Go to links

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

:-) Dave Barry's "Year In Review, 2005"

Click here.

Adding Insult To Injury

In my home state of Vermont, Governor Jim Douglas has proposed that a supermajority of 60 percent be required to increase a local school budget by more than 3.5 percent.

In "Boilers, pressures and budgets" (http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060129/
NEWS/601290303), William J. Mathis, superintendent of the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, writes that

. . . education cost increases are driven by factors outside of local school's control.

As examples of these cost increases, Mathis cites inflation, the increased costs of fuel and healthcare, and the costs of unfunded federal and state mandates (e.g., special education, No Child Left Behind).

Mathis himself acknowledges that many of these problems are caused by government:

. . . the cost increases are primarily driven by state and federal laws and policies.

So, since most of the cost increases have been caused by government intervention, what does Mathis propose as the solution to the problem? You guessed it: Mathis proposes to solve the problem by piling on even more government intervention!

. . . if the governor and our state and national leaders addressed health care, energy policy, special education, unfunded mandates, inflation and skyrocketing real estate values, school costs would be less and the benefits would multiply across all elements of our society.

The solution to cost increases that have been driven by government intervention is to undo those government interventions, rather than to add insult to injury by introducing new interventions on top of the old.

In the meantime, schools could live with cost increases under a 3.5% cap by using less of whatever products and services have increased in price. After all, isn't this how we're supposed to respond to price signals? E.g., if the price of gasoline increases, isn't that supposed to be a signal to consumers to use less gasoline (i.e., that consumers should economize on their use of gasoline) and a concurrent signal to producers to produce more gasoline?

If healthcare costs more, buy less of it by eliminating unnecessary staff. If fuel costs more, buy less of it by turning down the thermostat, taking advantage of passive solar as much as possible, etc. Or substitute cheaper fuels where possible. And figure out ways to substitute products and services that have not increased in price (e.g., information technology) for those that have.

Businesses deal with many of the same cost drivers. Businesses, however, do not have the luxury of passing on 100% of their cost increases to customers. In the market economy, the price paid by the consumer is not identical to the sum of the costs borne by the producer. Instead, the price paid by the consumer represents the value the consumer sees in the product or service in question. If a business's costs go up by 5%, it might not be able to increase its prices at all because the consumer most likely will see no increase in value. If some of the products and services that a business uses increase in cost, the business must use less of them (economize) or reduce costs elsewhere if the business wants to preserve its margins and stay in business.

Mathis is asking the public to pay a higher price for a service that has not increased in value. In fact, the value of this service is actually declining because, as Mathis himself acknowledges, "Vermont student numbers are going down".

If anything, Governor Douglas is being too timid by asking for a supermajority to approve any increase in a local school budget of more than 3.5 percent. The supermajority rule should apply to any increase at all. After all, with student numbers decreasing, even a constant school budget represents, in effect, an increase in spending.

But there is a more fundamental question lurking in the shadows: What is the correct price for K-12 education? Is it the sum of the costs borne by the schools, as Superintendent Mathis would have it? Or is it no more than 3.5% higher than last year's cost (unless approved by a 60% supermajority), as Governor Douglas would have it? Or is the correct price a lot less than last year's cost?

The answer to this question is as follows: Without a truly free market in education, we can't answer the question! Until government gets completely out of the business of running and financing K-12 education and parents are free to choose from among a large number of competing, privately owned schools, we'll never know what the price ought to be.

Of course, families are not identical and will not be looking for the same K-12 "product", so there will be more than one "product" and more than one price. In other words, once the government gets completely out of the education business, there will be a much larger variety of K-12 "products". Each will be priced correctly because parents will voluntarily pay the price charged for a given "product" only if they see that the value of the product meets or exceeds that price. Competition among schools will encourage educational entrepreneurs to find ways to cut costs while maintaining or increasing the value of their products.

America: Participatory Fascism?

In a previous post, I wrote,

How can Russo use the F-word ("fascism") when our Fearless Leader keeps telling us that "the terrorists hate us for our freedoms"? Stay tuned: this could be the subject of yet another post!!!

Well, here we are in "yet another post"!

At http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0308c.asp, Sheldon Richman reviews two books, "Crisis And Leviathan", by Robert Higgs, and "Dependent on D.C.", by Charlotte Twight.

