Posted tagged ‘Property Rights’

Walter E. Williams: “Liberty Is Not For Wimps”

March 22, 2017
Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams states in this article, Liberty Is Not For Wimps (read here): “Most Americans, whether liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican, do not show much understanding or respect for the principles of personal liberty. We criticize our political leaders, but we must recognize that their behavior simply reflects the values of people who elected them to office. That means we are all to blame for greater governmental control over our lives and a decline in personal liberty.”

Our founders told us that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Since WWII we have not been vigilant at all. We vote and go back to living our lives. Being informed and active is the most important part of eternal vigilance. Voting is something that happens on one day every two years.

Why have not seen the growth in the power of Government over our lives? Because it has been an incremental increase.

When you see yourself in the mirror everyday you don’t realize how much you have changed over the course of 20 years. When you see a picture of yourself from 20 years ago you ask; “Who is that person?”.

This is what has happened to the growth of Government and the loss of our individual liberty. Unfortunately the majority of the people haven’t been shown a ‘picture’ of what individual liberty originally looked like. Their only picture from their past is a picture of Government solutions to every problem.

These people have not been taught about individual liberty in our schools and universities. In fact they have been indoctrinated into thinking Government is the end all and be all. They have to be educated about individual liberty before they can make informed decisions.

LIBERTY DEFINED

Excerpt from the article: “My initial premise is that each of us owns himself. I am my private property, and you are yours. If we accept the notion of self-ownership, then certain acts can be deemed moral or immoral. Murder, rape and theft are immoral because those acts violate private property.

“Most Americans accept that murder and rape are immoral, but we are ambivalent about theft. Theft can be defined as taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another, to whom it does not belong. It is also theft to forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another.”

“At least two-thirds of federal spending can be described as Congress’ Taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another American, to whom it does not belong. So-called mandatory spending totaled $2.45 trillion in 2015. This, two-thirds of the federal budget goes toward Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food assistance, unemployment and other programs and benefits that fall into the category of taking from some and giving to others. To condemn legalized theft is not an argument against taxes to finance the constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government; we are all obligated to pay or share of those.

RIGHTS DEFINED

Excerpt from the article: “Many say that government spending guarantees one right or another. That’s nonsense. True rights exist simultaneously among people. That means that exercise of a right by one person does not impose an obligation on another. In other words, my rights to speech and travel impose no obligations on another except those of noninterference. For Congress to guarantee a right to healthcare, food assistance or any other good or service whether a person can afford it or not does diminish someone else’s rights – namely, their right to their earnings. Congress has no resources of its own. If Congress gives one person something that he did not earn, it necessarily requires Congress drive somebody else of something that he did earn.

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

Excerpt fro the article: “A very difficult liberty pill for many Americans to swallow is freedom of association. As with free speech, the true test for one’s commitment to freedom of association does not come when one permits people of voluntarily associate in ways that he deems acceptable.”

“The true test is when he permits people to associate in ways he deems offensive. If a golf club, fraternity of restaurant were not to admit me because I’m a black person, I would find it offensive, but it’s every organization’s right to associate freely.”

“On the other hand, a public library, public utility or public university does not have a right to refuse me service, because I am a taxpayer.”

CONCLUSION

Excerpt from the article: “The bottom line is that it takes a bold person to be for personal liberty, because you have to be able to cope with people saying things and engaging in voluntary acts that you deem offensive. LIBERTY IS NOT FOR WIMPS.

It is our job to make the case for individual liberty. As I said earlier, people are not being taught about individual liberty in our schools and universities. If people are not curious enough to educate themselves, it is up to us to educate them.

Walter E. Williams has been ringing the bell for individual liberty his whole life. You don’t have to try to save the whole world. You just have to influence the people in your little part of the world. People are starting to be curious about what is going on. The election of Trump proves that people know there is something wrong with the status quo. These people represent fertile ground on which to plant the seeds of liberty.

 

Related Article: Walter E. Williams: The State Against Liberty, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: Walter E. Williams: Voluntary vs. Involuntary Exchange, or Seduction vs. Rape, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: Walter E. Williams Speaks About The Economics Of Liberty, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: Walter E. Williams: Are We Moving Toward More Personal Liberty of More Government Control Over Our Lives, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: Walter E. Williams Talks About Individual Liberty, at austrianaddict.com.

Must Reads For The Week 12/5/15

December 5, 2015

Economics Is About Scarcity, Property, and Relationships, by Michael J. McKay, at mises.org. A free market is about  individuals making voluntary exchanges of what they own (property) in a world of scarcity.

