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Force: Our Work, or Your Guns.

August 5, 2010

Many people do not understand why conservatives oppose most government programs, or broader collective systems such as Socialism. The issue comes down to the very philosophical basis of government itself, and how it operates: by force. All other systems and groups operate around the choices and trades made by individuals. (My labor, for your wage.) You may argue that corporations use unfair tactics to limit people’s choices, but there is no real argument that governments offer individuals more choice. In fact – in a purely democratic system (which America is not), the only real choice you have with regard to government is your vote, which of course is completely negated if it is not aligned with the majority of other votes.

For instance, I may choose not to drive a car, or purchase gasoline – but I may not choose not to pay my taxes, which are used to build and maintain our roads. (This is not an argument for privatizing roads, just an example of choice vs. force.). The principal is simple: If I am unable to simply say one word, “No” – then I am being forced to act, forced to work, forced to serve someone else with my mind.

A common criticism of this discussion is that it is too abstract or, for instance “doesn’t feature a single word about policy.” I would simply argue that a philosophical understanding of why government exists, how it functions, and what its role should be is far more essential than any policy discussion. In fact – it must pre-empt policy discussions. Policy is decided long after people have already made assumptions about what government can and should do.

Many people have written about the proper role of government in the past, but sadly, their ideas are substituted in favor of chatter about this or that policy. For the person who perhaps hasn’t taken a moment to think about the core issue, “What is the role of Government,” allow me to present two arguments about the proper, and improper use of force (Government being an institution of force).

The following is an excerpt from John Galt’s speech toward the end of Atlas Shrugged. It highlights some important points about the use of force that must be considered when talking about government functions, since (in America at least), Government is the only institution granted the monopoly use of force. This is a bit of a mild spoiler if you have not read the book – so if that is the case, you may wish to come back to this after reading the book. The video clip is just an excerpt, so be certain to skip to the text below. I have added emphasis.

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How McDonald’s Is a Threat Because You Are Incompetent

July 9, 2010

Preface: This is a recently written article from my personal blog for friends, and so its stance is a bit more aggressive than I would employ for a typical Appeal To Heaven post.

McDonald’s warned: Drop the toys or get sued

“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” CSPI’s litigation director, Stephen Gardner, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”

Actually McDonald’s is the recognizable face in its own property and the welcome guest on the property of others via free trade. They are not handing out candy to children, a statement which implies abduction for physical harm such as assault or rape, they are providing incentive for children to prefer their food via the benefit of a toy, much in the same way that other businesses will provide incentive for adults to prefer their food via the benefit of price, or quality of source. This is called marketing, and it happens in even “non-economic” exchanges such as convincing a friend to attend a party with you.

“But multi-billion-dollar corporations make parents’ job nearly impossible by giving away toys and bombarding kids with slick advertising,” he said.

Did you hear that parents? You are spineless, weak, lazy, incompetent persons. You completely and immediately relent to your child’s every whim because you are a non-person. Of course you also have no control over what routes you choose to travel on and thus the exposure to the private property of other individuals who make trade with McDonald’s, and you certainly have no power over how much television they watch.

To quote a good friend, only in a world without adults could such clowns have the audacity to call themselves anything along the lines of The Center for Science in the Public Interest, let alone file a law suit “for” innumerable children who are not their responsibility and who make their own decisions and who have parents to help guide those decisions, and obstruct them as they see fit.

Lets return to that first quote, particularly “predatory practice that warrants an injunction.” This is very strange, in the latter portion we see the CSPI assuming that they have a right to make a call on other people’s personal choices to the point of legal action, a bold move for any group. But predatory? Really? Is it a zero-sum arrangement, or even a negating one? This makes assumptions about the specific food elected at the register, of which there is a wide variety, many of which still qualify for the toy, the motivating factor for the children. That sounds to me like a large potential for a net gain. Is it predatory to provide bonuses now? Is it predatory to offer low interest rates for the first year on a purchase, or free cable tv with an apartment rental? These are all free engagements that people enter into, and last I checked, a predator didn’t ask before they initiated an exchange, in fact it wasn’t even an exchange. This is not predatory behavior, and the entire concept of such relies on two suppositions: that parents are always weak willed, and that children are sub-human.

