Thanks to Mark Alexander’s Patriot Post.
"It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar" – Henry David Thoreau
I put the money quote in boldface ….
‘Anyone advocating government officials or anyone else coercively taxing some people against their will and giving that money to others [is] guilty of advocating coercion and intimidation. Such people are not libertarians based on the ZAP criteria.
‘Such people are also guilty of fraud if they claim to be “libertarians.”’
–Commenter Garry Reed | December 7, 2013, 9:36 pm
…in response to the posting ‘U.S. “Libertarians” Debate Basic Income,’ which links to several pieces, pro- and not-so, on the topic by various Shining and Less-Shining Lights. These include a podcast interview by somebody at Cato of our pal Zwolinski, whose allegedly libertarian heart regularly bleeds, though not for people who think charity and justice are two different things, and also a piece by somebody at Reason, who tells us how much less demeaning such a program would be. (I guess people are still, underneath it all, not proud of being unable to look after themselves — not even in the face of catastrophe.)
I thought this last article might be a satirical debunking of the idea, but no such luck.
Please, do not miss this 1:26:33 of Prof. Epstein’s inimitable and marvellous discourse. Indescribably educational, and, of course, fascinating; and this one is particularly wide-ranging. My quibble-quotient here is tiny and is swamped by the education effect. The UT description:
Published on May 21, 2012
Richard A. Epstein, legal scholar and author, visits the Dole Institute to discuss courts grounds to invalidate the constitution.
Filmed on October 19, 2006 at the Dole Institute of Politics.
I do not apologize for withholding from you dear feline Zanzibarians the treat of beholding yet again His Face, even though for once it bears a relatively pleasant expression. You will see it anyway if, as I recommend, you follow the link to the whole column.
The Affordable Cell Phone Care Act
by EDWARD CLINE February 4, 2014
Groucho Marx had many great monologues and spiels, but this is one of his finest:
“The nickel today is not what it was fifteen years ago. Do you know what this country needs today?…A seven-cent nickel. Yessiree, we’ve been using the five-cent nickel in this country since 1492. Now that’s pretty near a hundred years’ daylight saving. Now, why not give the seven-cent nickel a chance? If that works out, next year we could have an eight-cent nickel. Think what that would mean. You could go to a newsstand, buy a three-cent newspaper and get the same nickel back again. One nickel carefully used would last a family a lifetime.”
Note the absurd application of a Keynesian Money Multiplier effect, where inflation allows a carefully spent nickel to last a lifetime. Of course, the gentleman falls for the muddled logic and obfuscation, responding, “Captain Spaulding, I think that is a wonderful idea.”
[ ... ]
Professor Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy Files highlights excellent points made today in the WSJ:
Consider the most basic economic unit, the transaction. A transaction is cooperative because both parties gain from a voluntary exchange. There is competition in markets, but it’s actually competition for the right to cooperate. Firms must compete for the privilege of selling to consumers—for the right to cooperate with consumers. Workers compete for the right to cooperate with employers. Competition matters because it ensures that the most efficient players will gain the right to cooperate on the best terms available. But competition plays a supporting role, while cooperation makes markets thrive.
Bitcoins: The Second Biggest Ponzi Scheme in History
Gary North – November 29, 2013
I hereby make a prediction: Bitcoins will go down in history as the most spectacular private Ponzi scheme in history. It will dwarf anything dreamed of by Bernard Madoff. (It will never rival Social Security, however.)
To explain my position, I must do two things. First, I will describe the economics of every Ponzi scheme. Second, I will explain the Austrian school of economics’ theory of the origin of money. My analysis is strictly economic. As far as I know, it is a legal scheme — and should be.
First, someone who no one has ever heard of before announces that he has discovered a way to make money. In the case of Bitcoins, the claim is literal. The creator literally made what he says is money, or will be money. He made this money out of digits. He made it out of nothing. Think “Federal Reserve wanna-be.”
Second, the individual claims that a particular market provides unexploited arbitrage opportunities. Something is selling too low. If you buy into the program now, the person running the scheme will be able to sell it high on your behalf. So, you will take advantage of the arbitrage opportunity.
Today, with high-speed trading, arbitrage opportunities last only for a few milliseconds seconds in widely traded markets. Arbitrage opportunities in the commodity futures market last for very short periods. But in the most leveraged and sophisticated of all the futures markets, namely, the currency futures markets, arbitrage opportunities last for so brief a period of time that only high-speed computer programs can take advantage of them.
The individual who sells the Ponzi scheme makes money by siphoning off a large share of the money coming in. In other words, he does not make the investment. But Bitcoins are unique. The money was siphoned off from the beginning. Somebody owned a good percentage of the original digits. Then, by telling his story, this individual created demand for all of the digits. The dollar-value of his share of the Bitcoins appreciates with the other digits.
This strategy was described a generation ago by George Goodman, who wrote under the pseudonym of Adam Smith. You can find it in his book, Supermoney. This is done with financial corporations when individuals create a new business, retain a large share of the shares, and then sell the stock to the public. In this sense, Bitcoins is not a Ponzi scheme. It is simply a supermoney scheme.
The Ponzi aspect of it comes when we look at the justification for Bitcoins. They were sold on the basis that Bitcoins will be an alternative currency. In other words, this will be the money of the future.
The coins will never be the money of the future. This is my main argument.
THE AUSTRIAN SCHOOL’S THEORY OF MONEY’S ORIGINS
The best definition of money was first offered by Austrian economist Carl Menger in 1892. He said that money is the most marketable commodity. This definition was picked up by his disciple, Ludwig von Mises, who presented it in his book, The Theory of Money and Credit, published in 1912.
[ ... ]
Analysis continues. In sum, he thinks the buyers of bitcoins are in thrall of the Greater Fool Theory; but is Mr. North correct?
I am sometimes (and quite rightly) accused of being gloomy – “reading a post from Paul is often like reading a suicide note”. So I have decided to write a very brief optimistic post.
Short term optimism….
Next year will see less of an obsession in music with Wagner, Verdi and Benjamin Britton – yes they all have great merit, but then have been done to death this year (anniversaries). So I am very much looking forward to 2014 (and less of them).
Also, in the United States, the midterm 2014 elections will go very well indeed and so will the 2016 elections – errr I will not go into the reasons why (this is supposed to be a non gloomy post).
The long term…….
The latter part of the 21st century will (I believe) be very good indeed.
The Welfare States will have gone bankrupt – which YES will lead to terrible suffering, but that suffering will be long over by the later part of the 21st century (it will just be a terrible memory – and for the young not even that). The same is true of the credit bubble financial system – yes it will have gone bankrupt, but in 50 years that will also be just a memory (and for the young – again not even that).
Technology will have come into its own in the latter part of the 21st century (it really will) the problems with such things as solar cells and nuclear FUSION (beyond fission) will have been solved and cheap electrical power will be available.
Also the technology of making things (including some materials) from common materials will be worked out by the late 21st century (yes nanotechnology – but not just that) – so people will no longer be so dependent on scarce raw materials. Also transport will have advanced to the stage where to travel anywhere in the world will only take a few hours – and power will be available to travel to the Moon or even the planet Mars.
Yes the supply of things will NOT be unlimited – but things will be a lot cheaper than they are now.
For those of you still alive in 50 years life will be good – very good. The coming collapse will NOT be like the fall of the Roman Empire – because the Romans did not produce a revolution in technology, our civilisation (in spite of its flaws) has done, and the technology WILL REMAIN and it WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOPED by free people in various parts of the world (oh yes the plans for “World Governance”, world slavery, will fail – “international cooperation” between the elites of statists will, in fact, break down). Indeed the development in technology in the late 21st century will be astonishing – it truly will.
Now do your best to get there. To get to the late 21st century.
There is a hole in the pavement near where I live – some workmen are doing something or other. The hole is not very big – it would be easy to put a fence round the hole whilst still giving people room to walk round it, but no…….
Instead of just having a fence round the whole, the entire pavement is blocked. Of course people could walk on the pavement on the other side of the road (as is the case with some other work in the town…. actually forcing people to walk on the other side of the road is pointless in this case – but that would be another story), but the powers-that-be have another idea……
Instead of people walking on the other side of the road, there is a fencing along the middle of the main road,,. allowing people to walk in the road (rather that walk on the pavement on the other side of this narrow road). The fencing is right at a CHOKE POINT where the narrow main road crosses on a bridge into the town. Reducing a two lane busy road to a one lane road.
Yes. you guessed it gentle reader, there are terrible nightmare traffic jams.
I do not claim that this is sabotage – that the officials who gave the orders have a deliberate plan to cause chaos. The regulations (“health and safety” or whatever) are just stupid – and they are applied with a lack of concern for the harm they do, that does indeed amount to viciousness.
Complain? There is no point – no point at all.
Complain to a local councillor? I am one – I know we have no power. Complain to a County Councillor? They have no power either. Complain to officials (of the “Highways Agency” or whatever) “we are just following policy” would be the response.
