Tuesday, October 23, 2007
No more free lunches
By the beginning of the 21st Century, everyone was looking for the proverbial "free lunch". That was the impression created, at least. By mid-century, after some major hard knocks, we were back to the "TANSTAAFL" mindset ("There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch", as Robert A. Heinlein liked to say). We also love our freedom. The natural state of man is to be a small-L libertarian. We tend towards the consequentialist brand of libertarian, rather than the libertarianism of the "rights theorists". Robert A. Heinlein has been described as having a "proto-libertarian" theme in his books, especially the earlier ones. This is telling: "This type of libertarianism is associated with Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and James M. Buchanan. Some writers who have been called libertarians have also been referred to as classical liberals, by others or themselves." The "free lunch" crowd tended to want the free lunch at someone else's expense.