LRC Blog

Marry Down or Else

What are you, some kind of social inequality bigot?

The Independent with a nice demonstration of the deep and reflexive mania of our age. People must not be allowed to do anything natural, comfortable, or (god forbid) instinctive. A New Man must emerge.

 

2:26 pm on May 20, 2018

The Problem with Conservatives

They think (correctly) that the Obama legacy deserves to be destroyed, but not the Bush legacy. And certainly not the Reagan legacy. But that’s not all. See my article “The Problem with Conservatives.”

2:24 pm on May 19, 2018

Wait for Regime Changes

Lately, we read of regime change in Iran: “As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key allies of President Donald Trump are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government.” The idea is to change, not simply the leadership, but the very form of government. That is what is meant by regime change.

Toppling regimes from the outside is a policy of impatience. In many cases, regimes topple or at least change noticeably with the passage of time and the work of forces internal to a country. We may think of this internal process of change as being natural. It occurs as new generations of people arise who have different ideas and values. We can understand it by applying standard Austrian analysis of the characteristics of states.
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9:21 am on May 19, 2018

Another Mass Shooting in One of Government’s “Gun-Free Zones”

This time in Santa Fe, Texas.  God Bless the victims and their families and friends.

3:51 pm on May 18, 2018

Republicans Love Torture

Only three Senate Republicans opposed confirmation of Gina Haspel as the new CIA director: Rand Paul of Kentucky, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and John McCain of Arizona (McCain was in Arizona battling brain cancer and could not actually vote against her). Six Democrats, some facing reelection, voted with the majority of Republicans to confirm Bloody Gina.

I note: “Among those who supported her nomination were six former CIA directors — Porter Goss, John Brennan, Leon Panetta, George Tenet, William Webster and Mike Hayden — and three former national intelligence directors — James Clapper, Mike McConnell and John Negroponte.” All despicable creatures. What a surprise.

6:37 pm on May 17, 2018

It’s Not Memorial Day Yet

But if you are in the military, you can go to McDonalds today north of Orlando and get your free Quarter Pounder with Cheese Medium Extra Value Meal. This offer is good for today only, and I am not sure if all McDonalds restaurants are participating. Can’t wait to see how restaurants will top this when Memorial Day actually arrives.

5:55 pm on May 17, 2018

EU Breaks With Trump Over Iran: Good ‘Blowback’

12:48 pm on May 17, 2018

The Dumbest Political Quiz Ever

The Political Compass quiz. Libertarian economist Dan Mitchell took the quiz and comments:

I think two of the examples they provide are somewhat crazy. First, Hitler was the head of the National Socialist Workers Party and he belongs on the left side of the horizontal axis. Second, it’s absurd to have Thatcher anywhere near Stalin and Hitler on the vertical axis.

Some of the other results are very bizarre. First of all, Milton Friedman magically moved. Now he’s very libertarian on social issues, but squishy on economics. Needless to say, that’s nonsense. But not nearly as nonsensical as Benito Mussolini being on the far right for economic policy. That’s crazy. He was a strident opponent of capitalism. Likewise, they have Hillary Clinton on the right side of the spectrum for economic policy. The person who did that must have been on some crazy drugs at the time. And I’m not a Trump fan, but I think it’s laughable to have him ranked as more authoritarian than Mugabe, Mao, and Castro.

12:49 pm on May 16, 2018

The ‘Bolton Effect’: From Breakthrough To Breakdown With North Korea

12:45 pm on May 16, 2018

Hungarian Ambassador to US Tells It Like It Is

This is a fact-filled hour with countless myth-destroying facts and well-defended principles. Surprise! Hungary is Hungarian, and Hungarians are Catholics, and they want it to stay that way!

Of course, the socialist, US-taxpayer-funded “National Endowment for Democracy” objects and its well-paid experts bloviate: that’s **Undemocratic**!!

12:39 pm on May 16, 2018

Good News For a Change!

Congrats to the hard-working patriots at the Tenth Amendment Center! They’ve scored a huge win against the NSA in Michigan: legislators there passed “a law that arguably cuts the NSA off from local water and electricity. There isn’t a known NSA facility in Michigan, but the law’s author says it sends a clear message with a ban on state and local officials, including law enforcement and public utilities, cooperating with federal agencies that allegedly collect personal data without legal process.”

As Mike Maharrey, spokeman for the Tenth Amendment Center, says, “It’s encouraging to get the first one over the hurdle. In politics there’s a lot of copy-catting.”

