George Gilder writes Unleash the Mind in National Review. It is from his soon to be released update of his classic Wealth and Poverty. ( I have already preordered on Amazon.)
America’s wealth is not an inventory of goods; it is an organic entity, a fragile pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, visions. To vivisect it for redistribution is to kill it. As President Mitterrand’s French technocrats discovered in the 1980s, and President Obama’s quixotic ecocrats are discovering today, government managers of complex systems of wealth soon find they are administering an industrial corpse, a socialized Solyndra.
All riches must finally fall into the gap between thoughts and things. Governed by mind but caught in matter, assets must afford an income stream that is expected to continue. The expectation may shift as swiftly as thought, but things, alas, are all too solid and slow to change. The kaleidoscope of shifting valuations, flashing gains and losses as it is turned in the hands of time, in the grip of “news,” distributes and redistributes the wealth of the world far more quickly and surely than any scheme of the state.
The belief that wealth consists not chiefly in ideas, attitudes, moral codes, and mental disciplines but in definable static things that can be seized and redistributed — that is the materialist superstition. It stultified the works of Marx and other prophets of violence and envy. It betrays every person who seeks to redistribute wealth by coercion. It balks every socialist revolutionary who imagines that by seizing the so-called means of production he can capture the crucial capital of an economy. It baffles nearly every conglomerateur who believes he can safely enter new industries by buying rather than by learning them. It confounds every bureaucrat of science who imagines he can buy or steal the fruits of research and development.
Even if it wished to, the government could not capture America’s wealth from its 1 percent of the 1 percent. As Marxist despots and tribal socialists from Cuba to Greece have discovered to their huge disappointment, governments can neither create wealth nor effectively redistribute it. They can only expropriate and watch it dissipate. If we continue to harass, overtax, and oppressively regulate entrepreneurs, our liberal politicians will be shocked and horrified to discover how swiftly the physical tokens of the means of production dissolve into so much corroded wire, abandoned batteries, scrap metal, and wasteland rot.
What a profound passage! The government will inevitably fail to redistribute wealth because they do not know what true wealth is. They can only view wealth in its most materialistic sense. By dismissing the emotional, moral, and intellectual components they confuse a home with mere bricks and mortar. I find this a fascinating irony that those who attack wealth the most have the most materialistic view of what wealth really is. This was noted in Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative.
the article in the National Review will require a 50 cent payment. I encourage you to pay it and read the whole article (about 8 pages).
Tips to Scott Grannis and The Calafia Beach Pundit