Yesterday I questioned Walter Block's claim that man isn't hard wired for free markets etc. and proposed that man is hard wired for freedom because free markets and property rights evolved right along with us. I claimed that man also is hard wired to use force to get what he wants when it's easier. I claimed that these two evolutionary forces are always in conflict in every individual and that libertarians are the best at suppressing the natural urge to use force against others and embracing the urge to work and cooperate in a system of voluntary exchange. Today in a speech contrasting the legacies of Rothbard and Greenspan, I read this quote from Rothbard:
"My own basic perspective on the history of man, and a fortiori on the history of the United States, is to place central importance on the great conflict which is eternally waged between Liberty and Power. . ."
Following up on that... If you think about government, government takes the concept of divide and conquer to a higher level. Every law, subsidy, executive order, mandate, regulation, etc. is designed to divide the people so government can conquer us. The attacks on the rich are just the most obvious, but all laws are designed that way. the tiny divisions between the two parties (which always appear to be on the side of the people when they're in the minority) are another gross example. But every action government takes is based on that. A small number number of people cheat others, so instead of catching and prosecuting them, let's pass regulations that limit cheating in advance. But this restrictions apply to everybody, not just cheaters. Let's put cameras on every street corner. It's to catch the criminals, and if you're not a criminal, you have nothing to hide. Let's put regulations on landlords to benefit tenants. It's all divide and conquer, and everybody loses including the people receiving the supposed benefits.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH:
The Obama administration is adamant about controlling the internet. This bill isn't about protecting web infrastructure like the military protects physical infrastructure. This is about seizing control of the internet. No. If the government wants to create a cyber-defense team, great. They'll suck compared to private cyber-security, but fine. But we can't allow them to seize control of the internet.
Three signs we're headed into the next phase of the depression.
TAX AND SPEND:
Obama refuses to count costs of Fannie and Freddie in budget. Cato calls to put them on budget then privatize them. Sooner instead of later.
All the reports of an imminent Greek bailout have been premature, and I think this one is premature too. The German and French people don't want to spend their tax dollars bailing out socialist Greeks, and the Greek government has cut very little. The Germans and French also know if they bailout Greece, then Spain, Italy and Portugal will demand similar, bigger bailouts. I think Merkel and Sarkozy will continue putting pressure on the Greek government to make significant cuts.
Look who has its hands in Greece's dirty accounting:
"And if those weren't bad enough, it has recently come to light that Greece, with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, entered into arrangements that allowed Greece to receive cash now and pay later. This amounted to an accounting sleight of hand, with the cash inflows recorded now and the future liabilities (cash outflows) lost in a fiscal fog."That figures.
The ban on short sales helps failing banks as the expense of investors. Where does government get this power?
Cato wants to end federal government involvement in education.
"The Founders gave the feds no education power for good reason. They knew that a national government couldn't effectively govern education or anything else that works best when tailored to the unique needs of individual people and communities.
History has borne their wisdom out. Since the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - of which No Child Left Behind is just a continuation - federal education expenditures have been like the Alps, but academic outcomes like the Bonneville Salt Flats. Since 1970, inflation-adjusted federal spending per-pupil has risen almost 190 percent, while academic performance by 17-year-olds - our schools' "final products" - has stagnated."That sounds unusually libertarian of them.
"What to do?
The solution is obvious: Get the feds out of education. They do little more than take money from taxpayers, shave off big sums for bureaucratic processing - Mr. Obama is calling for more than $1.8 billion to run the Education Department - and return the remainder with stultifying regulations attached."That's almost an exact copy of one of my favorite sayings that as far as I know, I created. Maybe I read it somewhere else first, but I sure don't remember that. They must be learning from my blog.
What a great analogy. Treat me like a dog. Animals get fantastic health care at a fraction of the cost of humans because of consumer choice.
John Stossel thinks people should decide what drugs they'll take, not government. Our society has become so uncivilized, that sounds like a novel idea.
"We'll hear from people like Bruce Tower. Tower has prostate cancer. He wanted to take a drug that showed promise against his cancer, but the Food and Drug Administration would not allow it. One bureaucrat told him the government was protecting him from dangerous side effects. Tower's outraged response was: "Side effects—who cares? Every treatment I've had I've suffered from side effects. If I'm terminal, it should be my option to endure any side effects."
Of course it should be his option. Why, in our "free" country, do Americans meekly stand aside and let the state limit our choices, even when we are dying?"That sounds like a death panel already. But we should be free to take whatever medicines we want all the time, not just when we're dying.
Obama's price controls on health insurance are reminiscent of Nixon's price controls on gasoline and will have the same consequences.
Nancy Pelosi claims to have the votes to pass the Senate's reconciled version of Obamacare. We all better hope she's bluffing or wrong. Wouldn't a presidential recall provision be wonderful about now? Obama aid says the same thing.
