‘Ring in the true’
There is a simply eloquent, if not elegant, stanza deep in the body of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s classic 1850 poem “In Memoriam” that is most apropos for this year-changing weekend.
Now, most, if not all, will know this poem best for its concluding stanza:
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Indeed, these are classic lines. But there is another stanza, far within the poem’s main frame, and especially the first and final lines, that is most appropriate to public policy makers as we yet again turn the calendar of time:
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Given what passes for supposedly “sound” public policy in this modern age of professed “social justice” and “equity,” we can fully understand how there might be some head-scratching from the usual suspects who routinely proffer unsound and unsustainable public policy.
“Can you be any more oblique?” we can hear them ask.
Alas, allow us to translate:
Ring out, once and for all, the old-think that government is the solution to all our challenges. For it is not. And in all too many sad, sometimes tragic, instances, it is the creator, and perpetuator, of the problem.
Ring in, at long last, what might be “new” to those same people but what for centuries has been tried and true and standard fundamental economics that routinely exposes the lies of garden-variety interventionists and those with designs more nefarious and politically self-serving.
Ring out the false notions that government can and should attempt to command the economy and shape it to whims that seldom are honorable but frequently harm those – “the poor” — that our overseers ardently profess their policies will help the most.
Ring in the truth that free markets, guided by the most modest of regulations and/or other strictures, lead to the greatest (and, yes, equal) opportunities and, thus, the greatest liberty and freedoms necessary for our ultimate prosperity.
Offered English essayist Charles Lamb in 1832, writing in London Magazine:
“No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference.”
Thus, here’s a challenge to all public policy makers within the sound of our keyboard for 2022:
Make the difference with which the public charges you by eschewing your manifest indifference to what once was considered – and still is — sound governance.
Ring in the true.
Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (firstname.lastname@example.org).