The Department of Agriculture is a Welfare Scam, by Dan Mitchell, at freedomandprosperity.com. Crony capitalism for big Agribusinesses consists of subsidies, handouts, and favorable regulation, all on the tax payers dime. We also have to pay higher prices than would be charged in a true free market.

Black Friday Breaks Record With 185K Gun Background Checks, at tammybruce.com. No comment needed.

Chart Of The Day: More Guns Less Gun Violence Between 1993 and 2013, by Mark J. Perry, at carpediemblog. No comment needed.

Hunger And War In WWI Germany: Remembering The Slaughter Of Pigs, by T. Hunt Tooly, at mises.org. The During WWI, the German Government fixed the prices of potatoes. This made it more profitable for the farmers to feed them to their hogs. The result was a potato shortage (which is what happens when government sets a price ceiling). The government solution to the potato shortage they created was to kill a third of the pig population. This resulted in a shortage of pork and potatoes. Central planners are much smarter than the market!

Extreme Poverty Worldwide Has Plummeted As Market Economics Has Spread, by Ryan McMaken, at mises.org. The best anti poverty plan is to keep governments from interfering in the free market. Just think how prosperous the world would be if government sanctioned central banks hadn’t printed multiple trillions of dollars over the past ten years.

Incentives, Ideology, and Climate Change, by Peter G. Klein, at mises.org. Excerpt from the article: “journalists think  that “scientists are disinterested truth-seekers immune from institutional and organizational constraints. This is the default assumption about scientists working within the general consensus of their discipline. By contrast, critics of the consensus position, whether inside our outside the core discipline, are presumed to be motivated by ideology or private interest.”

A Behind The Scenes Look At The November Jobs Report, by Jonathan Newman, at mises.org. Government jobs and jobs created because of Obamacare provisions are part of this increase. Tax payer funded jobs are not productive jobs.

Video Captures At Least Nine Cops Surround, Shoot A California Knife Wielding Man, at reason.com. I have one question. Why don’t cops carry billy clubs anymore? This guy would be beaten and bruised, but at least he would be alive. Can someone help me out on this?

Person Who Made Racist Death Threats Against Blacks…Is A Black Woman Who Participated In Protests, at thepcgraveyard.com. No comment needed.

Individual Liberty Is The Least Contentious Way Of Settling Differences.

April 2, 2015

Is there a perfect system in which human beings interact with no conflict? Since nothing human is perfect the answer is obviously no. But politicians and demagogues have for decades held up the standard of perfection as the straw man to compare any perceived flaw produced by our free market capitalist economic system and our constitutional republic. When results created by individuals voluntarily cooperating don’t meet what our betters deem acceptable, they want to pass laws correcting this perceived injustice, or “fundamentally change” the system.

They are never asked: 1) Why is what they value, better than what results from decisions made by individuals cooperating voluntarily? 2) Does the decision-making process they desire (usually some form central planning) produce more satisfaction for more people than the process of voluntary cooperation by individuals under the rule of law? 3) Who decides what is the better outcome?

INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY vs. GOVERNMENT DECISION MAKING

It is not possible to come up with a single decision that satisfies everyone. It is sometimes difficult for me to decide what flavor of ice cream I want. Many times I am not happy with my decision the second I take the first bite. If picking just one flavor for myself is difficult, how much more difficult would it be for two people to choose one flavor? As more people become involved in deciding one flavor, it becomes exponentially more difficult for people to be pleased with the choice. How many people would be satisfied if one person was chosen to pick a flavor for everybody? What would be the difference if everybody voted, and people had to eat the flavor receiving that most votes?

One person choosing between many flavors for himself is voluntary cooperation in a market between him and the person producing the ice cream. If no one produced the flavor he liked, he could produce it for himself if he thought it was worth his time.

One individual choosing a flavor that everyone is forced to eat is a dictatorship. Even if this person is democratically elected by a majority.

Every person voting on a single flavor, and the flavor receiving the majority of the votes has to be eaten is democracy in action.

Are any of these systems perfect? No. But that’s not the question that should be asked. The question should be: which system would produce the most satisfied individuals, and which system would produce the most contention among individuals? It is obvious that the system that produces the most satisfaction is voluntary cooperation under the rule of law. Unfortunately over the last century we have elected leaders, in both parties, who are taking incremental decisions away from individuals, and making categorical decisions for all of us. They are acting like tyrants, but unfortunately they just reflect the tyrannical attitudes of the people who vote them into power.

