Anarchy in its purest form is based on peaceful behavior and voluntaryism in a stateless society, while government is based on aggression, theft, force, and deceit. These two systems are completely opposite. The only moral social system worth having has to adhere to the ideas of non-aggression, private property, free and voluntary exchange, and self-responsibility. This ideology is based entirely on the individual as sovereign. A political order where the individual is not sovereign, such as what we have now in this country, is the type of system that eventually leads to tyranny and serfdom. We are already far along in that process. …
Those who believe that anarchy is chaos without justice fail to understand that anarchists simply want to be left alone. The fact that they want to be left alone should naturally convey that they also don’t want to infringe upon the liberty of others. Self-rule means that one’s life is directed from within instead of being controlled from without. This concept should not be foreign to any man who desires to enjoy a free life. But it is this simple notion that escapes so many.
I do consider myself an Austrian, and some Austrians indeed harbor contempt for Milton Friedman primarily because of his support for a central bank (among other issues). Also, Austrians have legitimate gripes both on Friedman’s methodology and his opinions on praxeology and the Austrian school.
But while I, of course, disagree with him (vehemently) on monetary policy among other things (he was more comfortable with government than I think anyone should be), including his role in foisting the withholding tax upon the American people - I will never deny that he was one of history’s titans of disseminating economic thought who was instrumental in promoting and teaching the beauty and efficiency of free market principles to the world. And, not only was he an early influence on me (becoming, by proxy, my first non-Keynesian economics teacher - along with Thomas Sowell, another brilliant non-Austrian), he remains a source of great insight to this day.
No man is without flaws. And ultimately, Rothbard is my homeboy. But Milton Friedman, even with his flaws, was better than most men - and worthy, despite those flaws, of no less than my sincere respect.
“When “fairness” replaces “freedom,” all our liberties are in danger. In Walden, Thoreau says: “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” That is the way I feel when I hear my “servants” in Washington assuring me of the “fairness” of their edicts.”—Milton Friedman
“If our Republican friends think that by increasing our debt by almost $800 billion today, and almost $3 trillion dollars over the last five years is the right thing to do, they should be up front about it. They should explain why they think that more debt is good for our economy. How can the Republican majority in this Congress explain to their constituents that trillions of dollars of new debt is good for the economy? How can they explain that they think it’s fair to force our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren to finance this debt through higher taxes (that’s what will have to [happen])? Why is it right to increase our nation’s dependence on foreign creditors? They should explain this. Maybe they can convince the public they are right. I doubt it. Because most Americans know that increasing debt is the last thing we should be doing. After all, … the baby boomers are about to retire. Under the circumstances, any reputable economist would tell you that we should be reducing debt, not increasing it. …
Democrats won’t be making arguments to support this legislation which will weaken our country… weaken our country. …
We’re being asked to do what shouldn’t be asked of us: to increase our debt to nearly $9 trillion dollars. I hope everyone walking down to these desks today will understand what they are doing… what they are doing to this country. On this side of the aisle, we know.”—
As I’ve said again and again and again: this is all a political game. The duplicitous crooks - both Republicans and Democrats - in power simply forever want more power, and if it means taking turns feigning principled stands against debt and agitating fear against default - so be it. The sheeple, clearly, prefer the bliss of ignorance and the comfort of acquiescence. Their only concern is that their path to the slaughterhouse be paved with the riches of another.
This chart from the White House, which purports to prove, with the scientific magic of math, that basically everything bad that has happened to the budget is the fault of one George W. Bush, has been making the rounds. My colleague approvingly calls it “Another chart that should accompany all debt ceiling discussions”.
I’m a little less enamored, considering that this graph attributes decisions made by Obama and an all-Democratic Congress—like doubling down in Afghanistan—to Bush, while taking responsibility for basically nothing except the stimulus. When Obama extends the Bush tax cuts for the rich under pressure from Congressional Republicans, that disappears from his side of the ledger, because after all, he didn’t want to do it. When Bush enacts Medicare Part D under pressure from Congressional Democrats, the full cost is charged against his presidency. The list of such silliness goes on. Our president seems set to coin another presidential motto: “The duck starts here.”
