Economists have argued for many years that a free market, in which honest men and women voluntarily trade the results of their productive effort, inevitably provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
For two important reasons it cannot be proven that economists are correct. First, markets have never yet in recorded history been totally free of the intervention and manipulation of political interests, so there is no historical example to study. Capitalism untainted by politics has never yet existed. Second, nobody really knows what is the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Philosophers on the other hand have argued that a free market, even if it did not produce the greatest good for everyone, is the only moral means of production and distribution of goods, because intervention in the market or manipulation of the market by those with political interests necessarily involves the initiation of deception or force against innocent people to gain ends which may not have come to pass if people were left to deal with each other voluntarily. But not all philosophers think the same, do they? A philosopher like Karl Marx can come along and say, "Hey, what's wrong with using deception or force against innocent people?"
So if the arguments of economics and philosophy don't really settle anything, where can the average citizen of a democracy go to find answers that work for all places and all time? If the answers are not to be found in outside libraries or in outside intellectual arguments, maybe there is something inside of us that knows the answers. Maybe we can ask inside.
Isn't it true that the average Mary knows inside of herself that the one thing she wants more than anything else is freedom? Her desire for security is rooted only in her body's needs. Her desire for freedom is rooted much deeper in the needs of her spirit.
She may not always pay attention to the fact that political intervention in the marketplace always reduces somebody's freedom, and she might not see clearly that if somebody else's freedom is reduced ... so is hers. But the average Mary does know that she wants freedom. So if she could stay in touch with her own truest, deepest heart's desire, then she would really be in touch with everyone's deepest, truest desire, true or false? Don't ask your intellect. Listen deep inside. True or false?
Once you have learned to hear one basic truth inside of yourself, such as the truth that your desire for freedom is far, far deeper than your desire for security, then you might feel assured that other answers flow logically from that one basic truth. So it must be true that you can confidently look inside yourself for answers, wouldn't you say?
What if you could see with some kind of spiritual third eye and look at what might be called the "aura" of free markets and then turn and look also at the "aura" of markets manipulated or influenced by political interests?
If you could open some kind of spiritual eye and give yourself permission to look at the aura of a country, wouldn't you see that country glowing with brighter light if there is a free market? Wouldn't you see that same country's light clouded over if there is a politically manipulated market?
Listen inside. Free markets offer hope, true or false?
If you were listening inside carefully, you heard "totally." Why do free markets offer total hope? Because with a free market of only voluntary transactions there is nothing which can altogether shut down the possibility of you achieving your dreams. There may be obstacles, even great obstacles, but if you have something truly good to offer, your dreams can stay alive, yes?
Now listen inside and see if markets manipulated by political interests offer you anywhere near as much hope. Why do you hear inside an answer that is not the same as the answer you heard for free markets? Because in a politically manipulated market your dreams could, with little recourse, be squelched by force, right? You could do everything required in the voluntary association market to have your dream come true and still have a politician or a bureaucrat come along and pull the rug out from under you in such a way that you could not pick yourself up and make another try.
What about honesty? Honesty is a trait your spirit likes, true or false? Listen inside to your spirit. Avoid the temptation to intellectualize. Listen to your spirit.
With free markets you can be as honest as your spirit would prefer you to be, true or false?
With markets influenced or manipulated by political interests, it is much more difficult to be totally honest, true or false? The answer is obvious. Honesty has already been subverted in a market that is manipulated by political interests. Not being totally voluntary, such a market is already colored by dishonesty inserted by politicians. In such a market, you would always be aware deep inside yourself that as honest as you would like to be, there could come a point where dishonesty might be required of you just to survive.
What about good will? Your spirit likes the idea of good will among people, true or false?
In a free and voluntary market the possibilities of good will are endless, true or false? Listen inside.
In a politically influenced market, good will ends where? Listen inside. Good will ends the first time political laws attempt to force you to do something your spirit would not guide you to do. Or the other way around, good will ends the first time politics attempts to force you to not do something your spirit would like you to do.
