Vive la France!
The ongoing comedramedary that is electoral politics has entered its next season, as the French presidential elections have completed their first round of combat. As expected, right-wing hate fear fascist nazi Hitler Trump white privilege patriarch poopyhead Marine Le Pen has made it to the second round, as has "centrist" Emmanuel Macron, an international banker and former member of the Socialist Party. No points for guessing which one George Soros is paying college students to riot for. Further research: what does "antifascistes" mean in French? It is a mystery!
Macron is expected to mop the floor with Le Pen in the runoff, and this is not predicted to be anything like the way Hillary Clinton mopped the floor with Donald Trump, nor the way "remain" mopped the floor with "leave" in the British EU vote I still refuse to call "Brexit" because honestly that’s hideous. We all know that the two things that are always and everywhere honest and correct are elections and electoral polls, so I’m sure that will remain the case.
Libertarians traditionally do a terrible job of explaining why socialism can’t work. Which is to say: we’re great at explaining it to other libertarians, but we think we can talk to our Bernie Sanders-supporter friends the same way. If you’re talking to someone who doesn’t already understand the problem, and you just say something like "in a socialist environment there can’t be market prices," you have to realize that person will think that’s a feature, not a bug. Most of us libertarians know about the socialist calculation problem, but to the wider audience it’s pretty esoteric stuff; it’s not just plainly intuitive to most people that the absence of market prices causes discoördination in production. Either way, it seems like ultimately you have some guy deciding what products, and how many, to make. Can’t we just put those successful entrepreneurs — the Bill Gateses and Jeff Bezoses of the world — in charge of the planning boards and have it work just fine?
This, of course, is where libertarians tend to fall down. We’re great at extolling the virtues of the entrepreneur, but, in a very significant sense, we miss the most important element: what’s critical about entrepreneurs is not that they make amazing, successful things, but that they’re able to fail in a controlled manner. When a product fails on the market, only the entrepreneur and those closely connected to him suffer, which is important for two reasons: first because it means that random people, uninvolved with the failed project, don’t have to bear the cost of the failure, and second because, by concentrating that cost on the people responsible, the failure is made immediately apparent, and the pressure to cease failing is substantial. Amazon’s Fire Phone, by all accounts, was a neat piece of technology, but nobody cared enough to buy one, and Amazon cut it loose after a few months of disappointing performance. Microsoft’s Windows 8 suffered a similar poor reception, which encouraged the company to proceed in a new direction (and quite swiftly!) with its replacement. While the successes are, of course, the ultimate goal of the market economy — the production of goods and services people want — the only thing that makes those successes possible is the market’s robust failure mechanism. When governments attempt to "soften the blow" of failure by socializing the losses, that not only creates a massive injustice (as innocent people unconnected to the failure are now forced to pay for it), but it also encourages businesses to linger in failed products and failed practices longer than they should.
A new low in identity politics
The big shocking news this past week was that Donald Trump, the most hateful man in America, running for president on the Hate Party ticket with the slogan "Make America Hateful Again," hatefully spoke hate speech about how much he hates the Jews. What horrible effluence of hatred emerged from the Donald’s Twitter feed this time? This hatefully anti-semitic hate picture of Hillary Clinton: