The Mind of America
It is often said the people of America are her heart and soul. It’s important to understand that they are also her mind.
The mind of America is an unconscious engine of fantastic power and perception. Its nerve endings reach through every cash register and cell phone. Its dreams swell into factories and skyscrapers, burn themselves into circuit boards, and flow across bookshelves.
The mind of America can hold many different ideas at once. The genius of a farmer may not be applicable in the heart of a city. A business plan that brings riches to a company in Wisconsin might be a dismal failure in South Carolina. The desires of vacationers and retirees along the coast of Florida are different from those of old families with deep roots planted in the soil of Illinois. A garage mechanic from Detroit might become a business tycoon in Seattle. The notion of bottling so much diverse energy into a central plan, designed by politicians, is absurd. The high voltage of the American mind will melt any antique machinery Washington plugs into it.
Not every idea produced by our vast intellect works out. We learn from our failures, and from those of others. One man’s error is another man’s opportunity. A failed business releases market share for others. When the government steps in to halt this process, terrible amounts of wealth are siphoned away. The mind of America does not willingly waste its energy on the madness of unsustainable business models, propped up by government subsidies.
We make sense of things through the assignment of value, a far higher order of perception than crude ideology. Money is a measure of our time, which means the value we assign to goods and services measures the portion of our lives we are willing to invest in them. We do not voluntarily invest our time in useless goods or fruitless pursuits.
The laws of supply and demand are obstacles to the statist, who constantly seeks to repeal them … but they liberate individuals, by allowing us to find the best value for our money, and to secure the best compensation for our labor. Americans express their will through the logic of free markets. Respect for supply and demand eliminates waste, which is the source of poverty.
Ambition is the coin of the realm between free men. It is the natural genius of the American mind to respect the ambitions of individuals and to create productive ways to fulfill them. The contrary madness imposed on us by statist government is the notion that politicians can measure and judge ambitions, pronouncing some noble and others venal … while harboring none themselves. We know this notion is ridiculous, and we drive ourselves insane if we try to accept it. When ambition is replaced by obedience, we all become poorer, for ambition is a far more valuable resource. We are unwise to deprive ourselves of the achievements of extraordinary people.
Our free-market intellect adapts and innovates at a pace no bureaucracy can hope to comprehend. In the time it takes calcified government agencies to mix objective reality with the interests and prejudices of the State, and to produce politically acceptable regulations, the free market has already evolved through generations of production and improvement. Individuals express their demands, creating and dissolving fortunes, while the bloated organs of the State pump out another thousand-page bill that nobody bothers to read. Consumers have the undivided attention of producers who seek to win their business. Meanwhile, the State carries on a dreary argument with itself, and expects us to hang on its every word.
Look around you, and behold the awesome power of the American mind at work. On the shelves of your local grocery store, “adequate” is never good enough. Your pharmacy awaits its next shipment of miracles, conceived and produced by corporations that are savagely denounced when their risks lead to reward. Look carefully at a shopping mall, and you will see a hurricane of priceless data arising from the checkout counters, allowing merchants to adapt to the desires of their clientele in a matter of days. Marvel at the magic of the voluntary transaction, in which both parties become richer, and nothing is “redistributed.” Bathe in the chaotic genius of a mind created by millions of free choices, and laugh at the folly of anyone who thinks that a little band of “experts” in a faraway city stands a chance against it.
Freedom is righteous, and it is also brilliant. Statists and their hollow promises are tedious, but I can’t wait to see what the free people of the United States dream up next.