Archive for the ‘libertarian’ Tag

Come on, GOP! Go Free Market!   2 comments

Lela’s preferred free-market plan for medical care policy would be no plan whatsoever. I’m offended that anyone thinks they need to tell me how to take care of myself. I’m able to make those decisions for myself. Government, get out of the way and let the market work. Free individuals can negotiate among themselves for lower and better coverage and care.

Rick’s preferred free-market plan for medical care policy would include sliding-fee medical clinics that would operate under charitable auspices. We forget that fraternal organizations used to contract with doctors to provide their members with medical care for a low monthly fee and that churches used to operate hospitals. Contrary to revisionist history, these systems and institutions were well-run and responsible for a rapid increase in the overall health and lift expectancy of Americans. That was all before the American Medical Association got involved in deciding who could become a doctor or open a clinic, using the force of government to create a virtual monopoly.

Image result for image of the american health care billRick was stunned when he wrote that. We believe he just became a libertarian … except he supports government-funding for those sliding-fee clinics, so he’s not quite there yet.

The fact is that it’s really scary that so much of the country believes we must have a federal top-down strategy to manage a huge chunk of the American economy. That’s the main problem. We don’t need a federal plan for health care now any more than we needed in the 1990s or the 1950s. Yet Republicans have allowed liberals to frame the entire debate in anti-market terms.

The Freedom Caucus stood up and said these things and Pesident Trump, who is a progressive who in the past said he favored liberty-and-choice-destroying universal health care, pulled the bill. He hinted that they would keep the Amercian Health Care Act on the shelf until Obamacare implodes (likely toward the end of this year) and then dust it off then. That’s the wrong approach!

The AHCA falls far short of a free-market solution. It’s certainly not a repeal of Obamacare. It’s a half measure that tries to fix the unfixable with tiny doses of deregulation that essentially do very little to impact the core of the ACA. The AHCA’s the “tweak” on the rudder of the Titanic headed toward the iceberg that did nothing to keep the behemoth from hitting it and eventually sinking.

Trump suggested a three-phase rollout, but there were no details for the other two phases, so they might as well not exist because the Republicans will lose the Senate and possibly the House in 2018 if things continue the way that they are headed. Obamacare has too many flaws to ever be fixed and pretending otherwise is not going to get us anywhere.

We’ve seen what the Democratic Party plans for health care (and not insurance, but actual care). They would channel us all into Bureau of Indian Affairs-like services that see our mortality rate drop to British levels (dead people are much lower drain on government than living ones). The Democrats oppose opening up insurance markets across state lines because …. Who knows why because it doesn’t make any sense. Opening up auto insurance across statelines did wonders for improving competition and controlling premiums. Thirty years later, my monthly premiums are just now about what they were before the market was opened up. And Alaska has different coverage than, say, New Hampshire, so no, that’s not a problem either … except maybe in the minds of people who think government-run medical care is the answer to the medical insurance crisis in this country. If that’s the only choice you’re willing to accept, all other alternatives look wrong.

The Democrats don’t want to look at access to actual medical care, insurance costs or the continued growth of the welfare state. They seek to constrain markets to create monopolies that can be controlled by a federal regulatory regime. When that fails, because it ignores economic reality, they will insist upon passing single-payer.

“When I was working in France, I had opportunity to do some visitation in England and Germany and look behind the scenes of their medical care systems. When I developed appendicitis, I dosed myself with pain killers and antibiotics and caught a jet to the United States rather than go under the knife of any of my colleagues in Europe. They’re nice people; some of them were very well trained by European standards and they mean well, but I do not recommend any single-payer or universal medical system in the world. All of the ones I’ve seen are inadequate for anyone I love who has any illness requiring high-skilled treatment.” Rick (speaking as a doctor)

Potential Victories:

  • Halting federal funding of unPlanned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion mill
  • Offering states more flexibility in the operation of their Medicaid programs.
  • Expanding health savings accounts
  • Getting rid of the individual mandate
  • Opening insurance across state lines
  • Repealing Obamacare’s taxes

Pressure from conservative groups made the American Health Care Act, as presently conceived, a non-starter. That’s a good thing. The Affordable Care Act would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the moderate Democrats who just couldn’t stomach its more socialist aspects. Democrats did not, despite prevailing mythology, compromise with the GOP in 2009. The GOP managed to pass some amendments, but they were all technical in nature – commas and spelling repair. The Democrats were forced to compromise with their own moderates.It only takes a few senators to hold an entire party’s golden goose hostage.