The road has no private owner, no one who really cares whether the people who try to use the road can use it or not.
It is all hopeless.
In this video from April, 2010, before the Annihilation of Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Health Fraud) was passed, Richard Epstein gave an exceptionally lucid explanation (in his usual rapid-fire manner) of just exactly why it will not and cannot work, and just a few of the ways in which the U.S. will be the worse for it. Here he is not arguing its morality–although morality does peek in around the door here and there–but rather the predictable practical results.
(He also mentions, briefly, what YrsTrly has said: People got used to Medicare and Medicaid, and now they feel they’re entitled to it, and also they do depend upon it; so it’s better left to wither away than yanked out from under us wholesale. –Well, to the extent that they’ve lost their own control of their lives, they’d like to know that they’re going to get what they were supposed to get in return. Of course, his audience mostly consists of students, who have no memory at all of Life Before Medicare, and probably feel as though it’s always existed. Like Mt. Rushmore.)
He also mentions the effectiveness of private charity, and alternative payment methods, and so on–before the government involved itself in running this aspect of our lives.
To my mind, this is one of his best, and one which sounds right to me.
The truly inhuman Dr. Zeke Emanuel, brother of Hatchetface Rahm E., former Chief of Staff to Dear Leader and present Mayor of Chicago, and chief architect of Obamacare. *Hssst! It Speaks!* Broadcast Sunday, 2013/11/3, I believe. Poor Mr. Wallace…I hope he collected at the least a Bronze Heart.
A couple of examples of brazen lying are in the YouTube description at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfibukj1lY. NOTE: [Apologies, but the html tags don't seem to be working. Including the ones for italics, indicated above by *'s.]
In the last analysis, Obamacare is no good because it’s WRONG. It’s armed robbery, and I wish they’d said so.
But anybody who has experience of governments and the ways of bodies politic … they can get used to anything, and in a year or two most of them will have forgotten why they hated ObieCare so much, and scared to death of having to do without it.
This the Left knows well, and this the Left plays upon. They really are master manipulators.
Although I just watched Rep. Louis Gohmert on “The Blaze,” and he still thinks people are going to be getting more and more upset with ObieCare. (He also said we have to actually work to get back our lost liberty.) Anyway: Kidney basins ready? GO!
Most libertarians (and conservatives) have some idea of the harm Harvard University (in spite of the good elements that have always existed there) has done to the United States and (by extension) the rest of the West.
For example, Harvard (via its relationship with Cambridge in England) helped push Keynesian “economics” thus undermining real economics – and leading to the credit bubble nightmare the world now faces.
Before this Harvard Law School actively discouraged study of the text of the Constitution of the United States and the other writings (showing the intentions) of those who wrote that text – pushing the study of “case law” instead, thus undermining constitutional limitations on government power in the United States.
It is true to say that both in economics and law many other American universities followed the example of Harvard – because of its prestige (based, in part, on its being the first American university and its vast resources).
However, before the harm it did in economics and law, Harvard did great harm in the study of human beings themselves (in what was called the study of the “nature of man”) – in philosophy and psychology.
Once American philosophy had been dominated by those who believed and defended three great principles.
The objective nature of the physical universe.
The objective nature of good and evil.
And the ability of humans to choose between good and evil – that humans were beings (agents) that they had the capacity (if they made the effort – a big “if”) to choose good and reject evil.
Both the Aristotelians who dominated Catholic education and the “Common Sense” thinkers who dominated Protestant education (sometimes called followers of “Scottish philosophy” of John Reid and so on – although the principles go back to 17th century thinkers such as Ralph Cudworth and before).
Harvard took the lead in attacking these principles – by the rise of the American “Pragmatist” School.
The “Pragmatists” are best summed up in the words of William James (one of the leading members of the group) “the right is just the expedient in our way of thinking” – and by this William James meant both “the right” in the sense of truth (there was no objective truth – whatever it was useful to be “true” was “true”) and in the sense of “good and evil” (right and wrong – in both senses), to the Pragmatists objective good and evil did not exist – they were “myths” just as objective truth was a “myth”..
The European “philosopher of violence” Sorel, was later to make use of this doctrine of “useful myths” – what did it matter if one told lies (to incite violence) if truth and lies did not really exist? If what was “true” was just what was “useful” to the cause.
Mussolini did the same thing – what did it matter if both reason and evidence had refuted socialism? So much for reason and evidence! He might move from strict Marxism (because it was too easy to refute – at least for people who believe in such things as objective truth), but his new form of socialism (“Fascism”) would do – it would be based upon “myths” and if there was no objective truth. lying was O.K. (indeed a new “truth”).
