Showing posts with label Liberty isn't so bad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberty isn't so bad. Show all posts

Sep 22, 2013

A Sunday Sermon; Obama as Socialist?

The context here is a life-long discussion with an old and cherished friend who has lately called me out for alleging that President Obama is a socialist and leader of the nation's current crop of socialists. My friend the professor insists he is something else, sometimes using the term "pragmatist," and seems to insist that socialism must assume the classic form theorized by Marx and Lenin, among others.

The latest chapter from my end of the internet:

Dear ----,

You are my oldest and dearest friend, so it is with affection and respect I say you're being a trifle obscure here. Unless, of course, you are replaying that old 33 1/3 LP we've spun before -- enough times that it is getting scratchy.

I am well aware that the classical definition of "socialism" is "state ownership of the means of production." Of course we're not there yet. Furthermore, however, you are the last person in the world who needs reminding that socialism, like all the ideologies I can think of,  creeps.

The socialist ideal is not "state ownership of the means of production." That is simply one of the mechanistic devices -- usually late in the theoretical revolutionary game -- to achieve the actual desired end. I summarize that aim as total control of individuals by a tiny cadre who combine four qualities: (1) a thirst for power; (2) a not necessarily accurate belief that they know better than the individual what is good for him; (3)  another sincere -- but accurate  -- belief that they know what is good for themselves; (4) the political astuteness -- demagogic and Machiavellian -- to achieve their ends.

It makes no difference to Barack Obama who holds the deed to General Motors. If he can control its products, income, wages, working conditions, and degree of competition, he has satisfied his political goals.

Neither he nor anyone else on what we call the "left" cares who owns the shares of my bank. So long as they control the interest I pay and receive, decisions about who shall and shall not be entitled to loans,  and the degree of privacy afforded my banking transactions, they have all the authority they desire.

In fact, I suspect sophisticated socialists rather fear actual ownership. It would burden them with responsibility for the results of their industry. With the softer sorts of statism, which this administration promotes daily, they are always, always, free to argue that the robber barons violated Title 10, Chapter 12,  Section 69, Paragraph 1238,  Subparagraph 13,  Lines 3 and 3c.

"... and that's why the People's boots fall apart in the rain and cost a month's wages. "


The issue is not one of ownership. It is of who shall be permitted to make decisions. Just as a little thinking exercise, let's try to recall the cases in the past five years when Mr. Obama demanded that some decision-making authority be taken away from the state and returned to a private citizen


Nov 9, 2012

Prepping for a Sandy

There's nothing contrived for a  photograph here. That's where and how the lanterns and the atlas live. It's a corner of the big, libertarian bay window installed some years ago.

( Libertarian" in the sense that the project required, but was built without, a permission slip from the Regulators of the village of Smugleye-on-Lake. The sheriff has not been around with a warrant yet, illustrating that you sometimes get away with egregious anti-social behavior.  Part of the secret is just doing it while keeping your mouth shut until the statute of limitations runs out.)

Our power grid is quite dependable out here, even in the land of the tornado and the fierce blizzard. But sometimes the lights do go out, and when that happens at night I am in Room 101. The Worst Thing in the World is boredom.

Here in just a couple of square feet is an escape, illumination and information.

It isn't everything a fellow needs for survival, just a start. But, funny, it just seems to lead to other units of self-sufficiency. A few more lanterns, several feet of books, candles, LED flashlights, stashed lentils, rice, canned food, and so forth.

I tend to identify this attitude as "country," but I'm probably wrong. Even in Manhattan, Hoboken, there must be thousands of citizens of common sense and the ability to think ahead. We're led to an opposite view largely by the electric television industry which finds it more dramatic, and hence better for the Neilsons, to point their cameras exclusively at the bleaters.

"Don't nobody come to help me yet. Whattem I gonna do?"

I dunno  for sure. I suppose you could try hanging another picture of President Obama or Governor Chris your wall.

Feb 11, 2012

Oh it's brother Jimmy's turn to throw the bomb

Well, heck. I've thought of myself all these years as a simple libertarian, friendly, not too bullheaded about my ideas,  just a regular live-and-let-live guy who would shoot you only as a last resort.

Rigorous testing by the authoritative Christian Science Monitor reveals the black truth. 

File:Anarcho-capitalist flag.svg

You are an anarcho-capitalist.

You have sailed right past Paul's hard-nosed libertarianism and off into the uncharted waters of right-wing anarchism. You would be most happy living on a private island that you have declared a sovereign state, which, needless to say, won't be seeking to join the UN anytime soon..


So be it. (The warmer the island and its nubility, the better.)

Dec 18, 2011

The Freedom Ferry

George Will of the Washington Post is maddening. Today Ayn Rand, tomorrow George Soros.

He talks the talk about American liberty, then lauds guys of the Romney caste to lead us to freedom. He has sometimes gone softer than squishy on self-defense rights. In 1991 he suggested we might repeal the Second Amendment.

This happens to be one of his better days. It occurred to him that that the libertarian idea of leaving folks alone can be pretty broad. It can even be interpreted to include  the right to earn a living without years of tugging your forelock, on bended knee before the bureaucrats, begging permission to do a little honest business.

George discovered Jim and Cliff Courtney, two brothers conspiring to create a new ferry service across Lake Chelan in the Cascades. The State of Washington has marshaled its might to say, "No. There's already a state-sanctioned ferry service, so get lost."

"...84 years ago,"  Will writes, " Washington state asserted a principle much favored by all of America’s governments:It may parcel out certain economic liberties sparingly and only to those who can prove to government that their exercise of their liberty will satisfy some government-concocted criteria."

(I doubt there are many better  better short definitions of tyranny in the English language.)

Jim and Cliff run a resort on one end of the 55-mile-long lake, far beyond the end of  any road. so you get to those environs by private boat or plane or  a seasonal two-vessel ferry service -- a government sanctioned monopoly. The two boats operate once a day, both sailing at the same time and, get this, in the same direction.

The brothers think they can do better. All they need is approval of  a couple of dozen bureaucrats to sign off on their application for a "certificate of public interest, convenience, and necessity." The bureaucrats tell Jim and Cliff to go pound rocks, and  the lawsuit begins.

Back to Will. He's referring to a couple of old Supreme Court decisions which hold that personal liberty does not necessarily mean personal economic liberty.

"It is now routine for government to have transactions with rent-seekers — private interests who want public power used to confer advantages on them, or disadvantages on competitors. This case from a remote region of Washington state explains much about a Washington 2,200 miles away. Start with a misbegotten constitutional principle that denigrates economic liberty as less than fundamental, and thus licenses government to ration such liberty. You end with the pandemic rent-seeking that defines the nation’s capital."


Yes, Sir.

And just a couple of personal notes. I fully agree with you that the might of government ought to be brought brought down on the designated hitter rule. On the other hand, may I suggest you seek treatment for your recurring attacks of  hoplophobia?