This time around, the GOP was confronted by the conservative Republicans of the Freedom Caucus, who rightly pointed out that the people did not sweep the GOP into office in order to “tweak” Obamacare. They voted for the GOP because the GOP promised to REPEAL Obamacare.

No federal entitlement has been repealed, replaced or even significantly modified after its passage, but this is the fight that caused Republicans to win majority control in 32 states, hundreds of seats in the House and Senate, and that nicely shaped office in the White House. So Republicans need to take a good hard look at where they stand right now. If they don’t have the strength of character to back of full repeal of Obamacare, then they were elected on a lie. Surely someone among them has a better idea than either the AHCA or the ACA.

Republicans, please recognize that you were put into the position that you’re in right now by people who want to get rid of Obamacare. You shouldn’t allow yourselves to be intimidated by Democratic rhetoric that you’re going to kill Grandma and expose “the children” to the winter winds. We know they’re full of gas. They tried to convince the American people that Obamacare would be a political and economic success story even as the American voters argued that it wouldn’t be. Reality has shown the Democrats were phenomenally wrong and that the American people understand economics better than the elites. The voters who put you in office are not going to fall for a lecture about how unpopular a repeal bill will be. Feel free to pass a bill that incorporates the principles many GOP voters say they believe in.

 

REALLY! They’re behind you and even libertarians like Lela and doctors like Rick will cheer you on.

Why I Left the Left | Evan Stern   Leave a comment

Image result for image of anti-trump violenceThis past Saturday I drove down to the local gun store in my quaint mountain town to pick up some bismuth shells, just in time for an early morning Sunday hunt. As I perused the impressive selection of bird bashers, a small fracas in my periphery began rising to a twangy crescendo. I rounded a rack of turkey calls to investigate, and found a few grizzled local woodsmen huddled around a fuzzy monitor bolted to the ceiling, barking the ghostly specter of Sean Hannity through its pixelated display. The men stirred.

“Paid Protesters!” One grumbled.

“George Soros!” Exclaimed another.

Arguments against the state were shelved more often than not in favor of presentations on a seemingly endless parade of ‘passive’ social injustices.

I winced and felt the hot flush of embarrassment creep across my face as the screen danced with black-clad anarchists, gleefully smashing windows and tossing trash cans. Overpowered with nostalgia, I thought back to the sparse coffee shops and dimly-lit dish pits where my comrades and I would plot our insidious coups, against the oppression of plate glass windows and aluminum trash cans, and couldn’t help but laugh at the idea that global billionaires were somehow tugging on the puppet strings. I’m afraid the truth is far more desperate.

I spent nearly a decade of my young life in ‘hard’ left movements. I spent my teens printing zines, organizing, squatting, and worshipping the ironically “bourgeois” intelligentsia that pandered to our leftist sensibilities. At the core of my ideology was a burning desire for liberty and an intense distrust of the state. In the beginning, I might saunter into the local cooperative and find an impassioned debate over the legitimacy of insurrectionary movements abroad, or the most practical way to pirate electricity without being discovered. Over time, the fiery rhetoric became dogma, penetrating my psyche right down to its id. I saw the state’s oppression in everything and everyone. I noticed behavioral patterns of violence and subjugation that seemed to reproduce to infinity. And through this new countenance, the changing face of leftism was obscured to me.