We lose more freedom as more laws get passed. When people say “there should be a law for…” they are really saying I want to force what I value on people who don’t agree. Even a law against murder forces a particular value on certain individuals who don’t share that value. Fortunately most people agree that murder is not acceptable behaviour. But what happens when there isn’t an overwhelming majority of people who agree. How do you reconcile each persons values?

PROPERTY RIGHTS AND VOLUNTARY EXCHANGE

Our system was founded on property rights and voluntary exchange (contract). Each person owns himself and what he produces, and no one is allowed to take another persons life, take what he produces, or take what he receives in exchange for what he has produced. If he doesn’t want to make an exchange with another person, that person doesn’t have a right to force him into making the exchange.

This all seems very simple, and it is, until petty tyrants in the form of politicians, bureaucrats, thieves, do gooders, thought police, political correctness advocates, or the average citizen try to steal from, or force their values on, other individuals. The more laws that are passed, the more contention there is between people who would otherwise have no reason to be contentious.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT

The recent conflict in Indiana between a State version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, and gay rights activists who say this is legalizing discrimination, is an example of what happens when people won’t follow the simple rules of property rights and voluntary exchange.

Under our simple rules, if a gay couple went to a bakery and ask the baker to bake a cake for their gay wedding, and the baker said no, the couple would go to another bakery. Just as a gay person could go to a bakery and ask the baker if he was a christian, and if the baker said yes, he could walk out without purchasing anything. These are simply different sides of the same transaction. In the first the baker refuses to exchange what he produces (his property), with the other person. In the second case the gay person refuses to exchange money (which represents what he produces, aka his property) with the baker. Does it really matter why each person refused the exchange? It only matters when force, especially the monopoly of Government force, is introduced into the equation.

The first amendment of our constitution protects an individual’s freedom of religion, and the supreme court has previously ruled that, racial discrimination in the operation of public accommodations, such as restaurants and lodgings, affects interstate commerce by impeding interstate travel and is prohibited….”  at thefreedictionary.com.

How do you reconcile these competing rules, rights, or laws. The problem with having growing numbers of rules and laws, is that each person, or group, tries to use the force of government to impose their values on other people. It’s a never-ending battle of court cases that creates competing factions that continue to fight because nothing really gets solved. This was the result of the Roe vs. Wade decision. Instead of allowing each State to have its own abortion law, no matter how restrictive or permissive it was, five justices on the court imposed their view of abortion on the whole country. Actually the pro abortion activists brought the Roe case to court because they wanted to impose their view of abortion on the rest of the country. That decision has made the abortion issue more contentious over the years, not less.

If decisions are allowed to be made at the point of decision-making, there is less contention and conflict. Most laws take the decision away from the point where the decision should actually be made. Petty tyrants in or out of government, want to use government force to impose their values on others. Gay activists have come a long way from just wanting people and government out of their bedrooms, or was that just a straw man to get government to force people to accept their values. I don’t care what a person does, as long as they don’t “pick my pocket, break my arm“, or have government do it for them.

CONCLUSION

In a free society you have a right to associate with whom ever you want. When you choose your friends, you are discriminating against those who aren’t your friends. When you choose a wife, you are discriminating against other woman. When you make any choice, you are discriminating.

Since every decision is discriminatory, should government be more involved in individual decision making? Many people think it should. Why are individuals and groups seemingly in constant conflict with each other? Because over the last fifty years, government has taken over many of the decisions that individuals used to be free to make. I hope we are at the point where most of us can agree that Government encroachment into every aspect of our lives has to be rolled back, if our civil society is to survive.

If you want to know my thoughts on gay marriage read, Marriage Laws Don’t Expand Rights They Limit Rights.

Related ArticleMeet 10 Americans Helped By Religious Freedom Bills Like Indiana’s, by Mollie Hemingway, at the federalist.com.

Related ArticleGay Marriage Isn’t About Justice, It’s About Selma Envy, by Hans Fiene, at the federalist.com.

 

 

 

Are We Losing Economic Freedom?

October 15, 2014

Capitalism 3D sphere Word Cloud Concept with great terms such as economic, private, free and more. - stock photo

The Fraser Institute published a paper titled, Economic Freedom Of The World: 2013 Annual Report, which shows how the US is in the slow lane on the Road to Serfdom, because we as individuals have lost economic freedom over the past 12 years. Economic freedom is nothing more than each individual deciding what to produce, consume, exchange, and save without anyone, especially Government bureaucrats, hampering or intervening in his activities. Individuals are less free today than they were in 2000.

