What’s your take on the whole red states mooching off the blue states thing? I keep hearing this whenever the secession question comes up. Those few libs who don’t want to confiscate Texas from the Texans say “good riddance, you’re a tax burden anyways!”
The following is the seventh 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’ default stance of misrepresenting the historical record also helps them peddle the absurd Austrian School idea to deregulate all private businesses and subsequently create a utopian free market.
HENRY MOORE: We have already dealt with the historical record, which you have ignored, but must you now ignore the point of science (economics is a social science, one for which there are many competing theories)? You are here misrepresenting the Austrian School of Economics. To quote Walter Block, “No, Austrian economists can’t oppose or favor anything. To say that they do is to violate the normative positive distinction. Austrians are limited to saying that a given policy will have thus and thus effects; they logically cannot say, qua Austrians, that a policy is good or bad, nor may they favor or oppose it, again qua Austrian economists. Certainly, they can do so as citizens, as ethicists, as philosophers, but economics per se is and must be value free, despite the fact that this stricture is all too often violated, as in the present case.”
So Austrians do not oppose or favor any policy, such as deregulation, privatization, “utopian” free markets, as Austrians. They may do so as libertarians, which many Austrian economists are in varying degrees, but not as members of the economics profession, regardless of the school they find the most useful. Why is adherence to the Austrian school or other free market theories, and to libertarianism often found in the same people? Emphasis on such things as individual choice and individual action, as well as the fact that utility (relative to societal norms) applied to knowledge gleaned from the scientific theory, and the morality of the philosophical/political theory often lead to compatible conclusions.
A general example would be where policy a leads to unintended result b, an Austrian neither favors nor opposes policy a in and of itself, rather its merit depends on whether result b is in line with the original intent of policy a and/or the societal norms that the policy derives from or is in reaction to. To the scientist, the policy and its result have no moral value relative to science, only relative to the purported intentions of the policy in question. To the philosopher, especially one coming from a framework that values liberty highly, the Austrian (though not as an Austrian) may oppose the policy (and favor alternatives) on those grounds, regardless of whether or not he favors or opposes them (or remains objective, in the case of science) on other grounds.
A specific example following these same lines would be economically interventionist policies that intend to increase homeownership rates because the societal norm is that home ownership is a worthy and valuable goal, which then have the result of decreasing homeownership or stopping the growth of home ownership in the long run, or that have myriad other unwelcome (by society, not necessarily the scientist, who is mostly an observer) effects that outweigh those results considered more positive. The Austrian that is also a libertarian might oppose these policies on the grounds that public policies favoring one group (generally socio-ecnomic, ethno-cultural, political, or regional) at the expense of others necessarily violates the rights of the those in other groups. I just described to you the Housing Bubble and ensuing economic crisis.
[It is sometimes observed that Austrian school luminary Ludwig von Mises, though libertarian in his conclusions, was very much a utilitarian/consequentialist, and when coming to conclusions about the moral worth of a policy, applied this to his scientific knowledge, rather than a deontological libertarianism apart from his scientific knowledge. This is somewhat true, taking into account semantics, but upon further study, when all is put into context, the label is somewhat of an oversimplification.]
Furthermore, your idea of regulation is arbitrary. Because there is a public policy and it is called a “regulation,” that automatically means it regulates? No. Often so called “regulations” create irregularities, and occasionally the blame for economic crises rests on their shoulders. The free market, on the other hand, is capable of regulating without the aid of government so-called experts. Markets can regulate themselves because each person only needs knowledge about a small portion of that which affects him, whereas central planners can not regulate markets because there are far fewer of them and by comparison the knowledge required is too vast for them to master, in a given point in time, let only keep tabs on throughout a large span of time. This is an overly simplistic way of looking at it, of course, but when one clearly can not even grasp this concept, up till now I hope, it is pointless to delve much further. Though I have attempted to do so here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls refuse to believe that deregulation caused the Great Depression and the 2008 recession, despite vast quantities of evidence to the contrary.
HENRY MOORE: There is hardly any evidence (it is certainly not vast) that deregulation caused the Great Depression or the 2008 Recession, unless of course we see deregulation (which is often cleverly misused to refer to not only deregulation, but regulation, reform, and combinations of all the aforementioned) as a mitigating factor (e.g., rapid deregulation of a sector accustomed to regulation can indeed cause “problems,”; a separate issue entirely is the fact that these “problems,” though painful for some, are necessary to liquidate malinvestments and to shift misallocations, and that without these temporary wounds reopening, worse infections would fester).
In fact, it is more accurate to blame regulations. I use the term loosely (but nowhere near as loosely as some use the term “deregulation”) to refer to such things (during the 2008 Recession) as the Federal Reserve’s Dual Mandate of price stability and low unemployment, manipulation of interest and exchange and tax rates, price controls, implicit bailouts (this is the type of regulation most commonly ignored by progressive-types griping about the so-called “repeal” of the Glass-Steagall Act, which often bears the brunt of the blame for the 2008 Recession), the Community Reinvestment Act and related or similar laws, the financial actions of certain Government Sponsored Entities, and the exacerbation of the ensuing problems with things like explicit bailouts, stimulus, and Quantitative Easing.
BARRY GERMANSKY: Following the Great Depression, when FDR introduced strict, compartmentalized regulation of the marketplace, the United States enjoyed a forty-year period of virtually uninterrupted growth, transforming the country into a superpower.
HENRY MOORE: The growth was not the result of any regulations, it was the result of a reinvigorated post-world war private sector, which had been stifled by the Hoover and Roosevelt economic and foreign policies in the 1930s and early 1940s. Without these policies the boom would have been that much sooner and by the time in question that much bigger. This is part of the reason the US became a superpower (it already was prior to the Great Depression, but after World War Two, increasingly so), but just as significant was what occurred with World War Two. The United States was comparatively insulated from the world wars in terms of structural damage. So it recovered from them more readily than the other superpowers, those in Europe and Asia. The competition, even that from the other supposed superpower, the Soviet Union, simply did not compare.
BARRY GERMANSKY: Then, when Reagan took office in the 1980s, he was aided by Alan Greenspan and company to remove the historically-proven regulations.
HENRY MOORE: The regulations were not historically proven. They led to the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, and the regulations imposed because of that (which were diminished some by Carter, Reagan, and Volcker), including wage and price controls, and the slow unravelling of the currency, both of which were major factors in 1970s Stagflation.
A lot of the regulations that Reagan got rid of were not just FDR’s. Some of them were also Nixon’s. Paul Volcker (under Carter and Reagan) actually did more to deregulate than Greenspan (only briefly under Reagan, more closely associated with Bush Senior, Clinton, and Bush Junior) ever did. A lot of Reagan’s policies, including deficit spending were the opposite you make them out to be. Supply-side economics is not the same thing as free market economics. Any “economics” that puts too much (i.e., artificial) emphasis on either the supply side or the demand side (or on both as they are not mutually exclusive) is liable to create distortions. It is true that supply drives demand, but this does not mean supply should be propped up in any way by government. For the record, supply-side economics is subtle corporate welfare (as opposed to that which artificially prop up demand which is things like wage and price controls and welfare for the poor) and has been practiced by every administration and Congress going back for decades, including FDR, often in combination with more policies aimed at propping up demand.
Greenspan’s policies were far from free market reforms. For a former proponent of the gold standard and follower of Ayn Rand, he had comparatively little to show for it in his actual policies, often moving in the opposite direction.
BARRY GERMANSKY: This helped big businesses make more profits while sending the rest of America into the gutter. This culminated in the 2008 recession.
HENRY MOORE: So is it deregulation or profit that causes recessions? Which is it? Didn’t small businesses get profits too? And didn’t some wages go up in real terms? And weren’t the wages that didn’t go up start on that trend before Reagan and Greenspan? What is it about profit (or deregulation) that sends “the rest of America” to the gutter? Is it that some of these new profits are not in fact new, but simply the same profits but less of them stolen through taxation? In other words, is the reason that some of these Americans were no longer permitted to live off of someone else? If you want a policy to blame for making the middle class poor and the poor desperate, look at things like minimum wage laws, which take the bottom rungs off the employment ladder; unsustainable lines of production encouraged by an elastic currency and cheap credit; dependence on high priced foreign cartel energy sources because the Executive Office, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and public rent seeking special interests don’t want the United States to access her own abundant natural resources; and outsourcing caused by high tax rates, onerous regulations and managed trade. Those are your culprits.
BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls are able to ignore all of these historical events because they treat their personal ideology as more credible than primary evidence. This is a big no-no for any serious historian.
HENRY MOORE: You mention few, if any, actual historical events, and virtually no reliable evidence. Mostly personal ideology and vague platitudes. And hardly any context to accompany them. You are not a serious historian. Neither are most of the people you have been reading or listening to. You are all certifiable laughing stocks. You and your arguments have no credibility whatsoever.
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.
The fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”
That was technically yesterday (Mountain Standard Time), though I when I started this piece I hadn’t gone to bed yet. Today is officially election day. This post is intended to bring a few things to everyone’s attention. Many people already know these things. Some don’t. Either way, as usual, I will put a little of my own spin on it.
First on the election.
On the presidential elections (I still have not voted yet today, but I think I will make it to the polls before they close), voting doesn’t really effect the election outcome unless you are in a battleground state. So I hope most people will be voting their consciences. Voting, however, does send a message, and that message for each voting block is the same REGARDLESS of the outcome. What I mean by this is, if you support someone but vote for someone else, odds are that not only will that vote have no effect on the outcome (unless, as I said, it is a tight race) in terms of who the next president is, but you are also keeping people from knowing what you truly believe. Voting to send a message therefore has much more of an impact than voting to put someone in power.
And now, the rest of the post on ongoing and attempted takeovers of the liberty movement by 1) Occupy Wall Street (this was only a minor and unintended offense on their part), 2) the rank and file of the Tea Party (originally a good thing, but now more or less synonymous with the GOP), and 3) the Kochtopus (who in my conspiratorial mind own Jesse Benton, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and a good portion of many Republican, Tea Party, and Libertarian groups, organizations, and individuals, though I do not allege that everyone employed are receiving funds from the Koch Brothers is automatically a blind tool).
407 years ago this night was the Gun Powder plot where a group of English Catholics attempted to Assassinate James I of England. All religious considerations aside (I am not a Catholic), it was an act against oppression and thus a tradition has come down to us today, mainly in England, to celebrate the anniversary. I won’t go into any details about how the Fifth of November, AKA Guy Fawkes Day is traditionally celebrated, but I do want to call attention to the man it was named after. But not the historical man because that is fairly boring. It is to the fictionalized, mythologized, romanticized, and later Hollywoodified version that I will point you. Guy Fawkes is a Robin Hood-like hero in these later accounts, and much the same he has captured many hearts and minds. Like Robin of Loxley, he stands against the existing order, the status quo, and evades the unjust authorities, but perhaps unlike him, the whole idea of tyranny. What more could I ask for?
