Thursday, March 29, 2012


Academic economists typically don't like to make predictions.  With a random walk, who knows where the drunk will end up?  I will venture outside the received wisdom in this case, however, because it seems evident now there will be lots of discussion in the near future of what the word "freedom" means. Those who like me are aghast at the libertarian/conservative conception, will look for a preferable alternative in its stead.  At times like these, people of my ilk are prone to search the music they grew up with, from the 1960s.  One candidate is Bob Dylan's Chimes of Freedom.  But it's a tough song, filled with imagery and no easy story line.  The other obvious candidate is Kris Kristofferson's Me And Bobby McGee.  My prediction is that we'll repeatedly hear the line offered up as a definition:

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose

The popular media will have a field day with it. It sure looks like that's where we're headed.

It doesn't have to be this way.  Tom Friedman's column yesterday says it's far different down under.  Because voting is mandatory in New Zealand and there is much less religiosity, the political parties are moderate.  The middle has its voice heard.  Is the answer for us to move to Auckland?

I have this image in my head of the little boy who won't hold his mother's hand while crossing at the busy intersection.  When the little boy grows up and has his own children, does he not hold their hands at the busy intersection because he remembers what it feels like to be a child?

With apologies to Neil Young, this verse sums up my attitude at present about our national politics:

It's gonna bring us down,
The entire nation's burning,
To a religious state we're turning,
We'll wind up under ground.

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