Thursday, January 31, 2008

Presidential Spending Analysis

Here's some analysis of the presidential candidates' proposed spending patterns.

And a very telling chart:

It's funny how many conservatives are griping about McCain's lack of conservatism, contra Romney, and it's Romney who is proposing to make government bigger!

And what about Thompson? The guy who was lauded as the only "real" Conservative in the race, is bested by Tax Hike Mike Huckabee!

Its just goes to show you, not all may be what the MSM paints it to be.

Tom DiLorenzo on McCain, Bush, and Bush

On the Lew blog, Tom writes:

In attempting to deceive everyone into thinking he's some kind of limited government conservative last night, McCain boasted that he's being supported by a gaggle of GOP poltical hacks and hangers on, including lots and lots of former Bush I and Bush II appointees, some of whom were sitting right there in front of him.

And what, pray tell, was conservative about either of these administrations? The first thing Bush I did was to denounce all real conservatives as "uncompassionate" while embracing Ted Kennedyism. His son did the same, increasing domistic spending more than LBJ did, while inviting the lunatic fringe of American politics, the Trotskyite neocons, to dominate his administration.

McCain clearly has no idea whatsoever of what a Goldwater conservative, or a Taft conservative, was or is.

Many Republicans have no idea what Conservative means, and that includes many people who currently self-identify with that label.

Amnesty? Show Me the Victim!

I’ve been having a couple of conversations lately about "amnesty" for "illegals" (so-called). It’s a topic that I’ve not addressed much, but I guess I should.

My whole take on "amnesty" is…amnesty for what? What "crime" has been committed that we need to give out pardons for?

And by "crime", I mean, what act of the violation of another person’s rights or property has occurred that warrants punishment by the State?

If Charlie Richguy offers me a job, and I accept it, no crime has been committed, even though I may have beat out a dozen other rivals for the job. If Larry Landlord has an apartment that I choose to sign a lease for, no crime has been committed either, no matter what anyone may say.

Yet, this is exactly what the anti-immigration crowd wants you to think.

When Charlie or Larry make a business deal with Miguel Fencejumper without the permission of Bill Politician, it is a high crime that needs to be harshly punished. Amnesty then becomes the waiving of the authority of the State to interfere in consensual relationships.

While my gut feeling about saying "I support amnesty" implies recognition that the State has authority over such things – which I firmly deny – I am of the opinion that amnesty is the only just course of action.

And for those of you who want to whine about "rewarding" law breakers, please! Choosing to respect the natural rights of someone is not rewarding them.

Their liberty is not yours to give.

I’ll change my mind about amnesty when someone can show me exactly whose rights are violated by someone moving across an imaginary line that exists only in the minds of politicians, and their fawning conservative idolators.

Show me the victim.

The Fed Induced Bubble Burns

With the Federal Reserve created Housing Bubble coming to a predictably disasterous crash, is it any wonder we are seeing a rise in the arson rate?

I’m not surprised.

In fact, this perfectly demonstrates the destructionism that lies at the core of a socialized monetary system. Artificially low interest rates skew natural market signals, and produce malinvestment. Capital is misallocated in ways that does not reflect the actual demands of society, and instead of being put to use in socially creative ways, it is reduced and destroyed.

So the Fed tricks people with the lure of easy money into investing in resources they can’t afford, and when it all comes crashing around them, the appeal to just destroying the property becomes a convenient escape.

Dangerous Reading

First the “money bomb”, and now the “book bomb”.

When the Boortz Tax book came out, mass sales pushed it up on the New York Times Bestseller’s list, and helped produce a groundswell. The hope here is to get a million people to read the Ron Paul manifesto.

I can’t seem to find word on when exactly the book will be available for purchase, but at the site, you can pledge to buy a copy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Manufacturing War

The other day I started reading Chalmers Johnson’s book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire . I hope to blog about it as I go through it, chapter by chapter. I’m half way through the first chapter, so I’ll report in when I get done. But so far, what’s amazing to me is that this book was written before September 11th, 2001. He practically predicted that fateful day.

This morning on my way in to work, I listened to a podcast of an interview with him. In it, he discussed all sorts of topics pertaining to foreign policy, empire, war, and the economy. What grabbed me most was an observation he made about the fact that while our manufacturing base has been eroding over the past X number of years, to the point where many major industries are now based overseas, the manufacturing that is left here in America has become increasingly concentrated in meeting the needs of the military.

Talk about converting your economy into a war machine!

I don’t think that bodes well for the long-term prospects for America, when our entire manufacturing base is devoted to death and destruction.

Listen to the podcast here.

The interview was about an accompanying article written by Johnson. You can read that here.

The Candidate Matrix

As I said, I'm addicted to these things. I can't help it.

The Matrix

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bar Room Politics

I was out the other night at a bar having a few beers with a buddy of mine and the conversation briefly turned to the election. He's a Democrat who is on the fence about whom to support. I encouraged him to consider going Republican and voting for Ron Paul. He says he's going to think about it, which I appreciate.

