Archive for April 2010


Environmentalists Prevent Cleaner Power Plant Construction

April 30th, 2010 — 7:52pm

More on the inherently statist nature of that pseudo-philosophy known as “environmentalism.”

From journalist Patrick Richardson:

In 2007, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation proposed a state-of-the-art coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, Kansas. This plant represented a $3.5 billion investment in one of the most rural areas of the country, $78 million in annual payroll during the construction phase, and more than 300 permanent jobs and $15 million in payroll once it was completed.

The plant, with two 700-megawatt generators, would have used technology to limit emissions. It would have been a huge economic boon to an area which largely relies on the meatpacking industry, tourism, and agriculture for jobs.

Then a bureaucrat on the other end of the state killed it. “A lot of people would be at work right now if they hadn’t shot it down,” Sunflower spokeswoman Cindy Hertl said.

The first nail in the coffin of the plant was the denial of an air quality permit by Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Roderick L. Bremby. KDHE is sort of the EPA and U.S. Health Department all rolled into one. In denying the permit, Bremby said:

“After careful consideration of my responsibility to protect the public health and environment from actual, threatened or potential harm from air pollution, I have decided to deny the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation application for an air quality permit.”

This was, keep in mind, before the U.S. Supreme Court issued that insane ruling that carbon dioxide could be regulated as a pollutant.

So, on the basis there might be a problem, Bremby axed the plant. Four bills and four vetoes later, then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius left office to become secretary of health and human services.

It was so bad the Finney County Democratic Party Chair Lon Wartman left the party and issued a scathing rebuke to Sebelius.

Enter current Gov. Mark Parkinson.

Read the full travesty here.

2 comments » | environmentalism, socialism

Trivia

April 24th, 2010 — 8:35pm

The United States is not a democracy and was never intended to be. Democracy means majority rule. The rights of each individual, however, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, color, class, or creed, are inalienable in the literal sense (i.e. cannot be transferred, revoked, or be made alien) and are thus never subject to vote or the “whims of the majority.”

Which is why the word “democracy” does not appear one time in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

The United States is, as Benjamin Franklin said, a Constitutional Republic.

Calvin Coolidge had a pet pygmy hippo, which he kept in the White House.

Whereas Teddy Roosevelt kept a pet hyena.

Ronald Reagan was once given an honorary doctorate in professional football.

The largest scientific study ever conducted on acid rain (National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, Integrated Assessment, External Review Draft) didn’t find any real evidence that acid rain destroys forests.

As a teaching method, the National Wildlife Federation routinely had students dump highly acidic water on plants to, quote, “simulate acid rain.” Thus, when the plants died, the kids naturally assumed that acid rain kills forests in this same manner.

In 1992, a man in Carson City, Nevada, ran in the Democratic primarily as, quote, “God Almighty!” And did not win.

Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was invented to protect American troops in WWII from insect-borne disease.

Despite numerous studies, DDT has never once been shown to be harmful. On the contrary, it has saved more lives than any other chemical invention in the history of the world, with the possible exception of antibiotics.

One spraying of DDT lasts longer than all other pesticides combined. Which is one of the many reasons mosquitoes are less resistant to it.

Since DDT was banned, more pesticides are now required, because none are as effective as DDT.

Which is one of the biggest reasons malaria has come back with such a vengeance.

During the final rush to get the first shipment of DDT out the door to American Troops, a valve at the bottom of a large vessel of DDT accidentally came open. Chemist Joseph Jacobs, who was standing under the vessel when it opened, was covered with hot DDT. “When it dried,” he says, in his autobiography, The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, “I had DDT an inch thick all over me. In my hair, in my ears, and in my mouth and nose. I took off my clothes, showered, and scrubbed, but probably ingested more DDT during that one incident than is today considered safe to absorb over many years.”

Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, which singlehandedly succeeded in getting DDT banned, believed that one touch of DDT could kill you.

Chemist Joseph Jacobs lived another sixty years with no adverse health effects whatsoever.

Joseph Jacobs routinely lectured on the utter safety of DDT. In fact, he began each lecture by eating a spoonful of raw DDT at the podium.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his DDT work and was eighty-eight when he died, in 2004.

“In all the previous wars of history,” wrote chemical engineer O.T. Zimmerman, in 1946, “the louse [singular for lice] has killed more men than ever died from bullets, swords, or other weapons.”

The Audubon Society, though sympathetic to Rachel Carson’s claims, has stated publicly that no extinction or significant loss to bird populations came about through the use of DDT: “of the 40 birds Carson said might by now be extinct or nearly so, 19 have stable populations, 14 have increasing populations, and 7 are declining” (Easterbrook, 1995, p. 82). It should be noted furthermore that the 7 listed as “declining” declined only slightly, and not through any demonstrable link with DDT.

