Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Progressives are Children in an Adult World

By Tom Rhodes, 2/28/2012

Leftists, Progressives, Liberals, or whatever those pseudo-intellectual children call themselves today, love to think of themselves as intellectual and nuanced. The sad truth is leftist thinking is incredibly unsophisticated, simple, and childlike. Leftist thinking is simply a toddler's emotions applied to grown-up issues. Virtually every issue boils down to an emotional appeal of either being nice or mean, and wanting everything to be OK. This makes left leaning individuals intellectually unable to deal with multifarious subjects.

The reality is that left thinking people are worse than children. How can an adult not understand what children can clearly grasp? Leftist seem incapable of comprehending what children easily grasp.

Even a 5 year old knows that life isn't fair. They even understand that what is fair depends on who is in charge and who is getting mistreated. It's not fair that one kid gets picked last when choosing teams to play some sport every time. Some people are more athletic than others, some are smarter than others, not everybody is physically, intellectually, and emotionally identical. Because we are all different we all have different skills and faults. This is a simple fact that will result in different outcomes. Every child gets this, not everybody will make the team.

Life being fair is a utopian fairytale that leftists continually try to insist is possible. Left thinking people, ignore the difference in the habits and morals and actions of individuals which result in different outcomes for all individuals. Their childish utopian beliefs that in a "fair" society, nobody would suffer, does not consider the actions of individuals. They ignore the character differences between people, and try to falsely claim that all societies deserve respect and all cultures are equally valued.

This is not based on any adult analysis using reason and logic. The objective truth is that the habits, culture, and actions of free people, and without a national shared set of cultural values and recognition that some values produce superior results is a childlike want of some condition that has never existed.

The habits of a free people -- for stability, thrift, obedience to law, respect for others' rights, personal responsibility, etc. - are the seminal essentials in culture's character. Not having the shared values of freedom you won't have much that that resembles freedom. Without valuing individual liberty, a society will not have much of anything else, look at Cuba, Zimbabwe and the other nations that have substituted statist control for individual freedom. You will certainly not have an economy that produces jobs and prosperity on any long-term.

Leftists, Progressives, Liberals, or whatever those intellectual midgets call themselves today, don't understand that you can't have everything you want. Most children learn this at a very early age. Left thinking people seem to think that if something is a good idea, then it should be instituted, regardless of what it costs, regardless of whether it's worth the money. They start with some utopian idea, and believe because they want the world to be some way that anybody who opposes that idea is mean, or greedy, or evil, or hateful, etc.

Leftists want nobody to suffer, and everybody to have the best health services and product available; No consideration as to what it costs, no consideration as to where to fund their wants. To achieve this goal they are more than willing to trounce the basic rights of everybody. Dictate what you must purchase, and feel that they should be allowed to redistribute the property of others as they see fit. Taking money (which is accumulated property) from some people and giving it to others for something the left wants, is based on some utopian idea that people should all share their private property equally, and that nobody will change their behavior if what they managed to acquire is re-distributed to those who don't share the same habits, skills, ability, etc. People who think like that have a total disregard for the private property of others. Much the same as a child has no respect for and will take the toys of others just because the child wants them. This is moral bankruptcy. Moral relativism and disrespect for any accountability to any moral standard is a common trait we see in children whose parents don't attempt to instill in them clear moral objectives. Most adults call these children spoiled brats, these children take no responsibility for their own actions, are self-centered, selfish, and take from others with no regard.

Left thinking generally undercuts morality, specifically Christianity every chance it gets, this type of thinking sneers at goodness and virtue. People with leftist thinking actually think that it is bad to enforce or hold people to moral standards. They think that judging people for bad behavior is mean or hateful. They think that being nice, tolerant, non-judgmental, and permissive is a replacement for traditional virtue, decency, and moral character. They don't believe in any objective moral code, and since to be a genuinely good person requires a moral code they hate and ridicule genuinely good people. Look at how the liberal press treated Tim Tebow. Anybody who draws a clear line between right and wrong, and has the audacity and courage to stand up for what's right, is what we would traditionally call a hero. Left thinking people cannot tolerate good people to be examples, or be publicly accepted and praised. This is because good people with moral character demonstrate how unfair, unprincipled, and ugly the character and actions are of the parasites who leech off the efforts of others. Left thinking people tend to hold good and moral people in absolute and utter contempt.

Leftist thinking people, like children, don't want anybody to be a loser and always want to be a winner. It is childlike want and desire to be liked and loved that leads to wanting to give everybody a ribbon or trophy just for competing. They think nobody should feel bad, and everybody ought to be recognized as an achieving person, regardless of whether they actually perform well, much less actually win. Look at the ending of giving valedictorian honors to the person who earned the highest grades over their entire high school career, because this makes some kids or their parents feel bad large numbers of school districts no-longer award valedictorian. This child like thinking has lead to some twisted belief that competition is bad. This is thinking that regardless of effort, ability, character, actions, and even some luck, all people should end up with the same results. Even the title of the clearly leftist and childish program to ensure that everybody has the same results, "No Child Left Behind," indicates a fundamental childish thinking. The actual result of "No Child Left Behind" is that "No Child Gets Ahead." The only way to ensure that no child get's left behind is to lower the standard so that regardless of ability and effort no child can fail. The resources and money spent assuring that every child meet some minimum standard routinely take away the resources used to offer more challenging and rigorous opportunities for the most advanced, smartest, hardest working students.

We all compete for everything. From getting a mate, to finding a job -- life is completion. P.J. O'Rourke summed it up saying, "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." Everyone cannot be at the same level. Only a very few people have the athletic ability perform at the professional level. Michal Jordon was paid vast sums of money because on an even playing field, with fair rules, equally enforced, he consistently won and outperformed the competition. Some people are prettier, more athletic, smarter, grew up in a loving home, etc. Get over it, life isn't fair.

It is only child like utopian thinking that wants something different from reality and would think that it's fair and just to take the rewards of using the gifts, talents, abilities, and character of winners and give those rewards to losers. Left thinking people cannot accept that some people won't win life's lottery, and further doesn't accept that people should suffer the consequences of poor decisions. They would prefer that everybody be equally poor than anybody have more than another. They clearly believe the failed Marxist idea that resources should be created by each according to their ability and distributed to each according to their needs. They may voice other that they don't think that, but the actions of leftist thinkers clearly indicate that that is what they believe. As adults they should realize that the reality of implementing their childlike desires has historically resulted in privation and tyranny. Rational adults push for equality of opportunity, rule of law, equality under the law, and let everyone rise to his own level, while childish thinkers try to tear people down and turn everyone into losers to insure equality of results.

The child like thinking of the left seems to believe that by virtue of being born, other people owe you a living. Sorry, this is a grown up world, nobody owes you diddly squat. Nobody should have their access to an education denied, in fact with the internet, anybody can learn just about anything they want to learn, it's up to them to put in the time and effort, but neither should they force others to pay for it. Nobody should be denied the ability to purchase whatever medical care they want, but that does not imply a right to force others to pay for it. Nobody should be denied a retirement without financial worries, but that doesn't mean that if you don't save, invest, and take actions to supply yourself with that kind of retirement others should have to pick up your bills in old age.

What you are owed for being born is "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness." This means that you as an adult are responsible for maintaining yourself. As an adult you are responsible for the consequences of your actions, even to the point of being responsible to raise your own kids (you have kids because of actions you choose to take). When you become an Adult, most parents expect you to move out and take care of yourself. You should not expect that government to become your parent when you get kicked out of the house. This is not to say that Americans are not generous, and don't want to and expect to help those who have temporarily fallen on hard times. But the people of this country have no obligation to provide generations of others with food, shelter, entertainment, and a standard of living most of the world envies. The wholesale abuse of our welfare system is indicative of children who think that they should be taken care of for life, and if their mommy and daddy won't or can't than it's the government's job.

I'm sorry if you don't like hearing it, but that is childish thinking. Adults are responsible for taking care of themselves. If you want to be successful and not live in poverty, then grow up and be an adult. This means that you are expected to take on the character and actions of an adult. Emulate and do what adults who are successful do, this includes: finishing school and putting your best effort into your education; living below your means and saving some money; getting married before you have kids; respecting and honoring the rights, including property rights, of others; taking ownership and responsibility for your actions, meaning that you are willing to accept the consequences of your decisions and quit blaming others for your poor life choices; and finally you should also include going to a church of some kind and being active in your community. This will provide you with both a local and private community based support system if you fall on hard times, and although there are exceptions, going to church is a common trait among the most successful people regardless of their political ideology.

If you choose not to take on the character and do what successful adults do, then at least have the decency not to be a cry-baby and expect those of us who choose to grow up and be adults to take your childish whining seriously. That's what most progressive, socialists, leftist, liberals ideas are; the childish whining of children who don't want to grow up and live in an adult world.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Any Questions?

By Tom Rhodes 2/27/2012

Liberals tout the seasonally adjusted employment numbers being improved as proof of the success of government economic stimuli. They conveniently ignore the fact that many more millions of people are "permanently" out of work so are no longer counted as unemployed, than there have been new jobs created. The fact is that the government "adjusts" the numbers to send the correct political message. The simple fact is that we have more people living in the USA than we did when Obama took office, and the total number of people employed is significantly lower. That is not job growth, Period. The method the government uses to count employment, etc. are continuously changed to reflect the political message the government wants to portray. If you want real numbers and an honest comparison look at the numbers and data from John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics. The basic problem we have is not that there isn't enough government stimuli but that the ruling elite are addicts. They are addicted to spending money they don't have.

What is needed is solid foundational jobs, production, and consumption based on real economic availability and demand. Artificial demand won't increase availability, nor entice those who produce to produce more.

People have been taking and using artificial stimulants longer than we have been recording history. Whether it be cocoa leaves or cocaine, coffee or amphetamines, drugs to keep energy levels unnaturally high have been used by people forever. They are not bad in and of themselves, a temporary stimulus to complete a task is not a bad thing, provided you don't continuously use them in place of food or sleep.

Consider cocaine, it can give you a short-term boost, but it can also cause your hart to race so intensely that it explodes. There is no nutritional value to artificial stimulants. They just accelerate the consumption of energy reserves that your body would not normally use if left to natural metabolic mechanisms. It does not create those reserves; replenish those reserves; sustain those reserves; it just uses them up. To be health you need normal amounts of food and sleep. When stimulants wear off, you either crash or take more. The long term effects are usually very bad, a wasted withered body that needs slow long term, and costly, recovery, or worse yet death. Nobody would claim or accept that being strung out on coke or amphetamines is healthy, wise, or effective way to live.

Economic stimulus doesn't work for the same reason. Economic stimulus is based on the same kind of thinking people who use drugs to stimulate their bodies for a prolonged time. It's based on a completely wrong notion of what spurs prosperity.

Liberals are now using a short time span graph, to illustrate that new European austerity programs (actually the ending of artificial stimulants to the economy), are actually hurting their economy. Have you ever seen a drug addict and what happens when the drugs are cut off whether by benevolent hospitalization, or by self-induced privation? They don't look or feel good, in fact for a period of time it is much harder and worse for them than if they had stayed on the drugs. Would anybody argue that the short term hardship, pain, and misery the drug addict suffers during rehabilitation is worse than continued drug dependence, which inevitably leads to self destruction.

Government stimulus through deficit spending does the same thing for the economy that stimulants do for the body. It takes value-added production that serves markets that want the goods and are able to purchase them to maintain real healthy and sustainable economic growth. When for various reasons not enough of that is happening, economic growth will slow or regress for a short period of time. Nobody enjoys that period of time, but necessary corrections are a necessity from time to time.

We sometimes refer to the economy as an engine. Adding nitrous-oxide and a performance exhaust to a car engine that has leaky valve or two may give that weakening engine temporarily power boost, but will also lead to far greater damage taking a far longer downtime to recover from needing to totally rebuild the engine than if the time was taken to do the more minor head work.

Drink too much on New Year 's Eve and you have a hangover New Year's Day. You can avoid that hangover if you stay drunk. Eventually you have to sober up, failing to do so is self destructive. The government is replacing the value-added, market-serving production that generates true economic growth with the superfluous spreading of borrowed money. Just like staying drunk to avoid a hangover, it doesn't work.

Not only our economy but the world's economy is past the point where a small temporary stimulus will provide an energy boost to get over the hump. Our federal government can "stimulate" our economy back to health. That's why Bush's TARP, and Obama's $862 billion stimulus were both boondoggles. Effective and lasting economic health will not return until we release the productive sector of the economy. The productive sector of our economy is the business sector, investing, taking risk, and succeeding and failing based on how they serve the people. The government needs to quit trying to pick economic winners and losers; to get out of the way of energy production; to cut taxes on businesses and individuals; and to stop treating everyone who earns a profit like a felon.

Our economy on stimulus is only getting us a federal debt now larger than the size of our entire economy, and a government addicted to spending, just like an addict is addicted to drugs.

From one of the most famous and memorable PSA's ever created came the phrase "Your brain on Drugs." The first version of this PSA, created in 1987, showed a man who held up an egg and said, "This is your brain," before picking up a frying pan and adding, "This is drugs." He then cracks open the egg, fries the contents, and says, "This is your brain on drugs." Finally he looks up at the camera and asks, "Any questions?" It was later shortened to this:

An economy running on borrowed money used to create unproductive artificial stimulus is analogous to your brain on drugs. Self destruction is the inevitable result if we don't stop; just look at Greece.

"Any Questions?"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Use of Force

By Tom Rhodes 2/24/2012

The one and only requirement to be a member of the Libertarian Party is to take a pledge, affirming that you do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals. This is a short summary of the non-aggression principle. This is based on a very old assumption. That man is a rational being.

This is a moral stance, choosing to move a relationship outside the realm of reason into the realm of physical violence – is immoral among rational human beings. This is based this assertion on the self-evident fact that your faculty of reason, your ability to integrate the data of your senses into concepts (from which you make decisions regarding goal-directed actions), is your only means of long-term survival. It is not moral and just to use force to effect social or political change.

If there is a human conflict there are only two way to resolve that conflict: reason or force. Force has a physical component, but this does not mean all manifestations of force involve a physical component. Theft is force, because it deprives people of assets rightfully theirs. Fraud is force, because it is a form of theft. The use of a threat of force to coerce a response it is still force.

Our Declaration of Independence was a confirmation of the non-aggression principle. We declared our independence using reason and logic and offered a clearly non-violent means to establish sovereignty from England. England, then initiated force, not reason, to attempt to instill its will on America. The use of force in response to England’s aggression was moral and just, as the use of force for self-defense is not immoral.

Democrats, Statists, socialists, leftists, and progressives of all type, realize that they cannot win based on logic and reason, so they continually resort to force to impose their will on others. Obamacare is a prime example. Education, reasoning, and communicating of all types have failed to convince a significant portion of the population to voluntarily purchase health insurance. People doing careful risk analysis sometimes choose not to purchase insurance despite what the left think is in their best interest. The idea that some people may make reasoned decisions that don’t conform to what statists think are best, and then choose to act or not act in what they feel is their individual best interest galls at statists. Having failed to convince the people they now resort to force.

Since statists cannot persuade the people through reason and they force them to comply with statist wishes; Statists contradict the recognition of reason as the only moral method achieve political or social goals. We see this almost every day. Democrats cannot persuade the voters to do as they wish, they use the courts or executive orders to force their demands – demands that run contrary to individual reason. Pointing at your citizens the gun of government mandate, telling them they’ll do as the government dictates no matter how injurious to those citizens those dictates are, is violence. It is the kind of violence that makes liberals insufferably self-righteous and arrogant when they hold political power.

If you accept the fact that all people are discrete individuals, sole owners of themselves, and not the property of another, you then accept that you cannot live another person’s life, thus you cannot presume to force others to comply with your wishes. Your inalienable rights to your person and to the results of your labor are violated when force is initiated against you.

Obamacare and other crony Democratic tyranny conform to no morally acceptable philosophical justification. Statist force is not rational, or moral. Statists, specifically liberals, use force for the singular purpose of molding and shaping a disinclined public to their statist ideology. They are content and willing to lie, to defraud, to steal in making their case, but if necessary they are just as content to make you comply. In the history of implementing leftist ideology is also the history of the most violent forceful revolutions and governments in the history of the world. The more socialistic a government is the more violently forceful it is.

Failure to accept liberal ideology, regardless of what personal harm it may bring you, if you choose not to obey, liberals will see to it that you end destitute, imprisoned, or dead. These are actions they will happily initiate and they also they’ll expect you to thank them for doing it; it’s for your own good after all.

Reason and logic dictate that economically, low taxes, free enterprise, and economic freedom provide the best overall quality of life for more people in a society than any other system. This is proven historically and objectively.

Reason and logic are discarded because economic freedom and liberty also imply economic responsibility. This means that a certain portion of society, when granted economic freedom will fail to support themselves, and suffer. Although overall more people will be better off Liberals use this as an excuse to throw away reason and logic, and employ despotic methodologies to control the people through emotion.

It is this reasoning used to “mandate” every person by virtue of being alive, purchase health insurance. The idea is that because we must Force people (through taxes) to provide charity, to pay for health care goods and services for those who cannot or will not take responsibility for themselves, thus they have the right to force everybody to purchase insurance. Logic and reason and a failure to accept that people are free to make choices, and prosper or suffer as a consequence of those decisions, grants liberals the impudence to justify the use force to enforce their morals on everybody else. Because they believe people won’t make choices they think are best, and failing to use reason to convince people to make choices they think are best, liberals simply abandon reason and use force.

If you believe that it is morally acceptable to use force, or the threat of force, to achieve political or social goals then you can justify the Obamacare mandate. If however you believe that people have unalienable rights, you cannot justify the Obamacare mandate.

The people of the USA have spoken using reason, we selected through elections, representatives to thwart the policies and objectives of the Obama administration. Having failed to use reason and logic to convince the people through their representatives to implement laws that Obama and the leftist in the Democrat party want, they now resort to force, ignoring the rule of law, ruling by executive order, and bureaucratic fiat, not legislation. Because our representative government didn’t produce the results the Obama administration wanted, they have proven to be willing to abandon the constitutional checks and balances and resort to force not reason to get their way. The dictates of the Obama administration forcing churches to purchase and provide goods and services that are clearly historically against both their conscience and beliefs by fiat not law is one example. The creation of positions that can impose such “regulations” through bureaucracy rather than legislation, are evidence that statists of both parties don’t want to even bother with reasoning and persuading the people, but instead prefer the use of force.

This is a return to the ruling class and clear usurpation of individual liberty. Statists are concentrating power in ruling elite by trading individual liberty for “security” using force not reason. They failed using reason and persuasion, and since they believe that the ends justify the means they accept resorting to force. The results, if history is any indicator, will be tyranny not security. Of course tyranny by a few ruling elite with general mass privation is the norm for mankind throughout its entire history; liberty, freedom, and relative luxury that it produces are the historical exception. The only faster way to tyranny than the slow socialization of a republic, is anarchy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blaming Capitalism for the Effects of Cronyism

By Tom Rhodes 2/22/2012

Capitalism is under constant attack from those on the left, who have adopted socialistic views. Capitalism is the economic system that saw the greatest increase in the quality of life for the most people in the worlds history, yet profit is now seen as evil, and success is seen as oppression, and protecting the politically connected is seen as capitalism.

From Dictionary.com cap*i*tal*ism noun - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Basically capitalism is acceptance of the right to private property. The owners of private property, capital, get to judge how best to use it, and can draw on the foresight and creative ideas of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers. If you succeed then you profit, if you fail you not only don't profit, but suffer losses. Under capitalism, businesses exist only as long as free individuals willingly purchased their goods - and go out of business quickly otherwise. This system of individual liberty and responsibility allows little capacity for government to influence economic decision-making. Because true capitalism does not allow the government to pick winners and losers, nor direct what type of car, or other widget that the government thinks people should buy, and doesn't allow ruling elite to determine what the masses have access to purchase, is exactly why statists, progressives, liberals, socialists, etc., don't like it and only pay lip service to capitalism.

In the 1800's capitalism proved it was superior to every other previously attempted socio-economic system the world had ever seen. Capitalism developed capabilities for endemic innovation and individual happiness. Societies that adopted capitalism saw unrivaled prosperity, widespread job satisfaction, achieved productivity growth that the world had never seen. Capitalism was and is the socio-economic system that ended mass privation for those societies that adopted it. Those that didn't, and still don't, still suffer mass privation.

What we have in the USA today is not capitalism; it's some corrupt blend of fascism, socialism, despotism, with a smattering of permission to profit for the well connected. Statists have assumed responsibility for looking after everything from the incomes of the middle class to the profitability of large corporations to industrial advancement. This statist control is not capitalism!! Rather it is a socio-economic order that more resembles Bismarck in the late nineteenth century or Mussolini in the twentieth. Call it what it is Cronyism, or to be more polite corporatism, but it is not free enterprise.

Cronyism chokes off the dynamic drive and vitality that make for engaging work, quick economic growth, and more opportunity and inclusiveness. Cronyism maintains sluggish, wasteful, unproductive, and well-connected firms at the expense of dynamic beginners and outsiders. It favors declared goals such as industrialization, economic development, and national greatness over individuals' economic freedom and responsibility. Think of all the industries that are "to big to fail" like; airlines, auto manufacturers, agricultural companies, media, investment banks, hedge funds, and even schools. Statists have at some point been deemed these enterprises too important to endure the forces of capitalism, receiving a helping hand from government in the name of the "public good."

The costs of cronyism are visible all around us: dysfunctional corporations like GM that survive even though their gross inability to serve their customers. Explain why they developed a $40,000 electric car that nobody wants to buy even with nearly $10,000 in government incentives to buyers. We have twisted, deformed, and failing economies with slow output growth, a dearth of engaging work, few opportunities for the young people; entire governments bankrupted by their efforts to palliate these problems; and ever increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of those cronies on the right side of the corporatist deal.

In the past, automobile companies like Hudson, Tucker, Stutz, Studebaker, Oldsmobile, Rambler, Nash, Pierce, Stanley, Detroit Electric Car Company, American Motors Corp.(there are many more but you get the picture), all were allowed to fail because people voluntarily choose not to purchase their cars, because the quality, price, style, and performance failed to meet what their competitors produced. As both technology and buyers tastes changed those car companies that didn't change failed. GM and Chrysler should have been allowed to fail. Although Willys-Overland, Kaiser, and AMC, are all gone, the venerable Jeep is still being produced, today by Chrysler. If Chrysler had gone under, some other company would have purchased the Jeep assets and continued its production. Those products that GM produces which have a market would still be produced, but by somebody else. How did becoming too big to be profitable get to mean too big to fail? Cronyism, they have the connections in the WallStreet-Washington Cabal to use the full force of government to protect them from the forces of competition, bad management, and changing demands.

This is a huge shift in power from owners and innovators to government officials are the exact opposite of capitalism. Yet cronies and statists have the impudence to blame failures on "reckless capitalism" and "lack of regulation." When in reality, it is over regulation and government interference in the free market that is the cause. Statists then argue for even more oversight and regulation, which in reality means more cronyism. This can be most easily seen in "waivers" to regulations to the politically connected; think Obamacare wavers for unions and favored businesses. Cronyism is synonymous with unequal treatment under the law, and royal favoritism.

The crony/corporatist model is unsustainable, unfair, unequal, and makes no sense whatsoever, especially to younger generations who grew up using the Internet. The Internet is by far the world's freest market for goods and ideas. When was the last time you used MySpace or Friendster? When was the last time you used FaceBook? Social networking Web sites are a prime example of success and failure of free markets. They rise and fall more or less instantaneously, based on their ability to serve their customers.

MySpace and Friendster are almost gone because they chose fast quick extra profit by selling the privacy of their users; Their users almost instantly bitch-slapped them, deserting them faster than you can double-click on share button for Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. The Government didn't have to do anything, we needed no regulation; voluntarily people took their business elsewhere. If the statists were in charge, they would be limiting entry into social media by startups with excessive regulations, bailing out MySpace with taxpayer dollars, and using MySpace's failed morals as rationale to add more regulations on MySpace's customers, all while promoting big bonus checks for the new lawyer-in-charge at MySpace; it's founder having long since been pushed aside.

Statists want control of the Internet, as a largely free marketplace for ideas. The internet has not treated corporatism kindly. We now have a generation or more of people who grew up with its decentralization and free competition of ideas and products, who must find alien the very idea of state support for large firms and industries. Many in the traditional media repeat the old line "What's good for GM is good for America," but it that entire idea is not likely to be received well or get traction on Twitter. One size determined by government does not fit all.

Crony-corporatism is not capitalism. The core to capitalism, free enterprise, and happiness, is individual property rights. Without those and equal protection of those rights, all other rights are non-existent. Any so-called right which violates individual property rights are not rights, but excuses to grant some ruling elite control at the expense of the individual. Capitalism as a socio-economic system has proven to provide the best overall quality of life for more people than any other system in history. Yes some will suffer under true capitalism, but overall more people will be happier and have a higher stand of living than if we allow some ruling elite, who don't trust people with the right, nor want to allow them the right to decide what is best for themselves, and benefit or suffer based on their life decisions.

The actual and perceived authority of cronyism is eroding; the legitimacy of crony states and corporatism is coming under question; just look at the fiscal health of governments that have relied on it. Since Greek politicians couldn't repeal cronyism, it is being repealed for them. They don't even get to elect their own chief executive anymore. Here in the USA if politicians don't repeal our current crony-corporate statist policies, the entire crony state it will bury itself in debt, then default and fail. With any luck, a capitalist system will re-emerge from the ashes of the crony-corporatist ruins. Then enterprise will again be free and "capitalism" might work again by its true meaning, rather than the radical misnomer now attributed to it by statists seeking to hide behind it and socialists wanting to disparage it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What is a Right.

By Tom Rhodes, 2/17/2012

Statists, liberals, socialists, communists, the U.N. all claim that there is are rights to healthcare, food, housing, clothing, social services, security in sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or lack of livelihood, education, clean water, the right to rest and leisure including paid holidays etc. The list of rights statists say we have is almost endless. They pay lip service to natural rights like freedom of thought, opinion, speech, press, religion, self-defense etc. (see US Bill of Rights). To further the power of the state, and the goals of the state, Statists have changed the very meaning of a right. No longer do they talk about rights being “unalienable, ” but we have types of rights like “positive” or “negative.” Let’s discuss the difference.

Positive rights are claim rights, a right to something, like a right to food, to healthcare, to education, whatever. The veracity of a positive right is that whatever the object of the right is, it needs to be created before the 'right' can be fulfilled. This somehow creates a duty upon others to create it. This is the basis for slave societies and statist dictatorships. This may seem a bit extreme, but it isn’t. It all falls down to the basis of all rights - Property.

All natural rights are based on property rights, the first and foremost being that you are a discrete individual.. No human can be another human, and no one can live another’s life. By virtue of your nature as an individual, you are born with the inalienable property right to yourself. This means that no human being has a claim on your time or your effort without your consent. This is the basis of natural, or unalienable rights; rights which statists term “negative.”

A negative right is the right to think and act free from the coercive force of others. Free from muggers, fraudsters and restrictive laws and taxes. Simply put the right to be left alone. You are either free from the above or you are not. You cannot claim a right while violating the same in others. A mugger cannot claim a right to be left alone whilst mugging people.

The kind of society where this right is prevalent is a society whose government exists only to protect the individual from the force of others. The American Constitution and Bill of Rights are the closest examples - which, sadly, modern day America is abandoning daily.

Dr. Walter Williams did a great video titled “What is a Right.” To quote him, “At least in the standard historical usage of the term, a right is something that exists simultaneously among people. A right confers no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of non-interference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. That right imposes no obligation upon another except that of non-interference.”

You not anybody else is your sole owner. Think about it, if you do not own you, then who does? If you are anything but your own property, you belong to someone else, which makes you that someone’s slave. Your property right to yourself extends to a right to possess legally acquired property. You cannot exist without some kind of property but this does not mean you have an claim to someone else’s property by the simple fact that you have a need for it. What the basic fundamental right to own yourself does clearly mean, is that you have the right to possess property, of necessity or leisure, if you can obtain it without infringing upon another. Because your neighbors all have the same right to own themselves and own property that they did not acquire through force or fraud, you have no claim on their property without their consent.

Despite our 40-year expansion in the bureaucracy and erosion of the Constitution, America is still at a center-right country (polls indicate that liberals only make up 20% of the population). This means that the people will not be satisfied until America is again governed by its founding libertarian principles. It cannot be reasonably argued that the Founding Fathers of the United States did not indicate their acceptance of, and based the United States Constitution on, the basis of unalienable (a.k.a. natural or negative) rights. Your unalienable rights stem directly from a simple fact few can argue: You are a discrete biological entity.

Now let’s apply the concept of a Positive right, like the right to health care to our negative rights. Statists claim that because everybody has a right to health care, that it must be provided to all people equally regardless of their ability or willingness to pay for such goods and services, places a financial obligation on others to pay for those services and goods. If we applying that same bogus logic to the rights to free speech and the right to travel freely, then those rights would bestow financial obligations on others to supply you with an auditorium, microphone and audience. Your right to travel freely would require that others provide you with airplane tickets or a even a car. No reasonable person would claim that their right to free speech and freedom to travel within the USA obligates others to pay for your that travel, or the costs associated with exercising free speech. Does the right to freedom of religion obligate others to build a church?

Legally rights cannot be voted on, cannot be determined by congress, cannot be granted. "Personal liberty, or the Right to enjoyment of life and liberty, is one of the fundamental or natural Rights, which has been protected by its inclusion as a guarantee in the various constitutions, which is not derived from, or dependent on, the U.S. Constitution, which may not be submitted to a vote and may not depend on the outcome of an election. It is one of the most sacred and valuable Rights, as sacred as the Right to private property ... and is regarded as inalienable." 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sect.202, p.987

The very idea of a positive right is simply a term and methodology used by statists to justify infringing upon unalienable rights. They are not nor ever were supported by any of our founding documents. Our government was not established to do “positive” things for the people, to make things “fair”, or to provide for any individual’s “needs.” It was established for one purpose, to protect the unalienable rights of all people equally. To be exact the purpose and mission statement of our government was clearly stated in our declaration of independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

For the government to guarantee a right to health care, or any other good or service, whether a person can afford it or not, it must shrink others rights, chiefly their rights to their labor and property, their earnings. This is because the government does not have resources of its own. There is no Genie in a bottle, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy to provide those resources. Because government has no resources of its own you must recognize that in order for government to provide one American citizen with a dollar, it must first, confiscate that dollar from some other American. It does this through intimidation, threats and coercion. If you have a right to something you did not earn, it requires that someone else not have a right to something that they did earn.

To argue that people have a right that imposes obligations on another is completely bogus. Rather than “positive” rights, the better term for a rights to health care, decent housing and food is desires. If we called them desires, most Americans would agree that we desire that everyone had adequate health care, decent housing and nutritious meals. The problem is that if we called them desires, instead of human rights, the average American would cringe at the thought of government punishing one person because he refused to be pressed into making someone else's desire come true.

This is not an argument against charity. Taking your own resources and using them to assist your neighbor in need is good, just, right, praiseworthy and laudable. But taking someone else's money to do so is appalling, despicable, evil, shameful, and deserves condemnation.

