Archive for February, 2011

“Markets Don’t Work the Way They’re Supposed to Work”

February 28, 2011

One of the biggest misconceptions that leftists have of free-market capitalists is that market-based economies have some ultimate purpose or design. It’s almost as if they believe that Adam Smith and other free-market economists had some grand design in mind when they spelled out their ideas.

To understand why this is absurd, and why a real free-market capitalist doesn’t even acknowledge this argument, you have to approach economics the same way a free-market economist does.

Reading Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, you should quickly understand that Adam Smith is, first and foremost, a scientist. He simply did what other scientists in other fields have done: observed, reported, and tried to put the observations together in a cohesive theory.

Adam Smith, and the vast majority of the free-market capitalists out there, never ever talk about intentions, or at least, the grand intention that they have in describing free-market capitalism. The reason why is they really don’t have any.

Ask a free-market capitalist whether markets work, and they will have a puzzled look on their face. If they are actually going to take the time to engage you, they are going to ask, “What do you mean by ‘work’?”

It is up to you, the individual, the nation, the policy-maker, to decide what the parameters of success are.

If you want to distribute wealth as efficiently as possible, and create a boat-load of wealth in the process, then free-market capitalism works all the time.

If you want to equalize distribution of wealth, so that one person doesn’t have much more than someone else, then of course it doesn’t work very well, and it’s easy to understand why. (Adam Smith goes into great detail about specialization is a necessary result of free-market economic policy. This means some people will have a glut of skills, others a glut of resources, and others a glut of capital.)

If you want to fix prices, then free markets won’t work. If you want the optimum price, so that there is neither surplus nor shortage, then free markets work beautifully. If you want to allocate capital to where it is needed most, then free markets are awesome. If you want to empower the poor so that they can lord over the rich, then free markets are not very good.

Free markets are a thing, and idea, and method. It just so happens that free markets explain vast chunks of human behavior as it pertains to money, capital, labor, and allocation of all of the above. In fact, even in dictatorial societies, where prices are fixed and commodities are produced only upon order of the state, free markets exist to combat the ill effects of state-driven economics. (Go visit North Korea, and you’ll quickly find open-air markets where prices are set without government intervention.)

Leftists, unlike free-market capitalists, have ulterior motives as they develop their Utopian economic fairy tales (such as “equality of all” or “no rich people”), and by projection, believe free-market capitalists have ulterior motives as well as they develop their theories. But this simply isn’t true, any more than physicists have ulterior motives as they quantify natural phenomena.

Free markets are simply the way people do things, even in communist and socialist societies. We can either fight the free market way of doing things, and encounter inefficiency after inefficiency and watch as our wealth evaporates before our very eyes in mere moments, or we can acknowledge the universal power of free markets and simply protect them from bad actors (such as the government) who would eliminate them.

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Maintaining Our Country

February 28, 2011

Violence across the country is increasing as unions, leftists, and anarchists riot. The reports of union thugs assaulting others has grown to so many I can’t keep count. The recent confrontation between police and firework-armed anarchists in Seattle is an echo of events across the country.

At this time, let us pause and ask ourselves why we even have a country at all, and what the glue is that binds us together.

Other countries are bound by allegiance to their king or dictator. By swearing loyalty to the king, they can have a modicum of peace and order. In many countries in North Africa and the Middle East, that is the system they live under, and for the most part, it works well. At least, until loyalty to the king or dictator falls apart and you have chaos.

A handful of countries are bound together by loyalty to ideas. In the United States of America, that idea is God-given individual liberty. Read the Declaration of Independence, and you hear the testimony of our ancestors, which is that the universe was created by God so that individual could live independent and sovereign, and nations and governments are formed to protect the same. There is no room for debate on this basic issue.

The leftists and unions today mask their words behind the same words we use, but their ideas are completely and wholly foreign to ours. Whereas the unions decry the loss of their “right” to collective bargaining (where one party happens to be elected by themselves), anarchists decry the “right” to living life according to rules they make up for themselves.

Our ideas of freedom and liberty aren’t based on such nonsense. We believe in a universal, natural law that transcends humanity, time and space. We believe that we don’t get to choose which set of laws to obey. We believe that the fruits of believing and obeying the one true law for all mankind and the universe is peace and happiness, and that the penalty for violating the same is discord and anarchy.