After President Bush senior banned broccoli from the White House in 1990, California broccoli growers delivered nine tons of it to Washington DC.

Science is in large part government-funded. Thus, scientists improve their access to research money if they can show politicians that they are “saving the planet.”

Statistically speaking, scientists who don’t propagate the fear-factor receive far less money than those who do, regardless of the actual truth.

Melvin Shapiro, for instance, head of research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Insight Magazine: “If there were no dollars attached to the game, you’d see it played on intellect and integrity. When you say the ozone threat is a scam, you’re not only attacking people’s scientific integrity, you’re going after their pocketbook as well.”

After that interview, Shapiro stopped taking phone calls. Word circulated that his supervisors censored him for fear of hurting their own funding.

Bureaucrats realize this as well: “When the Superfund Law was passed in 1980 … the EPA’s budget went up almost instantly by hundreds of millions of dollars, and ultimately billions…. The EPA administrator actively campaigned for the Superfund Law…. And, in fact, the law that emerged was largely written by members of the agency” (Facts Not Fear, p. 8).

The Superfund Law has achieved next to nothing — apart, that is, from spending billions in taxpayer dollars.

George Washington carried a sundial instead of a watch to tell time.

More timber grows each year than is cut.

“In the time it takes you to read this letter, nine hundred acres of rainforest will have been destroyed forever,” said Russell E. Train, of the World Wildlife Fund & The Conservation Foundation, back in 1992, a complete fiction, we now know.

The famous statement made by biologist Norman Myers, which sent environmentalists everywhere scurrying to their soapboxes, that “2 percent of all tropical forest was being destroyed per year,” and that by “2000 we will have lost a third of the world’s tropical forest” (Myers cited in Goudie 1993:46.), has proved inanely inaccurate.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) puts tropical deforestation in the 1980s at 0.8 percent. In 2001, satellite imagery, which is precise, shows that tropical deforestation had declined to 0.46 percent.

Lack of property rights — i.e. private property — makes tropical deforestation worse.

The snows of Kilimanjaro, one of Al Gore’s pet props, have been receding for a very long time, a well-known fact among scientists, who, additionally, are also quick to note that the temperature on Kilimanjaro has not been going up. Why, then, the recession of Kilimanjaro’s snows? Ice requires cold and moisture. And it’s precisely the latter that’s lacking.

As climate scientist Robert Balling says: “Gore does not acknowledge the two major articles on the subject published in 2004 in the International Journal of Climatology and the Journal of Geophysical Research showing that modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro was initiated by a reduction in precipitation at the end of the nineteenth century and not by local or global warming.”

I.e. the local climate shift on Kilimanjaro began a century ago.

About a decade ago, Doctor R.J. Braithwaite wrote an article that appeared in Progress in Physical Geography.

In that article, which was peer-reviewed, Doctor Braithwaite tells us how he analyzed 246 glaciers, sampled from both hemispheres and latitudes, between the years 1946 and 1995. This “mass balance analysis” he conducted found that “some glaciers were melting, while a nearly equal number were growing in size, and still others remained stable.” Doctor Braithwaite’s unequivocal conclusion:

“There is no obvious common or global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years.”

“By some estimates, 160,000 glaciers exist on Earth. Only 63,000 have been inventoried, and only a few hundred have been studied in the detail described by Braithwaite” (“It Would Be Nice to Know More about Ice,” Jay Lehr).

On the basis of that logical fallacy known as the fallacy of insufficient evidence, all glacier fears are stopped cold right there.

But in fact that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Keith Echelmeyer, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute, says this:

“To make a case that glaciers are retreating, and that the problem is global warming, is very hard to do… The physics are very complex. There is much more involved than just the climate response.”

Mr. Echelmeyer goes on to tell us that in Alaska there are large glaciers advancing in the very same areas where others are retreating.

Quoting Doctor Martin Beniston of the Institute of Geography at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland:

Numerous climatological details of mountains are overlooked by the climate models, which thus makes it difficult to estimate the exact response of glaciers to global warming, because glacier dynamics are influenced by numerous factors other than climate, even though temperature and cloudiness may be the dominant controlling factors. According to the size, exposure and altitude of glaciers, different response times can be expected for the same climatic forcing.

According to the excellent glacier program at Rice University, those response times run something like this:

Ice sheet: 100,000 to 10,000 years

Large valley glacier: 10,000 to 1,000 years

Small valley glacier: 1,000 to 100 years

“Glaciers are influenced by a variety of local and regional natural phenomena that scientists do not fully comprehend. Besides temperature changes, glaciers also respond to changes in the amount and type of precipitation, changes in sea level and changes in ocean circulation patterns. As a result, glaciers do not necessarily advance during colder weather and retreat during warmer weather” (John Carlisle, National Center for Public Policy).