So another guy on my left overhears us and he chimes in. The following conversation went something like this:

Him: You support Ron Paul?

Me: Yeah.

Him: That's the wrong direction for what we need right now.

Me: Oh? You think we need more war and a bigger empire?

Him: No, no. But he'll pretty much dismantle the Federal Government.

Me: He wants to obey the Constitution. You don't think we should follow the Constitution?

Him: No, no. We need a strong central government.

Me: Well our "strong central government" has turned into a worldwide empire, and is now in the process of destroying our currency.

Him: Well, we don't want to pay $8 for a gallon of gas.

Me: If we keep debasing the currency, we are going to pay that much anyway. What do you think inflation is?

Him: We pay a lot for gas because of the existence of futures markets in energy. Big corporations can buy up big chunks of oil and monopolize supplies.

Me: Futures markets have existed for many, many years, in many different types of commodity markets - energy, farm products, currency, etc. They exist as a financial tool and provide a way to hedge against risk. If what you said was true, we'd pay $50 for a loaf of bread.

Him: (Blank stare for a moment) Hey! Look what's on TV!

I never did find out exactly who he supported. On one hand, his ignorance of economics and finance led me to believe he was a Liberal. But he felt sympathetic to endless warmaking, which would have pegged him as a Conservative. (Of course, many conservatives aren't that saavy on economics, but they are less likely to blame corporations for all economic woes, even when the criticism is legit.)

Arlo for Ron!

Arlo Guthrie endorses Ron Paul.
Guthrie (or “legendary folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie” as he is called in the text of the announcement) said “I love this guy.”

“Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of the United States had he been there,” Guthrie said in the announcement. “I’m with him because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago.”

Here he is playing his signature piece, Alice's Restaurant.

Hat tip to the Lew Rockwell Blog

A Good Description of Conservatism

"Conservatism has always been messianic, militarist, nationalist, bloodthirsty, imperialist, centralist, redistributionist, and in love with the hangman state." - Lew Rockwell

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

Yeah... that about says it all right there.

Let's Get Out of Iraq and Get Back On Track

I read about this new song by the legendary Merle Haggard on this morning. As Vedran Vuk notes,

When songwriters such as Merle Haggard begin changing their minds on Iraq, then the end signs of the Republican Party are truly amongst us. Mainstream political analysts keep talking about the strong pro-war base. What they do not see or care to admit is the cracks appearing even within the hard-core pro-war base.
Note to self… get out the guitar and learn this song.

A Warrant for Bush and Cheney's Arrest?

A Vermont town will vote on whether to arrest Bush or Cheney if they ever set foot in the State.

Well, it has to start somewhere.

Can you imagine it, though? Watch the local cops try to put the Emporer in cuffs. Would his SS detail (Secret Service, that is) stand by and respect the rule of law, and the authority of local jurisdiction, or would they hold true to ideology of Bush being above the law.

In a twist of irony, at least this town believes in issuing warrants.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Great Quote

"Free markets have rescued more people from poverty than government ever has." -John Stossel

Friday, January 25, 2008

Walter Block on the Only Legitimate Functions of the State

I just got done listening to this podcast, a talk by Walter Block on how libertarians analyze the role and purpose of law. It’s not clear to what group he is speaking, but it seems to be a non-libertarian group, or some kind of class interested in some basics of libertarian thought.

There was one part where he expertly explains the minarchist view of the role of the State, and it’s only legitimate functions. He says:
Armies to keep foreign guys off our back. Police to keep local bad guys off our back. And courts to determine who the good guys and the bad guys are.
Very well put.

Why Fiat Currency Is Practically Worthless

Found the following graph on the blog . It pretty telling to see how our currency has rapidly declined since Nixon severed all ties to a real asset - gold - and left the management of the currency entirely to the central bank - the Federal Reserve.

Yeah... we need to restore our currency to a position of stability. How can we reasonably talk about economic problems when the Federal Reserve is wreaking havoc?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Empire of Fear

Hat tip to my buddy, "Canadian Floyd"…

Database assembles U.S. warnings of Saddam threat

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The Bush administration's warnings about prewar Iraq, from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's "mushroom cloud" to Vice President Dick Cheney's statements on weapons of mass destruction, were released on Wednesday in a searchable online database.

The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington research group highly critical of U.S. policy in Iraq, put together 935 comments uttered by eight top administration officials including President George W. Bush in the run-up to the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The Center for Public Integrity, which released the database on its Web site at (here), said the comments show how Bush and senior administration officials "methodically propagated erroneous information over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001."

Yeah… fear is such a useful tool to promote Empire, isn’t it?

Give Them Guns

I get the whole "what about the poor" argument a lot, as though the existence of an underclass is an argument for the State, per se. Nevermind the fact that the market is an empirically proven success at rolling back one obstacle after another in the process of improving living standards. Nevermind that it’s the State itself that erects barriers, breeds dependency, and destroys the very things that are essential to progress, thus hurting those on the margins of society the most.

