Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Party Of Slavery

Last night's radio show presented some interesting conversations as one of the guests wasn't vetted to the extent that we knew what to expect. Such instances make for good radio.

J.A. Myerson was a guest with Warner Todd Huston discussing the upcoming march in DC. You can read Myerson's take on the show here. What became evident in short order was not only Myserson not libertarian or even centrist, but left wing. What also became apparent is that the left, the democrats, are the party of slavery.

The reason behind this statement lies in the comment Myerson made about taxes. He said that a tax cut was a spending increase. The is the same diatribe spewed by the ersatz economist Thomas Friedman, who never missed an opportunity to promulgate the government separating money from it's citizens. The only was Myerson's comment might make sense is if it was if cutting spending was impossible. Clearly, it's an incorrect premise as cutting spending is completely possible. The problem is that politicians understand they can bribe us with our own money and their entrenchment, in their minds, depends on it.

The problem, as I have discussed here and here, is that people have become accustomed to government largesse and moreover, the solution to their problems. Here in lies the rub: There is consideration involved. there is no free lunch when a person is the object of largesse of any type. Ask any slave or indentured servant. In the case of taxes, it is capital, taken against our will, to be used for some alleged greater good. You can't opt out of it and if you try, you will be forced to by the barrel of a gun, meaning the full authority of the government through their agents, the police. In essence, taxation is slavery, indentured servitude, and theft. Free will has no traction in that place.

Further on in the conversation, Myerson also espouses the premise that a government option with healthcare is libertarian. This is also false. The government should not and cannot truly be a competitor in the free market, if there is one. The argument could be made that since the government regulates, the market isn't truly free, but that is another discussion. The government operates on funds taken from its citizens. This very action is not libertarian and therefore any "participation" by the government as an agent in the free market is a false one. The government does not earn, it takes and since it makes rules about trade, it can favor itself to be the winner in any market it wishes to dominate. This is not libertarian on any level.

What I did come away with is that Myerson was not the balanced reporter he says he is and that he is a left wing progressive as is our fabian socialist ersatz president Barry O. He also outlined that in his position theft and slavery work just fine for him. He offered no solution other than to imply that raising taxes was the only way to solve our current problem. Theft begets theft I guess.

What I didn't get to say was my solution to the problem at hand. One, I would do away with the IRS. I would institute either a 10% flax tax for corporations and individuals. No deductions. Everyone pays. The budget would based on 75-80% of the previous years pull. The problem with this is the moral issue of stealing money from citizens. It would however provide a more stable money flow. The other option would be to have a consumption tax of 10-12%, which is the one I favor. Both these scenarios would require the removal of all other federal taxes and no deductions. Two, I would cut the government budget 20% the first year and 10% each year for the following 3 years. These numbers are minimum. I would shoot for a 50% cut over 4 years. Every department would be hit, no exceptions. I would also forgo subsidies, foreign and domestic. If something is a good idea, it will stand on its own, and the private sector will fund it and/or the market support it. Necessity is the mother of invention, not tax dollars. And for the record, I am and was against TARP. Failures should be just that, failures. Nothing is learned from a safety net, no matter if it is an individual or a corporation.

Lastly, I was to say that I had a poor choice of words last night. I called Myerson a stupid idiot. This I am mistaken. He is not a stupid idiot, just mistaken and wrong. I am sure we would agree on some libertarian issues, but the role of government is one where I think we depart. The less government we have, the better off all of us will be.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9/11: A Day That Lives In Infamy

September 11 is more than a day that will live in infamy. It is a somber day for me. You see, I am from NY, and I lived there when 9/11 occurred. At the time I was working on Long Island, for a confections manufacturing company and my wife worked in Manhattan for a small private investing company. The CFO of the company I worked for was married to Pat Lyons. Pat was a fireman with the NYFD, working at the 252 squad in Bushwick Brooklyn. I remember Irene saying it was his day off and he didn't have to go in...Irene was eight months pregnant with their first child.

Prokopios Paul Zois worked at Marsh and McLennan. He took the Long Island Rail Road to work every day. My wife used to sit in the same group on the way to work, and Paul was part of that group. Before that day was out, these men would be taken from their loved ones, but they were going home. Irene had the baby, a boy whose name is Patrick Mate Lyons, who is almost 9 years old. The sad thing is that they never found Pat Lyons remains. From what I understand he was with his crew ascending the north tower in the stairway when it collapsed. At the time, I have to admit now, I was pissed beyond measure. I would have advocated ridding the world of Islam. While I do not feel that way now, I still believe it is an incorrect religion that preaches death, and it is not a religion of peace. We are still at war with these 8th century throwbacks, and we haven't brought the piece of shit that planned this genocide to justice. So much for the war on terror, but what do you expect when politicians run the military, but I am really digressing here. All I ask of those out there is to pray for the souls of those that passed this day in 2001 and pray for the peace and grace that only god can give for their families. I would also ask that if you could give to the Pat Lyons Foundation. They do a lot of good in the memory of Pat.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

I laughed my ass off when I saw this. Yes, this is where I am from.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Unarmed Pizza Delivery Man Killed in Boston

In the liberal if I not socialist state of Massachessets, an un armed pizza delivery man was stabbed to death by some low lifes that lured him there to do their dirty, despicable deed. This outcome is quite different than the outcome of a similar incident in Des Moines a couple years ago.

While the liberal media and politicians will wring their hands and make appearances with the family of the deceased, nothing will be done to empower people to protect themselves. If this man had been armed, the outcome probably would have been different and positive. I feel for this man and his family. Immigrants work their asses off and often come from countries that are relatively lawless if not brutal and in this case, only to face low life brutality while trying to do better for his family.

The answer is not more police officers and not more regulation on knives or guns. The answer is to empower people to be able to protect themselves against the worst in society. While the pizza delivery man in Des Moines was fired, he's alive. That's a lot better outcome than Mr. Nova's.

Massachusetts is one of several states with totalitarian gun laws. I hope gun rights advocates take the opportunity presented here to push for more liberal gun rights in Massachusetts. Yes, you read that right, liberal as opposed to conservative, which would imply restriction. How is that for a turnaround? Wisconsin, Illinois, New York City, California, New York, and New Jersey just to name a few jurisdictions, need to liberalize their gun rights to reflect the natural right of people to protect themselves. If Iowa can go shall issues, so should any other state. I think Mr. Nova would agree, if he could.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ayn Rand, William Hickman and other idiots

Yes folks, I am back. After taking a hiatus to refresh my mind, if that is possible, I am back at the keyboard again.

Last Wednesday night I co-hosted Libertarian Politics Live with Andre Traversa. We had some great guests, which is the usual case, one that didn't show up (shame on you  Jonathan Narcisse) and Joe Carter, a blogger with First Things.

The subject was Ayn Rand and her alleged infatuation with William Hickman. I want to start out by saying that this isn't a all out defence of Rand or a blow by blow critique of Mr. Carter's assertions, although there will some, but rather a revelation of my observations in regards to Rand and those that try to marginalize her.

Ayn Rand was a screen writer in Hollywood and an author of books. She also founded a philosophy called Objectivism. It has it's adherents and detractors. Ayn Rand was a rationalist. Described as Aristotelean and at times, almost virulently anti-Kantian. For a little clarification and elucidation, I will include here a very short outline from or what Objectivism is:
"My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:
  1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
  2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
  3. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
  4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."

Anyone that reads this might infer some conclusions without working too hard. Objectivism is, in many ways, anti-thetical to most organized religions, specifically Christianity, Judaism and Islam. While Religions and Objectivism may strive to help people achieve completeness, the route in which they take to such ends is quite different. Moreover, They are opposites in many aspects, but also fall short in their goal for some common reasons. 

