Friday, February 27, 2009
There’s no way the businesses and rich people of America can pony up [this] volume of cash. They will simply move away from this country—exacerbating the problem our current business tax system is creating. Unless Obama is really out to lunch, he’ll have to raise taxes on everyone else to pay for this stuff—in which case, he’s fibbing when he claims that most of us won’t pay any more taxes.
Actually, he’s fibbing anyway—we’ll see the taxes on business and the wealthy showing up in smaller paychecks, fewer good jobs and diminished returns on our 401k’s.
As George Reisman has repeatedly and extensively explained, we all pay for the taxes on the rich, in one way or another. A tax on the "rich" is really a tax on all of us. In fact, the poor are hit hardest by these taxes, just as they're hit hardest by inflation and regressive taxes (sales taxes, social security, etc).
Like any good left-progressive, Obama is indirectly soaking the poor and working class to pay for his fascist policies. These are the same folks he will be sending to die in Afghanistan for the benefit of the rich. But don't criticize him! That would be unpatriotic.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:
1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).
2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.
3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.
4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.
5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?
6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.
7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.
8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].
9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.
10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Funny story: I was recently at a night club talking to some girl who unexpectedly began to tell me how much she hates smoking and how she wants it banned. I wasn't in the mood to get in a huge political debate (especially when the whole thing would have to be yelled over loud music). But I couldn't agree to health fascism. So I was stuck in the awkward position of not agreeing but not disagreeing. This can become pretty unintentionally funny after a few minutes.
Girl: So I like, hate smoking, and want it banned.
Me: That's...interesting. I never knew you were so into bans on things.
Girl: I think the people who complain about smoking bans are silly.
Me: Yeah--silly people. How about them? eh?
Girl: Smokers sicken me, and the law should stop them.
Me: Laws. How about them? eh?
Girl: I don't think smoking bans hurt businesses at all.
Me: I like businesses. Businesses are good, m'kay.
Looking back, maybe it would have been smarter to go the opposite route.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
We've all heard the news by now: our warmongering dumbfuck-in-Chief is sending in more US thugs to destroy the already-impoverished country of Afghanistan. This will be an act of brutal, unforgivable violence against a country that has already been a major victim of US imperialism. Innocent Afghans--many of them already living in poverty--will be torn limb from limb by the left-progressive war machine.
Unfortunately for Obama, the so-called "terrorists" aren't going to give in without one hell of a fight.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Now is probably a good time to reveal my deep, dark secret. Are you ready? I've always personally found Ann Coulter to be pretty entertaining. Obviously, this is not any kind of endorsement of her views on foreign policy, civil liberties, etc. But I find her entertaining for the same reason that I find Ted Rall entertaining (even though I agree with him on zero economic issues): because she has a knack for pissing everyone off and stirring up a big ruckus or controversy. (Again: this is solely about her temperament, NOT her political or cultural positions.)
I love it when anyone (left or right) does this, and would do exactly the same thing if I was a political commentator constantly in the media spotlight. I would be so inflammatory and shocking it would be unbelievable. Don't ask me why. I just love anything that stirs up a huge controversy. Political pundits that "play it safe" bore the shit out of me.
We condemn the Coulters and Ralls in public. In private, we wish there were more of them. They're the only thing making the torturously boring news shows slightly exciting and bearable.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Lawrence M. Vance recently put up an article on LewRockwell.com site defending some restriction on immigration. I've gots me some comments to make on it!
Some advocates of "open borders" just don’t seem to get it. It is bad enough that they insist, that the free market requires free immigration and that free trade and free migration go hand in hand. It is worse, however, when they imply that those who support some restrictions on immigration are racists, xenophobes, and bigots. I wish they would refrain from insinuating that any restriction on immigration is incompatible with laissez-faire capitalism
I don’t think all opponents of open borders are bigots (though I doubt you’ll find many bigots who want open borders).
Even if it were true, as libertarian anarchists believe, that a governmental entity has no right to own property, all government-controlled property would actually be owned by the taxpayers, and uninvited immigrants would therefore be trespassers.
A common argument I’ve heard from paleolibertarians (Vance stops a little short of making it here) is that government property is actually owned by taxpayers, and most taxpayers oppose illegal immigration. Therefore, so long as the state exists, immigration should be restricted.
