The Ideology of Freedom (V)

A world-transforming gospel is not one that offers a religious way of life whose visible positive effects are strictly confined to family and church-hearth and home-because people demand more from a world-and-life view than the promise of a safe place of temporary retreat when the work day or work week is done. What people insist upon is a system for their life’s work that really does work. What they demand, in short, is a system for dominion.[1]

The Australian Federal government decided some time ago that Australia needed a national broadband network and recently, The Australian newspaper detailed the costs of launching the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the mainland states of Australia. The launches were held in five towns: Willunga (S.A), Townville (Qld), Brunswick (Vic), Kiama (NSW), with a special mainland launch at Armidale (NSW). The costs of these launches respectively (as detailed to a Senate estimates committee), were $101,000, $90,000, $83,000, $78,000 and $138,000, coming to a total of $490,000.

On top of this, the organisation responsible engaged in “media monitoring services,” which cost $152,000. Total cost of all this to the taxpayer? $642,000.[2] Present cost expectation for the NBN? 35 billion dollars.

This is what happens when governments try to supplant the free market in providing goods and services for people. It is as Ludwig von Mises predicted in 1920, in his article called “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth,”[3] concerning the Soviet Union. Mises essentially argued that

socialism is economically irrational. It is irrational because it does not allow the private ownership of property. This means that the capital markets cannot accurately price capital in terms of supply and demand. The planners’ pricing will be irrational.[4]

There are a number of lessons to be learned from Labor’s decision to proceed with the NBN, without one page of cost/benefit analysis.

Firstly, the ALP is committed to the principles of socialism, just as Christians are committed to believing in Jesus Christ. People who believe that socialism is merely one political philosophy amongst others, don’t understand that socialism is actually religious in nature. For the Labor Party, socialism is a matter of faith. Government can solve problems!  It doesn’t matter how much something costs if it is socialistic in nature, the Labor Party will go ahead with it. Christians are sometimes accused of having “blind faith,” but the Labor Party seems to be blind to a profound economic fact:

There is not a single example in human history of central economic planning producing more prosperity than a free market.[5]

Secondly, what is self-evident is that freedom doesn’t come with socialism-bondage does. The more government schemes are foisted upon us against our will, the more we are running up a substantial deficit that must be re-paid. After thirteen years of Labor government from 1983-1996, the Coalition was elected and took ten years to pay back the accumulated debts. Then in 2007 Labor was returned to office, and quickly started to borrow again.

As Davy Crockett is reputed to have written, “a government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have…”

Thirdly, we learn that

the single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare (U.S. Senator Daniel P. Moynihan).

Fourth, the Bible has to be taken note of if the world is going to re-discover freedom. Keynesian economists like our present Treasurer, believe that government deficits overcome recessions. This is the curse of the West today, and it was an Australian economist, commenting before a Senate Committee, who testified that “the use of Keynesian economics has been one of the great catastrophes for economic theory in the West.”[6]

Conclusion:

The rejection of God’s law is the most expensive rejection of a capital resource that any man or any society can make.[7]

Knowledge of and obedience to the Bible is the key to liberty, including economic liberty. That was the key to the West’s dominance in the world up till the First World War, and that necessitates (in brief) more individual responsibility, less government spending and less taxes.

Is that the ideology that you want?

[1] Gary De Mar and Peter Leithart, “The Reduction of Christianity,” 1988, p.360.

[2] The Australian, 12/1/2012.

[3]Reprinted in F. A. Hayek, (Ed) “Collectivist Economic Planning,” [1935], 1963, ch.3.

[4] Gary North, his website, 22/1/2009.

[5] Andrew Napolitano, “How Much Economic Freedom do we have in the United States?” Rockwell website, 20/1/2012.

[6] Dr Steven Kates, 21/9/09.

[7] Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.109