Private Sector Shows Why Free Markets Are Key In Troubled Times

P. Gardner Goldsmith | March 27, 2020
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As many of us work to manage our frustration over politicians imposing “mandatory” closures and attacks on the right to purchase firearms, as we scratch our heads over slow, counterproductive actions by the constitutionally-questionable Food and Drug Administration, or we see politicians like Justin Trudeau commandeering sixteen tons of medical supplies, sending them to China, and leaving Canadians with a shortage even more pronounced than it might have been if he’d not played “paladin”, or we watch the feds breaching the Constitution to pass a “bailout” bill that creates $2 trillion out of thin air and injects a bunch of it into National Public Broadcasting (and many other agencies), it’s important to find something to, as the expression goes, “turn that frown upside-down”.

Thanks to the private market and freedom of choice, we have plenty.

MRCTV’s Nick Kangadis notes that hugely successful Mike Lindell has decided to convert 75 percent of his MyPillow production capacity to manufacturing face masks for medical workers.

Ford Motors – the only US auto company that DIDN’T take federal money during the Bush-Obama bailouts – is retooling seat-heater production to create ventilators and face masks. (Even as a shift in FDA regulations was needed to allow the companies to do this without fear of federal retribution.)

Reason’s Veronique De Rugy offers many.

Singapore's Veredus Laboratories, for example, said it will soon release "Lab-on-Chip" kits to test patients for three kinds of coronavirus within two hours. Four American startups had also launched at-home tests for COVID-19, until the Food and Drug Administration unwisely demanded they stop issuing or testing kits.

Sorry. Trying to stay positive. It seems like the bureaucracy keeps making that difficult…

Thankfully, De Rugy offers plenty more to show how private initiative and charity continue to help people during difficult times.

Creativity and selflessness are on display everywhere. In Canada, an anesthetist managed to turn one life-saving ventilator into nine. In Italy, a company used its 3-D printer to manufacture much-needed ventilator valves to be used in that country's overwhelmed hospitals. These entrepreneurs then created another life-saving device. As they explain in The New York Times, they modified ‘a snorkeling mask already on the market to create a ventilation-assisted mask for hospitals in need of additional equipment, which was successful when the hospital tested it on a patient in need.’

As an aside, I bet when many state politicians finally lift their bans on gatherings (public and private) of various numbers of people many successful rock bands will hit the road to do charity concerts in those small clubs. Perhaps huge authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts will do charity signings at bookstores or local coffee shops. Maybe hugely successful actors and actresses will do live performances at theatres – who knows?

Right now, the places that can stay open, and the people who are “allowed” to participate in the market, are being very creative. In Derry, New Hampshire, the Tupelo Music Hall is offering to make entire meals to take home. We’re talking trays of lasagna, breads, and more. They even offer supplies like gloves and paper towels to people in search of them.

De Rugy observes:

Companies are indeed stepping up to help those in need. Burger King is giving out two free kids' meals to everyone who orders food through their app. U-Haul is providing one month of free storage for students displaced from their universities by the virus.

And teachers at many levels are going online, even as parents and content creators see the dawning of a new age for homeschooling and self-directed instruction. As Dr. Susan Berry notes for Breitbart, actress, radio host, and well-known pro-life, pro-liberty activist Sam Sorbo recently revealed the massive learning curve parents are experiencing as they see the vast positives of homeschooling during this time of public school closure.

Said Mrs. Sorbo during a Heritage Foundation webinar:

Really, our entire approach to education in the United States. Basically, our education institutions – government education institutions – are not getting the job done. And, yet, they’re very good at this whole college and career readiness idea, where they gear us to be prepared to pay a lot of money to colleges, but does college actually get us our careers? Not so much anymore. So, we need to take a step back, and really rethink our entire approach. I think the coronavirus – sadly, but fortuitously – has provided us not just an opportunity but the impetus to look at this.

Indeed. The entire paradigm of education is changing. From the 1970s, when erudite writer Samuel Blumenfeld was seen as “radical” for questioning the government-run education paradigm in his breakthrough books, “Is Public Education Necessary” and “NEA: Trojan Horse of Public Education” (which my father, Paul, edited under a pseudonym while working at the Reagan Administration to try to dismantle the Education Department), to today, more and more Americans are not only seeing the dangers and frustrations of tax-funded, pro-state education systems, they are seeing the absolute benefits of decentralized, online, and small-group instruction.

Just as real charity requires individual volition to show that there’s any actual care behind it – and government “charity” can never claim any volition at its base – during these difficult times, private initiative is rising to help neighbors, even as parents are discovering that it’s a blessing to have more control over the education of their kids.

Remember, any time a politician says, “America cares” as he or she votes to force someone to pay for something, such a statement is, by definition, untrue. Care requires individual choice.

Right now, as private businesses and parents step up to do their part we can see how society cares and what they value.

The often-unsung heroes of industry – those people whose faces and voices are unseen in our daily lives, but whose products are the backbone of our world – are emerging as heroes again.

And that’s something wonderful.