Sunday, January 30, 2011

Random Thoughts on Liberty...

You cannot legislate sunshine and happiness.

Politicians are good at making politically beneficial decisions. They aren't good at making economically or morally principled decisions. That's why politicians should have limited power to make decisions that affect the rest of us.

The world would make more sense, and we'd all be much happier, if the politicians were kept in confinement and only allowed out for one hour per day.

Ignore the whole Democrat vs. Republican thing. It's nothing more than a carnival show meant to entertain and distract you.

If you rule other people, then you also bear responsibility for their happiness.

Any meaningful discussion about immigration requires a discussion about welfare. A meaningful discussion about welfare requires a discussion about all forms of welfare. And any meaningful discussion about all the forms of welfare in America must include a discussion about the nature and proper role of government.

The main qualification of the politician is his skill at winning a popularity contest. Should Miss Congeniality be in charge of justice, progress, and the distribution of wealth?

The biggest problem with government is that it primarily benefits the rich. Best to let the rich fend for themselves.

One of the laws of the universe, as unavoidable as gravity or conservation of mass, is that there are only two things you can do with debt: pay it off or write it off. The level of debt is so high and so pervasive in America that it cannot be paid off. The social and political consequences of writing off enough debt to return America to productivity is unprecedented. The ultimate question is whether America will abandon or return to its original principles.

Justice is a goal that all men of good will desire. Should we entrust such an important responsibility to a bunch of politicians?

In order to understand politics, you need to understand economics. Understanding economics requires an understanding of the nature and role of money. The value of money is affected by monetary policy, and monetary policy has everything to do with politics and force.

The rich and the politically well-connected will always be able to steal far more wealth by inflating the money supply and corrupting the political process than the middle class and poor can steal through taxation and redistribution of wealth.

If easy credit and cheap money were the source of prosperity, then we should be singing "Happy Days Are Here Again," not struggling to emerge from the Great Recession.

It's a dangerous situation when workers can select their own bosses, and those bosses have the power to deprive consumers of their liberty and property if they refuse to pay for the services offered.

Government price controls, and other forms of regulation that distort prices, discourage creative and innovative people from solving problems. They favor the status quo and impede progress because they eliminate rewards.

A monopoly can only exist if supported by force. The use of force to achieve economic or social objectives is a good definition of government. Putting the only agent capable of creating and sustaining a monopoly in charge of protecting us from monopolies is a conflict of interest.

The label “conspiracy theorist” is often used to discredit people who question the actions of those in power. Rejecting outright the possibility of a conspiracy is na├»ve, though. The world is filled with conspiracies, and rich and powerful people have since the beginning of history conspired with each other to achieve objectives they believed were beneficial to them and their friends.

Many people claim they want to help other people or do what's best for society, but what they secretly want is control.  Goodwill and coercion are irreconcilable, and even the best intentions will be crushed eventually by power lust.  If your participation in their good works is mandatory, you have good reason to be suspicious of their motives.

Tolerance is essential for freedom. Tolerance, though, is not a politically correct set of beliefs, no matter how popular they may be. Tolerance means I have to tolerate the beliefs and actions of other individuals, even though I disagree with them, so that I can live freely without other people imposing their beliefs or choices on me.

The first three words that come to mind when I think about politicians are liars, crooks, and egomaniacs. I’m not saying that all politicians fit into these categories, but the evidence is overwhelming that all but a handful can be described by some combination of these terms. If I’m correct, then why do we allow these people to control our lives and what, if anything, is the alternative?

I don’t believe it’s the government’s responsibility to teach you that drugs are potentially dangerous, and even if it were, I don’t believe that locking you in a cage with a bunch of criminals is a humane teaching method.

It’s interesting to me that some people believe that ordinary citizens are not responsible enough to keep and bear arms, that only the police and military should be armed. These same folks often fervently believe that the citizenry is responsible enough to select representatives that control nuclear weapons, aircraft carrier battle groups, drone squadrons, laser guided bombs, tanks armed with spent uranium projectiles, and a global military empire that dwarfs the military force of every other nation on the planet. Makes perfect sense!

It's important to choose the right tool for the job. Politics is the wrong tool for solving moral or economic problems.

Never underestimate man’s capacity to fuck things up.