The argument goes, that without the State, those "poor" would perpetually be locked out of rising levels of prosperity, while the rich get richer. That’s why we need the State – if not to engage in outright redistribution of wealth, but at least to force some people to pay to provide for certain goods and services to be available to those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

So, I’ve made a decision. With such a persuasive argument like the one above, I guess I have to concede the Statist’s point. So here is my new proposal on how to deal with the problem when asked, "What about the poor?", or "How will the poor get (fill in the blank)?"

From now on, my new answer will be: Give them guns, and let them go take what they need from others.

Yes, that’s right. If the Statist is worried that without the State, then some disadvantaged fellow can’t get something he thinks he needs, then we should allow him to grab a gun or a knife and go rob someone in order to get the funds he needs to buy those services on the open market. We should reform our legal system to allow for a claim of poverty as a defense strategy when a person is charged with a violent crime.

It’s the perfect compromise. The "rich", who make large incomes and are able to afford the purchase of goods and services, will have to resort to buying the things they need. The "poor", who have lower incomes, will be allowed, if they can’t afford to buy it in the open market, to go steal from people who have more than they do, so that they can buy what they need too. If you are "rich" and have a large degree of wealth, then it is absolutely unjustifable that you should be allowed to commit theft just to enrich yourself. The "poor", on the other hand, that’s ok. If they need to mug an old lady, or hold up a liquor store, then we should excuse that. After all, it’s the only just thing to do, right?

Oh…you don’t like that solution?

Why not? After all, it’s what we ask the State to do. Instead of the "poor" (or some other special interest group) doing the actual robbing, we delegate the task to the politicians and the bureaucrats in the IRS. They are the ones that say, "give me your money, or men with guns will be knocking on your door". What’s wrong with letting the poor do the deed themselves?

I think, under my system, we take the mask off what we are really advocating. It’s a more honest solution. If you want the State to take care of the poor, then fine, I’ll agree with you. Let’s solve the problem of poverty through violence. But let’s have the courage of our convictions, and be honest about it. Plus, it’s a more economical approach, as we reduce the agency costs. Instead of the poor having to hire someone to steal for them, they can get the same result for a lower price, say, the couple hundred bucks it takes to buy a gun and a few shells.

You say you don't like my proposal?

Then maybe you will want to reconsider yours.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Meaning of Thompson

I think Fred Thompson’s surrender in the fight for the GOP Presidential nomination is a bit more important than most people may realize. As I’ve gone around discussing politics and economics with various people, particularly those on the "conservative" side, its become my impression that Thompson was a sort of "compromise" candidate. Many conservatives who claim to believe in small government, federalism, lowering taxes, fiscal responsibility, and such, and should, in theory, be delighted by Ron Paul’s candidacy, were not willing to give their support to him. With the steady drumbeats of the media spoonfeeding people the "front-runner" candidates (read: the only ones you can support in respectable company), it becomes very difficult to justify, emotionally, support a "fringe" candidate (as defined by the MSM), even if that candidate represents almost everything they could want.

Thompson, however, provided an outlet for this anxiety. He was "conservative" enough to past muster on the stated political values of these people (albeit in a severely watered-down way), while at the same time being respectable enough to the MSM to be cast as a "serious" candidate. Throw in a teaspoon of "underdog", and you have yourself a candidate that well-meaning conservatives could get behind with some modicum of pride. In short, they want smaller government, a stronger economy, and more liberty, but they have allowed themselves to be pushed into the closet by the MSM, and as a result, are embarassed to admit their true longings.

This is completely understandable, and I have nothing but sympathy for anyone who longs for liberty. But sometimes, the cure for the disease requires some short term pain and discomfort.

With Thompson dropping out, true conservatives are now going to have their choice put into very clear terms. One one hand, you have a pack of big government warmongers who will continue to trample the Constitution, expand government, oversee the continued destruction of our monetary system and our economy, and continue driving the road to the complete collapse of America. On the other, you have a bona fide conservative constitutionalist who advocates abolishing the income tax, obeying the Constitution, and has a plan to restore a sound monetary system and promote the continued prosperity of America.

Every MSM-approved candidate has severe disqualifications that any intellectually honest conservative would admit. Romney brought socialized-medicine to Massachusetts. "Tax Hike Mike" Huckabee, in addition to being a religious nut-job, is the most economically liberal of the slate. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Mayor is pro-abortion, pro-gay, firmly anti-capitalist, and fascist to the core. Warhawk McCain has long been viewed as a Democrat-wannabe.

Thompson’s departure puts the choice for conservatives in very stark terms. Do they follow their heart and obey their principles? Or do they allow themselves to cower in fear, and go with an emotionally "safer" choice?

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Isolationism vs. Non-interventionism

Tom Woods describes it perfectly in this interview…
Brian Saint-Paul: In the realm of foreign policy, what's the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism? The terms are often used interchangeably -- and incorrectly -- in the current presidential race.

