Blogging from a Plane

I’m on a plane now, halfway through a flight from San Francisco to Atlanta, accessing the internet via WiFi. This has been available on more and more planes, and I assume that soon it will be fairly standard. Indeed, soon it will be something we all take for granted. A few years ago, it was novel. A few years from now, it will just be one of the many blessings of the market that we take as a given in our daily lives.

This is a good reminder to me of all the wonders of the market we have come to rely on—what are technological luxuries one year soon become necessities in daily life. Businesses, too, rely on these technologies, and when they succeed in increasing their productivity we all benefit from a prosperous and growing market.

With government, of course, the opposite tends to be the case. We get used to onerous impositions that seem intolerable or ludicrous to one generation and are accepted as a fact of life by the next. The Income Tax, Social Security, immigration controls, the welfare state, federal meddling in schools, huge municipal police forces, warrantless wiretappings, the Patriot Act, the drug war, the TSA, and U.S. foreign wars—even many who generally trust the government might find many of these programs problematic, but are simply used to them. Some of these programs were not around for the first hundred years of the U.S. Some were not around until the last decade. We quickly become acclimated to the expensive and oppressive boondoggles of government, even as we take for granted the miracles we daily enjoy that come from the market.

Is there a point to this blog—other than the novelty of blogging from a plane? Simply put, try not to take the glories of the market for granted. The easy access to wonderful and diverse foods, the advances in medicine, the affordability and ubiquity of clothing and shoes, the amazing developments in computers, the internet, television, movies, magazines, books, automobiles, houses, airplanes, electronics, appliances, and the zillion other things that are now available to virtually everyone in our society. Don’t take it for granted, if for no other reason so as to stay vigilant in defending the institution of free enterprise that allows any of it to exist. For if we advance the cause of economic liberty, the material blessings will only multiply, and reach those remaining in relative poverty. If we fail and the state continues to advance in the market’s stead, what we will lose will be tragically unseen—developments and progress that we would one day have likely come to take for granted along with everything else, had the state not quashed the potential.

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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