Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wikileaks is a Power Shift from the Elite to the Masses but Also Reduces Government Efficacy

The Wikileaks release of 250,000 secret cables exposes the dealings of the world's most powerful people, and in the processs shift power to the masses. The institutions of government grant the political elite and the administrators of said institutions enormous powers through government privileges like secrecy and immunity to privacy laws, as well as the public resources at their disposal.

This political and bureaucratic elite have guarded these privileges jealously, and only with an involuntary leak could the world have learned of how they are used. With this knowledge the masses who form the power base of the governmental/political elite are better able to negotiate and manage their supposed representatives, and ensure they are working for their interests and not their own.

The information in the leaks also reveals to the masses the large strategies in play and tactics used by the various politically connected factions. This expose has the effect of reducing the disparity between the smaller players in the world and those who have attained political power.

The downside to the Wikileaks release is that short term considerations of how a particular action will play to the public will cloud political decisions. With political criticism now an ever present possibility in the minds of government officials, their actions could end up being conducted in a manner primarily motivated by a desire to minimize political risks to themselves.

In some ways, the weakness of democracy, which is that the government is more intent on re-election than doing what's best for the people, becomes more pronounced when officials do not have any secret channels through which to share their views and administer policies. The risk of this is that government action becomes like the election season campaigning of political candidates, where what is said is not what the candidate really believes will improve the situation for the people, but what they believe will gain them support from a public that largely responds to sound-bites.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Individual Rights by Rand Paul

Rand Paul responded to the recent manufactured controversy over his Civil Rights comments with the following article in the Bowling Green Daily:

Kundera writes of a balcony scene in the winter snow of 1948 Prague. Clementis offers his fur cap to the new leader Gottwald. Later Clementis is purged by the Communists and airbrushed from all the photos. All that remains of Clementis is the fur cap on Gottwald’s head.

In the end, all that remains of any of us is our reputation. Mine has been sullied over the past week by lies and innuendo.

I’ve spent the past 14 months traveling around the commonwealth, giving more than 400 speeches, and talking to thousands of Kentuckians.

Throughout these speeches, I never once had reason to discuss the Civil Rights Act of 1964, much less call for the repeal of this settled law 46 years later.

So you can imagine my shock when my wife called the day after the election to tell me that Jack Conway was on MSNBC saying - outright lying - claiming that I had called for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act. Even though these lies were evident by watching the video footage, commentators on MSNBC and elsewhere have been repeating it as fact for more than a week now.

If you watch any of my interviews, you’ll see I never stated that I did not support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and I certainly never called for its repeal.

I was asked if I supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I stated that “I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that.” In response, the interviewer asked me about private domains, and I did what typical candidates don’t - I discussed some philosophical issues with government mandating rules on private businesses. I think the federal government has often gone too far in regulating private citizens and businesses.

I made comparisons to the First Amendment and how it allows people in a free society to say things that may be abhorrent, but that is a challenge of a free society. I was speaking abstractly, not to any piece of legislation, since in general my political views are rooted in the rights of the individual over the state.

The interviewer then brought me back to the literal world of life in 1964, saying, “But it’s different with race, because much of the discrimination based on race was codified into law.” In the video you’ll see me agree with her, ending the discussion by saying, “Exactly, it was institutionalized. And that’s why we had to end all institutional racism and I’m completely in favor of that.”

I think that statement is very clear. This did not stop my opponent and the liberal media from implying that I meant the opposite.

I am unlike many folks who run for office. I am an idealist. When I read history I side with abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas who fought for 30 years to end slavery and to integrate public transportation in the free North in the 1840s. I see our failure to end slavery for decade after decade as a failure of weak-kneed politicians.

I cheer the abolitionist Lysander Spooner, who argued that slavery was unconstitutional 20 years before the Civil War. I cheer Lerone Bennet when he argues that the right of habeas corpus guaranteed in the Constitution should have derailed slavery long before the Civil War.