Thomas E. Woods Jr.: An isolationist -- if words have any meaning at all -- is someone who wants to isolate the country from interaction with the rest of the world. We're not talking simply about disengagement from foreign conflicts but also drastically reducing our trade relations around the world -- and perhaps, initiating trade wars. So the real isolationist is someone who wants the military budget limited to what's required to defend the country, but who also wants national self sufficiency and isn't interested in diplomatic engagement.

When you put it that way, very few people would qualify as isolationists. We should remember that the term itself wasn't actually invented by those critical of U.S. foreign policy. The term 'isolationist' was actually invented by their opponents to smear them in the 1930s, and frankly, I can't think of anybody who would take a totally isolationist view.

Saint-Paul: So the Founders were not isolationists?

Woods: No, they were in favor of non-interventionism, which is a different thing. Non-interventionism means that while we do want to isolate the country from foreign conflicts, we don't want to roll up into a ball and sit in the corner. Non-interventionists don't want to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries and we don't want to get involved in wars that are none of our business. And we want to define what is our business in a reasonable, non-insane kind of way. After all, not everything in the world is our business.
Yes...Despite what many may think, not everything is our business.

Thompson Quits

Hat tip to Freedom’s Right for the heads up.

Did I speak too soon? Apparently, Fred Thompson is announcing that he's a quitter.

I’m only surprised that he cut-and-ran so quickly. He was banking on a one-shot campaign, but he failed. I thought he'd at least try to fight for Florida.

Guess I was wrong.

Note to all you Thompson supporters: Ron Paul is everything Thompson was (except a warmonger) and more. Its not too late to come over to a REAL conservative constitutionalist.

Now...what's the over-under on Giuliani bailing out? He's next.

Big Government Warmongers Going Down, One by One

A while back, Giuliani was reported to be running severely low on campaign funds, and unable to raise cash because of his poor showings. Thompson failed to make waves in South Carolina, which he was banking on. And now, Tax Hike Mike is broke.

Oh…and Ron Paul’s third money bomb for MLK day raised almost $2 million.

(Jealous, Mike? )

My prediction, Thompson drops out after Florida due to lack of interest, while Tax Hike Mike and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Mayor surrender after "Super Tuesday". Warhawk McCain and Romney the Socialized Medicine Man battle to a draw.

Ron Paul stays in for the long haul, picking off delegates and harnessing a sizeable minority of votes which prevents either from gaining a decisive majority.

Just my $0.02.

More Bumper Sticker Wisdom

I found this website selling liberty oriented bumperstickers. Here are some of the cooler ones:

HA! Love it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

And Yet Another Candidate Matching Survey

I can't help it. I love these things.

Vote Help.Org

No surprise, I'm a Ron Paul supporter.

Government Schooling is Welfare

I wonder if I’ll ever get to a point where I’m no longer burdened with trying to convince people that government – the State – is force. It is not voluntaryism. It is coercion. It is violence, pure and simple.

For example, if you want to send your kids to a government school, you are asking to have other people – non-parents – threatened with violence if they don’t pay for what should be your responsibility. When you get a bill in the mail from the State, and you ignore it, chances are, men with guns will be knocking your door. If you try resisting their demands, they can use violent force - even lethal force, if necessary - to ensure your compliance.

And don’t give me this, "I pay taxes too!" crap. All things equal, a parent pays less taxes, while consuming more government services.

Let’s say me, a non-parent, and Sally Singlemom both make $40,000 year in income. When tax time comes around, not only does she get to file in a more favorable status – the "Head of Household" designation grants a larger standard deduction than does "Single" (about 7700 vs. about 5300) – but she also gets an extra exemption for her child (another 3300 per child), plus the child tax credit (up to $1000 per kid). And don’t even get me started on the "Earned Income Tax Credit", which is just a wealth transfer mechanism.

The net result is not only that Sally’s taxable income adjusted downward much more than mine, her tax obligation is credited by virtue of the fact that she has a kid. So she is paying less in taxes, while at the same time demanding more of the system we are both forced to pay into.

That’s a pretty sweet deal...for her.

So, for all you parents out there who send your children to government schools, show some respect for those individuals who are being forced to subsidize your lack of personal responsibility. Don’t try to mask your willingness to steal from others by spouting off pious platitudes and false moral arguments about "the greater good", the importance of education, and "the poor".

It’s theft and you know it.

Just be honest.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Immigration vs. Citizenship

And speaking of discussing the immigration issue, whenever I get into these types of discussions with people, I find those who are not in favor of free immigration hold to many of the same fallacies and confusions surrounding the issues. One that I have been running into a lot lately is the confusion over immigration and citizenship.

