Monday, November 28, 2016

Something for Nothing

You will often hear the claim that those supporting socialism or any form of collectivism want "something for nothing."    Do they still get the benefit of the doubt?  I mean, do we still believe that the folks supporting collectivism in whatever form are really aiming at something for *nothing?*   I frankly can't believe it any longer.  I think they know exactly that what they want is "something from somebody else."   Could there really be some left who think the state somehow produces wealth from which to distribute?  I suppose.  But it can't be an appreciable number any longer.   I recommend we no longer give the collectivists even the benefit of the doubt in our common speech.   There has never been, in the history of the world, 'something' for 'nothing.'  Ever.  And they know it.  
I think the reason so many are attracted to the socialists or collectivists, is that they have no experience with well maintained law, and lots of experience with all manner of advantages bestowed by government through corrupt law that favors this or that business / corporation / group / etc.   When the law itself is not justice but instead is the actual legalization of cheating, what options are then open to the citizen?   I think most, if not explicitly in their own minds, feel that if 'it's all fixed/ rigged/ corrupt / etc.' anyway, then by God, 'my group is going to get theirs.'  Or, 'We'll use government force to make things a certain standard, that we define, for the poor, or the common man, or the little people, or the average joe, etc.'    If government must be a tool for cheating, the masses must be care for, or placated, depending on your perspective.   In the US, some 23% of gdp gets funneled into some form of social welfare.  The republicans miss the reality of the situation when they only scream and yell about this sort of theft (or are complicit, or are part of the great lie.)  Very few ask how much of the remaining 77% of gdp is directed by some form of govt. cheating / favoritism / special loans / special tax structure / tariffs / favoring regulation / bailout / special rates / tax or regulatory structures that favors established businesses in general / etc.    The social welfare is chump change.  The left and right seem to fight over how large a portion of the loot should go to keep the masses 'happy.'  But very very few question the entire system of cheating itself - and this cheating is perhaps even more prevalent in our local and state governments than even at the federal level.  I hear very few voices any longer calling for returning law to justice - no cheating, no favoritism, for anyone or any group.   The excuse given for the cheating is typically "this regulation or law will help the 'community' or 'state' or 'country' or 'the people' as a whole."  What they mean however is that they think that a certain majority (if that) is benefitted by whatever it is they are proposing as law.  The proper question is whether anyone's rights are being violated by the law, as then it is certainly not a common good.  The short sightedness is truly astounding.  Those forwarding such cheating as 'for the common good,' are either lying or can not see that they are a terrible harm if they are legislating for the range of the moment. To cheat for the advantage of any particular company or product in the *now*, is discriminatory to developing better ideas or future better companies etc., let alone the unfairness done to competitors in the market now.  Can they not see this?!  Can the people not see that the bureaucrats idea of what's best is the LAST opinion we should take on the matter?  If we legislate to help the torch, we may lose the light bulb forever.

As a practical matter, if the socialism / collectivism is to be defeated politically, the corporate / business / wealthy cheating must be attacked first.  This has been historically a terrible mistake on the right, as they have traditionally made a fuss over the social welfare type of cheating.  I don't know if it is because those active politically just don't understand, or if they are cheaters themselves. ps The problem, of course, is much bigger than 'how do we fashion a government that does not cheat for anyone?'   The problem is 'how do we move from an intricately astoundingly corrupt system of cheats upon cheats upon cheats in every facet of government action in nearly every aspect of our lives - to a government that cheats for no one.'   This is a much much bigger problem politically because there are millions of honest people's livelihoods that would be disrupted in some way should law be returned to only justice.   Our best political minds should be working on THAT.   Examples:  how to get government out of medicine with the least amount of harm,  out of social security without further cheating anyone, out of education without making a worse mess, etc. etc.   With no practical, clear, detailed plans addressing the real possible harms/ issues involved in extricating government from activities in which it CAN NOT act justly, we're just whistling in the wind.

