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Happy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011

On a rather personally note, I am grateful that God has acted on my behalf, achieving what I could never accomplish.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

-Paul of Tarsus, from Colossians 2 (emphasis mine)

Freedom from The Law, by Grace through Christ.

The Ism That Isn’t

July 17, 2011
by

Much is made of labels and names, so much so that there is an implicit assumption that any label or name in use stands as either a symbol or a straw man for a group of specific individuals (usually ones distinctly unlike the present company, often on only a few but focused upon traits). So when people speak of capitalism, what is usually meant, and perceived, is Capitalism, the term for fat cat bankers, robber barons, and “the rich/wealthy.” Capitalism and Communism or Socialism are often directly compared as if they are competing theories, when in reality one is a method or implementation, and the other two are theories as created by specific individuals for their goals.

Capitalism is the ism that isn’t, it reflects not an ideology but a prioritization of capital. It is the economic equivalent of eating your vegetables before your desert. In capitalism you seek the maximum value for each action, you expend at the peak moment, you labor for the most gainful fruits. To sell high and buy low is capitalism, to invest your time in study rather than idling in front of the television is capitalism – to do the opposite of these examples as motivated by the rewards or perspectives of your ideology is capitalism. A Christian taking on habits and practices to avoid the occasion of sin is investing the capital of habits and time for the gain of grace in salvation. A Marxist defending Communism, distributing the manifesto and voting for greater state power and social programs is investing the capital of that effort which could go many other places, is practicing capitalism.

This post is the practice of capitalism; your reading it, or quitting mid-way through or stopping in the first sentence is capitalism. Capitalism is acting upon the best path known to us, it is practiced through the advocacy of free human action that does not infringe on other human actions, through seeking out trade and expertise to maximize impact of labor – which leaves us with finding the best paths, through analyzing data and examining incentives and consequences.

So are your actions the best employment of capitalism? Is what your advocating been tried before? How did it perform? Where did you get the information on its performance from? If it performed poorly primarily due to faults of its own character, a good capital decision would be to move away from it, or at least those aspects of its character. If it performed well, a good use of capital is the examination of all contributing factors to enhance its implementation.

We are all capitalists, we all practice capitalism, the real question is whether or not our culture is getting better or worse at it, and what can we examine to help steer us toward the better?

Racism Is Racism

May 27, 2011

The title may seem obvious, of course racism is racism, but I have no interest in expressing a tautology or a blanket indictment. What I mean is the notion of perceiving racism in the world beyond the analysis of each specific individual really requires racism itself. Every time we make a call of racism on someone beyond an explicit statement of “I reject these elements of another and presuppose to the extent of denying dialog with the individual their inability to reason based on what I deem to be under the moniker of race” we have to do those very same actions, we must presuppose to the extent of denying dialog with the individual, we reject their elements and we dismiss the concept of correlation that is not causation.

When we see a crowd of protesters who all have light skin protesting the current president, who has relatively darker skin, to conclude that their opposition to him is because of his relatively darker skin is to presuppose that their lighter skin precludes them from other lines of reasoning. You must be racist against them to in any broad strokes or without probing individual interviews conclude that their perspectives are the product of racism. This is inherently to argue Nature over Nurture, that their melanin content drives their mind more than their faculty of reason.

I am not saying that there is not racism, it is actually rather common, as it is a common result of collectivism, for even if it is vilified by the collective, it still appeals to the same root of grouping people’s actions into larger traits, usually to the exclusion of more nuanced perspectives. This collective thinking has precluded debate. You can no longer disagree with someone who has quickly discernible differences from you. If I disagree with Barack Obama, it has to be because of a difference in skin tone, not a difference in our views of morality and human rights. If a man disagrees with a woman it has to be because of a difference in gender, and not the issue they were discussing. This is the harm of collectivism, and how it exponentially gorges against even itself inevitably.

Ultimately this boils down to the need to stop playing any “cards” in a debate. At some point, ideas must collide. The free market must be considered next to the intervened upon or controlled market, free speech must be considered next to state information, equality of process must be considered next to equality of outcome. So long as these discussions are not being had, because we focus on the peripheral incidental differences between those talking, the scenario continues to rot, the cancer grows, and those in power prolong their tenure and delay the reckoning that flows naturally from the consequences of their own policies born to fruition.

