Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Wonder Years

I have always been a fan of the somewhat corny, with its incessant voice-overs, sitcom The Wonder Years. I don't think it quite reaches the levels of truly great television programs like Andy Griffith or Mash, but it is a pretty interesting slice of life of the Johnson-Kennedy years, where I first began to have memories.

What truly amazes me, though, is after watching an episode, I walk to the computer, which rouses itself from sleep (remember when you had to boot up?) and type wonder years in google and an open source encyclopedia built upon the donative efforts of ten billion souls (at least they are all eligible to write something--see if Brittanica will let you do that) and immediately a staggering number of documents come up. We are truly in a new age where people will write and research differently based upon these enormous collaborative efforts. Here's a link of all of the Wonder Years episodes which people have put up just out of their own good will.

Ten billion people writing about different, often essentially useless stuff, for free! This brings to mind an important point that I believe will begin to divide more and more those scant numbers of people who call themselves libertarians.

We need to always remember that libertarianism or love of freedom, is a far different thing from capitalism. In fact, many economists, even free market economists, argued in the past that such public goods needed government subsidies because otherwise no one would have the incentive to produce them. Obviously, these were the type of scholars who spent way too much time in their offices.

People do things for free just out of the joy of living--and that is the true expression of freedom. Capitalism is nothing more than an unimportant by-product of freedom. Let freedom ring and write!

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