Exploring Liberty: Simple Rules for a Complex World
Domingo, Fevereiro 26, 2012
The Santa Claus Government:
.. I .. believe that government should be like Santa, but in another way: unseen, unheard and questionable as the whether it even exists or not. This is a model that the anarcho-curious can quite easily grab on to and help perpetuate. Surely it’s harder to convince the statists that their belief in mandatory government is false than it is to tell them that the government is actually secretly in charge of everything and everything good that the free market does is actually the government. Just like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, children can grow up believing in government and when they come of age we can reveal to them that everything they thought the government was doing is being handled by private individuals working in the market. The statists will be happy thinking that government controls everything and will not seek to ruin our lives because they’re scared that if someone doesn’t control everything bad things will happen.
The only downside to all this is that we will be forced to lie to our statist friends and family about what is really going on lest they become despondent and confused because they’ve just found out their whole world is a lie. You may have a friend that you really want to tell, but exposing them to the idea that they are actually responsible for their own actions and have been their entire life is a concept too shocking for most people. Just like a parent taking their hands off a kid’s bike when they’re learning to ride, it’s something that has to be done silently lest the rider lose confidence and crash. It’s up to you to keep your statist friends and family ignorant so they don’t freak out and actually try to govern us.
I No Longer Want To “Restore The Constitution”:
Consider that constitutions are pieces of paper that purport to give some arbitrary body of men the legitimacy to rob people at the point of a gun in order to supposedly secure “their liberties.” I don’t know about you, but armed robbery seems like a ridiculous way to secure someone’s “liberty”.
The Constitution codifies and legitimizes mass theft, war and the imposition of regulations upon commercial enterprise that ought not to exist in the first place. Constitutions, no matter how they are written, ALWAYS reduce individual liberty because they always seek to legitimize coercively funded State power and centralize it within some governing body.
Constitutions are not voluntary contracts that people agree to. If you happen to disagree with being robbed at the point of a gun, you have no recourse other than to die at the hands of an army of costumed men defending your property from them. Either you pay or you can resist and die. Why anyone would want to support a document that legitimizes this situation is beyond me.
Constitutions are documents created by powerful people who seek to acquire and legitimize more power unto themselves. Constitutions legitimize mass theft, extortion, war and other heinous crimes against humanity. Constitutions centralize power. Constitutions violate the non-aggression principle as they are imposed upon everyone regardless of their consent.
Libertarians and elections (and why it is necessary to get involved now)
Nearly all libertarians are political, but very few are in office and that’s where a lot of our problems start .. Many libertarians oppose operating within the current system, as it’s taking part in what they see as an immoral system, Now unless you have enough money to go out and start your own country in the middle of the desert or ocean away from the tax man, this is stupid and will do you no favours. In the western world if you want to be taken seriously, you have to play the politics game.
It would be a very sad thing if liberty were allowed to stagnate and turn into a cesspool of conspiracy theorists and survivalist nutjobs. It is imperative that libertarians, both prominent old ones and newcomers just discovering how terrible the government is, are vocal in their ideas and actively try to change the system for the better.
Of course it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that at least for the foreseeable future, we’re going to have to choose between the lesser of two evils, it doesn’t mean you can’t try to change things from within. Look at what Ron Paul is doing over in the US at the moment. He may not be winning but he’s got every other republican candidate talking about auditing the fed, real cuts to spending and maybe even questioning the sacred cow of military spending. Gary Johnson (arguably the more libertarian of the two) on the other hand is a possible election spoiler with his attempt to run for the Libertarian Party nomination splitting the libertarian vote and perhaps putting Obama back in for another 4 years. Thankfully in Australia, where we have preferential voting, we don’t have that problem, we can all vote for greater liberty whilst hedging our bets by preferencing the less tyrannical of the two major parties, whichever one happens to be that particular election.
The Myth of the Greater Good:
I—and most other people, I assume—grew up being taught that the end doesn’t justify the means. Basically, this is an injunction not to rationalize one’s behavior while using other people as mere means to one’s ends.
.. why is the principle that the end doesn’t justify the means absent from most discussion of government policy? Why are political measures routinely defended on the sole basis that they will bring about some good consequence that supposedly outweighs the costs (from the perspective of those who propose them)? This happens all the time ..
In all these cases and more, those who proffer the government policy seem to think that all they need do is identify a consequence as the “greater good” and the discussion is over. The end justifies the means ..
.. there are always costs to—and therefore victims of—any government action. Government is force, and “[c]oercive intervention . . . signifies per se that the individual or individuals coerced would not have done what they are now doing were it not for the intervention” (Murray Rothbard, Power and Market). ..
The proponents of such measures never tell us why the benefits they aim for are more important than the benefits other people will have to do without. But of course they couldn’t tell us: The benefits are incommensurable.
Furthermore, apart from the material loss, the victims’ progressive loss of freedom is real both in the immediate instance as well as with respect to the precedent set for future government action (the slippery slope). Intervention begets intervention as policy makers try to clean up the mess their previous actions created.
.. considerations apart from the end are highly relevant—such as the injunction never to use another person as a mere means. To ignore those considerations is to mock human dignity and countenance the slave principle.
That’s basic to how we ordinarily think about morality. But politicians and those who leech off their power flout this insight as a matter of course.
Principles of Law: Simplicity is Beautiful:
The U.S. Constitution is a model of simplicity. You can read the whole thing in under a half hour. And that is the secret of its success. It doesn’t need to outline the specifics of agricultural or trade policy. That’s Congress’ job.
The EU’s de facto constitution runs well over 200 pages. Where the U.S. Constitution paints with a broad brush, the European Union fills in every last detail. Most countries, including the U.S., are turning to this top-down model and rejecting the Constitution’s more bottom-up approach.
The reason is a shift in the intellectual climate. Negative rights are out of fashion now. Positive rights are all the rage. Negative rights are the kind that pervade the U.S. Constitution: don’t hit other people, don’t take their stuff, don’t break your contracts. Don’t, don’t don’t.
Positive rights do sound nice, but in practice they are profoundly illiberal. That is because positive rights often contradict each other. If I break a bone and my doctor has a legal right to be on vacation, one of us has to have our positive rights violated. That means someone has to decide. Someone with a lot of power. Life and death, in some cases. A government with the power to make those kinds of decisions is very powerful indeed. Positive rights systems require large, powerful governments. Rights violations are both frequent and arbitary.
Negative rights have no such conflicts. That’s a big reason why the U.S. Constitution is so simply constructed .. The majority of the document is about placing strict limits on those powers. When the people are left alone, they largely prosper. Let them build from the bottom up. The view from the top on down is too distant to catch the necessary details.
In the law, as in so many other areas, simplicity is beautiful.
Sábado, Fevereiro 25, 2012
Romney’s “Free Enterprise System”: As Statist as Stalin’s Five-Year Plan:
.. it was deliberate collusion between the state and big business, especially in the 1850s and the Gilded Age, to set up a centralized corporate economy. There simply wouldn’t have been an economy dominated by large manufacturers and wholesalers serving a single national market, were it not for things like railroad land grants and other subsidies to make long-distance distribution artificially cheap, and the pooling or exchange of industrial patents to cartelize markets. Not to mention gunboat diplomacy to make sure overbuilt U.S. industry could operate at capacity.
This was a top-down revolution, in which the state was very much involved ..
The managerial/professional New Class of corporate managers was first recruited from industrial engineers after the Civil War, and around the turn of the 20th century the new corporate-state alliance gave rise to other centralized institutions (bureaucratic charitable foundations, universities, large urban public school systems) that served as auxiliaries to the corporate state either by processing human resources for it, or by mitigating the human casualties of corporate rule (e.g., managing the underclass through the welfare and prison systems).
