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September 8, 2010

Critical Thinking: How to think about politics

Quote of the Day: “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD -180 AD) Roman Emperor, 161-180 AD

The following brief essay is provided as an educational service by the Downsize DC Foundation.

In this message . . . a visual image to use when comparing the free market with politics and government.

Let’s say you’re fed up with Walmart, and you want to shop at K-mart instead. If the free market worked the same way as political governance does, then you would have to . . .

* Get out the phone book and start calling the people who live in your area,
* Ask their permission to stop shopping at Walmart, and to start shopping at K-mart,
* Get these permissions from 50-plus-percent of the people, and . . .
* If you couldn’t get these permissions then you would have to continue shopping at Walmart — you would not be permitted to switch to K-mart.

This is exactly what you are faced with if you want to fire and replace your elected representative. But it gets worse, because . . .

Changing government policies is even harder than changing your representation. If the free market worked the same way as political governance does, then . . .

* The decision to switch from Walmart to K-Mart would NOT involve ONLY the permission of 50-plus-percent of the people in your area, but also . . .
* The permission of 50-plus-percent of the voters in more than half of the Congressional districts in the entire country, because . . .
* You would also have to elect a majority to Congress to pass the legislation needed to allow you to switch from Walmart to K-Mart

Yes, this is absurd, but it’s also exactly . . .

* How political governance works,
* Why the free market is so superior to politics and government
* Why government should be severely limited, so that you can be free to choose

We think you will be vastly smarter than most people if you never allow yourself to forget that . . .

You have vast power as a consumer, but almost no power as a voter.

The best way to remember the inherent inferiority of political governance is to ALWAYS respond to every proposal for new government action in the following way . . .

Visualize yourself making calls to millions of Americans to gain permission to switch from Walmart to K-Mart, because that’s the equivalent of what you would need to do to free yourself again once the proposal for new government action is enacted.

Likewise, you will also be a SMARTER PERSON if . . .

* Whenever some person tells you we need some new government program or regulation, or that . . .
* Businesses are more powerful and dangerous than governments,
* You remind yourself that you do not need anyone’s permission to stop doing business with any company, but . . .
* You do need the permission of 50-plus-percent of voters to stop doing business with The State.

Not only are you more powerful as a consumer than you are as a voter, but you are also more powerful when you fill your mind with high-quality mental furniture. The visual image of having to call people to get permission to switch from Walmart to K-mart is a great example of a piece of high-quality mental furniture. But, you can increase your personal power even further if . . .

You share this mental furniture with other minds.

Imagine how society would change if, every time someone proposed some new government action, every person hearing the proposal immediately visualized having to make phone calls to get permission to switch from Walmart to K-mart. You can plant this piece of mental furniture in other minds by . . .

* Sharing this educational message with others
* Describing the idea to others in conversation

Go forth and furnish the minds of others.


This educational message is provided by the Downsize DC Foundation as a service to those who subscribe to the Downsizer-Dispatch. If you received this message from someone else, and would like to have your own FREE subscription to the Downsizer Dispatch, you can subscribe here.

Other recent entries in the “How to think” educational series, include . . .

* Critical thinking: How to think about government regulation 
* Mythical history: The truth about “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair

We will be providing many more of these mental tools in the weeks and months to come. Stay tuned. A big announcement is coming.

Perry Willis
Vice President
The Downsize DC Foundation

The brief essay contained in this message is copyrighted by Perry Willis — (c) 2010. It will be part of an upcoming book. Permission to re-distribute or re-print this message for non-profit educational purposes is granted and encouraged, as long as proper attribution is given, and you provide a link to the original source. Permission to use this message for commercial purposes is denied.

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