Richman writes,

The books’ themes are so complementary that it would be a grave mistake to read one but not the other. Both are necessary to get the full picture of how and why governments grow. No libertarian education is complete without these books.

I've read "Crisis And Leviathan" and I agree whole heartedly with Richman's summary of it. I'm now reading "Dependent On D.C.", mostly because of Richman's strong recommendation. Based on what I've read, Richman is right once again.

About Higgs's "Crisis And Leviathan", Richman says the following:

Readers will very likely find his rich historical brief highly persuasive.

The bulk of the book is that historical brief. Beginning in 1893, he discusses in depth the government’s response to economic panics, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and “that permanent emergency known as the Cold War” into the 1980s.

He shows that the result of it all was the end of capitalism. What replaced it? Not socialism, which entails state ownership of the means of production. For Higgs the successor is more like fascism, in its economic sense — a façade of private ownership with the terms of property use increasingly dictated by the state.

But since America’s political process is formally (if not actually) open, he invokes the term “participatory fascism,” which was used by Charlotte Twight in her excellent earlier book, "America’s Emerging Fascist Economy".

So there you have it: the end of capitalism in America and the beginnings of participatory fascism.

Monday, January 30, 2006

"America: From Freedom to Fascism"

A really nice libertarian blog is "Yearning to Breathe Free" at yearningtobreathefree.blogspot.com/ by "Libertarian Jason".

Check out his latest post, "Move On, Michael Moore...", in which LJ discusses an upcoming documentary called "America: From Freedom to Fascism". This documentary is by Aaron Russo, a film and TV producer who was a candidate for the Libertarian Party nomination for President in 2004.

How can Russo use the F-word ("fascism") when our Fearless Leader keeps telling us that "the terrorists hate us for our freedoms"? Stay tuned: this could be the subject of yet another post!!!

(Speaking of "they hate us for our freedoms", you might want to check out this for grins.)

When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

At http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts145.html, Paul Craig Roberts writes,

Another recent poll, a LA Times/Bloomberg poll, finds that 57% of the respondents "favor military intervention if Iran’s government pursues a program that could enable it to build nuclear arms." These are the same respondents, 53% of whom believe it was not worth going to war against Iraq.

Looks like Jim Bovard's new book, "Attention Deficit Democracy", rings true once again! (You can read the entire intro at http://www.lewrockwell.com/bovard/bovard19.html.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Support Our Troops?

Should we support our troops? Even many who are opposed to the Iraq war have been answering this question in the affirmative, but perhaps the answer is not a slam-dunk "yes".

A couple of articles on the web have recently addressed this question anew. In the L. A. Times (http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/news2/latimes3v.htm), Joel Stein writes,

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

On LewRockwell.com (http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/dehope1.html), John DeHope writes,

The troops want to kill people, and I want them to not. They want to overthrow other people’s governments, and I want them to mind their own business. They want to be career soldiers, and I want them to get real jobs. They want a government paycheck, and I want them to work in private industry. Is it any wonder that I don’t support the troops? Do you?

Should we support our troops? Perhaps the correct answer is, "it all depends on what they are doing". Should we support our troops if they are waging a war of aggression? Doesn't the question answer itself?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Jim Bovard speaks!

You can listen to an interview of Jim Bovard, in which he discusses his new book, "Attention Deficit Democracy", at http://clipcast.wpr.org:8080/ramgen/wpr/jca/jca060125c.rm.

More from Jim Bovard

Ya gotta read the entire intro to Jim Bovard's new book, "Attention Deficit Democracy"! Here's another excerpt:

This is the age of Leviathan Democracy. Leviathan was the Biblical term that English philosopher Thomas Hobbes used in 1651 to describe a government absolute and far superior to its subjects, whose task was to obey and, when ordered, die. The United States was an anti-Leviathan at its founding – the first government to be created with strict limitations on its power enshrined into the Constitution to protect citizens from their rulers in perpetuity.

But in recent decades, government power has become unbounded. The U.S. government still has the formal trappings of a democracy – candidates, elections, congressional proceedings, judges draped in long black robes. But we have fallen far from the Founding Fathers’ ideal of a Rule of Law. Today, when the president’s desires extend beyond legal boundaries, the Constitution and the statute book be damned.