We talk of individual liberty, not collective rights. We talk of individual responsibility, not consuming our time and resources to pleasure ourselves. We work to persuade others to choose for themselves to take responsibilities for themselves. We reach out with our surplus time and money to serve those around us who lack the same, because we know that the only charity is individual charity, and forcing others to serve one another is simply slavery. That is who we are as a country, because that is what people who believe in our ideals do.

The way to maintain our country is to first choose for ourselves whether we swear allegiance to a man, a country, a set of laws, or the universal laws that govern all. When millions of individuals make this choice, the result is inevitably liberty, peace, and prosperity.

Unfortunately, those who choose not to obey that law often resort to violence against others. There is no way to convince them against violence other than pure fear itself. Therefore, arm yourselves, and be watchful and vigilant. Should it ever occur that the police, national guard, and military is unable to protect our rights, we have the eternal right to protect them ourselves. If our enemies don’t fear the police, national guard, or military, they will certainly fear countless millions of regular Americans, armed and ready to protect their own personal liberty. If they are foolish enough to move forward with their plans anyway, then they will taste what the British who tried to subjugate the colonies tasted twice—the taste of defeat.

Keep yourself free, and protect your neighbor as well. Stand for truth and liberty, and do not be afraid of our enemies. The mightiest kingdoms known of earth fell before the muskets and machine guns of the American soldier, fighting to protect himself, his family, his community and his ideals. If we are aligned with righteousness, then no power can stop us.

Armed with faith, hope and love, not fear, we can certainly maintain our country and our peace no matter what violence or tactics our opponents use.

The End of the Unions?

February 25, 2011

Historically, unions have played an important role in American politics. In past decades, unions have been the single most powerful influencer of government at all levels, even surpassing the influence of industry and the people.

Our American system, however, has checks and balances that eliminate the power of even majorities imposing their unjust will on the minority. In this case, the unions were an unforeseen power that bled the treasuries across the country dry in order to perpetuate their fraud on the public.

Today, the unions are being eliminated as a political power. No longer will states stand idly by while unions transfer tax dollars to politician’s pocketbooks. We can see this because nothing the unions in Wisconsin can do can stop the republican legislature and governor. Everything they try simply reduces their influence and perception in the eyes of the public. I believe, here at home, a candidate could see a boost in their poll numbers if they simply declare solidarity with the people of Wisconsin, their elected government, and opposition to all public employee unions.

What is it that lead to the demise of the unions? Simply put, representative democracy.

Our Founding Fathers understood that no system of government is perfect. All are subject to corruption, so famously summed up as “power corrupts”.

Governments exist to protect the rights of the people. Even if we demolished our government, new governments would spring up in their place. No matter where you go in the world, the vast majority of people are always willing to give up a few of their rights to secure themselves. We see it in families, companies, tribes, cities, states, and entire nations. The pattern can never be broken, because 2 people, working together, are always more powerful than 2 people working independently.

Our Founding Fathers did an unprecedented survey of world governments. From their unique position in history, they could accurately weight almost every form of government imaginable. Rather than choose only one form, they combined the best parts of each, and set the worst parts of each against each other. Our modern government is actually a hodge-podge of democracy, republicanism, dictatorship, thoecracy, feudalism, and every other form of government imaginable. To point out a few features, the people retain the power to overthrow government entirely (recognized in the Declaration of Independence); the people also have the power to overthrow the people within government, namely the house of representatives (democracy). The states and the people elect the members of the senate and the president, and laws are changed only according to their consent (republicanism), while the president retains all but absolute control over the execution of the law (dictatorship). At the same time, we have a judiciary that judges are law based on their unique interpretation of the law—not unlike a priest who declares to the people what the will of God is. Within American society, we belong to families, churches, societies, and companies. Each of these has a variety of forms of government, one more suited than the other. We are fine working under the tyranny of our CEO, but oftentimes prefer a more democratic approach to our congregations and societies. Of course, we try to balance one form of government against each other as best we can in our lives, just as the Founding Fathers did with our governments.

