A Quotation From Richard, A Parable From Robert

A Quotation From Richard, A Parable From Robert.

Sir Richard Francis Burton: “The dearest ambition of a slave is not liberty,
but to have a slave of his own.”

This may be hard to swallow, but it is nonetheless true. Especially when the slavery is masked and made holy with collectivism or democracy. In the context of the modern state, in fact, no truth should be more obvious. For very often when a special interest seeks to influence lawmakers or the law, it is not just to free themselves from some real or perceived tyranny or degradation or want, or even to free themselves at all, but, whether they realize it or not, to take away someone else’s liberty or dignity or abundance.

Consider one of Robert Nozick’s more famous writings, taken from a page in his book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, and then tell yourself again that the [only] purpose of collectivism and democracy is not to confer moral legitimacy on the act of enslaving your fellow man.

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3. The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.

5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.

6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.

8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)

9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

Why I Am Writing In Paul And Not Voting For Johnson

Why I Am Writing In Paul And Not Voting For Johnson.

From ChrisInMaryVille’s Blog

My friend Sherrie posted regarding not voting to send a message. I read numerous replies and felt the need to input some additional thoughts I had after reading comments exalting both Ryan and Johnson. I am sharing this to simply answer a few questions asked regarding my thoughts this past week.

Great post Sherrie, whether I agree as most times or disagree as this time.

Firstly, anyone thinking Ryan is a “conservative” either gains all their information at the receiving end of a TV remote control or does not understand the meaning of the word.

Secondly, anyone thinking that Gary Johnson is a Ron Paul clone has been spoon fed a few selected videos and have not taken the time to do the homework. Johnson would not be controlled by Goldman Sachs as are Obama and Romney, but he would be manipulated by lobbyists despite his perceived adherence to the Constitution. Between Obama, Romney and Johnson there should be no doubt that Johnson would be the lesser of three evils.

Finally, what should us disenfranchised voters do? Write in Dr. Paul, choose Johnson or others running third party or just place a vote of no confidence by not voting? We are disenfranchised because unlike the sheep, we will not allow the wool to be pulled over our eyes. We see reality, and it is ugly! The disenfranchised voters can make a statement by their vote only if we come together in synergy and speak as one voice. Personally my plans are to write in Dr. Paul. Either way, we all have a voice, but unless we speak in harmony, in whatever direction that may be, our individual voices will never be heard. Should we choose to do nothing there will be nothing to hear.

I agree with just about everything Chris is saying here. All of it, in fact. Johnson is the lesser of three evils. I personally am not going to vote for Johnson. For starters, I made my decision to vote for Paul no matter what even before Johnson dropped out of the Republican race. I wouldn’t vote for Romney (or Gingrich or Santorum or Bachmann or Perry or Cain) even if Ron Paul was made his running mate. How much less should I vote for Johnson? I do like Johnson. He seems like a sincere enough guy. But he’s a utilitarian*. In my book, even if they are right on most issues, that doesn’t cut it. My conservative side isn’t all that comfortable with his stance on abortion either. Nor do I think him knowledgeable enough to appoint the right kind of people to his cabinet or the courts. Frankly, I don’t even trust most big-wig Libertarians that he listens to/reads. Boaz? Welch? Gillespie? Sorry, they’re all cut from the same cloth, which just so happens to be polyester.

Johnson has proven his ignorance on several things in many an interview. You don’t have to be a genius to get my vote, but I would like to know you at least know most of the basics. Or maybe he does know the basics. Of mainstream, utilitarian libertarianism, that is. I wish I could provide several links to these interviews, but the USB device I was using to keep track of them was lost. Maybe if I find it or feel up to doing my research all over again, I’ll post some of these links and let you decide for yourselves. It’s not that I mind those who plan on voting Johnson. But I hope they are not doing so for the same reasons Democrats are voting for Obama, to keep Romney out, and Republicans are voting for Obama, to get rid of Obama even if it means putting in his clone. Make your vote one of principle, not expedience. If you are voting for Obama, Romney, Johnson, or Paul because you actually agree with them, you have my respect, even if you don’t have my love. If you are voting for them as a merely defensive maneuver, you have my pity. And not a patronizing pity, but pity in solidarity, because your hand may have been forced.

