A Few Quotes

A few gems from Theo Spark.

“The thing they forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and stop. You do not do that. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them!” – Sergeant Alvin York

“The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” – Samuel Adams, in a letter to James Warren, on November 4, 1775

“Never forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn’t let him do if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for burglars, muggers, and rapists, and even more so for policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians.” – from the novel Hope by Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith

“When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it.
When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on.
When a man spends someone else’s money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn’t care at all how much he spends.
And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you.” -Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” – Mark Twain

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized: In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer (German Philosopher, 1788-1860)

“Three groups spend other people’s money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision.” – Dick Armey

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Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 05:23  Leave a Comment  

This Just In . . .

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 07:50  Leave a Comment  

Socialism: A Hate Story

This excellent essay by Doctor Zero was published over at The Green Room. Many think that Socialism is only one form of government among many, and in theory, the best in the minds of a lot of them. A quaint notion, that, given a century of experimentation that should have disabused any intelligent observer. Here are some choice morsels:

One of the most persistent and dangerous illusions of socialism is the belief that money becomes magically virtuous when government handles it. Politicians are at least as greedy as any captain of industry. The installation of a politburo does not eliminate ambition from a society – it changes the means used to fulfill those ambitions. The political class achieves its desires through force, by definition. Unlike commerce, force produces no side benefits for the larger population – the politician and his constituents get what they want, at the expense of everyone else.

What about the little guy? Doesn’t he benefit under benign socialist control? Of course not. He never has, anywhere on Earth, during the many times collective governments have gained power. The common man might realize some short-term gains when the socialist government marches into power – wow, free health care! It never lasts. It can’t. Socialist control destroys the very mechanisms of prosperity it needs to pay off on its promises.

Socialists despise competition – they find virtue in the idea that everyone deserves everything, and benevolent leaders have a responsibility to provide it. Competition doesn’t disappear under socialist control – that’s another childish fantasy. Instead, socialism replaces competition between individuals with competition between groups. The former is energetic and constructive, while the latter is bitter, and almost inevitably violent. In a total State, the individual has no way to improve his situation, no way to build a better life on his own. Instead, he must join a collective – a group large and powerful enough to influence the government, which dispenses all benefits.

When everything you have is provided by the State, you will easily come to hate anyone whose demands take priority over yours. They are not your competitors. They are your enemies.

Capitalism is indeed a love story, born from the enduring respect of free men for the maturity and liberty of their fellow citizens. It is better to be poor in a capitalist society, than middle-class in any of the miserable “worker’s paradises” that litter the world. Free people working together, and in competition, generate the prosperity that stands as the only medicine against poverty.

In the main, an excellent summation of Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”, buttressed by sixty years of bitter experience. Go read the whole thing.

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 07:34  Leave a Comment  

On Taxes and Freedom

Below is an essay I wrote with the hope/expectation that it would get published in Dead Tree Media somewhere.  Who knows if it will or not, but I can see no reason why the world should wait for DTM to act or be deprived altogether if it doesn’t.

Taxes erode freedom.  One of the ways in which taxes erode freedom is rooted in the nature of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies.  This is because the only source of income for government bureaucracies is tax revenue.  Bureaucracies are necessary in any society, without them no large scale institution could function.

However, all bureaucracies suffer from certain defects simply because these are intrinsic to human nature.  Among these defects is mission creep, the tendency of an organization to expand its area of influence.  We know this intuitively: the more we have, the more we want, and then we feel entitled to it, even if it was originally understood to be only temporary.  Like Topsy, bureaucracies just grow, and grow and grow.  Another great defect is that bureaucracies resist accountability.  Government bureaucracies all over the world can scarcely be held accountable to those who control the purse strings, and not at all to those whom they ostensibly serve.  The stories of bureaucratic indifference, inefficiency and incompetence are legendary, we have all heard them time and again.  The bigger the bureaucracy the more egregious the outrages it commits.  For the citizen, bureaucracy is the face of government, and it is not smiling.

Taken together these two tendencies are inimical to freedom.  Supposedly bureaucracies do what citizens cannot do.  In actuality, bureaucracies displace citizens from what they have been doing as a matter of course.  Welfare bureaucracies have displaced the family as the source of support in difficult times.  School bureaucracies have replaced parents as the primary educators of children.  In both these cases, as in many others, government bureaucracies produce results that are at best disappointing.  What is worse is that they have become entrenched monopolies which dominate the lives of citizens and dictate what we can and cannot do.  Backed by legal force, government bureaucracies compel the people they ‘serve’ to either become part of the system or suffer criminal, civil and/or economic penalties, rendering them powerless in either case.

