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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hiatus

I'm taking a break from blogging. Until I resume, I invite you to visit some of my favorite blogs and websites. See the links in the column on the right.

Additionally, here are a few interesting pages that I've been reading:

"Free-Market Science vs. Government Science" by George Reisman at http://blog.mises.org/archives/005439.asp. Anyone ready for the separation of science and state?

"The Trouble with Liberals" by Jacob G. Hornberger at http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0604a.asp. Excellent article, although he's "preaching to the choir" instead of to the liberals he ought to be trying to persuade.

"Belated Thoughts on 'Libertarian Democrats' " by Tom Firey at http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2006/07/10/
belated-thoughts-on-libertarian-democrats/


"Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom" by Milton Friedman at http://www.cbe.csueastbay.edu/~sbesc/frlect.html

"The Worst Post-World War II President?" by Ivan Eland at http://www.antiwar.com/eland/?articleid=9281.

"Consensus on Contentious Claims", an interesting perspective on the economics of global warming, by John A. Baden at http://www.free-eco.org/articleDisplay.php?id=513.

"GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE: HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?" by Bradley Doucet at http://www.quebecoislibre.org/06/060702-5.htm.

Mr. Paul Goes To Washington, Part II

Here's another excerpt from the Washington Post article on Ron Paul (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2006/07/08/AR2006070800966_3.html
):

He often attempts to prove his political theories by pointing to how things used to be. For instance, the federal government banning drugs like heroin doesn't work for the same reasons Prohibition didn't. The IRS doesn't need to exist for the same reasons it didn't exist before.

"We had a good run from 1776 to 1913," he says, referring to the years before the modern income tax. "We didn't have it; we did pretty well."

As for Social Security, "we didn't have it until 1935," Paul says. "I mean, do you read stories about how many people were laying in the streets and dying and didn't have medical treatment? . . . Prices were low and the country was productive and families took care of themselves and churches built hospitals and there was no starvation."

("Where to begin with this one?" asks Michael Katz, a historian of poverty at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied charity case records from the early 20th century. "The stories just break your heart, the kind of suffering that people endured. . . . Stories of families that had literally no cash and had to kind of beg to get the most minimal forms of food, who lived in tiny, little rooms that were ill-heated and ill-ventilated, who were sick all the time, who had meager clothing . . .")


Michael Katz's implication appears to be that, since suffering and poverty existed in the U. S. before the advent of the income tax, social security, etc., suffering and poverty then were caused by too much laissez faire and too little socialism. But suffering and poverty exist in the U. S. today, after more than 90 years of the income tax, more than 70 years of social security, nearly 40 years of the War On Poverty, etc. Does this mean that suffering and poverty today are caused by too much socialism and too little laissez faire?

Both arguments involve the logical fallacy of cum hoc ergo propter hoc (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/cumhocfa.html). It might be more helpful to carefully consider two questions. First, would conditions in the U. S. before 1913 have been better or worse if the income tax, social security, War On Poverty, etc. had been put in place years earlier? Second, would conditions in the U. S. today be better or worse if the income tax, social security, War On Poverty, etc. had never been put in place?

I believe there would be much less suffering and poverty in the U. S. today if the income tax, social security, War On Poverty, etc. had never been put in place. What do you think?

You might take a look at what Sheldon Richman has to say in Government Keeps People Poor at http://www.fff.org/comment/com0606j.asp.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Support Our Troops? (Revisited)

Back in January I blogged on the question, should we "Support Our Troops?" (http://livefreeormove.blogspot.com/2006/01/support-our-troops.html). My blog entry ended as follows:

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?

On July 10, 2006, LewRockwell.com posted an article by Chas Chiodo, entitled, " I Don’t Support the Troops" (http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/chiodo1.html).

Here's an excerpt:

I believe that every one of the U.S. government’s military and "civil" agents in Iraq are engaged in "a war of unprovoked aggression," and therefore all bear some guilt for participating in an evil enterprise. I am not suggesting that the man who drives a supply truck is as guilty as the man who shoots a baby at point blank range, but all of our forces are guilty to some degree.

