Thus Spoke Mhlakaza

David Deming compares Xhosa cattle-killing movement with the contemporary green movement spearheaded by Nobel laureate Al Gore. To achieve his fifteen-year-old niece’s vision, the movement leader Mhlakaza fanatically urges Xhosa people to kill all their cattle and destroy all life-sustaining tools. The reason? Heaven on Earth that will allegedly ensue once all the life-sustaining substance is destroyed. The campaign ultimately causes the population to starve, majority dying out and the rest falling easy prey to colonizers. We may laugh today at Xhosa’s naivete, but we are not much smarter at all, it’s just that somewhat more sofisticated techniques have to be used in order to mislead us. There are ominous parallels in our age, aimed at progress prevention and not limited to green movement only.

The modern cattle-killing attack is two pronged:

  • Wealth-producing is bad for the environment.
  • Free-market is blamed for economic downturns.

Both of the above points turn the reality upside-down while prescribing cures damaging to the wealth creation. How so? The first one by characterizing things that are most likely occuring naturally to be man-made. The second works toward the same goal by doing the exact opposite – by characterizing man-made effects to have natural causes without scientific explanation. Additionally, their proponents proclaim, in both cases the “debate is over” and “there is no disagreement”. In both cases, naturally, government has all the right answers – all we have to do is follow the instructions. The verdicts are repeatedly and one-sidedly rendered and served to the public.

As it turns out, the reality is quite the opposite from the usual serving that public gets from the mainstream media. No, the debate is not over (not convincing enough? check this) and yes, there is disagreement. With all due respect to Gore’s and Krugman‘s Nobel Prizes, Friedrich A. Hayek and many signees of the above mentioned petitions have those, too.

How does this illusion of passing half-baked semi-truths as “done deals” work? Hayek elaborated on it in the “Intellectuals and Socialism” essay. Ayn Rand described it perfectly well in the character of Ellsworth Toohey.

There is plenty of proof that free market capitalist principles have contributed to our well-being whenever government chose to stay out of the economic recovery business, while massive government interventions have obstructed it. Should we be responsible stewards of our environment? Absolutely. Do we deserve protection from violence and fraud? No doubt. Should we start regressing in hope to prevent icecaps melting? Not at all. Earth came out of ice age without anyone burning coal or gas. Ergo: global warming happens. It may have to do with Sun activity. It may have to do with many things and we simply do not know for sure yet. Is the free market to blame for the current economic difficulties? There is no free market.

Yet, the followers of the J.M. Keynes’ economic doctrine, much like the Xhosa prophet Mhlakaza keep on telling us to do things that absolutely make no sense: market must be constantly tinkered with through regulation; the way out of debt is more debt; the remedy for regulation-caused crisis is more regulation. Naturally, the prescriptions do not work, they actually make things worse. They make things worse for very same reasons that Mhlakaza’s prescription made things worse: destroying wealth-creation means causes economic deterioration. Instead of using common sense and reversing the harmful process, we are told it’s worse because we did not spend and regulate enough. In other words, we did not destroy enough wealth-creation means.

Just like Mhlakaza spoke.

As Ludwig von Mises wrote in “Socialism“:

“No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result.

Wake up America – persisting on the current course inevitably leads to the Xhosa-like destiny.

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