Religion in and of itself is a belief system, possibly a philosophical system, but none the less, it requires faith as opposed to knowledge from experience, scientific method or even what could be agreed up through consensus as being true in a provable way, like the sky is blue. In that respect, Objectivism strives to deal with what we know. As she said, facts are facts. Secondly, religions in general put a deity at the highest order in a hierarchy. In the case of the Abrahamic faiths, god is the creator of all things, man is less than god and born imperfect, born into sin. With these faiths, man spends or should spend his entire life trying to become less sinful, less imperfect, and always under the authority of the creator, of god. 

With Objectivism, Man is at the top of this hierarchy, not god. In an objective sense, Rand is saying that god is not provable, and she has a point. If we go on pure rationalism, god can't be proven, neither can a life in a hereafter. Those types of beliefs require faith, not factual or provable thesis's. With objectivism, man should also strive for some sort of perfection, but instead of using faith, to use rationalism. 

The problem with both approaches is that they both can and often do, lead to failure by setting standards that do no reflect man as he really is: an imperfect being in an imperfect world where spiritual and rational exist in the same beings. Neither side recognizes the value of the other, and thinks it is the correct path in attaining some sort of human perfection. May be the real problem is the idea that perfection is attainable. I would assert it is not, so why bother with perfection. Improvement on the other hand is, but that is another topic. 

In my opinion, the greatest fear people have is death and the realization that this is all there is. In my opinion, religions serve as a way to deal with this and also help people keep on some sort of moral path that in some way protects us from ourselves. Rand basically says to heck with fairytales, one has to live solely by the power of one's faculties. In some ways this is much more difficult that blind faith in what some would call fairy fairytales. 

All this being said, Ayn Rand's greatest failure was her own ego. I think the core of her philosophy is largely correct. If you want to look deeper into a rationalist's type of though, I would suggest reading Robert Nozick, who was a philosophy professor at Harvard and he took such things to a much greater and more detailed and scholarly level. Anyway, Rand fell victim to her own ego, and in the strivance, and this is my opinion, for the divorcement of man from the tribe, she created her own tribe that was just as petty as any other. She ignored her own flaws and humanity and in my opinion, served to hurt her philosophy more than help it. 

As far as altruism goes, I would assert that people aren't altruistic for the sake of who they are helping, but rather themselves. To me it's a form of self-serving narcissism that at best is a mutualistic experience. At worst, someone is collecting on that debt, often through the use of guilt. I find less fault with the honest man who says up front he is doing anything for himself. Sacrifice for anyone outside of one's family is illogical, and any religion that would require it or even promote it, is devious at best. In that way, I agree with Rand. If someone is going to sacrifice, it should be done for rational reasons. If you do it to make yourself feel good, what is the difference between that, masturbation or even getting drunk? It's all self-serving. The best rational exercise in sacrifice I have seen on film was Gran Torino, and in that movie, the protagonist was basically an atheist at worst and agnostic at best. 

Now, as far as William Hickman goes, Joe Carter was trying to disparage and dismiss Rand based on some infatuation she had with a sociopath when she was very young. We all do stupid things, and if Mr. Carter is the christian he says he is, may be he could find some compassion in his heart for her, instead of using it as an a priori argument against Objectivism, in my opinion, primarily because it is at opposition to many belief systems, including his own. I can also tell you that while I have tried to integrate rational and objectivist systems with christian beliefs. So far I have to say it's a no go. one of them is incorrect. Ayn Rand herself said there are no contradictions, only incorrect premises. So which one is incorrect? The one where we know what we know, or the fairytale? Thomas Jefferson wrangled with the same arguments and came to some interesting conclusions with which I tend to agree. 

Thank you for reading this blog. 

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I'm back...Stay Tuned...

I'm back and ready for the fight. Eric Dondero called me in off the bench and said we need everyone on the team. What could I say? Articles to follow shortly.

Thank you for reading this blog.

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