How the Grinch Stole the Free Market
I made you a present. I was going to knit you a sweater, but there are kind of a lot of you. And I wasn’t sure you’d appreciate macaroni art.
So here. I made you this.
How the Grinch Stole the Free Market
All the folks
Down in Galt’s Gulch
Liked Markets a lot…
But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Galt’s Gulch,
The Grinch hated Markets! Especially free ones!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reasons.
It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his rings were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his brain was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason,
His brain or his rings,
He stood there on his mountain top, hating the things,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew all the folk down in Galt’s Gulch below
Were busy now, trying to sell high, buy low.
“And they’ll say it’s beneficial!” he snarled with a sneer.
“Tomorrow they’ll barter! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find a way to keep Markets from running!”
For, tomorrow, he knew…
…All the Gulch gals and guys
Would wake up bright and early. To the market they’d fly!
And then! Oh, they’d buy! Oh, they’d buy! Buy! Buy! Buy!
That’s one thing he hated! They’d BUY! BUY! BUY! BUY!
Then Galt’s Gulch, young and old, would all make a profit.
And they’d profit! They’d profit!
And they’d profit! profit! profit!
They would start innovating and make money off it!
It made him so mad that he punched through the soffit !
They’d do something he liked least of all!
All the people of Galt’s Gulch, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with no thoughts of raiding.
They’d stand face to face. And then they would start trading!
They’d trade! And they’d trade!
AND they’d TRADE! TRADE! TRADE! TRADE!
And the more the Grinch thought of this peaceful exchanging
The more the Grinch thought, “This requires rearranging!
“Why for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now!
I MUST stop Markets from running!
Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
“I know just what to do!” The Grinch laughed in his throat.
And he made a Hayekian hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great Grinchy trick!
“With this coat and this hat, I’ll look just like Friedrich!”
“All I need is a moustache…”
The Grinch looked around.
But since moustaches are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch…?
No! The Grinch simply said,
“If I can’t find a moustache, a moustache I’ll make!”
So he gathered supplies. Then he sewed up a fake
And stuck it just under his nose. What a snake!
Then the Grinch said, “I’m ready!”
And he started down
Toward the Gulch where the folk
Lay a-snooze in their town.
All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
Everybody was dreaming sweet dreams without care
When he came to the first house in the square.
“This is stop number one,” the old fake Friedrich hissed
And he stepped to the door, velvet glove on his fist.
Then he walked right inside. Didn’t ring, didn’t knock.
(Property rights are respected by folks who read Locke.)
Then he slithered and slunk, that legislation-mad demon,
Around the whole room, and he took every freedom!
Cigars! Motorcycles! The schools! And their guns!
Freedom to travel! He took every one
And he made regulations
to stop them all. (Grinches adore legislation.)
Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the trans-fat!
He took the raw milk! And the sauerkraut vat!
He cleaned out the fridge; took their bathtub-brewed booze.
Why, that Grinch even took their last freedom to choose!
So he shut it all down with a heart filled with glee.
“And NOW!” grinned the Grinch, “For a tax on this tree!”
And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to tax it
When he heard a small growl like a rattling ratchet.
He turned around fast, and he said, “Who are you?”
It was Dagny-Lou Taggart, who was not more than two.
The Grinch had been caught by this little Gulch daughter
Who’d got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, “Herr Hayek, why,
“Why are you taking our liberties? WHY?”
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Hayek confessed,
“There’s a wee knowledge problem I have to address.
“So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
“I’ll direct things up there, then distribute them here.”
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent he to bed.
And when Dagney-Lou went to bed with her mug,
HE went to the chimney and planted a bug!
So the last thing he took
Was their privacy right.
Then he left, with his grinchy heart filled with delight.
And the one speck of freedom
He left in the house
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.
He did the same thing
To the other Gulch houses
Much too small
For the other Gulch mouses!
It was quarter past dawn…
All the Gulch, still a-bed
All the Gulch, still a-snooze
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their freedoms! Their hopes and their choices!
Their work! Innovations! Inventions! Their voices!
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-pooh to the Gulch!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that their markets aren’t running!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then all the folks down in Galt’s Gulch will all cry BOO-HOO!”
“That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply must hear!”
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow…
But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Galt’s Gulch!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Everyone down in Galt’s Gulch, the tall and the small,
Was trading! Despite regulations and all!
He HADN’T stopped markets from running!
Somehow or other, they ran, ‘cause they CAN!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without laws! It came without orders!
“It came without bureaucrats! Or walls at our borders!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Markets,” he thought, “don’t need regulating.
“Maybe Markets…perhaps…should go on percolating!”
And what happened then…?
Well…in Galt’s Gulch they say
That the Grinch’s small brain
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his brain didn’t feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And rolled back legislation! The whole nasty range!
The Grinch learned to exchange!