Posted tagged ‘Government’

Thoughts After Attending A Liberty Workshop

October 9, 2013

I was able to attend a liberty workshop hosted by Liberty On The Rocks and Libertas Found this past weekend, with the keynote speaker being Libertarian Girl. What stands out about going to a liberty event as opposed to a tea party event is the age of the crowd. The liberty groups are a generation, or more, younger than the tea party groups. Because they grew up with modern technology, the younger liberty groups  understand how to utilize computers the internet and social media, way better than the older people in the tea party. The R and D paradigm has no meaning to liberty groups, where as the tea party people have a hard time seeing anything outside of the R and D model which they grew up under. The liberty groups have a degree of confidence about what they know concerning individual liberty, where as the tea party groups years of real world experience brings a kind of knowledge that the younger groups can’t know. The knowledge and human capital of both groups combined is enormous. I wish they could work together more on defeating the real enemy, which is progressive democrats and progressive republicans. The battle against the progressives is going to take decades and both groups will play their part, but the younger liberty groups are the ones who are going to have to teach the next generation that individual liberty, not Government promised security, is the way to a better life for them and a better world for us.

Here is a repost of an article I wrote on 4/24/13.

Are You a Democrat, a Republican, or a Libertarian?

I do firmly believe in the Party

I do firmly believe in the Party (Photo credit: Alex Panoiu)

It’s difficult to discuss issues calmly and logically because all of us plant our ideological flag on one of these three hills [ D,R, or L, or liberal, conservative, or libertarian]. If we see the other person’s flag, we automatically place them under that banner, and think there is no chance to reach common ground on any issue. The fact that each group has painted themselves into an ideological corner, because they demand a degree of  ideological purity, is what makes it easier to place the other person under a particular banner. This post titled, “You Are Not A REAL Libertarian”, by Mungowitz at Kids Prefer Cheese, poking fun at  libertarians for not accepting anyone who isn’t 100% pure in thought. But I have seen the same thing from liberals and conservatives, so no one is immune from this disease.

What we have to understand about party politics is, the rank and file have different incentives for identifying with a party, then the incentives of the establishment for being members of the party. The establishment’s sole purpose is to maintain the power of the party at all cost. It’s easier to keep and grow power if you have an enemy to demonize, and therefore party propaganda tries to get the rank and file to think of the other side as evil, misguided, or stupid. The rank and file are willing to think this way for two reasons. 1) They don’t have enough time to read about, and understand, the complex economic ramifications of their parties policies. Which leads to. 2) They trust  the establishment of their party is telling the truth, because it costs less in time to trust than it does to verify.

Another reason people are attracted to certain parties is because of the benefits promised by that particular party once it gets into power. There is no shortage of politicians who will promise anything to anybody in order to get their vote. Politicians are always trying to talk about group interests; black white, rich poor, male female, old young, etc, because it is more cost-effective for politicians to convince people that they are a part of a special interest group, rather than to have each voter think of himself as an individual. This is the reason politics always seems to be “a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principle“.

If each person thought of himself as an individual, he would understand that individual freedom is in his best interest. When Government power grows, individual freedom shrinks, so the only way to have more individual freedom, is to shrink Government. The establishment elite’s only interest, is in growing Government power, so they can sit in the driver seat when their party is given the keys by the voters. The vast majority of the rank and file, whether D’s, R’s, or L’s, have to understand that their enemy is not the rank and file of the other parties, it is the establishment elite of the parties. The party machine has swallowed up many a young politician who was elected because of his promise to shrink Government. If all the rank and file who understand that Government is an impediment to their individual freedom got together, not to form another party; but to persuade politicians in their party that freedom is in their best interest, or defeat them if they can’t be persuaded, we could begin to shrink this enemy of the individual.

