Laissez-nous Faire

Back in the good old days, when men were men, women were women, and transgendered hermaphrodites were transgendered hermaphrodites, There was a King of France named Louis XIV. Louis’s Minister of Finance was Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Colbert had lots of good ideas for helping everybody in France. Once Colbert brought together a group of French businessmen and asked them what he could do to help them out. Their response was “Laissez-nous faire”, or “Leave us alone.

I think that it is possible that, despite all of our modern scientific knowledge and technology, the people who lived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were wiser than we are. Those French businessmen, at any rate, had a clearer idea of what was best for their long-term interests. Nowadays businessmen, when asked a similar question, would not hesitate to demand subsidies, tax breaks, regulations to keep competitors out of the market, and crony capitalism. It I were to name the greatest problem with Capitalism, it would be the Capitalists. To put it simply, too many businessmen don’t really want a free enterprise system. People generally assume that Big Government and Big businesses are opposed to one another, but the truth is, that all too often they are on the same side.

If you think about it, even in Louis XIV’s time, excessive government regulation of the economy really didn’t work so well. This was a time when the fastest mode of transportation was the horse. The industrial revolution had hardly begun. If men like Colbert would have been better advised to leave things alone back then, how much more so should his successors leave things alone in our infinitely more complicated world of today.

Colbert in 1682.


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