Steve Daines voted with the Dems. Surprise. It didn’t really take any special insight for me to predict that Montana’s sole congressman would turn out like 99% of his colleagues. Power corrupts and that’s all you really need to know. My own opinion is that it didn’t really matter whether the government stayed “shut down” or not. It’s a sham either way. And a politician taking a position on it was little more than posturing. So his vote is irrelevant as to the long run outcome (we are on an unsustainable trajectory no matter what), but it speaks volumes about the man and his rhetoric.
From what I can tell, a “change agent” in the lingo of the conspiracy theorist is a person who seems alright on the surface but in reality is bought and paid for by the New World Order/Illuminati/Bilderbergs and whose primary function it to co-opt the opposition and channel their frustration into fruitless endeavors, so that the powers that be may effect the change they desire with virtually no threats to their plan. If someone like Ron Paul can be accused of this, of course, then no one is safe. Which is why using the term “change agent” in this way has little effect. But as an actual agent of change, Ron Paul’s record speaks for itself, I think. No, I don’t mean his legislative record, for this is rarely something anyone should be proud of, and at best serves only to condemn the person in question for the misdeeds they have committed in the name of making law and doing the will of the people. I refer to his other record. His list of achievements in public life outside of the halls of Congress.
The man has single-handedly convinced thousands upon thousands of people to adopt a more freedom-oriented outlook on life, if not also to utterly transform their worldview. And he continues to do so with his latest book, which I received in the mail today not more than a few hours ago. I’m already reading it and in the first chapter he is keen to stress the ideas that liberty and personal responsibility go hand in hand (one might term this a “Virtuous Voluntaryism“) and that an education’s structure and content must be consistent with one another in order to be effective.
I hope that thousands if not millions of people read this book (and/or others like it) and come away from it with a fresh or reinforced opinion on what needs to be done with our education system (hint, the bulk of the fight takes place outside of “the system”), which is in a complete shambles. Because that’s just how many people it is going to take to
reform fix restructure completely uproot the current establishment. Doing this is an end in itself, of course. But it is also a means to a far greater goal. Children raised by the state cannot help, on the whole, but to be children raised for the state. Ron Paul forcefully drives home the point that the status quo cannot be successfully challenged without first addressing the wholesale brainwashing of what many deem to be society’s greatest asset: the children. Stop the elites and bureaucrats on this front and victory over them in perhaps every other field of battle is all but assured.
So I encourage you to read this book, to suggest to others that they read it, and once done, to share (your/their) copy with still others (could be wrong, but I think it’s WAY easier to do this with a hard copy than with a Kindle or iPad). That is what I intend to do with mine. I hope and expect to be finished with it within the week.
It’s not the hypocrisy of (anti/pro) war (Republican/Democratic) party hacks that I mind. For at least that means they are on the right side 50% of the time, which is better than being on the wrong side 100% of the time. No, what I hate is when this hypocrisy goes unnoticed, unexposed, and unchallenged. During Obama’s first term, the hypocrisy was that of the suddenly pro-war Democrats. And for his second term, it is that of the suddenly anti-war Republicans. How hard is it to simply have a standard? One that does not depend on the context of what letter happens to be next to the name of the puppet pretending to wield power for a period of 4 to 8 years. I am personally grateful for the amount of people on both sides of the aisle who don’t think it necessary or just to waltz (whether to bombard or to occupy) into Syria on a moment’s notice. But watch most of these anti-anything-Obama-does Republicans turn on a dime when it’s Iran’s turn to face our wrath. Then watch the Democrats squirm as they try to figure out their own position.
What are your thoughts? Would it be better if people just stuck to their position, even if it was awful, or if they waffled and on occasion did something right? Both in general and as it relates to the two parties and military intervention.
Getting Closer to the Prize!
Yesterday, the contest judges posted their findings.
Congratulations to contest winner Adam Millsap on his piece on the gradual reemergence of the ordered chaos of city life.
And I am happy to announce that my post was mentioned as a runner-up! Not bad, if I do say so myself. With Brandon’s victory for the May contest, that makes for two recent mentions of Notes on Liberty by The Freeman‘s website.
