July 28, 2020 Reading Time: 2 minutes
redskins player

It has been a big few days for team names. The new Seattle NHL team will be called the Kraken, which I find really cool in light of my sons’ interest in the pirate video game Sea of Thieves. After many years of pressure, the Washington Redskins are no more. They are, at least for now, the Washington Football Team—which means they need a name.

On a Slack channel, the Frederic Bastiat scholar David Hart suggested “Plunderers” as it’s basically a description of DC’s “industry” and as Bastiat suggested that so much government activity is basically just legal plunder. I had a laugh at this all-too-appropriate suggestion, and then the perfect name hit me:

The Washington Candlemakers.

One of Bastiat’s best and most insightful pieces is “The Candlemakers’ Petition.” It takes the form of a petition from the candlemakers (duh) to the French government complaining of cuththroat, ruinous competition from a foreign competitor that undersells them. Blocking imports from this nefarious foreign source would encourage the national labor and spread prosperity across the land through its first, second, and third-order effects.

The candlemakers, of course, would make a lot more money, and they would spread prosperity by spending it on nice things for themselves and their loved ones.

An increase in the demand for candles would lead to an increase in the demand for candle inputs, like string and tallow. Both of these industries would expand, and of course, the people in them would spend their increased earnings. Once again, this would increase prosperity for everyone.

Of course, the need for more animals to make more tallow would mean an increase in demand for land. As an added bonus, the increased supply of manure would make the French fields that much more fertile.

And who is their nefarious competitor? It’s the sun, which illuminates our days for free. With this memorable satirical example, Bastiat laid bare the absurdity of so many arguments for protection, subsidy (for the stadium the Candlemakers would call home, for example), and regulation. The name would be a perfect homage to the never-ending stream of privilege-seeking supplicants filling the lobbies of Washington and looking for new ways to pick the pockets of their competitors, their customers, and the taxpayers—to say nothing of the grotesque concentration of power and perversion of the very idea of the law that makes it all possible.

I, for one, would be willing to stimulate the economy by spending some of my hard-earned money on Washington Candlemakers merch. So…

Let’s go Candlemakers! Smoke ‘em!

Republished from Forbes

Art Carden

Art Carden

Art Carden is a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

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