The Huffington Post has its own advertisement for the lawsuit with a few nuggets (not of chicken) in it:

using everything from TV commercials to signs in windows to the Internet in order to get kids to pester their parents to take them to the restaurant.

CSPI contends that tempting-kids-with-toys is unfair and deceptive–both to kids who don’t understand the concept of marketing and to parents who have to put up with their pestering offspring.

“These marketers are very similar to pedophiles. They are child experts. If you’re going to be a pedophile or a child marketer, you have to know about children, and what children are going to want.”

McDonald’s wants your money–and it’ll manipulate your kids any which way to get it.

The consistent theme is that of weak, idiotic parents who have no autonomy, and of children who are sub-human animals. Then there is the massive stretch that knowing how children think means you are on par with a pedophile, but that stretch comes from the chair of the television and media committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, which sounds like he knows a lot about how children think, and has made a profit from that knowledge, thus: pedophile. Yes, McDonald’s does want your money. Businesses do. So does the CSPI, and they make that donation link rather prominent on their site, and their business is convincing you that they are working for you, and for you to provide them with funds for a service far less tangible than even the worst McDonald’s franchise. That is the toy they are dangling in front of you, and that is the sort of person they think you are: gullible, manipulated, and sub-human for the purposes of strict profit, like every child.

Only in a world without adults.

-djq

Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, Pa

July 3, 2010

July 5, 1926

Fellow Countrymen:

We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. That coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the 4th day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgment of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.

Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great real of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience

It is not so much, then, for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection.

It is little wonder that people at home and abroad consider Independence Hall as hallowed ground and revere the Liberty Bell as a sacred relic. That pile of bricks and mortar, that mass of metal, might appear to the uninstructed as only the outgrown meeting place and the shattered bell of a former time, useless now because of more modern conveniences, but to those who know they have become consecrated by the use which men have made of them. They have long been identified with a great cause. They are the framework of a spiritual event. The world looks upon them, because of their associations of one hundred and fifty years ago, as it looks upon the Holy Land because of what took place there nineteen hundred years ago. Through use for a righteous purpose they have become sanctified.

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Finland perverts law, mocks the concept of Rights

July 1, 2010

Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband internet access a legal right for all citizens.

The legislation, which came into effect Thursday, forces telecom operators to provide a reasonably priced broadband connection with a downstream rate of at least one megabit per second (mbs) to every permanent residence and office, the Finnish government said in a statement.

“From now on a reasonably priced broadband connection will be everyone’s basic right in Finland,” said Finnish communications minister Suvi Linden. “This is absolutely one of the government’s most significant achievements in regional policy and I am proud of it.

via edition.cnn.com
“Reasonably priced” …That sounds like a really solid and objective base for just law…

Think of what is really going on here. Imagine if it were my legal right to force you to provide me a service at whatever price I determine is “reasonable?” You don’t have to imagine this if you live in Finland. The Law, better described as the collective force, is being directed by the vast majority of Fins, against a minority group (telecoms). The Law, which is supposed to be an instrument of justice and defense, is perverted into on offensive weapon of plunder.

And the Finnish government is an utter disgrace, promoting this concept as a “significant achievement.” It is a digression and perversion of the high concepts of Rule of Law, Individual Rights, and Justice for which generations of men have struggled and died to advance.

What is next? “Reasonably priced” computers? Automobiles and Fuel? Food? Clothing? As soon as the law ceases to be  just – where do you draw the line?

But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.[…]

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

The Law, Frederick Bastiat

Why we need the rich: A message to Americans – and our leaders in Washington DC – on wealth creation by a wealth creator.

