Do you still feel down in the dumps after watching the results roll in Tuesday night? Russ Roberts has some positive thoughts for you.
The lesson I learn is that we have work to do. It’s our job to speak up and educate and cajole others about what we lose when government gets bigger. It’s our job to help people understand that the civil society that emerges from the bottom up is better than the coercive dictates decreed from the top down. The better we do that, the higher the chance of a candidate out there who understands these ideas and who has a decent chance of winning. We, the people, help determine which candidates emerge and what they stand for.
We have work to do. The Talmud, talking about the obligation of a Jew to improve the world and do what God expects of us, says that it is not up to you to finish the task, but neither are you free to walk away from it. You may or may not believe that liberty hastens the redemption of the world. But the Talmud’s insight is that small steps can eventually make a big difference. I can’t bring about liberty single-handedly. Neither can you. But all of us together make a difference. Which way should we choose? More bottom up or more top down? The American people just elected the king of top down, but it was close, and my claim above is that the result reflects a lot more than the appeal of “top down” policies. Let’s keep at the job and we’ll eventually have better candidates to choose from and better results.
Put Tuesday night behind you for a while. Remember what matters. Take a walk. Read to your kids. Go out for dinner with your spouse. Read more Adam Smith and less of the Drudge Report. And smile at your neighbor. That’s always a good idea. But there’s a bonus–it might help your neighbor imagine that someone who believes in leaving things alone when it comes to the coercive power of government might actually be a decent person after all. And then maybe he’ll be a little more open to those crazy ideas you talked about at that dinner party.