January 27, 2010
Jobs, Power, Politics, Tolkien

Courtesy of the Mises Institute, here's a podcast on libertarian themes in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is embedded below. This is especially appropriate in light of two events that are happening today. The first is Apple's announcement of some kind of new iProduct, which will improve people's lives in ways we cannot foresee. The second is the State of the Union Address, which is the President's carefully choreographed exercise in truthiness followed by another carefully choreographed exercise in truthiness from the President's political opposition (here's Lew Rockwell on the contrast). Here's the video of Steve Jobs introducing the first iPod in 2001. Here's Tyler Cowen's "simple theory of political jobs," which go to "(p)eople who truly, deeply love the power." Here's a passage from Chapter 28 of Douglas Adams's The Restaurant at the End of the Universe that deserves some reflection on a day like today:

"The major problem one of the major problems, for there are several one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

And so this is the situation we find: a succession of Galactic Presidents who so much enjoy the fun and palaver of being in power that they very rarely notice that they're not.

And somewhere in the shadows behind them who?

Who can possibly rule if no one who wants to do it can be allowed to?"

Posted by Art Carden at 11:22 AM in Economics

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. -Adam Smith

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