Having said all this, I endorse anyone but Obama and Romney. Protesting the Two Party monopoly (it would be a duopoly if there was any difference between them and they weren’t tied to the same campaign contributors) is a separate issue from voting for your guy. You may not agree with Mickey Mouse. You may even hate the guy. But if you write him in out of protest, you are doing everyone a favor. Please don’t tell me that I should vote for Johnson because some states won’t recognize a write-in for Paul. If a state doesn’t respect your write-in vote, and you are prepared to do something about it, caving and voting for someone you may not agree with, just because it will “count,” is the very last thing you should do. You are simply playing their game. And don’t tell me that I should vote for Johnson because it will lead to a stronger Libertarian Party in the future, because they will receive matching funds if they receive a certain portion of the popular vote. If the Libertarian Party violates its own stated principles to advance them, where does that leave us? This is the entire history of the Republican Party and Democratic Party. Go along to get along and maybe the state will throw you a bone.

*Some say Ludwig von Mises was as well, but reading some of his work, and taking context and semantics into account, I don’t buy it. Besides, one of his main influences was Immanuel Kant.

Reply From Senator Tester

Reply From Senator Tester.

Yesterday (almost two days ago now), I received, via email, a reply to an email letter I sent to both of my Senators. Jon Tester, the junior Senator, has finally gotten around  to this. I suppose he is busy. Lucky for Tester (for whom I am not voting), I won’t be casting a ballot for his opponent, Congressman Dennis Rehberg. I’ll take my six more years of “the Marxist with a flat top” over the Republican who voted for the Patriot Act, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act. Perhaps I shouldn’t call Tester a Marxist. He sure sounds like a Conservative in this ad. And the John Birch Society, of all groups, very often gives he and Baucus better voting records than a whole lot of other Democrats. And even a few Republicans. But, no. I will be writing in the man who lost to Rehberg in the primary, Dennis Teske, if for no other reason than to be a bitter contrarian spoil sport. Here is Senator Tester’s reply, and as with Baucus’  reply, take it for what its worth:

Dear Henry,

Thank you for contacting me about the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011. It’s good hearing from you.

As you know, this legislation would require that an audit of the Federal Reserve be completed before the end of 2012, and would require a detailed report to Congress.

I supported an amendment requiring the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of the Federal Reserve’s actions during the financial crisis in 2008. This amendment provided much-needed transparency after almost $2 trillion in low-interest loans were provided to the banks. The audit also investigated possible conflicts of interest between bankers and officials at the Federal Reserve.

I am a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which has oversight over financial and monetary policy — issues that the Board of the Federal Reserve deals with on a regular basis. The Board must make difficult decisions affecting the long-term outlook of our economy. However, the audit ensured that their actions see the light of day, and it let the Board know that it needs to account for taxpayer funds. I will continue to use my position to make sure the actions of the Federal Reserve work for all Montanans.

Your input is a critical part of making sure the laws we pass in the Senate reflect Montana priorities, and I will continue to ensure transparency when taxpayer dollars are at stake. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Jon Tester

United States Senator

 

It’s All A Game Anyways

It’s All A Game Anyways.

I hereby endorse (not that it is worth much) anyone but Obama and Romney. It really doesn’t matter who the person is that one uses to fill in that blank, because they are not going to win even under favorable circumstances. The same goes for if one chooses to leave it blank. All votes, or non-votes, that are rooted in the dictates of one’s conscience and principles are of equal validity. The only truly wasted vote is a conscious decision for one or the other of these two fascists for exactly that reason: a fascist is a fascist by any other name, Republican or Democrat. Of these vote-wasters, only those that decide at the last second for whom, of the two fascists, to pull the lever are wasting to a smaller degree, because it is only worth the time they spent thinking about it. Only of the others, who actually spent time, perhaps months, years even, rationalizing away the fascist qualities of one or the other major candidate, can it be said that their vote was a complete and total waste. These people are the most blatant fools in an electoral system which happens to be jam-packed with them.

But I am not here to castigate sheep (though there is more of that below) or take a look at the similarities between Obama and Romney, because these have been done all too often almost anywhere you care to look in the libertarian blogosphere, ad nauseam. Besides, once we throw out every position Romney has or has had contradicting or contradicted by another position he has or has had, there is nothing left for us to look at. It’s not even comparing apples (Obama) and oranges (Romney) anymore, because all we are left with is the rotten, worm-eaten apple. What I am going to do is get into the more pragmatic side of things, having already accepted the premise that Romney and Obama are the same, though I am sure that this too has been done before.

