This week Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as leader of the Labour party. Finally, after months of despair, people who identify with the Labour party have a hero to support and thus (apparent) reason to be hopeful once again.
In Corbyn they see a man who can save the NHS, state education and Britain’s railways, and create jobs and expand the welfare state.
In an interview with the BBC, Corbyn said he “supported a huge programme of public investment in the economy, funded by extra borrowing and an increase in corporate taxation.”
Not that I’m a fan of his, but Boris Johnson reportedly said Corbyn’s programme was straight out of the 70s. He’s right. It’s all been done before and it’s all failed to achieve its intended aims before. Corbyn’s intention of having government spending more, taxing more and borrowing more is nothing new.
But today’s working class young adults, who have been spoon-fed the myth of government austerity by the left-wing media over the last several years, will see Corbyn’s programme as radical. And worse, practical and desirable. Something worth hoping for and something worth voting for in the next general election.
Perhaps there’s no stopping or avoiding this. Maybe today’s younger generations will just have to experience being disappointed by a future Labour government, led by Corbyn or someone else, when it inevitably fails to achieve its grand promises before they fully accept the reality that there is no political hero who can save us; that no leader or political party yielding any amount of state power can make everyone wealthier, healthier, safer or happier.
No politician, whichever kind of ‘liberal’ or conservative they identify themselves as, can save any of the state institutions that our society has become self-destructively dependent upon or make significant and lasting economic growth happen. The momentum of the state’s giant collapsing edifice – the NHS, education and welfare – is too much for any one person or party to stop, or even slow very much. It’s coming down regardless of who comes to power or what they do with that power.
But this is actually okay. As a society, we should avoid wasting a great deal of our time and energy trying in vain to keep afloat state institutions that are failing the people they were erected to serve. We should stop straining and let go of them, intellectually and psychologically.
We should stand back and let them fall. And as the dust settles we should allow the private sector to takeover whatever is profitable in the medical care and education markets and liquidate what isn’t – thus freeing up those misallocated resources to be used elsewhere.
Because state medical care and education has (inevitably) been misallocating such a huge amount of resources for so long, it will take time for the profit and loss mechanism to redistribute them and begin to produce a higher quality and cheaper product in medical care and education, but as long as we let a free market flourish it will happen.
Assuming future government doesn’t completely paralyse capitalism and destroy property rights, we should not doubt for a second that free markets in medical care and education will eventually produce superior results to the state-monopolised versions. Why? Because the evidence is all around us in the form of the global free-market commerce that we build our lives around, which has made us the wealthiest, healthiest and longest-living human beings in all of history.
Markets aren’t perfect. They do fail and they do so because humans are flawed creatures who don’t have perfect knowledge. But when they do fail, and this is the important thing, they don’t fail as bad as governments do (because private enterprises invariably use fewer resources than public sector agencies do) and they self-correct quicker than governments do (because they have greater incentive and access to more knowledge).
There is no knight in shining political armour who can save our society and that’s fine. We don’t need one. We build this society for each other by virtue of selfishly and peacefully pursuing our own goals in life through economic exchanges. Our ancestors did the same.
The common man’s free and creative use of his energy is the foundation of our incredibly prosperous world. Not the grand plans of politicians on podiums, who think they direct humanity like a music conductor directs an orchestra, but who in reality are just waving their arms around.
We are society, they are not. And we are already developing the tools and technology, such as crypto-currencies, that allow us to circumvent the state and render the political class powerless to control and plan the lives of the common man as they have done throughout history.
The Internet and other rapidly advancing technologies are rendering the political class irrelevant. Do they even realise this? Probably not.
Take Clinton and Trump, the two candidates to be the next to sit in the most powerful political throne in the world. They speak of a physical world economy that is already fading away and show little to no awareness or understanding of the global digital economy that is rapidly emerging.
Politicians necessarily conceive of the world economy as static and evenly rotating (like a machine), because this is the only way to even formulate grand plans to manipulate it.
But in reality it’s not like that. It is dynamic and uneven, and all of its billions of parts (acting human beings) cannot be fully comprehended and thus are not predictable.
This is why the plans of politicians never produce the results they promise they will and always produce unintended/unforeseen consequences.
Corbyn speaks of re-nationalising railways and further nationalising medical care with a wistful look in his eye, and refuses to see how these government actions failed to achieve their intended aims when they were first tried. Politicians like Corbyn, Trump and Clinton – who all believe in expanding state control over our lives – live either in the past or in a world that doesn’t exist in reality, and their ideas fail accordingly.
Corbyn’s strategy seems to be the long-game. He has endorsed a new initiative by a creepy organisation called Momentum, which was formed during his 2015 leadership campaign.
Apparently, Momentum Kids will “provide childcare to facilitate political engagement for single parents and will also include “fun, engaging and child-friendly” political activity for youngsters.”
The bleak irony of all this is that his programme of increased taxing, spending, borrowing and nationalising would only worsen our children’s economic prospects by causing corporations to flee and by increasing the government debt burden upon them; and would only harm their standard of living by worsening the quality of medical care, education and rail transportation.
We don’t need politicians like Corbyn or any others promising things they can’t possibly deliver through government action.
All they will deliver us is disappointment and a disillusionment with humanity, which isn’t warranted. I’m not defending or endorsing the current conservative government, either.
Under it, government debt has continued to rise and state power has continued to expand. Less in some ways than would likely have happened under a Labour government but more in other ways.
Whichever political party is in power, there is no benefit for us the people. It’s only about what degree of economic harm we suffer and how quickly it falls upon us.
Hopefully, young people today will realise this sooner rather than later, but it might require another sharp pang of political disappointment. We don’t need politicians to save us and they can’t.
We can save society ourselves, however. We can build an even greater future society without resorting to the violence of politics, without the grand plans of politicians, and without the state.
All we need is a libertarian ethos, a rational faith in human freedom, property rights and economic liberty.