Grist magazine: There’s a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What’s the right mix?

Al Gore: I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis. Over time that mix will change. As the country comes to more accept the reality of the crisis, there’s going to be much more receptivity to a full-blown discussion of the solutions. (Source of this astonishing exchange: Grist Magazine[boldface mine].)

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) was a foreign diplomat at age 14.

Teddy Roosevelt once delivered a one-hour speech, despite the fact that he had just been shot by a would-be assassin.

Quondam senator Barry Goldwater recommended peanut butter for shaving cream.

The tenth President of the United States, John Tyler (1790-1862), was unable to get a job after leaving office and so worked at a village pound tending cows and horses.

All the trash produced by the United States for the next one thousand years could fit into a landfill forty-four miles square by 120 feet deep—one tenth of 1 percent of all this country’s entire land area. (“A Consumer’s Guide to Environmental Myths and Realities,” Policy Report #99, National Center for Policy Analysis, Dallas, TX, September 1991, 3, quoting Clark Wiseman of Gonzaga University.)

“It is entirely possible that we may be the last generation of humans to know this wondrous earth as it was meant to be,” said the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, many years ago.

“Nearly every habitat is at risk,” said Time Magazine, almost two decades ago. “Swarms of people are running out of food and space …” Which is another statement that time and the facts have exposed as completely false. Thus:

Every man, woman, and child on the planet could fit shoulder-to-shoulder in a space no bigger than Jacksonville, Florida.

Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution says Congress has only these powers. To borrow money (not the same thing as taxation); regulate commerce with foreign nations; establish rules for naturalization; coin money and fix standards of weights and measures; punish counterfeiting; establish a post office; promote science with patents; establish the lower courts; punish pirates; declare war; raise and support armies, but only for a term of two years; provide a navy; regulate naval and land forces; call forth the militia; and administer capital.

“It would be impossible to construct a logical argument that these powers permit the massive welfare state and regulatory state that exists today in America,” said Doctor Thomas Dilorenzo, in 2006.

“The United States is not a Christian Nation,” said President John Adams, in the Treaty of Tripoli.

“Private property is the guardian of every other right” said James Madison, the father of the Constitution.

“I precisely advocate the abolition of private property,” said Karl Marx.

“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned,” said Ludwig von Mises.

“The only alternative to private property is government ownership — that is, socialism,” says Doctor Dilorenzo.

Peter Cooper, inventor of a gelatinous dessert called Jell-O, once ran for the Presidency of the United States.

And lost.



10 comments » | America, Capitalism, environmentalism, Political philosophy, Political Trivia

The Sudsbuster

April 22nd, 2010 — 8:41pm

He was one of the mellow, the soft-spoken, the tawny-haired — one who preferred to be alone.

His name was Mark, a dishwasher at age 45.

He was a drifter, a loner. He valued his freedom above all; dishwashing jobs he could always find.

Our paths crossed and re-crossed at the Café Claire, where I was tending bar. The Café Claire stood on the outskirts of an industrial town, near the railroad tracks, beside his temporary home. Sometimes he’d sit at the end of the bar, before his shift or after, and drink black coffee. Sometimes he’d speak to me, and sometimes he would not.

He was a tidy man, and orderly; he organized things in an oddly geometrical way. He did not drink, he did not smoke, he did not use drugs. He was clean-living and in good shape, neither depressed nor its opposite.

He was single, without children.

And he was free.

He read a lot – novels and non-fiction – to endure, perhaps, the knives of lust that so frequently strike. He had the quietude of one who has gone a long time without sex.

His home was an efficiency apartment – a “hutch,” he called it – with good plumbing. (This mattered to him.) He dealt only in cash and he was good with his money. He saved, he moved on. Sometimes he worked on farms, sometimes he loaded and unloaded freight, sometimes he carried hod. But when I first met him and asked him what he did, he said “I’m a sudsbuster.”

So in the way of things, he would come behind my bar at times, when I was busy, and, without asking me, he’d wash my dishes. I loved him for that. He was fast on his feet and knew how to work around people, so that nobody was in anybody’s way. Buried in bloody marys and martinis, I’d glance over and see him plunged to his elbows in suds, his gold-rim spectacles, which somehow endeared him to me, filled with the burning bar light, his neat goatee damp with perspiration and pied with skeins of gray.

