Friday, March 27, 2009

Mandatory volunteerism for ALL?

Well, this is chilling: Paul Hsieh posts at NoodleFood about legislation that could lead to some kind of mandatory "national service" for all Americans:
The National Service Threat
How does legislation such as this not amount to a declaration that we are all state property?

Objectivist Round Up

This week's Round Up is hosted by Erosophia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Will the real socialist please stand up?

Long-time Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee chair Charlie Meadows makes it clear that he is anti-freedom in the latest edition of OCPAC's newsletter.

How else is one to interpret his declaration that social conservatism should come first? How can social issues be managed politically except through legislation? How would legislating social conservative positions on such issues as abortion and homosexuality not proscribe freedom? Social conservatives have consistently proved that they are willing to use the power of government to take away the right of people to make their own decisions in such areas. Their advocacy of the use of government force to intervene in people's private lives places them squarely on the left - not the right.

Social conservatives are power-lusters whose pursuit of moral bureaucracy has contributed to the expansion of government every bit as much as socialism. In fact, I would say that they are socialists, themselves.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Situational" situations

Today's The Oklahoman contains a letter by one Owen Summers which contains the lines:
Their idea of free speech is situational and pertains only to liberal free speech.
What if I substitute "religion" for "speech" in that sentence?
Their idea of freedom of religion is situational and pertains only to evangelical Christianity.
Hmmm . . . That would seem to explain the behavior of people like Mike Ritze, Todd Thomsen and Sally Kern.

Telling it like it is

Steve Chapman tells it like is, in a column in today's The Oklahoman:
The financial crisis has been widely interpreted as proof of the need for extensive government regulation of banks, insurance companies and other capitalist institutions. The antics of politicians now that they have a greater role, however, are a vivid reminder of why they can’t be trusted with such power.

These days, every politician assumes that because he has a driver’s license and an ATM card, he must have all the necessary skills to run an automaker and operate a bank.

Read the rest
Thank you Steve and thank you The Oklahoman!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Trouble with Republicans

Ed Cline's latest.

The Objectivist Round Up

And here's this week's Round Up, hosted by The Little Things.

My latest letter

The Oklahoma Gazette has published my new letter in their March 18th edition. Once again, I lead the column:
In his article, "Conspiracy 'synthesis'", in the March 11th Oklahoma Gazette, Ben Fenwick quotes state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, referring to a plot to destroy "our economic basis of free enterprise".

Rep. Ritze's bill to put a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state Capitol proves to me that he hasn't got the slightest idea what freedom really is, much less free enterprise.

What do people such as Ritze, state Rep. Sally Kern and state Sen. Randy Brogdon think would happen to religion under a system of completely free enterprise? Religions would have to compete on a free and open market just like everything else. That means laws granting favoritism to one religion over another would be forbidden, just as they currently are under the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state.

That people such as Ritze don't see this and persist in attempting to tie their favorite religion to support for "free enterprise" is evidence enough for me that these people are no real friends of freedom - economic, religious or otherwise.

Rob Abiera
Oklahoma City
Unfortunately, my reference to laissez-faire Capitalism by name was removed, but I don't think that changed the overall point I was trying to make.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The New F-ing Citibank

Oh yes. This is too good. Hat tip: NoodleFood

And, yes, you will hear the F-word a lot.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"It's time to fight!"

Yaron Brook says now is not the time to go on strike: now is the time to fight.
Pajamas TV: Is Atlas Shrugging?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunk by the bailout?

Hmmm . . . according to this story from Americans for Limited Government, Ford refused to accept a bailout from the government and is now doing better than its competitors in Detroit - GM and Chrysler - who did accept bailouts.

Is Christianity "too big to fail"?

The Oklahoma House has passed state Rep. Mike Ritze's bill to erect a Ten Commandments monument on the State Capitol grounds. I assume this bill now goes to the State Senate.

I would like to ask these Republicans who are such fervent supporters of government intervention in religion - people like Ritze, Rep. Sally Kern, Rep. Todd Thomsen and Senator Randy Brogdon - if they think their pet flavor of Christianity is "too big to fail" and should be exempt from competing with other interpretations and religions on a free and open market. I know from personal experience that some* of the people who complain the loudest about corporate welfare and who decry things like the Bricktown Bass Pro as socialism - yes, I'm referring to Charlie Meadows - are the first to claim that religion needs exactly the same kind of government favoritism. How is this NOT welfare for religion?

Why do these people think that private industry should stay private and be able to get along without the government's help, but religion shouldn't? Government should get out of business but not out of religion?

There's a word for that - that word is hypocrisy.

This is why Ayn Rand always asserted that she was not a conservative. Remember also that she said there should be complete separation between the state and the economy in the same manner and for the same reasons as the separation between church and state.

(*Yes, I know I am one of the people who complained about the Bricktown Bass Pro: I said some of the people, not all of them.)


Good post by Ari Armstrong, who says:
The only thing I'm giving up for Lent is self-sacrifice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quote of the day

If you bound the arms and legs of gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps, weighed him down with chains, threw him in a pool and he sank, you wouldn't call it a ‘failure of swimming'. So, when markets have been weighted down by inept and excessive regulation, why call this a ‘failure of capitalism'?
- George Mason University professor Peter Boettke, as quoted by Eamonn Butler in the London Times

Monday, March 9, 2009

Who do you think you are?

One of the things I see being spouted in reaction to the "going Galt" phenomenon runs along the lines of "So what if you quit and disappear? Who cares? Somebody else will just come along and replace you. Isn't that how capitalism works?"

IS that how Capitalism works? Well, yes and no, but that side-steps the real issue: the fact that an individual is an end in himself.

If you quit and disappear, who will come along and replace you? Will that person have the same value to your employer as you do? Will he or she be able to do your job as well as you can? And even if he can do the same job, who's to say that person won't decide to quit? Then who'll replace him? Is there really such an inexhaustible supply of people qualified to do your job? How many people in the world had the motivation to go through the training you did and acquire the years of experience you did? How many people even chose to enter the same field you did?

And suppose someone is smart enough to do a decent job without your experience, how many of those people in the world are there?

This is egalitarianism, and the person who gives this kind of response is really saying that it doesn't make any difference if you quit or not because you're no better than anyone else anyway so you might as well stay and keep plodding along right where you are no matter how frustrating it gets.

Because it's your duty.

Is it any wonder some people "go postal"?

Ultimately, it is not your value to anyone else, but your value to yourself that is the real issue here. The impact your departure may or may not have on the culture or the economy or civilization is secondary. The real issue is whether or not the government and society are letting you live the life you really want to live and to be who you really want to be - in other words, whether your life really belongs to you and you have the liberty to live it and to pursue your own happiness. Whether you are free to take your own risks to pursue your own vision, or practice your skill at something you love doing unfettered by road blocks and hamstrings that drain your passion. The issue is whether something you may have once loved doing is now so hampered by restriction and regulation and frustration that it no longer makes you feel alive.

As to the way Capitalism works: Capitalism recognizes that not everyone has the same motivation or experience or training or skill. In other words, Capitalism recognizes that people are individuals: which means - among other things - that there will not be an inexhaustible supply of potential employees for every job.

So what happens when those employees quit, one after the other, until there is no one left who is capable of even pretending to be able to do the job?

Atlas shrugs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009