Friday, September 09, 2016

What Really Creates a Peaceful, Orderly, and Prosperous Society?

The idea that genuine self-government—the system in which individuals contract for the type of governance they prefer—must fail because under such a system no one can make others obey the rules is stunningly misconceived. On any given day, even in a world pervaded by states and their dictates, nearly everything that people do or refrain from doing is so not because the state threatens them with violence for acting otherwise, but because they find conformity with rules—honesty, promise keeping, careful handling of goods, avoidance of opportunism, working hard and responsibly, refraining from shirking and malingering, and so forth—to be in their interest. The world does not run on the state’s threats of violence; it runs in spite of those threats. Notwithstanding the supercilious declaration that “you didn’t build that,” you actually did, and not because the state threatened to hurt you if you didn’t.

Many sanctions besides violence and threats of violence may be—and are even in the world in which we now live—effective incentives for adherence to law and order. Ostracization of dishonest dealers, for example, works wonders, and in the world of modern communications it can be more effective than ever. Many people conduct their affairs honorably and fairly in order to preserve an upstanding reputation and thereby to retain beneficial commercial and personal relations. Many people subscribe to religious or other moral codes that regulate their conduct and direct it into decent and productive channels. The state’s contribution to creating a successful world is, as a rule, to stand in the way and, all too often, to punish those who are trying to serve their fellow human beings in free markets and other peaceful, cooperative arrangements.

States don’t make our world peaceful, cooperative, and productive—to the extent that it is so. Insofar as the world works successfully, it does so in spite of the state’s characteristic bloodthirst, oppression, and plunder, not because of it. Upon real reflection, the puzzle is that anyone believes that the relationship is the other way around. People who think, work, create, invest, plan, and carry out productive projects make the world work. People who collect taxes, create mountains of unnecessary regulations, threatening violence against those who fail to comply with them, and devote vast amounts of extorted resources to wreaking senseless death and destruction at home and abroad also make the world work—but much, much for the worse.

So, to the extent that the state is necessary to make people obey the rules, chances are that the rules to which it compels obedience ought never to have been made in the first place. But don’t take my word for it: open up the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, and the corresponding legal documents for any of the state, county, and city governments in the USA and see for yourself. If you conclude that all of this legal outrage and the police who enforce it make economic or moral sense, you may be a unique person, indeed.



Strange liberals


Post Detroit, the Press Will Redouble Their Attack on Trump as Racist


Fifty years ago exactly I spent my summer as a civil rights worker in South Carolina. I am proud of my participation, but I did one thing for which I am ashamed. I was reminded of it by Donald Trump's visit to the African-American church in Detroit Saturday when he recalled that Republicans were the party of Lincoln.

One of my tasks back then was voter registration. We would go to the cotton fields and drive black field workers to the registrar's office. Most of those workers were illiterate and I would sign for them as witness just below where they put their X.

I would also -- and here's the act for which I am ashamed -- uniformly register the field workers in the Democratic Party. In my snot-nosed, Ivy League arrogance, I thought I was doing the right thing -- for them.

My world view then was similar to the one dominating the mainstream media to this day -- though few of these journalists, to my knowledge, actually participated in the civil rights movement. Nevertheless, they came to identify with us, fighting second hand what they thought was the good fight.

But for the last fifty years that's about all they did, identify with a cause without paying any attention to the results of the policies they and the Democratic Party espoused. It was a feel-good enterprise by the press and a perpetual voter power grab by the Democrats.  We all know what the results have been for African-Americans, the inevitable fruits of one-party rule as seen today in Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago, among so many other places.

Besides the fact that what I did taking it upon myself to register those field workers as Democrats was probably illegal, or should have been, I was helping, in my tiny way, create that situation we live in today. This is a situation that is rapidly becoming intolerable.

That is why Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans is the most significant action of the 2016 campaign so far, especially for its potential longterm implications for our culture.

The liberal media and their academic and entertainment industry allies know this and for that reason they will redouble their efforts to portray Trump as a racist.  This is not just to defend the pathological liar Hillary--can you imagine the moral cartwheels necessary to support Clinton at this point?--but to defend themselves, to justify the way they have been living their lives for decades, all the "progressive" pronouncements covering up the most comfortable of bourgeois lifestyles, as far from the inner city as Mars.

Donald Trump Should Go for the Black Vote—NOW!
The intention of the Founders was for the Fourth Estate to be the people's watch dogs on our rulers; instead they have increasingly become  the willing collaborators and enablers of elites, particularly of important Democratic politicians. Hillary Clinton's house boy Sidney Blumenthal, who began as a journalist, is the prototype, the selfish man masquerading as the "liberal" man, personified. (Perhaps we need a new Biblical injunction: "By your emails shall we know ye.")

