States Visited

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm a racist with a psychological disorder...

At least that's what I've learned about myself on the Internet in the last few weeks from people who must be smarter than me because they get paid to write.

I wasn't aware of my racist-ness until it was pointed out to me that it simply isn't possible to disagree with President Obama on philosophical or economic grounds. The only possible explanation for my disagreement with his policies is my latent racism. I am truly thankful that such brililant, kind, generous people exist in this world to point out the miserable failings of a wretch like me.

I have also learned that I am apparently suffering from an as-yet-undiagnosed psychological disorder, possibly brought on by some sort of traumatic deprivation as a child, that manifests itself in the form of libertarian thoughts and leanings. This is rather frightening because I have no memories of any such deprivation. I'm certain it must be because the trauma was so severe that my conscious mind has blocked those memories. I hate my parents for what they must have done. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that children are much too precious to be left to ignorant parents to teach and raise. Again, I must thank my betters for assisting me through my illness.

In addition to my problems outlined above, some very kind-hearted souls in various message boards have helped me understand that I am selfish, uncaring, inhuman, greedy, and something of a monster. I must also be suffering from several other problem, including being a bad judge of character, since I have managed to surround myself with lots of friends, none of whom have bothered to point out my problems or offer to help me find professional assistance with them and I have been able to hide my disorders from family, acquaintances, employers, etc., for many, many years.

I certainly hope that President Obama's health care plan provides adequate funding for the rehabilitation of people like me. Clearly, I am becoming a danger to myself and others and will need to be confined soon. I believe the government has already implemented a fairly developed program for dealing with difficult cases and put it into practice down in Guantanamo.

Until then, I'm going to wear my tin foil hat as often as I can without being a distraction and try to resist the temptation to indulge myself in any libertarian thoughts. I'm also going to start the process of trying to cure myself of these problems. Every night before bed I will offer a prayer of thanks to our caring government and my kind, loving brothers and sisters for helping me through my illnesses. I will then, with all my heart and desire to believe, repeat to myself until I fall asleep: 2 + 2 = 5.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paul Krugman, Demagogue

Yesterday Paul Krugman wrote a piece for the New York Times in which he recounts the events at a recent town hall meeting on government health care.

"There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to his fellow attendees and asked if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Nearly all did. Then Representative Green asked how many of those present were on Medicare. Almost half raised their hands."

"Now, people who don’t know that Medicare is a government program probably aren’t reacting to what President Obama is actually proposing... But they’re probably reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is..."

"Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites. Many people hoped that last year’s election would mark the end of the “angry white voter” era in America."

So, according to Mr. Krugman, these people are clearly ignorant and racist. Apparently it never occurs to Mr. Krugman that these "people who don't know that Medicare is a government program" may be smart enough to realize when something isn't working and that he is, pardon my French, full of shit.

Medicare IS NOT OPTIONAL. These people participated in Medicare because the government put a gun to their head and forced them to do it. Granted, a few may have bought the lies and thought it a great idea at the time but it seems they have changed their minds and the rest had no choice. Perhaps it is the fact that Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of around $40 trillion that will be paid by the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., of the folks in that meeting that indicate it isn't what was promised and adding to it is a bad idea. Perhaps those people realize that the government is full of liars and theives and they want no part of any more such programs. Perhaps these people realize that the only possible hope of getting back any of the tens of thousands of dollars that were taken from them is to participate in the current program.

Is it possible that some of the people to whom he refers are racist and would oppose anything Obama offered? Sadly, yes, it is. Is it irresponsible of an intellectual to resort to this sort of rhetoric. Certainly. What is beyond question is that Mr. Krugman either lacks the mental capacity to analyze the situation beyond his own preconceived notions or he is a race-baiting demagogue with an agenda. Given that he is a Keynes-loving economics professor at Princeton with a Nobel prize, I'm guessing its the latter.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


"It would be a serious blunder to neglect the fact that inflation also generates forces which tend toward capital consumption. One of its consequences is that is falsifies economic calculation and accounting. It produces the phenomenon of imaginary or apparent profits... If the rise in the prices of stocks and real estate is considered as gain, the illusion is...manifest. What makes people believe that inflation results in general prosperity is precisely such illusory gains. They feel lucky and become openhanded in spending and enjoying life. They embellish their homes, they build new mansions and patronize the entertainment business. In spending apparent gains, the fanciful result of false reckoning, they are consuming capital. It does not matter who these spenders are."

