Half Past the Month

March 12, 2021

A FRIEND pulled out an apt George Orwell quote for the week’s events: ‘We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

Yes, Oprah’s interview with the Duchess came to mind but we were challenged to apply it to local public policy, particularly economic development and race relations.

Herding a group of cronies into a regional authority and then allowing self-interested schemers to manipulate government funding does not result in general prosperity. Nor is it progress. Rather, it is mercantilism, a system of limiting economic choice and opportunity dating back to when the Tudors were on the throne. 

Look, if prosperity were simply a matter of a mayor or governor commanding taxpayer resources to attract investment . . . well, everyplace would be rich. 

Along the same lines, if a workforce is deemed underpaid, why not proclaim the desired wage? Or if rents are too high, declare a ceiling? The Indianapolis City Council recently entertained a motion to limit restaurant delivery fees. Gov. Holcomb famously suspended property rights (evictions).

And King Canute ordered the waves to recede.

None of that works. Productivity, efficiency and honest contracts are what drive economies, not official decrees. And the choice is a stark one: a free economy or a corrupt one. Please know that at any given moment your community is headed toward one or the other.

Switching to race relations, have you noticed that the woke crowd doesn’t mention “equality” anymore? It raises the question of whether they want that equality in terms of opportunity or in terms of results. Troubling. Instead, the word in government hallways and the fancier dinner parties is “equity,” which has a better ring to it.

So the Republican president of the Fort Wayne City Council suggests that key committee assignments be filled by Democrats in the interest of racial equity (and in violation of process and the electoral will).

At the same time, the newly installed equity and diversity officer in an Indianapolis private school encourages retribution. His/her premise is that the legal and governance systems in the U.S. are inherently racist and retain economic and political power for white people by oppressing people of color. 

It may be that all of this appeals to the ruling class because it diverts attention from the mess they have made of ruling — that and it gives them a sense of superiority pretending to rescue what they imagine to be the downtrodden. (Did the Duchess of Sussex say she keeps “rescued chickens”?)

Whatever, it is nonsense. The United States and Great Britain are the historic models for racial freedom or any other category of individual freedom. And skin pigment, although a simple way for the powerful to reorder society, does not predict behavior or character, or differentiate between the patriotic and the treasonous.


— tcl


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