Power of Individual Liberty - How The West Got Rich

A regular theme on my radio program is the power of individual liberty to further economic freedom, which in turn, furthers individual liberty.  The two go hand-in-hand.  The great idea of the United States was the sovereignty of the individual.  It started with the Declaration of Independence 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

This embodiment of individual liberty, coupled with a free market, has resulted in The Great Enrichment described by Deirdre N. McCloskey in a recent Wall Street Journal essay entitled How the West (and the Rest) Got RichIn the essay she says something that I have repeatedly asked my listeners to do - go the supermarket or a shopping mall and simply revel in the abundance.  

This abundance is seen in the raw figures of income.  An American earns, on average, $130 a day, which puts the United States in the highest rank of the league table.  China sits at $20 a day and India at $10.  Is there a correlation, even causation between those staggering figures and American-style freedom and liberty?


As she points out, liberated people are ingenious.  Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not.  Liberty, coupled with equality before the law and equality of social dignity, made people "bold to pursue betterments on their own account.  As Adam Smith stated, "allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice."


How is this liberty of individualism seen today?  In one of the more stupendously ignorant articles regarding Venezuelan socialism, Salon magazine published a story about socialist Hugo Chavez' stunning socialist experiment success.  

Today, that so-called socialism experiment in Venezuela has gone the route of all other socialism experiments - abject failure.  

How do we continue this marvelous expansion of economic, social and political freedom?  By reining in bureaucrats.  By cutting back on unnecessary and costly legislation.  By continually asking ourselves, are we willing to fight for and live in liberty, or are we going to succumb to the quiet, seductive call of abdicating individual liberty and freedom to the comfort of government nannyism?  

Share Dr. McCloskey's article with everyone you know, especially those clamoring for more and more government intervention into our individual lives.