Marcus: 2023 – The year of living dangerously


Morton Marcus

I don’t want to write this column. I’d prefer to find a good set of data about Indiana cities and counties, to put our state in a national context. But today, the Indiana General Assembly is the greatest threat to the future of our state.

Our legislature is afflicted with a disease of ideological anarchy, totally at odds with the noblest thoughts of our founders. What does our legislature seek?

Destroy the concept of the public schools.

Subsidize business expansion and relocation in a way that erodes both large and small communities.

Fight any effort to improve the environment and ignore global warming.

Eliminate the personal income tax.

Promote gambling and marijuana for their revenue potential.

Put the immediate interests of business above the permanent interest of citizens.

And without competitive elections, behave like irresponsible teenagers when the grownups are away for the evening.

The private sector is the motor power of America. As trains, that power requires rails. As planes, it cannot be permitted to fly without regulation and information about its route. As autos, it cannot be free to run over the land of others, to leave the assigned roadways.

There is a bond among Conservatives and Liberals that they do not acknowledge: both are concerned with how and to what extent we control the behaviors of individuals. People and corporations, as if they were people, want the liberty to do as they please, but they do not want the liberty of others to impede the enjoyment of their own liberty.

For that reason, we have private property. For that reason, we have limitations of what you may not do on your property which has a negative effect on the owners of other properties.

Is my body mine? Then you cannot tell me I must have a vaccination or a vasectomy. You must not categorically deny her an abortion. You may advise me about the health risks of tattoos and body piercings, but you cannot prohibit them unless you can prove they harm others.

But Conservative and Liberal legislators often cross the line. The extreme, absolutist abortion arguments violate Liberty. Likewise, restrictions against suicide are often immoderate.

Previous generation, suffering hysterical religious visions, prohibited Sunday baseball. (Try doing that today with Sunday football!) Who was harmed? Only the players and the attendees were doomed to Hell by their own actions.

Today, legislators want to obscure the history of our nation as they once tried to eliminate the concept of evolution. Economic mythology is the basis for taxation and development policies. The equal playing field and the mantra of growth are misapplied to support regressive government.

We are eager to seek equality without equity. Too often we punish truth-tellers and reward liars. Noble institutions (newspapers and unions) are dismissed because we fail to recognize the dangers of pixelization and the benefits of bonding.

And where is our Indiana General Assembly? Firmly camped on the wrong side of most issues, catering to the crowd rather than fostering the future.

Mr. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him and John Guy on Who Gets What? wherever podcasts are available or at