Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Great Socialist Misconception

The logical short-comings of socialism have been known for a long time.

Nearly 200 years ago, the great classical liberal thinker Frédéric Bastiat wrote:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

His critique still applies today to socialist-leaning individuals.

Bastiat wrote 'The Law', one of the most famous classical liberal works. The Law argues that the only just use of government power is to protect the right of individuals to their person, their liberty, and their property. When governments are used to plunder from one group to give to another, then they because instruments of injustice, rather than providers of it.

'The Law' can be found online here.

The Unintended Consequences Of The Welfare State

Forbes recently published an excellent article about the immorality of welfare advocacy:

The Unintended Consequences Of The Welfare State
James Otteson,
It is morally wrong to live off of the fruits of others' labor.

The welfare state seems to be corrupting some of our core moral principles.

That wasn't its intention, but if there is one thing we know about government programs, it is that they rarely do what they were intended to do. This moral corruption is eminently on display in the increasingly common, and increasingly loud, protests over cuts in state budgets, and we will soon see it in the looming fight over whether to raise the federal debt ceiling. (continued..) source

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Great Islamophobic Crusade

For a small but significant portion of the American population, there is no issue of greater importance than the threat of Islam. Not a debt that threatens to bankrupt the country, nuclear armed adversaries that could in theory kill hundreds of millions of people, or special interests in control of Washington DC. Such an assessment is clearly based on an enormous exaggeration of the strength of Muslim extremists, and at first it might seem inexplicable how it could become so widespread.

This article explains that a dedicated effort by far right Israeli/Jewish extremists is pushing the anti-Islamic sentiment, in order to coopt Americans to their cause:

The Great Islamophobic Crusade

Nine years after 9/11, hysteria about Muslims in American life has gripped the country.

With it has gone an outburst of arson attacks on mosques, campaigns to stop their construction, and the branding of the Muslim-American community, overwhelmingly moderate, as a hotbed of potential terrorist recruits. The frenzy has raged from rural Tennessee to New York City, while in Oklahoma, voters even overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the implementation of Sharia law in American courts (not that such a prospect existed). This campaign of Islamophobia wounded President Obama politically, as one out of five Americans have bought into a sustained chorus of false rumors about his secret Muslim faith. And it may have tainted views of Muslims in general; an August 2010 Pew Research Center poll revealed that, among Americans, the favorability rating of Muslims had dropped by 11 points since 2005.

Erupting so many years after the September 11th trauma, this spasm of anti-Muslim bigotry might seem oddly timed and unexpectedly spontaneous. But think again: it's the fruit of an organized, long-term campaign by a tight confederation of right-wing activists and operatives who first focused on Islamophobia soon after the September 11th attacks, but only attained critical mass during the Obama era. It was then that embittered conservative forces, voted out of power in 2008, sought with remarkable success to leverage cultural resentment into political and partisan gain.

This network is obsessively fixated on the supposed spread of Muslim influence in America. Its apparatus spans continents, extending from Tea Party activists here to the European far right. It brings together in common cause right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, and racist British soccer hooligans. It reflects an aggressively pro-Israel sensibility, with its key figures venerating the Jewish state as a Middle Eastern Fort Apache on the front lines of the Global War on Terror and urging the U.S. and various European powers to emulate its heavy-handed methods.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Rand Paul Introduces Five-Year Balanced Budget Plan

On March 17th 2011, Rand Paul introduced a plan to balance the budget in 5 years: