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, January 12, 2012

10 Things You'll Never, Ever Hear Barack Obama Say!...

Monday of this week in a speech at a campaign event, President Obama said that what's "on the line" in the 2012 election is the "very core of what this country stands for." I propose that Mr. Obama does not know what the "core" principles of this country truly are.

Why would I say such a thing? Because Mr. Obama proceeded to tell us what he thought these core principles were. He said they are...

...the basic promise that no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, this is a place where you could make it if you try. The notion that we're all in this together, that we look out for one another.
Contrast Mr. Obama's notion of America's "core" principles to those of our Founding Fathers:

1. The pillars of our prosperity are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise —- Thomas Jefferson

2. The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money. — James Monroe

3. A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species. – James Madison

4. That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest. — James Madison

5. To take from one because it is thought that his own productivity has acquired too much, in order to give to others who have not exercised equal industry and skill is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association: the guarantee to everyone of a free exercise of his hard work and the profits acquired by it. — Thomas Jefferson

6. In transactions of trade it is not to be supposed that, as in gaming, what one party gains the other must necessarily lose. The gain to each may be equal. If A has more corn than he can consume, but wants cattle; and B has more cattle, but wants corn; exchange is gain to each; thereby the common stock of comforts in life is increased. — Benjamin Franklin

7. Government is instituted to protect property of every sort … This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own. — James Madison

8. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. — Benjamin Franklin

9. In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country, but symptoms of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarters to give notice of the future danger. — James Madison, Federal Convention, June 26, 1787

10. If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking … is freedom. — Dwight D. Eisenhower

[Thanks to What Would The Founders Think for the above quotes.]

President Obama is the master of misdirection and obfuscation. He is correct to say that America is a place of equal opportunity, but equal opportunity does not mean guaranteed prosperity. We live in a place where individuals trade goods and services in a mostly but ever dwindling free market. An individual's prosperity or failure in that market is not predicated on a good "try." It is predicated on producing something of value to others in the marketplace in sufficient quality and quantity to satisfy their demand. Failing to do this means a trader will fail. This is not necessarily "fair," but neither is life.

A couple of months ago The Nation ran a story about a man who was disappointed that his hard work and considerable resources and time invested in earning a master's degree in puppetry did not pay him the dividends he expected. No doubt this man gave puppetry a good "try," but he miscalculated. He thought others in the market highly valued a degree in puppetry. It turns out they did not.

Is America better off as a place that rewards individuals for correctly anticipating what their fellow traders value? Or should America be a place that guarantees an ample reward for every individual who selfishly acts on a personal passion and gives it the good old college "try" -- like this wannabee puppeteer?

Again, Mr. Obama is half-right. We Americans are "all in this together." We are all traders together in the marketplace. Thus, we are constrained to be aware of what others in that marketplace want, need and value. We are not so privileged that we can isolate ourselves from the wants of others in our cooperative society and then demand that those others cater to our personal passions.

Liberty means nothing if not private property. In America we are mostly free individuals who must "look out for one another" in the free and voluntary marketplace. If we selfishly shirk that responsibility, it is not life or reality that deals us the cruel consequence; it is our fellow traders, our fellow citizens. Ironically, when we cede the responsibility to "look out for one another" to a bureaucrat empowered to seize Peter's property and give it to Paul (after keeping a transaction fee for himself), we create not a compassionate society, but a selfish society wherein greedy egoists have us under their thumb.  

It's remarkably sad to think that two hundred years after the founding of our country the only candidate for President echoing the words of our Founders, the only candidate that is in tune with America's true core principles, is Ron Paul. And he's considered by most to be an out-of-the-mainstream nut case!

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