I’ll move to Luxembourg.

A man without an education

Thomas Sowell is obviously a great mind, but this tried-and-true argument still leaves out the fact that those who are ‘redistributed to’ are mostly meant to be children or the mothers of children; that by helping them survive and attend school, the state generates a wide base for the development of new human capital in the future. The fish goes to a young fisherman who lives another day to learn to fish himself and teach another generation, and so on.

The John Galt threat is undermined by how selfish it is to let a child go hungry or illiterate because she’s someone else’s responsibility.

Categories: economics, Quickies, snark

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