Home
Loading
  Contact Us    
It Was My Choice

Why this column is ending.


by James Leroy Wilson
May 1, 2002

Bookmark and Share


It Was My Choice_James Leroy Wilson-Why this column is ending. It all starts with individual freedom. Some people - most people - have been raised to believe that personal freedom should be abridged for some greater moral purpose. The error made by both the left and the right, is that there is a distinction between economics and the moral choices of personal behavior. The left believes that, provided everyone's basic "economic needs" are met, that society should let people be free in their sexual, intellectual, and artistic pursuits. The right believes that the leftist economics do not work in either theory or reality. Regulations and wealth redistribution, conservatives claim, do not elevate the poor, or of society as a whole, and work only to stifle initiative and innovation. Yet, moving away from economics, the right claims that there is a role for the state to reward virtue and punish vice. Sexual promiscuity, pornography, gambling, and substance abuse could, if left free, cause our society to crumble, and therefore must be banned.

The truth, however, is that there is no distinction between "economics" and anything else. Yes, economics in the narrow sense is about financial calculations - what to do with one's own money. But such calculations are made in our minds all the time - our minds do little else. For how we spend our money, and whether we spend it or save it, is a choice. It is the direct action resulting from a decision about how we want to live - what we want, which is what we think, rightly or wrongly, will further our happiness.

Economics is the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is the purpose of life. The economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out that even in a utopia, where every desire and pleasure can be satisfied, a person would still engage in "economic" planning, for the simple reason life itself has limited time and one must choose which desires could be fulfilled. Economics - choosing - is in the broadest sense the mind dealing with the reality of scarcity. Both money and time is scarce, and we each have to choose what to do with what we have. And be personally responsible for the consequences.

When government tries to make the choices for us, a form of "social distortion" arises. Prices of illegal commodities shoot through the roof. The genuine economic burden of government rises as resources that could be put to constructive use are used instead to merely comply with regulations or with the tax code. When the income from one's labor is taken away, and one's pleasures are banned, how can we expect a responsible and virtuous citizenry? People are not allowed to choose for themselves.

I have written in this column about loyalty, and about patriotism. I have written about fundamental realities of distinction and identity, of "us" and "them." I wrote as a conservative, then as a libertarian. All the time writing without pay, even though it was an "economic" decision to write the column. My judgment was that I am better off writing the column than not. This remained true for eighteen months.

No longer.

The best use of my time is to be engaged directly in the political process. It is one thing to write a column criticizing the government and its policies, and to attack the depressing, pessimisitc attitudes that justify contraints on our freedom. But my column isn't stopping the politicians. So it is best to become one.

Government, by holding a monopoly of violence over an area, can either be the chief protector of freedom, or it can be its chief attacker. Where it is the chief attacker - through excessive taxation and through punishment of non-violent, non-fraudulent behavior, it must be stopped. So that's what I'm going to try to do.

It's been a pleasure writing this column, and I thank Mark Johnson for the opportunity.

The editor wishes to thank Mr. Wilson for his hard work, inspired words, and dedication in his tenure as a columnist for the PO.

(0 Comments)
Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*


Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Location:


Comments:*
Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.



Verification:
Please type the letters you see above.

  Printer-Friendly

Bookmark and Share


PO BOOKS BY JAMES LEROY WILSON
Ron Paul Is a Nut (and So Am I)
Published September 10, 2008

Forget about red states and blue states. Wilson's unique take on political topics is refreshingly not politics as usual.

» Buy Now
» More Information
RSS FEED
RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson
EMAIL ALERTS
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
It Was My Choice
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by James Leroy Wilson
47 for 46 for 45
My favorite movies since when I was born
by James Leroy Wilson, 3/15/16
Hired Gun Quarterbacks
They rarely win the Super Bowl.
by James Leroy Wilson, 2/9/16
Fixing Football's Overtime
Get rid of the coin toss!
by James Leroy Wilson, 1/19/16
Solving the NBA's Conference Imbalance
Get rid of them!
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/26/15
The Problem of School
We develop differently, but arbitrary age rules punish us.
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/19/15
Deflating and defaming Tom Brady
Punishing without evidence
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/12/15
Should Floyd Mayweather be allowed to fight?
The Nevada Athletic Commission is wrong, but not for the reason you think.
by James Leroy Wilson, 4/28/15
» Complete List (565)


RSS FEED
RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson

Recently Published
View Article May I Be Frank, Mr. President?
Challenging a double standard in the Oval Office
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/15/17
Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.


RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top