Truly, Waitrose is the place where miracles happen. You see, dear reader, I have this evening seen and done things of which most humans who ever lived could not have even conceived.
I drove to the supermarket and returned with hams from Germany and Italy, English bacon (hey, I loves me some pig), a cucumber, garlic and onions from Spain, Italian cheese, fish from Scotland, mushrooms from Ireland, French butter, Italian olive oil, Kentish tomatoes, UK blueberries and Greek yoghurt.
As Leonard Read so memorably explained, I have peacefully traded with uncountable numbers of people across time and space. I have benefited from the enlightened self-interest of scientists, engineers, mechanics, oilmen, farmers, drivers, nutritionists, pickers, stackers, builders, labourers and people in many more jobs I don’t even know exist. I have done all of these things for a few quid. (Imagine how many more miracles we can achieve without government inflation!) So tonight I have traveled faster than most humans could have imagined possible and will eat better than the pharaohs and emperors.
Leonard Read describes the miracle of a humble pencil and the mystery of how it comes into being:
“There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred [...]
I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree [...]
Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”
Well he should see what’s in my carrier bag. It’d knock his socks off.