And now, after 150 years of this .. it’s in the process of being dismantled by human action. Despite the system’s attempts to indoctrinate us to the contrary, we are not powerless. We’re in the midst of another Great Uprising .. And unlike the last time, this time the technological revolution has put the advantage on the side of the Uprising. This time it’s us building the revolution, and the corporate state finds itself fighting a desperate rearguard action to stop us.
Why Is There a Euro Crisis? por Philipp Bagus:
Today's banks are not free-market institutions. They live in a symbiosis with governments that they are financing. The banks' survival depends on privileges and government interventions.
Europeans politicians want the euro to survive. For it to do so, they think that they have to rescue irresponsible governments with public money. Banks are the main creditors of such governments. Thus, bank stocks soared.
The spending mess goes in a circle. Banks have financed irresponsible governments such as that of Greece. Now the Greek government partially defaults. As a consequence, European governments rescue banks by bailing them out directly or by giving loans to the Greek government. Banks can then continue to finance governments ..
In order to support the banking system during the crisis and to limit the number of bankruptcies, central banks had to keep interest rates at historically low levels. They thereby facilitated the accumulation of government debts. Consequently, the pressure on central banks to print the governments' way out of their debt crisis is building up.
Instead of allowing the market to react to credit expansion, governments increased their debts and sacrificed the value of the currencies we are using. The remedy to the distortions caused by credit expansion would have been the fast liquidation of malinvestments, banks, and governments. As the innocent users of the currencies are paying for the bailouts, it is difficult not to be a liquidationist.
Na continuação de The Evolution of Liberalism,
Douglas Rasmussen on the Morality and Role of Capitalism
Douglas Rasmussen on the Morality and Role of Capitalism
Was the Northeast Passage first navigated in 1660?:
David Melgueiro, a Portuguese navigator, might have been the first to navigate the Northeast Passage (known now as Northern Sea Route), between 1660 and 1662, more than 200 years before Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld, who did it in 1878.Sobretudo interessante...
White Rose Society:
The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler's regime.Arquivo dos panfletos
The six most recognized members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo and beheaded in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled by Helmuth James Graf von Moltke out of Germany through Scandinavia to the United Kingdom, and in July 1943 copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled "The Manifesto of the Students of Munich."
Corporatism Is Not the Free Market:
The managerial state has assumed responsibility for looking after everything from the incomes of the middle class to the profitability of large corporations to industrial advancement. This system . . . is . . . an economic order that harks back to Bismarck in the late nineteenth century and Mussolini in the twentieth: corporatism.
In various ways, corporatism chokes off the dynamism that makes for engaging work, faster economic growth, and greater opportunity and inclusiveness. It maintains lethargic, wasteful, unproductive, and well-connected firms at the expense of dynamic newcomers and outsiders, and favors declared goals such as industrialization, economic development, and national greatness over individuals’ economic freedom and responsibility. Today, airlines, auto manufacturers, agricultural companies, media, investment banks, hedge funds, and much more has [sic] at some point been deemed too important to weather the free market on its own, receiving a helping hand from government in the name of the “public good.”
.. dysfunctional corporations that survive despite their gross inability to serve their customers; sclerotic economies with slow output growth, a dearth of engaging work, scant opportunities for young people; governments bankrupted by their efforts to palliate these problems; and increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of those connected enough to be on the right side of the corporatist deal.
Nazi Exceptionalism; or, How Godwin’s Law Gets It Backward:
Godwin’s Law, by treating Nazi Germany as some sort of unique, metaphysical evil in human history, essentially nullifies its practical lessons for people in other times and places. Although Nazi precedents are now used as symbols of ultimate evil — just look at Darth Vader — they didn’t seem anywhere so dramatic to the German people at the time they were happening.
Nazi repression came about incrementally, in the background, as people lived their ordinary daily lives. Each new upward ratcheting of the security state was justified as something not all that novel or unprecedented, just a common sense measure undertaken from practical concerns for “security.”
The tenor of CNN’s coverage of Russia’s “aggression” against Georgia in August 2008 was hardly different from that of the German press in response to Poland’s alleged aggression against ethnic Germans in Danzig in 1939. And if the United States attacks Iran based on a recycled version of the Iraqi WMD lies of nine years ago, you can be absolutely certain the major news networks will dust off the red-white-and-blue bunting and the Wall of Heroes, reporting America’s “defensive” action against the “Iranian threat” as straight news. After all, things like the Diem overthrow and the Tonkin Gulf Incident have nothing at all in common with the SS black flag operation in Danzig.
People are people, and the lessons of history apply to all of us. If you kid yourself otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.
Anticommons is Too Common:
Rent-control creates what the legal scholar Michael Heller describes as a “tragedy of the anticommons.”* This tragedy arises when too many people can veto decisions on moving property from one use to another. Without rent-control, authority to decide the use of an apartment rests exclusively with that apartment’s owner, subject only to the terms of the lease he or she signs with tenants. With rent-control, however, this authority is shared with tenants (beyond the terms of their lease) and with the rent-control board. The need to get so many people to unanimously approve changes in how property is used stifles the market’s capacity to move property from lower-valued to higher-valued uses.
Heller explained that the “tragedy of the anticommons” significantly slowed economic development in post-Soviet Russia. How sad that housing in modern-day New York City suffers from the very same government-created tragedy.
No seguimento de Corporativismo e a bolha imobiliária, Local Governments Also To Blame For Housing Crisis:
Most narratives of the financial-mortgage-housing crisis tend to focus on what are essentially demand-side factors. Whether it is federal mortgage subsidies, like Fannie Mae, or reduced interest rates via loose monetary policy, these policies increase the demand for housing by allowing, and encouraging, more buyers to enter the market. As I’ve written in more detail elsewhere, this narrative ignores the supply side of the market.
So who has the most influence over housing supply? Local governments. A recent article in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Urban Economics provides empirical evidence ”that more restrictive residential land use regulations and geographic land constraints are linked to larger booms and busts in housing prices. The natural and man-made constraints also amplify price responses to the subprime mortgage credit expansion during the decade, leading to greater price increases in the boom and subsequently bigger losses.” ..
The lesson here is that if we want to avoid future property booms and busts, with their devastating impact on financial institutions, we also need to reform our local land use controls to allow for the more rapid response of supply to changes in demand. Again, it wasn’t a lack of regulation that caused the crisis, but too much regulation, particularly of the land/housing market.
No seguimento de Intervenção de AMN (10)
Queixam-se da governamentalização da RTP e querem manter 2 canais...
Queixam-se da governamentalização da RTP e querem manter 2 canais...
Corrupted Capitalism and the Housing Crisis:
Capitalism is (or was) an “economic system in which capital was privately owned and traded; owners of capital got to judge how best to use it, and could draw on the foresight and creative ideas of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers.” The main dynamic of the market system is the relationship between the producer and the consumer. Corporatism, by contrast, brings to the fore the role of the “managerial state,” in which the government takes on an increasingly larger task in telling producers what they should produce and consumers what they should consume. This can be done in many ways, some more implicit and others more aggressive. Corporatism is distinct from socialism, because under corporatism the means of production (capital) remain in private hands. But the private firms are not simply free to respond to market signals. Instead, under a corporatist structure, the government directs firms in the ways in which they should employ their resources, sometimes through moral suasion, but more often through regulation, tax policy, and legal directives. Fascism, which uses coercion, bullying, and demagoguery to control private firms, is an extreme form of corporatism.
