Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Smartest Man You've Never Heard Of

John Cowperthwaite will never receive his just due. The man proved the power of humility, simplicity and faith in his fellow man. He reaffirmed hallowed principles set forth by Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson and brought enlightenment to millions living in misery after World War II. However, you will never hear of this heroic man unless you pick up a copy of Eat The Rich by P. J. O'Rourke.

The dying British Empire sent Cowperthwaite to oversee Hong Kong in 1945. If Cowperthwaite read Bullfinch at all, he had to feel like the Pommies had just handed him a shovel and pointed him in the direction of The Augean Stables. The war had ruined Hong Kong, and Cowperthwaite realized that he lacked the power or the ideas to bring the place back single-handedly. So Cowperthwaite did something so brilliant that I'm certain no US politician would ever be smart enough to figure it out.

Instead of taking over and installing a bunch of misguided government programs that would have mirrored the post-birth abortion the Labour Party was performing on the economy of the British Mainland, he told the people of Hong Kong to fix it themselves and then labored mightily to ensure that these entrepreneurs were left in peace to do it.

He openly admitted that he wasn't the man driving the train. He stated. "I did very little. All I did was prevent some of the things that might undo it."

In hopes of just persuading the colonial legislature to take prophylactic measures against the syphilis of socialism, he made the following declaration during a debate over the colony's budget in 1961.

" the long run the aggregate of decisions of individual businesses, exercising individual judgment in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralized decisions of a government; and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster."

Someone please tell this to the US Congress the next time another Prescription Drug Panderation Act or another effort to weaken Welfare Reform makes it out of committee and on to the floor. We have the collective knowledge and decisiveness to solve our own problems without our government deciding for us. If we let our government decide, there is very little we can do to avoid tragedy if that decision is wrong.

We stand in awe of the politician who, like Charlemagne, gets handed the crown and the unlimited power it signifies, but who shows ultimate wisdom and puts aside personal powerlust on behalf of the common weal. George Washington did this for the US when he refused the crown after successfully freeing the thirteen colonies from British Rule. Cowperthwaite did the same when he intentionally steered a different course from then Prime Minister Clement Attlee and let Hong Kong remain freer than the mother land that held it as a colonial possession.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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