Donald Trump has put them "up against the wall," especially by receiving a standing ovation in, of all places, a black church. My how the journos must hate him now.

I have seen this enmity personally, riding the Trump press plane on a couple of occasions. I have also noticed how the press almost never talked to the thousands of Trump supporters at the several rallies I have attended, as if these people were members of some untouchable class secretly migrated from the sub-continent. Actually, these "untouchables" were remarkably decent and open-hearted people if you bothered to communicate with them, some of the nicest I have ever met. I never heard a racist word from any of them. They were also unfailingly polite.  You wouldn't know it from the reportage, but Trump rallies have been among the most peaceful crowds I have ever been in.

Now that Trump has broken the code and actually solicited the African-American vote, going personally to Detroit with more such visits to come, it's important for all of us to support him against the coming media onslaught, especially if we care about our African-American brothers and sisters. The members of that community willing to welcome Donald are some of the bravest people in our country, just as some black conservatives are the most valuable and insightful of our pundit class.

I will conclude with a special nod to Dr. Ben Carson, whose presence on the campaign trail has turned the neurosurgeon into the moral voice of our country. Bravo!



Six Years After Obamacare, 11 Percent Remain Uninsured

Six years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, into law, nearly 11 percent of Americans remain without health insurance.

According to a new Gallup poll, 10.8 Americans are still living without health insurance in 2016, more than half a decade after the president’s health-insurance-for-all program was passed and two years after the law’s individual mandate went into effect. Gallup notes the vast majority of the still-uninsured are minorities, young adults and low-income Americans.

The U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2010, the percentage of people without health insurance was 16.3 percent. The percentage of people without health insurance in 2008 – two years before Obamacare was passed – was about 14.8 percent.

Additionally, 15.5 percent of respondents to the poll said that they had lacked the ability to pay for their health insurance or necessary medications at some point in 2016, a drop of only three percent since Gallup asked the same question in 2010. The polling group notes:

Even though fewer Americans are struggling to afford healthcare, other Gallup trends suggest that the Affordable Care Act may not be meeting its goal of reducing healthcare costs...

Gallup also previously reported that since the individual mandate took effect, there has been a rise in the percentage of U.S. adults paying for all or some of their health insurance premiums who say that their premiums have gone up "a lot" over the past year.
Gallup also recently found the number of Americans who say they're "satisfied" with the quality of their health care has dropped five percentage points since 2010.

President Obama touted Obamacare as a federal program that would ensure each and every American had health insurance, especially those who could not previously afford it. But the data shows Obama’s costly health insurance law – which has been plagued with a botched multi-million-dollar rollout, pricey penalties, costly legal battles, underestimated Medicaid expenses, ever-rising insurance premiums, deceptive marketplace costs and devastating financial impacts on some of the nation’s largest insurers – has so far failed to cut the number of Americans without health insurance in half in six years.

But it’s still the greatest federal program in the history of ever, because President Obama says so.



U.S. Military Spending Doesn’t Add Up

The Pentagon’s accounting system has long been held in low regard. In 2013, revelations surfaced that for several years the Department of Defense had falsified its books. More recently, in June 2016, the U.S. Army’s ledgers were discovered to have been “cooked”—by a whopping $6.5 trillion in a single year. Aside from intentional malfeasance and professional incompetence, at least two fundamental factors have driven the accounting scandals, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland. One is the enormous size of military budgets—a size far greater than what’s actually needed for defense.

The United States accounts for 37 percent of global defense spending, despite its having geographic advantages (such as two huge oceans and two weak neighbors) that make the nation intrinsically secure. While 9/11 proved that terrorism can pose a deadlier threat to the American homeland than most had previously believed, terrorist attacks are usually blowback in response to U.S. intervention overseas.

While defense policy is one cause of large and therefore more scandal-prone military budgets, another driver is the permissive attitude of certain politicians—namely, those who think that their advocacy of more defense spending will make them more appealing to voters than their election-year rivals. How might we stop these two drivers of fiscal recklessness? Eland calls for voters to advocate a complete restructuring of U.S. defense, such as “by transferring most of [the U.S. army’s] heavy armored and mechanized divisions into the cheaper National Guard,” Eland writes. “This would make it harder for politicians to get the country involved in overseas quagmires on the ground, but still provide a potent land force capability to mobilize in case a legitimate security emergency arises.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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