The consequences of contemporary corporatism can be seen most strikingly in the recent growth and collapse of the housing market bubble. It would be hard to overstate the role of the government in fostering the conditions leading up to the collapse. For decades politicians have been extolling the ideal of home ownership as constitutive of the “American dream,” in speeches and in concrete policy ..
.. various administrations and legislative sessions have pursued domestic policies that intend to make good on the American promise of homeownership for all. Whether or not homeownership is something that is good for everyone was never seriously questioned; the only question was the way in which the government could persuade, incentivize, and even coerce individuals and institutions to become home mortgage borrowers and lenders. The phrase “ownership society” takes on a much more tragic connotation when uttered on this side of the millions of foreclosures that occurred during this crisis.
Sexta-feira, Fevereiro 24, 2012
A Modest Proposal To Boost US GDP By $852 Quadrillion: Build The Imperial Death Star:
As such we propose that the US, already the world's most expansionist and aggressive foreign policy power .. should one up itself and build the true symbol of its contemporary socio-historical status: the Imperial Death Star. Yet the real benefit in addition to blowing up various alien world that refuse to bail out the world's central bank confederacy, is that the cost of construction of said Keynesian masterpiece, would be an epic $852 quadrillion, which in turn would go straight to US GDP.
Terça-feira, Fevereiro 14, 2012
EU Threatens Tiny Switzerland Over Low Taxes:
Despite not being a member of the European Union, Switzerland is under intense pressure from Brussels to raise taxes as companies flee high-tax EU welfare states in favor of more business-friendly Swiss cantons. And if the nation refuses to bow down soon, so-called “eurocrats” are threatening retaliation.
The Swiss model works so well that even as the EU and its single euro currency face a crisis of monumental proportions and possible economic implosion, Switzerland’s economy is doing just fine. Its GDP per capita is about double the EU’s, while its unemployment rate is around half.
The Swiss government also consistently posts budget surpluses as its bloated EU neighbors drown in debt and seek bailouts. In fact, Switzerland is even helping to fund the handouts for profligate European regimes. And its economy is the most competitive in the world, according to the global competitiveness index.
With a heavily armed population of less than eight million, Switzerland has maintained its sovereignty and independence through two world wars raging on all sides and the more recent erection of the EU, which now completely surrounds the tiny alpine nation. With a decentralized system of government, the Swiss have also been able to largely preserve their liberty despite constant European pressure.
Incredibly, EU bosses claim to consider low corporate tax rates a form of subsidies. And if the Swiss refuse to comply with European demands, the punishment could be devastating — especially because Switzerland depends so heavily on international trade.
Of course, the EU is not the only ailing powerhouse to bully the Swiss. Last year, the U.S. government was terrorizing the nation about its banking and tax laws, too. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — which has essentially become a “cartel” for bloated welfare regimes — also consistently targets Switzerland’s economic liberty.
Some critics said the EU was using Switzerland as a scapegoat for its own self-made economic crisis. Others lambasted European leaders for terrorizing the tiny country instead of fixing the EU’s own problems — possibly by using the Swiss model that seems to work so well for Switzerland.
The Noble Savage:
Human beings have not, can not, and never will live in harmony with nature. Our prosperity and health depend on technology driven by energy. We exercise our intelligence to command nature, and were admonished by Francis Bacon to exercise our dominion with “sound reason and true religion.” When we are told that our primary energy source, oil, is “making us sick,” or that we are “addicted” to oil, these are only the latest examples of otherwise rational persons descending into gibberish after swooning to the lure of the Noble Savage. This ignorant exultation of the primitive can only lead us back to the Stone Age.
United States military deployments (Wikipedia):
The U.S. military "is in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world."Ron Paul says U.S. has military personnel in 130 nations and 900 overseas bases:
The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with more than 205,118 of its 1,425,113 active-duty personnel serving outside the United States and its territories. Most of these overseas personnel are deployed in combat zones in the Middle east, as part of the War on Terror. Many of the remainder are located at installations activated during the Cold War, by which the US government sought to challenge the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II.
During the Sept. 12, 2011, Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas -- a staunch advocate of limited government and a more modest military footprint -- offered a surprising statistic about the reach of the U.S. armed forces.
"We're under great threat, because we occupy so many countries," Paul said. "We're in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We're going broke. The purpose of al-Qaida was to attack us, invite us over there, where they can target us. And they have been doing it. They have more attacks against us and the American interests per month than occurred in all the years before 9/11, but we're there occupying their land. And if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we're kidding ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say, China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?"
Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law.
Rising Black Social Pathology por Walter Williams:
Many black students are alien and hostile to the education process. They are permitted to make education impossible for other students. Their misbehavior and violence require schools to divert resources away from education and spend them on security, such as hiring school police and purchasing metal detectors, all of which does little for school safety. The violent school climate discourages the highest-skilled teachers from teaching at schools where they risk assaults, intimidation and theft. At a bare minimum, part of the solution to school violence and poor academic performance should be the expulsion of students who engage in assaults and disrespectful behavior. You say, "What's to be done for these students?" Even if we don't know what to do with them, how compassionate and intelligent is it to permit them to make education impossible for other students?
The fact that black parents, teachers, politicians and civil rights organizations tolerate and make excuses for the despicable and destructive behavior of so many young blacks is a gross betrayal of the memory, struggle, sacrifice, sweat and blood of our ancestors. The sorry and tragic state of black education is not going to be turned around until there's a change in what's acceptable and unacceptable behavior by young people. That change has to come from within the black community.
Culpar al capitalismo del corporativismo, por Edmund S. Phelps y Ammous:
Ahora el sistema capitalista se ha corrompido. El Estado gestor ha asumido el cometido de ocuparse de todo: desde los ingresos de la clase media hasta los beneficios de las grandes empresas y el progreso industrial. Sin embargo, el sistema no es capitalismo, sino un orden económico que se remonta a Bismark, al final del siglo XIX, y a Mussolini, en el siglo XX: el corporativismo.
En sus diversas formas, el corporativismo ahoga el dinamismo que contribuye al trabajo atractivo, un crecimiento económico más rápido, mayores oportunidades y menos exclusión. Mantiene empresas letárgicas, despilfarradoras, improductivas y bien relacionadas con el poder a expensas de emprendedores dinámicos y ajenos a él y prefiere objetivos declarados, como, por ejemplo, la industrialización, el desarrollo económico y la grandeza nacional, a la libertad económica y la responsabilidad de los individuos. En la actualidad, se ha llegado a considerar que compañías aéreas, fabricantes de automóviles, empresas agrarias, medios de comunicación, bancos de inversión, fondos de cobertura y muchos más eran demasiado importantes para afrontar por sí solos el mercado libre, por lo que han recibido ayudas del Estado en nombre del “bien público”.
Los costos del corporativismo resultan aparentes a nuestro alrededor: empresas disfuncionales que sobreviven pese a su flagrante incapacidad para servir a sus clientes; economías escleróticas con un lento aumento de la producción; escasez de trabajo atractivo y de oportunidades para los jóvenes; Estados en quiebra por las medidas adoptadas para paliar esos problemas y una concentración en aumento de la riqueza en manos de quienes están lo suficientemente bien relacionados para beneficiarse del pacto corporativista.
