About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Is There A Robotic Nirvana In Our Future?

On another website a person I was corresponding with made the following statement: "A society of robots with identical perfectly liberal programming could logically have zero conflict." We hear a lot these days about the next or final generation of robots that will challenge human beings for control in society because these robots will not be plagued by the intellectual imperfections and emotional foibles that handicap human beings in their quest for a perfectly satisfying future. The idea that a "society of robots" could have "zero conflict" is intriguing and seductive but ultimately absurd.

A society of robots is a contradiction in terms. It assumes robots cannot think for themselves and cannot pursue ends at odds with the ends of their programmer. A thousand robots "with identical perfectly liberal programming" is no different than a yard filled with a thousand identical cars fresh off the assembly line, all designed and built by the same individual. There would be "zero conflict" among the cars in this new car parking lot because conflict results from contradictory human action. Where there is no human action there can be no conflict.

Introduce two human programmers and now you've got the potential for conflict, not emanating from the two distinct groups of identical robots but from the different ends the two programmers have likely pursued.

If the two programmers act on their own as totally separate and independent human beings, without cooperation or coordination one with the other, and the means available to attain their common end are scarce or their chosen ends are not exactly the same, there will likely be conflict.

Now, if the two programmers decide to cooperate, if they agree upon a chosen end and if they agree to act in concert to attain that chosen end, there will likely be no conflict, even if the means available to them are scarce and even if their cooperative action involves more than two programmers.

How would the two programmers coordinate their actions? They would have to agree to modify their behavior in such a way that their actions with regard to the scarce means used to attain their end would not be perceived by either as threatening. They would also have to forswear behavior which might deprive either of the benefits each hopes to individually realize once their cooperative end has been attained.

One way to modify their interpersonal behaviors to suit their needs would be to agree to refrain from any acts of murder and theft, one toward the other.

Could "culture" throw a monkey wrench into the plans of our two programmers? If the two programmers belonged to cultures that were philosophically opposed, if one programmer came from a trader culture, say Capt. Kirk, and the other programmer came from a warrior culture, say a Klingon for instance, would cooperation between the two or among the many be impossible and conflict inevitable?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Can Membership In A Cooperative Society Be Involuntary?

I am one who believes that it is possible (and preferable) for individuals to coexist peacefully with others in a cooperative society providing all individuals in that society consider murder, theft and all their corollaries taboo. I believe that government's only possible necessary function in such a society is to enforce these taboos. Such a society would result in a bare minimum of interpersonal disputes and social conflict.

I believe that every time the powers of government are employed to enforce taboos other than those against murder and theft, and every time the powers of government are employed to enforce positive individual rights, the probability of interpersonal disputes and social conflict increase accordingly.

Society-wide government enforcement of positive individual rights based on objective economic factors, such as the minimum wage, or on objective observable phenomena such as climate change is socially disruptive enough and is sure to create controversy and social conflict at barely tolerable levels.

However, now there are those who advocate society-wide government enforcement of pseudo-scientific, subjective states of mind and emotion, such as gender choice, hate crimes and racism. The resultant interpersonal disputes and social conflict such enforcement will generate is sure to cause society to reach a critical mass, i.e., to Balkanize into warring factions.

We are seeing such Balkanization in the US today because a cooperative society by definition must be a voluntary society. If the trend in the US continues, i.e., relying on government to enforce among its citizens laws and regulations based on subjective feelings and emotion, we will witness the inevitable demise of the greatest and most extensive cooperative society individuals ever created on the face of the earth.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

This Just In From WikiLeaks -- CIA Bugs iPhones, Engages In False Flag Cyberattacks!

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-0...se-8am-eastern 

The Democrats' "Russian hacking" meme just went up in smoke. The very agency that the Dems used to "prove" their allegation that the Russians hacked our election, the CIA, is responsible for the hacking!!!!

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA. It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of ‘Vault 7’, a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley...

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of ‘Year Zero’, the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said that ‘Year Zero’ revealed details of the CIA’s “global covert hacking program,” including “weaponized exploits” used against company products including “Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.” ...