The New Social Justice

Related imageSocial Justice was always a welcome addendum to anti-statist leftism for me. I gladly assumed the mantle and answered the call to march for police accountability, for women’s rights, for the ethical treatment of gays. The concept of ‘intersectional Social Justice’ was then a contentious one among many left-wing radicals, seen by many as a willful distraction from the core anti-statist message of our ideology, and worthy of only a small devotion. To focus too heavily on social issues was said to the be the resting place of sleepy liberals. And liberals, perhaps even as much as skinheads or the police, were the bane of the radical left. They meant to co-opt our movement and reacquaint us with their ineffective and self-aggrandizing brand of sedition and hoped to lasso a few of us back into the electoral process (abstaining from which was radical dharma at the time). They were, in short, a generally unwelcome addition to our ranks, and would usually turn their backs at the first mention of truly anti-statist politik.

I had more exposure than most to the left-wing radical “scene,” as it were, traveling to convergence spaces and conferences, worker-owned collectives and the like. I noticed a shift in the demographic makeup of the movement that became more pronounced with time. Character archetypes abound in the radical sphere, from crusty professors to dreadlocked primitivists, (and that leftist holy grail, the disaffected executive, living, perhaps, in a yurt or some otherwise subversive structure on some land that probably doesn’t belong to him), became more and more sparse. There was a new contingent of leftists, a new archetype that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. (The radical space was not exactly adept at coalition-building, keep in mind). These new figures were polished, soft-speaking, and shied away from the hardline agitprop of resistance. Gone were the ‘zines adorned with flaming police cars, replaced by new editorials that opined the importance of gender fluidity and other obtuse concepts. A new language began to congeal, an especially elitist dialectic that almost required translation to English.

Image result for image libertarian anarchy versus left radicalismThe left was consumed by this new drive to expose the innate bigotry of the majority.

The new language was accompanied by new tactics. Affinity meetings that were once hotbeds of dissent began to seem more like kangaroo courts. Arguments began to spring from the nascent well of discontent, and “accountability” hearings were the new norm, a process more often than not designed to elucidate the accused’s latent homophobia or racism. Arguments against the state were shelved more often than not in favor of presentations on a seemingly endless parade of ‘passive’ social injustices.

The old radical paradigm, in rudiment, went like this: “America was founded upon slavery, therefore America is racist, We are here because we disagree with racism.” The implied understanding was that because we had all found each other through our mutual disgust with what we had determined was a racist system that unfairly penalized minority populations, then we had already rejected a racist worldview. Thus our deliverance and rebirth occurred. It was understood to be innate to our shared ideology, and therefore our collective will could be focused and our mutual intent had been decided. This formed the basis for an arguably unified front that could be assembled and directed at will. But this mutual understanding was being corroded by a new, pernicious force that had infested every corner of the space. Anti-fascist organizers were no longer satisfied by directing their ire towards governmental institutions or hate groups and instead turned the looking glass inward. The toxic rancor of racism was found in our own ranks, by God!

Racism was found by the New Left to be inherent in all “whites.” (Racism is now said in the left to be a confluence of power and bigotry. Minorities, lacking the key ingredient of power, are exempt from this distinction.) Cis-gendered people (those of us who identify with our birth sex) were asked to “make space” for those that were not. Special privileges to be heard were conferred to the most oppressed within the group. This led to a bizarre new struggle within the movement over who might lay claim to being the most truly oppressed. The left was consumed by this new drive to expose the innate bigotry of the majority, especially within our own sphere. Where activists were once excommunicated over allegations of collusion with the authorities, they were now cast out frequently by accusations of complacent prejudice.

Friend and Foe in the New Left

Related imageTruth be told, I do not disagree with many of these indictments of mainstream culture. Inequities are certainly rampant in our society and must be illustrated and corrected. But the new face of the radical left seemed to be devouring itself. Where we had once in unison identified the state as the malevolent genesis of our oppression, our peers were now the true oppressors. The state apparently had not been oppressing us nearly as much as we had been oppressing one another. Anecdote became empirical, and experiences became the radical eucharist. Personal accounts of bigotry were now to be equivalent to universal and incontrovertible truth. A culture of martyrdom arose wherein victimhood was conflated with benevolence.

