Brilliant video! It takes a village to build a sandwich

| August 1 2012
Christopher Cook

This Sunny TV video (below) strikes a double-blow for liberty and free markets. On the surface, it is a refutation of Obama’s You didn’t build that theme, a.k.a. the Obama-Warren Doctrine. But right below the surface, she does the I, Pencil routine, and she does it well. For those who don’t know what I, Pencil is, here’s a sample:

  My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

The point is that no one person or even one single company knows how to make a pencil. It is the product of voluntary cooperation by thousands, in far flung corners of multiple nations, people who may not speak the same language and don’t even know they’re cooperating at all. It is the miracle of the unseen hand—the miracle of free markets.

And Sunny throws in a bit of that miracle while she’s making Obama look silly: