Tag Archives: Freedom

The Capitalism and Freedom Connection, by Robert Ringer

Capitalism is the economics of free people. From Robert Ringer at lewrockwell.com:

Americans are easy prey when it comes to being distracted by the political theater in Washington.  It is this attraction to non-issues (e.g., the so-called government shutdown) that prevents them from focusing on the issues that really matter.

Of course, people’s ideas about what constitutes freedom can vary widely, depending upon whether they view the world from the right or the left.  Speaking for myself, I believe that the easiest way to define freedom is to call it the antithesis of communism.

Karl Marx and his lackey benefactor, Friedrich Engels, firmly believed that violent revolution was the only way to bring about pure communism, and that such a revolution was possible only where capitalism existed.  The reason for this, they believed, was because capitalism was a necessary ingredient for creating a wide financial disparity between the workers and the privileged class.

It’s kind of weird that Marx and Engels sought to increase income disparity between the classes, then rectify the disparity through violent revolution.  Perhaps their thinking was a result of their being familiar with the colossal failure of the French Revolution, which led not to freedom but mob violence, unthinkable human carnage, and ultimately a Napoleonic dictatorship.

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13 Illustrations of the Benevolence of Capitalism, by George Reisman

Why capitalism works. From George Reisman at mises.org:

By the “benevolent nature of capitalism,” I mean the fact that it promotes human life and well-being and does so for everyone. There are many such insights, which have been developed over more than three  centuries, by a series of great thinkers, ranging from John Locke to Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. I present as many of them as I can in my book Capitalism.

I’m going to briefly discuss about a dozen or so of these insights that I consider to be the most important, and which I believe, taken all together, make the case for capitalism irresistible. Let me say that I apologize for the brevity of my discussions. Each one of the insights I go into would all by itself require a discussion longer than the entire time that has been allotted to me to speak today. Fortunately, I can fall back on the fact that, in my book at least, I  think I have presented them in the detail they deserve.

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Another False Dilemma, by Joel Bowman

Our choice is more government or some terrible catastrophe will befall us all. We’re never presented with any third choices. From Joel Bowman at internationalman.com:

Of the myriad rhetorical tools employed in public discourse today, dangerous few are more insidious than the false dilemma. Simply put, the false dilemma is a sly trick of exclusion whereby a speaker (always generously) offers his or her audience the apparently favorable choice between two unfortunately poor options.

Little surprise then that, as the election season circus rolls across the country, this Weapon of Dialectic Destruction (WDD) finds itself a favorite of slick politicians working to curry favor with an increasingly ovine voter mass.

“On which horn do you wish to be gored?” they inquire, sharpening their bestial tines.

Known variously as the either-or fallacy, the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses or, more colloquially, plain ol’ black and white thinking, the false dilemma is both deceptive and destructive. First, because it lures unsuspecting listeners into a misguided belief that their choices are limited to those offered by the speaker and, second, because it attacks the creative process by which new ideas come to “market,” slamming the door closed on alternative possibilities.

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You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again, by John W. Whitehead

America is at its greatest when it is most free. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“If the freedom of speech be taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”—George Washington

Living in a representative republic means that each person has the right to take a stand for what they think is right, whether that means marching outside the halls of government, wearing clothing with provocative statements, or simply holding up a sign.

That’s what the First Amendment is supposed to be about.

Yet through a series of carefully crafted legislative steps and politically expedient court rulings, government officials have managed to disembowel this fundamental freedom, rendering it with little more meaning than the right to file a lawsuit against government officials.

In the process, government officials have succeeded in insulating themselves from their constituents, making it increasingly difficult for average Americans to make themselves seen or heard by those who most need to hear what “we the people” have to say.

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The Bandit is Gone . . . And Not Just That, by Eric Peters

Here’s a nice tribute to Burt Reynolds and the spirit his films captured. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Burt Reynolds is gone and with him a different America.

He was in his early 40s when Smokey and the Bandit appeared back in 1977 – at first, regionally. The flick was meant for Southern audiences but grabbed traction and quickly became a national sensation on par with Jaws and Star Wars in terms not only of the money it made but the effect it had on an entire generation of Americans.