But who cares if the majority of taxpayers oppose it? We don’t believe in democracy, remember? We believe people should be able to use their own property however the hell they want, regardless of what the “majority” thinks. All that matters is whether large property owners would be willing to allow it, or whether the people who pay the most taxes would be willing to allow it.
Personally, I think quite a few of them would. I doubt many billionaire leftists, businessmen, etc would refrain from associating with immigrants or paying to get them into the US. In fact, it seems like much of the opposition to immigration comes from the lower class—people who don’t want to compete with immigrants for jobs. How much property do these people own, and how much do they pay in taxes?
Paleos like to go on and on about how all roads etc would be privately owned. Yup. And when you own something like a road, you generally try to maximize profit (unless you’re an idiot.). This would give a road owner a good reason to ban, say, drunk drivers. But are these greedy capitalist whores really going to turn away hordes of willing customers, just because they’re from another country? Doubtful, even for racist road owners. They would quickly lose competition to other road owners, and I doubt shareholders would put up with it. This applies equally to most other businesses, which is why I doubt there would be as much 'discrimination' as paleos predict.
Vance goes through a number of government programs he thinks make immigration less desirable. He’s right that it would be easier to make a pro-immigration case if they were gone. But I doubt many libertarians would accept these conclusion if applied to different circumstances.
For instance, Vance writes, “I would give a second cheer for unrestricted immigration if hospitals were not forced to provide health care to those with no ability to pay.”
I’ve had conservatives give me the exact same argument for why we can’t end the war on drugs. ‘We can’t legalize drugs until the state has absolutely no involvement in health care!’ It goes straight down the road to absurdity. “We can’t legalize gambling until the state stops subsidizing people in financial trouble!” How many libertarians believe this? The solution is not to keep the state intervention but to abolish the other stupid interventions. Take this argument far enough, and we'll never be able to call for the repeal of anything.
And how many studies have been done showing how immigration is beneficial even with the welfare programs?
If an immigrant still manages to enter the country illegally, then he should be on his own. In addition to no free public schooling, no free medical care, and no welfare benefits, there should be no affirmative action privileges, no community reinvestment acts, no mandatory bilingual education, no minimum wage laws, no hate-crime laws, no antidiscrimination laws, no fair housing laws, and no subsidies of any kind.
Agreed, but all of these things are just as problematic for legal immigrants as illegal ones.
To be fair, Vance makes a good point about there being a difference between open immigration and open borders (and he’s one of the best LRC writers when it comes to “the troops”). Nonetheless, I think some of these arguments are pretty flawed.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Thus are we again reminded of what a profound threat the left represents to liberty. It's been more than a decade now since we've seen this at work, and probably longer really. Clinton was a pain but he was smart enough not to take his reigning ideological framework too seriously. He actually showed some deference to reality from time to time.
The Obamaites are different. They are woefully ignorant of economics. They seem to actually believe all that socialist claptrap that has provided an excuse for innumerable foreign dictators: the idea that government is the source of wealth, and can make anything happen with the push of a button.
They see no limits to the possibility that government can make society perfect, righting every perceived social injustice, and bringing prosperity to all via stealing from the haves and giving it to the have-nots. Is there inequality? Mandate equality. Is there deprivation? Provide! Recession? Spend hundreds of billions!
What we have here is not just a profound love of the state; it is a profound confidence in the capacity of the unlimited state to create heaven on earth. How does this square with the idea of human liberty, of social cooperation and the rights of all? Herein lies the great mystery of leftism. The left seems oblivious to the relationship between their chosen means and their ends. It's not that they hate liberty as such [I disagree here--Cork]; it is that they believe that it must always take a backseat to other social priorities like equality. In the end, they have a tendency to build the total state and find themselves taken aback when the whole of society is caged.
Those Obamaites! So compassionate, loving, universally minded, progressive – except that their ideological cousins managed to starve and destroy whole civilizations. Loyalty to their creed means death because their ideology is the pathway to the gulag, and for one simple reason: their preferred means of social change is the state. The state is always and everywhere a threat to liberty, and liberty is the basic building block of prosperity and civilization.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
There has been a lot of talk lately about the fate of "liberaltarianism" (not to be confused with left-libertarianism). Is creating an "alliance" with left-liberals a good strategy?
I used to wonder about the potentials of such an alliance myself. That was before I started reading liberal responses to the idea on DailyKos (as well as Crooks and Liars).