If you must use this chart as some sort of an aid to debate, we should probably drag in a few others for contrast and depth. The first shows deficits, spending, and revenues since 2000 (as a percentage of GDP):
And the second shows what happened to the national debt, and interest payments on that debt, during the same period:
It’s not really very easy to look at these graphs and tell a story where the deficit is 1.6% under George Bush in 2007, and then suddenly balloons to 10% under Obama a few years later—and does so almost entirely as a result of policies initiated under George W. Bush, and only those initiated under George W. Bush. (Not because of say, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.) What changed about Bush policies that made them so much more expensive once Barack Obama took office? Nor is it exactly obvious to look at the $2.4 trillion in additional debt incurred during Bush’s eight-year presidency, and say that he is nonetheless actually responsible for $7 trillion of our current debt load—and then turn to the $3.1 trillion of debt incurred during Barack Obama’s three-year presidency, and declare that his policies are actually responsible for only $1.4 trillion.
As Jim Fallows notes, these blame games are really quite childish. In fact, most of what’s driving our current deficits is the economy, and the onrushing retirement of the Baby Boomers. Those are the things that are changing rapidly, not the size of the Bush tax cuts. If you want to blame it on anyone, blame Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, but good luck getting any money out of their estates.
Yes, taxes have been worse - but not always. What’s missing from this cute cartoon is every single preceding president who sat on top of 0%. The federal income tax didn’t exist until Wilson. Where’s that historical perspective? Still, if your reasoning is essentially “pipe down - it used to be worse,” you’ve already lost. Something isn’t acceptable simply because a worse alternative previously existed.
Allow me to demonstrate the ridiculousness of such an argument.
"Dear black person,
Yes, your schools are awful, your opportunities for employment are few, and you are heavily prosecuted by the “justice” system. But have some historical perspective: blacks used to be slaves.”
"Dear gay person,
Yes, you may be denied certain legal benefits and protections because the state uses its monopoly on force to presume authority over the peaceful, consensual relationships of individuals. But have some historical perspective: gays used to be stoned.”
"Dear victim of theft,
Yes, a gang of criminals put a gun to your head and forced you to give up 40% of what you rightfully earned or face being torn from your family and placed in a rape box (or worse). But have some historical perspective: that gang used to take 94%!”
This was written in 1985 but could have been written yesterday…
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices — 545 human beings out of the 235 million — are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.
I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.
No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
Don’t you see how the con game is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of [a Speaker], who stood up and criticized [a president] for creating deficits.
The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.
[Who] is the speaker of the House[?] He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow [House members], not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of  million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility.
I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.
When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the [military] are in [the middle east], it’s because they want them in [the middle east].
There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses — provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.
Politicians, mainstream economists, and the media tell us that a U.S. government debt default would be catastrophic. Treasury bonds would be downgraded, interest rates would soar, and the massive government spending that has supposedly fueled the present (jobless) recovery would be severely curtailed, plunging the U.S. and possibly the world back into a deep recession.
Perhaps that is true. However, a debt default by the federal government would still be a blessing to American society for several reasons. …
First, [w]hen [government] borrows, it is confiscating money from people in the future – some of whom are not even born yet – to hand out to their special interest supporters today. To the extent that it would prevent or decrease this, a default would result in a more just society.
[Also], a default would help correct the very malinvestment that has caused the crisis in the first place. … [T]he entire U.S. economy is really one, huge bubble of misallocated resources, caused by at least a century of government intervention. … [T]he government’s backing of mortgages, together with monetary inflation by the Federal Reserve, were the primary causes of the housing bubble. However, most people fail to recognize this same dynamic in almost every sector of the economy. …
So, wherever the government is spending money to try to boost some aggregate statistic, it is making the problem bigger, not smaller. If government spending is creating jobs, they are not real jobs. A real job is a voluntary contract between a buyer of services (an employer) and a seller of services (an employee). If that job is created because of government spending, then a third party is introduced into the transaction who is not acting voluntarily. Government-created jobs force taxpayers to purchase services from employees because it is not profitable for the employers in that sector to purchase them. Forcing taxpayers to purchase them doesn’t make those jobs any more profitable. It just depletes the capital available to create profitable jobs elsewhere. …
However, the most important reason that a debt default will be beneficial is a philosophic one. It will force a complete paradigm shift in the way Americans think about the role of government. For at least a century, there has been no area of life that some special interest has not appealed to government to manage or subsidize. From the way we conduct commerce to the way we make personal decisions on food or healthcare to the way we coexist with our neighbors in other countries, nothing has been off limits. Complacency about our liberty has been one reason. The other has been the perception of infinite financial resources. The great wealth that the United States generated in its freest period provided a tax base and borrowing collateral that has always been perceived as unlimited. A debt default would shatter that foolish perception.