Only when the brave idealists, the abolitionists, finally provoked the weak-kneed politicians into action, did the emancipation proclamation come about. Our body politic has enough pragmatists, we need a few idealists.

Segregation ended only after a great and momentous uprising by idealists like Martin Luther King Jr., who provoked weak-kneed politicians to action.

In 2010, there are battles that need to be fought, and they have nothing to do with race or discrimination, but rather the rights of people to be free from a nanny state.

For example, I am opposed to the government telling restaurant owners that they cannot allow smoking in their establishments. I believe we as consumers can choose whether to patronize a smoke-filled restaurant or do business with a smoke-free option.

Think about it - this overreach is now extending to mandates about fat and calorie counts in menus. Do we really need the government managing all of these decisions for us?

My overriding principle is this: I believe in the natural right of all individuals to have their God-given liberty protected. And that’s why I believe the Civil Rights Act was necessary, and that I would have voted for it.

I have long been a fan of what Martin Luther King wrote, “That an unjust law is any code that a numerical majority enforces on a minority but not make binding on itself.”

Now the media is twisting my small government message, making me out to be a crusader for repeal of the Americans for Disabilities Act and The Fair Housing Act. Again, this is patently untrue. I have simply pointed out areas within these broad federal laws that have financially burdened many smaller businesses.

For example, should a small business in a two-story building have to put in a costly elevator, even if it threatens their economic viability? Wouldn’t it be better to allow that business to give a handicapped employee a ground floor office? We need more businesses and jobs, not fewer.

This much is clear: the federal government has overreached in its power grabs. Just look at the national health care schemes, which my opponent supports. Look at the out of control EPA, trying to make law by overreaching regulations that will harm Kentucky coal.

Our country faces a difficult financial future. I see issues not in terms of party but in terms of principles and I will do my very best to deserve the honor that has been bestowed upon me to run for office.

Editor’s note: Rand Paul of Bowling Green is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

Another good article is one in the Wall Street Journal, which points out the hypocrisy and unprofessionalism of the attacks by left-leaning media figures like Salon's Joan Walsh on Rand Paul:

Rand Paul and Civil Rights

A rookie mistake feeds a left-wing smear.


Rand Paul was 1 when Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Now 47, he is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Kentucky, his first ever foray into politics. To his evident surprise, the hypothetical question of how he would have voted in 1964 has been drawing a lot of attention.

Politico's Ben Smith characterizes as "evasive" this response Paul gave when asked the question by National Public Radio (we've corrected Smith's transcription errors):

"What I've always said is, I'm opposed to institutional racism, and I would have--if I was alive at the time, I think--had the courage to march with Martin Luther King to overturn institutional racism, and I see no place in our society for institutional racism," he said in response to a first question about the act.

"You would have marched with Martin Luther King but voted with Barry Goldwater?" asked an interviewer.

"I think it's confusing in a lot of cases in what's actually in the Civil Rights Case (sic)," Paul replied. "A lot of things that were actually in the bill I'm actually in favor of. I'm in favor of--everything with regards to ending institutional racism. So I think there's a lot to be desired in the Civil Rights--and indeed the truth is, I haven't read all through it, because it was passed 40 years ago and hadn't been a real pressing issue on the campaign on whether I'm going to vote for the Civil Rights Act."

In an update to his post, Smith notes that it wasn't the first time Paul was asked the question:

Paul articulated his view on the Civil Rights Act in an interview with the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal. . . .

Paul explained that he backed the portion of the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public places and institutions, but that he thinks private businesses should be permitted to discriminate by race.

"I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I'm all in favor of that," he said. "I don't like the idea of telling private business owners. . . ."

Smith is not the only commentator to accuse Paul of being "evasive" or refusing to give a "straight answer." This criticism is absurd. The politically wise answer would have been "yes"--a straight answer in form, but an evasive one in substance. Answering the way he did was a rookie mistake--or, to put it more charitably, a demonstration that Paul is not a professional politician.

Taken at face value, the question itself--How would you have voted if you had been in the Senate as an infant?--is silly. It is a reasonable question only if it is understood more broadly, as an inquiry into Paul's political philosophy. The question within the question is: How uncompromising are you in your adherence to small-government principles?

Paul gave his answer: Pretty darn uncompromising--uncompromising enough to take a position that is not only politically embarrassing but morally dubious by his own lights, as evidenced by this transcript from the Courier-Journal interview, provided by the left-wing site

Interviewer: But under your philosophy, it would be OK for Dr. King not to be served at the counter at Woolworths?

Paul: I would not go to that Woolworths, and I would stand up in my community and say that it is abhorrent, um, but, the hard part--and this is the hard part about believing in freedom--is, if you believe in the First Amendment, for example--you have too, for example, most good defenders of the First Amendment will believe in abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things. . . . It's the same way with other behaviors. In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior.

Again, Paul could have given a "straight" answer to the question--a flat "no"--that made clear his personal disapproval of discrimination while evading what was really a question about his political philosophy. Far from being evasive, Paul has shown himself to be both candid and principled to a fault.

We do mean to a fault. In this matter, Paul seems to us to be overly ideological and insufficiently mindful of the contingencies of history. Although we are in accord with his general view that government involvement in private business should be kept to a minimum, in our view the Civil Rights Act's restrictions on private discrimination were necessary in order to break down a culture of inequality that was only partly a matter of oppressive state laws. On the other hand, he seeks merely to be one vote of 100 in the Senate. An ideologically hardheaded libertarian in the Senate surely would do the country more good than harm.

It's possible, though, that Paul's eccentric views on civil rights will harm the Republican Party by feeding the left's claims that America is a racist country and the GOP is a racist party. Certainly that's what Salon's Joan Walsh is hoping. Here are her comments on a Rand interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow:

You've got to watch the whole interview. At the end, Paul seemed to understand that he's going to be explaining his benighted civil rights views for a long, long time--but he seemed to blame Maddow. "You bring up something that is really not an issue . . . a red herring, it's a political ploy . . . and that's the way it will be used," he complained at the end of the interview. Whether the Civil Rights Act should have applied to private businesses--"not really an issue," says Tea Party hero Rand Paul.

It's going to become increasingly clear that the Tea Party movement wants to revoke the Great Society, the New Deal and the laws that were the result of the civil rights movement. Paul may be right that his views are "not really an issue" with his Tea Party supporters, although I have to think some of them won't enjoy watching him look like a slippery politician as he fails, over and over, to answer Maddow's questions directly.

When Paul says this "is really not an issue," he is speaking in the present tense. It is quite clear that he means that the Civil Rights Act, which has been the law for nearly 46 years, is politically settled; there is no movement to revoke it. In this, he is correct. Walsh's assertion that this is what the tea-party movement seeks is either a fantasy or a lie.

It's a curious role reversal: Rand Paul is a politician; Joan Walsh is a journalist. He is honest, perhaps too honest for his own good. She is playing the part of the dishonest demagogue.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Big Government destroys Real Democracy

There is a common misconception that more government control of the economy leads to more democratic control. Leftists like MIT linguist and lifelong socialist Noam Chomsky often make this claim while criticizing private corporations as "totalitarian", due to their top down control management style where the shareholders have absolute say and the workers none. Both of these are faulty precepts.

Let us break each argument down and evaluate their merits. The idea that bigger government leads to more democratic control springs from the fact that governments are democratically managed, and therefore when they control resources, those resources become democratically managed as well. This is true at a theoretical level, but in practice governments are controlled by a political elite, and the electorate is generally ignorant about the issues being decided on, let alone participating in the decision making.