La legitimidad del corporativismo se está erosionando, junto con la salud fiscal de los gobiernos que han contado con él. Si los políticos no pueden revocarlo, el corporativismo se destruirá a sí mismo y quedará enterrado bajo las deudas y las suspensiones de pagos y de los desacreditados escombros corporativistas podría resurgir un sistema capitalista. Entonces “capitalismo” tendría de nuevo su significado verdadero, en lugar del que le han atribuido los corporativistas que procuraban ocultarse tras él y los socialistas que deseaban denigrarlo.
Small Government, Big Military Incompatible:
I maintain small-government conservatism and big-government military spending are inherently contradictory. Simply put, maintaining and expanding a substantial U.S. military presence throughout the world for 60 years has proved incredibly expensive and has inevitably “grown” the size of government. Major wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq (not to mention extensive bombing and missile attacks in Yugoslavia and Libya) have all have been associated with significant increases in government spending and an unsustainable national debt.
It’s time for fiscal conservatives to face reality: Our interventionist foreign policy has contributed to our near-bankruptcy. We have a $16 trillion national debt, tax revenue that covers only 60 percent of current expenditures, and an inability to pay our bills without massive borrowing or Federal Reserve money inflation.
Bluntly put, our federal government is broken. Can and should we fund legitimate domestic defense? Of course. But should we continue to pay for so-called “wars of opportunity,” the subsidization of our prosperous European allies, or nation building in Africa or in the Middle East? No way.
Abortion, Left and Right:
I hear nobody saying, "Wait a minute. Government should not be in the business of either financing or forbidding abortions. If you want an abortion, that's your absolute right -- and your absolute responsibility to find a way to pay for it." In fact, this is true of all medical care, or any commodity, product or service that one wants or needs. Your need or desire for it does not impose an obligation on a stranger to pay for it!
Leftists claim to be "pro-choice" but they couldn't care less about the choice of people who disagree with them to act on their own judgment or consciences. This tells you all you need to know about the tyranny underlying "liberalism" as we know it. Similarly, social conservatives are just as happy to use the force of government to impose their will on others. They don't want consenting adults of the same sex to enter into contractual agreements, and they don't want women who choose to not become mothers to exercise their individual right not to do so.
.. Religious conservatives .. They're offended by the fact that people are having abortions. So what? .. Don't have one yourself. Everywhere you turn, there's a social conservative offended by something.
Liberals are no better. They're not offended by the same things as social conservatives. They're deeply offended by anyone being successful, especially if that means making a lot of money (which it usually does). They're deeply offended by imbalances or inequities of any kind, even though differences in strength and ability are an inherent part of human nature. They're at war with reality, and they expect government to turn the natural into what they consider the ideal-- an "ideal" that every time it's practiced or attempted (as in socialism, fascism or Communism) turns into an unspeakable nightmare for millions.
Onde estão os liberais?:
Eu faço parte da geração que foi fodida por consecutivas políticas socialistas e que se viu forçada a emigrar. São estes mesmos que se vêem agora na eminência de não poder voltar sem que o facto de trazer mais de 48 mil euros para o país permita a um qualquer burocrata invadir a sua privacidade. Leram bem: qualquer emigrante (por definição alguém que não tem declarações fiscais que provem a sua riqueza) que regresse a Portugal com mais de 48 mil euros na conta bancária poderá ser constituido arguido e vêr a sua privacidade invadida.
É a cedência ao socialismo mais radical que, por incrível que pareça, só poderá ser parado pela constituição de Abril.
Segunda-feira, Fevereiro 13, 2012
Words vs. Subsidies:
I simply dislike preachy people trying to save others from evils du jour. But part of my reaction springs from the contradiction between Ms. Obama’s preaching and Mr. Obama’s legislating.
Obamacare severely and artificially restricts insurers from applying exclusions based on a patient’s pre-existing conditions. People choosing unhealthy diets, therefore, no longer have to worry that their choices will reduce their access to health insurance. This legislation thus removes an incentive – one supplied by market forces – for people to make healthier dietary choices.
So on one hand we have Ms. Obama using smiles and words to encourage Americans to eat healthier foods, while Mr. Obama uses other people’s money to pay Americans to ignore his wife’s advice.
Wanna guess which of these Obamas will have the greatest effect on people’s actual diets?
Unanimidad contra Garzón por 'laminar el derecho de defensa':
- Las piruetas jurídicas que han llevado a Garzón al banquillo
- La prescripción del delito de cohecho salva a Garzón de un tercer juicio
- Garzón planea encabezar un nuevo partido para aglutinar a los 'indignados'
En una sentencia demoledora, el Tribunal Supremo ha condenado este jueves a once años de inhabilitación al juez Baltasar Garzón por un delito de prevaricación al interceptar las conversaciones entre los principales imputados en la trama Gürtel y sus letrados en los locutorios carcelarios de Soto del Real (Madrid). La prevaricación, consistente en dictar resoluciones injustas a sabiendas de que lo son, es el delito más grave que se le puede atribuir a un miembro del Poder Judicial.
La Sala, compuesta por siete magistrados, entiende de forma unánime que Garzón "restringió de forma arbitraria" el derecho de defensa –un derecho fundamental reconocido por la Constitución ..
En términos muy duros, la sentencia señala que Garzón colocó "a todo el proceso penal español, teóricamente dotado de las garantías constitucionales y legales propias de un Estado de Derecho contemporáneo, al nivel de los sistemas políticos y procesales característicos de tiempos ya superados, (...) admitiendo prácticas que en los tiempos actuales solo se encuentran en los regímenes totalitarios en los que todo se considera válido para obtener la información que interesa, o se supone que interesa, al Estado".BÓNUS:
El Tribunal Supremo, que afirma que no hay en sus anales un precedente como éste donde un juez ordenara grabar las conversaciones entre imputados en una trama de corrupción y todas las defensas, añade que con esta medida también se pudo afectar a otros derechos como el de la intimidad, el secreto profesional o el derecho a no declarar ante un juez.
- Las piruetas jurídicas que han llevado a Garzón al banquillo
- La prescripción del delito de cohecho salva a Garzón de un tercer juicio
- Garzón planea encabezar un nuevo partido para aglutinar a los 'indignados'
Domingo, Fevereiro 12, 2012
What the classical economists knew and the moderns have forgotten:
Chimera 1: prosperity through stealing and spending:
Chimera 1: prosperity through stealing and spending:
The message is clear: if we spend money, we will end up getting wealthier. That’s nice and simple then. What are we waiting for? If £39bn of spending is going to create more than £39bn of wealth, we should not be shy! Why not spend £339bn? In fact, choose any number!
It is remarkable that an educated man like Hunt cannot see that if we extract £39bn in taxes from the private sector and give it to the Olympic development people to spend, we have just moved money that people would otherwise have spent on goods and services they actually want, and directed it instead to the government’s preferred expenditure? The net gain is zero, at best.
Say pointed out that if no extractions were made from the private sector, the public labour force would soon get redeployed. If the tax collector did not collect, no-one would struggle to find better ways to spend their money!
We produce in order to support our own demand for goods and services. We can’t produce just anything. We must be focused on producing things our fellow citizens want. This happens naturally in an unhampered market economy. If we consume without producing, we will eventually burn through all our capital and have no ability to demand anything further in the future. Spending alone is never the solution. The key is prior production.Chimera 2: prosperity through printing and spending:
I have spent 22 years in devotion to satisfying consumer demands, and thus creating wealth. It is done as follows:
This takes place over time. More money units may create the illusion of wealth, leading to temporary euphoria, but when reality bites, you rapidly go back to square one, perhaps having made some unwise decisions along the way.
- As an entrepreneur you look for the most urgent needs of consumers.
- You work out how to fulfill those needs.
