So why all the rage still?


And the follow-up:


Many game truths in these vids, too.


“Pettiness and Mud”

March 6, 2012

A few insights from Dr. Sowell before he urges politicians to abandon principles:

What could they possibly have been thinking about, in the first place, when they agreed to a format based on short sound bites for dealing with major complex issues, and with media journalists — 90 percent of them Democrats — picking the topics?

The conduct of the candidates made things worse. In a world with a record-breaking national debt and Iran moving toward creating nuclear weapons, they bickered over earmarks and condoms. I am against earmarks, but earmarks don’t rank among the first hundred most serious problems facing this country.

Issues we face today are often not so simple to be explained in 60 seconds, let have the solutions explained so quickly as well.  The world is usually more complex than we want it to be and less complex than “experts” wish it.  While the masses want quick, easy solutions that fit nicely into a soundbyte, which do injustice to the issue, and experts want drawn out responses to every issue presented, which is unsuitable on television these days, the happy medium in between fits nobody’s tastes.

The format of the “debates” staged the scene for veering away from weighty topics in favor of one-liners about less-important issues the country faces.  The fact that this format has occurred frequently throughout this election cycle is an indicator of a few things

Briefly, first, that party leaders are incompetent, indifferent, or cynical.  Second, that democracy cannot work (in its ideal form) in the age of television because petty issues are more entertaining than weighty issues and thus critical matters are ignored.  And third, that political candidates need not show their qualifications for the highest office in the land but rather their wit and rhetorical skills.

Oh, I forgot the first half of the headline: “Rick Santorum Tells Sick Kid.”

I came up with my own headline: Media prefers politicians to lie to sick kids.  After all, lying to sick people is perfectly acceptable.

This is so biased a headline I think liberals would agree with conservatives that this is slanted against Santorum.  The story is strongly framed against Santorum, and despite the allowance to explain himself in the article, the frame in which his words are quoted is so strong that it hardly makes a difference what Santorum says, he can’t win an uphill battle.

Overall, I agree with Rick Santorum.  The market does, on the whole a good job pricing millions of products so that scarce resources in the world are allocated to the greatest consumer satisfaction.  That’s how the free market works, and the profit-motive–“greed“–is an overpowering incentive to innovate and create goods others want to use.  To restate this specifically, the desire to be well off causes men and women to spend countless hours in the library lonesomely poring through books as the youthful years of their lives go by so that they may learn things like chemistry and biology so they can one day work on developing medicines and drugs that will help people later on.  The desire to be financially successful in life causes people to invest in companies that need to offer pay with adequate incentives for these chemists and need to buy materials for medicines and also need to cover the costs of risks that thousands of drugs fail to make it to market to get payed for.

When stated that way, the “obscene” profits don’t seem as bad.  I am very thankful that someone decided to become a chemist and someone decided to risk money to fund medicinal research.  They don’t do those things for free, either.  The prices they charge are, for the most part, due to supply and demand, the basic principles of economics.  I’m fine with a sick kid learning some economic truths because his mom wanted to use him as a sympathy prop.  What kind of mother drags her sick son to show him off to a presidential candidate just to score sympathy points???

To speak to her problem with high medicine prices, is it necessary for the government to intervene with bringing down medicine prices?  A quick mentioning of other possibilities will show that some people are refusing to think about problems in different ways–which is really the main source of bad problem-solving.  For instance, charities and churches can help defray costs of medicine in individual circumstances–alas, some people don’t want to be religious at all, or accept charity (unless other people are forced to give to the charity–government).  People can volunteer with trial treatments that companies are still experimenting with before release.  And over time prices of goods generally fall in real terms: microwaves can cost as little as three hours of labor today, unlike during the ’80s when they a moderately larger percentage of daily income.  As products become more demanded, the incentive for producing them lures companies into supplying the products which increases competition which decreases prices.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat: the government is just the easiest, thoughtless way to do skin it, though.