Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bread and circuses II

Business is a slave to profit, but politicians are slaves to politics. Why compete in a free market when, as StarTribune reporter Eric Weiffering says in his excellent analysis of public ownership of pro sports stadiums, businesses can "privatize their gains while socializing losses ("Go long to measure the true cost of a stadium," StarTribune, January 29, 2012). Pro sports teams and their cronies in the government are literally laughing all the way to the bank. In too many public-private "partnerships," the private owners get the profit, the politicians get the photo op, and the taxpayers get a perpetual liability.

No one has summed up the irresistible lure of bread and circuses better than this oft-misquoted yet cogent mash-up:
The release of initiative and enterprise made possible by self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again, after freedom brings opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent; the incompetent and unfortunate grow envious and covetous; and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the golden calf of economic security. The historical cycle seems to be: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more.[1]
Today we as a society are somewhere between apathy and dependency. If the cycle of bondage can be prevented from descending from abundance, or brought back to abundance, the 2012 electorate needs to send representatives to the state legislatures, the Congress, and elect a President with the collective will to put aside bread and circuses, and let free enterprise work so the people can put bread back on their own tables.

1. "The Truth about Tytler," by Loren Collins,, January 2009.

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