Scroll down to page 148 in the report to see the statistics for the United States in different categories related to freedom, from 1980 to 2011. The report rates 154 countries on economic freedom, with a 10 being the highest rating. It also ranks each country in order of most free to least free. Our freedom rating and rank has dropped since our high in 2000.

CATEGORY     (rate/rank)                    80               90              00               11

UNITED STATES

Summary  (rating/rank)                  7.92/3      8.35/3      8.65/2        7.74/19

Size of Government                           5.08/49    6.71/24   7.03/34    6.83/47

Legal System/Property Rights     8.35/1       8.35/10   9.23/9        6.93/38

Sound Money                                      9.22/5       9.68/7      9.78/2       9.30/36

Freedom Of Trade Inter.                8.77/7       8.77/11    8.78/22    7.92/30

Regulation                                            8.11/4         8.23/4      8.43/2       7.75/17

 

Below is Hong Kong’s summary rating and rank for economic freedom. Go to page 62 to see a more detailed report on Hong Kong.

HONG KONG                                              80                90                00               11

Summary  (rating/rank)                 9.02/1        8.59/1       8.86/1        8.87/1

Hong Kong was under British rule for 156 years until 1997 when it was turned over to China. Hong Kong has had more economic freedom under British colonial rule, and Chinese communism than the US has had under a constitutional republic with leaders elected democratically. People in Hong Kong have been protesting recently because it looks like China is going back out on its promise to allow democratic elections in 2015. The people in Hong Kong should take a look at the US to see what democratic elections have done to our economic freedom, before they go all in for democracy. Democracy is just one possible means for gaining individual freedom, but it is no guarantee of individual freedom. Read, Thomas Sowell Explains How Democracy And Freedom Are Not The Same Thing.

Three of the categories, listed in the above article, that the Fraser Institute rates and ranks countries on their level of economic freedom are; legal system/property rights, regulation, and sound money. The US has decreased in rate and rank in these three categories over the last decade.

REGULATION

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is just one example of  the thousands of pages of regulations, passed by congress and signed into law by the President, that take away economic freedom by imposing  huge costs on businesses. Where does the Government get the power to interfere with an individuals right to make a contract with another party on how he chooses to pay for his healthcare? Nowhere in the constitution do politicians and bureaucrats have a right to do this. They’ve usurped the power from us, and the Supreme Court, which has turned into a nine seat legislature, uphold their lawlessness. Read Regulatory-Industrial Complex, by Lew Rockwell, at mises.org, for more analysis on what regulation does to economic freedom.

SOUND MONEY

We could talk endlessly about how important sound money is for economic freedom, but here is the short version. When the Federal Reserve electronically prints counterfeit money, it is theft. What you produce each day at work is represented in the money your employer gives you in exchange for your labor. You in turn can demand goods and services with the money you are paid. The stable purchasing power of the monetary unit is what sound money guarantees. When the Federal Reserve electronically prints counterfeit money, it is decreasing the purchasing power of each dollar you have, and therefore stealing your production. If you or I counterfeit money it is theft. If the Fed counterfeits, it is still theft, it is simply theft that is sanctioned by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of Government. Read, Is The Surge In Capital Goods Orders Do To Malinvestment, by Frank Shostak, at mises.org, to understand what happens when the Fed counterfeits.

PROPERTY RIGHTS

Without property rights there is no economic freedom. If an individual has no assurances that what he produces or owns can’t be taken away, then economic freedom is just meaningless rhetoric by politicians. There is the obvious taking of property through eminent domain laws (Kelo vs. New London), civil asset forfeiture laws, federal taxes etc, and then there is the unseen taking of property through the cost of complying with regulations, and out right stealing it by electronically printing counterfeit money. Read “Human Rights As Property Rights, by Murray N. Rothbard, at mises.org, to see how property rights are the foundation of economic freedom.

As F. A. Hayek said, “the battle for freedom must be won over and over again, the socialists of both parties must be persuaded or defeated if they and we are to remain free men.” These words are more true today then when he wrote them.

 

-I found the, Economic Freedom Of The World: 2013 Annual Report, in this article titled, The “Land Of The Free” Ranks 36th In The World In Respecting Property Rights, at zerohedge.com.

 

 

 

 

Walter E. Williams Talks About Individual Liberty.

October 15, 2012

Dr Williams talks about private property rights, legalized theft by Government, and Government as the enemy of the people, in a speech at The Independent Institute. Dr. Williams is a defender of individual liberty because of its moral superiority. Liberty minded people should read everything he writes.