Tag Archives: Coercion

How to Create Conflict, by Walter E. Williams

Governments create win-lose situations; markets create win-win situations. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

We are living in a time of increasing domestic tension. Some of it stems from the presidency of Donald Trump. Another part of it is various advocacy groups on both sides of the political spectrum demanding one cause or another. But nearly totally ignored is how growing government control over our lives, along with the betrayal of constitutional principles, contributes the most to domestic tension. Let’s look at a few examples.

Think about primary and secondary schooling. I think that every parent has the right to decide whether his child will recite a morning prayer in school. Similarly, every parent has the right to decide that his child will not recite a morning prayer. The same can be said about the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag, sex education and other hot-button issues in education. These become contentious issues because schools are owned by the government.

In the case of prayers, there will either be prayers or no prayers in school. It’s a political decision whether prayers will be permitted or not, and parent groups with strong preferences will organize to fight one another. A win for one parent means a loss for another parent. The losing parent will be forced to either concede or muster up private school tuition while continuing to pay taxes for a school for which he has no use. Such a conflict would not arise if education were not government-produced but only government-financed, say through education vouchers. Parents with different preferences could have their wishes fulfilled by enrolling their child in a private school of their choice. Instead of being enemies, parents with different preferences could be friends.

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Name the State, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Many debates about government policy fail to note the nature and scope of government involvement in the issue under debate. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at aier.com:

The number one problem of all public debate about politics and economics is the failure to name the state. If this would change, so would public opinion.

There is no shortage of examples. People talk about health care for all, solving climate change, providing security in old age, universal educational access, boosting wages, ending discrimination, and you can add to the list without end.

That’s one side.

The other speaks of national identity, protecting jobs, making us more moral, forming cultural cohesion, providing security against the foreign enemy, and so on.

Obfuscation

All of this, no matter how fancy the language, is obfuscation. What all of this really means is: put the state in charge. What’s strange is the unwillingness to say it outright. This is for a reason. The plans the politicians have for our lives would come across as far less compelling if they admitted the following brutal truth.

There really are only two ways to allocate goods and services in society: the markets (which rely on individual choice) and the state (which runs on compulsion). No one has ever found a third way. You can mix the two — some markets and some state-run operations — but there always is and always will be a toggling between the two. If you replace markets, the result will be more force via the state, which means bureaucratic administration and rule by force. If you reduce the role of the state, you rely more on markets. This is the logic of political choice, and there is no escaping it.

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Shining a Light on the Sociopaths in Politics, by Doug Casey

Once you realize that people who want to tell other people what to do—or else!—are sociopaths, politics is easy to understand. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

There are at least seven characteristics that define a sociopath, although I’m sure the list could be extended:

  1. Sociopaths completely lack a conscience or any capacity for real regret about hurting people. Although they pretend the opposite.
  2. Sociopaths put their own desires and wants on a totally different level from those of other people. Their wants are incommensurate. They truly believe their ends justify their means. Although they pretend the opposite.
  3. Sociopaths consider themselves superior to everyone else, because they aren’t burdened by the emotions and ethics others have – they’re above all that. They’re arrogant. Although they pretend the opposite.
  4. Sociopaths never accept the slightest responsibility for anything that goes wrong, even though they’re responsible for almost everything that goes wrong. You’ll never hear a sincere apology from them.
  5. Sociopaths have a lopsided notion of property rights. What’s theirs is theirs, and what’s yours is theirs too. They therefore defend currency inflation and taxation as good things.
  6. Sociopaths usually pick the wrong target to attack. If they lose their wallet, they kick the dog. If 16 Saudis fly planes into buildings, they attack Afghanistan.
  7. Sociopaths traffic in disturbing news, they love to pass on destructive rumors, and they’ll falsify information to damage others.

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Insurance at Gunpoint is Sick and Evil, by Eric Peters

Insurance has become an offer you can’t refuse. From Eric Peters on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

There is nothing wrong with insurance … provided you can say no to it. Then it’s like any other thing you choose to buy.

Whether it makes sense to buy it – a subjective value judgment, by the way – isn’t the point. Exercise makes sense, too.

The point is – or should be – if insurance is something you want, or feel the need of – then you have the right to choose to buy it.

What you haven’t got is the right to force others to buy it – and thereby take away their free choice.

Insurance at gunpoint is dark and vicious. Anything that involves pointing guns at other people (who haven’t pointed a gun at you first) is necessarily a dark and evil thing. Someone – it doesn’t matter which specific individual does the wet work – is threatening to harm you unless you hand over money for something you do not wish to buy.

In ordinary language that’s a mugging.

Insurance at gunpoint is also an economic disaster. Not for the insurance company – which is really a mafia, because it uses force to coerce people to buy its services. It makes people an offer they can’t refuse. The insurance mafia makes a fortune. But the people who are forced to buy “coverage” get screwed.

Does this even need elaboration?

What happens to the price of anything when “customers” can’t elect not to buy that thing? Sure, there are different insurance “families.” You can “shop” the Gambinos (GEICO) or go with the Genovese (Allstate).

But you can’t say no.

To continue reading: Insurance at Gunpoint is Sick and Evil

 

She Said That? 6/29/16

Ayn Rand has probably made SLL’s quote of the day more than anyone else. Probably because she had more to say than anyone else. From Rand (1902- 1982), Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter, Atlas Shrugged (1957):

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

The Truth About Politics, by Lew Rockwell

A comparison between capitalism and government. Capitalism wins. From Lew Rockwell on a guest post on theburningplatform.com:

The very first votes of the 2016 presidential election season will be cast tonight in the Iowa caucuses. This is supposed to fill us with happy thoughts about self-government, civic virtue, rational deliberation, and about politics as the way the people’s will is put into effect.

But to the contrary, we should spurn what the establishment would have us celebrate. Politics operates according to principles that would horrify us if we observed them in our private lives, and that would get us arrested if we tried to live by them. The state can steal and call it taxation, kidnap and call it conscription, kill and call it war.

And yet we are taught to fear capitalism, of all things.

But what, after all, are capitalism and the free market? They are nothing more than the sum total of voluntary exchanges in society.

When we engage in a voluntary exchange – when I buy apples for five dollars, or when you hire someone for $25 per hour – both sides are better off than they would have been in the absence of the exchange.

We can’t say the same for our interactions with the state, since we pay the state under threat of violence. The state sure winds up better off, though. That’s for sure.

Business firms that increase their profits thanks to some new innovation cannot rest on their laurels. Other firms will adopt the innovation themselves, and those abnormally high profits will dissipate. The original firm must continue to press forward, striving to devise still newer ways to please their fellow men.

The state operates under no such conditions. It can remain as backward as it likes. Other firms are typically prohibited from competing with it.

The state’s priorities arbitrarily override your own. Ethanol “is important for the farmers,” one candidate says. So because the state has decided some interest group’s foolish and economically nonsensical pet project is “important,” what you yourself would have preferred to do with your money is simply set aside and ignored, and you are forced to subsidize what the state seeks to privilege.

Our schools and media portray corporations as sinister, and government as benign. But who wouldn’t rather take a sales call from Norwegian Cruise Line than an audit demand from the Internal Revenue Service?

To continue reading: The Truth About Politics