- Painfully, at the beginning of your enterprise, sometimes to pay more to your staff, you go without wages yourself and refrain from consumption — in short you save.
- Thus you deploy your savings or borrow the savings of others to take command over the various factors of production — land, labour and capital — and mix them into better and more capital-intensive combinations to provide the goods and services that the customers want.
- More capital deployed in the right intensity creates more productivity, allowing cheaper goods and services.
Attempts to prop up GDP by printing more money units will not increase real wealth, but they will cause further distortions to an economy that’s already out-of-sync with consumer preferences, and stoke new asset bubbles.
No seguimento de Che Guevara: Anatomia de um Mito,
13 reasons you should throw away your Che Guevara T-shirt:
10 Che Guevara quotes the left would rather not talk about:
13 reasons you should throw away your Che Guevara T-shirt:
Che’s famous motorcycle tour of South American is mostly myth. The motorcycle broke down early in the trek and it was completed with other means of transportation.
Che was nicknamed Chancho (Pig) by his schoolmates because he rarely bathed.
Che was a brutal murderer. He trained and commanded firing squads that executed thousands of men, women and children deemed enemies by the new Castro regime. He once put a bullet in the head of a fellow guerrilla he suspected of disloyalty.
Che was not a fan of our First Amendment. He opposed freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and protest. Can you say North Korea?
All those college kids wearing their Che T-shirts might be surprised to learn that he supported the repression of rock ‘n roll in Cuba.
Homosexuals did not fare well in Che’s Cuba. He mounted a campaign to have them jailed.
.. Far from bravely facing a martyr’s death, Che’s captors reported that he begged for his life saying, “Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead.”
3. “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary … These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution!”
7. Che wanted the result of the Cuban missile crisis to be an atomic war. “What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.”
8. “In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.”
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs:
America was founded on an ideology—the right of each individual to his own life, his own liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness. As philosopher Leonard Peikoff writes: “America is the only country in history created not by meaningless warfare or geographic accident, but deliberately, on the basis of certain fundamental ideas.” The Founding Fathers sought to establish a form of government that, unlike monarchy, theocracy, and the mob rule of democracy, recognizes and protects individual rights.Individual Rights and Government Wrongs: Life:
Rights are a moral sanction to freedom of action; that is, rights protect your freedom to live your life as you judge best, as long as you respect the mutual rights of others. As we will later see, rights are not a claim to an object, but the freedom to take the actions necessary to produce or earn that object. For example, you have the right to build a house, but you do not have a right to have shelter given to you. You have a right to earn the money to buy a car; you do not have a right to have transportation provided for you. What can stop you from producing or earning the values that you want? What can prevent you from acting as you judge best for your life?Individual Rights and Government Wrongs: Liberty:
Only physical force, or the threat of force, can prevent you from acting as you choose .. This boundary on the initiation of force includes government, no matter how “noble” the cause, no matter the intentions, no matter the “public interest” ..
Liberty means the freedom to choose and pursue your values without interference or coercion from others, including government. It means the freedom to associate with others as you choose. It means the freedom to trade and contract as you judge best. Liberty recognizes your moral right to act on your own judgment, as long as you respect the mutual rights of others. This is true whether the choices involve the type of toothpaste that you will use, your occupation, your wages, or any other issue. Without the freedom to make these choices, you cannot pursue your goals and values. Without the freedom to choose your profession, your spouse, your hobbies, and a myriad of other values, large and small, you cannot pursue your happiness.http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/books-non-fiction/6725-individual-rights-and-government-wrongs-property.html:
We have already seen many ways in which government regulations and controls prevent you from living according to your own judgment. Government regulations and controls also prevent you from using your property as you choose. Whether those regulations take the form of zoning, restrictions on drilling for oil, antitrust statutes, or any other government control on the use of your property, you may use your property only with the permission of government officials, rather than by right.
If you cannot use your property, such as land, a factory, or money, as you choose, your property and your life become pawns for the desires and dictates of others.
The State of the American Reich:
.. competition that is approved by the government married to an expanded welfare state, with the whole “social structure” of wider “safety nets” and subsidized skills education in technical schools; and more government-approved competition subsidized or favored by the government. In a word: fascism.
Discipline. Marching in step. Martial virtues. Service to the state. The abjuration of private interest to better follow orders and to tailor one’s life and mind to serve state goals. Superficially “Spartan,” but essentially collectivist. Specifically fascist. Too reminiscent of the requisite conditions Hitler and Mussolini imposed on Germans and Italians to create and sustain their totalitarian states.
Is there not a single rational, or even semi-rational person left in this country who does not understand that Obama's policies are consciously designed to extort the maximum amount of sacrifice from Americans, more than Kennedy could ever allow himself to imagine?Good or Bad Economy? Win-Win for Obama:
Obama claims he wants the economy to improve. He knows he has to claim to want this. And it’s not all bad for him, if it does. If the economy does improve, and people are making more money, then this gives him even more excuse to raise taxes and expand government power with even more agencies and programs. The more wealth there is, the more wealth there is to redistribute. The worse the economy is, the more he can claim to justify having more people dependent on government programs.
The more the economy does poorly, the more it gives liberals and socialists like Obama a chance to say, "The reckless rich have spent the wealth of the people." They act as if rich people who make money from customers who voluntarily give their money up are somehow taking it by force. This is what liberals like Obama imply during both good times, and bad.
Sexta-feira, Fevereiro 10, 2012
Crónicas de um desfecho anunciado.:
Foi ontem aprovada na especialidade a lei da criminalização do “enriquecimento ilícito”, com os votos a favor da curiosa coligação de PSD, CDS, BE e PCP. Está assim dado mais um passo determinante para o vingar de uma lei que, a não ser parada pelas instituições que temos no actual quadro constitucional (mantendo-se a esperança que venha ainda a ser visada por uma fiscalização de constitucionalidade e que o Tribunal Constitucional queira dar mostras que ainda existe e que ainda tem um mínimo de relevância), se vai tornar num precedente jurídico extremamente perigoso e de consequências imprevisíveis no panorama legal português.
Sim, leu bem: bastará um cidadão ser suspeito de ter um património superior em “cem salários mínimos” (euro48 500) ao que as suas declarações fiscais avalizariam, para poder vir a ser objeto de uma investigação criminal; e poder ser objeto das maiores devassas legais à sua privacidade. E não, não precisa para isso de ter alguma vez exercido funções públicas.Agora peçam desculpa:
25 948 foi o número de pessoas que assinou a petição do Correio da Manhã para a criminalização do enriquecimento ilícito dos titulares de cargos públicos. Na altura, um dos argumento usados para garantir que não haveria qualquer ameaça à liberdade foi o de que a lei só se aplicaria a titulares de cargos públicos. Ora, tendo em conta que a lei vai ser aplicada a toda a gente, temo que estas pessoas terão sido enganadas. Aguarda-se um pedido de desculpa do Correio da Manhã e de quem deu a cara por esta petição. Este resultado era apenas uma questão de tempo.
Quotation of the Day…:
The very process of trade creates wealth as goods move from persons who value them less to persons who value them more. Both parties in a voluntary exchange become better off. Furthermore, the opportunity to trade allows specialization and lowers the cost of inventing and innovating which further increases the wealth of society. One does not have to have a surplus to engage in trade because one could move from below to above subsistence simply by engaging in the wealth creating process of trading. If trade is possible, fewer resources would be required to maintain subsistence than in its absence. Ever since paleolithic times man has been improving his economic lot by trade. The gains from trade must be the cornerstone of serious study of man’s economic past.