Self ownership, the basis for all rights, cannot obligate others to support or supply the necessities of life. In reality there is only one right FREEDOM, which is independence from being constrained by another's choice, insofar as it can coexist with the freedom of every person. Our government was instituted to protect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all equally. Thus the welfare of citizens cannot be the basis of state power. The state cannot legitimately impose any particular conception of what happiness is upon its citizens. To impose what the state thinks happiness is, or should look like, would in essence be for the state to treat citizens as children, assuming that they are unable to understand what is truly useful or harmful to themselves. Statism in all its forms, including the current nanny state, is not based on freedom, but on slavery. If the state owns you, then it has first right to your labor and earnings, then it has first right to your children and what they learn, it even has first right to determine how and what they are fed. If it has those rights, then you don’t own yourself, what you produce, what you legally trade for, and have no rights. If the state has first claim on your labor, property, savings, and children, then they not you own you, and are in essence you a slave.

Are You a Slave, or do you have rights?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Psalm 2012

Psalm 2012
Obama Is the shepherd I did not want.
He leadeth me
Beside the still factories.

He restoreth my faith in the Libertarian party.
He guideth me in the path of unemployment for his party’s sake.

Yea, Though I walk through the valley of the bread line,
I shall fear no hunger, for his bailouts are with me.

He has Anointed my income with taxes,
My expenses runneth over.

Surely, poverty and hard living will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will live in a mortgaged home forever.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Life isn't Risk Free

Tom Rhodes, 2/3/2012

There are about 13 million drivers in Florida averaging over 10,000 miles per year, not counting tourists. In 2010 we had only 2218 fatalities, but I'd guess we drove less because of the economy. Of those 2218 deaths 70 involved texting while driving. Florida Mileage Death Rate (the number of deaths per 100 million miles traveled) decreased to 1.25 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010 and is the lowest since the rate has been calculated. Now look at AAA data and you see that they reported that 1/3 of all drivers admit to reading or sending a text message while driving in last 30 days and 18% admit to doing it regularly. Daniel Ruth in his January 31, 2012 editorial, called for outlawing texting while driving. What those, like him, calling for outlawing texting while driving are saying is that the .00007 million deaths associated with texting while driving outweigh the communications benefit of over 100 million of texts while driving in Florida.

Daniel Ruth notes, "Until a few years ago, motorists managed to get from Point A to Point B without having to use a texting device or a cellphone." Then he laments that people use the technology because we can. New technology generally brings some risk. What Daniel Ruthis saying is that deaths associated with the use of new technology are not worth the benefits. He has determined that what the he and ruling elite think the value of communications while driving is more important than those who actually do the communicating saying "Maybe, just maybe, if these communications involved the fate of the free world, or working out that final calculation to cure cancer, or negotiating a hostage release, an argument might be made for the necessity to drive and multitask."

Imagine if we used that logic on cars in general. What if the ruling elite determined that the time saved driving fast wasn't worth the fatalities. We could eliminate most if not all of the 2218 driving fatalities last year if they simply dictated that it was illegal to drive over 5 mph. People got from Point A to Point B without cars for thousands of years, simply because the technology exists, drivers now feel compelled to travel by car. Maybe, just maybe, if these trips involved the fate of the free world, or working out that final calculation to cure cancer, or negotiating a hostage release, an argument might be made for the necessity to drive. The benefit of time saving isn't worth anybody's life so it is just and right to limit cars to 5mph (or eliminate them all together). Maybe we should go back to having to have a person carry a light and yell for everybody to watch out ahead of every car like we did when they first were invented again.

We are not going to eliminate cars or reduce speeds to 5 mph, because we weight the benefit of the new technology with the costs. We have determined that getting somewhere quickly and easily vs. the number of deaths on the road and determined that the benefit of time saved traveling 200 Billion miles in Florida quickly outweigh the more than .002 billion associated deaths.

There were 145 crashes in Florida that involved texting while driving last year, and estimated to be over 100 million texts messages sent or read while driving over that same time period. The benefit of those communications must be considered. Just like hundreds of billions of miles driven every year are not trips involved in the fate of the free world, or working out that final calculation to cure cancer, or negotiating a hostage release, those trips have value to the individuals who took them. Should we have to justify the value for every trip we take to be allowed to travel? The use of technology in general has risk, instant communications has risks, travel by car has risks, electricity has risks, and even our first technologies like fire and the knife have risk. Imagine if deputies and police were not allowed to read or send messages on their computers while driving. The facts are clear, the risk/cost/benefit analysis shows that texting while driving will increase accidents (miniscule but an increase), but the benefit to time saved, and the value of the information transmitted, especially to police officers in route, outweigh the risks and costs.

In 2010 there 235,000 crashes in Florida only 145 involved texting while driving. How then, despite the fact that we are using new technology and texting while driving, and the numbers indicate that in 2010 we had the lowest fatality rate ever calculated are can Daniel Ruth's editorial be taken seriously? Are we gotten so risk adverse that we are willing to curtail the rights of everybody to use a technology when it can and is used hundreds of millions of times safely for every deadly accident it is associated?

Here is some source data, but you have Google, don't trust my numbers look them up yourself. http://www.flhsmv.gov/hsmvdocs/CS2010.pdf

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tax Education

By Tom Rhodes, 2/2/12

Libertarians consistently fail to educate and articulate the libertarian point of view in a way that can be understood. We also consistently fail to point out where in taxes the statists in power consistently hide simple truth from the people. We get drug down in dumb arguments and keep forgetting that the goal is liberty for all, equality for all, rule of law, etc. Today I'll make an attempt and mention some basics that the people should understand but politics and hyperbole get in the way: one is the stupidity of our double taxation system, the other is the Chutzpah of rich liberals calling for more taxes on the rich, and the last is similar in I point out the actual practices of a tax-and-spend liberal on using tax dollars for charity, compared to how he dictates the people act. I may be tilting at windmills, but in as much as liberty and freedom are clearly not the goals of either of the two major parties, we have to try.

