Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock

Posts Tagged ‘life’

What is libertarianism?

Posted by Jesse on October 20, 2008

Some will say it is unrealistic. But whats so unrealistic about the non aggression axiom? Some will say it is unfeasible. What is that supposed to mean? Is it unfeasible to have a set of laws that are designed to protect individual rights?

These protests fall short of any kind of real debate. Where is the education to be found?

I know that libertarianism is real because I practice it everyday. It is a political philosophy that I can practice in my daily life. It is individual, not collective.

Sure, libertarianism is a political theory, to be sure. And there is no rule book the likes of which a collectivist political theory would have. It is much more simple with room to explore and invent.

As my brother pointed out, “If one were to reduce Ron Paul’s platform to it’s simplest form, it foundation rests on the idea of property rights and contract.”

Rothbard claims that the first intellectual libertarian was Lao-Tzu. This does satisfy my personal thoughts when reading up on Taoism, the Way. My book, Tao Te Ching, begins its preface as the most “terse and economical of the world’s great religious texts.” How fitting.

Frederich Bastiat “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.””

Robert Heinlein “No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law.”

Learned Hand “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”

Edward Abbey “Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead.”

Lord Acton “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. It is not for the sake of a good public administration that it is required, but for the security in the pursuit of the highest objects of civil society, and of private life.”

John Quincy Adams “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”

Ayn Rand “There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.”

Pope John Paul II “Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellsprings of initiative and creativity.”

Murray Rothbard “The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another’s person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or ‘mixes his labor with’. From these twin axioms–self-ownership and ‘homesteading’–stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free market society.”

Etienne de la Boetie “Books and teaching more than anything else give men the sense to comprehend their own nature and to detest tyranny.”

Albert Jay Nock “The State, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.”

“There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means.”

Thomas Paine “The most unprofitble of all commerce is that connected with foreign dominion. To a few individuals it may be beneficial, merely because it is commerce; but to the nation it is a loss. The expense of maintaining dominion more than absorbs the profit of any trade.”

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The Lone Statesman in our US Congress say No. (HR 951)

Posted by Jesse on March 7, 2008

Stop Choosing Sides
by Rep. Ron Paul

On Wednesday, March 5, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution (HR 951) condemning Palestinian rocket attacks that include a strident defense of recent Israeli tactics in the Gaza Strip. The resolution also condemned Iran and Syria for “sponsoring terror attacks,” and demanded that Saudi Arabia publicly condemn Palestinian actions.

The resolution was originally introduced in January, but contains new language including a passage saying that that “those responsible for launching rocket attacks against Israel routinely embed their production facilities and launch sites amongst the Palestinian civilian population, utilizing them as human shields” and “the inadvertent inflicting of civilian casualties as a result of defensive military operations aimed at military targets, while deeply regrettable, is not at all morally equivalent to the deliberate targeting of civilian populations as practiced by Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups.”

Although 23 Congressman abstained or voted “present,” only one bravely voted no: Rep. Ron Paul.

Below is Rep. Paul’s statement he gave to the House before the vote.

Mr. Speaker: I rise in opposition to H. Res. 951, a resolution to condemn Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. As one who is consistently against war and violence, I obviously do not support the firing of rockets indiscriminately into civilian populations. I believe it is appalling that Palestinians are firing rockets that harm innocent Israelis, just as I believe it is appalling that Israel fires missiles into Palestinian areas where children and other non-combatants are killed and injured.

Unfortunately, legislation such as this is more likely to perpetuate violence in the Middle East than contribute to its abatement. It is our continued involvement and intervention – particularly when it appears to be one-sided – that reduces the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement.

Additionally, this bill will continue the march toward war with Iran and Syria, as it contains provocative language targeting these countries. The legislation oversimplifies the Israel/Palestine conflict and the larger unrest in the Middle East by simply pointing the finger at Iran and Syria. This is another piece in a steady series of legislation passed in the House that intensifies enmity between the United States and Iran and Syria. My colleagues will recall that we saw a similar steady stream of provocative legislation against Iraq in the years before the US attack on that country.

I strongly believe that we must cease making proclamations involving conflicts that have nothing to do with the United States. We incur the wrath of those who feel slighted while doing very little to slow or stop the violence.

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Keynes’ General Theory. Much like cluster bombs for the world.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

The Crisis Point of the Inflationary Boom
By Sean Corrigan

Posted on 3/4/2008

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In a recent survey — jointly conducted by CFO magazine and Duke University — one of the top concerns being expressed by industry executives across the United States, Europe, and Asia was that of the rising cost and — to a slightly lesser extent — the reduced availability of labor, especially that of the skilled variety.

The worry most forcibly competing with this angst was that of whether “consumer demand” would hold up in coming months.