Attention Deficit Democracy begets Leviathan because rulers exploit people’s ignorance to seize more power over them. The bigger government becomes, the fewer citizens understand it, the less representative it will tend to be. The contract between rulers and ruled is replaced by a blank check. As long as presidents and their appointees recite the proper phrases and strike the correct poses, they can do as they please. . . .

Government is an elective dictatorship when voters do little more than select who will violate the laws and Constitution. Bush, like other U.S. presidents, perpetually equates democracy with freedom. But if the purported consent of voters confers upon the winner the right to nullify citizens’ rights – they are voting for a master, not a representative. Elections become little more than reverse slave auctions, in which slaves choose their masters.

Voting is now a way of conferring power and honors on politicians, rather than a method of reining in rulers. In the early American Republic, candidates would stress their fidelity to the Constitution. But the Constitution has vanished from the campaign trail, replaced by competing promises of new handouts and new protections against the vicissitudes of daily life.

Again, you can read the entire intro at http://www.lewrockwell.com/bovard/bovard19.html.

Presidents lie. Get over it!

In the introduction to his new book, "Attention Deficit Democracy", Jim Bovard writes,

"Presidents have lied so much to us about foreign policy that they’ve established almost a common-law right to do so," history professor Leo Ribuffo observed in 1998. From John F. Kennedy lying about the Bay of Pigs debacle in Cuba; to Johnson lying about the Gulf of Tonkin resolution; to Richard Nixon lying about the secret bombing of Cambodia; to Jimmy Carter lying about the Shah of Iran being a progressive, enlightened ruler; to Ronald Reagan lying about terrorism and Iran-Contra; to George H. W. Bush lying about the justifications for the first Gulf War, entire generations have come of age since the ancient time when a president’s power was constrained by a duty of candor to the public.

Unfortunately, many citizens’ minds are sponges, soaking up whatever government emits. Lies almost always turn out to be duds, as far as detonating any backlash against political abuses. Self-government is vanishing because of black holes in citizens’ heads where connections are not made and sparks do not fly.

For the rest of Bovard's intro, see http://www.lewrockwell.com/bovard/bovard19.html.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Echo? Echo? Echo?

In " It's the power, stupid!" (http://livefreeormove.blogspot.com/2006/01/its-power-stupid.html, I wrote,

when it comes down to talking about lobbyists, special interests, and Congress, It's the power, stupid! If the citizens would take care to place strict limits on the power they allow Congress to wield, corruption and scandal would be very rare indeed.

Today, the great Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) writes,

Last week I mailed each of my congressional colleagues a copy of a speech outlining my views on the lobbying and ethics scandals engulfing Washington. I’m afraid many of them won’t like my conclusion: to reduce corruption in government, we must make government less powerful – and hence less interesting to lobbyists.

-- from "New Rules, Same Game" by Ron Paul at http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul300.html.

If Lincoln did it, it must be OK!

As the controversy over the wiretapping developed, it was only a matter of time before the “even Lincoln did it” argument would be heard. GOP apologists did not disappoint, reminding Americans that Honest Abe engaged in massive violations of civil liberties while president. But Tom DiLorenzo raises the proper reply to such claims in the form of remarks by Supreme Court Justice David Davis—a personal friend of Lincoln—in the 1866 case Ex Parte Milligan: “The constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.”

As DiLorenzo suggests, if the government were to be given carte blanche during wartime, all that would be necessary to whittle away the people’s liberties would be to concoct—or to provoke—an endless series of crises.

--Thomas E. Woods, Jr. at http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_01_30/cover.html.

Single Payer Health Care

There is a small state named Vermont,
Where single payer is the font
Of wisdom, many do say,
But through the nose we will pay,
When gov'ment says what we can and we can't!

Cross posted at http://blackmasque.blogspot.com/.

Real Defense

Eugene Jarecki, director of the just-released documentary "Why We Fight" (winner of the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize) writes about Dwight D. Eisenhower:

He understood that a country that allocates a disproportionate share of its wealth toward defense and away from other aspects of its national life is a country driven by an incomplete vision of national defense. In the final analysis, he understood that an uneducated country is an undefended country, that a country without adequate health care is an undefended country, that a country in debt is an undefended country, that a country without friends and allies is an undefended country, and above all, that a country whose people have lost faith in their leaders, is an undefended country.