Doing wrong is doing wrong, be it in Gainesville or Iraq, and whether or not someone says killing in war is OK. Bush told the soldiers to go, and they chose to obey. When the Nazis at Nuremberg claimed they were "only following orders," they received no mercy, nor did they deserve any. Perhaps the enlisted men and women who merely tagged along are less culpable than Bush, but nobody involved in this huge criminal undertaking is entitled to a clean bill of moral health.

The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the more brutalized and undisciplined they will become, and the more hated they will be. The vast majority of the global community sees the USA as the bad guys, and rightly so. We have no moral reason for being in Iraq and the world knows it.

The problem in Iraq and Afghanistan is not that the U.S. forces have a few bad apples. The barrel itself is rotten . . . .

Mr. Paul Goes To Washington

Ron Paul (R-TX) is my kind of Congressman: true to principle through and through. Here's an excerpt on Congressman Paul from an article from the July 9, 2006 Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article
/2006/07/08/AR2006070800966.html
; Hat Tip: Lew Rockwell at http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/010919.html):

Paul, 70, has earned the nickname Dr. No for his habit of voting against just about anything that he sees as government overreach or that interferes with the free market. No to the Iraq war. No to a federal ban on same-sex marriage. No to a congressional gold medal for Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks. He says the medals are an unconstitutional use of taxpayer money and once suggested each House member instead contribute 100 bucks from his or her own pocket.

Last year, Congress decided to send billions of dollars to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Guess how Ron Paul voted.

"Is bailing out people that chose to live on the coastline a proper function of the federal government?" he asks. "Why do people in Arizona have to be robbed in order to support the people on the coast?"


That last paragraph would be remarkable coming from any Congressman--especially one from a district far from any coast--but Ron Paul represents Congressional District 14, which covers a wide swath of the Texas Gulf Coast, including the city of Galveston! (For a map of District 14, go to http://www.house.gov/paul/district.shtml and click on the thumbnail map.)

(If you don't see any problem with the federal government taxing ["robbing"] people in Arizona to support people on the coast, I highly recommend that you take a look at John Stossel's Confessions of a Welfare Queen at http://www.reason.com/0403/fe.js.confessions.shtml.)

William Anderson has a great comment on the Post article at http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/010920.html. Here's an excerpt:

[R]eporters from papers like the Post do not mind writing admiring pieces about principled people -- as long as the person who is being praised is a "principled" leftist, like Bernie Sanders. I suspect that writers from the Post believe that if only someone like Bernie Sanders were in control of the state, that he could make socialism work. Someone like Paul who does not believe the government should be making all of our decisions and controlling every aspect of our lives obviously is an "enemy of the people."

(I commend Bernie for his stand against the Iraq War and Occupation and for his stand for some civil liberties, but I strongly disagree with his views on economic freedom.)

If only there were many more Ron Pauls in Congress!

I you want to learn more about Ron Paul, visit his web site at http://www.house.gov/paul/ and his article archive at http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul-arch.html.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Speaking of "What Would Jefferson Do?" . . .

By shear coincidence, here's today's quote from the Future of Freedom Foundation's Email Update (http://www.fff.org/whatsNew/2006-07-08.htm):

Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

— John Adams, Letter to John Taylor [April 15, 1814]

What Would Jefferson Do?

Roger Young had some interesting reflections yesterday (7 July 2006) on the flag, the Fourth of July, and Thomas Jefferson:

This holiday supposedly marks that day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. That declaration was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. If Jefferson was alive today how do you think he would view the recent status of his cherished republic? I feel confident he would have immediately destroyed your little flag in a fit of righteous rage upon examination of the “long train of abuses and usurpations” suffered by the American servile class. He would be greatly disturbed that lives and fortunes were lost to overthrow the governance of a tyrannical king, only to have the inheritors and beneficiaries of that act willingly live subservient to the edicts of a despotic state .

During Jefferson’s time and the early years of the new American Republic the stars and stripes was an inspiring symbol to those who cherished liberty and a life’s pursuit free from the choking shackles of the state's enslavement. From its birth through the next 230 years, the American state/empire has grown into a brutal beast while continuing to fly that same bold, radiant, colorful flag that represents its hopeful beginning. That flag symbol may still fly true and colorful to the eye, but the ideals it originally represented have been tarnished and cast aside. How can I possibly declare that state corrupt and illegitimate yet respect and admire its symbol?


--http://www.strike-the-root.com/62/young/young1.html.