It became pretty obvious--even during the worst parts of the Bush years--that no such alliance was going to work.
Liberals simply can't conceive of any way of doing anything that doesn't involve massive state violence and authoritarianism. Hiding behind each and every one of their "social justice" programs is a man in uniform with a club. Without Dr. Club, society would become a Hobbesian free-for-all in their eyes. Nobody can be left alone. Underneath the warm-n-fuzzy rhetoric lies a deranged, psychotic philosophy of ruthless, soulless violence.
In my libertarian life, I've had zero success converting liberals. On the other hand, I've converted a number of conservatives. Why are people on the left so much harder?
What I've ultimately learned to accept is that liberals are a group of people so terrified of becoming poor that they are willing to give up every last iota of freedom they have for a gargantuan nanny state that will (supposedly) be there to help them if they fall.
They're so afraid of people smoking, not wearing seatbelts or helmets, treating minorities badly, eating fatty foods, etc that they want the state to run every last detail of society at gunpoint. Like neocons, they think freedom should be sacrificed for the illusion of "security." Being a liberal or neocon means spending each and every day hiding under your bed, worried about the "bad, bad people" lying outside the door of your room. It's a dark, Hobbesian world where terrible consequences are always just lying right around the corner if freedom isn't ended.
Their fallacy is the idea that the state can protect you from every bad set of consequences--every case of bad luck--every bad situtation. It can't, and trying to make it do so will only create a nightmare. A life without risk is not only impossible, but would make for a terrible life.
Liberals have absolutely no use for liberty. Freedom is dead last on their list of priorities--maybe even lower. To be fair, I'm not sure if I've ever heard one claim to believe in liberty in the first place. Liberty isn't their goal: it's an irritating obstacle to their goals.
Obviously, there are liberals who convert to libertarianism, but these conversions usually seem to have more to do with life experience than with someone talking them into it.
So is liberaltarianism a good strategy? Hell no. It was a stupid idea in the first place.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
In a 2006 column, Jonah Goldberg wrote:
Everyone likes to think he’s in favor of maximizing freedom. But in reality most folks want to maximize only the freedoms they like. I often ask self-described libertarians if they support government censorship of hardcore pornography on Saturday-morning broadcast television. If they say yes, then they aren’t really pure libertarians.
To answer Goldberg's question: I am more than happy to defend hardcore pornography on Saturday-morning television. Television is no more "public" than the internet or magazines, which are available at any time, any day of the week.
What will happen to a television station that actually chooses to do this? The kiss of death, obviously. Just look at the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" for cryin' out loud.
So parents will be able to sleep tight, knowing their kids are merely watching graphic violence and none of that icky sex.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I'll watch this shit economy sink under Commissar Obama, as I live like a king!
Well...either that or nothing will happen.
UPDATE: Damn! And I just snagged another interview with some other company. The more the merrier.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
What the Common Dreams lefties never really seem to get is that they’re part of the problem.
Let’s take Ralph Nader, whose worthless godawful commentary sometimes shows up on the front page of Common Dreams (in the same way that flaming bags of shit sometimes show up at the front door, or dead bodies sometimes wash up on the seashore). Nader has rightfully scorned the way the war on drugs is being run and the excessive prison population it has created. Sounds good, right?
Well, except that Nader would create about a zillion other victimless crimes and then throw people in prison for those instead. As Bill Anderson explained, Nader is a fascist totalitarian whose oppressive nanny state would consist of nothing but throwing people in prison for victimless crimes.
Lefties love taxes. But where do they think tax evaders go? The answer: prison. Just ask Peter Schiff’s dad, who declined his “patriotic duty” to pay the state’s ransom. How many lefties do you see condemning his imprisonment? Ask one and prepare to hear crickets chirping. When a left-anarchist advocates “universal health care,” remind him that he is really advocating more prisons, along with a vicious assault on human rights.
Lefties love laws against smoking, trans fats, discrimination, hate speech, firearms, inequality, Wal-Mart, and everything else they don't like. They love regulatory agencies. It has apparently never occurred to them that all of these coercive schemes are ultimately enforced by armed, jack-booted thugs and backed by the barbaric US prison system.
So if police brutality and bloated prison populations are what lefties oppose, then they sure do a bad job of it.