This is why you will never see the likes of Thomas Sowell being brought up to question Barack Obama, because they have few superficial differences, but they are legion for meaningful substantial differences. To allow those two in the same room so to speak, would be to face the tusked mammoth in the living room, and actually ask ourselves what our moral reasoning is, and what sort of people we want ourselves to be.

There is much talk of a racial divide in America, or even the world, but the real divide is of the intellect and the ego. Much talk of the Haves and Have Nots, little to be said of the Doers and Do Nots. The question is never one of race, income, gender or anything else in what is ultimately a moral question. The question is that of morality itself. Do we expand freedom, objectively, or do we retract it? Do we liberate, or do we distribute?

Trade is Made of Win – Art Carden

April 26, 2011

Art, droppin’ Econ like it’s hot:

Wealth Creation:

Cooperation:

Conservation:

The Rational Fear of the Rational

September 7, 2010

We hear often of Islamophobia, a particular term usually reserved for people who aren’t trusting of Islam’s practitioners, oppose the Park51 community center, and other such occasions. There is little confusion over the use of the term Islam, though the term does fail to differentiate between moderate and extreme practitioners (where that dividing line is and what it constitutes is a whole other discussion), Wahabism, and the presence of Sharia law in more and more countries. But why phobia?

The shortest definition of phobia is an irrational fear, which has numerous implications. To call someone “phobic” in regards to any movement or entity is to state that there is a lapse in their logic, a persistent absence of rationality, something which can be exploited politically to insinuate that they have similar absences elsewhere. This implies that a concern regarding Islam (which if failed to differentiate, does include Wahabism and Sharia law) is inherently irrational. The implications of fear are even more obvious, but insidious. That they retreat from interaction with, even to the point of knowing what they may disagree with, and knowing what is going on. They turn away, they are ignorant as to any element of what is going on, and if they feel they are cornered, that they may turn to violence. In this simple term, we now have cast an entire population as being uninformed, reactionary, unwilling, and incapable of serious thought. This is the establishing of a “dialog”, the establishment of “we have no reason to listen to you, and it would be a bad idea to hear a word you have to say.”

This of course does draw a reaction, because any rational person would balk at being called irrational, and would seek to repair the damage of this comment before progressing, to insure what they had to say was not undermined. However these comments typically come from a the forum administrator, be it on television, print or a website, and so they control the time frame and pace, thus the entire subject is spent on the opponent attempting to regain ground to a neutral position. The net result is the subject is never actually discussed.

This is a very advantageous position politically, as it gives the impression of the issue being discussed, without any specific points ever arising. It successfully depicts the opposition as at best scrambling, but also as having had their turn. Therefore the actual events can continue unquestioned, until it is established whether as legislation, policy, or a physical structure, and is accepted by most as part of the new status quo.

Why are these things pushed so hard though? Why do they avoid dialog about what they are trying to change? Whim. Holding a vision of the world, and the belief that only their vision can be progress, and any defeat of it would be a disaster, they must avoid discussion of the actual content at all costs. When there is an aspect of a culture, it is easy to spin it into a phobia as a vague appeal to American multiculturalism while yet ignoring that great American tradition which founded this nation: hearty, elaborate, exacting debate of what specifically is happening.

To bring it to discussion however would be to examine this vision, which would be to suggest that the vision, as ordained by “the intellectuals” may be flawed, and is not immediately apparently obviously worthwhile. This would bring them under the jurisdiction of the rational, and that is what they fear, to be treated and judged on the same grounds as their opponents, the one “equality” they will evade, as it comes not from legislation or any other fiat, but rather through personal action. To do such could bring their control to a grinding halt, and begin to crumble. It is rational for them to fear this, and it is why they have a rational fear of the rational.

Economics in One (Video) Lesson: The Broken Window Fallacy

August 31, 2010

“The whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be
reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely
at the immediate but the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing
the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.””Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other science known to man.”
— Henry Hazlitt in Economics in One Lesson


The Interstate Commerce Clause

August 25, 2010

[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

-U.S.Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3)

Here is a great segment from Reason.tv discussing the history and expansion of the federal power through more modern understandings of the interstate commerce clause.

The ultimate question here has more to do with how you view the Constitution. Is it a legal contract written specifically to limit the power of government – or was it just some basic guidelines for setting up a government system?

This is a fundamental question that American’s each must reconcile. It may not seem important, but rest assured – your rights and liberties will look very different, based on your answer.