One of Those Embarrassing Gary North Quotes

One of Those Embarrassing Gary North Quotes.

First, Gary North’s Quote:

“Everyone talks about religious liberty, but no one believes it. So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” Continue reading

The Worse Rise to the Top? More like the Willfully Ignorant! And the Implications that has on Copyrights.

The Worse Rise to the Top? More like the Willfully Ignorant! And the Implications that has on Copyrights.
High IQ isn’t worth a darn if you refuse to or are unable to acknowledge that sometimes you just might be wrong. You can be the smartest person in the world, but when you make a mistake, and out of pride or fear refuse to recognize it, all your intelligence might as well not exist.

The person I just described is rarely a particularly evil person. They are simply human. And they are found in high numbers amongst the Powers That Be, precisely because of their higher level of intelligence. This is not the same as, but neither is it incompatible with the traditional Hayekian take on the subject. Continue reading

Wayne Lapierre versus Ron Paul

Wayne Lapierre versus Ron Paul.

They’re both right. Well, Ron Paul’s completely right, but Wayne Lapierre (I like NAGR and GAO better than the NRA, but that is a separate issue) still has a good point. Security in schools would go a long way towards deterring random shootings as well as putting a quick end to the ones that do occur. However, does anyone want Janet Napolitano (I can see the turn of events now, both Houses when the vote for the law also voting for an amendment that calls all random shootings acts of domestic terrorism) to monitor the schools? Or any other federally appointed bureaucratic [fill in the blank, I've run out of euphemisms]? I didn’t think so.

Ron Paul’s point was not necessarily that security in school is not what is needed nor that it wouldn’t work nor that any security in school is always a sacrifice of liberty that necessitates a loss of both security and liberty. His point was that in order to increase security in schools, you would be better off abolishing existing laws that ban firearms from schools. There are unnecessary (and unconstitutional, unless of course you buy into the idea that guns on school property have something to do with the commerce clause) laws on the books that make a more liberty-friendly (and in fact liberty-encouraging) security impossible. Why write more laws when the simplest thing to do, for the result intended, is to abolish them? In other words, why give up essential liberty for temporary security when you can get more liberty and more security in one fell swoop?

Wayne Lapierre wants a federal law. Perhaps it would be a well written law, with no easy way to turn it into a miniature NDAA or, and there is nothing to be alarmed about (like jackbooted thugs to protect the children). Great, but at the end of the day, it is still something that could best be handled at the local level. Best in every possible way. On the moral level (all taxation is theft, but if you are going to do it, tax closer to the people who get the “benefit” that the tax is used to fund; local taxes to pay for local security, and that is assuming it is the state, county, city, and/or district that provide or pay for security rather than individuals making decisions on their own dime). On the legal level (the Constitution gives the federal government relatively few and limited powers, none of which even remotely resemble the kidnapping, brainwashing, and then surrounding with heavy artillery of children, all on the pretext to educate and protect them). On the cost level (generally speaking, localizing public services or privatizing them will bring down costs).  And on the bureaucratic level (no one size fits all plans that allow some to gain at the expense of others, whether anyone other than the bureaucrat gains at all).

Back before guns were so feared (it reminds me almost of animists afraid of spirits in stones or something), before there were so many laws creating that fear and at the same time bestowing on the criminally insane the incentive to use them randomly against the unarmed and innocent, the fact that there were no laws explicitly banning guns did not mean gun nuts* brought them to school everyday. (I don’t think I’m out of line by saying that gun nuts were few and far between prior to the hysteria of the last few decades, and they are in fact a predictable reaction to the stigma created by the government-media complex). But it seems to me if you were to abolish federal laws that explicitly ban guns from school zones today, everyone and their uncle would bring one where state laws and local ordinances and school policies didn’t necessarily ban them.

