"No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: 'But what would you replace it with?' When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?" ~ Thomas Sowell
Problem Solving 101
Exclusive to STR
January 1, 2009
"I can't wait to get to Washington DC , roll up my sleeves and get to work solving everybody's problems." ~ Alan Grayson, Representative-elect of Florida 's 8th District
The above statement seems to be the general theme of the Democrats, as they will now control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. It was certainly the theme of Mr. Grayson's campaign, as he proudly displays on his website that "It's (the election) about who is going to solve your problems . . . . I'm going to start working, right now, to improve the economy, and make a better life for everyone in Central Florida." Wow, everyone! Of course all politicians are narcissists, but statements like that are insane. The Obama worshippers that say they "won't have to worry about paying" for mortgages and other bills because "we helped him and now he will help us" are equally deluded. Do statists know of any other way to solve personal problems than putting them off on others?
Frederic Bastiat identified this type of collectivist self-delusion over 150 years ago and put it succinctly: "The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else . . . . Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone." Perhaps this is because people are taught in government schools and through the media to believe such nonsense (ya think!). Critical thinking has become a lost art.
Usually the only thing worse than the problems the state creates is the solutions it puts forth. The state cannot, ever, solve personal problems. Only individuals can solve their own problems.
The problem solving method for the statist is as follows:
(1) Get emotional over perceived problem.
(2) Vote for someone to solve the problem.
(3) Elected Representative steals from non-supporters to throw money at problems of supporters (primarily biggest campaign contributors).
(4) Recognize that problem is worse and interventions have created more unintended consequences; repeat process.
The traditional problem solving method for individuals in a free-market is, of course, a little more complex and goes something like this:
(1) Identify the problem.
(2) Determine the scope of the problem.
(3) Determine relevant factors and elements of problem.
(4) Analyze characteristics of pertinent factors and elements.
(5) Estimate primary causes of problem.
(6) Formulate credible strategies to solve problem.
(7) Execute best plan to solve problem.
(8) Review results to see if plan worked; if not, repeat process.
It is obvious that the statist method requires the least amount of intelligence and effort, but repeating that process doesn't bring one any closer to a credible solution. Statist solutions typically will make any problem worse and spread it around to more people. This is because free-market standard methods and techniques are replaced by laws, regulations and taxes. Laws, regulations and taxes can only punish individuals, not inspire creative thinking. People will resist and evade punishment. Thus the statist method spirals ever deeper into the pits of despair.
The fact of the matter is that most people recognize the state as the underlying cause of so many problems; unfortunately, too many people also think that changing the elected representatives will change this fundamental fact. It can't because the system was rigged from the start. Anybody who witnessed the Wall Street bailout package get passed in spite of the passionate, overwhelming outcry of Main Street against it and doesn't realize that elections are a sham is in serious denial; because we have a government of, by and for Wall Street bankers. So why vote?
You see, politicians are not competent to judge the proper analysis, much less formulate a credible solution. The use of lobbyists seeking special favors as experts to educate them further corrupts this process. Finally, they have only one tool: the use of force. When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Agenda-driven solutions simply look around for someone else to blame and hammer.
The free-market is superior at problem solving because it is really individuals solving their own problems. Individuals are able to process new information as it is uncovered that changes the extent and direction of the analysis. Individuals are able to adapt to changing conditions by changing strategies to fit problems as they evolve. It is impossible for the state to do this.
The statist can't even adequately identify real individual problems because they have a collectivist mindset. For instance, the black lady in the video linked above who worries about paying her mortgage and putting gas in her car must be considered a victim of racism or sexism or both, not just an individual trying to make a living. Victimology and egalitarianism are used to alleviate individual responsibility for these everyday problems. Agendas replace analysis.
Instead of identifying natural scarcity as the root of economic problems, the Marxist ideology of conflict is used. Instead of the rational and peaceful allocation of resources through cooperation prevalent in a free-market, we have conflict resolution through majority representation conflict resolution (mob rule). The use of force replaces the desire to cooperate. Therefore, the political process must inherently be biased towards preconceived agendas instead of identifying actual problems. How can a process that can't identify a problem be expected to solve it?
The Bush Administration crashed and burned after high hopes and expectations from his supporters eight years ago not just because he was incompetent, but because the statist system just doesn't work to solve the problems of individuals. Obama supporters are setting themselves up for the same disappointment and the cycle will repeat itself over and over. This is collective insanity.
If an Albert Einstein/Mother Theresa ticket were elected, it wouldn't matter because the system is designed to redistribute wealth from those out of power to the friends of those in power. Simply put, the state is a tool for exploitation. People that believe the answer to individual problems is exploiting others get what they deserve. I just wish these statists could leave the rest of us out of it.
Mark Davis is a husband, father and real estate analyst/investor enjoying the freedoms we still have in Longwood, Florida.
Problem Solving 101
by Mark Davis