For its second 2022 event in Israel, the Free Market Road Show visited Tel Aviv.
In both his welcome words and concluding remarks, Boaz Arad focused on the importance of indeed spreading the “freedom variant” in our post-pandemic world. The pandemic gave governments all across the world the excuse to finally erode any individual and entrepreneurial right, the ability to severely control the economy and a new understanding of governance where nationalistic and paternalistic approaches to business, trade, and production become the norm was all of a sudden acceptable. The “freedom variant” comes to fight this, to remember people of the importance of freedom, property and the individual.
These remarks were totally in line with Yaron Brook’s presentation of the new Hebrew translation of Ayn Rand’s debut novel, “We the living”. This heavily autobiographical tale focuses on the way communism suppresses achievement and the individual. It is the first Randian analysis of the evils of collectivism, a theme that is as actual in our days as in 1936 when the book was first published.
The panel on “Elitism and Suppression of the Masses” kept discussing the evils and injustices that arise from collectivism and the suppression of the individual.
Hans Unterdorfer argued that the expansion of the state, even in democracies, always leads to stagnation and unquestioned maintenance of the status quo, no matter how inefficient or inept it is in dealing with the problems of society. Innovation depends on reduced state influence and open markets.
Gia Jandieri focused on his insider experience in Soviet central planning and his living in a Soviet-dominated country. Jandieri argued that the Soviet state needed to kill any remnant of individual initiative and entrepreneurship in order to keep pushing their dream of a centrally planned economy, no matter how thoroughly inefficient this dream proved to be.
Barbara Kolm commented that the central question of our time still is individualism versus collectivism. The only way we can preserve our free societies is by whole-heartedly defending the individual and this can only be guaranteed by clearly delimitating the task of the state: the preserving of property rights and the rule of law.
In the last panel, on “The Roots of War”, Yaron Brook again pressed on how collectivism is the source of war and conflict. Individualists do not go to war; they engage with others as traders. Whereas collectivists see human relations as a win-lose game – that inevitably leads to conflict and war – the individualist believes that both sides of human transactions and relations can win, preserving the freedom and property of each other. When this basic principle is neglected and zero-sum thinking prevails, war emerges.
Gia Jandieri focused on how state misinformation occurs during wartime. The state needs to create an enemy, even if artificial, to pursue its own intended ends. In order to accomplish this, narratives that diminish the value of other human beings become a necessary part of political rhetoric. War is, thus, created and fed by the state.