Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Campaign Finance Reform is Another Distraction

If only we could separate money from politics, all would be well, we are told.

No, all would not be well. Separate money and you still have a problem: politics, the state and its allegedly legitimate power to do things the rest of us can't do. Of course, it's rather Utopian to think we can prevent such power from being bought off by the highest bidders. If the government is already bought off by the highest bidders now, as many believe, it would be foolish to expect it to make any reforms that restrict "big money". But let's grant that unlikely success for the sake of argument.

The state would still be a parasite, a violator of our rights, a destroyer of prosperity, and a machine to benefit some at the expense of many. The state is inherently less efficient- i.e. more wasteful- than the market, as Ludwig von Mises irrefutably demonstrated almost 100 years ago in the debate about economic calculation.

Since politics is the problem, "campaign finance reform" is a distraction from the real goal of shrinking the government. Even if one could improve the campaign finance laws in a way that helps the ultimate goal, what is the opportunity cost? Once people recognize the evils of all types of central planning and statism, and stop supporting it, politicians, their campaigns, and their financing will fade away as unimportant.

If there are to be reform efforts, the only worthwhile type seems to be repealing campaign finance laws, which do nothing but further violate our rights. The problem is not money in politics, but politics itself. Let's not take our eyes off the ball.

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