Monday, August 30, 2010

What then, is the law?

Bastiat could have been talking about the new health control law. Don't be fooled by the new tactic of the White House and Democrats, the PPACA can not be fixed, or improved. It is constructed on an improper concept of law, and an improper view of justice.

"What, then, is the law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. ... since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individual groups. ... But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense."
-- Frederic Bastiat(1801-1850) French economist, statesman, and author. The Law, 1850 (emphasis mine)

The PPACA needs to be repealed, not revised.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stimulus Real or Fake

Want more of the Rebel Economist? Check out her channel here:Rebel Economist

HT Carpe Diem.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wealth Creation is Giving

Commenting on a recent WSJ article, Mark Perry over at Carpe Diem points out a very important and almost-always overlooked fact:

The rich and successful already gave at the office.

Entrepreneurs Can Make a Greater Contribution to Society Through Business Than Charity

If the Nordhaus analysis accurately applies to Bill Gates, almost 98% of the social returns from the value of Microsoft products have already been captured by consumers around the world, which greatly exceeds the personal fortune of Bill Gates. And the contribution to society from Bill Gates’ capitalist activities will likely far exceed the contribution to society of his charitable giving.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Postal Services

USPS: exclusive government-franchise, i.e. a monopoly

NZ: open competition for mail delivery since 1998, currently 25 different carriers

USPS: quarterly net loss of $3.5 billion--for an annual loss rate of $14 billion

If it's true that the USPS is responsible for delivering "nearly half the world's mail"--does that mean that US citizens are subsidizing other countries mail delivery?

Read more about the power of private enterprise and competition here.

Wealth is not the problem.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19 --Cost of Government Day

This is the day on which the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state, and local levels...
In other words, in 2010 the cost of government consumes 63.41 percent of national income.

Read more here.

HT John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

WANTED: a liberty-based interpretation of Islam

We need more people who think like Dr. Mohammad Zuhdi Jassar, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He is for individual rights, the US Constitution, separation of mosque and state, and universal liberty.
Speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum 2010, Dr. Jassar discusses how Islam needs to evolve into modernity, and embrace and integrate the principles of freedom and individual rights.

"[This] is about the liberation of the soul from the shackles of theocracy and fascism."

HT commenter "Trevor" at The Rational Capitalist.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jefferson on the "redistribution" of wealth

I am not a fan of the term "redistribution" of wealth because it implies that wealth is initially "distributed," thus easing the way towards justifying a re-distribution. In fact, all wealth must first be produced through the combination of human thought and labor. Even natural resources must be identified and collected into a useful form. If a man owns himself, then he surely owns his labor and the fruits of his labor. These facts are the root of man's inalienable right to property.

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association -- the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."
-- Thomas Jefferson(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: Note in Tracy's "Political Economy," 1816

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Individuals with Ideas vs. the Collectivism of Race

When Americans can focus on ideas instead of ethnicity, on individuals instead of race --we will have taken a giant step forward in the advancement of civilization. Racism is just one more form of collectivism --all of which subordinate the value of unique individual human beings to the needs, the desires or the identity of the group.

I am grateful to the individuals who stood at the podium in the following clip. It takes courage, integrity, and trust in one's own mind to risk viewing the world out of step with the mainstream.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Somebody Better Tell Andy Griffith

Preface: Rep. Dave Camp, ranking Republican of the House Ways and Means Committee, has compiled this list of when different aspects of the recently passed health care legislation will go into effect. The main effect of the new health reform law is to cut Medicare benefits in order to extend coverage to the uninsured.

Read this analysis by and this list of Medicare cuts which will go into effect under the new health care control law, and then ask yourself how the White House can justify the claims it makes in the Mayberry ad, let alone its use of tax payer money to fund this propaganda.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ya gotta watch out for them "nice guys"

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.

Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 1928

I came across this quote in Frederich Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty. This warning starts off the seventeenth chapter titled, "The Decline of Socialism and the Rise of the Welfare State" and is an appropriate reminder to us today as government massively expands on the justification of helping some segment of society. The quote prompted me to search for its source, curious about the the context which inspired Justice Brandeis to issue this advice.

The quote is part of Brandeis' dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States. The opinion is worth reading in its entirety as an excellent example of a principled interpretation of the Constitution. The issue at stake was whether or not wiretapping was a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The 1914 supreme Court case Weeks v. United States had previously established that illegally obtained evidence could not be used in a criminal trial because it violated standards for search and seizure. Brandeis argues that although telephones did not exist at the time of writing of the Constitution, the principle involved is protection of the private citizen's security from government invasion--no matter the form. Here's another taste of his principled reasoning in Olmstead:

    'The principles laid down in this opinion affect the very essence of constitutional liberty and security. They reach farther than the concrete form of the case there before the court, with its adventitious circumstances; they apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employe of the sanctities of a man's home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers, that constitutes the essence of the offense; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty and private property, where that right has never been forfeited by his conviction of some public offense-it is the invasion of this sacred right which underlies and constitutes the essence of Lord Camden's judgment...There is, in essence, no difference between the sealed letter and the private telephone message. As Judge Rudkin said below:
    'True, the one is visible, the other invisible; the one is tangible, the other intangible; the one is sealed, and the other unsealed; but these are distinctions without a difference.'

    Let us hope that the judges who will review the constitutionality of ObamaCare think as clearly and in such a principled manner. It's time to reverse this country's tend toward greater and greater indentured servitude of one citizen for the sake of another and get back to a principled application of individual rights, equally applied to all.


    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    A Case in Point

    I don't want an equal share of loot. I want freedom.



    Poverty and Capitalism

    I love this man's impish benevolence--and his economics aren't bad either.