Indeed. Here’s hoping your state and mine will mimic Michigan and protect us from the NSA, to my mind the greatest threat against liberty in all history.

4:25 pm on May 15, 2018

Gaza Violence: Blowback For Jerusalem?

1:31 pm on May 15, 2018

“Stop Resisting Arrest!”

We are all the beneficiaries of former CIA senior official Ray McGovern’s participation in the public debate. The more visibility he has, the more people that hear him, the better I like it.

I still treasure the moment when Ray confronted then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about his Iraq war lies.

In the opening days of the elective war on Iraq Rumsfeld had made the outlandish claim the he knew where the non-existent WMDs were. When McGovern confronted the Pentagon chief in 2006 at a public forum in Atlanta, Rumsfeld pivoted to the brazen denial, insisting that he had said no such a thing – never mind that this is the electronic media age, and all anyone had to do was “roll the tape” to watch Rumsfeld’s balderdash.

 Rumsfeld on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, March 2003: “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.”

I was especially glad to see Rumsfeld held to account, because my employer at the time, broadcast giant Clear Channel Communications, had “suspended” me for a day from my prime time talk show for calling Rumsfeld “the worst secretary of Defense since Robert Strange McNamara.”

Rumsfeld was eventually squeezed out of office when a growing number of admirals and generals, retired and with nothing to lose, began to complain about his incompetence.

Ray McGovern distinguished himself again last week at the Senate confirmation hearing for Trump’s torturer, Bloody Gina Haspel, to head the CIA.

While the evidence-destroying Haspel was untouched during her appearance before the Senate committee, Ray McGovern, who has actually served his country with integrity, was wrestled to the floor and dragged out.  See it HERE.

Take note of the way the thugs who took Ray down immediately began shouting the mantra “Stop resisting arrest.” They are trained like performing seals to do this so that prosecutors can pile up phony charges. Watch the 78-year old Ray being swarmed and see if there is anything other than someone protecting himself from being dragged about and roughed up. But if a defendant as much as raises his hands to protect his face, or if his limbs don’t contort in the way the detaining thugs demand, the petty authoritarian’s catch-all charge of resisting arrest is waiting in the wings.

My friend Marc Victor, the best known criminal defense attorney in Arizona, is admired for his professional skill, tenacity, and principles.  Marc has represented more than 2,000 defendants, numerous high-profile cases, federal and state alike. His law firm, Attorneys for Freedom, is staffed with attorneys who share Marc’s pro-freedom views. And yet for all his experience, Marc confesses that it wasn’t until he had his own run in with goons shouting the obligatory “stop resisting arrest,” that he really understood the depth of the criminal justice system’s dark side.

From the 2018 Freedom Summit, here’s a YouTube of Marc Victor’s personal story, “What I Learned About the Criminal Justice System From Neanderthals and Liars.”

1:25 pm on May 15, 2018

Trump v. Iran: Will His Gamble Pay Off?

Trump has withdrawn from the nuclear deal and lied about it, not out of moral laxity or ignorance, but to strengthen his hand in the high stakes game he has created. He has told us that his purpose is to get a better deal. Better in his mind means no nuclear Iran ever, no Iranian ballistic missiles of consequence, and dampening Iranian regional power.
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9:49 am on May 15, 2018

Mother-of-the-Year Candidate

Shoots dead a gunman threatening to shoot children and their mothers in front of a school in Brazil.

11:36 am on May 14, 2018

How We Know Trump’s Lying About Iran

Ted Snider has an excellent article pointing out in detail 11 lies Trump told about Iran in a recent speech. Actually, he pointed out 11 false statements. A lie means there is an intent to deceive. How do we know that Trump knows that his statements are false? How do we know that he intends to deceive? Here are 11 reasons why we know. Granted, some of these assume that the White House people actually know stuff. They also blunder. They also have hubris. They also act emotionally out of ill-conceived motives. None of these categories are mutually exclusive.

