In a hilariously predictable Wall Street Journal column today, Daniel Henninger writes, for real: "It needs to be said. The rescue of the Chilean miners is a smashing victory for free-market capitalism." How can these miners ever adequately thank capitalism?
Henninger writes that his claim might sound "churlish," and probably is "churlish," but he'll make it anyway because, "These are churlish times, and the stakes are high." Indeed. Wait, what? Great arguments rarely end with "the stakes are high," guys, especially when it's not clear what stakes are being referred to. Yesterday, we noted that Pat Sajak, too, wrote a bunch of crazy shit about disenfranchising American citizens with the same justification about the high stakes. It's a very poor clincher.
Anyway, here's how free-market capitalism saved those good-for-nothing Chileans, smashingly:
If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men?
Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.
This is the miracle bit that drilled down to the trapped miners. Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees. The drill's rig came from Schramm Inc. in West Chester, Pa. Seeing the disaster, Center Rock's president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive. [...]
But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation. Most of the time, no one notices. All it does is create jobs, wealth and well-being. But without this system running in the background, without the year-over-year progress embedded in these capitalist innovations, those trapped miners would be dead.
Then he types angry things about Barack Obama and the Democrats and taxes and idle free-trade pacts.
Why did Daniel Henninger write this thing? Who's he arguing against? Everyone everywhere is glad that certain innovations were made over the past 25 years that came in handy during this rescue. No one should feel obligated to write thank-you notes to "free-market capitalism," though. (As if no aid groups or governments even participated in or led the effort.)