The default would be a bucket of cold water in the faces of a drowsy and compliant populace.
While this makes for a cute retort - I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone say “Government is for people who show up.” It’s a stupid phrase no matter who says it, which is why I suppose it makes a nice straw man.
“The question must be asked, what is to be done by the antiwar Left? This question may be put in a variety of ways. The Left often acknowledges its obligation to those in developing countries, people of color over the planet whose standard of living and life itself is held back by the depredations of the U.S. Empire. If the Left acknowledges such a primary obligation, does it not need to support an antiwar candidate like Paul when there is no other around? Look at Libya with thousands killed by NATO bombing and the infrastructure of the African country with the highest Human Development Index being systematically destroyed. It is a war that is undeclared by Congress, therefore in violation of the Constitution and thus an impeachable action. Or Iraq where a million have been killed and four million displaced. Paul takes an unequivocal stance to stop this killing. How can the Left justify withholding its support?”— John Walsh, “Ron Paul’s Challenge to the Left” (via coeus)
Wong alleges that on the evening of June 9, he was sitting at the West Oakland BART station listening to a “musical ringtone” on his phone. Officer W. Sanchez came over to Wong and asked him to turn down the volume, and Wong complied. Sanchez then asked Wong to turn off the music completely, and Wong also complied.
Wong then exited the station with Sanchez following close behind. Outside, Sanchez took out her baton and started beating Wong with it. Wong attempted to flee but was detained and arrested.
Wong was taken to jail where he was held for two days. The Oakland District Attorney declined to file any charges against Wong; however, while at the station, Wong received a ticket for playing his music too loud.
The stupid thing is, the Republicans probably know this. This is part of their game plan to screw the economy while Obama is in office. What’s a mystery is why Democrats continue to play along instead of hanging this on Republicans.
"a stagnant economy suffering from falling government spending”???
The biggest government that has ever existed in the history of mankind, with gargantuan expansions in everything from banking to medicine to war… and we are supposed to believe this Orwellian claptrap? Up is down, apparently.
Krugman is the perfect cheerleader for the left: partisan, Keynesian twaddle presented with risible intellectual legitimacy. When such comments are so out of line with reality, so manufactured, you’d think people would be snapped out of their statist hypnosis. Instead, as is particularly evident on tumblr it seems, people keep gobbling up the glittery unicorn shit and calling it filet mignon.
“Both of these plans [Reid’s Democratic party plan and Boehner’s Republican party plan] will add somewhere between $7 to $8 trillion over 10 years. The real disservice to the American people is they need to be honest about their accounting up here. … None of these cut spending, none of these cuts the deficit. Both plans will add $7 to $8 trillion. I don’t think our country can withstand that addition of new debt.”—Rand Paul
According to the report, the man was brutally beaten after calling the Loganville, Georgia police for help after his son had committed suicide.
The man left the garage where he found his son after paramedics began CPR; the man then began pacing in his front yard. He says a police officer then grabbed his arm and told him that he needed to sit down. He jerked his arm from the officer and told him “Don’t touch me.” He said he did nothing else. The officer responded by tackling him.
After he was on the ground two more officers jumped in and held him to the ground while an additional two officers beat on him. Neighbors recount witnessing the police just standing over the man - wailing away, punching him again and again while he was being pinned down to the ground.
“Mother criminally charged for illegally boarding a school bus … because she thought her kid was dying… . [She] faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The prosecutor says the bus company urged him to press charges. The bus company denies that. But here’s the best line by the idiot prosecutor: “Most parents aren’t a problem, but what do you do when a … sex offender wants to get on the bus and get his kids off? We need to have that protection in place.” He’s right. I mean, you let this one mother who thought her kid was dying duck the law, and the next you thing you know, sex offenders will be coaching their kids to fake choking and heart attacks, so they can board buses full of children under the guise of an emergency, and then, and then … and then, what? … quickly molest all the children before anyone notices?”
