Here are some comments about Bill Gates. Gates owns Microsoft and is one of the richest men in the world. A radical liberal, he recently visited Cuba's dictator Fidel Castro, endorsed socialized medicine, and called his visit the most important moment in his life. We really should watch 20/20 more often.
From: John Stossel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2007 2:56 PM
Subject: A Note from John Stossel Thu., June 21, 2007
Watch "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. EDT for those stories. Here is some feedback on my column on Bill Gates:
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are both showing that having made BILLIONS doesn't necessarily make them any smarter about the mechanism by which they made that money. … if there is nothing done to correct the corruption of almost all of these poor countries (hence, why they are poor) then giving these folks money (or even worse, their government) will do little or nothing to improve their plight.
Gates makes perhaps the most stupid statement I have heard in some time:
"We also can press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes."
…Here is a thought: Those people know what they want, why not let them keep the money and spend it on things they want?
Unless you buy into the elitist theory that people don't "really know" what they want, or the even more elitist theory that idiot taxpayers are too stupid to know what is good for them, Gates' statement makes absolutely no sense … If people are too stupid to know what is good for them, requiring the government to look out for their interests, how does election to government office suddenly turn these morons into geniuses who now can divine not only their own interests but the best interests of everyone else as well?
Outstanding point. The 19th century French essayist, Frederik Bastiat wrote in his book "The Law" something very similar. Paraphrasing, 'how is it that those stupid people who need to have their lives run for them suddenly get such profound wisdom when they step into the voting booth to elect just those people who are so brilliant and wise to run their lives for them, and as soon as they leave the voting booth, return to a state of abject stupidity?'
Look with your eyes and you will see people for whom the "free market" does not provide clean water. One person might react by reciting the gospel of capitalism. In the long run, that might be the solution of choice. But in the long run … well …Instead Gates looks for a solution he can implement today, without waiting decades for the world to change. You might say that he was "first to market," not with a perfect solution, but with one that works.
Protecting property guarantees that each citizen will contribute to the common good by pursuing his own interests. Yes, it is for selfish motives, but they benefit all. Which would you rather have, one collective farm feeding five people for free or ten private farms feeding 20, but charging market prices? If you answer the first, then you get the job of explaining to the other 15 why they need to starve for the common good.
Of course there are NO examples of "people for whom the 'free market' does not provide clean water" in the world today, as nowhere on the globe where the free market has been permitted to function -- is a lack of clean water a problem.
Stossel conveniently fails to mention the fact that subsidies and tariffs which prevent third world products such as cotton and sugar from being sold in the west are a major roadblock to third world development. Free markets? Yeah, right.
[They are absolutely a roadblock and they should go too.]
Thinksink writes: Does Gates have no memory at all -- or perhaps no more than 64KB? He thinks government is the answer to economic empowerment; did he think that when the DOJ was suing Microsoft for anti-competitive practices? [The US Govt. tried to punish Microsoft for being too successful, but they didn't win very much.]
A nice comment on my book "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity:"
Jason Lard writes:
I teach Government/Economics and U.S. History at Lexington High School in Lauderdale County, Alabama and also coach varsity football. (Roll Tide) I recently read both of your books ("Give Me a Break" and "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity") and was very inspired by your writings. Your ideas have persuaded me to look at things in a different light. I also want to personally thank you for inspiring my class. My class learned the most about government and had the most fun debating many of the topics from your books. I was just a neutral bystander and watched my class come to life as they debated the proper role of government.
And here's a sample of a story idea. This one is from Idaho.
Ryan Horsley writes:
We are Idaho's Oldest Gun Shop, after over 70 years the ATF is revoking our license over paperwork errors that amounted to .4 percent. From 1994-2005 the number of Gun Dealers dropped nearly 80 percent and revocations are up nearly 6 times from 2001-2006. They are slowly taking away our rights. PLEASE HELP!!
I can't promise do that story, or any particular story, but please send us your ideas. Remember, the best ideas are ones that come with video! That makes your story much more compelling.
Until next week,
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