MurrayCommentary by Pete du Pont
February 15, 1997
Intro: commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis has been reading Charles Murray's new book "What It Means To Be a Libertarian." He says one sentence in particular caught his eye.
Murray raised a ruckus a couple of years ago with the book he co-authored called "The Bell Curve." This new one won't cause controversy, but I hope it gets read. The line in question deals with the importance of economic freedom, because, Murray says, it naturally restricts the power of government. Why "naturally," as if economic freedom automatically restricts government?
In an interview, Murray explained that once you grant people the ability to enter into informed, voluntary transactions with each other, that restricts what government can do. If I'm willing to do a job for a certain price, the government can't make you pay me more. It can't tell us how to buy or sell our products or services, including labor.
But what about government protecting me? Murray says read history. Once you take away instances of violence -- slavery being the obvious example -- or cheating, you can't find a case in American history where economic coersion has worked for long without force or fraud.
Government involvement, from minimum wage to Jim Crow laws -- put in place to "protect" whites from entrepreneurial black workers -- almost always makes it worse.
Murray's point is clear: let us handle our own business.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: It's official: the IRS says it isn't very smart. Pete du Pont has more tomorrow.