Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hey! Politicians Are People Too

There seems to be a foundational premise that undergirds the notion of social-justice that there are people out there somewhere who have somehow risen above the human condition.  But this is not true.  One need only peek behind the veil of pious, social-justice rhetoric to see the blatant hypocrisy of its loudest champions.  This raises a question, or it should.  If this “justice” were truly their passion, should they not be leading by example?  How can someone like, say, the millionaire Michael Moore, be for social justice while living such a socially unjust life? The truth be realized, these millionaires want to impose on others a morality that they themselves have failed to achieve.

Of all that the American founders understood when they set this grand experiment in motion, their keen grasp of man’s propensity for evil might have been their greatest asset.  And this asset led them to limit the power, not only of the government, but of the majority also.  While they realized that government must exist, * they did not envision government as a benevolent god-like entity.  No, they saw government as people who suffer from the same afflictions of arrogance and selfishness that plagues the rest of mankind; especially those who seek, and then are lent, the reins of power.  

Some see government as naturally benevolent because politicians are freed from the motivation of profit.  Such  is a naive and gullible view.  Politicians have plenty to profit politically by making popular promises today while strapping future generations with the bill.   Meanwhile, for the “benevolent” politician, power is a great source of wealth, luxury and ease.  One need only observe politicians, both the ones they love and hate, to see this.

Sadly, and much to even my own dismay, government is not a god-like entity that can usher in social justice, and this is especially true when it is elected by a constituency that rejects the very existence of moral absolutes.  No, the government is a collection of flawed politicians with their own aspirations and venal motivations, because, in the end, politicians are people too.

Notes:____________________

* James Madison:   “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

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Filed under Social Justice

In Honor Of Earthday, 13 Worst Earthday Predictions

Predictions made circa 1970 by the world’s brightest and smartest:

1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

6 “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.'” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

From Freedomworks:

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Filed under Politics, taxation, Worldview

Don’t Confuse Economics With Pizzas

One of the flawed premises of “Social Justice” is that it approaches economics like a pizza.  Think of a pizza equally sliced 6 ways and set before 6 children. We would rightly expect that each child would get one slice.  That would be fair.

This is simple, at least as it pertains to pizza equality.  There is nothing abstract about it.  In this idea, “fair” is definable.  If any one child gets more than his “fair” share,  someone else will have to do with less, and we all know that that just wouldn’t be fair.

These children then grow up and the same ideas of “equality” remain intact and are then applied to complex economic systems.  We look around and see all kinds of unfairness because it would appear that life has given a few people very large slices and the rest only slivers.

But the world’s economy is not a pizza magically set before us by some cosmic, parental hand.  And any person we select to play the cosmic paternal role is not only incapable of baking up the world’s economy in his kitchen, he doesn’t have the omniscience to cut it into “fair” slices either.  That’s because “fair”  means different things to different people at different times.  Even in the example of the  six children above we must make assumptions like, they all like pizza, there are no alternatives, they are all hungry, and so on.

It is easy to critique what is by comparing it to what is not based on an ambiguous and undefinable standard like “social justice”.  But it is much more difficult to clearly define what ought to be.  Wisdom would suggest that if we set out to abandon what is, on the basis of what is not, we ought also to clearly understand what ought to be in universally accepted and understood terms… don’t you think?

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The Illusion Of Social Justice

Though “social-justice” is a popular phrase these days, nailing down its precise meaning can be a little difficult. But that’s one of the advantages of using it; it can mean so many different things to so many different people. Still, there does seem to be an animating sentiment behind the word sufficient enough for a vague understanding of its meaning by a large number of people.

So what does Social-Justice mean? Think, equality; or fair, generally as it concerns wealth.

Throughout the history of man every society has exhibited a disparity of wealth among its citizens. The lion’s share of wealth is usually held by leaders, as well as some others. Meanwhile, the masses work very hard for their subsistence. In most cases, no matter how an economy is dissected, the ease enjoyed by the wealthy is made possible by the “poor’s” labor. The cause of ending this historic trait is called “Social Justice”. But that’s about all it is, a cause.

Historically, millions upon untold millions of people have died in their attempts to institute some form of social justice. But after the blood dries, the smoke clears, and the dead are buried, what arises from the smoking horror and ashes is a new society with… you guessed it, wealth disparity? But you have to hand it to the glorious heart of man, he never seems to tire of spilling his blood for this cause.

The reason for the certainty of failure can be summed up in the flawed premises that undergird the concept of “social justice”. But I’ll be content for now that a foundation on the subject has been laid, and I will expand on these flaws in upcoming posts.

See also this parallel post.

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Filed under Social Justice

The 3 Most Important Things You Need To Know To Not Be An Economic Moron

Here are those three things:

  1. Motivation
  2. Motivation
  3. Motivation

Why do you buy one car over another?

Why do you go to one store as opposed to another?

To answer these you need realize only one thing: motivation. You, like no one else, and most especially a communist central planner, know what you want and how much you’re willing to pay to get it. But it’s not always this simple… until you think about it.

Here’s one just a little more challenging :

Why is your government bankrupt?

Did you ever stop to think that every purchase you make is like a vote? Millions of people vote every day with their millions of purchases. They in fact play a small part in determining what is available to them and at what price.

The same thing happens on election day. The big difference is that the vote you cast on election day appears to be free, but the consequences of that vote can be very very expensive. Here’s how it works:

  1. Politician needs to appear as a combination of Santa Clause, Mother Teresa and sugar daddy.
  2. Politician sets up a ponzi scheme to fund your belief that he actually is Santa Clause, Mother Teresa and sugar daddy.
  3. Politician needs campaign cash so he can get the message out that his opponent is an evil and sick individual who really ought to be in prison.
  4. Politician becomes best friends with government unions in return for large donations. He promises union members that they never need experience the same economic calamities as their schmuck taxpayer counterparts.
  5. Politician grows public employee unions thereby growing campaign cash.

What are the motivations of both the politician and the individual who casts a vote for him? You got it: self-interest. It is a powerful motivator. But while political promises may look shiny, wisdom would suggest consulting those motivations informed by long-term consequences.

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Filed under Human Nature

Government-Run… Competition?

In a USA Today article I read of a faltering “green” energy manufacturer that needed government subsidies.  According to the journalist these subsidies ensured competition in the “green”  marketplace.  Me?  Head smack!

While she’s at it she could point out a few other manufactures that could have used government subsidies to remain, shall we say, competitive:

  • Steam engine locomotive manufacturers
  • Analog computer manufacturers
  • Typewriter manufacturers

She did get one thing right.  Real and true competition is at the heart, not only of real and true capitalism, but also of progress.  It edges out old and inferior technologies in favor of better, and more efficient ones.  But these better technologies arise due to the allure of profit, and not because they were propped up by your tax dollars.  

The hard truth of this is just another one of those harsh realities that plagues man’s existence.  And more times than not, feel-good attempts to alleviate the suffering of a few, while ignoring the long term consequences borne by the many, end up causing more pain than it alleviates.

In short here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to government “investments” into celebrity causes.  Politicians should never be trusted to invest anyone’s wealth except their own.  That a politician desires to invest your hard earned money into some scheme, rather than his own, ought to be a red warning that the investment is a for sure loser.   While yes, it might be a winner for his political aspirations  or he might simply be using your money to shore up some company that’s threatening to suck his own personal investment into a corporate black hole, it is always a safe bet to assume that you are not figured into his interests.

Many a credulous patsy has fallen prey to the charms of a charismatic politician with promises of Utopia.  Don’t be one of them.  Think!

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Filed under Competition, Government, Politics