Among the key topical revelations is that the CIA can engage in "false flag" cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant. Discussing the CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks' source notes that it "collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation...

Remember the good old days when the Democrats considered the CIA something other than their most trusted "good guy" friend and ally?

ObamaCare-Lite

The Republican leadership, who for all intents and purposes is the Democrat-Lite leadership, has just revealed its first (I hope) attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare. I haven't read the bill (reportedly, it's 125 pages long and shrouded in secrecy!!!!) but from reading news accounts the American Health-Care Act (virtually a contradiction in terms) is, as many expected, ObamaCare-Lite.

Instead of deregulation of the health care/health insurance industry and free market reforms, ObamaCare-Lite brings us Democrat-Lite re-regulation and not even a whiff of anything resembling an open and free market.

Pres. Trump tweeted about the new bill: "Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast!"

I sure hope it's open for negotiation. Otherwise ObamaCare-Lite will destroy the tenuous Trump coalition and usher in another leftist government in 2020.

Trump is already making excuses for his "wonderful" bill, tweeting 30 minutes ago: "Don't worry, getting rid of state lines, which will promote competition, will be in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout. @foxandfriends."

And this 27 minutes ago: "I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!"

So after having 8 years to draft and polish up an ObamaCare repeal and replacement law and strategy, the Republican-Lite leadership only managed to produce "Phase 1" of their plan yesterday. Phases 2 and 3 are yet to come, along with lower healthcare costs, drug costs and re-engineered smoke and mirrors. This all sounds suspiciously like Nancy Pelosi's "we'll have to pass our healthcare law in order to know what's in it" bull shit.

I am not an "Always Trumper." I am aboard the Trump train reluctantly. Genuine repeal and replacement of ObamaCare is one of the few places I counted on the Trump train to stop. Now it seems that train is derailed before it even leaves the station.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/06/th...bill-is-here-i

 After months of confusion and secrecy, House Republicans have finally revealed their Obamacare repeal legislation. While it's useful to have House Republicans on the record with a legislative plan, the plan doesn't offer any estimate for how much it would cost, or how many people it would (or wouldn't) cover. In general, it's not clear what problems this particular bill would actually solve.

The bill would replace Obamacare's subsidies with a system of tax credits and halt the law's Medicaid expansion at the end of the decade while grandfathering in many beneficiaries over the long term and giving states $100 billion in funding to work with to care for hard case patients. All in all, it's a fairly conventional Republican plan, modified in ways designed to mitigate recent political objections.

The tax credit is, for the moment, the most controversial component of the legislation. As in previous drafts of the bill, the credits are refundable, meaning that individuals will be eligible for them even if their total tax liability is lower than the amount of the credit. The federal government would pay people, even if their federal tax bill was zero. It's a subsidy, basically, rather like the one in Obamacare. Conservative legislators have argued that such a system would be little more than Obamacare lite. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has complained that any refundable credit is tantamount to "a new entitlement program."

Unlike Obamacare, which bases its credits on income, the GOP bills we've seen so far are based on age. That creates another set of political headaches, because it means that wealthier folks get tax credits, and because it means that older people would get less help than under Obamacare, in hopes of creating a scheme that lures more young and health people into the system.

The bill released tonight attempts to mitigate these problems by capping the refundable credit so that households earning more than $150,000 would be reduced, and individuals making more than $215,000 would get nothing at all. But that still leaves a credit that is refundable for most people, and adds a bit of additional administrative work: Under Obamacare, judging an individual's employment and income has proven more than a little difficult, and the same would continue to be true here.

So Republicans would be replacing one set of insurance subsidies with another set of insurance subsidies, while killing the individual mandate but leaving many of the law's insurance regulations intact (with a penalty for insurance gaps). There's a reason that legislators like Michigan Rep. Justin Amash are already referring to it as "Obamacare 2.0."

On the other hand, the bill would probably result in the disruption of current health insurance for millions (although it's hard to say with confidence how many, for reasons I'll explain in a moment), and we don't yet have an estimate as to what effect it would have on the budget.

Beyond that, the bill would provide a hefty payment to states, about $100 billion over 10 years, for states to use to fund safety nets of their own design. And then there's the bill's Medicaid rollback, another awkward balancing act. It keeps the state-level optionality granted by the Supreme Court in 2012, and allows states to keep the law's expanded funding for Medicaid beneficiaries up through the end of 2019, and for those who maintain continuous coverage after. So the enhanced Medicaid matching funds provided by Obamacare would dwindle away over time. This is as much a political compromise as an actual policy measure. Will it appease the four Republican Senators who pledged today to oppose the repeal of the law's Medicaid expansion? No one knows.

 Grow a pair, Republicans. Have the guts to do what "we the people" sent you there to do. If you don't, well, enjoy your four years in power, Trump Ryan McConnell & Company, you'll never wield a gavel again in DC...ever.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chris Cuomo's Tears Of A Clown

CNN reported "BREAKING NEWS" this morning: Trump officials other than Michael Flynn were in "constant" contact with "the Russians" during the campaign!

Wow! Stop the presses and the World! I want to get off!

Chris Cuomo, who always strikes me as being at the point of tears, breathlessly reported on this "crisis," calling it "explosive" and saying it is stirring up a "firestorm." He peppered his reporting with references to violations of the "Logan Act." Several times he asked rhetorically: "Who knew what and when?" In an interview he even suggested that Congress should appoint a "Special Prosecutor" to investigate!

Give me a break!

Cuomo's parody of reportorial Watergate angst was quite good. If it had been performed on another network during Saturday Night Live, it might even have been funny.

Apparently, Trump stepped on some toes over at CNN with his criticism that the network reports "fake" news. If this morning's performance by Cuomo and company is any indication, CNN also drums up fake crises.

Trump has been President now for only a few weeks and his administration has been under concerted fire from Day One by Democrats, the mainstream media and George Soros, who has funded political disruption by hooligans around the country.

I get it. Trump won. The Washington snakes and frogs are hissing and croaking at the prospect of their swamp being drained.

As far as I'm concerned watching guys like Cuomo squirm at CNN is great entertainment. But I could care less about his blather.

Carry on, Mr. Trump!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When Bubbles Burst



November 8, 2016


November 9, 2016

Nowadays it's easy to live in a bubble. Today if a man has a computer and internet access he can build an imaginary world of his choosing and live in it seemingly unscathed by reality. Examples are everywhere and infamous. Anthony Weiner is only the latest specimen.

Yesterday one had to be filthy rich -- or regal -- to live insulated from life's slings and arrows. Kings and Queens lived in bubbles of opulence exacted from their subjects and bubbles of turbulence created by their own imaginary demons. If reality drew too close, it could be commanded away by the wagging of a pinky finger adorned by a ruthless and powerful ring.

Political sycophants and their adoring press are today's version of royalty. They live in Washington, D.C. in tax-built palaces surrounded by ideological moats and fanatical armies of partisans that scour the hinterlands for unguarded loot that they can shower upon their benefactors in exchange for favors and a fair share of the good life.

And then there are our coddled youngsters who ensconce themselves in a dorm room in the belly of an ivy-covered bunker and dream up ideal rules for the rest of us to live by, rules guaranteeing perfect justice, rules which only they are wise enough to enforce, justice which only they are educated enough to distribute in appropriate and equal measure, as we the peons toil on the hardscrabble earth producing what life, reality and our betters demand from us.

But every once in a long while the stars align, the heavens smile and the bubbles burst. The Kings lose their heads, the politicians lose their positions and the youngsters lose their pacifiers.

And Anthony Weiner? He loses his computer.

However, Weiner will quickly recover. He's already diligently fashioning himself another fantastical life in a new bubble prescribed for him by a compassionate culture. He's exorcising his demons in a clinic for those afflicted with the disease of sexual deviancy.

How long will it be, I wonder, before all the bubbles are repaired and all our lives return to normal?