Me among them.

I was just a kid, years away from being even big enough to drive let alone legally drive but when I saw that movie I knew I wanted to drive.

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Socialism Won, by Robert Gore

If she’s elected and goes to Washington, socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will feel right at home.

Socialism: “A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by community as a whole” (Oxford Dictionary), has been in the news lately. The most interesting aspect of the stories and commentaries is what tense the writer uses. Most use the future tense, heralding or decrying the impending arrival of socialism, or simply noting that it’s a possibility.

It’s the wrong tense. The past tense is the correct one, socialism arrived long ago. In the US, it unpacked its bags February 3, 1913, the day the Sixteenth, or Income Tax, Amendment was ratified. When the “community as a whole”—a euphemism for government—has first call on individuals’ incomes, socialism has established its vital beachhead. Everything from there on out is a mop-up operation.

For what is “the means of production, distribution, and exchange”? The minds, bodies, time, and effort of individual producers, which the income tax expropriates. Once a government steals those, there’s nothing it cannot steal, including, via regulation, the ability of producers to produce. To impose socialism on a nation, first impose it on its individuals.

The cherry on 1913’s socialist sundae was the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which began the transition of the US monetary system from the gold standard to fiat debt, the value of which is now decided by political and bureaucratic whim. It was another expropriation, stealth theft via currency depreciation and inflation.

Some are treating “avowed socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory over Democrat war-horse Joe Crowley as a watershed moment. Assuming she wins the general election, she’ll join 434 other socialists in the House of Representatives. That’s not a watershed political moment, it’s a watershed truth-in-advertising moment. She’ll be one of the few socialists there who admits to it.

The partisans on both sides of the barricades are a hundred years too late. The battle is over, victory to the socialists. In the US, it’s impossible to find an industry or economic activity that’s free from government ownership or regulation. Governments have their hands in agriculture, manufacturing, communications, finance, insurance, banking, transportation, technology, housing, medical care, advertising, entertainment, warfare, welfare, charity, and every other human endeavor of consequence. When children need to get a permit and pay a fee to set up a sidewalk lemonade stand, what’s left?

Judging by the reaction to Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, “socialist” is still an odious term in some quarters, mostly those precincts which still pay lip service to free markets and capitalism. Republicans long ago jettisoned freedom and made their peace with the income tax, the Federal Reserve, welfare and warfare states, and ever-expanding government; their horror is merely rhetorical. The only parts of Trump’s platform that were noncontroversial with them were his vows to increase military spending and not cut entitlements. This in a nation over $21 trillion in debt, with an estimated $200 trillion of additional unfunded liabilities.

Unlike many of us in the hinterlands, those who inhabit the swamp rarely have to answer the question: does it work? When the answer is no in Washington, it’s a justification for an expanded budget and more power. Effectiveness is the hallmark of what remains of honest American enterprise, where whatever your “it” is has to work, or you don’t get paid. Those who have only worked in dishonest enterprise— government and its satellites—are instinctively hostile to that requirement and to those who make things work.

Socialism doesn’t work; history is littered with its failures. That is why it’s embraced. Government derives its power from coercion and violence. It is no coincidence that the twentieth century, history’s most socialistic, has also been its most murderous, with governments inflicting an estimated 100 to 200 million deaths.

Socialism’s failure, death, and inevitable restrictions of liberty account for its odium among those who oppose it. The clearest lesson of history is the most ignored. Man versus the state is history’s overarching theme. Humanity flourishes when it’s free to do so (man wins) and deteriorates when it’s not (the state wins).

There is only one way to eradicate a weed without pesticide: pull it up by its roots. Well over 99 percent of arguments against government—inadequate border security, military interventions, out of control spending and debt, the national security state, loss of liberty, etc.—essentially try to kill the weed by pulling off its leaves and stems, but leave the roots intact. As long as there is unquestioning acceptance of the government’s self-granted right to forcefully relieve the productive of their honestly earned incomes, those issues amount to diversionary sideshows.