"It remains unclear whether Democrats have enough votes within their ranks for this strategy to work. At the same time, it is only "one option" the president is considering, a senior White House official said Sunday."Even the Washington Post doesn't believe it. Neither does this article.
Cato breaks down the issues and complexities of passing health care using reconciliation. Very informative.
In a new twist on the global warming fraud, Apple board members blast Gore and threaten to kick him off the board. Do it. Sooner instead of later.
Al Gore crawl out from under the bet to scare us about climate change.
"Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels."After the revelations of the last four months, this should be enough to get him convicted of fraud. He just might hang on too long and get burned along with Jones and Mann.
"Put the [IPCC report] errors together and it can be seen that one after another they tick off all the central, iconic issues of the entire global warming saga. Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heatwaves all becoming more frequent."All wrong, but Gore can't quit feeding at the trough.
Taliban bomb kills 11 civilians in Afghanistan. This is why mainstream Muslims should be our allies, but because we're dropping bombs on them too, they're not.
Cato makes the case that the British and Israel allow openly gay soldiers in their military with no loss of combat effectiveness a that the US is aware of gay soldiers but does nothing about it. I'd like to know if those other militaries experienced increased sex crimes or gay bashing because of it. The number of sex crimes in the US military against women is outrageous but almost never reported. What about crimes against gays in those other militaries? Of course don't ask don't tell should be judged on how it affects the effectiveness of the military. It should have nothing to do with politics.
This is a remarkably even-handed analysis of drone strikes, detainees and the war on terror from the usually knee-jerk pacifist Cato.
"The fight against al Qaeda is unlike any of our previous conflicts, but in broad strokes the Cold War is the best parallel we have. We face an ideologically motivated enemy that attempts to link localized grievances with global ones, and to destabilize governments in the Third World. The biggest difference is that our current enemy is significantly weaker than the Soviet Union. Al Qaeda has far fewer resources, limited military power, and it is losing credibility with the broader Muslim community because of its nihilist message."I swear Cato must be reading my blog. We should fight this war as an intelligence war, but much more limited than the Cold War because al Qaeda is so much weaker than the Soviet Union. But dropping bombs on targets is incompatible with that strategy. It turns the people we would be recruiting as allies into enemies.
Violation of human rights by Cuba and Venezuela.
Cato praises US legislation that shields internet providers from liability for content posted by others in wake of Italian trial that convicted Google execs for that reason. Unfortunately, for every positive piece of legislation like that, there are a thousand bad ones. And this one had to have the internet censorship provisions overturned.
It's no surprise to me that banks and brokerage houses gave lots more money to candidate Obama than McCain, but the more Cato and others point it out, the better. Corporations always favor bigger government, and Obama is the biggest government candidate in history. Besides which, I think the banks, Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner pulled off a coup to insure Obama won the White House. He was supposed to win handily, but after McCain picked Palin, McCain took the lead so the banksters orchestrated the crisis to insure their man won the White House. Obama was in on the fix, so he stayed pretty much silent on TARP while McCain cut his own throat. Obama rewarded tax cheat Geithner, "the only man who could do the job" of Treasury Secretary and Bernanke got a second term despite bringing our economy to near collapse.
Another reason even libertarians fear Ron Paul: denial.
"Despite Paul’s cheery statement in the CPAC speech that he thinks the country could be a lot better off a year from now, the Paulite vision, if taken seriously, is pretty goddamn scary. It’s not scary because he’s scary, or because his ideas in application are inherently scary, but because he predicts very scary results from decades of government mistakes, overreach, and hubris. So much inflation, so much fiscal mismanagement, so much debt, so much imperial overreach, will, Paul regularly predicts, lead to a total collapse in the value of the dollar—a prospect that will have very dire effects for nearly all of us, nationally and internationally."
"Despite his CPAC optimism, Paul told me earlier this week that “if we came to our senses,” avoiding collapse is “not difficult at all. You just allow a correction to occur, let bankruptcies and liquidation of debt happen, then we go back to work and produce and build a sound money and within a year or so everyone will be doing quite well.”"
"As Paul notes (and as I tried to explain to Glenn Beck’s audience the other week), this does not mean the end of our ability to meet the economic needs of humans on Earth through production and trade. Not the end of the world per se; still, the collapse of the reigning system of money by which we exchange our title to wealth will be ugly and harm anyone who has tried to save in anything denominated in dollars."
"Paul doesn’t just represent an opposition politician, he represents an absolute denial that “the system” makes any sense, has any justice, or is sustainable. It is this radical oppositionism that makes it so easy for standard issue pundits to just write his fans off as nuts and a bit scary."