What set the unions apart was their unique ability to combine together to exploit weaknesses in our democratic and republic form of government. Just as our Founding Fathers expected, when a big enough group conspires together, our government will fall under their power.

However, just as the Founding Fathers anticipated, over time the party in power would alienate more and more members of society with their abuses of that power. We see that today the union has fallen to an all-time low in popularity because they have clearly been sucking our pocketbooks dry, and insist on extracting even more cash from the people to sustain their special interests.

And just like the Founding Fathers anticipated, a bloodless revolution was made possible when those opposed to the ruling party found enough compatriots to drive them out of office.

So here we are today, with the unions rapidly diminishing in power due to their own abuses of that power.

And tomorrow, we’ll see another group rise in power only to abuse that power, only to alienate enough people that they too will fall from power.

Those groups who can maintain power are those groups who truly protect the rights of the people as a whole. If the unions had not insisted on extracting ever more extravagant benefits for their people, but instead searched for and destroyed elements of our society that plagued the people by abusing their rights, as they originally insisted they would, we would all be happily ruled by the unions.

And that, my friends, is why America is great, and why America will always be great.

Socialism Fails (Again)

February 22, 2011

What boils me mad in the Wisconsin debacle is the failure of Socialism is staring people right in the face, and yet socialists believe somehow it was all a conspiracy on the part of Governor Walker.

Socialism’s weakness is that it is a parasitical philosophy, just like any other crime-based ideology. The crime of socialism is theft. The money that people create and breath value into is stolen in the name of the “public good”, then distributed based on political favoritism to rich and poor alike, with the politicians doing the redistributing taking all the credit.

Just like a society where theft is considered moral quickly discovers, the number of people willing to produce rather than participate in the massive theft on a grand scale diminishes. At the same time, the recipients of the blood money grow ever more gluttonous and demand more and more, without any consideration for the limited resources available to the politicians.

The end is written in the beginning. Eventually, socialists run out of other people’s money. Eventually, socialists break their government budget, and eventually, all become equally poor and destitute, the product of believing in the lie of thievery. Just like the family that goes on a spending spree, the debt becomes unpayable, and bankruptcy is the only option. Bankruptcy means someone will not get what they were promised.

If socialists want to do it right, they would have to build a system that has the following characteristics:

  1. Ensure that the “entitled” are relatively few in number, and receive relatively few benefits. Ensure that the entitled do not grow nor increase in received benefits.
  2. Ensure that the providers, the taxpayers, always have plenty of excess wealth that they don’t mind sharing for the brainless socialist plots. In order to do so, structure government so that the rich can get ever richer with low taxes, sensible and limited regulation, and eliminating the public deficit (which reduces the capital available to free enterprise.)
  3. Ensure that no matter what politic moods may prevail, the above two conditions remain inviolable, perhaps by encoding them into the constitutions of the land, or more appropriately, making them the primary tenets of socialism.

Of course, socialism as practiced has none of the traits above. The entitled always grow in number and cost. The economy always shrinks under excessive taxation, regulation, and public borrowing. And whatever limits are put into place originally are quickly violated.

It is often the socialist who accuses the capitalist of being small-minded. However, the socialist has no explanation of where he intends to get the money and ultimately value to finance his pipe dreams, nor does he have any concept whatsoever of what wealth is or where it comes from. Because of this, it is all but impossible to even have a sensible discussion with one, no matter their age or education background.

And when the house of cards come crashing down, the small-minded socialist, rather than investigating the root causes of the collapse, instinctively blames their political opponents, who were distinctly out of power when the socialist polices were enacted and thus cannot shoulder any of the blame at all. If anything, the anti-socialist is fervently busy trying to make the house of cards collapse softly, by absorbing future collapses in the present and stabilizing the system by enacting reforms that emphasize the above 3 sensible points.

I’ve seen through the socialist game a long time ago. I’ve long ago decided, as an individual, that I will not participate, to the extent possible, in this terrible fraud. I have lived my life, to the best of my ability, without accepting any public aid. I intend to establish my financial future today to ensure that when the time comes to collect Social Security and Medicare, the checks will never be cashed. This despite my already having given well over a hundred thousand dollars to Social Security and Medicare, money which I know doesn’t exist and is not mine nor ever will be.

