Grunt. Point. Rock.Versus Unique Forms of Domestic Terrorism
Ever since Anne Tompkins, Pelvic Libertarian and US Attorney General in western North Carolina, served up her infamous quote that currency competition is a "unique form of domestic terrorism," it has motivated me to find the source of today's political and economic ideas. I think I have found that source.
Back in the day, and I mean way back in the day, many many moons ago, we lived in clans around caves. I know this because I saw a movie called Clan of the Cave Bear, starring a mannequin named Daryl Hannah. (A girl named Daryl must be the gender equal version of a boy named Sue.)
The clan chief had a unique leadership skill. It could be summarized as Grunt. Point. Rock. He grunted to indicate what he wanted you to do. He pointed to where he wanted you to do it. If you refused, he bashed your head in with a rock. Grunt. Point. Rock. During one exchange with Daryl, he utters a complex grunt to indicate it is time for Daryl to get busy with him. He points to where she should assume the position. She obliges rather than getting the rock. It's the only memorable scene of the movie. I have tried using that Grunt-Point combination with modern women, but I found out it doesn't work without the Rock.
Grunt. Point. Rock. (We'll shorten it to GPR from here on out.)
Over the years, GPR evolved. Primitive States needed more than just GPR. They had to explain why one person got to do all the Grunting and Pointing. He was divined by the Gods. Therefore, his Grunting was the best Grunting, the wisest Grunting. When he Pointed, you had better comply. The Rock stayed the same.
Fast forward to the 1800s and a man named Karl Marx dedicated his life to the science of GPR. Marx wrote over 100 volumes. Yet he never did figure out how to manage a complex economy using only GPR. Nonetheless, the Bolshevik revolution ushered in a new era of Scientific GPR based on Marx's ideas. Thousands of the brightest minds from all over Russia were taught this new science. But they ran into a bit of a problem.
The public can understand GPR. When you fancy it up, you confuse them. The public in the USSR was vastly confused in the early days. There was a lot of Grunting and Pointing, but not much was happening. So the scientists conferred and it was decided that the problem was a shortage of Rocks. They needed lots and lots of rocks: 20,000,000, give or take a few.
The Brilliance of Voluntary Negotiation
I have come to prefer the term voluntary negotiation over voluntary cooperation. We don't really cooperate with each other. We negotiate. If you take away the Rock, negotation becomes voluntary and it becomes something of beauty.
Many people get nervous before or during negotiations. You should, instead, embrace it. Every voluntary negotiation you enter into is a chance to participate in a practice that has immensely improved our world. While the Grunters have not evolved beyond wrapping their intentions in scientific absurdities, the world of voluntary negotiation has evolve rapidly. When the person on the other side of the table can say "No, thank you" and walk away, you must evolve. You must think.
This is the mainspring of human progress. I tell you to work. You say no. I think. "What if I give you $20?" Now we are getting somewhere. Conversely, you want $20. You tell me to hand it over. I say no. You think. "What if I fixed your sink? I'm good with tools." Now we are getting somewhere.
This is the mainspring of human progress - people entering into voluntary negotation. There are no guarantees, only offers and counter offers. This is the world of exchange, the world that gave you technological progress and higher standards of living.
The Mount Rushmore of Grunters
In America, both thinkers and grunters are celebrated. It would be unfair to say that Americans are all sheep waiting to get hit over the head with Anne Tompkins' rock. They understand, for the most part, how voluntary negotiation has helped improve their life. But as the thinkers have evolved, so have the grunters. They have learned how to glorify past grunters, turning it into a religious exercise. I have noted on several occasions that Etatism (the belief that the State can solve complex social problems and be the mainspring of human progress) has all the earmarks of a cult. The basic philosophy is easy to learn (Might Equals Right) and superficial. The justifications are increasingly complex (cloaked in scientific apologia) and out of the range of comprehension of the public. The foundations are based on faith (that people in Washington, DC will work in your interests when there is absolutely no reason or evidence to believe this is so). Enemies of l'Etat are viciously slandered, their actions are overblown to ridiculous level (think: "unique forms of domestic terrorism") and the conflicts between State and enemy are presented as apocryphal battles between Good and Evil.
But it's not just politicans that are grunters. Businessmen often resort to the grunt. They usually start grunting when they lose or sense they are losing at the negotiating table. They offer you a product. You say no. They grunt "I'm entitled to my profits!" They point at your wallet. Then they scurry off to Washington to borrow some rocks.
The Irony of Statism
If you spend enough time on these blogs, you find that the cheerleaders of the Grunt Patrol have a favorite accusation: We, Voluntary Negotiators, are trying to turn back the clock. We, Voluntary Negotiators, want to go back to caveman existence. Oh, really? Because Grunt. Point. Rock. is progressivism?
David in Qatar