Saturday, November 24, 2012

How Political Discrimination Kills

George Mason University professor and author of Myth of the Rational Voter Bryan Caplan has a concise but insightful narrative about how the diminutive Joseph Schmidt (1904-1942) overcame his physical shortcomings and became a famous opera singer but unfortunately political discrimination did him in.

Professor Caplan concludes:
As every opera fan knows, life is full of tragedy.  Sometimes people laugh at you for being short.  Sometimes people hate you for being a Jew.  Tragedy, however, is more than a matter of intentions.  Markets muffle the effects of bad intentions.  Governments amplify the effects of bad intentions to their logical conclusion.  Market discrimination gave Joseph Schmidt an ugly hurdle to overcome - but with some ingenuity, he overcome it.  Government discrimination, in contrast, deliberately walled off his every option.  He tried to escape, but there was no escape.  Governments driven by prejudice stripped Joseph Schmidt of his livelihood, then took his life.

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