Today, few things are more entertaining than observing the continuing debate among intellectuals about the merits and demerits of economic freedom.
What is the cause of the levity?
Most of the opinion is decidedly about the demerits of economic freedom, with a pronounced preference for any form of governmental supervision that would supposedly assure the equitable distribution of material wealth.
The problem is, of course, that the very debate, or intellectual freedom itself, is only made possible by economic freedom, which is the principal support of free speech.
Why? It is a truth far too often demonstrated that once the state owns your meal ticket, you’re a slave of the state.
And you better shut your mouth or you could end up in a Gulag or a rice paddy.
Or, as the philosopher Herbert Marcuse noted, a centrally controlled economy is actually state capitalism, conducted by insiders with decided benefits allocated for those who open and close the national treasury.
Meanwhile, the rest of the citizenry are expected to wake up and row the ship of state, with scant provision of bread and water for the dutiful and a plentiful supply of lashes for any who dare to complain.
A free economy is far from perfect, but it supports the stage on which intellecutal freedom may cavort.
So wisdom comes down on the side of improving it, not abandoning it, and with so much clarity that debate with a bias against it is downright amusing.