Never stop talking about freedom!

| May 20 2012
Christopher Cook

The video below is of author and George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux talking about his new book. The video is worth watching in its own right, but my purpose for posting it is primarily to highlight what he says at the end about how everyone’s efforts in the cause of freedom, free markets, and economic sanity combine together to form a vital collective effort. He cites the work of think tanks and authors and free-market blogs and academics as all adding together into a “pool of scholarship and inspiration for maintaining enthusiasm for and understanding of the free society.”

Boudreaux is modest about his own work, and, I think, too quick to dismiss the impact were his work to disappear from that collective effort. The overall point he is making is one I have made made times before and will make it again: YOUR EFFORTS MATTER. Every effort matters. What you say at the water cooler; on your blog; in the paper you write for school; with friends and family; with strangers; in letters to the editor . . . everything you say adds to the effort. Like Boudreaux says, liberty is not going to be defended and expanded just through the election of a politician or two. It’s a mindset. It’s a culture. It’s the aggregated efforts of every voice adding to that culture.

Be one of those voices, whether your words are heard by 10 people or 10 million people. It all adds up.

 

“Many years ago my family ordered me to remove my shoes before sitting down to watch the evening news,” recalls George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux in his new book, Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Cafe Hayek.

“Seldom had I spent 30 minutes of any given evening watching the likes of Dan Rather without my wanting to throw my shoe at his face after he uttered some absurd economic fallacy.”

So the barefooted Boudreaux began writing letters instead. A decade later he’s penned nearly 5,000 missives not just to network news executives but to newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs. The highlights are collected in his new book.

Many of Boudreaux’s epistles offer concise explanations of basic economics for misguided journalists. In a note to NPR’s Tom Gjelten, for example, he explains why “imbalanced” trade is not something to be concerned about. In a letter to The Economist, he analogizes using price controls to tamper inflation to “trying to control the temperature of a room by rigging thermometers so that they never record readings above 72 degrees.” In another letter, Boudreaux aims his pen at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for sending him an email promoting activities in which you “give back to the community.”

“Your profits aren’t pirate booty,” Boudreaux tells the Ritz. “[T]hey’re legitimate earnings.”