Consider how good you feel when you are giving of yourself. That good feeling is of the spirit, isn't it? If you were a taker and not a giver, you could not feel near as good, true or false? Because taking derives from a sense of lack and inadequacy, while giving is of your infinite and endlessly benevolent spirit, right?
Politicians who favor what are called "social safety nets," subvert the natural flow of giving, don't they? They take from you in the form of taxation, justifying their actions with the argument that if left to your own choices you might not have given. They argue this way while conveniently ignoring the fact that they are robbing you of much more than your money. They are robbing you of the exquisite feeling and personal growth that comes from making the voluntary moral choice to be giving. They also conveniently ignore just how low an opinion of mankind they are teaching. To tell people they can't do well without "social safety nets," is to utterly suffocate their spirit.
What about trust? Your spirit likes nothing better than trusting, true or false?
In a free market the conditions are present for the building of trust. But what happens to trust in a politically influenced market? Feel inside and see if trust starts to shut down in a manipulated market.
I could go on like this listing various qualities your spirit loves and enjoys, and inviting you to look inside yourself at the "aura" of these qualities in one kind of market or another. But by now you can see that your chances of being wide open and allowing yourself to be spiritually guided are totally enhanced by a free market and in every respect hampered by a politically manipulated market.
You see "auras" by looking inside yourself, don't you? Unlike the arguments of economics or philosophy where proof is impossible, "seeing" this way, with your spiritual eyes ... spiritual knowing ... could in some cases be all the proof you need, true or false?
By way of illustration, I will tell a little story. But I will not tell the end of the story. Because you know the end of the story. Your intellectual reasoning might say, "No, I don't know the end of the story unless you tell me." But if you quiet your intellectual mind and listen deep inside yourself, you'll find that you know the end of the story. Here is the story:
Once upon a time, there were three little producers of goods and services: the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. When they went to bed at night, each would say to himself, "Ah! I've produced something good for the world!" They felt very good about their work because they were responding to market demand and supplying what people wanted. All was well.
Each was giving to the world and each felt good about himself because giving feels good. Listen inside to your deepest inner voice and see if giving feels good. Actually, if you listen very carefully, you will probably hear inside that giving is the only thing that satisfies you.
In our story, there was also an enormous sense of good will between these three little producers and their customers. The little producers were providing something valued. Their customers were providing something valued in return. Can you think of a more efficient mechanism of good will among men?
See if you can feel what they felt. Listen inside to your inner self and feel what it feels like to experience the satisfaction of giving to others and the wonderful feeling of good will.
These three little producers of goods and their customers also felt substantial trust, true or false? Listen inside and see what you hear. Pretend you are a customer and see if you can feel what it would feel like to experience total trust that the things you need are going to be produced and made available to you when you need them. Pretend you are a producer and see if you can feel what it would feel like to experience total trust that your customers very much want to and will always pay you in return for the value received from you.
These three little producers and their customers also felt a sense of honesty inside themselves, true or false? If you feel total trust and you feel total good will, it's very difficult to be dishonest, isn't it? See if you can feel inside the kind of complete honesty it would be possible to reach if you were one of the characters in this story.
Now ... in our story a change happened. One day the butcher gathered the baker and the candlestick maker into a conference and said to them, "A lot of us have joined together and formed a government. You operate within what we are calling our borders, so you must obey our laws."
The baker and the candlestick maker didn't know how to feel about this idea. Nobody ever asked them if they wanted a government. But as was their habit, they withheld judgment and asked, "What laws?"
The butcher listed rules, and regulations, and laws by the millions.
Now here is the end of the story....
The baker and the candlestick maker lived happily forever after, true or false?
The device which more deeply prepares freedom lovers for success, A Course in Miracles , talks about our ultimate need to free ourselves from every kind of slavery:
You have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of your self, the little thought that seems split off and separate, that the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping, and needs no guide. But this wild and delusional thought needs help, because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.
Available free online:
Course in Political Miracles
12 December 2007