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN

If Obama gets reelected, it’s four more years of Democratic fascism until we have another chance, perhaps an even better one than in 2012, to put a principled leader in the White House. But given the GOP’s track record and the LP’s lack of influence, I wouldn’t count on it.

If Romney gets elected, it’s four to eight more years of Republican fascism, which will then be followed by another four to eight years of Democratic fascism. Those arguing to elect Romney because we can’t handle four more years of tyranny are essentially arguing for eight to sixteen more instead.

BEGINNER’S LUCK

There is little doubt in my mind that whomever the next president is, he will be unable (and in most cases unwilling) to prevent the impending fiscal and monetary collapse. If it is a Democratic president, more ammo for Republicans, be they genuine conservatives or corrupt establishmentarians. And if it is a Republican president, more ammo for the “progressive” Democrats who brought us Obama in the wake of Bush’s (whether it is directly attributable to him or not) housing bubble collapse and subsequent recession.

This latter scenario would not be so much a problem if the Republican that got in there actually did the right things before taking the heat for the collapse he did not cause. But such is not the case with a Romney presidency.

Whereas a Ron Paul presidency, or even a Newt “fundamental, but sleazy” Gingrich, Rick “uhhh…uhhh” Perry, Michelle “gives me a migraine” Bachmann, or Herman “would you like to pay for that pizza with fractional reserve fiat monopoly notes…okay, that will be $9.99” Cain presidency*, given the right context and the right pressures and the right advisors would still get the blame, but might at least have done something right in the meantime. Regardless, these latter four Republican’s foreign policies would be enough to make me sit the election out were any one of them to be the nominee. Which brings us back to Romney.

UPPING THE ANTE

Romney’s foreign policy will likely be worse (though substantially the same) than Obama’s. Not just because almost every new president is automatically worse in every sphere or endeavor than the last, regardless of what they truly say or believe or attempt to do, but because he is, by his own admission, very hawkish. He has been critical of Obama where the president is deemed weak on foreign policy and has even praised Obama on the rare occasion in which the president is seen as doing things the proper neocon way.

BLIND BET

There are those out there that AGREE that Romney and Obama are virtually the same on their policies. I mean besides George Soros, the socialism-supporting crony-capitalist who endorsed them both. They tend to go with Romney because “at least he is not a radical”. And what in the hell is that even supposed to mean? I’ll tell you what it means.

They want an acquisitive, confused liar to take away their liberties more than they do an ideological, narcissistic liar, which really is no more than a matter of taste. They would rather be stabbed in the back in the dead of night than face a frontal attack in broad daylight that is at least defensible against. They want to vote for the guy they feel less threatened by, for reasons that are not sound, so that they can sit back and pretend everything is fine for another four years. They are not emotionally or mentally stable enough to follow their own conscience and judgement. They can’t handle short term deprivation for long term yield. A confusing mixture of subjectivity, fear, laziness, self-doubt, and low impulse control. That’s what it means!

*Sorry, Rick Santorum, your forehead is just too shiny to ever be president.

Let Us Not Be Crucified Upon A Cross Of Gold

Let Us Not Be Crucified Upon A Cross Of Gold.

A new Gold Commission. It’s going to be a plank in the Republican Party Platform for 2012! Thanks in no small part to Ron Paul’s educational efforts affecting not only his delegates but Republican voters and the occasional establishment-type. In this era of the printing press (actually, computer-clicks), and all of its trappings—inflation, bailouts, corporatism, militarism—the American people, whether conservative or liberal, can’t help but notice the Federal Reserve’s role in growing the government and weakening the dollar. And while there are many disagreements about what should be done, most informed people that are not a part of the mainstream Republican apparatus or the mainstream Democratic apparatus know that something needs to be done.

Whether its ending the Fed, auditing it, tying it to a commodity, subjecting it to competition, allowing the market to set the interest rate, getting rid of interest rates altogether, replacing the Fed with some other body, replacing it with Congress or one of its Committees, replacing it with nothing, or some combination thereof, these people know something needs to happen if we are to discontinue our reckless monetary policy, the Fed needs to change its ways or take a hike.

Ideally, from an Austrian perspective, the Fed should first be fully audited so that Congress and the American people can be made aware of just how bad things are. Things like how much gold is really in Fort Knox, how much money political favorites and special interests really got, how large the payments to Europe and places like Libya before Gaddafi’s ouster really are, why the interest rate is where it is and who benefits either financially or politically, and the effects of other policies.