I try to think of everything that is political, through the lens of Austrian economics. These principles clear up every issue, and they will for you if you invest some time to learn. If you already understand economic principles form the Austrian perspective, then you have an obligation to persuade others. Remember, you don’t persuade people by beating them over the head, and you don’t give a child a rare steak when they are on baby formula. You have to start where they are, lead them to the door and let them walk through. This costs more in time then hitting them with a club, but if you truly believe in individual freedom, you will be willing to pay the price. Remember, hitting them over the head is about you, leading them to the door is about them.

Related VideoWalter E. Williams. “Are We Moving Toward More Personal Liberty, Or More Government Control Over Our lives.” at austrianaddict.com.

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Entrepreneurship Can Be A Stinky Business

September 19, 2013

I stumbled across this commercial for a product that I thought couldn’t be real, but the product and the company really exist. As much as we talk about the consumer reigning supreme in the market, the entrepreneur is the one who takes a chance on a new idea, product, or service, for which  there is no consumer demand. The entrepreneur takes a risk, a leap of faith in his ability to come up with an idea he thinks consumers will want. If he is wrong and consumers won’t support the product, or activity, in large enough numbers to make a profit, he suffers the loss, and the scarce resources used to produce the unwanted product, are freed up to be used in more productive activities. The entrepreneur is essentially trying to supply his own demand (production comes before consumption). Watch the commercial for a product called Poo-Pourri. I thought it was funny, but I might be a little touched.

The marketing is pretty good because nobody wants to take the dreaded away dump. This commercial asks and answers the question, “So how do you make the world believe your poop doesn’t stink, or in fact that you never poop at all? Poo-Pourri- the before you go toilet spray.”

If Poo Pourri produces a paltry profit that can’t support the price of production, they have another option, in our crony capitalist system, to overcome their failure under voluntary exchange in the free market. They can lobby the Government and try to get them to mandate that all public restrooms have a supply of Poo-Pourri, because second-hand stink is not just offensive, studies have shown it can cause headaches, nausea, watery eyes, asthmatic reactions, dizziness, and other reactions too numerous to name. If the Government will not grant them their demand, that Government create a limitless demand for their product, they always have an option of sue. There has to be some obscure rule under the purview of OSHA, the EPA, HHS, or the CDC, that is being violated by businesses who are shirking their responsibility to protect the public from second-hand stink.

Fortunately, in our current crony capitalist system, there is enough freedom left for entrepreneurs to take a risk and supply a demand that doesn’t yet exist. Growth happens on the frontiers of the economy where risk is a way of life, not in the old status quo businesses that are just trying to protect their current position of supplying an already existing demand. Government intervening in the economy won’t make it grow, one reason is because it is risk averse and will always prop up the status quo big businesses (remember too big to fail). and the other reason can be summed up in a quote by Robert Bradley Jr., “When Government tries to pick winners and losers, it typically picks losers. Why? Because the Free Market Consumers pick winners to leave the losers for Government.” 

It is not possible for Government to manage an economy because the amount of information it would need to make decisions doesn’t exist in a single place or at a particular time. This information is also constantly changing day-to-day which makes it exponentially impossible to know this widely dispersed information. Prices arrived at by individuals voluntarily cooperating and competing in a free market is the only way this amount of constantly changing information can be utilized as optimally as possibly. Prices coordinate economic activity.

RELATED ARTICLEToo Big To Fail GM vs. Too Small To Save Hostess, at austrianaddict.com.

RELATED ARTICLEMilton Friedman on Market Failure vs. Government Failure. Which Has A Higher Cost, at austrianaddict.com.

RELATED ARTICLEWhy Do People Think The Government Is The Economy, at austrianaddict.com

The Ruling Aristocracy Does Not Abide By The Rules They Impose On The Serfs.