1. Trump says he’s a genius. As genius-in-chief, he knows.
2. Trump has access to all sorts of brainy people. They figure these things out.
3. Trump has access to all sorts of information. His brainy people inform him.
4. Trump has people who can fact-check his remarks.
5. Trump knows what he’s saying. He calculates and schemes.
6. Trump didn’t get where he is by being as ignorant as his false statements suggest.
7. Trump has an agenda regarding Iran and Syria, and his statements paint an overall negative picture of Iran that serves his aims. He has made his agenda known, and it includes no Iranian nuclear bomb ever, no Iranian ballistic missiles, and an Iranian rollback in Lebanon and Syria.
8. Pompeo is telling more lies that complement Trump’s lies, and this supports their agenda. There is a concerted lying campaign going on.
9. The whole speech of Trump is of one pattern or aim, constructed to achieve that aim. The pieces have been twisted out of shape in order to fit the pattern.
10. The individual lies are BIG lies. They are so outrageously false that Trump and Pompeo and Bolton all have to know that they are lies.
11. The Trump et al rhetoric is repeating the same negative phrases about Iran over and over. There is clearly a concerted effort going on.

Those who have examined Trump’s statements for the past few years may say that Trump lies a great deal. That still leaves us with the burden of examining the special case of Iran. My verdict on that: Trump is guilty.

8:51 pm on May 13, 2018

Private-Law Society Will Be Right-Libertarian

I recently wrote a blog on “Work in the Private-Law Society“. I pointed out that in a private-law society, work regains its luster as an ethical value and its importance as an economic value, as opposed to the glorification of other values like equality or fairness that supposedly accompany the state’s welfare system. With no safety net in the private-law society, the necessity of work is bound to loom larger in people’s minds. This will have effects on the education system, the relations between employers and employees, and the family. Cultural and sociological changes can be expected when the work ethic is revived, and it will be revived as a natural feature of any private-law society that’s going to survive and prosper.

The implication is that a private-law society is going to be right-libertarian, not left-libertarian. This will not happen because of a conscious choice of values or by design or by the taking of ideological stands on social issues. It will happen because the revival of the spur to work and the revival of individualism as opposed to collective government action has the inherent or natural tendency to revive certain traditional values and relationships.

Consider what happens when the income tax is ended. I claim that the resulting effects are right-libertarian in tone or character; they link up to effects that Austrian critics of government emphasize. The income tax causes non-market activity to increase; its abolition will allow more activities to resurface as market activities. Specialization and division of labor rise. More importance to the market is right-libertarian in character and emphasis. The income tax finances government consumption; its abolition results in greater investment. This too is right-libertarian in character. The income tax causes higher time preference and consumption; its abolition produces lower time preference and more capital formation. This again is right-libertarian in emphasis. My claim is that left-libertarians emphasize leftist issues that are far different than these economic ones.

The private-law society is not going to aim specifically for social justice in the sense that leftists and left-libertarians value highly, other than whatever efforts go into clarifying private property holdings that may have been brought about by coercive means and such that evidence of better titles exists. For example, various forms of discrimination will not be explicitly forbidden as is the case today. Market forces will diminish these, but private property rights will allow many kinds of discrimination. Employers, insurance companies, landlords and homeowners will be able to discriminate. This is not a result that left-libertarians are going to find to their liking. It too is right-libertarian in character in its pro-market emphasis.

The private-law society is not going to be concerned about the income distribution that’s produced by the private and free decisions made by its members. This clearly does not sit well with left-libertarian thinking.

The work relations that may develop in a private-law society are unlikely to satisfy the preconceptions held by those left-libertarians who condemn what they term hierarchy, bosses, corporate power and inequality in the workplace. This is another significant area in which a viable private-law society of any significant size and scope is likely to be more consonant with right-libertarianism.

Work relations can get quite detailed. Employers may want to hire people who are clean, conservatively dressed, drug-free, sober, tattoo-free, polite, courteous, cheerful, detailed, honest, etc. There is bound to be discrimination, and it’s quite possible that the job requirements will look “conservative” in a broad sense, as opposed to “democratic” and “equal”, also in a broad sense. Right-libertarian again may win out. But there will definitely be cases where employers may want to hire people with startling dress, clothing, hair colors, jewelry, sexiness, etc. Male-female differnces will definitely arise because females are more adept at some jobs than males, and vice versa. This is still right-libertarian in nature because the market is matching people with occupations and not being forced into some arbitrary hiring methods.

The private-law society is going to place a premium on moral authority that’s earned, time-tested and that survives market tests. This is not consonant with left-libertarian ideas. They depend on assumptions about authority based upon ad hoc categories or characteristics that do not measure moral authority. To quote a left-libertarian, “But left-libertarians emphasize that the commitment to moral equality that underlies belief in equality of authority should entail the rejection of subordination and exclusion on the basis of nationality, gender, race, sexual orientation, workplace status, or other irrelevant characteristics.”

Employers in a right-libertarian society will be free to hire outsiders (immigrants) who possess desirable characteristics and who do not burden the society. By the same token, they will be free to keep undesirable immigrants out. The presence of such filters and discrimination are unlikely to satisfy left-libertarians.

I recognize that what I’m saying depends on how left-libertarianism is characterized, and that’s bound to vary from one clique or even person to the next. However, I think that my main point will stand, which is that a market order is going to tend to be more consistent with a right-libertarian than a left-libertarian character. I also recognize that not all private-law societies are going to be the same. I’m thinking in terms of a large-scale society that benefits from division of labor and trade. These are bound to be market-oriented and that’s the case I’ve assumed.

This and my previous blog are intended to deepen the divide between right and left libertarians by arguing that the private-law society of substantial size and scope is inherently going to be right-libertarian in character.

8:08 pm on May 13, 2018

Pompeo Propaganda

The new Secretion of State wants a new map of the Meddle East. To that end, he’s trumpeting propaganda on Iran, such as:

“I think Rouhani and Zarif need to explain why it’s the case that while this agreement was in place, Iran continued its march across the Middle East.”

What march? There hasn’t been any Iranian march! If Iran had invaded anyone, the noise at the U.N. would have been deafening.

By contrast, the U.S. marched, flew, drove, rolled and sailed into Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

If anyone is on the march in the Meddle East, it is the U.S.

Besides, the Iran nuclear deal didn’t preclude either Iran or the U.S. from altering their political, economic and military influence in other countries. Pompeo’s rhetoric is totally fraudulent. The new Secretion of State comes across as a man fond of deception.

Pompeo lies. He claims Iran has “now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh.” Those responsible for firing missiles at Riyadh’s airport haven’t been identified as Iranians. A Reuters report says otherwise: “Yemen’s Houthis fired a salvo of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia’s capital on Wednesday.”

Pompeo knows he’s exaggerating, misleading and lying. His purpose is to create an image of Iran that’s so negative that Trump can have a free hand in choosing Iranian targets to attack, and can place Iran on the defensive, and can justify Israeli attacks, and can justify Saudi forces in Syria.

Iran definitely has advanced its influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and what’s left of Palestine ever since the U.S. lost its control of Iran in 1979. So what? Let these countries deal with their own affairs. U.S. meddling and missteps in the Meddle East going back for 70+ years have brought about its own loss of influence.

There was never good reason, including oil security, for the U.S. to have gotten so deeply involved in this region. The price of oil security has been demonstrably exorbitant. There has never been good reason for the U.S. to aim at controlling Meddle East governments, supplying vast armaments, participating in wars, all the while choosing up allies and making enemies. The entire project of empire and oil security has been fruitless. To continue this posture now with the aim of controlling Iran’s aspirations is equally irrational.

2:26 pm on May 13, 2018

“Songbird John”

That’s what quite a few Vietnam War veterans call John McCain according to retired Air Force General Thomas McInerny, who was banned from FOX News for saying so.

1:56 pm on May 12, 2018

Trump Not Proposing to Negotiate with Iran

On May 10, 2018 at a speech in Indiana, Trump said “And I hope to be able to make a deal with them, a good deal, a fair deal, a good deal for them, better for them.” (About 70 minutes into the video.)

The words “make a deal” ordinarily mean to negotiate. Not with Trump. Trump does not propose a negotiation with Iran, because to negotiate is to bring about something by discussion. Discussion is “the action or process of talking about something”, whereas Trump has imposed sanctions on Iran again. Sanctions are not discussion. They are applications of force. As in “The Godfather”, Trump is holding a gun to Iran’s head and demanding a signature on a contract. This is definitely not negotiation.

The Indiana statement reinforces what Trump said earlier even more clearly. One day after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, Trump threatened Iran:

“So we’re going to make either a really good deal for the world, or we’re not going to make a deal at all. But they’ll negotiate, or something will happen. And hopefully, that won’t be the case.”

There can be no negotiation between the U.S. and Iran in the current conditions of Trump sanctions and threats. It’s a contradiction in terms. Whatever words are exchanged between the U.S. and Iran, they cannot be termed a negotiation. Trump is acting exactly like any statist, which is to impose policies by force over the objections of citizens who disagree. The only difference is that Trump, as head of an empire, is taking the statism onto the world as a whole and Iran in particular.

