Thursday, November 22, 2018

Socialism has always and everywhere been a failure

The Mises Institute recently published an article by William L. Anderson titled “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won't Be the One to Finally Make Socialism Work”.  This article describes the inherent failures of socialism.  The recent ascendency of Bernie Sanders and now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have bestowed an aura of inevitability on the assent of socialism (or packaged under the current marketing slogan: “democratic socialism”).  This article refutes the belief that the new age purveyors of socialism have any possibility of success.

The full article is available at this link:


Some highlights of the article are as follows:

I receive near-daily emails from The Nation, the hard-left publication that never acknowledged a communist atrocity nor has recognized any socialist failure. From what I can tell, the editors are downright giddy, as they see socialism in the USA on the rise, with the bookends of the elderly Bernie Sanders on one side and the camera-friendly Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other, both ably promoting socialism to a new generation of people ready to overthrow the alleged chains of capitalism.

The lack of media accountability for Ocasio-Cortez is not due to temporary amnesia by American journalists; these people are True Believers when it comes to socialism, and especially its political cousin, democratic socialism. As I have written before, electing economic “planners” via majority votes solves none of the intractable problems of economic calculation that Ludwig von Mises pointed out nearly a century ago. The term “democratic” does not suddenly allow the moribund doctrines of socialism to come alive and actually make sense. However, to most American journalists, “democratic” covers a multitude of errors and magically transforms socialism into something it never has been.

It does no good to present the statistics that say otherwise, that point out living standards in this country have risen greatly in the past four decades, that consumer choices have exploded, and that billions of people worldwide have risen from absolute poverty because of the growth of private enterprise.

... the progressive world that supports Ocasio-Cortez. It is a narrative-driven world that holds that if the people in power exert enough political will, they can impose a socialist regime that will perform better than what we see in places like Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela. (And I should point out that progressives over the years have held up these very places as regimes to emulate.) If one brings up the requirement of profits and losses, free prices, and private property that are necessary for economic calculation, they simply reply that they have a better path, that that relies on democratic election, putting Really Intelligent People into power, determining the “needs of society,” and then using “incentives” (negative and positive) to direct people toward the actions deemed necessary by the Really Intelligent People to meet social needs.

Trying to explain economics to progressives is like trying to explain how a satellite orbits the planet to a flat-earth believer. Someone who believes that the Diamond-Water Paradox is nothing more than a rhetorical trick is not going to believe that economic calculation has a role to play in the production and distribution of medical care or housing or food or anything else a progressive claims to be a human right, or believe that an entire economy cannot be directed from a single office in Washington, D.C.

It is doubly-ironic that Ocasio-Cortez was an economics major at Boston University, although one doubts that economics taught there would differ from the usual statism that dominates most college economics programs. One doubts that she intellectually internalized anything that would resemble price theory and certainly would not be able to identify anything resembling a shortage or surplus. That she will advocate for government intervention and establishment of programs that almost certainly will lead to shortages should not be lost on anyone.

…Bernie Sanders is not the “Keeper of the Secret” who can make socialism work. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not the “Keeper of the Secret” who can make socialism work… There is no Keeper, no matter what American journalists tell us we are supposed to believe.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Monopoly

In the following 4 minute video Milton Friedman answers a question from the audience after a speech in 1978 at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota:

https://youtu.be/tdLBzfFGFQU

Ron Paul published an essay on 10/31/16 with the title "Blame Government, Not Markets for Monopoly".


The conclusion to this article is as follows:

Any businesses that charge high prices or offer substandard products will soon face competition from businesses offering consumers lower prices and/or higher quality. Monopolies only exist when government tilts the playing field in favor of well-connected crony capitalists. Therefore those concerned about excessive corporate power should join supporters of the free market in repudiating the regulations, taxes, and subsides that benefit politically-powerful businesses.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Liberty Defined

The Mises Institute recently published an essay by Ron Paul.  You can read it at this link:


The following are some highlights;

Liberty means to exercise human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere with the exercise of the rights of others.

To believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions.

Understanding how governments always compete with liberty and destroy progress, creativity, and prosperity is crucial to our effort to reverse the course on which we find ourselves. The contest between abusive government power and individual freedom is an age-old problem. The concept of liberty, recognized as a natural right, has required thousands of years to be understood by the masses in reaction to the tyranny imposed by those whose only desire is to rule over others and live off their enslavement.

And yet even among the friends of liberty, many people are deceived into believing that government can make them safe from all harm, provide fairly distributed economic security, and improve individual moral behavior. If the government is granted a monopoly on the use of force to achieve these goals, history shows that that power is always abused. Every single time.

The choice we now face: further steps toward authoritarianism or a renewed effort in promoting the cause of liberty. There is no third option. This course must incorporate a modern and more sophisticated understanding of the magnificence of the market economy, especially the moral and practical urgency of monetary reform. The abysmal shortcomings of a government power that undermines the creative genius of free minds and private property must be fully understood.

The goal is liberty. The results of liberty are all the things we love, none of which can be finally provided by government. We must have the opportunity to provide them for ourselves, as individuals, as families, as a society, and as a country.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Jordan Peterson interviewed by Cathy Newman

 Jordan Peterson is a professor at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist and an author.  He was recently interviewed by Cathy Newman on British television broadcaster Channel 4.  This interview is interesting for several reasons.  I find the interviewer Cathy Newman's reactions to Jordan Peterson's answers fascinating.  Before watching the interview there is some background information that is required.