The left has lost its traction by alienating average people.

In the time before this new left, the directive was crystal clear: to illustrate the oppression of the state as it occurs to most everyone in the country, in the form of endemic poverty, uncorrected sickness, bankrupt free trade agreements, and the formation of a global police state. Organizers could mobilize radicals en masse to demonstrate against these societal evils, recalling the controlled chaos of the Seattle WTO demonstrations, or the significant uprising in Miami against the FTAA in 2003. The scene had now become almost entirely disjointed, and the former amalgamation of radicals ceased to exist. The radical left had become an especially tiresome arm of the progressive centrists, now content to lobby the state for greater societal controls rather than demand its abolishment.

There was only a small faction of anti-statist minded radicals left in the fray, and it was in them (and me) that the responsibility to carry on the tradition of rejecting the state and fighting for liberty. Instead, they clung to the antique tactics of property destruction and rock-tossing. The problem being, these tactics were complementary ones, meant only to supplement a coherent and organized radical left movement that had ceased to exist. They were to be an organ of outrage designed to counterbalance a cogent and heady vanguard of intellectual radicals. These radicals have become dinosaurs, defecting for the higher moral ground of the new left lest they fall victim to the witch hunt.

A Wayward Movement

The left has lost its traction by alienating average people and turning its intent towards social issues that are codified for inclusion. And of course, their argument is no longer to abolish the state, but to beg for benevolence at the feet of a corrupt government. I could not fathom how a group of people could move in a linear fashion from the idea that the central state was incorrigibly corrupt to the notion that we could somehow force it to provide for our interests. In a time of endemic poverty, I could no longer bear the guilt of selfishly aligning myself with a movement that seemed less concerned with exposing a secret war in the Middle East than it was with exposing my friends and peers as patriarchal villains.

In my last dark days with the left, I pleaded for objectivity, reason, rationale. These requests fell on deaf ears and nearly always resulted in a collective tongue lashing against my perceived ignorance. Why, they demanded, could I not accept that my perspective was being undermined by my ‘whiteness’? Why, if I was so committed to change and righteousness, could I not separate the evil archonic male desire from my true self? My positions, they would argue, had become tainted, infected by my hetero-ness, my maleness, my caucasian-ness. The whole world was a giant quagmire.

It occurs to me from time to time, usually in the throes of insomnia, that the state may have supplanted these contentious narratives within the space to misdirect and discredit the radical left, although this possibility has ceased to be relevant. The sad truth to behold is that the last actors in the space took to the streets to smash Starbucks’ windows and foolishly posture when they should have been pleading with their peers to reconsider a truly anti-statist perspective. In a last hurrah of hedonistic self-satisfaction, they have delivered the final blow to the radical left.

 

Source: Why I Left the Left | Evan Stern

Why Do People Drive Like Idiots?   6 comments

This is Brad.

For the last few years I’ve owned my own business operated out of our house, which meant I keep my own hours. While Lela is driving to work in the morning, I’m drinking coffee at my leisure and catching up on the news online. I generally schedule appointments later in the morning and often, since my company repairs houses, my customers prefer late afternoon and early evening. Unlike the refrigerator repairman, I don’t schedule you for sometime today, expect you to hang out at home all day, and then not show up. I like repeat customers. Therefore, I’ve mostly missed rush hour traffic for about three years.

Image result for image of the 12 Steps applied to distracted drivingExcept that Lela’s car is currently broken and until I either acquire the skills to fix it (doable, but it was the flywheel not the starter and flywheels look complicated) or save the money to take it to a mechanic (more realistic for a flywheel), I’m driving her to work in the mornings. We don’t do debt anymore and we try not to dip into the emergency fund for non-emergencies (which this really isn’t), but I’m tempted just so I don’t have to be on the road with all the idiots.