Tax stupidity

Assume you own a business work a reasonable 50 hours a week, take care of your 5 employees, etc. and after all is said and done there was $100,000 profit in that business last year. You pay your 35% corporate income taxes and then you as owner are free to use the remaining $65K however you want. Now then, you see an opportunity to double the size of your business but need capital, so you sell some shares in your business but retain 60% ownership and full control. You use the investment dollars provided and expand and hire more people your work load is now about 60 hours a week and are successful and reach your projected doubling in size. Your expanded business now earns $200,000 dollars in profit and again pay 35% in corporate income taxes. You cannot keep the profit for just yourself anymore because you don't own all the business so based on who owns shares you distribute the now doubled $135K after tax profit to yourself and those whom purchased stock. Your share of the doubled profits is $78K, but . . . Since you are now a group of owners instead of a single owner these profits are now called dividends, and now taxed again at a rate of 15%. Thus you only actually receive $66K. The result is you doubled the size of your business increased your work load from 50 to 60 hours a week and took home an additional thousand bucks. Why increase your work load, risk, and hire more people for $1K per year? Obviously a napkin discussion with your accountant would lead any reasonable person to decide that expanding, hiring, etc. isn't worth it.

The above example the business owner add 20% more time and effort and takes home less than 2% increase in his earnings. If we did not double tax the profits from that same example, the 20% extra effort would have netted 20% extra earnings. All taxes on dividends are double taxing the profits of owners of a business. The profits a business earns are taxed, and then when the owner transfers their profit from the businesses bank account to their private bank account they are taxed again. That is double taxation, how is this fair?

The reality that statists and socialists fail to accept is that all corporate taxes are passed on to the purchaser of their product or service as part of the cost of that product or service. Just like the everyday Joe looks at his take-home pay, not his gross pay, investors and businessmen look at what's left-over after ALL costs including taxes are paid to determine whether an investment or business decision is worth the expense and effort. The reason so many younger workers opt out of benefits like health-care is that they can't spend benefits, and at the young low end of the work scale the risk of possible future health care costs compared to benefit of cash to pay for food, electricity, car payments, and the like are considered, and often the low risk of health problems associated with youth mean that the cost of health insurance are offset by the benefit of cash on hand. Those kind of risk/cost/benefit decisions are what determine future decisions for everybody. Currently we are in a no-mans-land of tax decisions, promises of more taxes on profits from business, uncertain health insurance costs, and future forced reduction in cash on hand for workers (forced insurance), when there isn't even a federal budget, has put business and workers in a holding pattern trying to protect cash and assets, growing them is secondary to protecting them. Thus we see huge interest in things like gold and silver. We need sound fiscal policy without ever-changing rules for people to make intelligent decisions about the future.

Tax Chutzpah

The hypocrisy of liberals like the Rev. Al Sharpton who attacks the Bush-era tax cuts and calls for "the rich" to pay more, belongs in the Hypocrisy Hall of Fame. Sharpton's income from his nonprofit is listed at almost $250,000. His salary at MSNBC is about the same, so "civil rights leader" Al Sharpton earns a cool half-million bucks a year to pontificate (cool gig if you can get it). The New York Post reports that he owes federal taxes and state taxes totaling $3.5 million. Wow!! Either he hasn't paid taxes for a long long long long time, or earns a lot more money than estimated or both. At his current $500K estimated earnings, if the government took all his earnings every year it would take him 14 years to pay off his IRS debt, he probably won't live that long. How much does a person have to earn to acquire a $3,500,000 tax bill? How much nerve does someone with earnings of about a half-million dollars per year, who effectively pays zero taxes have to have in order go on TV and rant for higher taxes on the rich?

Tax Charity

Statists are calling on taxing the rich more; they want the government to "take care of" everybody cradle to grave, but they don't actually practice what they preach. Consider Massachusetts, in 2001 it lowered its state income tax rate. Being the nice people they are they, put on their tax form a check box to allow the guilt ridded tax payer to volunteer and pay the old higher rate. Of the more than 3 million Massachusetts tax filers in 2004, a whopping 930 taxpayers volunteered to pay the higher rate. That number is so small it equates to just 3 pennies of $100.00; measurable but barely, and effectively zero percent. Now include in your consideration of this system that Massachusetts liberal Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who like virtually every other liberal (or conservative, or libertarian, or independent) in his state declined the opportunity to pay the higher tax. Frank said, "I'll donate the money myself," explaining, "I don't trust the legislative leadership and Gov. (Mitt) Romney to make the right decisions." Even uber-liberal Barney Frank agrees with the libertarian viewpoint that private Charity will better spend his money than the government, which, by its nature, operates less efficiently and more expensively than can private welfare. He agrees that he, not the government should determine what charity should receive what part of his income to do charitable work. Why should any citizen trust the government to do what's best with their money if our most powerful elected leaders don't?

On a side note Barney Frank has uttered a good number of libertarian quotes, like this 2009 quote; "Criminalizing choices that adults make because we think they are unwise ones, when the choices involved have no negative effect on the rights of others, is not appropriate in a free society."