12 November 2015
A weighty letter! Thank you for maintaining a dialogue. I apologize for my lack of writing recently. I will keep this response concise, T. Since I’ve known you – when your yellow buds were just starting to bloom high atop the mountain – you’ve had a sincere opinion that ‘what is local is often best’. You have never been a believer in centralization. I recall your sorrow when the last stop light was removed from the interstate system. I believe it was in Wallace, Idaho, along one of your old routes. Locke, Jefferson, Smith, and Hayek – each of these fellows thoughts have been entrenched in your mindset. Contra Mundum to a large degree your mantra. Some people feel the best route to a nation’s prosperity, a steadily rising per capita income, is through planning and collectivization. This is not your camp. You saw the recent financial crisis through a different lens. Firms and governments too large, protected and powerful. Governments swimming in debt due to planning schemes and wars. Excessive promises at all government levels in the form of pensions and benefits. Improper planning, rates of return too high, life expectancies not properly analyzed. Perhaps, Tetraneuris, an emphasis on banking at the local level would have averted much of the crisis. Securitization of loans is fine, but the buyers needed to do their own homework rather than relying on others, such as the rating agencies. Further, as you know, there are unfortunately interests which require large levels of financing to maintain hegemony. You are one who questions how a committee of planners is able to better allocate resources than the market itself. Which will result in greater national prosperity? Which will potentially slip into tyranny versus fostering individual freedom. There is much talk today about the disparity of income and wealth in society. The argument is being made that the answer to this is greater planning and regulation. Your (our, for I’m of course in your camp) argument is that were firms allowed to fail in the last debacle, the market would have cleared and great levels of wealth at the top end of society would have been destroyed. Things may have naturally become more evenly distributed. Smaller, well managed firms would have found new opportunities. The reality as well though is that individuals who had saved all of their lives would have watched their retirement plans and pensions evaporate. Jobs would have been scarce for a prolonged period. Perhaps political upheaval would have ensued. There is too much to discuss to make this clear and I did note this would be a brief letter… Not to mention I would be telling ‘Noah about the Flood’. Suffice it to say that you are unwavering in your conviction that federalization has its political and economic limitations. The two of us are today both concerned about government going further in the wrong economic and political direction. Planning and regulation run amok. By the way, speaking of planning (engineering), not only should the mortgage deduction be eliminated (your note), so should all deductions (ex-charities). Simplify the code, lower rates. You are correct regarding a consumption tax (titled appropriately as well).
I too share your concern regarding religion. I understand what is at the crux of the issue for you. Religion over its existence has engendered great levels of strife still very much with us today. There simply is no way around this paradox. Religion is to foster order and peace, yet look at things. To maintain some level of faith, one has to wade through all of the ill-propaganda and seek truth. It’s that simple. By the way, regarding the excellent Tao allegory pertaining to fording a river in winter, imagine one’s children (or perhaps one’s parent) on the other bank. How should one behave in this instance? You know the principles of Confucianism in this regard. You know Judeo/Christian thinking regarding elders and children, too.
I said I’d keep it short, therefore, I’ll close saying that I’ve visited the BBC site and fully appreciate the German history presented on the pages. I may purchase the book as well. It is interesting you find Germany of such interest, given their proclivity for socialism, high tax rates and unions. However, their writers and musicians are certainly worthy of great consideration and the citizens do maintain their government’s financial books. Perhaps your interest is derived from your Saxon roots…
Pardon any grammatical or syntax errors, these blurbs are often written impromptu. Hope to hear from you soon, I remain,
Your most humble and obedient servant,
Post Script. By the way, I read Hard Times over the recent weekend, a critical look at utilitarianism. I am part of the way through Bleak House. You might peruse the former. Thoughts come to mind regarding the mining industry in our old area during earlier days. Education is the future, yet manufacturing is as well.