A large government empowers those closest to the political decision makers, and allows them to circumvent the most democratic of all forums: courts of law. Courts of law are where the people make decisions based on what they believe is just. In courts, the people who make up the jury are armed with all the facts of the case, and are given the time to study them and the complete power to make a decision on it.

With legislation, the politically connect can insulate themselves from the decision of courts. They can change the terms of contracts, re-allocate the wealth of society, and dictate the actions of individuals, all without having to convince any court of law.

As far as the second argument: that corporations are totalitarian, it is simply empty rhetoric as it ignores the defining quality of totalitarianism: government control of all aspects of society. A corporation alone has no governmental powers to impose its will.

There is a fundamental difference in the exercise of government power compared to other forms of power. Government power supersedes the will of courts and as such can ignore the protections granted to people by common law (which is essentially the law as created by the most democratic of institutions, courts).

It is ironic that those who call for big government in the name of increasing democratic control and fighting totalitarianism, are in fact doing the opposite by diminishing the role of courts and increasing the power of the only organization capable of exerting totalitarian controls.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Palin's criticism of Obama undermines US security

Sarah Palin's public criticisms of the Obama administration for taking a critical stance on Israel's controversial announcement of new settlement construction undermine US national security.

Israel announced new settlement construction in East Jerusalem, a move which violates the road map for peace, before a visit by Vice President Joe Biden to Israel intended to jump start peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. This was widely seen as a snub to the US, and eliminated any possibility of the US initiative producing any results.

A major American opposition figure, like Sarah Palin, taking the side of a foreign nation, after it insults the US president and sabotages a major American foreign policy initiative, creates a perception of American political disunity and weakens American credibility as it tries to pressure Israel into making a necessary stop to its settlement building activity.

Given the level of US military involvement in the middle east, and how much the Israeli-Palestinian conflict contributes to tensions in the middle east, peace between Israel and Palestine is a vital US national security interest, as affirmed by General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command. Palin's repeated attacks on Obama for justifiably reacting harshly to Israel's derailment of the peace initiative are inexcusable for a figure who aspires to be a major player in American politics.

The best US foreign policy would be military disengagement from the middle east, as Ron Paul proposes, but barring that, it is essential that American political figures not undermine American efforts to create lasting peace in the region, for the sake of scoring points with America's powerful Israel lobby.

The attachment to a foreign nation, which motivates this kind of political behavior from Sarah Palin and her supporters, is something George Washington warned about:

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Washington's Farewell Address 1796

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Joe Biden's 'Entitlement' Comment is Wrong

In a recent interview, Joe Biden rebuffed claims that the Democrats' policies were redistributive by stating:

"It's a simple proposition to us: Everyone is entitled to adequate medical health care," Biden says. "If you call that a 'redistribution of income' -- well, so be it. I don't call it that. I call it just being fair."


Joe Biden is wrong. No one is entitled to health care. People are only entitled to that which they produce themselves. They are not entitled to something others need to provide or buy for them. No one is entitled to the pay check or labor of a perfect stranger.

Joe Biden's comment reflects the faulty precept of socialism, which expresses itself in the modern liberal/social-democrat political school of thought.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Clinton stands up to right-wing Israeli lobby

The Israeli right has long been accustomed to doing what it wants, irrespective of past agreements and international law, without any consequences, but Clinton, along with the UN, EU and Russia, recently condemned Israel for its construction of 1600 homes in the Palestinian sector of Jerusalem.

From the VOA:

Clinton Vents 'Frustration' Over Israeli Jerusalem Move in Call to Netanyahu

The State Department says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday to reiterate deep U.S. concern over an announcement this week that Israel will build more housing in East Jerusalem. The action coincided with an Israel visit by Vice President Joe Biden.

In one of the strongest U.S. protests of Israeli conduct in recent years, the State Department says Clinton told the Israeli leader that the housing move undermined both trust and confidence in the peace process, and American interests in the Middle East.

The telephone conversation, initiated by Clinton, was a follow-up to previous U.S. complaints about Israel's announcement Tuesday that it will build 1,600 new Jewish housing units in predominately-Arab East Jerusalem.

