Friday, January 30, 2009

The Progression of Acceptance of Liberty

Through my many years of activism, I have noticed a sequence of levels of understanding when promoting the philosophy of freedom to people who have been trained to employ a deaf year. You know the type, those who have been “educated” away from the natural belief in freedom from the halls of “higher learning” in our universities and colleges.

In economics they are taught that to increase wealth, government can spend the wealth of taxpayers and national banks can miraculously through the “multiplier” theorem print money backed by nothing to do the same.

In political science, the concept of power and force reigns.

In sociology, they are taught that government must provide for the non-productive.

In engineering, many students extrapolate the laws of physics to the human being, forgetting about the dynamics of human action.

In psychology, many are still taught to ignore personal responsibility in the choices humans make, since the cause of behavior is their upbringing in childhood.

In history, they are taught that the great presidents of the United States are the ones who have engaged in war and government activism in the economy.

In accounting, there is an implicit acceptance of the power of governments to confiscate through taxation.

In law, students are taught to accept the Roman-style code enforcement “positive law” versus the Anglo-Saxon tradition of natural law, common law and the Constitution.

In philosophy, many are taught that everything is relative including existence.

I have only touched the surface of the bad influence “higher learning” makes on the “educated” and “anointed” ones.

So when promoting the philosophy of freedom, I find that those not brainwashed through the formal educational system in this country “get it” much faster than those others. For those others there is a sequence of understanding that must be obtained before one of those becomes a fellow traveler in a true belief in individual freedom. This is especially true with journalists and politicians.

And it is best illustrated through the activism of Congressman Dr. Ron Paul in his recent quest for the presidency and subsequent appearances on the cable news shows.

When Dr. Paul first appeared on the presidential debates, the positions he took sounded like wonderful pearls of freedom-speak; to the anointed, it sounded like the ravings of a fool. So the first step was to ignore the fool.

Then as Dr. Paul obviously started making some inroads with the people, the anointed took him seriously enough that they felt the need to ridicule him.

The next level came when ridicule became counterproductive. This is when the cable news shows started to give Dr. Paul a token minute to explain his views so they could pat themselves on their backs for being “objective.” This has been going on for some time now.

But a few days ago I saw our freedom movement move to the next level, probably the most important level in achieving an acceptance of the freedom philosophy. On “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC morning talk /news show, Mika Bzrezinski invited Ron Paul on and requested, earnestly, to explain to her panel of “experts”, and she said that she used that term guardedly, to show them how they are wrong for supporting the stimulus package. She was sincerely interested in Ron Paul’s answers with ears wide open. And so were here guests. No one-minute token interview here. The exchange must have lasted at least ten minutes where probing question and articulate answer were revealed. These people were really looking for answers and considered Ron Paul the expert in the field. He answered masterfully, at least in the abstract, and probably only failed a slight bit to give them concrete answers on solving the problem. He did but didn’t synthesize his solution enough to satisfy one of those on the panel.

But the step had been taken, the most important step from my experience, that of the anointed type finally asking a real probing question and wanting real answers, not to argue, but to learn. I have found in the past that once this barrier has been overcome, the final step is only a matter of time because we have logic and reason on our side. That final step is the acceptance of the philosophy of freedom with all the de-programming that must occur–a true belief in individual freedom and personal responsibility.

Yes, we will have to go through the additional pain this stimulus package will bring, but I now believe that it is only a matter of time before we see a true new dawn of freedom.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The "Paradox of Thrift" Fallacy

The so-called establishment economic “experts” raised on Keynesian claptrap, lament these days about the “paradox of thrift.” Based on the fallacious notion that the key to prosperity is consumption, they complain about people’s propensity to save during a recession, which of course makes perfect sense for those who are leery of what is to come, may have had savings depleted and wonder if their job will still be there tomorrow. “But this is a consumer driven economy” so says the establishment literati. Therefore we need a stimulus package of government spending and tax cuts to jump start the economy and get consumers spending again.

Of course, these befuddled apostles of Keynes confuse cause with result. In a truly prosperous economy, consumer spending is a result of productivity and the resultant prosperity, not the cause. If it were the cause, then why not a $700 trillion stimulus package instead of $700 billion. Wouldn’t that be a thousand times better? Actually, the federal government doesn’t have one dime to dole out, what with a $55 trillion dollar debt looming (based on true accountancy principles from which the government exempts itself).

Not that tax cuts aren’t a great idea. Tax elimination would be even better, and to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, will someday happen when the people are ready for it.

Certainly, tax cuts will increase productivity. They always do, and will to some extent mitigate the damage of increased government spending. However, tax cuts coupled with extravagant spending will only postpone the day of reckoning when we, our grand children and our great grand children will pay for these inflationary policies.

Deep down, these “experts” know that there isn’t any $700 billion to stimulate with, let alone $700 trillion. One must save and invest first before having money to stimulate. But printing this money out of thin air might make some people feel good for awhile. Sure, in the long run, such a tactic is inflationary, but heck, in the long run, we are all dead, as Keynes was apt to point out when asked about his inflationary policies.

In a “democracy”, which this country has unconstitutionally devolved into, politicians must constantly pledge the moon to constituents, whether they can deliver it or not. But with their enabler, the Federal Reserve system, the politicians can at least create and to an extent, perpetuate the illusion that it is indeed the moon, a paper moon, + that they have delivered to its constituents. If there is a problem, government is their to solve it. “Do something!” “Do something now!” And the politicians deliver. As H. L Mencken once said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

When the inflationary stimulus comes home to roost, “good-and-hard” is going to have all new meaning. We are now in a necessary downturn in the economy as a result of inflationary policies that created a financial bubble in the housing market. The necessary correction, the necessary pain has only begun but is something the free market can work out, if allowed. Unfortunately, politicians and their impatient constituents aren’t going to allow this to happen.

We’re in for “interesting times.”