One can even see this in the writings of the Oslo murderer (he wanted his name to be famous – so I never use it) – William James was his most favoured philosopher (on his Facebook page – before it was taken down). So what if the people he murdered were unarmed kids – if his “truth” was that they were armed foes, and he was a “Knight Templar” was not his “truth” as valid as the “truth” of anyone else? And was not his “good” (murdering unarmed kids) not as valid as the “good” of anyone else?
Not even religious people were immune from the spell of William James – as Dietrich Bonhoeffer pointed out, one was more like to hear the name William James than Saint James in the Churches of the Progressives.
How can it be objectively wrong to murder millions of helpless people – if there is no such thing as objective wrong (or objective right)? Besides it is not convenient to try and save the helpless people being murdered – one might be hurt (or even killed) trying to save them, so it may be “your truth” that they should be saved, but it is not “my truth”.
Besides “modern scientific thought” had “proved” that one could not choose between good and evil (which do not objectively exist anyway) – choice is an “illusion”, one is really controlled by impersonal social forces of “class” and/or “race” in one’s “historical period”.
The Schoolmen (the scholastics) had been fond of saying “natural law is the law of God – but if God did not exist natural law would be EXACTLY THE SAME” – the “new” way of thinking (actually this evil is as old humanity – but I will not go into this here) held that natural law (right and wrong, good and evil) did not really exist for the religious or for atheists – and that (even if they did exist) humans were not beings (not agents) and could not choose between them anyway – choice (morality) being an “illusion”.
Thus the fury (righteous fury) of Dietrich Bonhoeffer with the “Christians” who either murdered the innocent (after all “what is innocence?” said the smooth talking scum) themselves, or stood by and did nothing as the innocent were murdered in front of them.
And it was not just in Germany. in the United States the eugenics movement was welcomed by the “religious progressive” – both the holding down and cutting up of women for being “inferior” (only Justice Pierce Butler, the “arch reactionary”, voted against forced sterilisation – the other eight Justices on the Supreme Court thought it was fine) and even plans to actively exterminate the “inferior” – even if this “inferiority” was actually a “useful myth”.
And even if is evil (although objective evil does not exist……) we do not “really” choose our actions – choice is just an “illusion” (so it is not my fault that I pushed these children into the gas chamber and then murdered them).
But how did William James (and his “intellectual” friends) undermine moral responsibility – agency. the courage to choose good and reject evil? To stand against the “social forces”?
How did the philosophy (and the psychology) of “Common Sense” thinkers such as James McCosh (the once famous President of Princeton) and Noah Porter (the once famous President of Yale) get replaced?
One looks in vain for in “Psychology” (1892) for a formal refutation of (for example) Noah Porter’s “The Human Intellect: With An Introduction Upon Psychology And The Soul” – which, before the work of William James, was the standard work on psychology in the United States. Indeed the name “Noah Porter” is not even mentioned in the book.
Instead we get this……..page 457 “Psychology” by William James (1892).
“But a psychologist cannot be expected to be thus impartial, having a great motive in favour of determinism. He wants to build a Science; and Science is a system of fixed relations. Where ever there are independent variables, there Science stops. So far, then, as our volitions may be independent variables, a scientific psychology must ignore that fact, and treat of them only so far as they are fixed functions. In other words, she must deal with the general laws of volition exclusively; with the impulsive and inhibitory character of ideas; with the nature of their appeals to the attention; with the conditions under which effort may arise, etc.; but not with the precise amounts of effort for these, if our wills be free, are impossible to compute, She thus abstracts from free-will, without necessarily denying its existence. Practically, however, such abstraction is not distinguished from rejection; and most actual psychologists have no hesitation in denying that free-will exists.”
The word “psychology” goes back to Ralph Cudworth in the 17th century – the great defender (against Thomas Hobbes) of human agency, the great denier that humans were just machines (not beings). And. by the way, the great attacker of the “chopping up” of the human mind between “will” and “reason” ( a perhaps mistaken practice of the scholastics). Noah Porter (the most famous writer on psychology in America ) had only died a couple of years before this book by William James was published, James McCosh (the great “Common Sense” philosopher) was actually still alive (he died in 1894). Reason (agency) had defenders (at that time) in almost every university in America – yet William James comes out with this tissue of lies – and that is what (thanks to Harvard – and its influence) future generations of students would be taught.
I will now translate what William James wrote into English – I will give its “practical” sense, to use his term. “Practically” (without his cowardly evasions – such as “without necessarily denying its existence”).