Millions upon millions of Americans are doing the same. When the system ultimately collapses, it will be our food, our money, our expertise that will be there to rebuild a new, capitalist America, one where everyone will have opportunities to succeed rather than waiting for the next government handout.

Dear Wisconsin Protestors: GET A JOB, YOU BUMS!

February 21, 2011

The teachers in Wisconsin are upset, apparently, because the state is planning to cut their benefits and to remove their ability to negotiate future benefits as a group.

You know what? If you’re working for government, you have ZERO right to complain. You get paid by the blood, sweat, and tears of someone else, whether they are alive today or yet to be born. You should kiss the ground every day, thanking your benevolent master, the PEOPLE, and hoping that they find it in their compassion to give you a decent paycheck.

Since when did we get the idea that the government owes anyone anything? Since when did the PEOPLE become the slaves of some group or another? Since when did ANYONE see it appropriate to BULLY their way to extracting blood, sweat and tears from the people to line their own pocketbooks?

I say, those in Wisconsin should be thanking God they live in a country that doesn’t lop off people’s heads for being foolish enough to believe that government is somehow superior to the people. (We saw that in France, and we find it disgusting.) They should be thanking the People that they even have a job in the first place, and they should be ESPECIALLY thankful for whatever pittance they earn.

If you don’t like working for the state, then QUIT!

I say, if you negotiate to become part of the government (which schools have FOOLISHLY done), then your salary should automatically be a tiny fraction of what your private sector counterpart is. The reason why is because your butt is not on the line. You don’t lose your job if you under perform, or if the weather turns sour, or if s bunch of idiots on Wall Street decide that selling air is a good way to measure financial strength. You don’t wake up in the morning wondering if you even have a job, or if you lose your job, you can find another one because your skill set is still relevant in today’s world.

CUT CUT CUT CUT

February 16, 2011

As we start talking about the budget, President Obama and his cadre of socialists is hawking his budget, which supposedly is our salvation. Despite the fact that he outright lies about what is in his budget, and despite the fact that his budget will do nothing to address any of the crises we are already in, he persists in pretending his proposals have any redeeming value.

The sad truth is that what the republicans in the house are doing is really pointless. Even if everything goes according to the Tea Party’s plans in the house, the senate and the president will not sign on. But even then, even if the president and senate let the house dictate the budget, it still would not be enough.

People accuse republicans, conservatives, and myself of wanting to destroy Social Security and Medicare. They say we want to cut it or eliminate it altogether. That’s hardly the truth.

Yes, I propose the drastic action of stopping the programs altogether immediately. Even if I supported the idea of government socialism and putting the elderly on the federal budget, I would still propose we eliminate the programs immediately.

To understand why, consider a man who has a home mortgage. He is “underwater”, meaning that even if by some miracle he could sell his house, it would not be enough money to cover his mortgage. That was the federal government before the housing crisis hit two years ago, right before America realized that Obama might actually get elected.

What’s changed since then is that the man has lost his job, and will never be able to find a job that pays enough to ever pay back his mortgage, no matter how many times he refinances or juggles his budget.

What can the bank do in this case? There is no hope of ever recovering anything more than the value of the house. The money they had hoped to collect will never be collected. What the bank must do is immediately mark the money they cannot collect as a loss. If they believe they can collect the rest of the money from the man, then they can write off part of the mortgage and give him a new mortgage with terms that he can actually satisfy. Or, the bank can foreclose, cut off all relations with the man, and start over. Either way, the money will never appear, no matter how badly the bank wants it to.

The federal government in this story is the bank. The taxpayers are the man working in his job. The loan and the home represents the programs the government has for the elderly.

We are at a point, today, where the government needs about $68 TRILLION in assets to cover all future expenses. However, the money the government can collect from the people is not even enough to borrow that kind of money, now or forever.

What the federal government MUST do is (a) rewrite the loan terms, giving America’s elderly significantly fewer benefits because we simply will never have enough money for them, or (b) cancel the contract altogether and start over from scratch. EITHER WAY, the money is gone, and anyone who tells the elderly that the money is there is lying.