Furthermore, Trump’s statements about the deal are blatantly false. Take inspections for example. Trump’s off-stated reservations are contradicted by the IAEA:

“Meanwhile, Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear inspectors, said on Tuesday that Iran continues to abide by its commitment in the deal.

“‘Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime under the JCPOA, which is a significant verification gain,’ he said.

“‘As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.’

“There have been at least 10 round of inspections conducted by the IAEA in Iran since the deal was signed in July 2015.”

In my opinion, Trump has to know this. He’s not a dummy. He has to know that the funds restored to Iran were theirs to begin with, and he has to know that the deal does not simply sunset in 2025. In other words, I think he’s lying every which way about the deal. He’s telling the truth about his agenda, however, which is to control Iran’s policies in some detail. Breaking the deal, making demands, imposing sanctions and posing threats are his methods of attempting to bring Iran to heel. He wants to compel Iran to obey. He wants Iran to submit. Predictably, Khamenei is already telling Trump to go to hell. I do not know what other reaction Trump could reasonably have expected. Khamenei knows that Trump is not really offering to negotiate at all. There is no “good faith” left between the U.S. and Iran. Trump’s actions and threats have demolished it.

Trump is lying the U.S. into acts of war against Iran by the U.S. and its allies in the region and EU toadies. The runup to attacking Iraq on no reasonable basis was crystal clear, involving as it did outrageous lies and propaganda. In the Iran case, the repetition of charges has begun. There is also a devious false rationale being laid down as foundation for attacking Iran, which is that Iran poses a nuclear threat if it fails to kowtow completely to the U.S. demands. In other words, failure of Iran to give in to the U.S. ultimatum will be treated as a casus belli. Iran can never satisfy Trump’s demands that it never become a nuclear state and in perpetuity allow international bodies to monitor its every military move at will. No state can accept such terms without abject surrender. Anything that Iran might do would become a cause for Western complaint and further action in such an impossible scenario.

9:51 am on May 12, 2018

re: Comrade Schultz and His Communist Bathrooms

Now that Comrade Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is turning Starbucks bathrooms into public restrooms they will be like, well, public restrooms.  The $9/hour baristas at the Starbucks nearest my house were pleased when Starbucks began requiring a keycode for customers only to use their bathroom.  They were pleased because they no longer had to deal with lice-infested, stinking-to-high-heaven bums  taking “baths” in the tiny sink or drug addicts camping out in there and overdosing on heroin, requiring them to call 911 every other day.  That will all return now, presumably, all at the expense of the paying customers and employees who must also use those same bathrooms.

Not a good deal for the working class, Comrade Schultz.

8:28 am on May 12, 2018

It’s Not Just Trump

It is the U.S. presidency. Why should one man have the power to impose tariffs, launch a military strike on a country that has not attacked us, and impose sanctions? The power of the presidency is miles beyond the limited things the Constitution says about the presidency in Article II. The power of the presidency must be destroyed, as Lew Rockwell said over twenty years ago.

9:23 pm on May 11, 2018

The Nation’s Assets and Liabilities

Picture a government bathtub with the faucet running and the drain open. The faucet is the taxpayer money running in. The drain is all of the government spending running out: welfare, wars, waste, you name it. The welfare-warfare state comes under threat of interruption when the money being drained exceeds the money coming in through the faucet.

The inflows come via the nation’s assets. The outflows fulfill the nation’s obligations or liabilities.

The tub’s water level is like the excess of the nation’s value of assets over its liabilities. This is the nation’s net worth. It’s like a reservoir ready to go down the drain, even if the faucet is turned off. If the faucet’s inflows exceed the drain’s outflows, the tub’s water level or reservoir rises. If the drains exceed the inflows, the water level falls.

The welfare-warfare state comes under more risk of failing to meet its obligations as the water level falls, which can happen if the faucet stream slows down and/or the drainage speeds up. In these cases, the nation’s net worth is declining.

The federal government collected $3.7 trillion in 2017. It has payout promises to keep in the not-so-distant future (going 0-40 years out) that have a present value of anywhere from $80 to $200 trillion. Let’s use the midpoint, which is $140 trillion, as a figure. Even if every single tax dollar went to pay these obligations, they couldn’t be met. These promises are called unfunded liabilities. They are future drains, slated to begin pronto, and we know that the faucet can’t keep up with them. This will pressure the welfare-warfare state severely.