Monday, January 23, 2006

A healthcare system vs. a healthcare market

What Vermont needs is a healthcare market. The last thing it needs is a government-run and/or government-financed plan or system, regardless of whether it is called single-payer healthcare or universal healthcare. No group of politicians and/or bureaucrats has access to enough information to successfully plan a healthcare system.

Vermonters do not need a healthcare system that is imposed on them from above by government. What Vermonters need is a healthcare market that emerges from individual consumers being "Free To Choose" to do business with the providers they prefer and to withhold their patronage from the providers they do not prefer.

Many if not most of the problems related to healthcare today can be traced to previous government interventions, including the tax treatment of employer-provided health insurance. The solution to today's healthcare problems does not lie in increasing government intervention in healthcare. The solution lies in undoing all of the previous government interventions that have failed.

A snowball's chance in hell

In my previous post, I wrote,

So let's put all of the proposals for government pre-K education, single-payer healthcare, etc. on hold. In short, let's insist that government "Fix K-12 First"!

I'm really very opposed to both government pre-K education and single-payer healthcare. But I think that at best there's only a snowball's chance in hell that government will ever get K-12 education to work and get K-12 to stop taxing us to death. So we wouldn't be taking any risk at all by telling the supporters of pre-K education and single-payer healthcare that they can have what they want once they "Fix K-12 First".

Make government clean up its act before asking it to do more!

Here in my home state of Vermont there's a movement to add two pre-kindergarten grades to the already-stressed, government K-12 system. There's also a movement to "reform" healthcare by instituting a "single payer" system.

In response to the first movement, FreedomWorks-Vermont (http://www.freedomworks.org/vermont/) has launched a state-wide campaign to urge legislators to "Fix K-12 First".

It strikes me as a great idea for Vermonters to insist that government fix what's wrong with K-12 before asking government to do more.

But why stop at just education? Wouldn't it also be a good idea to insist that government "Fix K-12 First" before asking government to take control of healthcare in Vermont?

Some might respond that government financing of healthcare need not mean government control. But when has this ever happened in the real world? Government control has always followed government financing, because financing has always been accompanied by calls for "accountability".

So let's put all of the proposals for government pre-K education, single-payer healthcare, etc. on hold. In short, let's insist that government "Fix K-12 First"!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Henry David Thoreau on healthcare

Recently, the Maryland legislature passed a law requiring any company with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of its payroll on healthcare or pay the difference to the state's welfare system.

Sheldon Richman discusses the case at http://www.fff.org/comment/com0601f.asp. Here's an excerpt (HDT fans, keep on reading!):

Companies don’t scrimp on medical benefits because they are stingy. They do so in part because medical care is increasingly expensive and workers may prefer cash to insurance. Government intervention is the reason. The best way to make health coverage cheaper is for government to quit inflating the price of medicine through burdensome regulation and competition-throttling licensing. As medical costs came down, so would the price of health insurance.

But we should go further. Were it not for the income tax there would be no good reason for employees to tether themselves to their bosses with health insurance. Better to take your compensation in cash and buy the health coverage best for you, than to let your employer make the decisions. But the tax laws push many people into often-lavish employer-provided insurance. This raises the price of medical care, pricing other people out of the market and leading to problems like “job lock,” in which workers are afraid to change jobs because it might mean adverse changes in coverage. Working for someone else can be unpleasant enough. Why mix health insurance into the relationship?

Once again politicians have tried to fix a problem that they helped cause. The same people who made health insurance artificially expensive by mandating coverage for services most people don’t want now are trying to force Wal-Mart to clean up their mess. When will they learn that, as Henry David Thoreau put it, “this government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way”?

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's the power, stupid!

If the federal government limited itself to the few, enumerated powers delegated to it by the States via the Constitution, there would be no reason for lobbyists and special interests to shower our Representatives and Senators with big bucks because politicians would not be able to tilt the playing field one way or another. As a result, corruption in government would be very rare.