In response to Brainpolice's post on Proudhon, I couldn't help but leave a few comments on what I saw as blatant hypocrisy:
You left out the part where Proudhon attempted to impose an income tax and national bank on the populace. Does it make sense for left-libertarians to bash Ron Paul while praising Proudhon, when the latter is less radical than the former?
Does it make any sense for left-libertarians to bash Hoppe but praise Proudhon, when the latter is far more culturally conservative?
Not that I'm a die-hard Paul or Hoppe fan, but I can't help but notice the double standard...
...If Proudhon had been a senior fellow at the Mises institute, I have a feeling the left-libertarians would be ripping him apart...
...Hoppe is kooky, and I've never said otherwise. But Proudhon was worse. Check out his views on blacks and Jews, along with his love for Napoleon, and then get back to me...
Now, I agree with Carson that those Mises forum comments are ridiculous (his comment You get the impression that capes and cigarette holders, and maybe pictures of Franz-Ferdinand, are popular in such circles? had me cracking up for about five minutes). I don't consider myself a culture warrior and don't even really care about Proudhon's views on race, gender, monarchy and whatnot. But let's face it: this is a double standard if there ever was one.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
However...(I can just hear everyone slapping their palms against their foreheads and groaning ;) this comes with a few caveats.
1) Employment is not inherently authoritarian. For instance: if I'm employed by a company but rarely even see or notice my employer, I think it's pretty hard to argue that the situation is authoritarian. If I'm employed by a company but work at home, how can that possibly be authoritarian? A lot of anarchists seem to conflate all 'employment' with sweatshop jobs and others where there is zero autonomy and employees are de facto serfs. But it just ain't so. Heck, a self-employed person may well be ordered around by his clients more than an employed person.
2) The fact that some people may be making profits off of the firm without working in it has no effect whatsoever on the degree of authoritarianism (if any) going on inside of its walls.
It's unfortunate that most anarchists spend so much time on these misplaced targets when opposing them is not really necessary to oppose actual workplace authoritarianism.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Our Master isn't happy with the way "progress" is being delayed by opponents of his policies. Notice how the House Democrats cheer his every word about suppressing dissent and debate.
To quote Dubya, "If this was a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier. Just so long as I'm the dictator."
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
"Not in the 8 year history of the Bush Administration has the free market created a job."
This only follows if you define "free market" as drastically increased regulation, the most extreme spending/government growth since the Great Society, colossal bail-outs and nationalization.
This is the same "free market" regime that caused Hugo Chavez to declare, "Bush is to the left of me now."
For a market anarchist, this next quote is just priceless (but horrifying):
"The government creates more jobs than the private sector. Public school teachers, tax collectors, Judges, police officers, Governors, congress people, using tax dollars for infastructure."
Wow! What else is there to say? Hitler must have created a shit-load of jobs.
Arrgh. Public education at work, my friends.
If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.
I answered "strongly disagree," because it sounded like some stealth "fair trade" bullshit. If the question said "mercantilist globalization," my answer may have been different.
Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment.
I said "strongly agree," because the question seems to imply that the government can "control unemployment" by "creating jobs" or some such nonsense.
Because corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily protect the environment, they require regulation.
I said "strongly disagree." I think all government regulatory agencies should be abolished, so obviously I don't think businesses should be regulated. Voluntary certification, green capitalism, and free market environmentalism are all fine, of course.
The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders.
I said "strongly agree." The business has a responsibility not to commit aggression or fraud obviously, but they have no responsibility to give the public "healthy food" (as the lefties demand of McDonald's) or other drivel.
There are no savage and civilised peoples; there are only different cultures.
Sorry, but there are plenty of cultures and traditions I think qualify as inferior or worthless.
What's good for the most successful corporations is always, ultimately, good for all of us.
I said yes. If they weren't doing stuff we liked, we wouldn't be keeping them in business.
On most of the other stuff, I'm with Anarcho-mercantilist.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Hat tip to Rorshak at Blotting Out Reality.
Is it worth taking countless more innocent lives just for the military dick-waving parade that will ensue after we capture him? How much money is it really worth spending to try to find him? What if he isn't even alive?
Even if we catch him, what the hell are we going to do with him? Execute him? He would then just become a martyr/hero type for the Middle East.
What would catching him prove? It wouldn't really accomplish anything. It would make Americans feel like they've finally kicked some Muslim ass, but that's about it.
So who cares?