However, the government can always attempt to rob Peter to pay Paul, by tapping into the tank that supplies the faucet. The non-government sector has a net worth of about $125 trillion, being held as real estate, stocks, bonds, and businesses. Tapping these sources means raising taxes. That will reduce the flows from the faucet. Besides, it’s not so easy politically to raise taxes. The rates can be raised but then various counter-effects come into play that reduce the government’s revenues. If the government taps this tank, it’s because of the welfare-warfare state’s drains.

Another source of revenue is for the government to tap its own tank. The government owns lots of land and mineral resources. No one knows how much these are worth or what could be realized from them, but the numbers may be very large. They are in the neighborhood of the unfunded liabilities. The U.S. government may in desperation seek to exploit this wealth to keep the welfare-warfare state afloat. If this happens, it’s because of the welfare-warfare state’s drains.

The other option is to renege on its unfunded liabilities, which means cutting back the welfare state.

All roads lead to Rome, in this case Rome being financial constraints upon the federal government’s spending on welfare and warfare. It’s going to run out of other pools (tanks) of assets to drain into its bathtub. Its victims may begin to squawk and resist.

Paradoxically, a burst of capitalism might enhance the faucet’s flows and extend the life of the parasitic democratic socialist government. This cannot be counted upon because the processes that create and destroy wealth are subject to so many unpredictable factors. It’s predictable that the central bank’s policies are bound to create another recession at some point, and that will cause the faucet’s flows to diminish while the drains will rise. Crisis will again be in the air.

7:45 pm on May 11, 2018

Australia, Gun-Control “Utopia,” Has Worst Mass Shooting in 22 Years


Seven (four children, a mother, and two grandparents) massacred.

NBC writes: Australia’s gun laws are widely acclaimed as a success, with supporters including former U.S. President Barack Obama saying Australia has not had a single mass shooting since they were implemented.

Not so:

The generally accepted definition of a mass shooting — four deaths excluding the shooter in a single event — has been met only once in Australia since [the strict gun controls of 1996]. In 2014, a farmer shot his wife and three children before killing himself.

The policy prescription of course will be more gun control.

12:25 pm on May 11, 2018

When Will the Welfare State Fail?

The welfare state is not a response to technological or economic conditions that produce hardship and an underclass. The welfare state is created by politicians who institute it. It is politically driven. They could not accomplish this without the existence of a cash cow of productivity growth, but the latter doesn’t fore-ordain that a welfare state be brought into being. Productivity growth doesn’t produce unemployment and people who cannot survive by their own work. There are prices for all sorts of labor, if the labor markets are left to adjust freely.

Productivity growth, brought about via capitalism, brings down the prices of goods needed to survive, but central bankers inflate. This creates differential effects on people in different classes. Inflation robs those most, the lower classes and less-educated, whose earning power is marginal and who do not have the knowledge to cope with its effects. It penalizes “thrift and hard work”, Rothbard tells us. It aids those most in a position to hold wealth in real assets, those who are well-connected and educated.

“Spending and going into debt are encouraged; thrift and hard work discouraged and penalized. Not only that: the groups that benefit are the special interest groups who are politically close to the government and can exert pressure to have the new money spent on them so that their incomes can rise faster than the price inflation. Government contractors, politically connected businesses, unions, and other pressure groups will benefit at the expense of the unaware and unorganized public.”

The welfare state can only expand as long as the value of the “nation’s assets” outpaces the value of the “nation’s liabilities”. Wealth growth has to exceed debt growth in order to create a cash cow. When and if this condition fails, then the welfare state halts its growth. Demographics alone can cause this to occur. Wars can deplete the assets. Over-expansion of benefits causes excessive debt growth. Poor economic policies that stymie capitalistic policies cause decline in productivity. These are the kinds of factors that place a strain on the welfare state.

Politicians are myopic, and they tend to their own self-interest. They do not listen to the David Stockmans of this world until they run headlong into a crisis.

When the cash cow fund stops growing, benefits stabilize or decline. Taxpayers feel the squeeze. The welfare state goes into reverse when the nation’s liabilities exceed the nation’s assets. The producers of wealth feel the pinch as taxes rise and the recipients find benefits declining. The longevity of the welfare state depends on productivity and the levels of financing of welfare payments by debt and taxes.