In case you are not familiar with "preferred gender pronouns" you should read this first:


At the University of Toronto, after receiving two written warnings, Jordan Peterson has been in danger of losing his job following his announcement that he would refuse to use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty who don’t identify with their biological gender, to the fury of radical transgender activists. The use of such pronouns is mandatory under a recently instituted Canadian law, Bill C-16. Peterson rejects the injunction on free speech grounds. ‘I’m not going to cede linguistic territory to post-modernist neo-Marxists,’ he says. He has expressed the view that he might use the preferred gender pronoun of a particular person, if asked by that individual, rather than having the decision foisted on him by the state.

This is the 1 min 23 sec TV interview that made Jordan Peterson famous:


Cognitive dissonance plays an important role in the Cathy Newman interview. Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance, etc.

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic, strip has interesting observations about cognitive dissonance in the Cathy Newman interview.  He discusses this subject in a 3 min 30 sec video:


And finally the full interview.  By some counts Cathy Newman says "so what you're saying is..." 36 times during this 30 minute interview:


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Andrew Cuomo's socialist delima



It appears that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged that his socialist policies may run out of “other people’s money” if the federal tax code does not subsidize the taxpayers of New York State.

These paragraphs are from an Associated Press article dated 1/3/18:



New York state will take Washington to court to challenge the new Republican tax overhaul, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, calling the new law an unconstitutional assault on states' rights and New York in particular.

The new tax law caps a deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000, a move that will increase federal tax liabilities for many homeowners in high-tax states like New York. Cuomo says the change could increase tax liabilities for some New Yorkers by as much as 25 percent, potentially prompting some to leave for cheaper states and making the state less competitive economically.

Many of the governor's new proposals are aimed squarely at Washington, and a federal government that he says is seeking to set back progress in New York when it comes to the economy, equality, health care and the environment. Cuomo cited recent accomplishments such as a higher minimum wage, free college tuition and paid family leave as an alternative to the policies emerging on the national level.
Andrew Cuomo is correct that socialism is only possible if the state prevents productive citizens from leaving and then expropriates their property.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

How the Constitution Has Been Twisted to Undermine the Free Market

 Judge Andrew P. Napolitano was the opening night speaker of the Mises Institute 35th Anniversary Celebration.  The YouTube video of his speech is 52 minutes long and I recommend that you take the time out of our schedule to view all of it.

  Video of speech

The full transcript of the speech (that is auto generated by YouTube) is available at this link:

If you do not watch the entire speech you are doing yourself a great disservice.  But if that is your decision, then please at least read these highlights:


... when Jefferson writes in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights the reference to "by their creator" and "the inalienability of rights" is the recognition of the natural law, that our rights come from our humanity ... our rights come from our humanity and not from the government.  This is the theory of the natural law.


We fought a revolution and won the revolution and wrote the constitution, the purpose of which was to define the government and confine the government.  Define and confine at the same time.  There was of course in Philadelphia in 1787 a lot of disagreement over what the Constitution was going to look like.  In fact if you recall your history and I'm sure you do the delegates were sent to Philadelphia in 1787 not to write a constitution but to offer amendments to the Articles of Confederation.



The Commerce Clause [of the Constitution] which permits the government the federal government the Congress to regulate commerce among the several states is the favorite hook for the Congress today and the courts today to hang their hat on when they want to engage in expansive federal authority ... the original meaning of the Commerce Clause was to regulate the movement of goods between merchants as that crossed state lines stated differently to get rid of state tariffs.



Madisonian government ... that concept is that the federal government can only do what is specifically authorized to it in the Constitution.  Justice Scalia put a sort of tail on that with his theory of originalism, which means that the Constitution, if it is the supreme law the land, can't change with the passage of time and it must mean the same thing today as was the original public understanding of it at the time it was ratified.   If Little Jimmy [James Madison] and big Nino [Justice Scalia] had their way then the Commerce Clause would have its original public meaning which was giving only to Congress the power to regulate the movement of goods between merchants as they cross the interstate lines.




... a famous farmer named Roscoe Filburn in an infamous [supreme court] case during World War II decided that all the wheat in his backyard would not be sold, it would be ground by Mrs. Filburn into flour and she would bake it into baked goods for your family.  Can that be regulated by the federal government?  Answer, yes.  Because by not putting that wheat into interstate commerce there was theoretically an effect on Interstate Commerce and since Congress can regulate anything that affects interstate commerce and can regulate what Roscoe Filburn does with his wheat in his backyard.




Woodrow Wilson turned Madisonian democracy on its head.   [in the] Madisonian [theory] the government the federal government can only do what it is expressly authorized to do in the Constitution.  Wilsonian the federal government can do whatever it needs to address a national problem and for which there is political will except that which is expressly prohibited to it in the Constitution.  So these are really polar opposites and I'm sorry to tell you that every president of the United States since Woodrow Wilson no matter what the president has said, no matter what the times required, no matter what war was being fought, no matter how prosperous we may have been at the moment, has been a Wilsonian.




I expect that I will die, when I do, faithful to my first principles to our first principles in my bed in my house surrounded by people that love me.  But not all of you particularly the young people will have that luxury.  Some of you will die in a government prison faithful to first principles and some of you may die faithful to the first principles in a government Town Square to the sound of the government's trumpets blaring.  When the time comes to make that horrible decision, stay faithful to the first principles or give in to the government, you will know what to do because freedom lies in the human heart and while it is there, no tyranny of the majority and no tyrant can take it away, but you must exercise, it it must do more than lie there.