So, shouldn’t we keep the law so that doesn’t happen? No! Because when all is said and done, there is no reason to think that things won’t revert to the way they once were, if you emulate the past. And remember, just because a federal prohibition is lifted and the gun nuts will use that fact to bring their guns to as many places as they can, does not mean specific schools have to tolerate it. Given enough time, the stigma and reactionary behavior will die down anyways. In the meantime, just the thought that there might be the gun in the hands of one person who is a reasonably decent shot and has no reason to use it unprovoked would cut down on shootings. No need for a specially trained, vetted, and armed class of citizen, all at taxpayer expense, to do those things which no longer need to be done because they can easily be accomplished by random heroes if or when the need arises, for free no less.

The general lesson and a good statement is that government (when synonymous with the state, rather than using the definition it once had) creates an irrational fear and hatred of things. Even things that can be rationally feared (like radiation) and/or hated (like actual crimes) it blows out of proportion, creating irrationalities about those things in the minds of people who choose to let others do their thinking. But the concluding argument should not be, Therefore, once government is in place we shouldn’t seek to abolish it or roll it back, because the stigma will still remain, and though the stigma wasn’t there to begin with, at least the government can react to its ill-effects, but rather, Therefore, to prevent further, deeper, longer lasting, more widespread stigmatization from government, we should seek to abolish it or roll it back, because any amount of stigma that remains will, 1) be worth having around if we can prevent even more of it, and; 2) eventually wear off.

*I use this term loosely and somewhat sarcastically. I know people that like to shoot. I know people that have guns for any number of legitimate reasons. I know people that buy guns low and sell them high. I know people that are strict ideologues in their gun rights advocacy. None of these people are “gun nuts” for any of these reasons, other than in the sarcastic sense that I use it. If I was cornered and asked to describe the people who really are nuts about guns, it would be the gun control lobby. Then the criminal class (and I don’t mean victimless crimes). I might even include anyone that would bring a gun to school and wave it around because it is his right (they haven’t really taken the time to think that, though rights are inalienable, acting responsibly is the best way to make sure you don’t give them up or give others the chance to take them). But I doubt there are too many people like that. It is probably comparable to the kind of situation you would get with the legalization/decriminalization of certain hard drugs. Hardly anybody who didn’t want to before prohibition was lifted would try heroin, but people already with a mind to use it might be slightly more careless. So with guns, perhaps the only people to act stupid with them because of a ban being lifted are the kind of people who already are stupid with them with that ban in place.

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

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

The following is the sixth 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: Naturally, the Pauls’ preference for putting economic values first – by believing in free market libertarianism, which uses economics in totalitarian fashion to run society – caters to big businesses far more than the average citizen.

HENRY MOORE: Free Market Libertarianism no more uses “economics,” regardless of how that word is defined, to run society, than any other system does. In fact, as I have argued and will continue to argue elsewhere, it is less likely to do so. Is free market libertarianism the only system that seeks to apply its economic principles to society? Or do other ideologies also seek to apply aspects of their ideology, for good or bad, to society? It is clearly the latter. Or at least it would be to someone who didn’t confuse the term “free market” with the term “economics,” which is at the root of your mistake in the above sentence. And there is nothing inherently totalitarian about it either. That goes for any system, let alone one whose actual principles are the definition of totalitarianism’s opposite! Not unless actual force is involved, which you have yet to reliably point to in any manner. So now you are stretching the term “totalitarian” to mean “anything Barry Germanksy doesn’t like.”

However, a system that throws you in jail for not letting the government steal from you (through taxation, inflation, and regulatory costs) necessarily involves force. And that is just its economic side. Just imagine what this same society does in other sectors! Have you heard of wars of aggression and victimless crimes, for example? What is it about the type of system you advocate, where all is arbitrary, all is tailored to the lowest common denominator, that prevents these other totalitarian (by definition) measures from taking place? I put it to you that the system you advocate is no different than the one already in place (and opposed by the Pauls), where the totalitarian crimes I mentioned are widely practiced and sanctified through the supposedly democratic means by which they are implemented, save only by degree.

Government shouldn’t “cater” to anyone. Not big business. Not small business. And not special interest groups masquerading as advocates of the average citizen.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Perhaps this is best demonstrated by Ron and Rand’s constant support for the abolition of government-issued money in favor of currency minted by private banks. As is commonplace with the Pauls, they choose to ignore history or simply distort it.