"Newsweek started to get at this important aspect of the Paul phenomenon, noting that “tea-partiers, Paulites, etc.─seem less interested in finding practical solutions to Washington's endemic problems than in tearing down Washington itself. As the 2010 elections approach, this nihilistic feeling will only grow stronger.”"
"That’s because the radical solutions that the Paul worldview demands—an end to overseas military adventurism, ending government’s ability to manipulate paper currency, severe cuts in spending on all the myriad income-shifting promises Washington has made the past 80 years—don’t register as “practical solutions” to (for lack of a better word) the establishment. They seem like nihilism, though they are actually a belief in the American Constitution.
Any standard Republican or movement conservative really can’t take Paul seriously without massive cognitive dissonance. You mean, we really really have to obey the Constitution, we really can’t keep borrowing and inflating forever? Signs like the CPAC vote of a significant number of politically active youngsters believing in Ron Paul are indeed a sign of an apocalypse of sorts for the world that most politicians and pundits know. If Ron Paul is right, then everything they know is wrong."
We have the government we deserve:
"The problem is not the system. It's us—our "got mine" culture of entitlement. Politicians, never known for their bravery, precisely represent the people. Our leaders are paralyzed by the very thought of asking their constituents to make short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards. They cannot bring themselves to raise taxes on the middle class or cut Social Security and medical benefits for the elderly. They'd get clobbered at the polls. So any day of reckoning gets put off, and put off again, and the debts pile up."This is exactly right. If government cut spending, some politicians would lose their jobs. If government raised taxes, some politicians would lose their jobs. But we have to understand why that is - our schools, politicians and the media have brainwashed a majority of voters into thinking government can spend all the welfare-warfare money it wants with no consequences. It's not true. It's going to collapse. The only question is will we embrace freedom and quickly recover stronger than ever or will we continue demanding welfare-warfare and suffer a collapse like Rome. This essay is pretty good up until it starts talking about compromise.
It's funny to contrast Reason's praise of work-casual dress to Jeffrey Tucker's claim that casual dress is a bubble activity.
"The boom times led to great shabbiness. Workers have lived in wrinkles and jeans. The guy with the shirt with buttons is derided by others — "You going to a wedding or something?" We were all encouraged to look up to the slobwear of hotshot traders and stock jobbers and the others, who revel in the fact that they look like heck all of the time. Even the billionaires have looked like hobos (who themselves looked pretty great in the 1930s).
The idea behind shabby vogue was to give the impression that you don't really care what others think. You are the cutting edge, the smasher of idols and conventions, a person who doesn't give a flip about how society judges such artificial external superficialities as pant creases and ties and things. Your value is in your very person, the fact of your existence on this planet. In the boom times, the message of fashion is "It's all about me!"
Now all of this has come into question. How much value did this jeans-clad generation really add? How much of it evaporated? How much was illusion all along? Maybe all this hype about intellectual capital is poppycock, and what matters is what one actually does, and not only for oneself but for others, such as customers and bosses and fellow workers.
As Trevor Kaufman, the guru of "CEO Casual," told the an article written at the top of the boom, "A suit has become something you wear when you're asking for money.""in I think Tucker's right. Reason's claim that Steve Jobs makes great products because he doesn't have to waste time buttoning his shirt, while I'm sure it was intended to be satirical, is just silly. But in the electronics and software world, productivity counts, not dress. It's substance over style. But with unemployment skyrocketing, dressing for success is on the rise.
Priceless video from the nose of a San Fransisco street car as it rolls down the street in 1905 before the earthquake. What at first appears to be a chaotic mish-mash of street cars, cars, horse draw wagons, bicyclers and pedestrians ends up looking like an amazing interaction of self-interested individuals taking care of themselves as they go about their business. It looks like there could be a hundred accidents, yet none occur (though the video suspiciously stops as a horse cuts sharply in front of the street car). One of the keys is the road is wide enough for the traffic. But possibly the most amazing part is how these people all trust each other to make good decisions. They have an obvious trust of their fellow man that government has taken from us over the decades by transforming us into brainless dependents.
Another bacteria is resistant to all safe anti-biotics. We're turning minor germs into killer bugs just as our global economy is collapsing and global cooling threatens to create famine. We're so smart. How many horsemen are riding up so far? We have the self-righteousness of Bush, Obama, Democrats and Republicans, war, famine on the way and death will surely follow those three. If a new ice age starts in 2012, we can lots of doomsday prophesies come true at once.
Court blocks post office from using photo of sculpture on copyright grounds. Copyrighted sculpture? Since when?
Leftist calls for Democrats to expand the Supreme Court and pack it with leftists. They're running FDR's playbook. If Obama tried to do this, Republicans would filibuster everything, I bet.
New psychiatrists' bible turns everyday behavior into abnormal behavior. We all need a shrink now.