Two or three times, I saw him outside work while I was in my car. Each time, he was walking alone along the railroad tracks, at dusk like some solitary figure carved from the coming dark. This was a grizzled landscape, a prairie desert of Euclidian perfection, full of rings and radii, vast yet traversed by a single road: an isolate highway humming day or night with Mack truck tires. The wind ferried tumbleweeds across the lion’s pelt land. Deadwood everywhere stood silvery-gray, like the moon above, and invariably whenever I saw him, a feeling of melancholy came over me, a melancholy for him, I am not sure why.

This, though, is not about pity or pathos, and Mark was not a person to pitied, not at all.
This is about one man out of many millions making his way
in the land of the free,
the USA.



10 comments » | America

Earth Day

April 22nd, 2010 — 7:07pm

This year rather than celebrating Earth Day by advocating still more government bureaus, which will then determine for the rest of us what we can do with our property, let us instead celebrate the only real way to clean up and beautify the planet: private property rights and private stewardship.

From Chapter 2 of Leave Us Alone:

The right to property is, as James Madison said, “the guardian” of every other right. Freedom and private property are inseparable. Property is freedom: you cannot be free if you are not free to produce, use, and dispose of those things necessary to your life.

“Control the property, control the person,” said Lenin, correctly.

Property, like every other right, is first and foremost the right to act: specifically, it is the right to produce, exchange, and use.

“Property is not only money and other tangible things of value, but also includes any intangible right considered as a source or element of income or wealth…. It is the right to enjoy and to dispose of certain things in the most absolute manner” (Electric Law Library).

Money is property.

The only alternative to private property is government or communal ownership of property, both of which amount to the same thing in the end: a bureau of centralized planners controlling the property.

If you desire to know precisely what someone’s political viewpoint is, all you need do is find out his or her stance on property; for it is through the stance on property that the entire political philosophy is disclosed. You needn’t listen to anything anyone says about “freedom” or “liberty” or any of these other easy platitudes: no one in her or his right mind will go against those things. Instead, simply check the stance on property. If someone doesn’t believe in full private property rights, that person is, to the exact extent he or she denies private property rights, a statist.

Property is the sine-qua-non of human freedom.

To defend freedom, therefore, you must start by defending the unalienable right to property.

The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government (James Madison, Federal Papers 10).

Government is instituted no less for protection of the PROPERTY, than of the persons (James Madison, Federalist Paper #54, emphasis in the original).

The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management (Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval).

A right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings (Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours).

The political institutions of America, its various soils and climates, opened a certain resource to the unfortunate and to the enterprising of every country and insured to them the acquisition and free possession of property (Thomas Jefferson: Declaration on Taking Up Arms).

The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence (John Adams).



2 comments » | America, Capitalism, environmentalism, Property Rights

Free Will

April 22nd, 2010 — 9:18am

A reader writes:

Dear Ray Harvey: Can you prove that humans possess the faculty of choice?

– Waffling

Dear Waffling: Yes, I can. And so can you. But first let me point something out: in the same way that you could not ever conceive dreaming if you’re never awake, so you can never conceive choice if you’re never actually able to choose. In other words, the fact that you’re even able to conceive of volition at all goes a very long way in proving it. Choice is an inherent — and definitional — part of the rational faculty, which humans alone possess.

While you’re at your computer right now, think of some small and inconsequential task you could perform — moving your mouse arrow to a certain quadrant of the screen, for instance, or tapping your spacebar once — but do not actually do it. Whatever the small task is that you conceive of, fix it in your mind for a moment. Observe yourself. Observe that in this moment you can choose to perform that small task, or you can choose not to perform it. You have an alternative, and your will alone is what will determine the outcome. Observe that what determines your choice is your decision to do it or not. That decision is your freedom of will. Quoting (again) the philosophical psychologist Rollo May:

When we analyze will with all the tools that modern psychology brings us, we shall find ourselves pushed back to the level of attention or inattention as the seat of will. The effort which goes into the exercise of will is really effort of attention; the strain in willing is the effort to keep the consciousness clear, i.e. the strain of keeping attention focused” (Rollo May, Love and Will, 1969).

Now, Waffling, decide, one way or the other, and then follow through with your decision.

That’s all the proof you need: direct observation. All knowledge starts and ends with observation.



1 comment » | epistemology, Free Will

Definition of Philosophy

April 20th, 2010 — 9:14am

front

The definition of philosophy — judging, at least, from very nearly every philosophical dictionary on the planet — has confounded philosophers for centuries, the concept being “too large,” it is sometimes said, to properly capture in concise fashion. Yet at the same time, in all branches of philosophy, minutia is cataloged to complete weariness.

