Destroying Politics The American Way

This has been among the most outrageous and entertaining presidential elections in U.S. history, yet despite the circus-like atmosphere, the fundamentals of the process haven’t changed. What we’re witnessing – as usual – is a turf war to attain power.

We think of most competitions as turf wars, where the adversaries face off to capture the limited spoils. Whether it’s a sports team seeking championships, a tyrant seeking to expand his kingdom or a candidate scheming for delegates, there can only be one winner and the criteria for success includes the failure of your opponents. This is the territorial, cut-throat sort of contest at the heart of all things political, so It should come as no surprise that elections and governing make for such a reliably noxious spectacle.

There is a far more elegant form of competition however, where the spoils are anything but limited. The dynamic boundaries of economic competition are evidenced by the constant expansion and contraction in the size of any market. And contrary to some political mythology, economic competition results in benefits to virtually everyone playing the game.

Most of us have capitulated to the idea that in order to secure our vision for society, we must channel our efforts through the confrontational filter of politics. That a tiny number of elite gatekeepers must be relied upon to deliver promises that are all but impossible to keep. Put simply, we’ve been relying on a system that we understand to be a failure and we’ve been ignoring a system that we know works.

First, we have the turf wars of politics, where every single member of society “knows what’s right” for every single other member of society – including those with a “Live and Let Live” philosophy who still have no choice but to hire congressional henchmen to fight on their behalf. And do you notice how every single politician promises “to fight” for you? Or us? Or them? All of this “fighting” is an excellent tell for the fact that we are not navigating a rational system.

Then when we realize that our representatives have no desire to fight for anything beyond the extension of their careers, we try a different approach, where we literally believe we can alter the value systems of not one or two people, but of all of the masses, in order to manufacture our desired outcome.

“Persuasion!” An almost entirely futile exercise as well. Have you ever changed the mind of someone on the other team? Has anyone? The political turf wars are about forcefully projecting value systems. Unless you raise these humans yourself, you aren’t likely to alter value systems that developed before any of us even thought about politics. Barring the commandeering of the entire education system, we’re never going to get people to all start believing the same things.

We could go on, but there’s hardly much need to explain that as a system, politics is a broken system, and one in which freedom, equality, peace and security are all being threatened to some degree depending on which party has the upper hand.

Imagine now, the long list of problems which we have been made to think required political solutions. Healthcare, education, welfare, retirement, and so on down the list. All of these represent monopolistic markets and economic turf that we are convinced must be addressed from within the captive confines of politics itself. But by harnessing free market principles, we can encroach upon these political monopolies from the outside by building better products than our government competitors.

Imagine for example if Republicans started operating outside of government to make government redundant. Imagine a corporation called “Real Help Incorporated” with a mission to build a welfare system that rewards people for getting out of it. One that incentivizes looking for work, assists with job training, rewards people for finding that job and is generally more appealing than the government product. Say goodbye to “The Party of No” once the new GOP brand is launched.

What about healthcare? Does it make sense that our national medical safety net is run by a monopoly of politicians? Had the health providers of America organized themselves to own the safety net market, they themselves would have established policies and procedures to treat the uninsured and the catastrophic illnesses. Instead, government seized that economic niche and added it to their monopoly. But, if the doctors and health providers felt they could run the industry better than government, they would have every opportunity to organize the market driven conquest of the economic territory they have surrendered.

The examples need not be limited to the right wing wish list. There are corporations which are based on environmental advocacy who operate entirely in the private sector and which funnel all of their operating profits back into environmental projects. No laws required for this operation. No one needs to lose any freedom, no “superior” politicians are needed to guide their advocacy, and no peace need be lost over a political turf war.

There isn’t a market that has been usurped by government that couldn’t be reclaimed by free citizens harnessing free market weaponry. And the ideas would naturally become more efficient with time – not less. Just think of the purchasing power of the average political dollar. Under the current system, you might spend $30 per campaign cycle on… (sigh) a candidate. How exciting is that purchase for you? First of all, you know going in that they only have a 50% chance of winning. And even if they do, what are the odds that you’ve spent your money on any tangible result? The odds are roughly zero.

Your political dollar is worth at the very best half of what you spend. It plays no role in what a politician will do. It mostly assures that the winner of the race will not be their opponent. That is a horribly inefficient market.

Imagine instead that you were donating to “Real Help Incorporated”, the GOP Manhattan project that was prying people off of welfare, educating them about founding principles and bleeding the government beast. Those dollars are acting in a market. They are seeking out results and demanding further innovation.  And based on the performance of Real Help Incorporated, you’re likely to part with a lot more dollars than you would when Joe Schmo Republican emails his latest solicitation to serve as your political speed bump.

The founders said that to preserve the Constitution, we would need a society of upstanding people. That’s somewhat true, but look at America today. Are we flush with prosperity because every person who can afford a car, a flat screen and a futuristic telephone are the picture of upright citizenry? Not even close. Americans are prosperous because people thrive in efficient markets. It only took a relative handful of truly exceptional people to create the market that is America and for this country to continue to flourish, it will only take a handful of people to transform politics into a market based system.

And what do you think would happen if the Democrats started to notice that people were getting on board with Republican ideas like “Real Help Incorporated?”

Well. They’d probably have no choice but to try and counter it. They might even set up their own corporation called “Compassion Unlimited.” That’s when the confrontation would stop and the competition would begin.

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