The popular narrative about this summer’s struggle to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling centers on the word “default.” If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, we are told, the U.S. government will be forced to default on many of its financial obligations, reducing Uncle Sam’s creditworthiness and decreasing our government’s ability to effectively carry out its duties. Sounds scary.
But a failure to raise the debt ceiling wouldn’t necessarily cause a default or any reduction of creditworthiness. Indeed, keeping the debt ceiling fixed might actually increase investors’ willingness to buy U.S. bonds.
A debtor defaults when it fails to pay its creditors in a timely fashion. So who are the government’s creditors?
The government’s chief creditors are holders of U.S. government bonds. People who bought these bonds loaned money to the government in return for a promise of repayment of principal and interest. Some of the country’s other creditors are vendors who sold supplies or services to the federal government but have yet to be paid. Still other creditors are government workers (including active military personnel) who haven’t yet been paid for work they’ve done in recent weeks; retired government workers who are due pension payments; and, finally, taxpayers who are due tax refunds.
That’s it. Only a failure to pay some or all of these people will result in an actual U.S. government default and be interpreted by investors as evidence of a decline in Uncle Sam’s creditworthiness.
So, must failure to raise the debt ceiling keep the government from paying its creditors in full? Emphatically no.
The United States [are] not now and [have] never been a republic. It, [collectively], is a federation of states, each of which, in Article IV of the Constitution, is guaranteed a republican form of government. But a federation of republics is not itself a republic any more than the federation of nations in the United Nations, or in the European Union, is a nation. A federation is a service agency of the political units that compose it. Whatever else a republic might be, it is not a service agency of something else. So instead of talking about “restoring the old Republic,” we should talk of restoring republicanism in a federation of states. And this can only mean recalling the vast domain of unenumerated powers that the Constitution reserves to the states and which have been usurped by that artificial corporation, known as the United States, created by the states for their welfare.
This is not a quibble with words. To talk of the Republic inclines one to think of America as a single political society in the manner of Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln. In this view, the states are service agencies created by the sovereign will of the American people in the aggregate. That will is expressed through the central government, which, for all practical purposes, has the final say on the limits of its powers. This means that the states are merely administrative units of a unitary American state.
“A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn’t produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.”—Walter E. Williams (via thoseboringpolitics)
"Median household wealth among Hispanics fell from $18,359 in 2005 to $6,325 in 2009. The percentage drop--66%-- was the largest for any racial or ethnic group, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project. During the same period median household wealth declined 53% among black households and 16% among white households."
What do you think about this?
Horrible. Of course, blacks and hispanics didn’t suddenly become less productive. The nation didn’t suddenly become more racist. But there is clearly something that had a dramatic, disproportionate affect on household wealth in that four-year window. For those willing to see it, the answer is obvious. Right smack in the middle of that time period the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was passed, which continued to increase the minimum wage through 2009.
Update: And let’s not forget the impact of foreclosed homes during the housing bubble burst in 2008 - which hit hardest minorities hardest. Certain individuals and families had no business owning a home but were incentivized to do so courtesy of government policies. If these people had used their wealth intelligently, instead of putting it toward owning a home they could not afford, their wealth would not have been destroyed. (h/t jmarsshit)
In a gradient of evilness, a VAT would be less destructive than, say, an income tax. That is, it is ever-so-marginally less bad to punish consumption than to punish production.
But despite what some may promise, a VAT will never replace the income tax. I just don’t believe the government would leave such a vast, previously-tapped source of revenue unused. Introducing a new type of tax, then, is dangerous as it simply adds more taxes (even if not in the short-run). Plus, because a VAT is so much more complicated to calculate than a sales tax, the end consumer will likely be ignorant to the total amount he is truly taxed - since most of the VAT would be hidden through every stage of the process. And such invisible taxation is particularly pernicious.
Pretending the US government defaults, do you think it will take a strong toll on the medical research industry (namely stell cell research)? I realize that's a general ass question, but I can't really understand what will happen directly after a default.
Well, those most attached to the government teat will certainly feel the affects most - and health care is particularly engorged ad mammae. But the affects will likely be temporary and proved to be a net positive.