Yes, idiots! There’s the guy talking on his cell phone and drinking coffee while weaving in and out of traffic going 60 in a 45 mph zone. There’s the woman barreling through the school zone at 40 (school zone speed limit is 20 with 30 being the limit at either end.) And this private school’s administrative offices are on the other side of the streets, so the chance of a kid popping out at you … fairly high. I don’t know … is there some new prestige I’m unaware of in having a manslaughter conviction on your record?

There’s the dozens of people who rush to red lights! Why? You know they’re red, right? I mean, you could slow down like I do and just roll through them when they turn green. Do you think you get extra points for waiting in line puking exhaust into the air?

Or maybe they just want a moment to all look obsessively at their phones so that when the light does turn green, I have to wait for them to come back to reality and start moving again, usually slowly enough so that most of the people behind them can’t make it through the light. Did you even notice the mama moose and calf who walked right in front of us this morning? You might want to keep those crosswalks clear.

Then there’s the people who are so busy looking at their phones while they are actually driving that they are surprised by the red light, slam on their brakes and turn sideways as they are sliding up on our trunk. Did I mention that I try to roll up on red lights so they turn green while I’m still in motion? This morning I managed to stay ahead of a potential accident, but really, folks … are you so addicted to a screened device that you can’t set it aside while you’re driving? If that be the case, I think we can modify the 12-Step programs for you. You clearly have become powerless over your screened device.

If I were dictator for a day (what am I saying, a day wouldn’t be enough!) I would force everyone to do it my way. Lela is a great admirer of anarchy and she sees a certain beauty in how traffic functions without rulers because everybody (sort of) follows the rules. I’m not buying it. I would gladly become the higher power that brings distracted drivers back to sanity. There needs to be a traffic dictator … someone to take the phones out of everyone’s hands and force them to look around them, someone to teach everyone to take their lead foot off the gas pedal as they scream up to a red light. Someone to say “Hey, look at the moose! Yes, the moose that is right in front of you. You know, the several thousand pounds of muscle and bone that could come crashing through your windshield and decapitate you if you hit it? Hello! Are you paying attention?” Trust your higher power. This is for your own good and the good of society.

Image result for image of cop car with computer in middleYeah, me as anyone’s higher power is a little … laughable … ludicrous … frightening? The fact is, I only feel like I want to be the traffic dictator for a little while every morning after I interact with idiots. I don’t see beautiful functional anarchy in traffic. It makes me skeptical that anarchy could work at all in society. I like my own freedom. I feel I use it well and treat others with respect, but clearly I made that woman who roared around us this morning angry because I didn’t run over the old Eskimo fella who was crossing against the light. I’m pretty sure SHE wanted to force both of us to do things HER way.

And, hey, people at the 4-way stop! I know this is an anachronistic practice – stop signs — but honestly, the guy on the left gets to go first in Alaska, which was why I was gesturing for you to go. Really, I wasn’t trying to trick you so I could rev up my engine and smash into you while you were in the intersection. I just wanted you to go so the other idiot could go so that I could go. See, it really could have worked that way … if you’d trusted me.

And yet, Lela would point out that, despite the fact that there are so many idiots on the road, we pretty much all manage to get to work basically on time without dents in our vehicles because the vast majority of drivers more or less follow the rules … without any active rulers. Would we do better if there were actually traffic dictators?

I doubt it. I was going the speed limit on my way home, enjoying the lack of traffic now that most of the workers are toiling in the hive, and a cop passed me in the left lane. He didn’t seem to be going anywhere crime-related, but I noticed he had a screened instrument mounted to the dash to his right. He sailed right through that red-almost-turning-green light that I rolled through (as it turned green) and then slammed on his brakes to not go through the next yellow-turning-red light.Distracted driving much?

So if the rulers violate the rules, how can they claim to have the ruled’s best interests at heart?

Just some morning commute thoughts for the day.

Great #Kindle #Free   Leave a comment

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Plunder of Socialism   Leave a comment

Frédéric Bastiat was a contemporary with Alexis de Toqueville and they both came from France. Both were admirers of the United States who noted risks to that wonderful experiment in constitutional republicanism with democratic features. While Toqueville focused on the United States in the most familiar of his writing, Bastiat focused on France while touching on the United States system.  I find Bastiat’s writing to be prescient. He spoke to his own time and society, but he could have been addressing his comments to American circa 2017.

To read the entire series, here is the Table of Contents.

For a modern libertarian-conservative, Bastiat’s own example in France is interesting. The head of state at the time was concerned about socialism because socialism always leads to plunder.

Image result for image of plunder of socialismSocialists are not thieves in the usual sense of the word. The plunder they exercise is typical of what collectivists have exercised since the beginning of time. Plunder is not new to socialists. Yet, in Bastiat’s time, the government wanted to stand against socialism, never noting the irony that the government itself had been plundering for a long time before the socialists arose.

When the law is discovered to be perverted, the best thing we can do is remove the perversion quickly and completely. How do we distinguish when the law has been perverted? Whenever the law allows property to be taken from some and given to others, that allows a citizen to do something that would ordinarily be considered a crime, then the law is perverted.

It’s not legal to steal from random strangers in the park to fund your drug habit. Nor is it legal to steal from your neighbor’s paycheck to fund the creation of that park.

Abolish this law without delay; it is not merely an iniquity—it is a fertile source of iniquities, for it invites reprisals; and if you do not take care, the exceptional case will extend, multiply, and become systematic.

Of course, those who benefit from this law, will complain that they have a “right” to be protected and encouraged. He will insist that it is good for society, so the State should support it. “The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalize plunder under pretense of organizing it.”

Legal plunder can take many forms, so are seen an infinite multitude of  organization, tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit. Socialism is a false and absurb doctine that must be refuted, but that will be easier if you root it out of existing legislation where it has crept in unnoticed.

The problem, Bastiat saw, was not just that socialism was on the rise, but that the French government had perverted the law to allow legal plunder. There are only three ways for society to organize itself.

  • When the few plunder the many. (Partial Plunder)
  • When everybody plunders everybody else. (Universal Plunder)
  • When nobody plunders anybody. (Absence of Plunder)

These are the only three choices that the law can produce.

Introducing Bastiat’s “The Law”   Leave a comment

I read a lot, but I had somehow not read Bastiat’s “The Law” until a few years ago when I started listening to Patriot’s Lament. I read “That Which is Seen and That Which is Unseen” back in college, but Josh reminded me of it and after I had reread it, I discovered “The Law.” I highly recommend it. When I finished my survey of “Economics in One Lesson” I wanted to continue the educational love, and this seems so appropriate to the time we live in today.

Frédéric Bastiat’s classic essay, “The Law.” was first published in 1850 by the great French economist and journalist. It is a clear a statement on the original American ideal of government, as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence — that the main purpose of any government is the protection of the lives, liberties, and property of its citizens.

Bastiat believed that all human beings possessed the God-given, natural rights of individuality, liberty, property. These three gifts from God precede all human legislation. Yet, writing in the late 1840s, Bastiat was alarmed to see how the law had been “perverted” into an instrument of what he called “legal plunder”. Rather than protecting individual rights, the law was increasingly used to deprive one group of citizens of their inherent rights for the benefit of another group, and especially for the benefit of the State itself. (When I use the word “State” here, I mean the government at all levels). Bastiat condemned the legal plunder of protectionist tariffs, government subsidies of all kinds, progressive taxation, public schools, government “jobs” programs, minimum wage laws, welfare, usury laws, and more.

Bastiat’s warnings of the dire effects of legal plunder remain relevant today. The system of legal plunder, even within a system of democracy, “will erase from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice”. He saw that the plundered classes would eventually figure out how to enter the political game and plunder their fellow man. Legislation will never be guided by any principles of justice, but only by brute political force.