One of my favorite economists is Walter Williams of George Mason University in Virginia. Williams posts a weekly column on the GMU website, in which he comments on current events, often from an economics viewpoint. In his current column, Williams writes,

Why do corporations, unions and other interest groups fork over millions of dollars to the campaign coffers of politicians? Is it because these groups are extraordinarily civic-minded Americans who have a deep interest in congressmen doing their jobs of upholding and defending the U.S. Constitution? Might it be that these groups and their Washington-based lobby arms, numbering in the thousands, just love participating in the political process? Anyone answering in the affirmative to either question probably also believes that storks deliver babies and there really is an Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

A much better explanation for the millions going to the campaign coffers of Washington politicians lies in the awesome growth of government control over business, property, employment and other areas of our lives. Having such power, Washington politicians are in the position to grant favors. The greater their power to grant favors, the greater the value of being able to influence Congress, and there's no better influence than money

During the 1992 election campaign, James Carville famously said, in support of Clinton's candidacy, "It's the economy, stupid!" Well, when it comes down to talking about lobbyists, special interests, and Congress, It's the power, stupid! If the citizens would take care to place strict limits on the power they allow Congress to wield, corruption and scandal would be very rare indeed.

The economic, the political, and the charitable

At http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21113445&postID=113752960655218826 Harp Maven writes,

If more people who live with freedom as their motto demonstrate that others in need will get the help they require in order to live with their basic needs for food and shelter met, then I think those people, perhaps many who have adopted Libertarianism as their creed, might have a greater following!

This is one of the toughest challenges for libertarianism: how to reconcile one individual's right to his or her life and property with another individual's need for basic necessities.

Let's say Joe has a need for food. He can meet this need by growing food or he can produce something else that he can exchange for food directly or indirectly (using money). Alternatively, he could steal the food he needs. But stealing is immoral, right? If Joe steals food from Sally, he's violating Sally's right to her property. Another way to look at it is that Joe is initiating force against Sally. That's why stealing is immoral.

Instead of stealing food from Sally directly, suppose Joe persuades enough of his fellow voters to elect politicians that enact a law under which the State takes food (or money) from Sally and gives it to Joe and his fellow voters. From Sally's point of view, nothing has changed: someone has violated Sally's right to her property; someone has initiated force against her. From Sally's point of view, has she not been the victim of theft?

(The commandment is, "Thou shalt not steal", it is not, "Thou shalt not steal unless thou findeth thineself amongst the majority of the voters, in which case thou mayest stealeth with abandon"!)

Wendy McElroy writes,

The German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer explained the difference between these two terms [state and society] in his classic work, The State. By “state,” Oppenheimer meant “that summation of privileges and dominating positions which are brought into being by extra-economic power.” By “society,” he meant “the totality of concepts of all purely natural relations and institutions between man and man....” In other words, the state uses the political means — or force — to acquire wealth and power. Society uses the economic means, or cooperation. An example of the political means is to acquire wealth through taxation. An example of the economic means is the acquisition of wealth through productive labor.

The goal of libertarianism is to persuade people to look to the economic means, first and foremost, to achieve their goals. When this is achieved, society will be both peaceful and voluntary

Thus, if Joe meets his need for food by growing it or by producing something else that he can exchange for food, he is using the economic means to satisfy his need. On the other hand, if he persuades his fellow voters to elect politicians that enact a law under which the State takes food from Sally and gives it to Joe and his fellow voters, he uses the political means to satisfy his need.

It seems to me that there is a third means, the charitable means. If Joe is unable to meet his real needs by productive labor and if he is unwilling to initiate force against his neighbors--either directly (through outright theft) or indirectly (through taxation, which is nothing more than legal plunder)--then he can still ask his family, friends, and neighbors for help. This has the advantage that the help provided by his family, friends, and neighbors would involve no coercion, no initiation of force. The help provided to Joe by his family, friends, and neighbors in this way would be entirely voluntary. Because it is voluntary, Joe's family, friends, and neighbors can feel good about themselves for helping Joe out (which is not the case if Joe's family, friends, and neighbors are forced to help Joe out through taxation). Moreover, because Joe has been helped by the voluntary action of his family, friends, and neighbors, he can feel gratitude toward them. On the other hand, if Joe's family, friends, and neighbors (not to mention all the people who are strangers to Joe!) are forced to help him out through taxation, Joe will come to think that this help is not something for which he should be grateful, but, rather something to which he is entitled.

So, if Joe is unable to provide for all of his real needs, the charitable means is to be preferred over the political means. And, whenever possible, the charitable means should focus on helping Joe meet his future needs himself through the economic means rather than making him permanently dependent on the charitable means.