Futility of class warfare:
For a country that is built on private property, risk-taking entrepreneurship and respect for success, America sure produces a lot of envious people these days. Our expensive welfare state is fueled by the destructive notion that "greed" is when you want to keep your own money but "compassion" is when you want to take somebody else's.
Imagine that. The same government that can't manage its own fiscal affairs, that squanders billions of other people's dollars in subsidies for corporations and foreign regimes, that wasted trillions in a counterproductive war on poverty, that blew another couple trillion on silly "stimulus" schemes to fix a financial crisis it largely caused, should preside over "a national ownership strategy" for the American people. No thanks. We're not idiots (I hope).
For starters, our "leaders" in the federal government have a knack for refusing to take responsibility for their own handiwork .. They propose A, and when it fails, they propose B to deal with the problems that A created. B, of course, is yet another crackpot scheme, and when it flops, they propose intervention C, and on and on. Enough already.
A society can either create wealth or plunder and redistribute it .. Which side are you on?
Iran Worried U.S. Might Be Building 8,500th Nuclear Weapon:
TEHRAN—Amidst mounting geopolitical tensions, Iranian officials said Wednesday they were increasingly concerned about the United States of America's uranium-enrichment program, fearing the Western nation may soon be capable of producing its 8,500th nuclear weapon. "Our intelligence estimates indicate that, if it is allowed to progress with its aggressive nuclear program, the United States may soon possess its 8,500th atomic weapon capable of reaching Iran," said Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, adding that Americans have the fuel, the facilities, and "everything they need" to manufacture even more weapons-grade fissile material. "Obviously, the prospect of this happening is very distressing to Iran and all countries like Iran. After all, the United States is a volatile nation that's proven it needs little provocation to attack anyone anywhere in the world whom it perceives to be a threat." Iranian intelligence experts also warned of the very real, and very frightening, possibility of the U.S. providing weapons and resources to a rogue third-party state such as Israel.
Ben Bernanke: Supreme Socialist:
You thought socialism was dead, other than in miserable countries such as North Korea and Cuba? Think again. It’s alive and well at the Federal Reserve, and we and the world are paying a price for it.
Our central bank tries to manipulate our economy in ways befitting a Soviet commissar. Take interest rates. Fixing the price of money is a form of price control, pure and simple .. Like a good central planner, Bernanke is using his policies to subsidize the still rapidly growing, gargantuan debt of the U.S. government ..
All of this means the government is picking winners and losers. And in this case the losers are savers .. Another category that’s hurting is small business ..
Ben and his apologists say that one of the Fed’s mandates is to bring about full employment; therefore, it must engage in these statist actions. History, however, shows us that the best thing a central bank can do to create prosperity is to keep the currency stable in value. Whenever the dollar veers in value, as it’s done chronically since the link to gold was severed 40 years ago, market distortions result and capital is misallocated.
The Fed’s socialist tendencies, as one would expect, ride roughshod over property rights. If you sold a bottle of wine for five loaves of bread and Washington came along and confiscated two of those loaves, that would be “takings.” The Constitution guarantees that the government would have to pay you for that seized property. Yet the Federal Reserve routinely confiscates people’s property when it undermines the value of the dollar.
Quinta-feira, Fevereiro 09, 2012
The EU shows the risks of selective intervention:
But perhaps it would have been better to have stopped there with the single market, and gone on paying those billion-euro costs, than to move on to the next stage of currency unification, ultimately facing today's trillion-euro costs of Eurozone bailouts and possible collapse.
Why didn't they stop there? One can think about it along the lines of what Oliver Williamson called the impossibility of selective intervention ..
The solution they sought was to bind Europe's nations together commercially. But in the process, they created a self-serving international bureaucracy. The European Commission in Brussels was supposed to oversee the single market. A legislature in Strasbourg was supposed to oversee the bureaucracy. However, the lack of a strong popular European identity that could frame political competition on a continental scale led Europe to exchange one institutional deficit for another.
Instead of an institutional deficit there was now a growing democratic deficit. That deficit became a refuge for politicians that had failed on the national stage .. vain, limited people. Unlimited only in their ambition, they tried to take control of Europe's destiny and shape it in their own interests .. Every politician needs a stream of projects to oversee, institutions to build, offices to fill, and funding to allocate.
.. The logic of selective intervention is that nobody tells you when it's time to stop, and there is always good reason to go on. They could never have just ‘stopped there’.
Not knowing when to stop is at the core of the impossibility of selective intervention. Selective intervention is supposed to improve things .. If the government fixes one thing that needed fixing, this creates the justification for it to go on to fix something else. If that turns out to have made things worse, then this too becomes the justification for another fix. There's never a reason to call a halt.
This is how a beautiful dream went too far, and so became a bit of a nightmare.
Can markets be made moral? Ask a silly question…:
Asking whether markets can be moral is a bit like asking whether sex can be moral. Of course they can, given the appropriate behaviours in the appropriate contexts. The market is simply the result of allowing people to freely and resourcefully use their human reason and action to satisfy their needs and desires by free exchange with others. How can this activity not be undertaken in a moral way? In Catholic terms, some of the desires we might try to satisfy are sinful and some of the ways chosen to satisfy those desires may be sinful. Pornography is an example of the first and stealing an example of the second.
Clearly, what to consume, what to produce and how to behave within a market economy are moral decisions. Sometimes those moral decisions will be compatible with self-interest, such as in the old self-regulated stock exchanges where poor behaviour would have led to one’s ejection. Whether markets are moral depends entirely on whether people taking decisions are moral ..
.. Of course, the market cannot be ‘made moral’ by some kind of outside entity as if the market is something that is deliberately shaped and designed. Furthermore, if the market is shaped and designed and people are not allowed to take free decisions then those decisions are not moral decisions. The state cannot force me to take a moral decision. If I am not reasoning, acting and choosing, I am not taking a moral decision.
.. Clearly, somebody taking decisions in a particular cultural context might find it extremely difficult to behave in a moral way. According to Catholic thinking, sin and disorder affects culture and society – it has a social dimension and, in a sense, becomes social. But Catholic teaching on sin is clear. Social sins or structures of sin (which then affect culture and so on) have their root in individual sin. For example, an individual buying and wearing an immodest swimsuit may well be affected by culture to such an extent that the individual may be barley culpable if he or she has not been properly instructed about modesty or comes under intolerable peer pressure or pressure from advertising. But that culture is itself rooted in individual sin: the teachers, priests or parents that have failed to instruct; the friends who make fun of him or her; the owners and managers of the firms that use explicit images in advertising are those that commit the immoral acts, not the market per se.
The Snow Plowers’ Petition por Steven Horwitz:
In a cold and snowy land there lived the people of the North Country. Some of them made a living by plowing and disposing of the snow that seemed to fall endlessly from the skies between November and March .. But in the winter of 2011-12 the snows seemed to stop .. “we must save our economy. But how?” The Snow Plowers suggested a petition to the Clouds, begging them to bring the snow that would save their business and, through the Magic Multiplier, save their town’s economy. And so a petition was created.
But then a wise old man stepped forward and declared this was foolishness. When asked by the townspeople to explain, here is what he said:
.. The economy hasn’t been harmed; the flow of spending has just been altered. You must, in the words of a wise man, “see the unseen.” And what is unseen is what you have done instead of pay the Snow Plowers .. The rest of us are better off when it doesn’t snow. Think of it this way: Each time it snows we must spend $25 to get the thing back we value: a usable driveway. So in snowy winters we give up $300 and have a clean driveway — and that is all.
