The free market is not a creed or an ideology that political conservatives, libertarians, and Ayn Rand acolytes want Americans take on faith. The free market is simply a measurement. The free market tells us what people are willing to pay for a given thing at a given moment. That’s all the free market does. The free market is a bathroom scale. We may not like what we see when we step on the scale, but we can’t pass a law making ourselves weigh 165. Liberals and leftists think we can.
The free market gives us only one piece of information, but it’s important information. We ignore it at our own peril, the way the leaders of the old Soviet bloc did. They lost the cold war not just because of troops or tanks or Star Wars missile shields. Even Reagan and Thatcher couldn’t win the cold war by themselves. They needed allies. And the allies were Bulgarian blue jeans. The Soviets lost the cold war because of Bulgarian blue jeans. The free market was attempting to inform the Kremlin that Bulgarian blue jeans didn’t fit, were ugly and ill-made, and nobody wanted them at any price. People wouldn’t wear Bulgarian blue jeans- literally not to save their own lives. But the Kremlin didn’t listen. And the Berlin Wall came down.
From Don’t Vote- It Just Encourages the Bastards by P.J. O’Rourke