Would all the Joes of the world get all the help they need through the charitable means? I think a more fruitful question is as follows: why is it, that after 42 years of the War On Poverty (declared by Lyndon Johnson in January, 1964), we still have people who are unable to meet their needs through the economic means? Doesn't the fact that we have lost the War On Poverty tell us that the attempt to meet Joe's needs through the political means has been a complete failure? Isn't it time to try something else? Isn't it time to drop coercion (the political means) and try peace and cooperation (the economic and charitable means)?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

2222 is 2222 too many

The Human Cost of Occupation: http://antiwar.com/casualties/.

Ridley Scott, "Kingdom of Heaven", and a taxonomy of conservatives

H. Arthur Scott Trask comments on Ridley Scott’s "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005) at http://www.lewrockwell.com/trask/trask9.html. Makes me want to see it once again!


Ridley Scott has chosen to make a different kind of film, one that hints at U.S. provocations in the Middle East, rather than reinforces the American tropes of outraged innocence and righteous retribution; one that suggests the Bush policy of imposing democracy by war in the Middle East is a product of the same kind of zealotry and self-serving idealism that once drove the Crusades, at least in part; one that celebrates not purifying violence or blinding hate but mercy, moderation, understanding, reason, compromise. And he portrays Saladin and his cavalry commander as worthy foes and honorable men, which they apparently were. He should be praised.

Trask also thinks that the battle sequences "are as thrilling (but more realistic) as the sieges of Helm’s Deep and Minis Tirith in the Ring movies", with which I heartily agree!

Dave Barry Strikes Again!

David Bardallis describes Dave Barry's new book,

Dave Barry's Money Secrets: Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?

at http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/bardallis9.html. Only question is, will it be as good as P. J. O'Rourke's "Eat The Rich"?

Here's an excerpt from Bardallis' article:

At any rate, it's no secret that money can be a confusing subject. The first question to ask is, "What is money, anyway?" Luckily, Mr. Barry provides a chapter on monetary history, tracing its evolution from seashells in ancient China to livestock in Mesopotamia to precious metals from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century and, finally, to the fiat currencies we have today. Of the latter, he notes:

"We don't have the gold standard anymore. Nobody does. Over the years, all the governments in the world, having discovered that gold is, like, rare, decided it would be more convenient to back their money with something that is easier to come by, namely: nothing."

That's why, continues Mr. Barry, "to this day, if you – an ordinary citizen – go to Fort Knox and ask to exchange your U.S. dollars for gold, you will be used as a human chew toy by large federal dogs."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More Gore! (Or, Where Was the New York Times?)

In commenting on Gore's speech on Martin Luther King Day, Paul Craig Roberts writes, "Gore challenged the American people to step up to the task of defending the Constitution, a task abandoned by the media, the law schools, and the Democratic and Republican parties. If we fail, darkness will close around us" (http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts141.html).

Roberts is a former associate editor of The Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

You owe it to yourself to read the whole article.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Al Gore speaks!

Al Gore spoke in Washington on Martin Luther King day on the present crisis with the President and the Executive Branch. The speech has many minor flaws (too much worship of Lincoln for my taste), but overall it was a great one. Here's an excerpt:

We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.

I endorse the words of (former Republican U.S. Representative) Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

You can read the entire speech at http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20060117/cm_thenation/150069;_ylt=A86.I0WWlsxDYe8AChn9wxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA.

William Anderson criticizes the speech at http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/009747.html. Anderson's criticisms are mostly valid, but there is a time and place for everything, and now is the time for everyone who is opposed to the shredding of the U. S. Constitution to come together and work together. There will be another time to criticize Gore and the Clinton-Gore administration. Right now Gore is on the side of liberty and the Constitution that protects our liberties here in the U. S. Let's keep the main thing the main thing. At least until the present danger has passed.

Live Free or Move!


The title of this post (and this blog) is, of course, a take off on the New Hampshire slogan, "Live Free or Die". We want to live free, natch, but wouldn't it be nice to have an alternative to freedom other than death?

So let's live free. Unless we find we can't. In which case, we should move to where we think we can live free. Meantime, let's discuss freedom. Political and economic (but I repeat myself).