June 30, 2010

It has an often repeated axiom that a person can learn a whole lot about a society by how it treats its poor. But just as much can be learned by looking at how that society treats its rich. Indeed, the economic future of the poor – and our nation – will be determined in the coming decades by how we treat the people in this country who create great wealth. It will be determined by our understanding of the so-called rich. And our ability to protect this minority.

It is an unpopular thing to say, I know. Rich people need help? Rich people need to be protected? Rich people a minority? Give me a break. They just seem to keep getting richer!  Regrettably, too many Americans, and far too many intellectuals and politicians, don’t understand these people we call “the rich.” And how it is they got rich in the first place.

Because most of us don’t actually know any of these rich people, we instead experience them in the abstract, through policy debates and statistics, and always through the prism of our own ideological lens. We look at the raw data to state our case either against or for the richest among us. In the end, our view of the rich has much to do about how all of us view “capitalism” itself. Indeed, in that respect, our opinions about the rich are a sort of Rorsach test, revealing more about ourselves than anything else.

To those on The Left who think capitalism creates unfair outcomes, they have statistics to confirm their outlook. It seems absurd on its face that the top 1% of American families own 90% of the nation’s wealth.

Wouldn’t it be possible to contrive an economy that is just as prosperous but with a fairer distribution of wealth? Couldn’t we cap the earnings of the rich at $50 million? Or even $100 million? 

Most defenders of capitalism and free markets say no. They contend that the bizarre inequalities we see are an indispensable part of the processes that create wealth. They imply capitalism doesn’t make sense, morally or rationally, but it makes wealth. So don’t knock it.

What nonsense it all is!  And how little to do with the reality of the rich. And how sad that defenders of the rich – or the rich themselves – can’t come up with a better economic or moral case! Quoting Adam Smith and supply side economists just doesn’t cut it.

So who are the so called rich? As someone who is rich (and would love to be even richer), and has spent a lifetime working with people who create wealth, I thought I’d explain who they are, where they come from, and why we should care about their wealth – and their desire to hold on to it.

To begin, it is not exactly a list of the Who’s Who and Most Likely to Succeed in high school or college, this group of Americans called the rich. They are certainly not the best looking. They didn’t get the highest SAT or ACT scores in high school, they probably weren’t voted most likely to succeed in any yearbook, and they certainly didn’t get where they got through the force of their personalities, charisma or celebrity.

A great number of the richest among us never finished high school, and many who went to college never managed to graduate. That’s because the rich in this country are chosen not by blood, credentials, education, or services to the establishment. The rich are chosen for performance, and for their relentless desire to serve consumers.

The entrepreneurial knowledge that is the crux of wealth creation has little to do with glamorous work, or with the certified expertise of advanced degrees. Great wealth usually comes from doing what other people consider insufferably boring.

The treacherous intricacies of building codes or garbage routes or software languages or groceries, the mechanics of butchering sheep and pigs or frying and freezing potatoes, the murky lore of petroleum leases or housing deeds, the ways and means of pushing pizzas or insurance policies or hawking hosiery or pet supplies or scrounging for pennies in fast-food unit sales, all of those tasks are deemed tedious and trivial.

In short, our rich – America’s best entrepreneurs – perform work that most others spurn.

You need to read the rest of this article -> blackhawkpartners.com

Very important article.

Land of the Free, …Banner of fast-food toys

April 29, 2010
by

No toy for you, Junior.

Not if you live in unincorporated Santa Clara County, where the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban restaurants from giving away toys with children’s meals that exceed set levels of calories, fat, salt and sugar.

The ordinance, which the board passed by a 3-2 vote, is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The target is the fast-food industry and what critics call its practice of marketing unhealthful food to children and fueling an epidemic of obesity among the young.

