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.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The New Normal In The Nerd Reich

A couple days ago the American Thinker published an article by Jack Curtis entitled: "Impoverishment: America's New Normal."

Most authors will begin their article by stating their main theme and then building upon it. Curtis waits until the third paragraph from the end to put his finger on the point I think he's trying to make:

There seems little doubt that the economic pattern [of impoverishment] results from government intervention; it is nothing new in history. India’s static caste system and China’s 15th century halt of exploration and change both embedded poverty via economic stasis. In America, it has been overregulation and the increasing corruption accompanying crony capitalism.

Still, the article is written so badly that the author seems to miss his own point. He begins by listing the "conditions that lifted North America so far above the economic norm:"

...available land and resources, a smaller, pro-development government, disparate post Renaissance and mostly post Reformation immigrants that shattered traditional classes, and an industrial revolution supported with European capital.

He only mentions "government intervention" in passing and then refers to it as "smaller" and "pro-development." I suppose a government that barely exists could be considered "pro-development," but saying early government in America is "smaller" than government nowadays is crazy and misleading. It's like comparing the development of boats over the centuries and saying colonial frigates were "smaller" than the USS George H.W. Bush.

The unique and requisite "condition" that lifted America "above the norm" was a new culture that embraced laissez-faire government and individual liberty. People emigrated from Europe to escape old world aristocracy, intolerance and tyrannical rule. In America they built a nation based on equality of opportunity, tolerance and independent self-reliance. That cultural base has been eroded and all but destroyed since, and that is why the future of America today, both political and economic, is so bleak.

Yes, the American middle income segment of the population is shrinking. Wealth is being drawn away from that segment to the wealthy elite by two institutions: a monetary and financial system that enshrines continuous and steep inflation; and an interventionist state that embraces logrolling, cronyism and outrageous aristocratic corruption on a scale surpassing the Old European status quo that early American pioneers fled.

Is it any wonder then that "impoverishment seems likely to be the new normal for America?"

As for "robotic production" putting "masses of workers" on the dole, it's a red herring. Fears of "automation" are as old as technology. Progressives believe that each average, normal American shlub should have a "good" job and a "decent" living wage. That is simply bull shit propaganda. Americans don't live to work; they work to live. They want their efforts to translate into an improved standard of living. They want what capital accumulation, automation, a sound currency and government non-intervention provide: goods and services at a lower price and an easier life for themselves and their children.

A world in which robots make production of consumer goods and services more profitable and efficient is the world we should be striving for, not the world we need to fear...unless that world is devoid of truly private capitalists and entrepreneurs and is flush with crony capitalists who are in league with a managerial, interventionist state.

Curtis writes:

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and now a Professor of Public Policy, said that redistribution of incomes will be necessary to support the masses of workers unemployed as the machines take over.

This type of reductionist nonsense is so typical of progressives. They can't imagine a laissez-faire economy in which free individuals are able to manage their own affairs and their own property to their own best advantage WITHOUT government interference. In short, they believe ordinary Americans are too stupid and incompetent to survive on their own without the guiding mandates of the progressive, intellectual elite enforced by the heavy hand of an interventionist government.

Reich and his arrogant, aristocratic, fellow traveling morons are the reason America today is not the prosperous country our forefathers founded.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

Robert F. Kennedy was a typical Progressive. He lived and died in the service of a dream that can never come true.

The Progressive sees himself as a cog in a social machine, not as a self-reliant individual capable of producing his own prosperity in a society of free and cooperative traders. In order for a Progressive to be all right with the world, the entire world must first be all right...or at least there must be a social dream in place that makes the Progressive believe the entire world will be all right.
Just as it is impossible to imagine that a particular cog in a gear could work and succeed independently of the other cogs, so it is impossible for a Progressive to imagine his own success and happiness existing independently from the success and happiness of "the masses." So long as there exists a single, unprosperous individual among us, thinks the Progressive, none of us can be truly prosperous or truly happy. 

The corollary to this mode of thinking is that all individuals must properly strive for the prosperity of all. There can be no child left behind. No senior lacking a comfortable pension. No sick person with a pre-existing condition lacking health care. No human being left unsatisfied.

Of course, there is a huge problem with such thinking: harsh reality. Neither as individuals nor as economic actors is it possible for us to satisfy others. Reality does not allow me to control your thoughts or your level of satisfaction, i.e., your happiness. I can only control how I think, what I feel and what I do.

Thus, the social programs Progressives devise to ensure the contentment and happiness of all are doomed from the start by the dual realities of nature and human nature. Even if it was possible to harness the entire human race in the service of the world's needy masses, the realities of time and resources would prevent the success of the endeavor. 

"Need" is a function of the human imagination which is limitless. "Rich" and "Poor" are relative terms describing disparities in material possessions which are finite. Any attempt to satisfy "Need" by ending the disparity between "Rich" and "Poor" is impossibly absurd. 

Moreover, unlike beasts of burden, human beings universally resent the bite of the bridle and the sting of the whip. Individual humans act with purpose toward achieving ends of their own making. Human beings forced or coerced to strive after ends devised for them by others will resist by becoming part of the problem, i.e., they will become unproductive and "needy," the very condition the system was designed in the first place to eliminate.

Progressivism is a syndrome of youth. By the time they have reached adulthood and have embarked on the very American tradition of "earning a living," most conservatives have become acquainted with and respectful of harsh reality. As a consequence, they have exorcized the mush of Progressivism from their minds.

If only my liberal friends would do the same. There is nothing more pitiful or more destructive to a society built upon the principles of private property and individual freedom than a graying Progressive who has not outgrown his or her youthful delusions, especially if this Progressive is elected to a position of authority. 

Barack Obama is living proof of this truism.