Many of the proposals by the people running for President have, to one degree or another, a plan to give immigrants a more streamlined “path to citizenship”. The implication is that a person’s natural human rights are dependent upon the possession of a particular tribal membership card. People living and working here in the United States must either be full citizens, or have approval by the political class to do so. The plans for reform often center on the assumption that someone coming here to find a job, live, and make some kind of life here should be obligated to become full citizens.

But immigration is NOT synonymous with citizenship. The fact is many people come here to live and work and have a family, and have no desire to become citizens. They simply want to pursue happiness in their own right. Whether or not they become citizens is a whole separate issue.

But why is citizenship important? What does it get you? The right to vote? Why should anyone care whether someone has no interest in voting? Is this really so important that we should be willing to break up families, and deport people back to a life of poverty and oppression because they really don’t want to vote?

What about access to basic government services? Well, I thought the whole argument for taxes was to provide for the financing of services used by everyone in society. If someone has a job, and pays their taxes for certain services, then what does citizenship have to do with whether they can have access to what they paid for? It’s not clear to me that citizenship is crucial to deciding whether the fire department can come save your house from destruction.

Some more radical anti-individualists might counter that these types of people want to have it both ways – they want the benefits of citizenship, without having to submit to the citizenship process. They will define these benefits as the opportunity to prosper in “our country”. To these radicals, individual prosperity and opportunity aren’t results of employing oneself in socially productive ways, but instead spontaneous gifts from society. This is the same mentality that insists that “the rich” are obligated to “give back” to society that has made them so well off. They are reasoning backwards, as prosperity is society’s way of giving back to those individuals who work in positive, constructive, and socially valuable ways.

For me, I could not care less about issues of citizenship. It is a symbolic status that yields few real benefits in the grand scheme of things. If faced with the question whether an individual should be “allowed” to freely exercise his natural rights to life, liberty, and property to the benefit of himself and society, versus making the exercise of those rights contingent upon incorporating that guy into political society, I’ll choose the former.

When You Can't Respond to Reason and Logic...

...simply pretend the argument doesn't exist.

That seems to be the strategy for intellectual discourse among those on "The Right", when confronted by arguments that expose their anti-individual liberty, anti-Constitution, and anti-human rights positions.

James at The Right On! blog recently had a number of anti-immigration articles on which we had begun to debate. As I made the case for individual liberty more soundly, poking holes in his logic and showing the inconsistancies and absurdities of his position, my comments were "accidentally" deleted by his spam filter, not once, but twice.

Note to self: I guess I should have saved my comments and reposted them here.

Anyway, it is his blog, and he can do whatever he'd like in terms of moderating whatever goes on over there... but making any claims of intellectual integrity would not seem to be one of them.

Missouri Speech Codes

St. Charles, Missouri is considering making it a crime to swear in a bar.

Yes, swearing will now be illegal.

I guess, like smoking, if you want to swear you'll need to step outside. Perhaps they'll cordon off a special section for swearers. No swearing within 30 feet of a point of egress.

After all, bars are well known family environments. I’m sure they are doing it to protect the children.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Burning House

I often talk about politics and economics with a co-worker. Although he claims to be a Christian Conservative, his political worldview is entirely rooted in socialist ideology. Every argument he poses against free market solutions, limited government, the Constitution, and so on, rests on the assumptions and interpretations of economics that were advanced by Marx and other socialist theoreticians.

My co-worker often likes to challenge me to provide examples of when, in history, libertarian ideas have ever been implemented by a society, as if the only justifiable ways of organizing society are ones that have been done before. He wants to know that a libertarian society is workable. Of course, when I counter that his model – Statism – is pretty much a proven failure, completely unworkable, and doesn’t hold up to the measuring stick that he insists on using to evaluate my proposals, he changes the subject.

He’ll then move from historical to the present. He will say, "how would you deal with (fill in the blank)?". His favorite example is terrorism. When I point out that the problem he is concerned about is caused by bad government policy, so the obvious thing is to change the policy, he gets all indignant. Ending a meddlesome interventionist foreign policy will reduce (if not eliminate) the threat of terrorism in the future. But to him, he wants to know how to solve the government created problem now. What do we do now to react to the problems we face? In short, he wants to know how I would use government to solve the problem.

But therein lies the rub, showing a key concept that my socialist friend cannot grasp. The solution is not possible via government. To quote one of his favorite politicians, Ronald Reagan, government is the problem, not the solution. But to him, removing government from the issue is being "evasive". To him, all problems, no matter what the root cause, must be solved by central planners in government. Top-down is the only conceivable manner of designing society. If there is a problem, we should design a solution and then impose it on people via the law. He has no understanding how the voluntary market works, and how it creates prosperity and peace, all while solving a variety of social problems.

So, I thought about it some, and came up with this analogy which I emailed to him.

Let’s say that you have a house. You want to build an extension onto it. To do this, you go around the house and dump gasoline all over the place, and then toss on a match. The house goes up in flames. (Oops!) To solve the problem of the fire, you continue to pour gasoline on the fire.