Suppose a man - because of some radio contest granting him free, unlimited access - eats a dozen donuts daily from a local donut shop (the only one in his area), and one day a freak tornado sucks the shop from existence denying the man his regular supply of delicious sugary death rings. Surely, he will feel the affects more than the occasional patron, and he will no doubt suffer some painful withdrawals. But, eventually, the absence of the steady supply of empty calories and carbs will prove to be a boon to his well-being and his waist-line.
Medical research, when funding becomes more focused and accountable through private sources, will in turn become more focused and efficient as it will be more prone to cut losses when necessary in order to better chase successes.
“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”—George Orwell
After a three-hour City Council committee hearing Monday on the future of the much-debated photo enforcement system, the session ended with a recommendation to stop issuing citations at the end of the month and “phase out” the program.
The tickets are part of a “voluntary payment program” without sanctions for those who fail to submit fines, said Richard M. Tefank, executive director of the city’s Board of Police Commissioners.
"The consequence is somebody calling you from one of these collection agencies and saying ‘pay up.’ And that’s it," said committee member and Councilman Bill Rosendahl. "There’s no real penalty in terms of your driver’s license or any other consequences if you don’t pay."
The five-member committee recommended that the full City Council endorse an earlier decision by the Los Angeles Police Commission to terminate the camera program at the end of the month.
Whether the full City Council will go along with the recommendation remains unclear. The City Council previously deadlocked over the fate of the program after the Police Commission voted to kill the program in June. If the council accepts the recommendation of the budget committee, the last camera-issued ticket in Los Angeles would be generated July 31.
Unsaid in all of this is the untold millions of dollars wasted and thousands of motorists put in danger from this scam.
“Contrary to any claim of a systematically “neutral” effect of taxation on production, the consequence of any such shortening of roundabout methods of production is a lower output produced. The price that invariably must be paid for taxation, and for every increase in taxation, is a coercively lowered productivity that in turn reduces the standard of living in terms of valuable assets provided for future consumption. Every act of taxation necessarily exerts a push away from more highly capitalized, more productive production processes in the direction of a hand-to-mouth-existence.”—Hans Hermann Hoppe, The Economics and Sociology of Taxation (via blistexfan)
Imagine you had a pesky neighbor who somehow took out a mortgage on his house in your name and by some legal trickery you were obligated to pay for it. Imagine watching this neighbor throw drunken parties, buy expensive cars, add more rooms to the house, and hire dozens of people to wait on him hand and foot. Imagine that he also managed to take out several credit cards in your name. One by one, he would max them out and then use your good name and credit to obtain another credit card, then another and then another. Each time, this neighbor would claim that he needed the new credit card to pay interest on the other maxed out credit cards. If he defaulted on those cards, your credit score would be hurt and when you wanted to buy something for yourself, it would be more difficult to get a loan and the interest you paid would be higher. Imagine that you mulled this over, and time after time, said nothing as he filled out more credit applications so he would not have to default on the other debt taken out in your name. Meanwhile, another shiny new Mercedes appears in his driveway. At what point do you think you might get tired of this game? And, even though you are left with no really good options, do you think you might eventually tell him to go ahead and default, just stop spending your money!
This analogy demonstrates the position we are in with our government and the debt ceiling. The government has run up a huge debt in the name of the American people, who are sick and tired of being on the hook for it. There are no really good options left. Defaulting on a portion of the debt may not be without costs, but it is better than handing the government yet another credit card.
The government is using the usual scare tactics to strong-arm the people into going along with more spending. Remember the rhetoric surrounding the big bailout of October 2008? We were told, not that this would be calamitous for the banks, but for the people, who would continue to experience massive job losses and foreclosures. We were told that the economy would sink into a deep recession if this money was not handed out to too-big-to-fail corporate cronies. So, after much hand-wringing, leaders from both parties, against unprecedented public outcry, agreed to shower money on the banks and increase the debt. The banks learned nothing, except that Washington will come to their rescue, no matter what. The people, however, continued to lose their jobs and houses anyway, and here we are, still in a deep recession.
When you read the above example, your first reaction might have been to dismiss the neighbor’s debt as illegitimate and in no way your responsibility or your problem. You would be right. No fair-minded legal system would hold you responsible for such a debt, and would instead cart your thieving neighbor off to jail. Yet Congress can impose liabilities on you, your children, and grandchildren without your consent, and even without your knowledge. This is another example of government holding itself above the law. Much like the TSA claims the right to molest us, yet arrested a woman who turned the tables last week, stealing somehow becomes legitimate when the government does it.
