Tens of millions of Americans, though not enough to keep his malign presence out of the Oval Office, were years ago sick of Barack Obama opening his mouth and spouting off about whatever subject he chose to educate us on. After enduring eight years of pretentious lectures, we thought we were finally rid of him in 2017. But no, he’s still enlightening his inferiors, which in his mind is everyone who isn’t him, most recently to link market-based systems to slavery. Such mean-spirited nonsense deserves a Fisking.
Speaking a week ago at the Obama Foundation’s Democracy Forum, the former (and current de facto) president said “just because an economic system generated wealth and innovation doesn’t mean it guarantees a good society. Because from the outset, market-based systems have been compatible with slavery, caste systems, colonialization, war, exploration, corruption, fraud, autocracy, the poisoning of our natural environment.”
Gosh, is there no evil that the free market hasn’t facilitated?
Sarcasm aside, let’s take these comments in no particular order.
Just because an economic system generated wealth and innovation doesn’t mean it guarantees a good society. And what is the alternative to a free-market economy? There are several, and they all have one commonality: Government is in control, either through central planning, a system of collectivism that allocates resources, a regime that manages the means of production, or an outright tyranny. Like so many of his fellow Democrats, Obama prefers a “progressive” system, using the blunt instrument of government, which is made up of flawed humans, to perfect humanity to guarantee that good society. If this sounds insane, it’s because it is.
Market-based systems have been compatible with slavery, caste systems, colonialization. Does The Great One mean “colonization,” because we can’t find a dictionary that has “colonialization” as a word in the English language? In any case, he overlooks all the evidence to the contrary. Such as:
- “Abolitionism was a free market cause.”
- A laissez-faire system is “at war with all kinds of slavery.”
- “Markets are breaking down India’s caste system, turning untouchables into millionaires.”
- Singapore’s “postcolonial rulers seized the advantages left them by the British empire” – a market-based system – “and used them, for the most part, for the benefit of wider society.”
Market-based systems have been compatible with … war, exploration, corruption, fraud, autocracy, the poisoning of our natural environment. We don’t know what Obama means by “compatible with” those things, particularly since those ills are always worse in socialist societies. (And what’s wrong with exploration, anyway?) Additional reading finds that:
- “The major wars of history were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones.”
- “Laissez-faire capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights and, therefore … by the nature of its basic principles and interests, it is the only system fundamentally opposed to war.”
- “Since the dawn of humanity, people have explored to learn about the world around them, find new resources, and improve their existence.”
- “Studies have shown that a very open” – market-based – “economy is significantly associated with lower corruption.” “There exists no more democratic institution than a market.”
- The prosperity generated by market-based economies makes environmentalism affordable. “During the Cold War, West Germany had more freedom and a cleaner environment than (Sovietized) East Germany.”
Obama is likely aware of almost every counterargument listed above. We don’t imagine he could be that ignorant. So why would he make such an asinine, easy-to-refute statement? Because he knows that’s what the freedom-loathing political left wants to hear. Because guaranteeing a “good society” through government increases the political power of those arranging that “good society.” Because he wants to continue to divide this nation, just as he did while in office, and fundamentally transform it into a country that’s no longer exceptional, just one of many.
And because he loves to hear himself talk.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board