January 24, 2013

OBAMA AND THE “ACTING ALONE” FALLACY: “The idea that you’re ‘alone’ unless you’re being directed by the government strikes me as dehumanizing and almost abusive.”

Plus: “To suggest that anyone who’d like to see less heavy-handed government regulation thinks one person can do everything alone is a straw-man argument. It indicates a lack of understanding of how the private-sector economy works and how libertarians or conservatives actually think about economics. The private sector isn’t just a bunch of people ‘acting alone.’ As Matt Welch pointed out in his critique of the speech, making and selling an object as basic as a pencil is such a complex endeavor that it takes lots of different specialists. No one person has the knowledge to accomplish that seemingly simple task; that’s how decentralized knowledge is in society. And with a truly complex product, like a computer or movie, the need for people to work together is even greater still. The private sector isn’t fundamentally about everyone being secluded and isolated from each other; it typically involves many people working together. Government regulation often rules out the options people would otherwise want to pursue that would let them work together more.”