We supposedly live in a nation of laws. For once, government needs to heed the law regarding the debt ceiling.
“Being a Libertarian means you stand for nothing.”
my PSci prof.
This is the only thing that has ever come out of his penis-reeking mouth that I agree with. There is nothing worse than a libertarian. At least conservatives have things they believe in, but libertarians don’t seem to know what they want, except for the U.S. to be one giant KKK orgy.
Considering your opinion of libertarianism is based on constructions of the imagination, I was wondering if there was anything else you wouldn’t mind sharing your opinion on that you know absolutely nothing about?
Oh, and a couple of things on some of your other posts: Whole Foods is run by a libertarian, and che guevara was a murdering racist. And the word “Negro” in this magazine literally means the color “black” in Spanish - it has nothing to do with race or racism or the “exotic” nature of other cultures.
But as to your original contention: libertarianism stands for self-ownership and non-aggression - and the peace, prosperity, and natural rights to life, liberty, and property that logically flow from these tenets. Libertarians indeed know what they want: a society of sovereign individuals through which coercion and aggression - particularly the “legalized” state-sanctioned kind - is minimized in order to maximize the aforementioned peace, prosperity, and natural rights.
But if someone can convince me that the owners of excess capital don’t always end up having the most power & being the most coercive, I may reconsider.
Would you put a cap on an individual’s talents? His aspirations? His productivity? His drive? How much of his life (through time) he can trade for something he desires more?
For property is merely a product of all this. It is simply the physical manifestation of a person’s past, and any person who owns himself must be able to own property that was justly acquired or produced through his self-ownership.
Amidst the hype and hyperbole of the fear-mongering fairy tales spun by POTUS (and his equally disingenuous statist counter-part on the right) on national television today, it seemed appropriate to offer some links that properly explain the debt situation.
Libertarianism is not a violent political philosophy. Yes, libertarianism is anti-state. But, anti-statism should not be construed as a call to violence. All libertarians should abhor the use of aggression as a means of achieving an end. Indeed, libertarianism is based on the principle of social cooperation, which by definition is peaceful. We are individuals who recognize the advantages of a peaceful society, relying on the contractual construct of private property as a means of dealing with the underlying scarcity that pervades our world. The initiation of violence, by its very nature, is antithetical to libertarianism. …
Libertarians recognize that individuals, from very early on, developed methods by which to limit the degree of violence in their society. Property rights are one such tool. Property rights were meant as a way of delineating ownership over scarce resources to avoid the conflict which would naturally arise if one’s ownership of a particular economic good was not respected. To a progressive individual, interesting in furthering one’s wealth, conflict is necessarily counterproductive. Conflict is only a means of consuming one’s wealth. It is no surprise, then, that the most peaceful societies are those characterized by the predominance of markets.
The government, in contrast, is a violent institution. It, in fact, cannot exist as a peaceful organization, since it survives by forcing others to pay it tribute. This is true irrespective of the individuals who make up the state, and whether their intentions are peaceful or violent. Bureaucracy is not interested in prioritizing cooperation, largely because bureaucracy does not enjoy the signals which those constrained by the market do. The state does not profit and it does not lose, since its income is forcefully appropriated from its subjects. There is little incentive in finding ways of cooperating as a means of reducing costs, and as such its laws are all too often arbitrary and violently enforced. The state uses prohibition as its main tool, believing that outright prohibition is the only means of reducing conflict between it and its subjects. The truth, though, is that these types of laws only foster greater violence, because they disallow cooperation.
One should not confuse libertarianism with pacificism. Some may be pacifists, others are not. However, libertarianism is completely and unwaveringly opposed to the initiation of violence. This is true whether this violence comes from the state or it comes from an individual.
What Anders Breivik did was to initiate violence. He murdered innocent people as a means of manifesting his internal rage. It was not an attack on the state. It was an attack on society by a man mentally unequipped to be part of that society. Breivik’s actions led to the destruction of wealth and an unraveling of societal progress. He assaulted the very thing libertarianism cherishes: social cooperation.
