Friday, October 31, 2008

Let Them Fail

My editorial is now up on the ARI/ARC site.

Update: The editorial was picked up by:
Austin Business Journal
The Daily Citizen (Georgia)
Enter Stage Right
News-Democrat & Leader (Kentucky)
Northwest Arkansas Times
Babylon Beacon, Massapequa Post, Amityville Record, Long Island
Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne Indiana)
Press of Atlantic City
The Journal (college newspaper of Webster University in St. Louis)
American Chronicle
Colorado Springs Business Journal

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fighting for Difficult Causes

I found some solace in this quote from Lincoln's journal where he's grappling with the thought of whether or not to keep fighting for the abolition of slavery, a fight which at times seemed utterly hopeless:
I have never professed an indifference to the honors of official station; and were I to do so now, I should only make myself ridiculous. Yet I have never failed -- do not fail now -- to remember that in the republican cause there is a higher aim than that of mere office. I have not allowed myself to forget that the abolition of the Slave-trade by Great Britain, was agitated a hundred years before it was a final success; that the measure had its open fire-eating opponents; its stealthy "don't care" opponents; its dollar and cent opponents; its inferior race opponents; its negro equality opponents; and its religion and good order opponents; that all these opponents got offices, and the adversaries none. But I have also remembered that though they blazed, like tallow-candles for a century, at last they flickered in the socket, died out, and were remembered no more, even by the smell.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Failure of the Regulated Market

Andrew Medworth has written an excellent article which uses Austrian economic principles to explain the nature of the current financial crisis. I agree whole-heartedly with his view that the Fed's interest rate policies created the bubble (and thus are the root cause of all the subsequent problems), while various other government programs (GSE's, CRA, etc.) shaped it -- giving rise to a boom in housing in particular.

LC Purple Cascade 'Fragrance Princess'

(C. Interglossa x Lc Tokyo)


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Libertarians Unmasked (Again)

I have previously (1, 2) commented on libertarianism, including recommending Peter Schwartz’s article as the best thing to read on the topic. But I must admit that the first time I read it, it didn’t have as great an impact on me as it does now. One of the reasons for this I think is that I didn’t have enough first hand material as evidence. So for the (few) potentially mistaken libertarian supporters out there, I try to pass on additional evidence whenever I happen to run across it

In that vein, here’s something I stumbled on the other day. If the title isn’t enough to give it away, consider Rockwell’s treatment of immigration. Now anyone who’s to claim the title of liberty’s defender must take a principled stand on immigration as it is clearly an application of rights and freedom. But libertarians see it differently. Essentially the libertarian has no position on this crucial issue -- if the government takes a stance, they simply take the opposite one:
Another example of a more complicated topic concerns immigration. Throughout modern history, the state has used immigrants as a tool to ratchet up power for itself. This takes the form of requiring tax-funded services like public schools and medical services, or in browbeating the citizens while enforcing anti-discrimination law. Nor are citizens under these conditions permitted to notice the rise in crime that accompanies some immigration or the demographic upheavals that people resent. The result of immigration waves is to diminish liberty for American citizens.

At the same time, anti-immigrationist sentiment can also be used by the state to expand its power. In the name of a crackdown, the state invades the rights of business and demands documentation of every employee. It sends its bureaucrats all over the country and works toward a national ID card. It makes it virtually impossible for corporations to hire people, even temporary workers, from other countries, all in the name of national security or stopping immigration. The state is happy to whip up nativist frenzy in the name of loving the homeland in order to enhance its power. This harms productivity and makes us all less free.

So you see the problem here. The state uses both pro- and anti-immigration sentiment in its favor. So to battle this problem, the libertarian will be sympathetic with one point of view in one political context and another point of view in a different context. It really depends on what kind of rhetorical apparatus the state is using at the moment. The groups that deserve support are those that are resisting the state. It is not unusual to see those very groups won over by the state at a later stage of development of statism, in which case libertarian sympathies have to change.
This is no accident, it is inherent in not standing for anything positive, but of simply being anti-state.

So to reiterate, libertarians must be opposed first and foremost because they are nihilists, but secondarily because by so muddying the waters for the uninformed, they render the job of defending man and his freedom much more difficult for those of us who would truly do so.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bar Stool Economics

I've seen a few versions of this tale explaining who pays for the welfare system, and what tax cuts actually mean; but this one is particularly good.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Auditing at the OAC

To anyone who would like a systematic presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy (and who has 5-6 hours available each week) I highly recommend auditing Onkar's "Seminar on Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Objectivism" starting at the end of October. Details here.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

In Defense of Speculators and Short-Sellers

My piece on the subject is now up on the ARI/ARC site.

So far the editorial has been carried in the following papers and magazines:

Hawaii Reporter (Honolulu)
The American Chronicle
The Daily Citizen (Dalton, GA)
Capitalism Magazine

And on following websites:

Der Informant (International Perspective for Capital Preservation and Growth)
Space Coast Politics
Enter Stage Right

Thanks to all who have reprinted or linked to it.