The current administration has proposed massive increases in spending for bureaucratic expansion into ever more areas of public and private life, while cleverly hiding the cost which must ultimately be borne by the taxpayer.  The signs are clear: “No tax increase” is rapidly becoming “Mo’ tax increase.”  The corollary to more taxes is more government bureaucracy. This is exactly what we have already seen: using tax dollars the administration has in less than six months engaged in hostile takeovers in the banking, auto, and insurance industries.  More government bureaucracy means more government control and necessarily less freedom for all of us.

This administration’s policies pose a threat to freedom unparalleled in our nation’s history.  If we are to retain our character as a free people these cancerous budgets, bailouts and tax increases must be rescinded.  The window of freedom within which we can act is growing rapidly smaller, we must act now while we are still able.  Write your Congressman, attend a Tea Party, get active in your community, and do it today

Published in: on July 12, 2009 at 07:15  Leave a Comment  

Porretto’s Suggestion for Action

Over at Eternity Road Francis Porretto makes an excellent suggestion.  His suggestion is excellent, in fact.  The only thing missing is this piece: once you have made your accusation, demand that the target explain himself.  Demand it over and over.  No matter what the explanation, don’t relent.  Keep demanding.  My only quibble is that this should not be done in a spirit of revenge, but simply as a useful tactic.  This is a tactic that has been used effectively by the Left.  It is time it was taken up and used by the right.

Published in: on July 8, 2009 at 22:01  Leave a Comment  

A Note on Palin Fever

I have been puzzled by the events leading up to the 2008 election.  It seems as if some ancient divine archetypes floated down and attached themselves to Obama and Palin just to make humankind mad.  The deeply visceral reactions both these people have elicited goes far beyond the normal scope and range of human insanity.  People of great notoriety normally attract a smallish number of folks who see them as either divine or demonic and react accordingly.  In the case of these two the numbers of worshipers (in both the positive and negative sense) is greater than expected by several orders of magnitude.

I do not believe in archetypes as having other than mythological reality (Pace, Dr. Jung!), but I am reminded of my father’s admonition to me as a kid, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make angry.”  The original Greek has, I believe, “would first make mad” (as in insane).  This would mean, as I see it, we, as a culture, are in deep doo-doo not so much because of the actions of our national leaders, but because vast swathes of the population have taken leave of their senses.

Published in: on July 7, 2009 at 11:02  Leave a Comment  

Third (4th & 5th) Time the Charm?

Via Dr. Sanity and NeoNeocon comes this astonishing but unsurprising development: Repeal the 22nd Amendment.   It would be interesting to see who is behind this and into what web of associations they fit.  Dollars to donuts we’ll see our old friends ACORN and George Soros on the list.

Published in: on July 5, 2009 at 11:44  Leave a Comment  

July 3 Tea Party*/*Independence Day Celebration

By the way, there’s going to be a Tea Party Tax Protest / Independence Day Celebration on July 3rd from 3 to 7 pm in La Canada, details here. Admission $10 cash includes hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and oodles of entertainment including AlfonZo Rachel and other personages of brilliance and renown.

Tea Party Flyer

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 10:47  Leave a Comment  

Iran’s Song and Presidential Quietude

It is more than rare that evil presents itself nakedly to the eyes of men.  No, evil will always seek to hide itself, be it under the cover of darkness, in a lie or behind a wall of silence.  Always evil hides.  It does so because it knows itself to be what it is: evil.  It knows that if its nature were revealed all would recoil from it and it would have no power.

The value of the American Presidency in international affairs derives in no small measure from its power to adumbrate evil deeds in shadow, and so rob them of the tacit legitimacy that silence confers.  Mr. Obama’s initial silence followed by a muted “Tut, tut, my good man!” speaks to, at best his own moral ambiguity, or more frankly, to his own predisposition to befriend the darkness.

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 10:45  Leave a Comment  

Discussion: Capitalism and Freedom, 1958 edition

This video of Mike Wallace interviewing Mortimer Adler in 1958 is very interesting for a variety of reasons, not least the level of public discourse commonly practiced at the time. You wouldn’t see something so elevated on television in our dumbed down age. The most startling notion put forward here, in my view, is that property ownership divorced from political enfranchisement is inimical to liberty.

Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 07:29  Leave a Comment