So then you turn to me and say, "My house is on fire. What's your proposal to build my extension?" I point out that the first step is that you have stop pouring gasoline all over the place, so the fire can be put out. Only then can the builders can come in later and work on your extension.

You respond by saying, "But what is your proposal to build my extension? Stop talking about what we already did. If I put you in charge, how will I get my extension?"

We can't build the new wing on your house until you stop spreading the fire.

Likewise, the market can't create peace, stability, and prosperity until you stop government intervention in (fill in the blank) that causes conflict and chaos.

My friend is just too far gone to his socialist religion to realize that there is no government solution to his problems. But his faith in the State is so profound that it is all he is willing to consider. He wants a central plan to create his utopia, and if you can’t give him one, your ideas are beyond the pale of consideration.

Oh, and I never did get a response. I'm not surprised.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Comment Moderation Policy


A while back, I turned on the comment moderation feature on my blog, not for the purpose of censoring anyone, or their thoughts on what I write about here, but rather it was because I started getting SPAM messages posted.

Recently, I've been having a lot of "anonymous" commenters...ok, not really a major problem, but it is annoying when I don't know who is addressing me. Besides it's not like you have to use your full, real name. Pick a handle and join the conversation. Hell, call yourself Bugs Bunny, for all I care!

But what I'm really getting tired of is the endless posts about conspiracies and fringe rantings that appear to be nothing more than a cut and paste of chain mails... especially since they have NOTHING to do with the post that they are commenting on. If you want to get the word out about Rockefeller and the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Trilateral Commission, or those sinister Kiwanis hell bent on taking over the world...START YOUR OWN BLOG and talk about it there.

So here is what I am going to do. Two rules.

1) No more anonymous commenters. (Unless you post something really thought provoking, in which case, I may make an exception.)

2) If your post has no relevance to anything I, or another commenter, have posted, talks of conspiracy theories (but I repeat myself), and/or appears to be little more than a chain letter, I will reject it for posting.

Sorry to have to do this... but I'd like to keep this blog a little more high-minded than that.


Predicting Booms and Busts

As you may have guessed, economics is a subject that I love to discuss. I'm always talking economics with people, debating issues, explaining concepts, and such. I consider myself rooted in the "Austrian" school of economic thought and its from the teachings of intellectuals like Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard that I base a lot of my own views.

I was once in a debate with a person who said that he rejects Austrian methodology because "it's predictive power is nil". ( economists are supposed to be fortune tellers. And hey, if good economics is about predicting the future, then why aren't they all out playing the market, and making a zillion dollars?)

Then today, I heard this podcast by Professor Mark Thornton , which points out that not only has the Austrian school been the only school of thought to explain recent phenomenon, but it had indeed predicted many of the catastrophes that we have witnessed in recent years.

Take a listen, and enjoy!

Independent Country: Ron Paul and the Libertarian "Movement"

Ron Paul has been quite contentious among libertarians. Even I have waffled on whether to support Paul, and to what degree.

So, James Leroy Wilson over at Independent Country wrote this post, breaking down the argument why politically active libertarians and/or anarcho-capitalists should put aside their reservations and support him. He says,

Does Paul's anti-immigration stand contradict market-anarchism principles? Part of it undoubtedly does.

Does Paul's strict Constitutionalism and concern for national sovereignty always cohere with pure libertarianism? No.

Is Paul's federalist view of the abortion question and personal pro-life stance (and his federalist stance on church-state questions) fatal to the libertarian cause? Personally, I don't think so, but maybe it is.

Is Paul a "heretic" on some issues important to libertarians? You could say so.

Will Paul's old newsletters that catered to populist and paleo-conservative prejudices discredit the "movement" to abolish the state? Will it discredit the "movement" to get libertarian majorities? Perhaps; at worst Paul may have marginally reduced the chances of accomplishing the impossible.

But for me, the key questions are: Is Paul correct on the war? Is Paul correct on civil liberties? Is Paul correct on money? Does Paul support tax and spending cuts? The answers are Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. Does any other candidate bat higher than .500 on these issues? NO, and most bat .000.

Yeah. He just about nailed it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Misogyny: It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Karen DeCoster notes on the blog
So I get out of the car and it's about 10 degrees, and there's one guy standing outside handing out Ron Paul literature. There was an old woman walking in front of me, and a barely-voting-age gal coming in behind me. So I shake his hand and say, "Go Ron Paul." The (cranky) old woman says, "Who the heck is Ron Paul. I'm voting for Hillary. We need a woman to finally tell the men what to do."
Yes...that is what it’s all about: getting a woman in charge in order to put down "the men". Of course, if a man were to say a similar comment, only in reverse, he’d be (rightfully) called a sexist chauvinist pig.

