Tuesday, November 06, 2007

HWT Christmas Gift Guide

Freedomomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half Baked Theories Don't is Dr. John Lott's response to a book called Freakonomics which is a leftward leaning screed purporting to show that in virtually every area of life ordinary people are lied to, cheated and swindled by everyone from their doctor to their real estate agent (who is like the Ku Klux Klan). In other words their view of the world is the leftists version of Utopia - everyone is a victim.

In five well written chapters Dr. Lott not only refutes the assertions of Freakonomics he sings a paean of praise to the free market and demonstrates why it is uniquely suited to not only provide any nation which embraces it with the greatest abundance, but how it also polices itself and keeps fraud and predation to a minimum.

In what is probably the best and most needed chapter Dr. Lott explains the value of reputations and how misunderstanding their importance leads to harmful consequences. Consequences as severe as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform (translation: incumbent protection act) which has the unintended side effect of reducing voter turnout.

Another chapter called "Government as Nirvana?" takes on the deeply entrenched idea that the common problems of life are amenable to government solutions. In fact government meddling distorts the market and more often than not prevents the efficient solving of problems.

My favorite chapter is the last, called "Voting Right and Voting Wrongs". Here Dr. Lott shows an almost Coulter-like courage and willingness to face, and speak, unpopular truth. For example the principle blame for the growth of the US government into the freedom destroying, money devouring leviathan it is today is the enfranchisement of women.

Along the way we learn many other useful and often counter-intuitive facts. Such as the liberalized abortion policy imposed by the Supreme Court has actually increased the number of out-of-wedlock births.

I recommend Freedomnomics to anyone who wants an insight into how the world really works and I especially recommend that it be given to any college freshman or even high school senior. Those who are entering the intellectual meat grinder of the modern university are in desperate need of an anchor to keep them moored to reality. Freedomnomics should not be the only component of that anchor, but can definitely be an important part of it.