If You Want A True Winner, Focus On The Free Market

The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
American Liberty News

– The League for Sportsmen, & Defense unequivocallycondemns the recent attempted assassination of in Butler, Pennsylvania, yesterday. This heinous act represents a direct assault not only on an individual but also on the very principles that underpin our democratic society.

Former President Donald Trump was injured in an at a campaign rally yesterday in Butler, Pennsylvania. One attendee at the rally was declared dead at the scene, killed by a stray bullet. Two attendees remain in critical condition after they were admitted to the hospital.

In (slightly) more normal times, presidential campaigns will produce and run on a series of Big Ideas they hope will convince voters to flock to their candidate.  We've seen such big ideas in the past – tax cuts, national defense, defeating communism, or, more broadly, expanding opportunity (and liberty) for all.

But big ideas are scarce on the campaign trail this year. This means that if we want to find signs of optimism, the best place to look is far away from the theatrics of Team Red and Team Blue.

Consider this item in the Wall Street Journal on industries and companies that helped beat back inflation, recession, and unemployment. No industrial policy or grandstanding politicians are required.

A prime example comes out of the oil patch, a place the would prefer not to discuss (except when it needs a scapegoat for its own poor policies). It turns out there's an energy production boom underway that is lifting more economic boats than all of Mr. Biden's computer chip subsidies combined:

U.S. crude oil output hit a monthly record in September. For the first 10 months of 2023, it averaged 12.9 million barrels a day. That was about half a million more than the Energy Information Administration had projected for 2023, back in January 2022.

The oil market is global, so U.S. consumers only benefit indirectly from higher production. Still, that effect is important. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in cooperation with Russia, has tried to prop up prices by restraining production. And recent attacks on shipping in the Red Sea have interrupted shipments. Without stepped-up U.S. shale output, those forces would have pushed oil and gasoline prices higher.

Being the world's largest producer of oil and gas has its advantages – not just jobs and economic activity at home, but a means of influencing global markets (to the detriment of murderous regimes like Saudi Arabia and Russia).

There are fundamental issues at stake in this year's elections. It's not just about who occupies what office for how long, but also the vision of government and its relationship to the people those officeholders bring with them.

Both major parties are eager to get hold of the levers of power and control of the federal purse. It means they can reward their supporters, and increasingly, punish their rivals. 

It's a nasty, selfish business that ultimately leads nowhere. The real leadership, creativity, and inspiration comes from individuals acting in their best interests in a . Almost always unintentionally, too, via what Adam Smith called the “invisible hand”:

Adam Smith described the opposing, but complementary forces of self-interest and competition as the invisible hand. While producers and consumers are not acting with the intent of serving the needs of others or society, they do. When you work, your goal is to earn money, but in the process you provide a valuable good or service that benefits others and society. The amazing part of this process is that there is very little government control. The bread you buy at the store arrived as the result of hundreds of self-interested people cooperating without a government bread agency managing production at each step along the way. The farmer grew the grain, the mill prepared the flour, the bakery produced the bread, the truck driver delivered the bread to the grocery store, the grocer stocked the shelves and sold the loaf to the consumer all without a Government Secretary of Bread Production telling any of them what, where, when, or how much to produce. It's as if they were being guided by an invisible hand that guided resources to their most valued use. In the words of Adam Smith:

“by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

It beats corporate welfare and protectionist by a country mile.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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