Wow, that pretty well sums it up, huh? A nice recap of what we are living through. Except its not a recap. It is the writing of Ludwig von Mises. The genesis of his line of thought can be traced to a treatise he published in 1912. Yes, 1912. Almost twenty years before the same series of events led to the Great Depression. It was included as part of a greatly expanded theory and published again in 1940, before finally being published in English in 1949 as part of his magnum opus Human Action.

F. A. Hayek, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Presidential Medal of Freedom, was a student of Mises and a contemporary of John Maynard Keynes. Through the work of Hayek (and others) the theories of Mises and the other "Austrian School" economists were spread around the world. Over the years Hayek and Keynes engaged in several battles of wits and intellectual arguments, yet, Hayek never wrote a review of Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Why? The short answer is, in my opinion, that he felt it so poorly reasoned that Keynes would quickly abandon this line of thinking as he had done on a previously published work. "Hayek later regretted that he had not responded after the General Theory was published, but explained (somewhat lamely) that after Keynes had quickly disavowed his Treatise on Money in the face of criticism, he assumed that Keynes would change his views yet again, so why bother?"(1)

So, if there are theories that have historical accuracy, appear to be excellent predictors of future events, and are widely known, why is it that politicians and their intellectual supporters continue to worship at the feet of Keynes and his General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money when it has proven, time and again, to be horribly wrong?

Guess which one advocates ever increasing command and control by politicians.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cash for Clunkers - Brilliant!

Yesterday, for the first time in months, we spent the day doing nothing. I spent a good part of the day sitting in front of the television and saw countless ads touting the new Cash for Clunkers rebate program. Ignoring the fact that the entire program has been on the verge of collapse (when they could actually get it to work), I read a piece this morning that, if correct, points out precisely how ridiculous this type of "stimulus" really is. The article can be found here -

- but I'm going to break it down into what I hope is a more digestable presentation.

According to the article there would normally be about 200,000 clunkers traded-in every three months. Under the new program they are projecting about 222,000 trade-ins. 222,000 - 200,000 = 22,000. Think about that for just a minute. The "stimulus" is generating about 22,000 more trade-ins than would have occurred otherwise. The bulk of the money is being used to subsidize purchases that would have happened anyway! Or, put another way, the federal government program has spent $1.2 billion (the program has a budget of $1 billion but that money had to be borrowed, so I'm including interest at 3% for 10 years) to stimulate the purchase of 22,000 additional cars - $1,200,000,000 / 22,000 = $54,545 per car. The NADA estimates that the average price of a new car bought in the US is $28,400.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Deal with the Devil?

Of all the political sub-groups in this country, I think none face a more difficult series of decisions than the "Christian Right." For a very long time now they have been convinced, almost exclusively by Republicans, that they must elect fellow believers and surrender some rights in order to protect others and to defend "traditional, family values." This was not an accident. It came as a political response to the attack launched by modern liberals and Progressives against what the Christian Right perceived to be "traditional, family values". The left began to use the federal government to implement its will legislatively, through "activist" judges, and a sympathetic media. The Republicans and the Christian Right, sensing a move by liberal politicians to replace religion with the state responded in kind and embraced politicians who seemed to share their beliefs. A massive battle has been waged with each side seeking to put it's people in positions of power and authority to protect and expand their ideology, with every step - by either side - resulting in a growth in the power and scope of those in Washington.

The Christian Right, with the best of intentions, engaged in a battle that should never have been fought. This is much easier to see with hindsight than foresight but it is a battle that cannot be won. One cannot fight the growth and authority of the state by giving greater power to friends in positions of power within the state because those friends will not always be there, but the power, once vested, is almost impossible to remove. This must be the lesson learned from George W. Bush. Millions turned a blind eye to the massive growth of executive authority under Bush because they believed that he shared their vision. He was a born-again Christian, after all. And now he is gone, retired to Texas, and we are left with an executive office with almost unlimited power currently occupied by a socio-fascist and who knows what to come.

What the Christian Right must understand, above all else, is that no matter how many times he or she goes to church, no matter how many times God, Jesus and the bible are mentioned, no matter how much those traditional, family values are discussed, no matter how much outrage is expressed in press conferences and campaign speeches, the people in Washington - and nearly every person who wants to be there - are politicians first and political power is more important to them than anything else. (Incidentally, it must be noted that this isn't a problem just for the Christian Right. The politicians pandering to left-wing groups are in the same boat - they will say anything, do anything to motivate their group(s) to get out and vote and put them into power. The politicians of today are a product of the almost pure democratic means we use to elect them - the lowest common denominator that can rally the most troops is elected by a woefully undereducated population.)

We are now in a position where the power and authority of the state is almost out of control and the Christian Right face some difficult choices. There are many lessons we can learn from history but few are more clear than the fact that unless a state enforces a state-controlled religion, the state will not tolerate any religion longer than necessary. For the politician, power comes from the state and religion outside the state is a threat to that power - a man can worship only one master. No matter what a political candidate says to the contrary, it must be assumed that he (or she) will always vote to protect himself and his power.

This long-held belief that the best way to fight against the perceived secularization of America is to elect politicians that share their beliefs must be abandoned. The election of self-professed Christians to political offices would not remove the temptations of power. In fact, the combination of divine and political authority would enhance the temptation exponentially. If Lord Acton was correct in his observation that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then there is nothing more subject to corruption than a government that believes itself the bringer of Truth. History has shown that the greatest atrocities to ever occur have been the result of the state as religion or controller of religion.

Almost every religion on earth teaches that it is the one, true way. Ironically, the only way for people of all religious faiths to ensure that they may continue to practice their faith as their doctrines command is to resist the temptation to use the power of the state to enforce its doctrine. The end result of the pursuit of political power for those of a particular faith is armed conflict. The faith that achieves political power and attempts to enforce its will upon people of other faiths will be met with resistance and defiance. The only possible alternatives are peaceful co-existence, which doesn't require the acquisition and temptations of political power, and armed coercion, which certainly doesn't fit well with traditional, family values.

The decision to abandon the quest for political power for peaceful co-existence is certainly not an easy one for it means acknowledging the rights of others to live in a manner that may be at odds with Christianity (or even at odds with various demoninations of Christianity). It moves the battle for a man's soul from the courthouse to his house which is where it, and those choices in which Christians may not agree, belongs. Oddly enough, this is the same path that must be taken by atheists, agnostics, and people of no faith.

If one wishes to be free and to live in peace, one must resist the temptation to use political power to enforce his views. The attempts to use the state to do otherwise is a deal with the devil of the worst kind. As George Washington noted long ago, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." We must all recognize that he who wishes to use the power of the state to subject others to his views is, without question, declaring that he is willing to use violence to achieve his goals.

I can already hear the retorts, "But what about (fill in your cause here)?"
Here is what must be remembered - Once we have put such a decision into the hands of the state, it is forever a decision to be governed by the state and, thus, becomes subject to the ebb and flow of politics. What was once a moral issue becomes a legal issue; what was once a personal decision now carries the force of the law. The right to do and the right not do has been ceded to the state and everyone loses.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Waaaaay down the rabbit hole...

Here, for your reading pleasure, are links to a handful of blog posts, articles, and the like that should offer more evidence as to just how badly the American people are being systematically raped by our own government. Enjoy!

Some analysis and commentary on the first article -

Friday, May 29, 2009

One of the Best?

The dog woke me up early this morning and I ended up (as usual) sitting at the computer reading. I happened upon the blog of Judge Richard Posner where he discusses and adds to his new book A Failure of Capitalism. Judge Posner sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and is regarded as one of the best legal minds in the country.

In the second paragraph of the first blog post I read

I came across this gem -

"...capitalism and government cannot be separated. You cannot (here I part company with "anarcho-capitalists," such as David Friedman) have capitalism without a government, specifically a central bank with discretionary authority over the money supply and a regulatory regime for financial intermediation (banking in a broad sense)."

I would argue that not only has he "parted company" with the anarcho-capitalists but he's also parted company with logic, common sense, and any knowledge of history. My God. This is the man named as one of the best legal thinkers in the country? No wonder we are in this mess...