This winter, by contrast, we have both the clean driveway and the $300. And we are free to spend that $300 on other things we might want, such as a new flat-screen TV. This winter we are able to have both a new TV and a clean driveway, while in past years we’ve had only the clean driveway. Are we not all better off as a result? It is unfortunate that our Snow Plower friends are worse off, but would we really prefer a world where we spend $300 to get us right back where we were before the snow?
Quarta-feira, Fevereiro 08, 2012
Real Rights vs. Fake Rights:
It’s true that our Framers, unlike many others, especially more recently, did not focus their attention on rights. Instead, they focused on powers— and for good reason. Because we have an infinite number of rights, depending on how they’re defined, the Framers knew that they couldn’t possibly enumerate all of them. But they could enumerate the government’s powers, which they did. Thus, given that they wanted to create a limited government, leaving most of life to be lived freely in the private sector rather than through public programs of the kind we have today, the theory of the Constitution was simple and straightforward: where there is no power there is a right, belonging either to the states or to the people. The Tenth Amendment makes that crystal clear. Rights were thus implicit in the very idea of a government of limited powers. That’s the idea that’s altogether absent from the modern approach to constitutionalism—with its push for far reaching “active” government—about which more in a moment.
O Princípio da Secessão Como Valor Liberal de Filipe Faria n'O Insurgente. fracamente resumido:
Um dos argumentos mais importantes que Hannan dá contra o actual processo de centralização europeu em curso é o facto de a Europa ter desenvolvido a sua civilização e atingido prosperidade precisamente porque era um território descentralizado, com inúmero Estados independentes e sob o efeito da competição fiscal. Para consubstanciar este argumento, ele constantemente enfatiza as vantagens dos países pequenos (Liechtenstein, Singapura, Hong Kong, Suíça) e de como estes são em média mais ricos, prósperos e livres do que países vastos onde o Estado controla uma grande população e território.-
A independência da Escócia seria extremamente benéfica para a causa liberal que Hannan defende: com esta secessão a Escócia transformar-se-ia num competidor fiscal e deixaria de viver de subsídios Londrinos, acabando assim com a ilusão socialista escocesa actual de que o dinheiro cai do céu. Ademais, a competição fiscal escocesa iria igualmente obrigar o Estado Inglês a competir fiscalmente sendo obrigado a descer as actuais cargas fiscais.
O mesmo se pode dizer para a independência dos inúmeros Estados dos EUA. Porém, os defensores da manutenção do Estado federal americano alegam que já existe actualmente competição fiscal nos EUA e como tal vale a pena mantê-lo; mas tal é um abuso de linguagem. O Estado federal americano consome quase 70% da receita fiscal americana. Alegar que apenas cerca 30% de competição fiscal interna é verdadeira competição fiscal parece-me claramente um insulto para o conceito.
.. quando existe um Estado poderoso, centralizado, com vasto território/população e distante dos cidadãos, a tendência natural será para maximizar a concentração de poder. Tal observa-se no proto-Estado burocrático que é a UE e igualmente nos EUA, onde nem uma constituição marcadamente liberal clássica conseguiu limitar e impedir o crescimento totalitário do Estado central. Desta forma, os constrangimentos ao poder dos Estados devem advir essencialmente de 2 fontes: da proximidade dos cidadãos ao centro de poder e da competição fiscal entre Estados. Só as secessões colocam um fim ao processo de centralização e acumulação de poder, tal como se verificou com os países da ex-União Soviética.
A contar de 1914 até ao presente, passámos de 62 para 193 Estados soberanos. Estamos aparentemente no bom caminho; porém, em todas as épocas existem forças centralizadoras e descentralizadoras. A promoção do princípio da secessão como valor liberal é assim de vital importância para as segundas e, consequentemente, para o liberalismo como ideal, seja na Europa, no Reino Unido ou nos Estados Unidos da America.
Government Accounting Is Like Lemonade Stand Economics:
It usually surfaces with an entrepreneurial adolescent deciding it would be a good idea to sell lemonade at the curbside to passersby.. There is a strand of economics, we'll call it the K-brand, that sees all this as worthwhile. They add together the $10 spent by the parents to back the venture and the $7 spent by the customers and conclude that an additional $17 of spending is clearly a good thing. Surely, the neighborhood economy has been stimulated.
To the family it is a loss, chalked up as a form of consumption. If this were a business enterprise it would be a write-off. In classical economics it is a "mal-investment."
But that is not how it works in government accounting. While a private business must adjust its books to reflect the losses from an intended investment that went bad, governments never do that.
When a government "invests" in, say, an airport in Johnstown, Pa., all the expenditures for labor and materials are recorded as investments and are additions to national output. Never mind that when it is later discovered that only three people a day want to fly to or from the airport, no adjustment to national wealth will reflect the folly of this "mal-investment."
.. In honest accounting, government borrowing to support "mal-investment" in Solyndra and other bad ideas should be recorded as consumption; we have been made poorer ..
The President’s War on Religious Freedom:
In his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II delivered a scathing critique of socialism, declaring that “the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated. . . . Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil.”
Pope John Paul II’s indictment of socialism is illustrated in the Obama administration’s recent edict requiring nearly all employers — including Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities — to cover sterilizations and contraception in their employees’ health-care plans. Because “contraception” includes abortifacients, this decision — made under the powers granted to the executive branch under Obamacare — also threatens many Protestant employers.
.. As Archbishop Dolan puts it, the president is “saying [the Catholic Church] has a year to figure out how to violate [its] conscience.”
All Americans’ religious freedoms are protected by the First Amendment. The earliest colonists who came to this country in the pre–Revolutionary War days traveled here because they were seeking a home in which they could practice their religion in freedom and peace without government persecution. Religious freedom — which has been called “our first liberty” — is ingrained in the very fabric of our national culture.
.. What the president is attempting to do here is something generally witnessed only in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
News Bulletin: Leftists Call for More Government:
So many on the left believe that more government is the answer.
When I tell them that our government spends twice what it gets in revenues and the Federal Reserve is constantly devaluating the dollar, their answer is more taxes. Then I explain that our federal government grows at a rate of $100 billion a month and all of the Obama tax increases raise $700 billion over 10 years which would only reduce that growth by about $5.8 billion a month.
They say Obama will cut spending $3 trillion over 10 years. Then I say that cutting $3 trillion dollars over 10 years would just reduce government growth by $25 billion a month. Therefore, the government must still borrow to keep the government running and the debt continues to grow and the interest on that debt will consume all of the government’s revenue in the future, perhaps a decade or so from now leaving no money for anyone.
They say nothing. Then the next day the whole thing starts over with total amnesia of the prior day’s conversation.
Carnavais, pieguices, queixinhas manhosos — É adorável assistir a tanta indignação inteligente com o país de cócoras:
Continuem que vão muito longe. Continuem a disfarçar, a assobiar para o lado, a inventar polémicas sobre tudo e sobre nada que a realidade, essa, não muda por milagre e vai cair violentamente em cima das vossas cabecinhas, quer queiram quer não.
Vale a pena recordar uma coisa importante antes da discussão suprema sobre a terça-feira de Carnaval. A dívida de Portugal é a terceira maior da União Europeia e atingiu no final do ano passado 110% do PIB. Agora sim, vale a pena chorar e muito, não só sobre esta obscenidade mas também a fazer contas aos muitos milhões de milhões que esta calamidade irá custar a esta e à outra geração de lusitanos que teve a desgraçada infelicidade de nascer em Portugal.
