• Independence From Government

      Political "Independents" are becoming more powerful in American politics.

      As I note in my syndicated column this week, Reason editors Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch have a new book out in which they argue that we need independence not just in politics but from politics.

      "When we look at the places where government either directly controls or heavily regulates things, like K-12 education, health care, retirement, things are going poorly," they write.

      It's very different outside of government where - from culture to retail stores to the Internet - there's been an explosion of choice. "(Y)ou were lucky ... 20 years ago (if) you would see one eggplant in an exotic store," Welch continued. "Now in the crappiest supermarket in America you'll see four or five or six varieties of eggplant..."

      The difference is inherent in the way government works.

      Government is a zero-sum game: Someone wins, and someone loses, unlike in the market, where it's win-win, where merchant and customer thank each other....

      In the private sector, everybody gets to pick what he or she wants. "There are troubles and tradeoffs," Gillespie said. "But ... if somebody starts selling stuff you don't like, you don't hold a rally and you don't try and get a bunch of people to vote to change it. You go to the next grocery store ... or you build your own grocery store.

      So we have fewer choices, less competition and less innovation in anything government runs. It's why K-12 education is an expensive failure, and health care and entitlements are on an unsustainable course. Here's the rest of the column.

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