Bastiat also forecast the corruption of education by the State. Those who held “government-endowed teaching positions” would rarely criticize legal plunder because it would affect their bottom line.

Bastiat believed the system of legal plunder would greatly exaggerate the importance of politics in society. He recognized the unhealthiness of this because it would encourage even more citizens to seek to improve their own well-being not by producing goods and services for the marketplace but by plundering their fellow citizens through politics.

Bastiat anticipated what modern economists call “rent seeking” and “rent avoidance” behavior, referring to the phenomena of lobbying for political favors (legal plunder), and engaging in political activity directed at protecting oneself from being the victim of plunder seekers.We see this today in the steel industr’s call for high tariffs on imported steel while at the same time, industries that use steel lobby against high tariffs on steel. There’s a high opportunity cost involved in these conflicting efforts – the more time, effort and money that is spent by businesses trying to manipulate politics rather than producing goods and services. Thus, legal plunder impoverishes the entire society despite the fact that a small part of the society benefits from it. Yes, Hazlitt had read Bastiat too.

In reading “The Law”, I marveled at how prescient Bastiat was in describing the statists of his day which bore such striking resemblance to the statists of today and the era in between. The French “socialists” of Bastiat’s day espoused doctrines that perverted charity, education, and morals. Bastiat pointed out that true charity does not begin with the robbery of taxation.

Socialists want “to play God,” Bastiat observed, anticipating all the future tyrants and despots of the world who would try to remake the world in their image, whether that image would be communism, fascism, the “glorious union,” or “global democracy.” The socialists of Bastiat’s day wanted forced conformity; rigid regimentation of the population through pervasive regulation; forced equality of wealth; and dictatorship. This made them mortal enemies of liberty.

“Dictatorship” need not involve an actual dictator. According to Bastiat, all that was needed was “the laws,” enacted by a legislature, that would achieve the same effect: forced conformity.

Bastiat wisely pointed out that the world has far too many “great men,” “fathers of their countries,” etc., who in reality are usually nothing but petty tyrants with a sick and compulsive desire to rule over others. The defenders of the free society should have a healthy disrespect for all such men.

Bastiat admired America and pointed to the America of 1850 as being as close as any society in the world to his ideal of a government that protected individual rights to life, liberty, and property. There were two major exceptions:

  • chattel slavery
  • protectionist tariffs.

Frédéric Bastiat died on Christmas Eve, 1850, and did not live to observe the convulsions that the America he admired would go through in the next fifteen years, with ongoing collateral damage for more than a century following. He probably would not have admired the US government’s military invasion of the Southern states in 1861, the killing of some 300,000 citizens, and the bombing, burning, and plundering of the region’s cities, towns, farms, and businesses. He would have rejected it as inconsistent with the protection of the lives, liberties and properties of those citizens as promised by the Declaration of Independence. Had he lived to see all of this, he most likely would have added “legal murder” to “legal plunder” as one of the two great sins of the US government.

He would likely have viewed the post-war Republican Party, with its 50% average tariff rates, its massive corporate welfare schemes, and its 25-year campaign of genocide against the Plains Indians as first-rate plunderers and traitors to the American ideal. He would have objected to the usurpation of individual rights by the collective force as the US government sought to impose its will around the world during the 20th century in the United States. He’d have wept for us over what our government has become in the 21st century.

Knowledge is power. We can’t fix what’s wrong until we understand what is wrong. Bastiat foresaw where we were headed 160 years ago.

Law Perverted

How Is the Law Perverted

Risks of Universal Suffrage

#Book #Free   Leave a comment

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Poems and such about various things

The Bag Lady

The Secret of Change Is to Focus All of Your Energy, Not on Fighting the Old, But on Building the New - Socrates

Living in God's Pocket with ABI

Nurturing Compassion and Stewardship

lightenload

Come with me on a spiritual Journey!

Kvenna ráð

I write on rice-paper. If necessary I can eat my words.

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