Monday, August 20, 2012

Is libertarianism an infantile disorder?

In the excerpt below the very level-headed Mark Krikorian says it is:
I think libertarianism is an infantile disorder, an "ideology" in the worst, anti-Burkean sense of the word. That is not to say that many Americans who call themselves "libertarians" share that disorder — I think the appeal of the label comes from the Republican Party's pathetic big-government record over the past couple of decades. Despite the many patriotic Americans who call themselves "libertarians" as a kind of protest, the ideology of libertarianISM is a post-American creed that rejects national borders and nationhood itself.

Krikorian is of course alluding to "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder", a book by V.I. Lenin in which Lenin criticizes the more idealistic and less practical Communists of his day.

I am inclined to agree with Krikorian. The level of hate and fanaticism that I regularly read in libertarian publications can sometimes be quite nauseating. Ideas of moderation and compromise are a rarity. As I myself am very much a minimum government conservative I find a lot of libertarian analyses helpful so I will not go on a rampage of finger-pointing and naming names but some of the writers on Lew Rockwell's site (for instance) regularly sound distinctly unpleasant to me. Take this article by Karen de Coster for instance. It absolutely drips hate and dogmatism. She is admittedly an extreme food fanatic as much as she is a libertarian but that seems to pass muster among at least some libertarians. Their very Leftist contempt for the society they live in makes them disrespectful of scientific caution so food and health fads seem to flourish among them.

I will not go on but those who read much libertarian literature will know well why libertarians are and will remain a tiny minority in politics. Which is all the more a pity because a more moderate presentation might help in the great struggle against government and for the individual that is afoot in America today

An important caveat, however, is that there are as many versions of libertarianism as there are libertarians and there are a minority of libertarians who manage to keep their feet on the ground. There are, for instance, some libertarians who oppose unrestricted immigration, though that is far from the majority position among libertarians.


Obama’s ‘Success Story’ Headed for Bankruptcy

Obama failed to let General Motors go through normal bankruptcy reorganization in order to give 17% of the stock of a new GM corporation to the union thereby screwing the secured creditors (old-lady bondholders) out of their life savings. As under his tutelage the company’s market share has gone from 47% of the cars sold in America to 18% and the market price of the stock is only 25% of the taxpayer money he has invested in rescuing it why should he be allowed in the building? He needs to be sent packing along with his central planning big government nonsense

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s signature definition of “success” is the government bailout of General Motors. “I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” he told an audience in Pueblo, CO last week. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” That pronouncement should send a shiver up the spine of every American, due to an inconvenient reality: according to Forbes Magazine, GM is likely headed for bankruptcy all over again.

The numbers are stark. The 500,000 shares of GM stock (comprising 26 percent of the company owned by the government–or more accurately the American taxpayer) sold for $20.21 on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock representing an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion. Even worse, in order to reach the break-even point, the stock would have to sell for around $53 per share.

The numbers remain in flux. As Investors Business Daily reveals, the Treasury Department continues “to revise upward the staggering losses inflicted on U.S. taxpayers.” They further note that the same day GM announced it was recalling 38,000 Impalas used by police in both America and Canada, due to a possible crash risk, a new Treasury report forecast that losses for GM were expected to reach $25 billion, which is $3.3 billion more than predicted earlier. Furthermore, since that report was based on GM’s stock price at the time of the report–15 percent higher than it is currently–those losses are likely understated....

A report by the Heritage Foundation paints a devastating picture of how politicized the bailout of GM truly was. Heritage notes that even if one accepts president Obama’s premise that the bailout out GM was necessary to prevent massive job losses,



Obama's Verbal Kindergarten

Shawn Mitchell

The president displayed his customary grace this week when he accused Team Romney-Ryan of pedaling "trickle-down fairy dust." It’s gratifying the president realizes he faces a serious economic and philosophical challenge, one that calls for vintage, anti-Reagan artillery. But, strictly speaking, the taunt he threw has always been an incoherent mess.

“Trickle down economics”--what does it mean? That if we don't tax the snot out of the rich, maybe they'll pour some spare pennies down on the heads of the poor? Nonsense. Beyond achieving a miserly-sounding sneer, the pairing is exactly wrong in at least three different ways.

First, in the ordinary course of things, the wealthy don’t actually trickle anything down on anyone. They pay for things they need and want, with whatever effects that produces in the economy. What progressives seem to prefer is a system to wring the rich like a wet towel and politically drizzle the money on the needy -—what’s left anyway after government waters its favored causes and cronies.