Apparently, hate is an acceptable character trait if you are not a (white) male.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Immigration, Positive Law, and Liberty

James over at the Right On! blog recently read and responded to
a post I wrote the other day in which I took him and others to task for their anti-liberty positions. In his case, he is a very strong believer that the State has, and should have, the legitimate authority over where individuals are able to live and work, and with whom they may peacefully associate. Furthermore, it is very clear to me that there is a part to this position that involves racial biases. He left the following comment in that post:

Why don't you just come right out with it Jason... CALL ME A RACIST.

You're so caught up in your borderless crusade that you fail to notice that ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION has no color. You're an illegal immigrant no matter WHAT your nationality if you sneak into this country against our laws.

If you had wandered into the US, you too would be an illegal alien and you too would be on the wrong side of me. I could care less if your brown, red, white, green or black.

I love it when "people like you" lump people into groups to suit a need.

It's entirely possible James is not a racist...but it's very hard to ascertain from listening to your average Joe who is angered by the immigration issue that there is not a race component involved. Many observers have noted the close ties anti-immigration groups like the Minutemen have had with white supremacist groups. Furthermore, I am personal friends with a number of Canadians who tell me that they have had people tell them straight out that they’re “ok”, with strong insinuations that it was because they are white and speak perfect English. The anti-immigration movement does have, to one degree or another, a racist component to it. It’s just dishonest to say otherwise.

As far as who constitutes an "illegal" immigrant, I think James is wrong for a variety of reasons. To say something is illegal is to reference some sort of legal framework as a starting point. If one is referring to the concept of natural law, then the idea of immigration being "illegal" becomes an absurdity. If we are to accept the idea that we are endowed with natural rights (i.e. From our Creator, or as essential component of our natures, or whichever view you are inclined to take) then certainly moving from point A to point B falls into this category. This applies whether someone is moving from Main Street to Park Avenue, from Ohio to Indiana, and yes, even from Mexico to the United States.

Ahh…but moving from Mexico to the US is different, someone might say. The reason is that the government of the US has made a law saying that you need to get permission first before crossing into the territory claimed by that government as its turf. This is what’s known as “positive law”, or law that is essentially decreed to be so by the political class. It is this view of “the law” that James and other Anti-Immigrants hold up as their standard for gauging one’s “legal” status. If you behave in a way that is contrary to the wishes of some other people who also claim the right to use violent force to achieve their goals (we’ll call them politicians, or the State), then you are violating the law, and should be punished. Morality and justice are functions of the arbitrary dictates of those with power. Literally, might makes right.

This has some frightening implications. Under positive law, if one were to be asked the question, if this were 1850, and the Fugitive Slave Laws (ironically, our country’s first immigration laws) were in effect, would you rail for stronger enforcement of controlling the Underground Railroad, and advocating the punishment of those noble souls who provided assistance to runaway slaves? To the positivist, the only answer is a strong, table-pounding “yes!” Why? Because the rule of (positive) law should be respected at all costs. Even if that law is shockingly immoral, the obligation of everyone is to obey, even in violation of his or her conscience, until the law can be changed. Meanwhile, slaves are returned to their masters, Jews are shoveled into ovens, wars are fought, sick people suffer and die, and many, many other tragedies large and small are perpetuated.

I need not say anymore about how intellectually lazy the positivist is. Relying simply on what the politicians say to be just and proper eliminates the need for one to engage in serious moral and philosophical reflection. Instead, the slogan “obey the law!” is embraced like a flotation device, without which, these types feel our country would literally drown and be destroyed.

The only kinds of laws that should be obeyed are ones that are rooted in natural law, and conform to the laws of morality and justice. The Anti-Immigration Crowd, in addition to being thoroughly statist in principle, demands respect for laws that violate natural human rights to private property and free association. They do this by trying to claim that the country is one big piece of property, owned collectively, and has its wishes expressed through the State. Individual property owners are secondary. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that similar to communism?

So the next time you talk to an Anti-Immigrant, ask them what they think should happen to you, as a “free American”, were you to choose to hire or rent to an unapproved Mexican? Ask them how they can say you are “free”, but yet must conform to the demands of the collective, only able to do things that you have been given permission to do? Ask them, in short, what the difference between a right and a privilege is.

Their answer will tell you how committed they are to liberty.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Candidate Matchmaker

I love these little quizzes. They aren't always completely accurate, but they are fun.

Try the Electoral Compass

Of course, Ron Paul is my closest match (surprise!) with the only major area of disagreement being on immigration (another surprise!).

Is Ron Paul Electible?

Let's hear it in his own words....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Search Is On

Can anyone tell me what Barak Obama stands for? Other than "change" and "hope", I mean.

Seriously. I've been asking around to people who are politically aware, and I can't seem to find anyone who can tell me exactly what Obama stands for, what he's proposing to do, his platform, his principles, and so on.

I'd really like to know.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

One More Thought on Boortz and Paul

...and then I'm done talking about Faux Libertarian Boortz. (For the time being, anyway.)

So I was watching this YouTube clip of some coverage of Ron Paul's post primary rally, and his address to his supporters. In the beginning, he makes the remark that his #1 policy is "individual liberty and our Constitution".