Then, perhaps after some of these things are dealt with, legal tender laws should be repealed, making it fully legal for other currencies to arise and compete with the Fed. Should should accompany the elimination of the Federal Reserve’s Dual Mandate of steady prices and maximum employment, or as this piece states, its Triple Mandate of “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” With this, the Fed will either dwindle, making it that much easier to end, or will have to compete, perhaps by going back to some sort of commodity backing. Historically, both before and after the Fed, the US Dollar (AKA Federal Reserve Note) has been backed by gold and silver.

Congress should be made fully responsible for the Fed’s actions and the Fed should be made fully accountable and answerable to the Congress. As soon as fully ending the Federal Reserve or its favored status is no longer a threat to the economic livelihood of hard working people and corporations that have not been engaged in legal or illegal plunder, it should be fully privatized and if this is not plausible, ended. Its cartel status should be ultimately revoked, so that when fully privatized (it is already quasi-private), it is no longer in a position of favor. To keep Congress from merely filling in the void left by the Fed, something which could conceivably be worse than what we have now, given enough time, Article One, Section Eight, Clause Five of the United States Constitution, which states

[The Congress shall have Power] To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures,

should be interpreted as strictly as possible. This means understanding that having the power to do something is not necessarily having the duty to do something, nor does it mean having the sole power to do something.

It is important that the Gold Commission does not simply call for a return to Bretton Woods, because Bretton Woods itself was unstable. The answer to it should not have been Nixon’s untying of the dollar from gold, but a return to the system before Executive Order 6102, if not also to Pre-Liberty Bond Act (1917) or Pre-Federal Reserve Act (1913) monetary policy. It is also important that whatever happens, especially the implementation of a Gold Standard still under the Federal Reserve Cartel, it should not be done abruptly or without taking precautions such that one special interest gains at the expense of another. Remember William Jennings Bryan and his Cross of Gold speech? It is easy enough to label him a monetary crackpot, for he surely was. But understand that he never could have made his case if it weren’t for the plight of the farmers not being able to pay off their debts being exacerbated by the de facto re-implementation of the Gold Standard in 1873. The Coinage Act was passed in the midst of an economic emergency, and led to an era of deflation (called the “Long Depression” despite being nothing of the sort). This was good for the economy as a whole, but as deflation is harmful to debtors, it hurt many a borrower, most of whom were the nations’ farmers.

So, it is a good thing that along with a Gold Commission, there will also be a plank calling for an Audit of the Federal Reserve. For were it just the one, the danger of abrupt changes would be all the greater. Assuming, that is, Republicans take any of the planks seriously. But seriously!

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; Fourth Response

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; Fourth Response.

The following is the fourth paragraph of Barry Germansky’s op-ed Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew, from earlier this year, interspersed with my rebuttals from within the last few days.

BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls’ mandate of applying economic terms – demonstrated in microcosm by their free market beliefs – to all societal sectors creates an enormous disconnect between their personal ideology and the individual matters pertinent to humanity, society, and government at large.

HENRY MOORE: What is more pertinent to humanity, society, and government, society in particular than understanding “the customs of the household,” which is all economics really is at the end of the day? Is this not the basic building block of the other “sectors”? But for some reason you must reduce economics to some bland science that involves only statistics and formula, and in which the chief end is money.

BARRY GERMANSKY: The Paul’s free market gospel would be appropriate for a CEO who deals with money all day long, but not for the leader of a nation comprised of so much more than money.

HENRY MOORE: Narrowing interest in or the uses of economics to CEO’s, who apparently think of nothing but money all day long is a fundamentally elitist notion. And your near king-worship is equally appalling. For your information, the executive office, particularly under the United States Constitution is not a position of leadership. It is a position of carrying out the orders of others. Or at least that’s what it was meant to be. For even when the President (or as you laughably describe him, the national leader) is fulfilling his most authoritarian role, that of Commander-in-Chief, he is merely executing acts of Congress, such as a formal declaration of war, which, in theory, is supposed to reflect the will of the people.

BARRY GERMANSKY: In fact, by examining the free market libertarians who seek to put money ahead of all other human considerations in government, the importance of a democratic government in preserving equality and social justice is revealed.

