Letter: Free markets offer tangible benefits


Sherlock Holmes once told his assistant, Watson: "You see, but you do not observe." The same could be said to our well-meaning liberal friends: for the disparity between free markets and centrally planned economies is readily evident, yet they refuse to reason from it.

The Index of Economic Freedom identifies Hong-Kong, Singapore, and Australia as the most economically free countries in the world; meanwhile, it lists Cuba, North Korea, and Zimbabwe as the least economically free (Heritage.org). The per capita income of residents in the first three is $51,214, while that of the last three is $4,200 (CIA.gov). Thus, the most economically free citizens are roughly twelve times richer than their economically restricted counterparts.

Confronted with these facts, our liberal friends often revert to the argument that while capitalism might be effective, it generates injustice. However, they once again see but do not observe. Economic freedom rewards hard work and innovation; it allows people to keep the fruit of their labor and dispense of it as they see fit. Interventionism, by contrast, takes from some and gives to others according to the whims of those in power; it engages in legalized theft but calls it charity.

Liberalism ultimately asserts that you and I are too selfish, greedy, and bigoted to act freely within the market system. It begs us to give up our liberties and allow an elite class of guardians to protect us from ourselves. May we have the courage to beat back this cunning assault upon our fundamental rights and side with President Lincoln, who wrote: "Property is the fruit of labor - property is desirable - it is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise" (March 21, 1864).

David Wilhelmsen