That's the ostensible approach of the shake-down state economies of the Euro-moribund zone and of the great Peron-Castro-Chavez banana tradition of strongmen gaining power, neutralizing competing power centers--like checks and balances—asserting economic control, and chocando the fortunes and freedom of rising Latin powers. (“Chocar” doesn’t mean “to choke” but close enough).

That turns out to be the real “trickle down”: extract lots of money from the rich, feed it through the digestive tract of government and its many corrupt parasites and dribble what’s left on the heads of the grateful, dependent poor, thus securing their suicidal votes.

Come to think, “trickle down economics” also reasonably describes the redistributive obsession and promises President Obama has powerfully and empirically debunked in an exhaustive four year field study. Bravo, Mr. President!

Second, what liberals call “trickle down” is just good ole’ “supply side" or “free market” economics. It means human freedom in commercial activity. Get out of the way of people’s pursuit of happiness and gainful labor, so free exchange and economic growth can build prosperity. Investors, entrepreneurs, managers, and workers build enterprises that hire employees to market goods and services. Opportunity spreads out from there.

Third, interestingly, if any vertical-spatial metaphor makes sense here, it’s not “down,” but “up.” “Trickle up economics” describes free enterprise far better than “trickle down.” The way to build wealth in a free economy is to satisfy the market, as in consumers. That is, to get rich you have to offer goods or services for which A) people are willing to pay you; B) a price higher than your cost of providing; and C) in sufficient quantity that profits proliferate. And your offer has to be more attractive than your competitors’.

If people get wealthy in a free economy, it's because the wealth trickles up as a result of others’ free choices pursuing their own benefit. All the related suppliers, employees, contractors and others also gain from the same flowing currents of wealth generation. Apart from charitable giving--a different subject--the rich don’t pour or trickle anything down on less fortunate heads; rather the middle and working classes earn income in the streams that trickle up toward success.

Ever since this silly insult first trickled harmlessly off Ronald Reagan’s Teflon, its logic has been amiss.

But when you hear it, be charitable. The speaker probably also has difficulty navigating “effect” and “affect”, and “your” and “you’re.” He’s literally a verbal kindergartner--figuratively speaking.



Adherence to the Constitution as a working definition of conservatism

In last week’s column I noted several specific examples of how the term “conservative” has been bastardized to mean standing for nothing other than not being a Democrat. Given what we’re seeing from Republican “leadership” on Capitol Hill, if every Republican is a conservative then nobody is.

This week I propose a remedy to the Republican Party establishment’s attempt to co-opt the term “conservative” and replace it with more Mitch McConnellesque milquetoast. That remedy will require a defined standard.

That defined standard should be the U.S. Constitution.

The best way to stop your movement from being co-opted is to adhere to a defined objective standard that holds everyone equally accountable. Anybody can call himself a “Conservative” just by killing one less unborn baby or stealing one less dollar from the taxpayers than the statists desire. But not everybody can call themselves a “Constitutionalist.” Either what you’re for or what you’re doing is in the Constitution or it is not. Last I checked, the Constitution does not include a “good ideas” provision or a “good intentions” clause.

The temptation of conservatism is to become a culture club, where a bunch of folks get together to self-righteously congratulate each other that they’re not as bad as the worst people in America. Conservativism settles for “anybody but Obama” in the White House, leaving the statist infrastructure the Left has hardwired into the culture largely in place, but with the promise to manage it better than the Leftist-Progressives will. Instead of stopping evil because it’s wrong, conservatism has sadly become “let’s just manage the decay because too much of it is icky.”

On the other hand, a “Constitutionalist” understands we also need “somebody that will repeal and nullify Obama” (or most of George W. Bush for that matter) in the White House. A Constitutionalist understands that defeating Democrats may be a key step, but it is just a step nonetheless. The real victory comes in determining public policy after your guys win the election, not just being content with your guys winning the election. Leaving in place the Left’s infrastructure means the election does little than give you a warm fuzzy that your team won. See how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have essentially nullified the 2010 election results if you need more evidence.

A “Conservative” thinks the battle is won and lost in November. A “Constitutionalist” realizes the battle only begins in November. The real war comes in January regardless of who’s in power.

Since conservativism is no longer defined by objective moral absolutes, Republicans are now using the term “Conservative” as an excuse to measure themselves against the enemies of the Republic. But the term “Constitutionalist” brings with it an objective moral standard that compels them to raise their standard up to the Founding Fathers instead. We need a mechanism by which we have a standard to hold our elected officials accountable to something higher than “don’t destroy the country as quickly as the Democrats will.”