That some will use this event to further their agenda, including politicians hoping to link Breivik’s violence with the growing minimal government movement is unfortunate, classless, and inappropriate. No less, it is dishonest. Breivik’s intentions are not to fight the state. His purpose is the product of his scrambled mind. The only thing Breivik has accomplished is mimicking the state in damaging society. Breivik is no libertarian. Anybody truly guided by libertarianism would have never committed such a vicious act of aggression.
“See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.”—Frédéric Bastiat
[James] Grant would prefer a monetary system tied to the amount of gold dug out of the ground to one based on the untrammeled discretion of Ph.Ds. The latter is what America got with President Nixon’s 1971 decision to close the Treasury’s gold window, breaking the last link to the classical gold standard, in which anyone was free to exchange dollars for gold at a fixed and guaranteed price. Result: the dollar, not gold, became the world’s “reserve currency.”
The U.S. government was empowered to borrow seemingly unlimited funds from foreigners and repay with a currency that the U.S. government itself could print. “Dollars pile up in Asia. Merchandise piles up here,” says Mr. Grant, as America, in possession of the printing press, has tried to achieve the “ancient hope of mankind, to live without working.”
The “fiat” dollar, he adds ruefully, “is one of the world’s astounding monetary creations. That a currency of no intrinsic value is accepted as money the world over is an achievement that no monetary economist up until not so many decades ago could have imagined. It’ll be 40 years next month that the dollar has been purely faith-based. I don’t believe for a moment it’s destined to go on much longer. I think the existing monetary arrangements are so precarious, so ill-founded and so destructive of the economic activity they are supposed to support and nurture, that they will be replaced by something better.” …
The gold standard, he says, citing the “late, great” libertarian economist Murray Rothbard, was the “people’s system. If you didn’t like the currency, you could exchange your paper for gold and that sent a message.”
In our age of “wiki everything,” Mr. Grant finds it anomalous that we sacrifice freedom of monetary choice for the diktats of central planners acting out of the Fed’s faux-colonnaded headquarters in D.C. The fiat dollar is an “elite” system, he says, and Wall Street is its supporting “interest group”—those nimble, market-savvy, plugged-in folks know how to shuffle assets and exploit cheap funding from the Fed to leverage up their profits and soften the downside.
At the macro level, which encompasses the entire production process of a pencil (or of green onions), markets are highly impersonal. But at each of the myriad stages of that highly complex process, between for example the buyers and sellers of the cedar or rapeseed or raw carbon, is a relationship that is necessarily personal to one degree or another.
Of course, voluntary personal connections alone cannot solve the enormous knowledge problem that F. A. Hayek and others have identified. At the same time, however, what individuals have to know at the local level, even with the aid of money prices established on free markets, is enormous. While this may be obvious to most of us, I think it’s especially important for those of us who are devoted to understanding and explaining the market process not to lose sight of it, as we are sometimes apt to do when we marvel at the impersonality of the market.
Now, competition, by constraining the proclivity of some buyers and sellers to act dishonestly, can relieve much of our day-to-day worries about the trustworthiness of those we have dealings with. And what Elinor Ostrom might call the “nonmarket bases of the market process,” such as norms of reciprocity, conventions of fair play, and the like, do much the same thing. But as the sociologists Nicolas Christakis and James Fowler have recently written, norms and conventions are transmitted and reinforced though social networks. Prices are too.
Informal connections like I’ve described can of course exist in less free, more regimented societies. It’s just that the freedom to associate with strangers, which is an important part of economic liberty, gives rise to so many more of those connections. True liberty means not only being able to form ties with new people and new social networks, however, but also the freedom to cut ties to old business partners and customers, as well as to let go of old social networks, including those of friends, family, and community.
The ability to form and dissolve ties to social networks gives greater access to an existing array of diverse knowledge and tastes – much of which may not be useful but some of which undoubtedly is – while expanding the range of that diversity by stimulating new ideas in business, science, and culture. Liberty encourages economic progress and social diversity by giving each the freedom to move, not only from place to place but from one social network to another.
That freedom of movement, in physical and social space, is the essence of the free society.
“Lobbyists don’t even bother going to his office. If their scheme doesn’t fall among the federal government’s enumerated powers under the Constitution, they know perfectly well that there is no chance Ron Paul will support it.”—Tom Woods Jr. (via combattant-de-la-liberte)