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Why do the good ones leave Utopia?

April 16, 2012

From American Spectator

….the talented almost always want to leave societies where their talents are suppressed. Think of North Korea, or Cuba, or East Germany after World War II. These regimes quickly discovered that to keep their nations from economic collapse, they had to enforce tight restrictions on emigration and international travel to avoid losing their most productive citizens. …governments had to restrict everyone from leaving and impose on the liberty of all. …[the Berlin Wall] was not a wall to keep invaders out. It was to keep citizens captive.

Fast forward to Fortune: “How Krugman Would Ru(i)n Steve Jobs’ Apple

Krugman’s “economic ecology” is like an ant colony. Each ant has a specified role. Each ant carries the same disproportionate load today as yesterday. The ant-colony supply chain functions smoothly to the admiration of the Krugmans of the world…..The Krugmans of the world profess benevolence while actually impeding the general welfare. Our welfare depends more than anything else on the Thomas Edisons, Alexander Graham Bells, Fred Smiths, Bill Gates, Sergei Brins, and Steve Jobs because it is dependent on their innovations. Bureaucratization, regulation, private-state partnerships, protections against risk taking, group-think, homogenization, and defamation of entrepreneurial success kill the innovation goose that lays society’s golden eggs

The real irony is that “equality” – the supposed outcome – really meant “equality under the law” in the Declaration of Independence. The rules apply equally to all, regardless of connections, status, income, power or position. In the current definition of “equality” it applies different rules for different people – including the supposedly altruistic arbiters of equality – government officials. Dialing up the outcome of this type of thinking to extremes – a 1961 Kurt Vonnegut story:

In “Harrison Bergeron,”  the government forced each individual to wear “handicaps” to offset any advantage he had, so everyone could be truly and fully equal….The youthful Harrison did not accept these burdens easily…Harrison broke into a TV studio, which was broadcasting the performance of a troupe of dancing ballerinas. On national television, he illegally cast off each one of his handicaps. Then he did the same for one of the ballerinas, and then the orchestra, which he commanded to play. To shockingly beautiful chords, Harrison and the ballerina began to dance…

Just at the moment when Harrison Bergeron and the ballet dancer were wowing the audience with their expertise and breathtaking talent ….in barged the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers. With a double-barreled shotgun, she shot the two lawbreakers dead to the floor, and equality was restored.

Perhaps in reality, it is the government officials who, like those unencumbered individuals in the Kurt Vonnegut story, simply desire the opportunity to take those who are born more beautiful, talented, and intelligent down to their own level – or to benefit exclusively from their output. It would be no unexpected or small irony to discover Krugman’s columns had been written on an Apple device instead of an old fashioned typewriter

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 16, 2012 8:24 am

    I’ve talked a lot about the fact that the education system seems to be pushing all the students to average while forcing the exceptional ones to find their own path… and not encouraging it. It’s tough to get ahead when everyone wants you to not show them up.

    And yet we wonder why the economy isn’t improving.

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