Since the dark year 1913, government has grown relentlessly larger, more powerful, and more corrupt. The tax take has gone one direction. Even with all that loot, the government has plunged into the abyss of debt and unfunded liabilities. The US has become an oligarchic empire spanning the globe. At least half its population rely on the state for some or all of their sustenance. Occasionally the socialists have lost battles, but those have amounted to mere tactical retreats. They’ve won the war.

Imagine a government that had no claim on people’s incomes and the monetary system was an honest gold standard. That such a state of affairs seems inconceivable is testament to widespread ignorance of history. This was the actual state of affairs pre-1913, when all levels of government in the US spent less than 10 percent of the GDP, as opposed to more than 40 percent now.

How much of an issue would illegal immigration be if the government paid out no benefits to either immigrants or citizens? The immigrants who arrived would be here to work, and it would be much easier to ensure that they went through the proper channels of citizenship.

Cut down government by 80 to 90 percent and the military would shrink to defense of the US’s eminently defensible borders and tending to a worst-case nuclear arsenal. You’ve got to think the costly Big Brother surveillance apparatus would shrink, too, maybe down to nothing.

There would be no unfunded liability problem, because government would be out of the pension, medical care, and redistribution businesses. A government that couldn’t inflate away its debts with more of its own or its central bank’s fiat debt would be less inclined to borrow. Creditors would be less inclined to lend, because the government would have no call on incomes.

Such a reversion might even work a “miraculous” change in the American character, a rebirth of values like the work ethic, self-reliance, individualism, community involvement, and private charity. One of socialism’s great myths, the opposite of the truth, is that only the government can help out those in need.

An appreciable part of the US’s unprecedented, privately generated bounty has always been redistributed by people acting on their own charitable impulses, not at the point of a government gun. Regular people, not just philanthropic millionaires, help their families, friends, and—through a mind-boggling variety of eleemosynary causes and organizations—total strangers.

Which gives the lie to socialists’ argument that “the masses” (they love that demeaning term) cannot handle freedom, they need to be guided and governed by an expert and virtuous elite. If the human psyche cannot handle freedom, it most certainly cannot handle unlimited power. The last 105 years of elite-initiated horrors offer conclusive proof. Wars, death camps, and genocide didn’t bubble up from they bottom, they’re ordained from the top.

If we don’t insist proudly that we have the first and only legitimate claim to what we’ve honestly earned, if we aren’t willing to fight for it, we are not and never will be free. And that’s why we need all the sideshow issues—to divert our attention from our well-deserved servitude.

You Should Be Laughing At Them!

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I Remember When America Was A Free Country, by Paul Craig Roberts

Kids growing up today have no idea what it is like to live in a free country. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

I remember when America was a free country. You could get on an airliner without an ID. Driving licenses didn’t even have photos. If a friend was coming through your city on a flight and had a few hours layover, you could meet them inside the airport for lunch or dinner. You could meet friends, children, and relatives at the gate or see them off at the gate. Parents could actually put children on the plane and grandparents could take them off.

Your flight ticket was good at any airline. If something happened to your flight or you missed it, you could use the ticket on another airline going to the same place. On international flights you were permitted two free stopovers prior to your destination. If you were going to Athens, Greece, for example, you could first visit Paris and then Rome. It worked both ways, over and back. So one air ticket, six cities.

I can remember when you could enter a Manhattan office building without having to show an ID, be looked up on a list, and cleared in, and when you could check in a hotel without an ID and paid your bill when you checked out, with cash if you preferred. The only evidence of your name was the one you gave when you checked in.

Cars didn’t beep at you and neither did appliances nor construction machinery. The world was a quieter, less noise-disturbed place.

Common sense was more prevalent. Today it is hard to find any common sense. The British parliament is debating a law that would criminalize upskirt photographs. The “invasion of privacy” would have a price tag of two years imprisonment. Yet government can invade our privacy at will with street cameras, traffic cameras, read our emails, listen to our telephone calls, monitor our credit card purchases. Serious kinds of privacy invasion run amuck, but parents cannot find out if an underaged daughter is pregnant or has VD.

As kids we ran free. Heaven help a parent that permitted that today.
Oh, but times are more dangerous today we are told. What made today more dangerous? Failures in public policy. The government has made life more dangerous and less free.

To continue reading: I Remember When America Was A Free Country