If the bank were to write off the portion of the loan the man could never pay, is the bank stealing from the man, or taking something away? Of course not. The bank is simply acknowledging a loss that already occurred. If the bank didn’t write the money off, then it would be lying to itself, its depositors, and its investors.

By the same token, if we do not immediately cut these programs, then we are lying to ourselves. We are saying we will have money we will never have, and making promises to give people that money that will never exist.

In light of this, when I propose to cut Medicare and Social Security, I am doing everyone a favor. If you are counting on your retirement coming from the federal government, the sooner you disabuse yourself of the lies you have been told the better.

The same goes for every other program the government administers, from pensions to health insurance and care to the military and many, many more things.

How Its Done

February 9, 2011

I once was interested in a particular policy issue—fire protection. The libertarian argument is that fire districts should be run the same way car insurance works—you buy what you need, and are responsible for whatever damage you cause through negligence on your part.

The socialist way is to have government do fire service for you. We have that in most modern cities, and it seems to work OK, except for the fact that we don’t have enough money in the world to pay the fireman’s pension.

There is another alternative, something I’ll call “the American Way”. It works like this.

One, do nothing. Two, rely on individuals to volunteer their time and talents. Three, pay them far below what they are worth.

This seems to work fine for the military. Nobody who joins the military does so out of greed. Most join because they want to give something back to the country. That’s the spirit of the American.

In Star Valley, Wyoming, I had a chance to talk with a distant relative who is part of the fire department there. He’s actually a volunteer fire fighter, which means he can be called up at any moment to respond to a fire or to a bad accident. He is trained and ready to help whenever he can. The number of volunteers for the area is astounding—roughly every able-bodied male who lives there is part of the fire department.

They don’t get paid, either, whether there is a fire or not. If they stick with it until 65, then they get a small pension.

Of course, they have equipment and dispatch, which require money to upkeep. This money comes from the county, which collects it as part of the property taxes. I doubt there is any waste here, however, as the same people who pay the taxes are the same people who are in the fire department. No one is getting rich.

Oftentimes, the best solution is to have the government do nothing. At worst, they might have to coordinate volunteers. The American Spirit is one of self-sacrifice for the good of our neighbors. If there is a need, then the true Americans step forward to fulfill it.

Latest Moral Issue: School Choice

February 7, 2011

Kyle Olson compared Kelley Williams-Bolar to Rosa Parks when NPR called for his reaction to the story.

Rosa Parks, as you should remember, refused to sit in the back of the bus. At the time, black people were segregated from white people, and one of the evidences of this segregation was the fact that black people had to sit at the back of the bus. This single act of civil disobedience did not end segregation, but the millions of acts that follow did.

Kelley Williams-Bolar falsified document to make it appear that she and her daughter lived within the district of a good school. When the good school did an investigation, they uncovered the truth, and she was punished according to the law. Her motivation was to see to it that her daughter could get a good education.

Today, our education system is broken. Having the government fund and dictate education policy has completely ruined our system. Rather than apply the principles of individual liberty and moral responsibility, we have adopted the policies of government control and corruption.

Today, more than ever, we need to fight for the moral issue, which is school choice, or rather, school liberty. Rather than tax people to fund a broken education system, we need an education system where freedom is the only principle. Let people attend schools wherever they wish. Let them pay as much or as little as they want. Let teachers decide which schools they want to teach at, and let principals decide who is allowed to attend or teach.

Yes, there is terribly injustice in our country when it comes to education. This injustice arises partially because we live in a world where there is a shortage of necessary goods. The vast majority of the injustice arises because we refuse to allow market forces to distribute the limited resources according to need.

A working education system would be able to attract top talent among the teachers and administrators. A working education system would direct this top talent to where they are needed the most, or at least where they can do the most good. Although education would not be free, it would be available, which is more to say than what it is today.

Want Spousal Harmony? Attend Church Regularly

February 7, 2011

One of the weakest arguments Atheists have is what to replace religion with. After all, religion is the very foundation for our entire society.

A recent study shows that religion, namely attending regular religious services, reduces risks of aggression in an intimate relationship by 50%. That means that if we, as a society, were to eliminate religious services altogether, there would be twice as much aggression in intimate relationships.

What do Atheists propose we replace religion with? What other thing out there can boast to reducing violence by 50%?