HENRY MOORE: The government does not issue the money. This is false. If government issued the money the monetary system would have collapsed a long time ago, because a bureaucracy does not have, and therefore cannot respond to, the various incentives and disincentives, associated with actually seeking a profit.  The current monetary system is a hybrid of both the public and the private sectors. They remain private in the sense that they are not democratically elected nor accountable to the people they purport to serve, and public in the sense that they are protected and artificially propped up, primarily through various types of fraud and force.

This is fascism. And here you are, a leftist of sorts, defending it as though a monetary cartel was somehow a friend to the common folk. With inflation, anyone living on a fixed income is negatively impacted. It is true, at least in the short term, that an inflationary currency regime helps debtors, but it is equally true and equally important that not all debtors are the poor and downtrodden, and that not all the poor and downtrodden are debtors. In fact, the less “fair lending” regulations there are, the less likely lenders are to “take advantage” of people who cannot repay loans, because there is simply no incentive to do so. Loan sharks who do see incentives are far more common in systems that regulate legitimate lending practices to the point of making it overly costly for most people to operate with them.

So, the Federal Reserve Bank, is a private system reorganized by the state into a quasi-private monopoly. By way of illustration, consider two competing car lots whose salesmen decide they can get more profits by cooperating than they can by competing. So they both agree to raise the price of a vehicle on their lot to the same exorbitant price. Assuming there are no other car lots around within a distance that would make it cost effective to just buy a car out of town, anybody in the area who needs a new vehicle will have no choice but to buy a car from one of the two lots at the exorbitant price. Sure, this is price-gouging, but unless they figure out a way to ban new competitors, it is not yet a cartel. So say there is another salesman who sees the need for, as well as profit in, setting up his own lot and charging significantly less for his vehicles. Free Market. Problem solved. But before he can even get his inventory in, the local sheriff (one of the two cooperating salesmen’s cousin perhaps) comes up with some excuse to shut him down and run him out of town (through threats or bribery or blackmail, etc.). Well, this is exactly how the Federal Reserve, and in fact the entire financial system operates. Only the two price-gouging salesmen are the private banks and institutions who already have connections to government (and no, the root of the problem is not private banking, but a government susceptible to nepotism and corruption), the local sheriff is the government, and the competing salesmen are smaller, less favored banks, who may be even more capable and efficient than the major banks, but are starting at a distinct disadvantage. And yet you defend this system and would seek to create microcosms of it in every sector?

As for history, competing banks and commodity standards have been more efficient and less predisposed to severe downturns than national/central banks have. Unfortunately, even with a great many private banks there has been government manipulation and fraud, or government aiding in or covering up private sector fraud. This is not dissimilar to the more institutionalized manipulation and fraud now an accepted (but not well understood by the average person, nor fully transparent as to the specifics) part of the financial sector thanks to the Federal Reserve and various government regulatory agencies.

Such interference (sometimes initiated by government out of hysteria or motive, sometimes by the private banks themselves to increase their own gain, but remember, government is still the problem here because it made itself responsive to corrupting influences), has at times resulted in panics and runs and recessions and Depressions that have later been blamed on private banking, in general, rather than on the specific administration and the specific banks. But none of these downturns were anywhere near as severe or long lasting (save one, the Long Depression, which was only a depression in terms of decreasing prices, not in terms of a weak, anemic, struggling economy) as those that occurred in the era of, and as a result of, the Federal Reserve System.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Their plan to abolish the Federal Reserve has already been tried to varying degrees, and does not lead to utopian freedom. Instead, it creates an influx of fraud and currency debasement, followed by the concentration of financial power in the few banks that survive the ensuing “big fish versus little fish gladiatorial match”.

HENRY MOORE: The Federal Reserve System has been around for almost 100 years. Not once in that period of time has there ever been an attempt to abolish it. At least not an attempt that had any economic impact. Again your ignorance of history, which you project onto others, I am forced to deal with.

