Finally the right metaphor

For avoiding faux reforms.

You are in a maze with five pathways out. One is right. Four are dead ends. Taking the wrong path is not simply an error. It’s an extremely costly error since it takes you well out of your way, further away from the real way out and consumes scarce resources including time and energy.

In the real world, these diversions from the right path can literally consume decades and plunge the community into depths of despair and decline that may be irreparable.

Natural Rights Explained Logically

We now arrive at the final question, “What are the natural rights?” Although it cannot be answered precisely, that does not mean it is unanswerable. As has been said before, natural rights precede the State and hence are a priori in character. Natural rights are every man’s at birth and are not State-granted. If each man has an equal claim to liberty, that is, the use of his rights, he can be limited in his freedom only by the claims of other men to an equal share of liberty. The circle of rights around every man extends as far as it may without intruding on the rights of other men. For this reason are the “rights” granted by the State bogus rights. A right to receive welfare, for example, is invalid since it requires the abridgement, however partial, of the rights of the citizen who is compelled to pay for the welfare benefits given to someone else. Natural rights, by contrast, require no abridgment of another individual’s rights to exist, but are limited only by the same natural rights of another person.

— Ronald Cooney, The Freeman [October 1972]

From Marx to Bismarck to Hitler to You

NY Times Blog

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were stirring up the masses with their tracts, including “The Communist Manifesto.” To Otto von Bismarck, the so-called Iron Chancellor of Germany, it seemed that the only way to stop the growth of communism was to take the wind out of its sails by giving low-income people the things they craved — health care, education and a social safety net in general. So in 1883, he passed the Imperial Insurance Order — in German, the Reichsversicherungsverordnung, or R.V.O. — which made it mandatory that all workers up to a certain income threshold pay premiums to such sickness funds. The R.V.O. still governs German health care, although it’s had a thousand amendments in the meantime.

During World War II, Hitler exported the system to the Netherlands, Belgium and France. It’s now generally called the Bismarck Model, to distinguish it from other forms of social health insurance, such as the British National Health Service. The Bismarck model was so popular that after the war, even though it came from Hitler, these countries kept it.

Al Franken, funnier than ever

Buffalo Pundit has a post extolling the Senate’s Comedian in Residence.

Two points. He boldy claims that no one in Germany, etc., ever goes bankrupt due to the cost of health care.

I doubt it. Love to see the study. It’s a fair operating assumption that politicians are usually lying.

On the assumption that one can go bankrupt in Germany, then presumably the heavy taxes to pay for socialized medicine MUST be a factor in some bankruptcies. “In the most recent year, government spending equaled 45.4 percent of GDP” in Germany. Franken wants half your money and will tell you how to spend “your half.”

Second, Franken is part of this weird liberal time warp concerning Western Europe. The left has been extolling the Bismarck/Hitler health care model for decades but are unaware of what is happening there, NOW.

Basically, as Pat Buchanan noted years ago, W.E. is committing demographic suicide. Rapidly aging, low birth-rate, top-heavy welfare states that often have to bring in immigrants to do the scut work, and prop up the pensioners, resulting in ethnic, religious or racial tensions including riots in the case of France.

Quite simply, on its present course, Germany simply won’t exist in the future. So, if you want America to go, poof, gone, do as the Comedian says.

America’s Best Political Columnist

On boobs and balloons

By Ilana Mercer

October 23, 2009

If you needed incontrovertible proof that homegrown retardation is far more pressing a problem than homegrown terrorism in modern-day America – 6-year-old Falcon Heene’s flight of fancy provided it.

The contagion that gripped the nation began on Oct. 15. Anyone turning on the boob tube was treated to a live broadcast of a levitating dome-shaped “homemade flying saucer.”

MSNBC’s David “Shyster” informed his unfortunate viewers, matter-of-fact, that the small son of Richard and Mayumi Heene of Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Collins, Colo., had climbed into a carriage attached to the helium-filled contraption, which had become untethered. Boy and balloon were now scaling heights of 10,000 feet.

Indeed, nowhere was the madness more apparent than on MSNBC.

Like most of the unisex males of the left-liberal media, “girlie-boy” Shuster was flooded with emotions he did not hesitate to share. Shuster would prefer that you forget – and he is working hard to – but the anchor devoted two full hours to tracking the imaginary “Falcon,” as he soared through the Centennial State’s skies in a rickety grey floatation device.

Other TV entertainment outlets masquerading as news media hawked the Falcon pie-in-the-sky as fact. If anything, both the authorities and the media proceeded from the premise that Falcon was in fact flying two miles above them, rather than hiding somewhere on terra firma.

When you’re slothful, stout and stupid, it’s easier to look to the heavens than search high-and-low below.


Freedom Reduction as a form of Grieving

In the old days, when you suffered a sudden tragic death in the family, you had a wake, a funeral, then an Irish Wake to overcome the vale of tears. You remained hopeful for the afterlife.