The announcement was an embarrassment to Vice President Biden, who had just begun a visit to Israel, and it threatened to torpedo a U.S.-brokered tentative agreement under which Israel and the Palestinians would resume indirect peace talks.

Prime Minister Netanyahu later expressed regret over the timing of the announcement but gave no indication it will be rescinded.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton, in her call, reiterated strong U.S. objections about both the timing and substance of the Israeli action.

He said the United States views it as a "deeply negative signal" about Israel's approach to bilateral relations, and counter to the spirit of the Biden trip. "The Secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States' strong commitment to Israel's security. And she made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words, but through specific actions, that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process," he said.

Asked if Clinton had expressed anger in her comments to Mr. Netanyahu, a senior U.S. official who spoke to reporters said "frustration would be a better term."

The Israeli decision to build more housing in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians hope to make the capital of a future state, prompted Arab calls for Palestinians to back out of their agreement have so-called "proximity" peace talks with Israel.

It prompted an intensive round of U.S. telephone diplomacy to try to save the agreement brokered by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

Crowley said Mitchell and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman since Thursday have called, among others, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Officials said Mitchell still intends to make a visit to the region in the coming days that was to have sealed an agreement on the proximity negotiations.

But they said Mitchell, the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Northern Ireland peace negotiator, might first join Secretary Clinton in Moscow next Friday for a meeting of the international "quartet" on the Middle East.

The informal grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations has been trying to expedite negotiations based on among other things the "road map" to regional peace it issued in 2003.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New York Times' Frank Rich attacks Ron Paul movement

Frank Rich, a writer for the New York Times, wrote an article attacking Ron Paul and his supporters a couple of days ago, called The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged.

In it he laments that the status quo big government Republicans are being replaced by "Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin".

Frank Rich is worried, because this new type of Republican doesn't just want to make cosmetic changes to the federal government, it wants to completely eliminate every thing in it that he loves and he sees as integral to his ideology:

The Tea Partiers want to eliminate most government agencies, starting with the Fed and the I.R.S., and end spending on entitlement programs. They are not to be confused with the Party of No holding forth in Washington — a party that, after all, is now positioning itself as a defender of Medicare spending. What we are talking about here is the Party of No Government at All.

He then mentions Ron Paul winning the CPAC straw poll, and goes on to quote the far right Israel-firster, Dorothy Rabinowitz, to describe Ron Paul's supporters as "conspiracy theorists, anti-government zealots, 9/11 truthers, and assorted other cadres of the obsessed and deranged."

Dorothy Rabinowitz, a senior member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, is one of Israel's fiercest and most pro-war advocates in the American media. She, along with other staff at the Wall Street Journal, have regularly railed against the Ron Paul movement and its position of non-intervention in the middle east. For example Bret Stephens made a series of ridiculous attacks back in February 2008 about Ron Paul in an article called "Ron Paul and Foreign Policy".

Frank Rich, the self-described liberal, is giving credit to an assessment of Ron Paul's supporters by a pro-war Israeli lobbyist, and in the process, demonstrating an absence of principles and judgment. It would require extreme naivete on Frank Rich's part to not realize that Dorothy Rabinowitz has a vested interest in trying to smear Ron Paul and his supporters due to her support for Israel. It's more likely that he realizes this, but does not care, in which case it demonstrates a lack of character. Either way, it does not bode well for his judgment and long term strategic vision.

To him, the idea of cutting back on federal spending that is unsustainable, and returning America to a limited Constitutional model where states, rather than a single all-powerful federal government, make policy, is so intolerable, that he would prefer pro-war neocons who promote a foreign policy for the benefit of a foreign country to be in power.