Monday, January 25, 2016

True Rights and Morality

Thanks to our very fuzzy state indoctrination, many think that property rights means a right to property, rather than a right to defend the property /goods one has either created or for which one has honestly traded. "Right to property" vaguely subsumes a right to have property of some sort provided by 'somebody' -- usually the faceless, nebulous 'country,' or 'people,' or 'state,' or 'taxpayers,' or 'government.'

Since every material value / good / commodity / service is brought to a usable and available state by the work of actual individuals spending a portion of their lifetime, life effort, and life thought - literally using up some of their time,thought, effort on this earth - it is a contradiction to say that one individual has a 'right' to be provided with any property / good /service at all. Why is it a contradiction? Because a right to 'be provided' something that requires the expenditure of another person's life would mean that one person is right - ful owner of a portion of another person's life. If people 'own' each other's lives, no one has a RIGHT to their own life, and therefore no one can have ANY rights at all. If you do not own full authority of your own life and the disposal of your own life - meaning how you use, spend, sustain, or discard - your own life, then you can't possibly have any REAL, defend-able ownership or right to anything else, including the lives of other people.
The foregoing few sentences demonstrate the hashing through the process by which the very concept of a right breaks down when it is maintained that a person can have a 'right' to goods/services provided by another person.

The fundamental right is right to one's own life -- ownership or authority of disposal of one's own life - the right to dictate what one does with one's own life and bear the consequences for those decisions. All the other actual rights -- liberty, defense of one's own property, justice -- can be derived from this fundamental right to one's own life.

Interestingly, there  is no right to 'have' a life - rather we each simply find ourselves WITH a life, and our right is in authority over the life that we find that we have.   It is of course nonsense to say that 'we' have a right to have "a" life, for there is no 'we' at all to say anything at all about before we do in fact exist, and at that point, we already 'have' the life to which we were considering whether or not we had right.   Nor is there a right for either the universe nor other people to sustain our lives, or provide for our lives, or assist us in that sustenance or provision. Rather, we have rightful disposal of our lives, and, as it is unequivocally necessary to be able to SELF sustain our lives, we must possess the liberty to act on our judgments /thought, and not be forcibly prevented in our efforts to provide for and sustain our own lives, in a manner consistent with what we are - rational beings. It is by this reasoning that it is demonstrated that we must abide by the principle of respecting right to life in order to remain rational beings supporting our own lives. To continue consistently AS such rational beings, we must respect the right to life and liberty of others.  Otherwise, we are not living by a rational principle of 'men ought respect right to life' as the best possible course for all men.
The right to defend those goods/values that one has honestly produced with one's own life, and its applicability to other individuals, follows in the same way.

What then is moral of each of us in thought and action with our lives?  The moral is that which is true and good for ourselves as individuals. It is interesting that we do not, and CAN NOT, have a rightful forcible obligation to assist another man.   Such an obligation would be equivalent to claiming each man owns some of his neighbor's life, and the whole idea of right to life or any rights breaks down, as above.   It is better said - we do not OWE any man a portion of our lives to assist / nourish / sustain him. His existence is not a rightful tax on our existence, nor a rightful burden that we would be justly condemned for not carrying. To maintain that, say, a starving man was done a wrong by us should we not help him, or that we did not fulfill the concept of justice in the case of not helping him, would be false, as we do not OWE him even a second of our lives. (For Christian Theists out there: Jesus Christ did not OWE any of us a millisecond of His life either.)
That said, we each, must personally very carefully consider whether assisting the starving man is or is not in our personal best interest, judged within the fullest possible conception of the entirety of our existence, and the natural consequences of our choices. There are a great many helpful ways to approach the question. This is certainly not something to take lightly. All of our choices of guiding principles in interactions with other humans have great bearing on our relative satisfaction with the totality of our lives, certainly from a theist's point of view, but also from a materialist's view.
Each of us must carefully work through what sort of world we would be contributing to by way of the principles we choose in such a situation, if we rationally conclude that such decisions participate in such influence, and that different outcomes can be either more or less satisfactory to our selves, and to those we value. What sort of existence guided by what kind of fundamental tenants of human interaction is BEST for ourselves - for those we value? Do the choices we make in such cases influence the choices of others in similar cases, and how does this affect the positive or negative movement of the interpersonal climate in which we live?
At all times, these crucial considerations, must be kept utterly distinct from any life robbing, right destroying, culture poisoning, and love corrupting, notion of OWING anyone else a portion of our lives, or, from the other perspective, any notion of others OWNING or possessing a 'right' to a portion of our life or life efforts.
In cases such as the starving man, or any other, morality is to be found in the fully rational personal judgment of self interest in full context. It is only here, in personally valuing that which is rationally found to be truly good for self, in full context of one's existence, that mercy and justice find common ground.
Frederick Bastiat wrote that the very first step to determining a proper economics and government, was to ascertain whether the TRUE best interests of all individuals are harmonious or antagonistic.  Think about that for a while.   We are not considering what each person might have as a whim at any given time, or even what individuals might mistakenly believe is in his or her best interest.  No.   Imagine, in the full context of every human's totality of existence what, in every situation and every principle of action is truly in their best interest.   Are these interests antagonistic or harmonious among all individuals?   Each respective answer leads logically to a very different economics and very different ideal government for people.   If harmonious, free trade, and a government strictly confined to protecting every individual's rights equally is the proper course.   If antagonistic, then 'best' interests are indeed in harming one another for personal gain, and government must be the MOST forceful agent to rule nearly every interaction and dictate all distribution.  
For the theist and Christian, at this point you must ask just what exactly you think of the nature, character, and intent of the God you have come to call Lord.   What sort of reality do you think He has made?  One in which the bedrock TRUTH is that all his created beings are in fact in a position of antagonism?  Or do you think that is part of the great lie, the great deception?    Do you think He made a reality in which each of us is a discrete being who may excel as best able and interact with all others as a trader of acutal spiritual, mental, and physical values - to the greater satisfaction of all concerned?   Or, do you think He created a reality in which the truth is that every excellence in any man is only so much more debt he owes to everyone else?   To go this way, is to go the way of much of so called christendom --- The perfection of Christ DEMANDS that he must die.   That is the brutal ugly, anti-life, anti-good, anti-excellence, position that has deceived so many.
Consider this carefully.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


From Mises "Human Action"

terms inflationism and deflationism, inflationist and deflationist, signify the poIitica1 programs aiming at inflation and deflation in the sense of big cash-induced changes in purchasing power. The semantic revolution which is one of the characteristic features of our day has also changed the traditional connotation of the terms inflation and deflation. What many people today call inflation or deflation is no longer the great increase or decrease in the supply of money, but its inexo- rable consequences, the general tendency toward a rise or a fall in com- modity prices and wage rates. This innovation is by no means harmless. It plays an important role in fomenting the popular tehdencies toward in- flationism. First of all there is no longer any term available to signify what inflation used to signify. It is impossible to fight a policy which you cannot name. Statesmen and writers no longer have the opportunity of resorting to a ter- minology accepted and understood by the public when they want to ques- tion the expediency of issuing huge amounts of additional money. They must enter into a detailed analysis and description of this policy with full particulars and minute accounts whenever they want to refer to it, and they must repeat this bothersome procedure in every sentence in which they deal with the subject. As this policy has no name, it becomes self- understood and a matter of fact. It goes on luxuriantly. The second mischief is that those engaged in futile and hopeless attempts to fight the inevitable consequences of inflation-the rise in prices-are disguising their endeavors as a fight against inflation. While merely fight- ing symptoms, they pretend to fight the root causes of the evil. Because they do not comprehend the causal relation betw-een the increase in the quantity of money on the one hand and the rise in prices on the other, they practicalIy make things worse. The best example was provided by the sub- sidies granted on the part of the governments of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain to farmers. Price ceilings reduce the supply of the com- modities concerned because production involves a loss for the marginal producers. To prevent this outcome the governments granted subsidies to the farmers producing at the highest costs. These subsidies were financed out of additional increases in the quantity of money. If the consumers had