Vale a pena recordar outra coisa importante antes de se indignarem com as pieguices do senhor primeiro-ministro. As exportações portugueses não chegam aos 35% do PIB, uma miséria comparada com a média europeia. Uma calamidade que não se resolve por decreto e que só com muito investimento privado, nacional ou estrangeiro, se consegue ultrapassar. E não só são precisos muitos anos como é preciso criar condições para convencer quem tem dinheiro e projectos a investir em Portugal. Nomeadamente nos custos do trabalho, na fiscalidade, na burocracia do Estado, na justiça e na corrupção.
Vale a pena recordar também, antes de se indignarem com o fim dos feriados do 5 de Outubro e quejandos, que a economia portuguesa estagnou na primeira década do século e segue pelo mesmo caminho na segunda. E não se esqueçam, indignados, queixinhas e manhosos da pátria, que só há criação de emprego quando a economia crescer acima de 2 por cento. Abaixo deste valor há estagnação ou continuará a perda irreparável de postos de trabalho.
Antes de ficarem muito zangados com o custe o que custar de Pedro Passos Coelho, vale a pena recordar que o défice das contas do Estado é escandaloso e que é preciso cortar a sério e de forma estrutural a despesa pública. Custa muito, mas tem de ser. E não vale a pena andarem por aí a chorar pelo Serviço Nacional de Saúde e pela educação pública. O Estado vai ter de reduzir o défice à bruta, não gastar mais do que arrecada em impostos, isto é, tem de passar a ser uma pessoa de bem.
E antes de inventarem uma nova polémica para disfarçarem a triste e violenta realidade do país, vale a pena recordar o que disse ontem um alto responsável da União Europeia, nada mais nada menos que o presidente do Fundo Europeu de Estabilização Financeira, o famoso FEEF: os países do Sul da Europa, onde Portugal se situa, seus manhosos, têm de reduzir o seu nível de vida nos próximos anos.
É isto que vai acontecer, seus queixinhas muito indignados com as pieguices do senhor primeiro-ministro, com o fim de uns desfiles pindéricos tão frequentados pela elite manhosa da pátria e pelo fim dos magníficos feriados que ninguém comemorava. Pois é. A vidinha está difícil, muito difícil. A festa acabou e agora ninguém sabe o que irá acontecer no futuro. Mas não há necessidade, piegas lusitanos, de inventarem polémicas ou desculpas. Isto ou vai ou racha. E provavelmente vai rachar. Sorry.
Terça-feira, Fevereiro 07, 2012
Germany in skeptical turmoil on both Climate and Solar/Windfarms:
Today Germany’s national tabloid Bild (which has a whopping circulation of 16 million) devoted half of page 2 on an article called: “THE CO2 LIES … pure fear-mongering … should we blindly trust the experts?”
What has set it all off? One of the fathers of Germany’s modern green movement, Professor Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, a social democrat and green activist, decided to author a climate science skeptical book together with geologist/paleontologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning. Vahrenholt’s skepticism started when he was asked to review an IPCC report on renewable energy. He found hundreds of errors. When he pointed them out, IPCC officials simply brushed them aside. Stunned, he asked himself, “Is this the way they approached the climate assessment reports?”
Vahrenholt decided to do some digging. His colleague Dr. Lüning also gave him a copy of Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion. He was horrified by the sloppiness and deception he found. Well-connected to Hoffmann & Campe, he and Lüning decided to write the book. Die kalte Sonne cites 800 sources and has over 80 charts and figures. It examines and summarizes the latest science.
Conclusion: climate catastrophe is called off .. The science was hyped. The book .. is now sending shock waves through the German climate science establishment ..
While all that is happening, the wind is going out of the sails in the highly subsidized solar and windfarm business in Germany. Michael Limburg writes from Germany that:We published this very comprehensive study from our author Dr. Günter Keil titled ” Germany´s Green Energy Supply Transformation Has Already Failed” ..
Dr. Guenter Keil’s report focusses in detail on the amazing absurdities of Germany’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Act and the country’s utopian Energy Transformation. The government, through intrusive meddling and ballooning bureaucracy, has maneuvered Germany’s energy supply system into a vicious death spiral: the more the government intervenes, the greater the mess becomes. And the greater the mess becomes, the more the government intervenes! Dr. Keil concludes:
“Germany’s energy transformation has already failed. For Germans, the outlook is bleak. …the planned mismanagement is heavily damaging the economy and will fail spectacularly some years later because its economic and social costs will have become unbearable. The question remaining open is how many billions of euros will have to be destroyed before a new energy policy (a new energy transformation?) picks up the shattered pieces.”
The Naughty Mr. Hazlitt:
.. This was a common strategy by those associated with FEE. They always took the high ground and were nice to even the most hostile (and even to those who were completely wrong). This was part of the strategy to spread liberty. As Herbert Spencer once said, “It takes varied reiterations to force alien concepts upon reluctant minds.” And if we are going to get others to hear varied reiterations of our ideas, we must keep the dialogue open. That’s what Hazlitt was doing.
Justice, Inequality, and the Poor:
.. this obsession with inequality — and this preferred approach to mitigating it — are fundamentally counterproductive. They are born of a misconception rooted in a flawed understanding of both justice and economic fact. Even if their premises and objectives were sound, these policies would have perverse unintended consequences — fostering class resentment, destroying jobs, and reducing wages and opportunities for the poor most of all. Such policies also tend to undermine the family and create a culture of dependence on the state — unleashing harmful consequences that would, again, fall disproportionately on the poor.
.. The implicit assumption behind the case for the injustice of income inequality is that the wealthy are the reason why the poor are poor, or at least why they cannot escape their poverty. If this claim were true, it would be much easier to connect income inequality with injustice, and so to justify a redistributionist agenda. Yet this assumption rests on another economic premise that itself is highly dubious: the idea that income is a zero-sum game. Moral critics of inequality often portray total national income as if it were a pie: There is only a fixed amount to go around, they suggest, so if someone's slice gets bigger, another person's must get smaller.
In a functioning market economy, however, the total amount of income is decidedly not static; economic exchange is not a zero-sum game. Through ingenuity and higher productivity, our country generates new income. Increasing the size of one person's piece of the pie therefore does not necessarily mean smaller pieces in absolute terms for everyone else. The fact that some people make billions of dollars does not necessarily decrease income for the average worker. It is possible for everyone's slices to get bigger, even if they grow at different rates.
.. In fact, successful businessmen and others in top income brackets play a significant role in enlarging the economic pie. When high-income earners find ways to increase productivity and create income, they are rewarded for their efforts. They also help to generate more jobs and lower prices — often by re-investing the same financial rewards that their critics begrudge them — thus benefiting Americans at all income levels.
.. Just as we don't help the sick by injuring the fit, we don't help the poor by soaking the rich. When it comes to income, inequality is largely a distraction. We should be focusing on improving the prosperity and well-being of all — with special attention to helping the poor escape their poverty.
In a market economy underwritten by the rule of law, the gap between rich and poor is not itself the source of injustice. The real problems have to do with underlying factors that impede success, stifle opportunity, and foster unhealthy dependence on government .. — we should focus public attention on finding effective remedies.
.. One place to start is by making sure we talk about others as fellow citizens or neighbors, rather than as targets of envy or victims of greed. We should care about the condition of the poor because we want our fellow citizens to thrive, not because we resent those who have done especially well for themselves. We should be moved by compassion, not bitterness; we should want to help the poor make something of the great benefits and advantages of our free society, rather than to limit the ability of the wealthy to do so. Reframing the debate about poverty can help us shift moral attention back where it belongs: to changing conditions that hinder economic mobility and to helping all citizens — especially the poor — improve their lives.