Sunday, March 3, 2019

Murray N. Rothbard 1926 - 1995


Murray N. Rothbard was born on March 2, 1926.  His simple concept: “Taxation is Theft” is devastating to the legitimacy of government.  Those 3 little words are part of this larger passage “Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.” from his book “The Ethics of Liberty” published in 1982.

Here are a few quotes from Murray's life work:

“Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal” 

“It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes. If individuals do not know their own interests in many cases, they are free to turn to private experts for guidance. It is absurd to say that they will be served better by a coercive, demagogic apparatus.” 

“War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, Taxation is Robbery.”

“It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.” 

“It is easy to be conspicuously 'compassionate' if others are being forced to pay the cost.” 

“To be moral, an act must be free.” 

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” 





Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!



My New Year's Resolutions for 2019:

I will not hesitate to say those 3 little words that everyone longs to hear: Taxation is theft!
I will never surrender to Cultural Marxists.
I will spread this message: Silence during the advance of tyranny is collaboration.
I will never apologize for my advocacy of liberty.
I will read “Man, Economy, and State” by Murray Rothbard.
I will encourage all to read these 4 short essays:

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Green New Deal


If there was any pretense that the environmental movement was only a disguise for communism, then the “Green New Deal” has exposed their true intentions.  Although the Green New Deal is a program proposed by the Green Party in previous election cycles, we have now reached a point where it will be considered as new legislation in the US House of Representatives in the next session.
 
The Green New Deal is being advanced as the last best hope to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.  This is a classic example of the statement by then Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste.  And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

If there is any doubt that the Green New Deal is not about climate change a brief review of its proposals are in order.  The full text of the proposed legislation can be found at this link:


These are some of the highlights:

(B) COMPOSITION. —The select committee shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the Speaker, of whom 6 may be appointed on the recommendation of the Minority Leader. The Speaker shall designate one member of the select committee as its chair. A vacancy in the membership of the select committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

Note that the speaker in the next congress will likely be Nancy Pelosi and she would appoint 9 of 15 the members.

(i) The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.

The last sentence tells all: “promote economic and environmental justice and equality”.  Economic equality, the concept used for over a century to pave the road to serfdom.

(B) INVESTIGATIVE JURISDICTION. —In furtherance of the mandate set forth in paragraph (2)(A), the select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource. The select committee may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.

In this section the select committee gives itself the authority to investigate any individual, business, organization, or government agency.  This is the same process used during the French revolution known as the Revolutionary Tribunal.  The Revolutionary Tribunal instituted the “Reign of Terror” using execution by guillotine to enforce its rulings.

(6) SCOPE OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL AND THE DRAFT LEGISLATION. —
 (A) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed with the objective of reaching the following outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:
(iii) upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
(iv) eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;
(v) eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;

In subsection (A) (iii) the select committee grants itself the power to “upgrading every residential and industrial building”.  This is incredible.  Imagine thinking that the Federal Government will somehow remodel every structure in the USA.  Even worse, combine the new power to remodel your home with the previous power of investigation.  This would give the special committee (the SC) the right to investigate and prosecute you for not using a high efficiency washing machine.  Also, once inside your home would the SC investigate to discover unauthorized weapons?  What about unauthorized literature?

In subsections (A) (iv) and (v) the SC gives itself the authority to “eliminate” greenhouse gas emissions from “the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries”.  Note that eliminate means zero use of fossil fuels.  So, natural gas, diesel, gasoline, or coal will not be used in manufacturing, agricultural and other industries.  This same principle of elimination is applied to transportation.  How many solar/electric powered airliners will be available for this phase of the program?
Finally, in subsection (A) (v) there will be an assurance of access to clean water.  Clean water will become scarcer without access to inexpensive energy and chemicals.

(B) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:

(i) provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one;

Subsection (B) (i) codifies a national minimum wage that would be called a living wage.  This language currently refers to a wage of $15.00 per hour.

(iii) require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion,

Subsection (B) (iii) recognizes “the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion”.  This is hilarious, as the vast majority of the coercion against workers now is applied by the unions.

(v) protect and enforce sovereign rights and land rights of tribal nations;
Subsection (B) (v) will cause some difficulties for the SC if the tribal nations decide that they want to continue drilling for oil and gas and mining for coal.

(vi) mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level);

Subsection (B) (vi) intends to mitigate regional inequalities in income.  Does the SC intend to bring the income levels of the lower regions up to the level of Washington DC?  Or would it be more equitable for the Washington DC region income level decline to the level of the lower income regions.?

(vii) include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism;

Subsection (B) (vii) will bestow upon us the blessings of basic income programs and universal health care.  But those are not the only programs, we would also receive “any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism”.  This of course is the language used to describe public ownership of the means of production.

In Section C we find this: “The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks,”.  This means that not only will the SC seize the means of production they will also have their own banking system.

Is this a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or is it a plan for the Federal Government to completely and finally take over all aspects of the economy?

A very useful source of information on this subject can be found at this link:




Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bill of Rights Day


On December 15, 1791 the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution were adopted and became known as the “Bill of Rights”.  The first and second amendments are topics of conversation and some controversy today.  The fourth and fifth amendments are discussed often with respect to the scope and actions of the government’s surveillance activities.  There are 2 amendments that do not get much publicity and I think that this is intentional.  The Ninth and Tenth amendments are rarely discussed, but they are short and to the point:

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite -- James Madison.

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that “all powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people” -- Thomas Jefferson.

The common belief that the Judicial Branch of the federal government is the ultimate regulator of the other 2 branches is incorrect.  The states are the ultimate arbitrator to decide if the federal government has overstepped its authority.  The individual states signed the Declaration of Independence, individual states signed peace treaties with England, and individual states ratified the Constitution.  The states preceded the federal government and therefore retain the authority to reject its unauthorized actions.

The following link is to an article about the original intention of the Tenth Amendment by Professor Kurt T. Lash:


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

School Choice Week






For more information about school choice week please follow this link:

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.