lndirect Exchange 42 1

had to pay higher prices for the products concerned, no further inflation- ary effects would have emerged. The consumers would have had to use for such surplus expenditure only money which had already been issued pre- viously. Thus the confusion of inflation and its consequences in fact can directly bring about more inflation. It is obvious that this new-fangled connotation of the terms inflation and deflation is utterly confusing and misleading and must be unconditionally rejected.


I realize that is long, but I think it important to grasp the various confusions about the terms inflation or inflationary and deflation / deflantionary.

The prime distinction is really between cash (forcible government money supply changes) induced price movements up or down of commodities and wages, or what I call 'natural' causes.

Prices of particular commodities rise and fall naturally due to all sorts of specific changes in supply and demand and the prices of other competing commodities, etc. These are beneficial in that they allow trade to occur justly. These do not cause shifts of wealth - meaning gains by one person or group do not come at the expense of another person or group.

It is the forcible government tinkering with the money supply through a variety of methods that leads to what should be termed inflation or deflation (although deflation is rarely done.) There are several things to note here. 1) resulting commodity prices or wage rates do not all happen at once. Sometimes it takes years for prices of particular commodities to rise in response to a particular inflationary expansion of the money/money substitute/credit supply. This is useful to know as this or that blow hard bloviates about some commodity the price of which has not risen or has fallen by some natural cause.

2) This forcible injection of concocted fiat money / credit into the system does go somewhere FIRST. Here is the list of primary dealers through which the newly fabricated fiat 'money' goes first -

Bank of Nova Scotia, New York Agency
BMO Capital Markets Corp.
BNP Paribas Securities Corp.
Barclays Capital Inc.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
Daiwa Capital Markets America Inc.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.
Jefferies LLC
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated
Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC
Nomura Securities International, Inc.
RBC Capital Markets, LLC
RBS Securities Inc.
SG Americas Securities, LLC
TD Securities (USA) LLC
UBS Securities LLC.

These agencies and their clients / and those they loan the money to, can then of course bid up the (typically) capital investments needed to expand and grow. THIS is a forcible shift in real wealth - real ownership of actual stuff, or services, or land, or machines, etc. The losers are those competing business that could not bid as high in competition with the government fiat money padded agencies, AND eventually every actual person producing anything of trade value, as the value of the fabricated fiat 'money' comes from the dilution of value of all the fiat 'money' previously in existence. Inflation.
It is theft, sanctioned by our government, by force of 'law', and the politicians that have continually allowed it to go on are supported directly or indirectly by the beneficiaries of the theft.

It is evil. Wrong. It is the use of 'law' for crime.

Do not tell me it is 'good' for 'the economy.' What rot!.

As for the 'measurement' of inflation, nothing could be more misty voodoo hocus pocus, for the above reasons, as well as the very questionable motivations of our legislator and the fed, as they 'select' the commodities to use in measurement.

ANY artificial forcible expansion of the fiat money /money substitute / credit supply IS inflation, and will, over variable time, lead to lower purchasing power than what would have been the case otherwise. This in itself is a good point to keep in mind. Real 'inflation' is like an iceberg. We only see the price rises of some commodities - the tip of the ice berg poking out of the water. Do not forget that prices of a wide assortment of items tend to fall as production becomes more efficient / refined / transportation plans improve / technology advances to provide components more cheaply, etc. etc. These natural forces driving prices downward is like the ocean hiding the huge inflationary forces either keeping prices steady or just a few percentage points / year.

The screwing that the average productive laborer is being subjected to year after year is of truly horrifying proportions. And he is told he is being 'cared for' by his benevolent philanthropic government... mmm.. more like cared for as a jackal cares for a downed gazelle. He is being consumed.