For example, President Obama claims to be a Christian, but everything he believes is in direct conflict with historic Christian orthodoxy, which is defined by the Bible as well as over 2,000 years of church tradition. That’s why scores of Christians who share those convictions doubt his Christianity. After all, you know a tree by its fruit.

Obama (or any mere mortal for that matter) does not get to subjectively define Christianity to suit his own agenda. Instead, Christianity is defined by an objective standard that defines who is actually a Christian. Without knowing what goes on in his private life, there is absolutely zero public evidence that Obama adheres to any semblance of Christian orthodoxy. Therefore, based on what we know publicly, regardless of what he claims there is no fruit to justify his public profession of being a Christian. The pastor he tutored under doesn’t preach Christian orthodoxy. He consistently governs contrary to Christian orthodoxy, to the point of being openly hostile to it. He associates with and advances the ambitions of those hostile to Christian orthodoxy. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well, you know the rest.

Similarly, patriots need a defined standard to hold everyone equally accountable to. What better device to use than the U.S. Constitution itself? Every official already swears an oath of office before God to uphold and defend it. It is the governing document of these United States. It’s also readily available and accepted by many across the country as the standard. All we have to do now is enforce it.

A recent interview Justice Antonin Scalia gave to Fox News illustrates exactly why this transition is necessary. Scalia could very well be the most “Conservative” justice we have on the Supreme Court, and could also be among the best “Conservative” justices we’ve had since the Progressives took over the law schools. But some of the answers he gave on Fox News weren’t “Constitutionalist.”

For example, Scalia was asked about his judicial philosophy. He talked about looking at the original meaning of the text to determine what its author meant it to say. That is certainly more “conservative” than Justice Stephen Breyer’s stated philosophy, which is essentially to say, “I am God and can make the text say whatever I want it to say, or just make up the law as I go along.”

Scalia gave a more “conservative” answer than Breyer did for sure. But Scalia never told us why he accepts the authority of the original meaning of the Constitution in interpreting the law. If we don’t offer reasons why to accept the Constitution’s actual words as the law of the land, then we have no defense against the Breyer’s of the world that reject its authority outright.

A “Constitutionalist” would’ve told Fox News, “I seek to interpret the Constitution through its original meaning because it is the law of the land that my fellow justices and I swore an oath of office before the Creator of the Universe to defend and uphold. It was written with the ‘Laws of Nature and Nature’s God’ in mind, which is the highest law. My title is judge, not God. I don’t get to change the objective standard of the Constitution to mean what I want it to mean anymore than I can change the objective law of gravity to suit my desire to fly. The Constitution says what it says regardless of each individual’s agenda, just as gravity exists regardless of your wish to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The worst Supreme Court decisions in American history have been the direct result of judges who thought they were de facto gods, and not accountable to anything higher than themselves.

“I believe our rights come from God and my job is to protect those God-given rights. Justice Breyer and his ilk believe government is all-powerful, and what government can grant it can also take away. We’ve rejected our Founders and have been conducting civilization their way for 50 years. How’s that working out for us? We’re broke across the board—morally and fiscally.”

Later in the interview, Chris Wallace asks if the Constitution’s original meaning allows for any limits on the Second Amendment given the advances in technology that make weapons more dangerous than Colonial-era muskets accessible today, to which Scalia responded “we’ll see.” If Scalia accepts the plain language of the Constitution and its Founders, what’s there to see?

What a Constitutionalist would’ve told Wallace is, “Chris, how would you like it if I decided that since there’s technology today that allows for a freedom of speech and freedom of the press our Founders would’ve never anticipated, that government can therefore limit what you say, who you say it to, and how often you get to say it? Our Founders never envisioned the Internet or 24-hour news networks. Because of the new technology, perhaps we should apply the premise of your question first to the First Amendment before moving on to the Second? How would you like that, Chris?”

Conserving the Left’s agenda is no longer an option. Time is running out on these United States. We need to articulate an agenda that will undo the damage done to this republic, and sprinkling a few free market reforms into the welfare state won’t cut it. This is no longer a debate between putting the pedal to the medal on the Highway to Hell and casually driving Miss Daisy down it instead.

We need to define an agenda that reverses the statist collision course we’re currently on. Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not simply return to the one that gave birth to the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of Creation?


There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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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)


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