In the May/June edition of the american, Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, explained that evidence is emerging that developing “countries that are economically and politically free are underperforming the countries that are economically but not politically free.” China, of course, is in the lead of the economically free but politically unfree nations. Hassett wrote, “The unfree governments now understand that they have to provide a good economy to keep citizens happy, and they understand that free-market economies work best…. Being unfree may be an economic advantage. Dictatorships are not hamstrung by the preference of voters for, say, a pervasive welfare state. So the future may look something like the 20th century in reverse. The unfree nations will grow so quickly that they will overwhelm free nations with their economic might.”
But maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising. European-Americans conquered the Native peoples in North America, not because they had greater freedom than the Native peoples, but because they were more willing to submit to authority, to discipline themselves to keep their noses to the grindstone, and to march lock-step into near-certain death in time of war. It was greater organization and lesser individualism, not greater freedom, that enabled that conquest of North America. Yes, it’s true that among the nations of wannabe conquerers, the ones that prevailed were the ones that had greater economic and political freedom. But it wasn’t greater freedom than that of the people they conquered.