We’ve all seen the Guy Fawkes masks, the ones that come from the movie V for Vendetta. The first people that used them as activists, perhaps to the surprise of many, were in fact Ron Paul supporters. Not the hackers group Anonymous, and not the Occupy Wall Street movement. Just like with the Tea Party movement.
Speaking of Anonymous, Guy Fawkes, and Ron Paul, check out this “leak” and the video below.
Ron Paul raised $4.3 Million on Guy Fawkes Day in 2007. Why a similar money bomb didn’t occur in 2011 is probably due to former Campaign Manager Jesse Benton’s fear and loathing of anything resembling disorder or fringe or passion.
Most Ron Paul supporters had their suspicions of Jesse Benton. Some smelled a rat early on. Other reserved judgement until it was too late.
Adam Kokesh was one in the former category. [Warning: Foul Language!]
He regarded Jesse Benton and Campaign for Liberty (under Benton’s leadership at the time) with disdain from early one, at first for what seemed to be personal reasons, but later what turned out to be a dead-on instinct.
This all reminds me of an historical episode that occurred between another Jesse Benton, and a man who might be considered Ron Paul’s role model against the Central Bank, President Andrew Jackson.
Campaign for Liberty was perhaps the first real Tea Party organization, although in a sense Dick Armey’s Freedom Works (2004), the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (2004) Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform 1985), and the Koch Brothers’ Citizens for a Sounds Economy (1984) all deserve honorable mention.
Even Murray Rothbard can be said to have had a role, albeit a small one.
And speaking of Murray Rothbard and the Kochtopus, I suggest you read some of these links I have done many hours worth of research looking for. I have read a number of them myself. There is some really juicy stuff in there. And it should be required reading for any liberty minded person worried about the corrupting influences to be found in politics, even in the libertarian movement. I don’t know entirely what to make of it all other than that the Koch brothers have done many great deeds for which they should be praised, but all for what appear to be the wrong reasons, reasons, which have also caused them to do a great deal of more sinister things. Perhaps enough to outshine their more praiseworthy endeavors. They are corporate fascists and elitists no less than George Soros and Warren Buffet. They just have a different strategy. Perhaps the most clever and dangerous.
May 28, 2007
March 25, 2008
April 22, 2008
May 12, 2008
October 22, 2008
January 2, 2009
March 2, 2009
March 6, 2009
August 28, 2009
March 30, 2010
April 22, 2008
April 16, 2008
August 4, 2010
August 30, 2010
August 31, 2010
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January 26, 2011
January 27, 2011
February 2, 2011
February 3, 2011
February 6, 2011
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February 24, 2011
February 26, 2011
March 2, 2011
March 10, 2011
April 22, 2011
May 6, 2011
May 9, 2011
July 3, 2011
July 8, 2011
July 22, 2011
July 25, 2011
September 6, 2011
September 29, 2011
October 3, 2011
October 13, 2011
November 6, 2011
November 16, 2011
January 1, 2012
January 31, 2012
February 16, 2012
March 1, 2012
March 2, 2012
March 3, 2012
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March 19, 2012
March 22, 2012
March 26, 2012
April 11, 2012
April 16, 2012
April 20, 2012
April 24, 2012
April 27, 2012
July 7, 2012
August 17, 2012
August 30, 2012
Two Additional Links I can’t put in the chronology:
One of the most interesting things (and there were many) I garnered from reading these is the Kochtopus’ love for Central Banking, despite their roots in Austrian Economics. Evokes memories of Alan Greenspan. And why the Koch Brothers put stock in Herman Cain. And why Rick Perry was derided by so-called conservatives when he called Ben Bernanke a traitor. And why their oh so brief ally Ron Paul is so hated by them and theirs anymore.
And it reminds me further of several graphics I have seen floating around on the various End the Fed sites and blogs. A stream of consciousness post like this would be seriously remiss without tying everything together with a few related images.
Do I need to spell out the connection?
Hydra/Kraken/Squid/Octopus/Kochtopus/Leviathon/Federal Government/Federal Reserve/National Bank/Petrodollar/Koch Industries/Corporations/Military Industrial Complex/Fascism Hello?!?!
Please don’t think I’m going all occult on you or anything (I do admit that I came across some pretty dubious sites looking for some of these images). I just really like mythology and history and metaphors and analogies.
Check this out at the new blog as well!
Other than the two, shall we say, Fascists, and who shall remain nameless, that are running, is there anyone else worth voting for? It is subjective because it depends on your own conscience, of course. But who is running does not, because it is an objective fact, even if it is not a fair one (because there are so many schools of thought that do not have party representation, and even a few who reject the notion of political parties, and others still that reject democracy altogether). So, I’ve decided to do the whole profile-the-candidates thing. I am sure this has been done before, but as always, I will put my own unique spin on it. I’ll also include a number of people no longer technically running anymore, but who will likely get a few write-in votes and fill a void that cannot be fully filled by any of the others.
At first I was going to put the candidates in order from least favorite to favorite, something that was hard to do because some of these people are plain nuts and some of them are princes among men. I decide to put them into categories. I’ve got your Out-and-Out Commie Pinko Sons of Guns, I’ve got your Intolerant Racist-Bigot-Homophobe-Islamophobes. I’ve got your Economically Clueless Civil-Liberty Progressives. I’ve got your Run-of-the-Mill Well Meaning Nationalists. And I’ve got your Constitutionalists, some of whom lean Conservative, some of whom lean Libertarian. The Big-Labor Big-Business Big-Government Corporate Fascists couldn’t make it this evening. I think they were busy lying their way through the swing states or something else important.
OUT-AND-OUT COMMIE PINKO SONS OF GUNS
Roseanne Barr is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. The PFP is not necessarily the most dangerous or radical of the parties here represented, but its current nominee is the most dangerous and radical of all the candidates I have here. Aside from being stupid and obnoxious (and rarely funny), she is downright malicious. Here is one quote:
“Part of my platform is, of course, the guilty must be punished and that we no longer let our children see their guilty leaders getting away with murder. Because it teaches children, you know, that they don’t have to have any morals as long as they have guns and are bullies and I don’t think that’s a good message. . . . I do say that I am in favor of the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty.”
“I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, you know, the ability to pay back anything over $100 million [of] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million. And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should, you know, go to the reeducation camps and if that doesn’t help, then being beheaded.”
And while I think she has some of the right instincts, some of the bankers are indeed guilty (particularly those at, or with a direct line of credit to, the Federal Reserve), her rhetoric is dangerous. Though still protected free speech, thank God. Can you imagine how warped things would be if someone as sick and demented as Roseanne Barr was running but she never told you what she really thought because of some hate speech law? I want to know who the criminally insane ones are, thank you very much. I’ll take being offended any day over being tricked into letting my guard down so someone can go all Robespierre on me.
Why is it dangerous? One, because the punishment does not fit the crime, although I can think of plenty that do. Two, because it is hasty, we don’t know who is who and what is what yet. Three, because some of the people that might be reasonably scapegoated, be they speculators, short-sellers, house-flippers, Peter Schiff types were not doing anything that could reasonably be considered criminal or immoral, let alone something that lead directly to economic collapse or subsequent stimulus cronyism. Four, because even some of those bankers and rich Wall Street types that might be said to have been doing something they really shouldn’t have may not have been acting intentionally or maliciously.
A cap on income (anyone who thinks it would remain at $100,000,000, when not very many people make this amount anyways, and as the need for tax revenue increases just to service the exponentially increasing interest payments on the National Debt and unfunded liabilities, is naive) leaves open three options for earners who have reached their max: Discontinue productivity, thereby robbing the world of potential wealth and governments of potential revenue. Game the system so some income does not register as income, in which case you will likely have to hire legions of lawyers and lobbyists to do things that are not productive in and of themselves, which also robs the world of potential productivity and wealth. Or hand over every penny above the cap to the government, which is a 100% tax on income above the cap. There may be some charitable people that would be okay with this sort of thing, but odds are that they themselves could spend that money better than some central planning board. Its not as though I feel particularly sympathetic towards rich people or anything, I just think it is immoral to steal and impractical to stifle productivity.
And Barr’s disrespectful actions upon Jill Stein winning the Green Party nomination (which Roseanne was also initially vying for) didn’t do her any favors. I’m not all that big on Ralph Nader (he seems like a sincere guy, molded in the fashion of Robert M. Lafollette, Sr., and Burton K. Wheeler, two of my favorite “progressives”) but Jill Stein (especially in light of her applaudable stunt at the second presidential debate) deserves to inherit his legacy much more than Roseanne Barr does. Unfortunately Barr is running on a ticket (PFP) that Nader himself was on (in spite of running as an Independent) in 2008. Oh well, vote for her anyways if you want. In any other election cycle voting for Roseanne would be the equivalent of right in Hitler or Mickey Mouse. Which means her candidacy this cycle is the equivalent of a party actually nominating Rip van Winkle or Elmer Fudd. Its a joke candidacy, but it is still a protest vote.
This guy is a male feminist. Need I say more? Well, since you asked. He’s a whacked out socialist agitator to boot. There’s plenty more of those, but the male feminist thing really weirds me out. Little says “STAY…THE HELL…AWAY FROM ME!” more than someone trying to interlope on something that has nothing to do with them. Just saying.
Castro-loving communist on the Socialist Worker’s Party ticket. He’s basically the guy that conservatives think Obama is. Those few conservatives that don’t think he’s a Nazi, a Jihadist, or the Anti-Christ. I must reiterate that in spite of all the rhetoric Obama is little different than most other presidents in the last 50 to 100 years. He may even be the most arrogant president (but still not the worst). The differences besides these things are his background, his ethnicity, and the fact that he came after the others. My point being that every new president in recent memory adds to our problems; none take away, on net. Some are better than others in terms of how little damage they have done, but none of them in recent memory have in any way been worthy of praise. Even Reagan was ashamed of much of his legacy. How often do you hear that from his obnoxious fan club?
Peta Lindsay is not even old enough to be eligible to become president but that did not stop her from accepting the PSL nomination. It should be noted that she tried to get nominated on the PFP, but they barred (pun intended) her because of her age. The little I can find out about her stances on the issues I do like. For example, she’s more of an anti-colonialist than Barack Obama ever was (so there!). But I suspect that if I delved deeper, our relationship would go south. The PSL, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, is a Marxist-Leninist party after all. So in theory it is the worst party on the list.
He’s a hard left social democrat, aka socialist, who rejects both militarism and austerity and supports both social equality and political independence. Jerry White is more Obama than Obama is.
Stewart Alexander is another “real” socialist (according to Brian Moore, Alexander’s predecessor on the SPUSA presidential ticket, Barack Obama is not a Socialist, and while the President’s rhetoric sometimes leaves one guessing, I am inclined to agree with my distant cousin, though he is easily not my favorite one.) that is running. He is the best of the six as he more represents the tendency that ranges from Eugene Debs to Daniel De Leon to Rosa Luxemburg than he does from Leon Trotsky to Josef Stalin to Mao Tse-tung. And yes, there is a difference and everyone would be better off if they realized and appreciated it.
His name even sounds like he’s a white supremacist. So there’s really no surprise here. Policy wise he’s probably a heck of a lot better than most of the reds he’s sandwiched with, but the last thing this country needs is a conservative who actually is a racist. That’ll start a race war faster than anything.
The Prohibition Party is still alive and well (ok, they’re “alive,” not to sure about “well”) in the United States of America in the year 2012 and they’ve even got a guy running for the highest office of the land. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was just on some moral crusade about the horrors of alcohol (the most destructive drug in history I hear, and I’m not ashamed to say that I am a user), but when you tack on things that make Rick Santorum look like a flag-burning war-protesting hippie you know you’ve got yourself a winner.
You want to burn a Quran? Go ahead, this is a free country. You think that Islam is the chief thing this country suffers from and until we stamp out every one of them Sharia-pushing bomb-strapping ragheads even sleeping at night is a sin? God Bless you. But you want to pretend you have enough credibility to run for president (let alone win)? I believe in free speech and all, but that’s where I draw the line. I am glad that he wants to bring the troops home. But what he might do with them is something I don’t want to think about.
An abortion abolitionist in the worst way. I’m all for ending it myself, and hope to write a piece (maybe up to three) on practical and moral and constitutional ways to do so. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no Eric Rudolph, not even close, but he’s convinced that being outlandish and obnoxious will help his cause when it only brings about more alienation and leads one to lose focus on other important things, like other issues (I have no idea where he stands on most of them, which probably means he would be like putty in “their” hands) and his family. His personal life rivals that of Newt Gingrich’s in terms of sleaziness and hypocrisy. But kudos to him for challenging Obama in the Democratic Primary.
RUN-OF-THE-MILL WELL MEANING NATIONALISTS
Joe “the painter” is a really smart guy. Too smart. He’s basically a technocrat. If he was running this country we’d all be better off. Whether we like it or not. But at the same time I think he might be a phony. His claim to fame is running around the country for a decade trying to decide what he would do as president. So while some of his policy prescriptions may in fact be smart, just how dumb (yet dedicated) do you have to be to come up with them in this manner? But the real deal breakers are things like gun control, his contradictory desire to bring down taxes and spending while maintaing and adding government programs, and his patronizing attitude on things like the average American’s diet. Seems like a nice guy though. Just like most of the other people who think central planning is the answer to fixing the problems that central planning caused in the first place. This guy is a utopian through and through, which in my estimation makes him a lot more dangerous than most hard left revolutionaries, who though they may have an idealized vision of a society that is to come, remain practical in the present.
Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High Party appears to be a libertarian in every way beyond things like rent, education, and maybe a couple of other issues, which comprehensive information on seems hard to come by. He opposes bailouts and the two-party system, which is a start, but his priorities and solutions are all messed up.
No one would ever guess that Tom Hoefling has enough ballot access (on two tickets, the American Independent Party of George Wallace fame and America’s Party of Alan Keyes renown) to get him the required 270 electoral votes (which should be the only requirement for getting into presidential debates, besides being of the right age, having natural born citizenship, and not having been president twice already, these being explicitly required in the United States Constitution. I can’t imagine something more fair than this. Sure it would force a tie, but once broken the outcome couldn’t possibly be any worse than what we do now which is simply handing the presidency to a red fascist or a blue fascist based on some bastardized version of the 51 % rule. Tom Hoefling would be about the same as Virgil Goode were it not for his more interventionist positions.There are many different variants of Paleoconservatism. It is not so monolithic as its rivals, the Realism/Pragmatism that became dominant in the Republican Party in the 1940s and 1950s, and the Neoconservatism that came into their own in the 1970s and 1980s. Rifts, between Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes in 1996, and Chuck Baldwin and Alan Keyes in 2008, haven’t helped the matter.
This here is New York’s famous Naked Cowboy (this link will not get you in trouble!). He’s not really naked, so that’s a plus. He’s a Borders, Language and Culture Tea Party type, believe it or not. A very enterprising young man as well.
The Reform Party has ran just about every big name dissenting presidential candidate you can think of. Well, maybe not that many, but you can put Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader on that list. In the year 2000 there was an attempt to draft Ron Paul and even Donald Trump briefly ran for the nomination. I won’t go into any of their candidacies here, but only say that the Party has had numerous rifts and that Andre Barnett seems to have largely stayed true to the Party’s original platform. Opposition to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, open borders, and deficit spending being the central issues. Two to three years ago, this would have been my ideal party.
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, is similar to Andre Barnett and in fact lost to him for the Reform Party nomination. Early on he dabbled in getting the GOP nomination but dropped out and pursued the Americans Elect nomination, which turned out to be a total flop. He has since endorsed Gary Johnson (interestingly not Andre Barnett) but will probably still get a write-in vote from some quarters.
T. J. O’HARA
Mr. O’Hara’s party (the Modern Whigs) is similar to the Reform Party in some respects in that it is somewhat centrist on the left-right scale. It has a greater emphasis on States’ Rights than does the Reform Party, and does not seem to focus on immigration or trade apart from its support for energy independence.
ECONOMICALLY CLUELESS CIVIL-LIBERTY PROGRESSIVES
This guy may not actually be as insane as one might otherwise correctly suppose. He is a parody of the two-party system more than anything else. Even when he says he would pass such totalitarian measures as a law requiring everyone to brush their teeth or giving everyone a free pony, I don’t look at that as something that’s wrong with him. Because the point he is making is that he can be just as absurd as Republicans, some of whom want to have crackdowns on every immoral and impractical action, and Democrats, some of whom think there is such a thing as a free lunch. So even if this guy was elected I don’t think he would try to pass these laws. The only reason he says such things, though I would expect him to deny it, it to get people to think about just how looney even the conventional parties are. For my part, I’d much rather have a free pony and clean teeth than free indoctrination and a cleaned-out wallet. But for the lack of ability to put him in another category, I will take him at face value when he says he wants to give things away and pass ridiculous laws, and put him with the other progressives.
The Justice Party’s candidate for 2012 is a bleeding heart liberal and former Democrat. This means he is a gun-grabber, a nanny-statist, an eco-alarmist, an affirmative action supporter, anti-war, anti-tobacco, anti-oil, etc. So like most sincere liberals (they are fairly common but not usually in positions of power) he’s a mixed bag. To his credit he has a reputation as a fiscal conservative. Most of his competition will come from Jill Stein in the Green Party. They are both vying for the support mainly from the Dennis Kucinich-Ralph Nader crowd.
DAVID RANDALL BLYTHE
Heavy Metal Band Lamb of God’s vocalist Randy Blythe may not be the most serious of candidates but he talks a good game. He is basically a regular guy, and has one of the best foreign policies ever: His first act as president will be to take a bullet in the arm so he knows what it means to send troops into harm’s way. He will not declare war on any country that he would not be willing to die on the field of battle against and would prove as much by leading the troops on the front lines. That’s not the least bit realistic, but if you take it at face value it’s pretty awesome. On the other issues he loses me.
Not many presidential candidates can claim that their business was raided by the police. And it should come as no surprise to find out that one of them is the candidate for the Grassroots Party. Get it? “Grass” roots? They are allegedly the same as the Green Party but with a stronger focus on bringing about an end to the Drug War, known in certain circles as Prohibition. As far as I can tell, the Green Party is also committed to permanently ending the Drug War, it is just not their Raison d’être.
I have a lot of admiration for Mrs. Stein. She seems like a nice woman, a sincere person, and a courageous fighter. Of course getting arrested for protesting the October 16th debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney doesn’t hurt her reputation in my eyes. Civil disobedience and nonviolent noncooperation are virtues in today’s political landscape, even if your political platform is not the most desirable. Decent on foreign policy. Great on the drug war. Civil liberties, check. A few other small things, and that’s about all she really has going for her from a libertarian perspective. To put it simply, on economics, healthcare, education, the environment, and maybe even energy she really sucks. The Green New Deal is really not a selling point for me. Unlike Rocky Anderson, however, she seems to be somewhat warm to federalism. She and Rocky Anderson will be vying for that remnant of the OWS/Nader/Kucinich vote (do they even vote?) that has not been in the tank for Obama or cleverly “liberated” by the efforts of the Ron Paul and Gary Johnson campaigns.
The Constitution Party lives up to its name in most cases. I personally do not hold the Constitution in as high of regard as I did a year ago, coming to realize since then that like anything manmade, it is not impervious to human nature. Neither in its original writing nor in its modern interpretation. No mere document ever could be. Some, obviously, are better than others. Our Constitution is quite possibly the best ever written that is still in use. But I can think of better ones that have fallen out of use. Including the one the Constitution was written to replace. The Articles of Confederation were themselves by no means perfect, and the Constitution was intended to be a simple amendment of them. But instead what happened was a whole-sale replacement and a bastardization of the original founding principles. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That’s all in the past now, so I won’t hold it against anyone for wanting to return to the original intent of the Constitution. But those who seek to uphold past usurpations of unconstitutional power or who seek to subvert the document further do not merit this consideration. They are fiends. Which is why I must call to task Virgil Goode’s continued support for prohibition policies beyond the state level, albeit scaled back from what they are now for the sake of spending less money.
It is hard to find information on some of the candidates, so I instead talk about their parties. This applies to Will Christensen. The Independent American Party seems identical to the Constitution Party in every way I can think of. There are two areas where they differ: The Constitution Party has had power struggles and has been infiltrated by “Neocons” (who have since been purged in one way or another) and has more ballot access. Will Christensen is only on the ballot in New Mexico.
I really like Gary Johnson. Just how much depends on the issue as well as my mood that day. Sometimes I’m a purist and sometimes I’m a pragmatist. I won’t say much more about him here because he is already so well known. I have written about him here, here, and here.
The founder of the Objectivist Party and the Vice Chairman of the now defunct Boston Tea Party. He is running on the Objectivist Party’s ticket, and if his time with the Boston Tea Party is any indication, is closer to Ron Paul than Gary Johnson is. But alas, that thing with the ballot access again.
She was ousted by the Boston Tea Party in favor of Jim Duensing. I have no idea why. She is running as an independent now and she appears to be spot on on all the issues she tackles. She is critical, as I have been, of Gary Johnson’s lest than perfect foreign policy, taxation, and the Federal Reserve.
He was running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination until Ron paul entered the GOP race. He dropped out an endorsed Ron Paul. Later he became the new nominee for the Boston Tea Party, which has since disbanded. Jim was tased and then shot by a Las Vegas police officer in 2009. I don’t know very many details as many of the links I found that had them are now defunct, but my gut leads me to take his part.
How did a virtual no name make it this high on the list? Because she makes a lot of sense. Her Platform is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sure that’s a little out of touch, but it is no less right because of it. And boy do she and her mentor Mark Hamilton have some things to say. I urge you to take a look if for no other reason than to just feel good about agreeing with her.
A Picture is worth a thousand words.
The following is the first 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: Ron and Rand Paul advocate a form of free market libertarianism that is not only highly contradictory in nature, but is falsely appropriated by this father-son duo in an attempt to hail their extremist ideology as a fixture of the United States Constitution.
HENRY MOORE: Ron (but it seems no longer Rand) Paul’s brand of libertarianism is not only not contradictory, it is wholly compatible with the Constitution. That is not to say that his ideology is the only one compatible with that document, but that in and of itself it neither contradicts the Constitution nor its own principles in attempting to adhere to the Constitution.
You see, Ron Paul is a firm believer in the Non-Aggression Principle. Say what you will about this being a contradictory concept, such that adhering to it is impossible without somehow violating it. Any example of this given will still include an exercise of one choice over another. Ron Paul is also a gradualist, someone who believes in reform as opposed to revolution, secession, or asceticism. The gradualist that adheres to the NAP does so because to him the other options either require or are likely to lead to some initiation of force. Whether this is true or not may depend on various factors, but even if gradualism ends up being an incorrect premise, it is not impossible to act on it without violating the NAP. Revolutionaries, secessionists, and “ascetics” that adhere to the NAP do so because to them, the option of slow reform leaves the coercion in place too long. To them, it is better to be done with it (either through violence, a declaration, travel, or personal self-discipline), even at the risk of causing a violation the NAP, than it is to risk never getting rid of something else that is a greater cause of those violations because gradual reforms against it might be overturned. Once again, it is not inconsistent to adhere to both gradualism (or one of the others) and the NAP if there is no intention to cause a violation of the NAP, even if one does occur.
Part of Ron Paul’s gradualism is his adherence to the original intent of the United States Constitution. Simply the fact that his preferred economic system is not mentioned by name and described in detail in the Constitution is not enough to render it unconstitutional. The Constitution was suggested, proposed, debated, written, debated further, amended, signed, adopted, ratified, and made law not to impose any one economic system on the states comprising the Union, but to provide a basic framework within which laws apply equally to all citizens (the definition of which, unfortunately, did not include slaves and untaxed indians). States were free to trade with each other as well as with nations outside of the Union. Commerce was regulated in the sense that it was made regular, i.e., not impeded by any one state’s economic protections. Individuals were intended to be left alone by the Federal Government in the original rendering of the Constitution.
Such a Constitution is compatible with any number of nation-wide or state-particular economic systems, provided that interstate Commerce was not made irregular. The Constitution allows for things such as war, tariffs, public works, endowments, debt-financing, standing armies, and even quasi-monopoly status in currency. Ron Paul denies none of this, but most of these things also happen to be his greatest foes. The reason he can do so and remain a Constitutionalist is because, while these things are allowed for, they most certainly are not mandated. Also, even these unlibertarian things that may actually be constitutional in and of themselves, can be done in unconstitutional manners, either because they do not follow the legal prescriptions in the Constitution to the letter, or because they violate the spirit of the text, usually by trampling on enumerated rights found in the Bill of Restraints (Bill of Rights). So, even when something is technically constitutional because of what it is, e.g., a post office, it may not be constitutional in the way it is established or the things that it does, e.g., through mandates that stomp out competition, as was done to Lysander Spooner and his competing postal service in 1851. Free-market libertarianism is NOT incompatible with the US Constitution. A brief examination of the document and its sources/inspirations (this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this) will show this.
BARRY GERMANSKY: Far from representing the individual as they pride themselves in doing, the Pauls endorse big businesses and neglect every other facet of human thought other than economics.
HENRY MOORE: Ron Paul is not one to do things in a prideful manner. He is human, he misspeaks, he makes jokes, he gets angry. But a humbler man in American politics I challenge you to find. The fact that he is not so boastful as a typical Republican, and not so beguiling as a typical Democrat has drawn as many people to him as his ideology has.
There is no political ideology more conducive to the individual than “libertarianism,” of which there are as many variants as there are adherents. Pure libertarianism, in theory, is voluntaryism. There is no individualism outside of voluntary interaction. That is not to say that people are coerced into being individualistic, for communal/collectivist societies can also be formed voluntarily. It all comes down to preference. And no economic theory is inherently individualistic or collectivistic. Any that claims to be is not an economic theory, but a political ideology. Economics is primarily about observations. Austrian Economists often do advocate a pure free market, but this is because they are also libertarians, not because Austrian Theory is synonymous with Libertarian Theory. It is therefore possible to be an Austrian and a statist. An Austrian simply accepts certain premises about how the economy does work. For example, he might understand that certain economic interventions cause distortions yet still advocate for those interventions for one reason or another. Fortunately most Austrians are indeed libertarians.
Human Action, that is, voluntary and spontaneous action on the part of individuals is the centerpiece of Austrian Economics. In the aggregate it organically aligns resources, capital, and labor to the needs and desires not only of society as a whole but of the individuals that are its constituent pieces, including, yes, those entrepreneurs who rise to the top through their own ingenuity and industry. The subjective theory of value, wherein near-rational individuals, rather than uninformed, ignorant, or malign bureaucrats, regulations, and monopolies (which owe their status to the state, not the market) determine the prices which optimize productive capacity and allocation of resources to those sectors to which they are needed, is also highly individualistic. Unlike state/corporate fiscal, regulatory, or monetary price fixing. The Austrian Theory has also come a long way in exposing the effects of coercion and planning that libertarians would say are negative.