This fake problem is nothing more than skepticism and its little bitch postmodernism running amok again. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, for instance, a thoroughly postmodern compilation, says this:

“Some readers might be surprised to find that there is no entry simply on philosophy itself. This is partly because no short definition will do.”

That statement — and all others like it — is flatly false.

Philosophy is the science of rudiments and foundations: it is the study of fundamentals.

A philosophy is an organized system of ideas and arguments.

Etymologically, the word, as you know, comes from the Greek term philia (meaning love) or philos (meaning friend or lover); and sophia (meaning wisdom).

A fellow by the name of Diogenes Laertius claims that the term “philosopher” was coined by Pythagoras, in place of the word “sophist,” which meant “wise man.” But Diogenes Laertius was squirrelly, and his Pythagorean claim is dubious.

Oxford — evidently not as equivocal as Cambridge — defines philosophy thus:

“The investigation of the most general and abstract features of the world and the categories with which we think, in order to lay bare their foundations and presuppositions.”

Not bad, not bad. Better still, however, is Penguin’s philosophy dictionary, which says that philosophy “studies the most fundamental and general concepts and principles involved in thought, action, and reality.”

And yet the best of them all comes not from a philosophical dictionary, exactly, but from a man named Désiré-Félicien-François-Joseph Mercier — a.k.a. Cardinal Mercier — the late nineteenth-century thinker, who spoke well when he spoke thus:

“[Philosophy] does not profess to be a particularized science [but] ranks above them, dealing in an ultimate fashion with their respective objects, inquiring into their connexions and relations of these connexions.”

Philosophy, Mercier continues, “deserves above all to be called the most general science” (A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy).

Lexically, here’s all one really needs to know:

Philosophy comes first, and last. Philosophy is the alpha and the omega. It is the most fundamental science because it studies the foundations of all subsequent knowledge, and that is why all the other sciences depend upon it: because knowledge forms a hierarchy.

For humans, to live is to think.

Philosophy provides an ultimate context — a gauge — for human knowledge. It systematizes the proper methods by which we are able to know.

And that is the definition of philosophy.



2 comments » | Philosophy

Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism

April 15th, 2010 — 9:02pm

Economics deals with society’s fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen (Ludwig von Mises, Human Action).

The following address was delivered before the University Club of New York, April 18, 1950, by Doctor Ludwig von Mises:

How Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism

The fundamental dogma of all brands of socialism and communism is that the market economy or capitalism is a system that hurts the vital interests of the immense majority of people for the sole benefit of a small minority of rugged individualists. It condemns the masses to progressing impoverishment. It brings about misery, slavery, oppression, degradation and exploitation of the working men, while it enriches a class of idle and useless parasites.

This doctrine was not the work of Karl Marx. It had been developed long before Marx entered the scene. Its most successful propagators were not the Marxian authors, but such men as Carlyle and Ruskin, the British Fabians, the German professors and the American Institutionalists. And it is a very significant fact that the correctness of this dogma was contested only by a few economists who were very soon silenced and barred from access to the universities, the press, the leadership of political parties and, first of all, public office. Public opinion by and large accepted the condemnation of capitalism without any reservation.

1. Socialism

But, of course, the practical political conclusions which people drew from this dogma were not uniform. One group declared that there is but one way to wipe out these evils, namely to abolish capitalism entirely. They advocate the substitution of public control of the means of production for private control. They aim at the establishment of what is called socialism, communism, planning, or state capitalism. All these terms signify the same thing. No longer should the consumers, by their buying and abstention from buying, determine what should be produced, in what quantity and of what quality. Henceforth a central authority alone should direct all production activities.

2. Interventionism, Allegedly a Middle-of-the-Road Policy

A second group seems to be less radical. They reject socialism no less than capitalism. They recommend a third system, which, as they say, is as far from capitalism as it is from socialism, which as a third system of society’s economic organization, stands midway between the two other systems, and while retaining the advantages of both, avoids the disadvantages inherent in each. This third system is known as the system of interventionism. In the terminology of American politics it is often referred to as the middle-of-the-road policy. What makes this third system popular with many people is the particular way they choose to look upon the problems involved. As they see it, two classes, the capitalists and entrepreneurs on the one hand and the wage earners on the other hand, are arguing about the distribution of the yield of capital and entrepreneurial activities. Both parties are claiming the whole cake for themselves. Now, suggest these mediators, let us make peace by splitting the disputed value equally between the two classes. The State as an impartial arbiter should interfere, and should curb the greed of the capitalists and assign a part of the profits to the working classes. Thus it will be possible to dethrone the moloch capitalism without enthroning the moloch of totalitarian socialism.

Yet this mode of judging the issue is entirely fallacious. The antagonism between capitalism and socialism is not a dispute about the distribution of booty. It is a controversy about which two schemes for society’s economic organization, capitalism or socialism, is conducive to the better attainment of those ends which all people consider as the ultimate aim of activities commonly called economic, viz., the best possible supply of useful commodities and services. Capitalism wants to attain these ends by private enterprise and initiative, subject to the supremacy of the public’s buying and abstention from buying on the market. The socialists want to substitute the unique plan of a central authority for the plans of the various individuals. They want to put in place of what Marx called the “anarchy of production” the exclusive monopoly of the government. The antagonism does not refer to the mode of distributing a fixed amount of amenities. It refers to the mode of producing all those goods which people want to enjoy.

The conflict of the two principles is irreconcilable and does not allow for any compromise. Control is indivisible. Either the consumers’ demand as manifested on the market decides for what purposes and how the factors of production should be employed, or the government takes care of these matters. There is nothing that could mitigate the opposition between these two contradictory principles. They preclude each other. Interventionism is not a golden mean between capitalism and socialism. It is the design of a third system of society’s economic organization and must be appreciated as such.

3. How Interventionism Works

It is not the task of today’s discussion to raise any questions about the merits either of capitalism or of socialism. I am dealing today with interventionism alone. And I do not intend to enter into an arbitrary evaluation of interventionism from any preconceived point of view. My only concern is to show how interventionism works and whether or not it can be considered as a pattern of a permanent system for society’s economic organization.

The interventionists emphasize that they plan to retain private ownership of the means of production, entrepreneurship and market exchange. But, they go on to say, it is peremptory to prevent these capitalist institutions from spreading havoc and unfairly exploiting the majority of people. It is the duty of government to restrain, by orders and prohibitions, the greed of the propertied classes lest their acquisitiveness harm the poorer classes. Unhampered or laissez-faire capitalism is an evil. But in order to eliminate its evils, there is no need to abolish capitalism entirely. It is possible to improve the capitalist system by government interference with the actions of the capitalists and entrepreneurs. Such government regulation and regimentation of business is the only method to keep off totalitarian socialism and to salvage those features of capitalism which are worth preserving.

On the ground of this philosophy, the interventionists advocate a galaxy of various measures. Let us pick out one of them, the very popular scheme of price control.

4. How Price Control Leads to Socialism

The government believes that the price of a definite commodity, e.g., milk, is too high. It wants to make it possible for the poor to give their children more milk. Thus it resorts to a price ceiling and fixes the price of milk at a lower rate than that prevailing on the free market. The result is that the marginal producers of milk, those producing at the highest cost, now incur losses. As no individual farmer or businessman can go on producing at a loss, these marginal producers stop producing and selling milk on the market. They will use their cows and their skill for other more profitable purposes. They will, for example, produce butter, cheese or meat. There will be less milk available for the consumers, not more.

This, or course, is contrary to the intentions of the government. It wanted to make it easier for some people to buy more milk. But, as an outcome of its interference, the supply available drops. The measure proves abortive from the very point of view of the government and the groups it was eager to favor. It brings about a state of affairs, which again, from the point of view of the government, is even less desirable than the previous state of affairs which it was designed to improve.

Now, the government is faced with an alternative. It can abrogate its decree and refrain from any further endeavors to control the price of milk. But if it insists upon its intention to
keep the price of milk below the rate the unhampered market would have determined and wants nonetheless to avoid a drop in the supply of milk, it must try to eliminate the causes
that render the marginal producers’ business unremunerative.

It must add to the first decree concerning only the price of milk a second decree fixing the prices of the factors of production necessary for the production of milk at such a low rate that the marginal producers of milk will no longer suffer losses and will therefore abstain from restricting output. But then the same story repeats itself on a remoter plane. The
supply of the factors of production required for the production of milk drops, and again the government is back where it started. If it does not want to admit defeat and to abstain from any meddling with prices, it must push further and fix the prices of those factors of production which are needed for the production of the factors necessary for the production of milk. Thus the government is forced to go further and further, fixing step by step the prices of all consumers’ goods and of all factors of production, both human, i.e., labor, and material, and to order every entrepreneur and every worker to continue work at these
prices and wages.

No branch of industry can be omitted from this all-round fixing of prices and wages and from this obligation to produce those quantities which the government wants to see produced. If some branches were to be left free out of regard for the fact that they produce only goods qualified as non-vital or even as luxuries, capital and labor would tend to flow into them and the result would be a drop in the supply of those goods, the prices of which government has fixed precisely because it considers them as indispensable for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses. But when this state of all-round control of business is attained, there can no longer be any question of a market economy. No longer do the citizens by their buying and abstention from buying determine what should be produced and how.

The power to decide these matters has devolved upon the government. This is no longer capitalism; it is all-round planning by the government, it is socialism.

Please read the rest of this brief but edifying essay here.



3 comments » | Capitalism, socialism

Lt. Col. Terry Lakin Refuses To Deploy To Afghanistan; Considers Obama “Illegal”; Faces Army Court Martial

April 14th, 2010 — 6:25pm

Decorated Army doctor Lt. Col. Terry Lakin

From NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski and Mark Murray

U.S. military officials tell NBC News that the U.S. Army will court martial a lieutenant colonel who refuses to deploy to Afghanistan because he considers orders from President Obama to be “illegal.”

Army doctor Lt. Col. Terry Lakin believes Obama does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president and commander-in-chief, because he believes (incorrectly) that Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

Lakin refused this week to report to Fort Campbell, KY for deployment to Afghanistan, but instead showed up at the Pentagon, where he was confronted by his brigade Commander Col. Gordon Roberts, a Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient.

Lakin was informed by Roberts that he would face court martial, and his Pentagon building pass and government laptop computer were seized.

(Link)

The real question here, of course, isn’t Obama’s birth certificate. The real question is how can a “British subject at birth” be a natural born citizen of the United States?




19 comments » | Natural Born Citizen

Live Free Or Die In The Show-Me State

April 10th, 2010 — 7:58pm



This giant billboard was posted along I-70 in Lafayette County, Missouri. If you can’t quite make it out, it displays this message: “A Citizens Guide to Revolution of a corrupt government.”

It then displays the following list of actions:

1. Starve the Beast.
2. Vote out incumbents.
3. If steps, 1 & 2 fail?

Prepare for War –Live Free or Die

That billboard replaced a previous one:



According to Think Progress: “It’s unclear who the owner of the billboard is, but the first one was the work of a ‘Missouri businessman.’”

Radical?

Maybe, maybe.

And yet in any society — and perhaps America most especially — you can restrict freedom only so much before people will naturally revolt, as people naturally should.

Freedom is not “granted” by bureaucrats. Freedom is a birthright — to every single human being.



4 comments » | America, Revolution

The Green Jobs Racket Exposed (Again)

April 8th, 2010 — 8:16pm

Here’s an economic axiom which we’ve discussed here before, but which in this day and age is always worth repeating:

If something is economically tenable, it never ever needs to be subsidized.

The latest concretization of this fact comes from none other than the state-run Associated Press:

After a year of crippling delays, President Barack Obama’s $5 billion program to install weather-tight windows and doors has retrofitted a fraction of homes and created far fewer construction jobs than expected.

In Indiana, state-trained workers flubbed insulation jobs. In Alaska, Wyoming and the District of Columbia, the program has yet to produce a single job or retrofit one home. And in California, a state with nearly 37 million residents, the program at last count had created 84 jobs…

…”This is the beginning of the next industrial revolution with the explosion of clean energy investments,” said assistant U.S. Energy Secretary Cathy Zoi. “These are good jobs that are here to stay.”

But after a year, the stimulus program has retrofitted 30,250 homes — about 5 percent of the overall goal — and fallen well short of the 87,000 jobs that the department planned, according to the latest available figures.

As the Obama administration promotes a second home energy-savings program — a $6 billion rebate plan — some experts are asking whether that will pay off for homeowners or for the planet.

(Link)

For more on the inherently toxic nature of environmentalism, please read this.



4 comments » | economics, energy, environmentalism

An Easy Way To Prove That Healthcare is NOT A Right

April 6th, 2010 — 7:40pm



Dr. Jack Cassell is a urologist in Florida. Just recently, he put the following notice on his Mount Dora practice:

“If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”

Cassell told reporters that he wasn’t refusing care to patients; he wanted only to educate them on how the new healthcare takeover would affect them:

I came across the timeline for implementation of Obamacare and I got a little discouraged when I got to next year when I found that most of the ancillary services and nursing homes and diagnostic imaging, all these things start to fade away,” he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. “And I felt that my patients really need to know about this. And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got until I finally felt like I’m going to put a little splash page on my front door and just get people thinking a little bit.

As it turns out, Doctor Cassell — and I applaud you for your efforts and think that every doctor in the country should go on strike right now, this very moment, to show that their lives and their labor are their own and do not in any belong to the state or to other people — there’s a painfully simple way to demonstrate how and why urologic care, like all healthcare, is not a right:

Rights by definition are immutable and timeless. They apply as much to humans now — and for the same reasons — as they did to humans five or ten thousand years ago. If healthcare is a right, then, where was your right to a heart transplant 200 years ago?

Where is your right to be completely cured of cancer today?

Where is your right to kidney dialysis if there are no kidney dialysis machines?

Where is your right to medical care if there are no doctors anywhere near you because young people are no longer studying the science of medicine, since to be a doctor means to be a slave to the state?



23 comments » | Healthcare, socialism

Easter And Its Origins

April 3rd, 2010 — 7:05pm

A reader writes:

Dear Sir: Why do rabbits and eggs represent Easter, which also celebrates the resurrection of Christ?

– Peter

Dear Peter: Easter primarily represents the advent of springtime, just as Christ’s resurrection does. The Old-English word Eastre derives from an Anglo-Saxon Pagan goddess named Eostre, about whom very little is known. What we do know about her comes to us from the Benedictine monk Bede (672-735), also sometimes referred to as the Father of English History.

In Bede’s On the Reckoning of Time, he mentions a goddess named Eostre, and he tells us that the Anglo-Saxons had at one time worshiped this goddess during the spring equinox.

Apart from Bede, no other reference to Eostre exists. Indeed, even in Bede’s time, she had long since faded away. The fact, however, that Eostre was worshiped during the spring equinox does suggest something significant:

Quoting the genius Catholic priest-poet Gerard Hopkins:

What is spring?
Growth in everything.

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle-blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod and sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathizing
With that world of good,
Nature’s motherhood.

(Gerard Manly Hopkins, “May Magnificat”)

As you of all people would know, Peter, rabbits and hares are notorious breeders, and no doubt you are familiar with the saying “to fuck like bunnies.” This venerable expression comes (so to say) because lagomorphs mature sexually at very young ages; they are also capable of superfetation, which means they can conceive a second time while still pregnant, and thus they are able to give birth to two litters. This actually happens many times throughout the year, although spring seems to make these little girls and guys particularly crazy. The females are extraordinarily fertile, and that is eggsactly why they symbolize springtime.

Rabbits and hares represent breeding and birth. Eggs also have obvious fertility-birth-and-blood connotations, and for this reason, they have represented fertility and spring since the dawn of humankind.

Do rabbits produce eggs? No. The good lady Eostre did, however, once save a freezing bird at the end of winter, by turning this bird into a hare, which hare because it had once been a bird could then lay eggs, whereas I can only suck them, as you can see.

Dying Easter eggs and the source of this eggsellent tradition is a bit of a mystery, though the Ancient Greeks did color eggs green (to symbolize new grass) and red (to symbolize blood).

Birth. Blood. Death. Winter. Resurrection. Rebirth. Spring. Life.

“There is nothing greater than life,” said Voltaire.

That is what Easter is about.

The early Christians understood this. So they kept many of the Pagan symbols of spring; they absorbed them, as it were, in part, perhaps, because these symbols are so primal and so beautiful.

It is, after all, a beautiful world we live in.

Happy Easter, Peter.

5 comments » | Easter

Waitress

April 1st, 2010 — 6:49pm

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air (Thomas Gray “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”).

She works in a diner called the Desert Rose on the northwestern edge of Colorado, near the Utah border. The diner is small and undistinguished, clean and lit up in an American wasteland. Triangles of cherry sit bleeding in the pie case and honey-yellow flypaper spirals back and forth above the cash register. She grew up in a mountain town, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes with all the other small-town girls and boys. She began working when she was in the 11th grade, and she’s not stopped working since. Waiting tables is what she’s done for most of her life. She graduated high school but never matriculated. After school, she drifted; where she lives now is not where she grew up.

By age thirty, she’d already buried two husbands, both miners, one killed in a car crash. No longer young, she is not yet old, and she is pretty still. She’s single. She has two teenage children who love her. She smokes mentholated cigarettes and rents an apartment too small for three, but it’s what she can afford.

There have been other jobs – night auditor, bankteller, housecleaner – but waitressing is the one she always comes back to. There are no special skills in her repertoire, no trade. She’s reasonably well-read, her mind is of a naturally speculative cast. At twilight she invariably feels a sense of sadness creep over her.

Fifty feet behind the Desert Rose, a cluster of cottonwoods grows along the banks of a sloppy canal. They are ancient and massive trees. Wind moves sluggishly through their dusty boughs. Moonlike globes of cotton orbit the bodies of the trees and fall soundlessly into the molecular green water. Sparse grass grows along the desert floor, and the desert stretches off into an intricate horizon. At the end of her shift, she likes to stand at the back porch of the café and listen to the wind sifting softly through the grass. Pretty blue flowers grow among the stalks, and she feels them wasting their sweetness on the desert air. The bone-colored moon rises in the east and fills a small quadrant of the sky, suffusing the clouds with its yellow and sulfurous light.



1 comment » | America, Capitalism

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