August 12, 2013

The rule of law is defined by Thomas Sowell (read here) as, rules known in advance, applied generally, and constraining the rulers as well as the ruled. He defines freedom as, exemptions from the power of the rulers and a corresponding limitation on the scope of all laws, even those of democratically elected Governments. With the recent  Obamacare waiver for congress and their staffs, the incremental erosion of the rule of law continues unabated. You barely hear a whimper from the pusillanimous (yes, it means what you think it means),Republicans. The freedom of the individual that is protected by the constitution, the same constitution these Republican swore to defend and protect from all enemies foreign and domestic, takes second place to what they value most, which is (more…)

Some Cartoons That Make You Think Instead Of Laugh

July 26, 2013

Once again I found these at theburningplatform.com.

134876 600 Stand Your Ground cartoons

We live in a country that is supposed to be ruled by the rule of law. The rights of the individual trump government power and mob rule. The constitution is the only thing that guards us against Government abuse, and majority abuse. We are either hanging on by a thread or as the late Joseph Sobran said, “The constitution is no threat to our current form of Government”.  Just something to think about.

Group Politics Hides The Relevant In The Trivial, Benefiting Politicians

July 22, 2013
Divide-and-conquer

Divide-and-conquer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SELF IMPOSED BORDERS

I read an article in the LA Times titled, “British Choice Of Churchill On 5-Pound Note Leaves Women Out”, by Henry Chu, in which women are upset that Winston Churchill’s image will replace Elizabath Frys on the five-pound note starting in 2016. They’re saying “It’s another instance of women’s contributions being wiped out”. Because we have accepted the political model that each of us belongs to a different group; whether it’s men or women, white or black, rich or poor, old or young, gay or straight, union or non-union, democrat or republican, etc, etc, etc, we think of every politically contrived situation as an us versus them zero sum battle. These self-imposed borders become an imaginary ideological prison that we can’t reason our way out of. This prison prevents us from understanding that the true battle is between each person individually, vs. the only entity that can take individual liberty away, Government. This entity of Government exists only (more…)

Thomas Sowell Weighs In On The Zimmerman Case

July 18, 2013

When Thomas Sowell weighs on an issue there is usually not much more that can be said. In this article titled, Is This Still America? (read here), he is concerned about how this mess is going to affect the rule of law, peoples faith in the legal system and their faith in the country. Thomas Sowell  has said in the past that, “People have to be aware of the dangers in letting economic decisions be made through political processes”. I think we can change a couple of words, and the meaning will still hold true. Let’s try this,  People have to be aware of the dangers in letting legal decisions be made through political process.

Politics is poison, it pits groups against each other. Our constitution was set up to insure the rights of the individual against the coercive power of groups in general and Government power in particular. Our Constitution has nothing to say about group rights.  I hate politics because, logic and reason are tossed aside because it  gets in the way of the emotional orgy that is at the heart of politics. Everyone wants to have their way, which is impossible, except in the utopian world of political promises.

Quote from the article, “The only real heroes in this trial were the jurors. They showed that this is still America — at least for now — despite politicians who try to cheapen or corrupt the law, as if this were some banana republic. Some are already calling for a federal indictment of George Zimmerman, after he has been acquitted.”

“Will this still be America then?”

Read This Speech by Thomas Sowell titled, “The Quest For Cosmic Justice”, at tsowell.com.

Related articleThomas Sowell Explains How Democracy And Freedom Are Not The Same Thing, by austrianaddict.com.

July 4th, Declaring Independence From Tyranny

July 4, 2013
English: This is a high-resolution image of th...

Declaration of Independence (article (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JEFFERSON’S  GEM

On July 4th 1776 congress adopted the Declaration of thirteen United States of America for their Independence from the tyranny of The King. I haven’t read this document enough over the years. I’ve taken for granted that I understand the meaning of the words Jefferson penned, but my most recent reading has revealed the depth of meaning  he crammed into relatively few words. I had similar thoughts when I reread the Declaration of Independence as I did when I read The Road To Serfdom by Hayek for the first time in 1993. Those thoughts were, “Oh my God, he’s writing about today”. Before we look at some of the words in the declaration lets look at what it was like in Colonial America. (more…)