Also mentioned was Babatunde Onabajo’s essay, also on Malthus, which I do recommend. In it, he describes why the business cycle, that is, prosperity interrupted by recession, could be considered a good thing. Endless wealth and growth might keep those driving it in good shape, but it can erode their character and leave those few who are unable to be a part of it to fend entirely for themselves. If those with the most to share (freely, not stolen from them through fraud or force, of course) are unable to sympathize with the less fortunate, what reason would they ever have to help them?
Getting Closer to Utopia!
I found Onabajo’s arguments compelling, but I would like to offer two critiques. One slight, and one very slight. To be fair, the author was only permitted 1,000 words for his essay, so he could not have really gone into these points, even if he wanted to.
The first is that the business cycle needn’t always include what we think of as painful recessions and depressions. Ups and downs, sure; the market isn’t perfect. But nothing along the lines of 1907, 1920, 1929, 1973, 2000, or 2007. These were all the result of central banking and/or state interventionism. In a free market, gone global and unhindered by trade barriers, recessions (if you could even call them that) would tend to be far less severe. Depressions would probably be nonexistent. Using Onabajo’s arguments, this could eventually lead to moral decline. Endless prosperity for which fewer and fewer have any skin in the game (indirectly proportionate to the increase of the rate of growth) destroys character. From the ensuing ethical and intellectual decay, I would imagine that the result would be more calls for state-intervention, leading, in time, to more severe recessions. (Interestingly, there is a cycle even in what I just described. But it may be more akin to a modern-day anacyclosis than it is to the business cycle. I am not well versed in Public Choice Theory, but I would be surprised if it didn’t have some good insights into this matter.)
The other critique I have is that under ideal free market circumstances, the need for charity for those simply down on their luck (as opposed to the defenseless and the handicapped) would decrease due to an approximately equitable distribution of not just the bare necessities, but of basic comforts and common frivolities. Coupled with milder and milder recessions, this would mean that not only would there be fewer to sympathize and fewer to be sympathized with, but also far less need to sympathize. (That is, until moral degradation sets in, giving special interests the opportunity to call for state-intervention, leading to severe recessions and depressions.)
I’ve been promising posts left and right and I assure my readers that they are still on their merry way. In the future I’ll be a little more vague about dates and times, because, well, because Murphy’s Law. My main problems have been that I am busy and I have underestimated the scope of some of my projects. No more self-imposed deadlines! On top of this I was forced to sit idle for two days by a temporary (whew!) deactivation of my blog because some old post back from October contained a link to a commenter’s website, which apparently is on WordPress.com’s banned list. Not a heinous or obscene site, mind you, but spam nonetheless. I had to send in a report with my objections to the deactivation and explained that I was unaware of any policy violations. I was polite about it and received a response explaining the situation and got reactivated in next to no time. It was a bummer at first but it gave me a much-needed chance to tackle a few other things. But I reckon now it’s time to shift things back into high gear.
Congratulations to Notes on Liberty consortium co-editor Brandon Christensen on winning the first ever Thorpe-Freeman Blog Contest, put on by the Foundation for Economic Education in May. That’s $250 cash plus some well-deserved name recognition for Brandon and the blog. It’s a great piece about how things are actually looking up for liberty if you take a couple steps back to look at the bigger picture. I recommend that you check it out. Here it is at NOL, and here it is at FEE.
Also check out some of the other stuff going on with Brandon and NOL. It’s success is a microcosm of the ground gained by the idea of spontaneous order, as touched on in the winning essay. If I may put it so boldly for the otherwise humble blog. It’s a diverse crowd, there’s plenty of disagreement, but all of them are influenced by this idea to some degree. You could even say they were brought together by it.
And if you’re in the mood, check out some of the other contestants’ work.
Received honorable mention:
How Commerce Expands Culture by Andrea Castillo
Literal and Symbolic, Part 1 by Dan McFerren
My own submission (also published originally at NOL; I hope to get it up here soon):
I am hoping I will have the time and the gumption to make a submission for this month’s contest as well. I would need to re-read the rules and suggestions, pick out some material to start with, hone my abilities, and then get to researching and writing. The question is, whether to submit again under NOL, as I would be honored to do (but I wonder if they would be less likely to pick another submission from the same blog as before) or to submit under my own revitalized and rejuvenated site (in the hopes that it will be something new to the contest judges, whose evaluations, after all, are subjective). I really don’t know at this point. I’ve got more than two weeks to decide. Either way, it looks like the competition is fierce!