“This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes,” said the law’s author, Supervisor Ken Yeager. “Obviously, toys in and of themselves do not make children obese. But it is unfair to parents and children to use toys to capture the tastes of children when they are young and get them hooked on eating high-sugar, high-fat foods early in life.”

$1,000 fine for violations

Representatives for the California Restaurant Association, whose members include chains that opposed the ordinance, have 90 days to offer an alternative to the legislation. Violations under the version the board approved Tuesday would be punishable by fines of as much as $1,000 for each meal sold with a toy.

Yeager said he hopes the law will inspire cities and counties across the country to follow suit like “ripples that create a wave.”

The law bans toy giveaways in children’s meals that contain more than 485 calories, derive more than 35 percent of their calories from fat or 10 percent from added sweeteners, or have more than 600 mg of sodium. The totals are based on children’s health standards set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the 151 restaurants in unincorporated Santa Clara County that are covered by the law, a dozen are part of fast-food chains that offer children’s meals.

The county was among the first in the nation two years ago to require restaurants to display nutritional values on menus, legislation that has since been adopted by other jurisdictions, said Miguel Marquez, acting county counsel.

Marquez said his office has been contacted by officials from Orange County, Chicago and New York City about Yeager’s toys ordinance. In San Francisco on Tuesday, Supervisor Eric Mar asked the city attorney to draft legislation similar to Santa Clara County’s law.

“Just as with menu labeling, this is clearly within our authority,” Marquez said. “We’re on firm legal ground here.”

Marquez said enforcement will be the job of county public health inspectors.

via sfgate.com

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

-C. S. Lewis

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A couple gems from Krugman’s -> Closing Arguments on Health Care – NYTimes

March 21, 2010

Whenever you read Paul Krugman, it is always helpful to remember that this man won a Nobel Peace Prize in Economics. It might as well have been for Pushing Water Uphill. Here are a couple remarkable statements from his latest New York times column. That’s right…THE New York Times – where The Vision of the Anointed is valued above any rational thought:

Beyond that, this is a story that could happen only in America. In every other advanced nation, insurance coverage is available to everyone regardless of medical history. Our system is unique in its cruelty.

[…]

So you end up with a tripartite policy: elimination of medical discrimination, mandated coverage, and premium subsidies.

Above, Krugman is referencing the much lauded “pre-existing conditions” angle. Now, in a tiny way, I actually agree that often insurance companies can be extremely harsh in their restrictions regarding people who have pre-existing conditions. However, the problem here is the screwy way some companies define “pre-existing.” That should draw Krugman’s ire – not the fact that any pre-existing condition must be ignored. The latter concept is lunacy. What would be the incentive to purchase insurance, if you were guaranteed coverage regardless of any pre-existing conditions? The whole point of insurance being that you are paying someone else to pool the risk that you may or may not require healthcare. It is not “discrimination” to willfully take on exorbitant risk.

So what of Krugman’s solution: 1) Force insurance providers not to “discriminate.” Coercing and removing the risk for mortgage lenders to make less “discriminatory” loans sure worked out really well for the mortgage industry. 2) Mandate everyone purchase insurance to increase the risk pool. Good idea…except that the poor are immediately and totally screwed. His solution for that – subsidize the poor. His solution to pay for that subsidy – you guessed it – taxing other groups of people. This is a fine strategy, if you endorse using the law to plunder various arbitrary groups of individuals. Since the law’s sole purpose is to provide justice by defending a man’s life, liberty, and property, you should be able to see the obvious contradiction. In short – Krugman solution is practicing injustice to promote justice.

Also, with regard to his, “every other advanced nation…,” statement; massive entitlement programs are exactly why most of these nations are going broke. Apparently, in Krugman’s mind, it is considered “advanced” to not only be fiscally irresponsible, but also to proclaim that A is not A.

Next quote:

Can you imagine a better reform? Sure. If Harry Truman had managed to add health care to Social Security back in 1947, we’d have a better, cheaper system than the one whose fate now hangs in the balance.

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