Thursday, April 02, 2009

Our Problem is Immorality

by Walter E. Williams

Most of our nation's great problems, including our economic problems, have as their root decaying moral values. Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral people left with little more than the pretense of morality. You say, "That's a pretty heavy charge, Williams. You'd better be prepared to back it up with evidence!" I'll try with a few questions for you to answer

Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to being so used, do you believe that there should be the initiation of some kind of force against him? Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no. For me the answer is no to both questions but I bet that your average college professor, politician or minister would not give a simple yes or no response. They would be evasive and probably say that it all depends.

In thinking about questions of morality, my initial premise is that I am my private property and you are your private property. That's simple. What's complex is what percentage of me belongs to someone else. If we accept the idea of self-ownership, then certain acts are readily revealed as moral or immoral. Acts such as rape and murder are immoral because they violate one's private property rights. Theft of the physical things that we own, such as cars, jewelry and money, also violates our ownership rights.

The reason why your college professor, politician or minister cannot give a simple yes or no answer to the question of whether one person should be used to serve the purposes of another is because they are sly enough to know that either answer would be troublesome for their agenda. A yes answer would put them firmly in the position of supporting some of mankind's most horrible injustices such as slavery. After all, what is slavery but the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another? A no answer would put them on the spot as well because that would mean they would have to come out against taking the earnings of one American to give to another in the forms of farm and business handouts, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and thousands of similar programs that account for more than two-thirds of the federal budget. There is neither moral justification nor constitutional authority for what amounts to legalized theft. This is not an argument against paying taxes. We all have a moral obligation to pay our share of the constitutionally mandated and enumerated functions of the federal government.

Unfortunately, there is no way out of our immoral quagmire. The reason is that now that the U.S. Congress has established the principle that one American has a right to live at the expense of another American, it no longer pays to be moral. People who choose to be moral and refuse congressional handouts will find themselves losers. They'll be paying higher and higher taxes to support increasing numbers of those paying lower and lower taxes. As it stands now, close to 50 percent of income earners have no federal income tax liability and as such, what do they care about rising income taxes? In other words, once legalized theft begins, it becomes too costly to remain moral and self-sufficient. You might as well join in the looting, including the current looting in the name of stimulating the economy.

I am all too afraid that a historian, a hundred years from now, will footnote America as a historical curiosity where people once enjoyed private property rights and limited government but it all returned to mankind's normal state of affairs -- arbitrary abuse and control by the powerful elite.



The Rise of ObamaCorps

As ALG News mentioned last week, Rep. Virginia Foxx's (R-NC) amendment banning so-called “volunteer” organizations from using taxpayer funds to political purposes was stripped from its parent bill in the Senate, and replaced by an amendment allowing those organizations to skirt the law and continue lobbying. This week, the House will approve the Senate version, and President Obama will no doubt sign it shortly thereafter.

The battle to kill this bill in Congress is very likely over. Unless the Blue Dogs can muster enough support to halt Speaker Pelosi's march to madness, the American taxpayer will have to pony up another $5 billion for paid “volunteers” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) to politically-oriented organizations, the aims of many of which they will invariably oppose.

So when groups like ACORN and the DNC come knocking at the government's door for taxpayer funds and “volunteers,” the only thing standing in their way will be a hollow “promise” to not use them for partisan purposes. Of course, strictly speaking, they can get around that by using the volunteers and funding to create and manage the 'non-partisan' infrastructure, thus enabling them to shift more non-government dollars into lobbying and partisan efforts. It's called “fungibility.” And the “volunteer” front groups know how to use it well.

In essence, a new army has been created—a civilian army, ready to do the will of those organizations that have the political shrewdness to hire them. By creating this massive influx of government-managed, taxpayer-funded positions, President Obama will enable any group (with the proper connections, of course) to access this talent pool and influence Washington—all at taxpayer expense.



BrookesNews Update

Dark clouds hover over US economy: Let us be clear, the Dow rally is not squaring Obama's economic circle. His policy of big government is - at best - guaranteed to retard economic growth. The bigger the government the more resources it commands and the more resources it commands the fewer resources there are for capital accumulation. Then there is the Fed's utterly reckless monetary policy that has created an inflationary time bomb
The economy tanks as politicians look the wrong way: Rudd, like Obama, is following in the destructive footsteps of Gordon Brown. Australia, the UK and the US are being led by economic and historical illiterates, men who are criminally ignorant of how free economies functions and the forces that destabilise them. Unfortunately our media commentators are every bit as bad
Israeli soldiers speak out against the slanders : To combat the many slanders and libels that are being perpetrated against them Israeli soldiers are now speaking up. They are highlighting their personal accounts of the IDF's moral code and their own combat experiences. Needless to say, this would not be necessary were it not for a corrupt media
The Fed created the bubble and Greenspan should admit it: A bubble cannot emerge without a loosening of monetary policy, which means it cannot occur without money pumping by the Fed. Hence, what matters for the economic boom, i.e., the emergence of bubbles, is the creation of money out of thin air and not the level of long-term interest rates as Greenspan argued
Will the US economy be able to keep the military strong? :America cannot retain a superpower status without a strong manufacturing base. Unfortunately the Fed's monetary policy has weakened that base, causing some manufacturers to invest overseas rather than in the US. Obama's policies will only worsen the situation
Marx and Keynes and Obama's primitive economics :Obama's primitive economic program and the support it is getting from the media is frightening evidence of just how far economic thinking has regressed. That his economic nostrums had been refuted many times before has been all but forgotten. I fear the consequences of this historical amnesia will be severe
The left's romance with Castro's Cuba: Western leftist intellectuals were greatly inspired by the persecution of intellectuals in Cuba, just as the earlier generation had been by the persecution of intellectuals in Stalin's Soviet Union. Charmed by the notion of a society in which their own talent - as well as their entire being - would be extinguished, they continued the practice of labelling the totalitarian
The coming loss of American sovereignty :The new war on sovereignty started slowly but will be accelerated in the next four years and from all appearances may be a war our country will lose unless the public realizes Obama in just a socialist idealist and not a messiah but one who has been under the tutelage of socialist and mentors



Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will: "In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself."

Sell the Roads!: "Under President Obama's stimulus plan, the government will spend billions of your dollars building new roads and fixing old ones. They say they'll do it efficiently. I say, bull; government has never before been efficient. It isn't going to start now. Need proof? How about rush hour? Rush hours from hell are not natural phenomena. They're manmade -- more precisely, politician-made. But what if commuting didn't have to be a horrendous experience? What if, for example, someone wanted to add some lanes to a road or build an entirely new road? It's happening. Private road builders are doing it. They built a double-decker underground highway in Paris. A 45-minute trip now takes 10 minutes. Three hundred-fifty cameras watch for traffic delays or accidents. Once the camera detects a problem, a crew rushes to tow the obstacle away so traffic keeps moving. They did a similar thing in California, too, on Highway 91. Instead of building a brand-new road, a private developer added two lanes in the median strip of an existing highway. The beauty of it: Unlike government work, the private highway is all voluntary. No driver or taxpayer was forced to pay for the extra lanes. Drivers can choose to use them or not. Those who want to go faster have to pay a toll -- from a buck fifty to $9 -- depending on traffic. By paying you save time. And for some people, time is money."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)



Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this page, and I was intrigued by the title of this post. I too agree that there is little morality left in America as we know it, but I differ in my indictment of who is to blame. I would think that the reason your college professor would hesitate to give an answer to your question is because they know that a free market needs the use of one person (or population if you look at it from a wide enough angle) for another's chosen purpose or gain. Capitalism and a free market when left to its own devices says that slavery is correct. You might argue that there is no force in the situation we experience today, but I would disagree. If I were to have been born to a family that had no capital, no trade or skill to market, and my parents' parents grew up in the same situation, am I not in some sense forced to choose a job that pays minimum wage. Granted I have the potential to pull myself up by the bootstraps, but sometimes the situation only seems to present one option. The left would argue that those who have been lucky enough to garner capital and/or trade skill sets, owe it to their fellow human beings to form some level of support to assist in bringing those who are less fortunate.
Granted, most of the waste and crap that is handed out today causes more harm than good, but the basic premise is not immoral, it is in fact moral. The care and compassion of our fellow Americans, better yet, human beings is nothing short of moral, and to conflate it with immorality because you would have to part with the sustenance of your greed is what is immoral.

Robert said...

Slavery is anathema to capitalism. If someone is born into a family with no capital, no trade, and no skill to market, the individual still has the choice to develop a marketable skill to gain a better line of work. Countless immigrants have done just that in the U.S. under capitalism, even as compromised as capitalism has become recently under government intervention and interference. The individual's labor (which is his property) is his to trade in any mutually agreed trade. And he can search for the best deal he can find before agreeing to one. No free market needs the forced use of one person for another's chosen purpose or gain. When one person employs another, the employer exchanges money for the other person's labor in a mutually agreed trade.

As for those who have been more fortunate helping the less fortunate, that is properly up to the more fortunate individuals. One of the more fortunate individuals may do so for any number of reasons, both economic and non-economic. I listened to a tape over the weekend of a market analyst who related his tale of when he walked into a McDonalds in a bad part of Brazil, and found himself in a same place as about eight or nine teenage gang members. He could see life had been hard on them, they were hungry, and if they meant ill, he wasn't going to out-knife, out-gun, or out-anything them. He bought them all a meal and sat down with them to eat. He could see the hardness leave their faces, and they asked him about what life was like in America, and he told them. His acts of kindness were remembered and paid dividends in many forms. He could walk down any street in Brazil, and if there was someone who would normally mean trouble, another who knew the analyst would tell the other about his kindness and avert trouble. Those who knew him would wave to him as he went by. He could park his nice car on the streets, and it would remain undamaged. He even got tipped off to go a different direction to avoid a big problem. The kids recognized this analyst's acts of kindness as genuine, from the heart, reflecting his own character. In contrast, if assistance to the less fortunate is instead coerced by the state, all that is taken away - the giver is then only doing so because he is forced to, and the recipients know it, too. That's why it's harmful and immoral for the government to get involved in redistributing wealth.