How many times have you heard Neal Boortz gripe about Americans who value security over liberty?

And Neal won't endorse Paul because he's afraid of "Islamofascists".

Neal, it would seem, is too scared to ask for liberty. He wants security, first.

Poor guy.

Here is the video.

And Speaking of Immigrants....

As I've mentioned before, I love listening to podcasts. Its so much more intellectually stimulating than "talk radio", which is driven by lowest common denominator attempts to get ratings.

I just got done listening to a podcast produced a couple months back by the Cato Institute, called Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

I think the main speaker summed it up perfectly when he dubbed illegal immigration as "a phantom menace".

Take a listen. Its about an hour and a half long. But its an enjoyable discussion.

Tax Hike Mike's Waterboys

First it was Neal Boortz, and now Right On! Blogger James. "Tax Hike Mike" Huckabee is gaining support from all sorts of right wing sellouts.

Of course, this should surprise no one. Long gone are the days when "the right" stood up for the principles for individual liberty, limited government, the Constitution, and free markets. Now, just like their left wing counterparts, they sacrifice these concepts to the political expediency of creating a Brave New World, via the State.

Boortz, who has been rather critical of Ron Paul, has gotten behind Tax Hike Mike on account of his support for the FairTax, even though Huckabee has been clearly identified as a BIG government, tax-and-spend governor. Apparently, all it takes to get Boortz’ endorsement is the utterance of those two magic words, "Fair Tax".

Former Libertarian Party of Georgia Chairman, Jason Pye, has written an excellent "open letter" to Boortz, roundly criticizing him for his abandonment of the principles of individual liberty. I have nothing to say about that letter, except to expand on it to say, for Boortz, Paul is the better choice by an exponential factor. Boortz has long been familiar with Paul’s work in Congress, and has promoted his efforts from time to time. Paul is dedicated to reducing the size, scope, and cost of government, and wants to eliminate the income tax (the whole point behind the Fair Tax), which should be very exciting to Boortz. The problem is, as I see it, that Paul is not going to make implementing the Fair Tax his primary goal. And that does not sit well with Boortz.

I was at the 2004 Libertarian Party National Convention, held in Atlanta, which both Paul and Boortz likewise attended. Paul was the keynote speaker for the convention, and in his speech, he addressed the issue of the Fair Tax. He noted that many people asked him if he, as a member of Congress, would vote for the Fair Tax. His answer? Yes, he would. He stated he would vote for it because he has always told his constituency that he would do whatever he could to get them out from under the thumb if the IRS. However, he did qualify this support by stating that the Fair Tax was only a means to an end, and should not replace the goal of making government immensely smaller.

As I ask Fair Tax supporters that I know… if the FedGov was half the size it was today, would it really matter how we finance it? If government demands fewer resources from the productive sector, then isn’t that the best tax cut of all?

Boortz and Company say no. They have come to accept Big Government, and their only beef is about how we pay for it. They will gladly ignore a candidate offering them a better alternative. They are missing the forest for the trees, and intellectual honesty would demand that they stop calling themselves lovers of liberty.

And now, James, the blogger over at "Right On!" has cast off all pretense at desiring smaller government by also getting behind this laughable candidate. For James, though, the issue is immigration, and his magic words are "birthright citizenship". I’ve long said that the anti-immigrant crowd was an anti-liberty, anti-capitalist constituency, and this just confirms it. These types are just so anxious to keep out undesirables (via State control and regulation of the natural rights to free association and private property) that they will gladly vote in a liberal to give them what they want. Gone is the natural skepticism of the State that has been a feature of conservative thought. Now, they want big, activist government to manage society in the ways they feel it should be managed.

Of course, Ron Paul is also better on this issue as well, for these types. As I’ve noted before, the only major point of contention I have with Ron Paul is his stance on the immigration issue. On this issue, he is not my ally, but rather, more in line with anti-immigrant crowdlings, like James. Like Boortz on the FairTax, the anti-immigrant crowd value keeping out the dark-skinned non-English speakers more highly than they value smaller government. (Of course, it’s perfectly logical, since they need big government in order to implement their plans.) However, their support of Huckabee is not based on any consideration of which candidate could actually do the job, but instead, only based on the raw calculation for who might get the nomination. The fact is, Ron Paul would be more effective on this point, because his pledge to end the war on Iraq and bring the troops home would have the effect of bringing home people who’s job it was to patrol the border in the first place. From a resource allocation point of view, Paul’s plan makes infinitely more sense.

In any event, it’s been fairly obvious for a while that supporters of the GOP candidates are either without principle, have a flawed capacity for logical thought, or both. Ron Paul, as imperfect as he is, is the only candidate with anything close to a small government, pro-individual liberty, pro-free market platform. All the rest are Bigger Government panderers who can only gain support by promising to have government "do something".

Personally, I think government does too much. I want a candidate who’s going to tell me what they are going to stop doing. That candidate is Ron Paul.