HENRY MOORE: Your, almost fetishistic, obsession with money as the mainstay of economics is also rather naive. Money is nothing more than a tool. A means to an end. It arises from convention, and only when it is monopolized or collectivized does it take on the role you seem to despise it for. It is very often those who focus all of their attention on the demonization of those that are, in effect, forced to engage in everyday activity on terms other than their own (that is monopolized, collectivized money or currency) who truly give it its horrendous power over people. In a free market, any and all activities, economic or otherwise, can be carried out without the use of money, let alone that of the monopolized, collectivized variety. I am not talking about just barter. It goes further than that. Cooperation and mutual assistance, as means, though not competitive in nature, are more than able to compete with competition, as a means, in bringing about desired results (and ancillary/peripheral benefits) without disregarding analysis of opportunity cost or risk/reward. This is the essence of voluntaryism.

Free markets are very democratic. They do not undermine democracy. One man, at least one vote. More votes to those who benefit society more. It is democracy without the fifty-one-percent-has-it principle. This is because, outside of cartelization (something that can only occur with the intended or unintended help of the state), there is no collusion of special interests, which is the lynchpin of mob rule. Only quasi-rational, and self-interested actors making decisions (thereby creating demand) based on their preferences or their needs for something as contrasted with its relative scarcity. Scarcity and supply, needs and demands are found in every sector, not just in your very deficient conceptualization of the marketplace as some sort of pecuniary orgy of materialists keen on developing their avaricious dispositions.

Equality and Social Justice are two such needs/demands whose scarcity can be substituted for supply. And not just as mere items for sale out in the agora, but as incidental benefits that necessarily arise from the increased standard of living that is an outgrowth of a free market system. There are whole schools of libertarians out there that are dedicated to understanding and promoting this concept. Many of them are left-oriented like yourself.

BARRY GERMANSKY: For example, contrary to what the Pauls will have you believe, property rights are not the most effective methods of combating global warming. This is an environmental issue and should be explored using science before any other school of thought. But, the Pauls stubbornly resort to an economic solution.

HENRY MOORE: Your case against property rights (human rights in the broad sense, private property rights in the narrow sense) is not the least bit compelling. You make two unrelated statements: Property Rights can not solve global warming; Science can solve global warming. The fact that you do not tie them together is troubling enough. But the statements themselves are disturbing as well.

First of all, “global warming” AKA climate change, remains unproven. There is no consensus in the “scientific community”. Whatever that means. Often, instances of agreement have nothing to do with anthropogenic carbon emissions, and other times, the scientists themselves are not peer-reviewed, have admitted to mistakes or wrong-doing, or are a particular type of scientist whose field of work did even not exist until well-after the combustible mix of government grants, environmental hysteria, and agenda-driven NGO propaganda was first prepared.

Second, you do not say why either of these statements or true (let alone why one proves the other). I suspect that this is because that would be an impossible feat without resorting to the most cliché rhetoric, probably involving some fiction about how property owners don’t know what is good for them, and may even get a kick out of pollution. Or perhaps those that own commercial property enjoy oppressing

Third, private property rights can solve problems such as air pollution (global warming is an argumentum ad ignorantiam if there ever was) in the same way it deals with vandalism, trespassing, or a an accidental broken window. It is really quite simple. If you own your property and the air at windpipe-level above your property, no one has the right to pollute that air or any air that comes in contact with that air. If you can prove who the polluter is, you can sue for damages. Odds are he and other polluters will try to cut back on their pollution to avoid lawsuits, or pay people off to avoid bad publicity. People that take the pay-outs obviously prefer them to clean air. As long as they aren’t forcing someone else to breathe it with them, that is their prerogative.

And lastly, science itself is best managed within a system of property rights. Public endowments and grants for science do not lead to new efficiencies of discoveries any more than private endowments and grants. And while both types of funding may be subject to various political pressures and biases that may impact the reported findings themselves, privately funded science is not in the same position as the state to claim it is working primarily for the public good. Publicly funded science has this moral hazard built into it. Privately funded science is also more efficient and subject to competition. There is little incentive to doctor findings when a competitor or opponent might expose them with their own, less tainted results. Science is not a means of solving societal problems. It is a means of observing and understanding the world around us. Science and the free market are not mutually exclusive.

BARRY GERMANSKY: It is through their free market brand of ideological tyranny that economics becomes their sole societal lens.

HENRY MOORE: Tyranny requires imposition and a continuing system of oppression. How can a voluntary society be imposed? It allows for alternatives, even within its own framework. How is that oppressive? How is that tyranny?