The most absurd part of Frank Rich's fanatical attachment to the leftist ideology is that the policies he endorses have been demonstrated to cause economic stagnation in historical example after example:

EU : Causes of Growth differentials in Europe

While the rest of the world is booming, Europe lags behind. France, Germany and Italy are stagnating, and so do Denmark, Sweden and Finland. All gained less than 44% prosperity from 1984 to 2004.

"Big government" is the main cause of Europe's weak performance. The oversized Public Sector lacks productivity and the growing bureaucracy is undoing the productivity gains of the Private Sector, eradicating all of its outstanding performance and productiveness.

Any sober analysis of economies around the world reaches the conclusion that less government spending leads to a more rapid rise in prosperity:

Not only is it evident from cross-country comparisons that lower government spending and taxes are better, but in the US itself, there are clear signs that entitlement programs are leading America to complete bankruptcy.

The former Comptroller General, David Walker, has railed that unless America makes severe cuts to Social Security and Medicare, America will be overwhelmed by debt:

A generation has been told that the government would be there to provide them with social security and medical care in their retirement. What will happen to these Americans when the government runs out of money? This is what makes Frank Rich's big government ideology of teaching people to be dependent on government so fundamentally immoral. It gives them a false sense of security that they will be taken care of, thereby discouraging them from preparing for their retirement, and then inevitably fails to deliver on its promises.

How is it that Frank Rich could stay so committed to a policy that is so evidently failing America? Does it never occur to him that maybe it would be better to let each state determine its own economic and social policy, thereby allowing more experimentation in governance, which would lead to better policies being discovered more often? This is essentially what the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, advocated in a recent CNN interview:

Google CEO: We can fix Washington

Is Ron Paul's vision of a federal government confined to its Constitutionally defined role, and various states experimenting and creating social programs that make sense for their particular circumstance, that terrifying to him?

When one of the most important writers for the most important paper in the United States demonstrates such little judgment and rational thought process, it just shows what serious trouble the American political system and economy are in.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Google CEO supports Limited Constitutional Government

In an interview with CNN, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt lays out his vision for what America needs: a smaller federal government and more state power. He believes that experimentation is how new innovations are discovered, and by allowing more policy to be set by states, there will be more experimentation.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ron Paul debates Keynesian interventionist

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Article comparing free markets to social democracy

This is a good article that explains why Europe's strategy of high social welfare stifles economic innovation and is a net detriment. Here is an excerpt:

Keeping America's Edge

The United States is in a tough spot. As we dig ourselves out from a serious financial crisis and a deep recession, our very efforts to recover are exacerbating much more fundamental problems that our country has let fester for too long. Beyond our short-term worries, and behind many of today's political debates, lurks the deeper challenge of coming to terms with America's place in the global economic order.

Our strategic situation is shaped by three inescapable realities. First is the inherent conflict between the creative destruction involved in free-market capitalism and the innate human propensity to avoid risk and change. Second is ever-increasing international competition. And third is the growing disparity in behavioral norms and social conditions between the upper and lower income strata of American society.

These realities combine to form a daunting problem. And the task of resolving it turns out not, by and large, to be a matter of foreign ­policy. Rather, it compels us to consider how we balance economic dynamism and growth against the unity and stability of our society. After all, we must have continuous, rapid technological and business-model innovation to grow our economy fast enough to avoid losing power to those who do not share America's values — and this innovation requires increasingly deregulated markets and fewer restrictions on behavior. But such deregulation would cause significant displacement and disruption that could seriously undermine America's social cohesion — which is not only essential to a decent and just society, but also to producing the kind of skilled and responsible citizens that free markets ultimately require. Moreover, preserving the integrity of our social fabric by minimizing the divisions that can rend society often requires ­government policies — to reduce inequality or ensure access to jobs, education, ­housing, or health care — that can in turn undercut growth and prosperity. Neither innovation nor cohesion can do without the other, but neither, it seems, can avoid undermining the other.

Judge Andrew Napolitano on Glenn Beck Show

Great show with guest host Judge Andrew Napolitano: