Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Who really killed the pirate radio stations?

Pirate radio stations off the British coast were not put out of business by the right-wing establishment, but by the interventionist, stasist, socialists of Harold Wilson's government.

And what is the relevance of this arcane piece of British history? The fact that unless we are prepared to learn from our history, we are condemned to repeat it:
Revisionist history is a staple of academics who confuse their ideological preferences with analysis: in simple terms state control, centralized planning and stasist governance has never resulted in a sustainable economy any where, ever in the history of the world. The only debating point is how much damage, to whom and at what cost (see, Soviet Union -- Stalin, UK - Wilson, Zimbabwe -- Mugabe, N.Korea -- Jong).

The biggest problem with most democratically elected stasists, is they seek to act like dictators: imperious and invincible. The biggest problem with most dictators is they want to be Napoleon. They forget that they are not Napoleon and they lack his genius. Moreover, without understanding history they fail to realize that despite his acknowledged genius, Napoleon failed (as, ultimately, did Alexander, Attila and Genghis Khan). Even when headed by a genius, dictatorships fail. Democratically elected demagogues fail just as ignominiously. All that's left to assess is the cost that their interference in daily life has wrought

Follow up:
Here is an excellent discussion of the difference between the dynamist, free-enterpise perspective and that of stasist, interventionists.

  • When you drill down, the conflict between conscientious free-marketers and interventionists is not about facts or about what people are likely to do. It is about values - what each regards as the way things should be.
  • The core premise supporting the free-market is individual rights.
  • By contrast, the assumption of the interventionist is that society and the state take precedence over the individual. It is the group that counts and has rights.
Individual responsibility and freedoms, versus collective entitlement and state censure. The former results in prosperity: the latter in poverty.

As Hayek explained so unequivocally, poverty is the default condition of all societies. It is wealth that has to be created. Individuals, not governments, create wealth.

Government intervention is not the moral high road, it is the expressway to serfdom.