When Milton and Rose Friedman published Free to Choose in 1980, laissez-faire economics was at a peak. Reaganomics was all the rage in the United States and Thatcherism was tearing up the buffers of social justice in the United Kingdom. Canada was left struggling in the economic storm. The Friedman’s basked in the rhapsody of millionaire sponsors.
Keynesian economics and liberalism were left out in the cold, to supposedly die a slow, struggling death.
It was not until the market crisis of 2007 and 2008 that people began to understand that deregulation was wrong, small government could not be trusted and not all of us can fend for ourselves. We were leaving too many of our people on the streets to die. The rich are stealing from us and their henchmen are our politicians.
Canada never had sub-prime mortgages to collapse. We suffered anyway. We found that Paul Martin was just a conservative in a liberal suit and tie.
Canadians would not settle for a pale copy and went for the real thing. Enter, Stephen Harper, chortling. There were dark days ahead for Canada.
America had to struggle through the Bush years. George the father was not bad compared to George W. Bush, the younger. George W. was dumb as a post and he lied to Americans and the world about weapons of mass destruction.
And Canadians foolishly loaned our armed forces to the Americans for their Mid-East and Afghan wars. The Americans were defeated and our Canadian forces were dishonoured.
In the United States, Barack Obama stepped into the presidency. Not all Americans joined the celebration of an articulate, black, smart, and liberal president. The sides for coming conflict were being better defined.
In the land of the laissez-faire, you cannot have just a president to care. We saw the hardening of positions as Obama tried to fight Medicare through the House and Senate. We saw a failing democracy.
And it opened the door to the debacle of the Trump presidency. And few have the confidence that President Biden can win for more than a term against the cause of laissez-faire.
We are watching the struggle of good and evil on a world-wide scale.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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