The government a dangerous way to start a sentence.  Government can't do anything. Government is an abstract concept. Only people can do things. If you use that as your starting point, then the logical questions that follow include: Which people? How many people? How should they be organized? What powers should they be given? What resources will they need? How will we know if they’re doing a good job? If they do a good job, how should they be rewarded? If they do a bad job, can we stop or redirect them to prevent them from doing more harm? The more established government becomes, the harder it is for people to adapt to new circumstances because those in charge are always reluctant to give up their power to answer these questions; generally those in power only want more power or they selfishly scheme to retain power regardless of the consequences. The benefit of freedom is that people can reorganize themselves and their resources any time they decide that the current arrangements are ineffective or wrong.

Ridicule is the antidote to pomposity.

The idea that inflating the money supply will stimulate economic activity makes no more sense than increasing the number of feet in a mile to encourage people to exercise more.

The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that the government cannot deprive the people of the means to protect themselves against unjust government. Before you support gun control laws, however noble your intentions, you must acknowledge that government officials have a conflict of interest. Considering the history of government oppression and the willingness of politicians to seize power when they can, it is reasonable to be suspicious of attempts to limit the natural right of self-defense. The people have several means to protect themselves, but the ultimate check on power mongers is for the people to possess the same force that is available to those that would oppress them.

If the group’s desires are more important than the individual’s, then the individual’s rights will inevitably suffer because he is outnumbered. Not even the strongest man can resist the group’s claims forever. The best way for each man to protect his rights is to recognize and defend the equal rights of every other individual.

If the People can't be trusted to keep and bear arms, then the Government they've elected can't be trusted to keep and bear arms.

If I demand money from you at gunpoint, it's robbery. If I demand money from you at gunpoint for the benefit of others, it's robbery. If our selected representatives demand money from us backed up by the implied threat of armed agents and imprisonment for the benefit of others, it's taxation. If you question the morality of their demands, they will shame you.   Should I be ashamed after seeing the similarity between taxation and robbery?  Is a robber absolved of guilt because his victims are unaware of the crime?

The upside of self-government is that you get to solve your own problems. The downside of self-government is that you get to solve your own problems.

Money corrupts politics and politics corrupts money.

When we are no longer allowed to speak freely, the world will be ruled by tyrants and bullies.

Value‏ must have something to do with scarcity. If you could pick up a pile of diamonds off the ground in your backyard, they wouldn't be worth anything. They'd just be rocks. And if people in high places have unlimited power to create more money to finance their endless political schemes and reward supporters, eventually that money won't be worth anything either.

Is it really a good idea to rely on politicians to regulate outrageous corporate behavior? It’s based on the belief that people are inherently selfish and heartless, and that government oversight is the only way to correct these tendencies. If people truly are selfish and thoughtless, then we should also expect the same of politicians. They’re people too. Inevitably what happens is that corporate and political interests cooperate to give the illusion that the outrageous market behavior is being regulated. Bankruptcy and unrelenting competition are far more efficient regulators than any set of self-interested politicians.

From an economic standpoint, Obamacare is simply the government’s attempt to reduce the price of medicine without increasing the supply of medicine. Imagine if Congress applied the same theory to, say, the hotel industry or the restaurant industry. In other words, what if Congress ordered all of us to purchase a hotel room once a month or to eat out twice as often without bulding more hotel rooms or restaurants or increasing the number of people that run them, and forcing those businesses to accept these new customers. There are only three possible outcomes: someone will get crowded out, the quality of service will deteriorate, or those that can pay will have to pay more.

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar. Interest rates are low… Borrow a bunch of money at an adjustable rate… Interest rates rise… Can’t make the payments… Default on the debt… Only this time it’s not a few homeowners, it’s the United States federal government. If the economy is still distressed five years after some homeowners defaulted on their mortgages, how long will it take to recover from the impending bankruptcy of the federal government and what sort of disruption will it cause?

The difference between cockroaches and politicians is that when you turn the lights on, cockroaches scurry and politicians start looking for the camera and the microphone.

Watching the interaction between the Federal Reserve Bank and Congress is like watching an alcoholic and a drug addict discuss their experiences with sobriety.

If the effect of easing the quantity of money is economic growth and prosperity as the Federal Reserve claims, then what is the benefit of limiting quantitative easing?

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