The free market is all at once the most democratic and the most meritocratic economic system. Every person has some say so long as they have something to offer, their labor, their knowledge, their skills, their services, their property, their assets, their resources, their working capital, their savings, their pocket change. The most ingenuous and industrious have even more of a say.
Ron Paul does not blindly endorse big business, for he understands that much monopolistic and corporate control is indeed antithetical to the free market. Most monopolies are the result of some officially recognized status or favor granted, not market forces. Those “monopolies” that do arise in the market are often temporary and exist only so long as they do indeed provide the best services at the lowest cost. When the state subsidizes corporations, protects them from competition, or picks who to grant permits and licenses and charters to, only then do monopolies commonly occur and last, and are their deleterious effects made manifest. But to say that all big business got that way by disenfranchising the individual, small business, or society, rather than through recognizing a niche and providing a valued service, is the utmost of economic ignorance. The notion that utilizing a competitive advantage is somehow exploitation is a purely moral judgement that has nothing to do with whether the system actually benefits society in the long run, which is a greater test of its economic and moral worth than that which is immediately seen, the rich getting richer.
BARRY GERMANSKY: It is through their reliance on the free market as an umbrella paradigm that their views on different societal sectors become distorted.
HENRY MOORE: And the free market is not a paradigm. That would be like calling a void an object. The free market is not the presence of a societal model, it is its absence. And that is because it caters to individual choice, rather than imposing a specific set of rules. It does not posit, it negates. It creates no distortions, as all occurrences within it lead to exactly what they are supposed to. Trade, consumption, saving, investing all interlock in varying degrees according to the free and near-rational decisions of the individuals involved. Any apparent distortions are nothing more than fads or reflections of actual needs, not miscalculations made by experts who adhere to the Broken Window Fallacy. I can not say it enough: Individuals make their own decisions in the free market. Again, there is no paradigm to scape-goat for perceived distortions because each person determines their own way. Individual responsibility is not a paradigm! Alignments are not distortions. Resources, capital, and labor are allocated to where they are most desired, when, where, and in the way that they are desired. A voluntary system of exchange is not to blame for the mistakes of irrational or misguided actors.
BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls cater to naïve utopian ideals, in which all humans are as perfect and bland as numbers on a page.
HENRY MOORE: The Pauls do not envisage any form of Utopia. Utopians seek to eliminate all the sorrows and trials of the world without consequence. People who seek a system, in this instance, a free market, but do not claim it will solve all the world’s ills, are clearly not utopians. People who acknowledge that the flaws in any given system are not caused by the system itself, per se, but human nature, are clearly not naive. As I have said before: you could hand mankind the most flawless model for governing society imaginable, yet, because man is not perfect, he would still manage to spoil it!
Humans are not seen as bland. They are all seen as full of potential and free to reach it. There is nothing boring or common about someone who creates things, either for himself or for others, and then uses this advantage to increase both his living standard, whereby he can enjoy life the fuller, and his productive capacity, whereby he can create bigger and better and more numerous things. A system that makes people out as mere pieces of information would be a system that forces them all to use the same unit of exchange, judges their worth with strange letters and numbers, charges them fees based on their ability to make the world a better a place, and then spends that money on things that supposedly promote the “general welfare,” even where it obviously does not, and even where he finds those things being bought immoral or unnecessary.
BARRY GERMANSKY: Since economics is the language of the free market, economics becomes their only lens on society as a whole.
HENRY MOORE: As you no doubt know, economics is not a language, nor is it somehow exclusive to the free market. It is, quite literally, the study of household management, from the Greek oikos, “house” and nomos, “custom.” Does it get any less impersonal and detached than that? While many “economists” tend to muddle things by drawing strict lines between the micro and the macro, and graphing boring charts with boring statistics and formulae, it is a huge mistake to separate economics from other “sectors,” for it indeed covers virtually everything. Name some things people find relevant to their lives that have nothing to do with either where they live or how they live and you will have described a “sector” that can be efficiently managed without considering the factors of production (supply) and consumption (demand).
BARRY GERMANSKY: These Tea Party poster boys have a giant kettle of political poison and are spewing it across the American landscape.
HENRY MOORE: You are right about one thing, however. Ron and Rand Paul are indeed Tea Party poster boys. Ron Paul held the first modern day Tea Party, admittedly a fundraiser more than a protest, on December 16th, 2007. It was the 234th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, and the funds raised topped all previous 24 hours in presidential fundraising history, coming in hot with a whopping $6.04 Million. After he suspended his campaign on June 12th, 2008, Ron Paul used some $4.7 Million in campaign surplus (most campaign’s go into debt) to create what should be considered the very first Tea Party organization, Campaign for Liberty. Campaign for Liberty and its affiliate, Young Americans for Liberty were among the chief organizers of Tax Day protests up to a month before Rick Santelli’s amazing rant went viral via Drudge.
The Tea Party has since been co-opted by everyone from Grover Norquist, to the Koch Brothers, to Glenn Beck, to Paul Ryan, to Newt Gingrich, to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, all of whom have been on good or cordial terms with Ron Paul at one time or another, but none of whom are near as principled or consistent in their beliefs or actions.