There are few things as constant as the arrogance and insularity of a bureaucrat with a little power. And this week, thanks to the power-hungry and foolish European Union, we're seeing that kind of non-self-aware arrogance going at full blast as the European Commission is demanding that Ireland collect a whopping $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple. The commission insists Ireland had no sovereign right to charge Apple lower tax rates and now it wants Apple to pay up. Have a nice day.
Usually, international tax and trade disputes are about as boring as they sound. They rarely tap into any kind of popular or profound debate of the day. But not this time. Barely two months after much of the world's so-called economic and political experts whipped themselves into a hysterical collective moaning about Britain's vote to leave the European Union and smeared it as some kind of collective national racist lynch mob, that same EU has now provided the world with just about the clearest example of exactly why the U.K.'s voters made a very, very smart choice. Basically, the people of Britain voted to leave the EU because the EU and national freedom don't mix. And now the government and people of Ireland are learning that the hard way.
Thankfully, this puts us into a far more interesting and enduring debate. And that debate is not this ephemeral conflict over corporate tax rates between Ireland and the EU or even between the U.S. and the EU. Instead, this is really just the latest battle between those who really believe in economic and political freedom, and those who don't. It's really as simple as that. What makes this Irish Apple dispute so good is that it's serving as a kind of expert detector of which side a person or the politicians really are in the freedom vs. no freedom debate. For example, if your hear someone say: "I'm all for economic freedom but …" that's a pretty good sign that person is not really for economic freedom after all.