8:52 am on May 11, 2018

Work in the Private-Law Society

A private-law society has no government safety net. In 2011, the Congressional Research Service found that the federal government had 83 welfare programs that were costing over $1 trillion. Welfare is the largest component of government spending. One trillion dollars is like 50 million people x $20,000 each. Welfare programs actually service 52.2 million people. That’s a lot of people, a lot of money, a lot of government theft, a lot of welfare dependency and a lot of incentive to stay out of work.

In a private-law society in America, these 50-odd million people have to find other means to live and eat. The main means is work. Work gains respect and value in the private-law society as compared with the welfare state. The work ethic makes a comeback. The broader meaning of equality, which is a value that’s used to justify wealth redistribution, takes a licking in the private-law society. There is equality before the law, but other meanings are shorn away.

The second or third largest welfare program is food stamps, now known in bureaucratic language as “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)”. This “aid” program aids recipients while robbing taxpayers and others. At its peak in 2013, the number of individuals on food stamps was 47.6 million.

In a private-law society, government does not exist, so that the number of people on food stamps falls to zero (0). Voluntary giving will aid some of these people; the criteria for acceptance will be stiffer than a government program. Many former recipients will be induced to find work. Employers will be induced to create work for people previously out of work, who may be employable at low wage rates.

The disappearance of food stamps will have powerful incentive effects as people realize the government is not there to bail them out. People who are not on food stamps but who may fall upon hard times on occasion will be induced to work harder and smarter. They will be induced to learn skills that are saleable. They will be induced to save, not spend all they earn, so as to have the means to ride out a period of unemployment. Since all unemployment is avoidable by lowering one’s price for labor, people will be induced to avoid unions that hold out for above-market wages. Entrepreneurs will be induced to devise insurance that protects at least partially against unemployment. Those who may be inclined to use drugs or alcohol to excess will be induced to restrain their proclivities, because if they cannot work they may not survive. The end of food stamps will induce families to pull together. It will raise the authority within families of those who are the breadwinners. Work itself will become more valued as an essential element of society, as the rule “No work, no eat” becomes known and effective.

All of the above incentives run in reverse when food stamps are a welfare program.

When I searched on “welfare and left-libertarians”, I found all sorts of arguments that claimed compatibility of the welfare state and libertarianism. The private-law society and its concomitant elimination of the welfare state are incompatible with all such versions of left-libertarianism. There is no way to sugarcoat this pill. If left-libertarians think that the welfare state is a good idea, they have my blessing to form their own “church” of welfare, to extract tithes forcibly from their members, and to redistribute them in any ways they like. But this activity should be at their own cost and risk, and not be imposed upon anyone who rejects such a church.

2:02 pm on May 10, 2018

Europe ‘Can No Longer Trust US For Protection.’ Good.

1:17 pm on May 10, 2018

Trump Kills Iran Deal – Who Wins? Who Loses?

12:53 pm on May 9, 2018

Assimilation, American Style

For those who fret that newcomers don’t assimilate to American culture (I know, I know: between margarine, McDonald’s, divorce, promiscuity, Hollywood, and spandex, who wouldn’t eagerly shake off the old ways in favor of ours?), here’s an immigrant who’s adjusted with a passion. TK not only sent me the link but summarized the story as well:

1. Mexican “immigrant” comes to Minneapolis; starts pinata business.
2. Mexican “immigrant” creates pinata figures for “multiracial” wedding and hangs them to dry on his front porch.
3. Outrage is then “sparked” by passersby, who claim it’s <gasp!> racial violence.
4. He calls cops and asks for extra patrols because he fears backlash.
5. Sputters profuse apology for his ignorance and lack of sensitivity to “the community.”

No. 5 is particularly tragic. The report’s headline reads, “Minneapolis piñata maker apologizes after misperception of racism,” i.e., the guy was completely innocent of the charges “passerbsby” lodged against him, yet he still groveled as he begged pardon.

Is the Amerikan train barreling past yet another of totalitarianism’s terminals, “Show Trials With Abject Apologies From Those Who’ve Done NOTHING Wrong”?

 

11:23 am on May 9, 2018

It’s Almost Time for Memorial Day Blasphemy

I have already seen some churches advertising their patriotic services for the Sunday before Memorial Day. One large church in central Florida is having an Army chaplain speak and will be honoring Afghan war vets. The service will be pure military idolatry I’m sure. Would Jesus celebrate Memorial Day? I answer that question here.

8:00 am on May 9, 2018