There were two national banks, neither of which were ever referred to as “the Federal Reserve” that had each been abolished. Perhaps that is what you are alluding to. But how could that be? Fully abolishing two banks are not “various degrees” of abolishing a bank. Abolishment is abolishment. Furthermore, the periods of these banks were replete with the problems you mention, though when the government does it they are not referred to as “fraud and debasement” because they are “legal,” while the periods where there was no central bank had less of these things. All of these periods had their fair share of panics, but panics are almost always overreactions to minor inconsistencies. If they are blown too far out of proportion the government steps in to “save the day.” What this usually means is they bail out their cronies (some of whom were just on the wrong end of a risk, others which were defrauding depositors), or where there is a genuine instance of good intentions on its part, wide scale distortions, leading to another round of blame, intervention, and yes, more reason to panic.

Now, there have been attempts to limit its policies, but the one time (1920/1921) where this had any meaningful impact it, a) had a good impact, and b) merely limited it to its original duties, those which it had just three short years prior (1917). Hardly an attempt to abolish it. And if you are referring to more recent history, something under FDR (confiscation of gold) or Kennedy (elimination of silver certificates) or Johnson (profligate spending) or Nixon (ending Bretton Woods) or Reagan (appointing supposed goldbug Greenspan) or whatever you are must be willfully ignorant, because the changes these men made were either attempts to strengthen the Federal Reserve or the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Concentration of power in already exists. Indeed, it flourishes under central banking. And not just in the finance industry. Central banks are already privately owned cartels. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they don’t always (if ever) use this power for the public benefit. Crony capitalism (I’ll wager you’d hate that even more than you do free market capitalism, if you knew the difference, that is) is what ensues. Favorites and those owed a favor get bailed out and subsidized. Those to whom this money “trickles down” eventually, as the economy reacts, lose the value that it initially had. This loss of value is always faster than the value gained in interest by saving money in a bank taking its orders from the Fed.

By the way, your metaphor really sucks. It conveys a false message and it is mixed.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Without government regulation to protect the country, individual autonomy among the masses becomes victimized by those with greater influence. The rich and powerful, who account for a small percentage of the country’s total population, have more wealth than the majority.

So now you are a nationalist? Protect the country? From what? The free society that made it great in the first place? The audacity!

What part of individual autonomy don’t you understand? Do I take it the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” has no value to you? Because if I took your word for it “autonomy” is the right to steal and to kidnap or kill those who resist the theft.

And if you are worried about oppression by the rich and powerful, turn your eyes first to the policies you yourself advocate (or at least defend) that actually facilitate the oppression by the rich and the powerful. And who is this “majority?” Do you mean just anybody who you don’t arbitrarily classify as rich and powerful? Or like a true democrat do you mean 50.1% or more of the people with a minority of 49.9% or less? Or will either one do, depending on the situation? What about those that don’t care that some people have more money and more power? Shouldn’t you subtract them from your “majority?” And if you do, who then will be the majority? If it is the rich and the powerful and their less rich, less powerful allies, will their right to oppress become all of the sudden sacred because at least they are going about it democratically?

BARRY GERMANSKY: In a free market, some unfortunate people – for example, those who are physically disabled or grew up in poverty – will automatically be disadvantaged and have no assistance from society to overcome these factors (which the current system tries its best to accommodate).

HENRY MOORE: Yes, there are such people. But haven’t you heard of “community” or “family” or “charity”? Don’t you have any faith in humanity? None of these things are absent in a free market system. They and their proper functioning are all subject to risk in the free market’s absence, however.

Poverty exists, but like most other things it is exaggerated. For every genuinely distraught person there may be a handful of people who, for lack of better words, are just lazy bums. The average American household under the “poverty line” is in better shape today than all but the richest of the rich were 100 years ago. A rising tide lifts all boats. Poor people today have cable TV, multiple vehicles, washing machines, cell phones, computers, etc. That doesn’t mean we should let people who don’t fit this description fall through the cracks, but there are better ways than bankrupting the country and debasing the currency.

And what is to blame for a lot of this poverty? Minimum wage laws, welfare for the able-bodied, taxation, inflation, regulations, takings, prisons filled with nonviolent criminals, public schools (but then I already listed prisons). In a word, the state.

BARRY GERMANSKY: For these simple reasons, corporate monopolies would be even more widespread without government intervention. The little fish would have no chance.

HENRY MOORE: To recap: big government and big business go hand in hand. They are not foes. They are the best of friends. We are not talking about a little fish fleeing a big fish or a little fish competing for food against the big fish. No, we are talking about two enormous fish surrounding an unsuspecting little fish and tearing him to shreds before he even has a chance to realize what is going on.

An Open Challenge to Barry Germansky

An Open Challenge to Barry Germansky.

He is a technocrat, a legal positivist, a utopian, a totalitarian, a nihilist, a Canadian, and a socialist.

I stand by those words.

He’s denied the label technocrat already, and I suppose that’s not what he “is”, its just a likely outcome of some of his ideas. It is worth noting that experts should certainly govern their own fields and fields have their own terminology and their own rules. It does not follow, however that their is a strict separation from the other sectors, spheres, and fields, nor that the rules and terminologies by which they are governed are wholly, or even mostly unrelated to those that govern other sectors, spheres, and fields.

Legal Positivism is the best description and the easiest to prove besides Canadian.

Utopianism and Totalitarianism are not really a subjective terms, but I suppose there are nuances.

Nihilism is the hardest charge to make stick, so I am willing to modify it to moral relativism, but that aspect of things is not my primary focus.

Canadian was sort of a nationalistic dig on my part, but I don’t harbor any ill-will towards my brethren to the North, I just like to give them a hard time.

And Socialist, much like technocrat, is not necessarily what he portends to be, but just another outcome of his political philosophy.

I’ve noticed an uptick in the hits on this piece, as well as related posts, and have been paying attention to the search terms. I really hope Barry drops by one of these days and attempts to refute an attempted refutation. I do always enjoy picking his brain and honing my skills. Barry has been one of my better whetstones. It’s nothing personal of course, he has just been one of the most willing to engage and I welcome and encourage that. So if it Barry himself stopping by, I ask him to stay a while and unload his thoughts. Or if it is someone who knows Barry, I ask you to pass this challenge along. We could discuss a few things. It doesn’t have to be Ron Paul, the election is over.

Regardless of whether he accepts this challenge or not, and I won’t judge his actions one way or the other, I want him to know I still have a few more things to say to him, as promised. Look for them in the coming days and weeks.

Funding for AXED: the End of Green Starting to Get on Pace

Funding for AXED: the End of Green Starting to Get on Pace.

AXED -- Kicktraq Mini

The project raised $7,492 on Wednesday, moving our average amount needed per day till the end of the project from about $2,500 to about $1,500. We are confident we can raise the $13,599 needed to reach our goal in the next week. If you are reading this on Thanksgiving, and/or plan on shopping till you drop on Black Friday, please save this link to the project somewhere you will see it over the weekend and donate $1, $5, $100, or whatever you can afford. This is an independent, grassroots effort and I can attest to the abilities of all of the individuals involved.

If you have a problem with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, malaria in Africa, bed bugs in major cities, US dependence on foreign oil, United Nations treaties and initiatives, takings of private property, restrictions on your ranching/agricultural and hunting rights, your tax dollars going to waste on the pet projects of special interest groups with an often anti-industrial, anti-economic, anti-autonomy, anti-liberty, and/or anti-human bent, then get involved; this film will not disappoint.

FREE GIVEAWAY PROMOTIONAL, PHASE SIX

Anyone who reblogs this (or related posts) on any blog platform will receive a free copy of the finished product when it arrives (slated for Earth Day 2013). Those using a platform other than WordPress will need to contact me and let me know at hank@axedthemovie.com. I have 20 DVDs to give away and 2 of them have already been claimed. Those that pledge have the chance at additional rewards.