Humans are not beings, human volition (agency) does not exist. Humans are just machines – all of whose actions are predetermined. There is no real “choice” (it is an “illusion”). There is no moral difference between a human and a clockwork mouse. And we need not be concerned with enslavement of humans by the state – because humans are slaves (indeed machines – not beings) by nature anyway.
The utter denial of human freedom – no agency, no moral responsibility.
The victory of evil – total and absolute.
That is at the heart of modern academia (of “Nudge” by Cass Sunstein and all the rest of it) – and it came long before (indeed was the cause) of the corruption of such things as law and economics.
Why should humans make the great effort (suffer the terrible pain) required for agency (for standing against evil) if this is impossible? If humans are not really beings (not really agents) at all.
This is the heart of evil.
Roger Donway is at The Independent Institute, along with, among others, economist Robert Higgs and the unspeakable Anthony Gregory. On the other hand, Stephen Halbrook, the eminent Second-Amendment advocate, used to be there and maybe still is.
The two gentlemen do move in Objectivist circles, however. Here’s the first part of a short Atlas Society article introducing their paper.
In a new article, “Reconsidering Gabriel Kolko: A Half-Century Perspective,” Robert Bradley and Roger Donway explain why libertarians should not embrace the views of historian Gabriel Kolko.
. . .
September 16, 2013 — In 1963, Gabriel Kolko revolutionized the then-prevalent understanding of American business history with his book The Triumph of Conservatism. In it, he disputed the Progressive historians’ narrative of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, specifically, their assertions that the economic legislation passed between 1887 (the Interstate Commerce Act) and 1914 … had been enacted to restrain the power of the large new corporations…. Kolko argued instead that the legislation had actually been passed at the behest of the large new corporations, in order to protect them from a gale of competition that they could not otherwise withstand. ….
Kolko’s interpretation was eagerly embraced by many libertarians, following Murray Rothbard’s endorsement of it in 1965. Kolko, Rothbard said, had pulled down the two pillars of Progressivist history: that big business was the friend of free enterprise and that the Gilded Age was an era of laissez-faire capitalism. ….
… to the fisker. Yes, “Sir” Bob Geldof who wanks higher than any in Wome. Read this…
Bob Geldof has claimed that the Earth as we know it could end by 2030 thanks to the ravages of climate change.
That’s actually quite unfiskable in the sense that I don’t want (if I am spared to be living in 2013 seventeen years hence – I want my jet-pack!). Anyway the Boomtown Prat proceeds…
The campaigner [for whom?] and former Boomtown Rats singer said the human race could soon be extinct at the One Young World summit in Johannesburg.
“The world can decide in a fit of madness to kill itself,” he said, according to the Telegraph. “Sometimes progress may not be possible.”
Well, it certainly wasn’t in his musical career. He could have been a veritable Chesney Hawkes and wasn’t it Midge Ure who wrote that song anyway?
“We’re in a very fraught time,” he continued, warning the 8,000 international delegates: “There will be a mass extinction event. That could happen on your watch. The signs are that it will happen and soon.”
You can’t make this up. Anyway how old are his kids? Like that one who fronted a show on Islam without even having read the Qu’ran? Was that Peaches?
The conference – a networking and debate event for young people from 190 countries – featured speeches from high profile ‘counsellors’. Former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan and business mogul Richard Branson also took to the stage, but none appeared to match Mr Geldof for urgency.
Is his prostate playing up? But more to the point isn’t telling “young people” they basically have no future nasty? This from the guy that apparently worked so hard for Ethiopia’s future?
And school’s out early and soon we’ll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die.
- From the only Boomtown Rats song anyone recalls.
There was more guff but I’ll give Bob the penultimate words…
Departing the stage, he apologised for being “bloody miserable” and told delegates to “just get on with it”.
What horrifying nonsense is this? I have a tremendous hope for the future. I shall probs live to see things from SF novels I read as a kid. How dare “Sir” Bob tell kids, “Sometimes progress may not be possible”. Get them a Raspberry Pi and see what fools they make of pontificating old geezers like Bob and Dave! Gods almighty they are misanthropic old sods are they not?
Let’s just build Skylon and stick ‘em in eternal LEO! Way too much political discourse is undertaken at the level of a Smith’s album after Johnnie Marr had just run over Mozzer’s cat. It is dismal. Utter professional miserablism.
And I was only on the Indy to look-up a recipe for cod and parma ham and now I don’t like Mondays and Heaven knows I’m miserable now.