Now, all too often, an accidental death is following by a campaign by the family to pass a new law that reduces the personal freedom of people who played no role in the death.

Such is the new anti-texting while driving craze.

Why are people who want the state to use force against innocent third parties considered to be heroes? Frankly, I am tired of it.

Folks, your family member was killed because someone was driving stupidly. Someone was not concentrating on what they were doing. If you want to stop needless deaths, do something to encourage better concentration among people.

There are other problems with this that I will simply hint at. First, it is based on the fallacy of utopianism, the notion that the government, with its limited range of tools, actually, its only tool, force, can improve human life, by passing more laws. Again, no law ever improved anyone’s IQ, concern for others or ability to focus on the task at hand.

Second, the law opens the door to virtually unlimited regulation of personal freedom. Once you get beyond the rules of the road, that is, how your vehicle is moving through traffic, and move onto to regulating the infinite number of factors that might lead to an accident, you remove any limit on the state’s power under road socialism to reduce freedom in the name of traffic safety.

Third, it is virtually impossible to prove that these kinds of laws work. We greatly overestimate our ability to figure things like this out. My belief is that cell phone use, for example, reduces accidents. Certainly, accidents went down while cell phone use proliferated. Give me a million dollars and I will try to prove my controversial thesis.

So True!

The tragedy of so many intellectuals in the contemporary world is that while opposing extreme forms of totalitarianism, they are themselves half-totalitarian; that is to say, they express a desire for a society which is half-controlled, half-regimented, half-planned, part capitalist, and part socialist. This strange hybrid they will find (indeed, have found) to be a Frankenstein monster which, ironically, they have a great responsibility for creating.

— George S. Schuyler, Black and Conservative [1966]

You can’t sue Mother Nature

But you can launch a crazy lawsuit against companies for allegedly causing global warming which in turn caused a hurricane according to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Here, the plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that defendants’ emissions caused the plaintiffs’ property damage, which is redressable through monetary damages; for example, the plaintiffs allege that defendants’ willful, unreasonable use of their property to emit greenhouse gasses constituted private nuisance under Mississippi law because it inflicted injury on the plaintiffs’ land by causing both land loss due to sea level rise and property damage due to Hurricane Katrina.

How nuts is that?

Read Fifth Circuit grants Katrina victims standing in global warming class action suit

The Death of Politics

(Somewhere in the basement I have a signed copy of this.)

The Death of Politics

by Karl Hess

Originally published in Playboy, March 1969, this article was made available for the web by David Schatz and François-René Rideau.

This is not a time of radical, revolutionary politics. Not yet. Unrest, riot, dissent, and chaos notwithstanding, today’s politics is reactionary. Both Left and Right are reactionary and authoritarian. That is to say, both are political. They seek only to revise current methods of acquiring and wielding political power. Radical and revolutionary movements seek not to revise but to revoke. The target of revocation should be obvious. The target is politics itself.

Radicals and revolutionaries have had their sights trained on politics for some time. As governments fail around the world, as more millions become aware that government never has and never can humanely and effectively manage men’s affairs, government’s own inadequacy will emerge, at last, as the basis for a truly radical and revolutionary movement. In the meantime, the radical-revolutionary position is a lonely one. It is feared and hated, by both Right and Left – although both Right and Left must borrow from it to survive. The radical-revolutionary position is libertarianism, and its socioeconomic form is laissez-faire capitalism.

Libertarianism is the view that each man is the absolute owner of his life, to use and dispose of as he sees fit: that all man’s social actions should be voluntary: and that respect for every other man’s similar and equal ownership of life and, by extension, the property and fruits of that life is the ethical basis of a humane and open society. In this view, the only – repeat, only – function of law or government is to provide the sort of self-defense against violence that an individual, if he were powerful enough, would provide for himself.

If it were not for the fact that libertarianism freely concedes the right of men voluntarily to form communities or governments on the same ethical basis, libertarianism could be called anarchy.

Laissez-faire capitalism, or anarchocapitalism, is simply the economic form of the libertarian ethic. Laissez-faire capitalism encompasses the notion that men should exchange goods and services, without regulation, solely on the basis of value for value. It recognizes charity and communal enterprises as voluntary versions of this same ethic. Such a system would be straight barter, except for the widely felt need for a division of labor in which men, voluntarily, accept value tokens such as cash and credit. Economically, this system is anarchy, and proudly so.

Libertarianism is rejected by the modern Left – which preaches individualism but practices collectivism. Capitalism is rejected by the modern Right – which preaches enterprise but practices protectionism. The libertarian faith in the mind of men is rejected by religionists who have faith only in the sins of man. The libertarian insistence that men be free to spin cables of steel, as well as dreams of smoke, is rejected by hippies who adore nature but spurn creation. The libertarian insistence that each man is a sovereign land of liberty, with his primary allegiance to himself, is rejected by patriots who sing of freedom but also shout of banners and boundaries. There is no operating movement in the world today that is based upon a libertarian philosophy. If there were, it would be in the anomalous position of using political power to abolish political power