In my last years as a Methodist, the bishops of that church came out with a declaration on redistributing income. They had all sorts of standard leftist proposals, but what interested me was their constant repetition of their ideas about where wealth comes from in the first place.

The bishops kept saying "the land produces" over and over, as if land, all by itself, produced everything. All they had to do was redistribute what was magically produced by the land, all by itself.

Karl Marx said that labor, just effort all by itself, produced everything. He built Communism on that idea. He also said that it was ridiculous to say that water was worth more in the desert than on a pond, or to a thirsty man than to a man without thirst.

He said its value depended entirely on how much labor it took to get it.

Basically, leftists argue that money comes from Magic. What matters, they say, is just to redistribute it.

The Libertarian Party is one group that is great at knocking down this nonsense. They point out that money doesn't just come from effort, as Marx said, or from "land," as the Methodist bishops say. It takes brains, enterprise, and INCENTIVES. So if you take away everything a person should get for making money, he won't make any, and everybody ends up poorer.

As I say, Libertarians are good at showing how silly leftists are on this point, and in insisting that magic does not produce everything.

They explain that how money is distributed also determines how much money gets produced. So far, so good.

But then you start to discuss with a libertarian why the United States is richer than Mexico, and he has an instant answer

He says that Americans have more money than Mexicans because of Magic.

So the Libertarian says that all it has to do is redistribute it. He says Mexican labor is worth more on this side of the border than on the Mexican side, so you should let all the Mexicans into the United States, and everything will be fine. Leftists say that the only reason one person has more money than another does is because of Magic. Libertarians say that Mexicans have a lower per capita income than Americans because of Magic, not because they are doing anything wrong.

Libertarians insist that third worlders should pour into America, because they bring in cheap labor, which is worth as much as our expensive labor. But labor is not all they bring in. They bring in votes. They bring in the same votes that produce the public policy that makes labor cheap in their own countries.

No libertarian would put his money where his mouth is. They say that there is no good reason why LABOR should be worth more here than there.

So if that's true, how about CAPITAL? If LABOR should be paid the same on both sides of the border, shouldn't CAPITAL be worth the same?

No way, Jose!

Try to get an American libertarian to put money into third world investments at the same interest rate he would take here.

No way!

And why is it that an American is not about to put money into the third world for the same interest rate he would ask in America?

Because MEXICANS are in charge of Mexico. His money isn't safe down there.

When it comes to real money, THEIR money, the idea that Mexicans are just as good as Americans for running a country is screamingly laughable.

But when it comes to bringing in cheap labor, they will look you straight in the eye and insist that labor is labor, period. This is a fatal bit of stupidity on the part of otherwise highly intelligent people. They get so tied up in their free-market philosophy that they finally lose contact with reality on a vital point.