For a Keynesian this conflict can have no meaning, for the central chicanery around which the General Theory is constructed is that depressions can be warded off through monetary debasement, simply by stuffing the workers’ pockets with extra cash, while simultaneously fooling them as to the real value of the nominal wages being received in such a newly clipped coinage.

In the case where wages are rising (labor costs are mounting) because employment is near full (suitable candidates for work are hard to find) then, assuming the mythical “propensity to consume” remains broadly constant, consumer demand should be a shoe-in, and unlearned industrialists need not lose too much sleep over their prospects for either sales or profits.

Granted, “end demand” could also become (temporarily) curtailed by a sudden outbreak of thrift, that virulent, unpredictable strain of global pandemic feared by the macromancers more than dirty bombs, bird flu, melting ice caps, and a direct asteroid strike, combined, for its potency in disrupting the pristine, academic beauty of their consumption functions and ISLM curves.

The unlikelihood of this taking place in a world whose mail boxes bulge daily with unsolicited offers of new credit, and whose masses have been conditioned to view shopping as a sacramental rite, should be all too apparent.

In fact, what our survey results really display are the classic symptoms of the unhealthy discoordination that an unbacked credit expansion induces in the body economic.

What we see here is that most of the businessmen canvassed are finding their costs are rising and, in particular, the dominant cost they typically bear: that associated with retaining a competent and motivated workforce. At the same time, those who do not directly play a part in satisfying the needs of end consumers (an overriding majority, if our sample is representative of industrial and commercial organization as a whole) are beginning to fret about a slackening of demand for their (mainly higher and intermediate goods) output.

As Mises, Hayek, et al. took great pains to explain, what this means is that the seemingly golden age — in reality, a thinly gilded one — during which the first, most favored issuers of cheap credit and artificially boosted equity prices enjoyed almost effortless success, has reached the limit of its ability to postpone the workings of fundamental economic law.

Even if financial capital once appeared so abundant as to provoke strange, Swiftian fantasies about the “saving glut” and the “asset shortage,” real, physical capital was never called into being quite so readily, since its creation requires not the staccato keystroke of a fiat banker, but entrepreneurial vision, hard work, and genuine saving.

By that last we mean a voluntary abstention from current consumption, undertaken in order to improve the chance of greater plenty in the future, and not the corrupt preemption of a man’s spending power — effected with monetary trickery — which inflationists laud as “forced saving.” Being a species of initially unrecognized compulsion, this is a deceit doomed to fatal self-contradiction, once its dupes wake up to the nature of the con being practiced upon them.

Since the boom has been driven forward according to the projections of the borrowers and the low-hurdle eagerness of their lenders, rather than being predicated on meeting the imperatives of consumer sovereignty, we eventually find ambition has come to overmaster achievability and hope to have triumphed over hardheaded calculation.

To be harmonious and self-consistent, production should be guided by the wants of those whose ability to express them comes by virtue of being in harness to the same web of mutually supportive processes that help satisfy the needs of others, in turn. If not, scarce physical resources will be squandered in trying to realize misplaced visions of a world as overbrimming with affordable means as the unnaturally low interest rate treacherously seems to imply.

Worse still, once the fever of the boom spreads from its initial promoters and their preferred clients to infect the populace at large, sobriety and forbearance tends to vanish in a kind of Gresham’s Law of the spirit. A world awash with “liquidity” is not one where the steady flame of good husbandry can outshine the neon-lit promise of instant gain.

To recap, what then we find is that not only does the availability of financial capital become wholly divorced from the extent of the pool of physical capital goods; not only does much of that pool become misused (and, hence, ultimately, stripped of its original “capitalness”); but that the wellspring of capital maintenance and augmentation — namely, voluntary saving — is concreted over to provide a gaudy, Baroque fountain of greater exhaustive consumption.

As this happens, many final-goods prices will rise as they are revealed to have been undersupplied in relation to the monetary means now pouring into the hands of their would-be consumers. Where such goods also comprise inputs to production taking place further upstream (as is archetypically the case with, say, energy), this increase in expense will primarily add to costs and may therefore begin to sap profitability, if these are not either offset with greater efficiencies or fully recouped in higher selling prices.

Furthermore, as they find their standards of living slipping, those workers who are so enabled — and they will be legion at the height of the boom — will be far less shy about insisting upon more from their employers, by way of compensation for their efforts. Labor costs will now feature in the list of boardroom anxieties.

Simultaneously, since “demand” will have come to a white-hot focus of insistency on end-consumer items, all those who can do so will be shifting resources towards meeting it. If this means abandoning half-completed schemes for long-duration projects in favor of pursuing more mundane but now more lucrative goals, such as putting food on the average man’s table and keeping his boiler stoked with fuel in the here-and-now, so be it.

Unfortunately for the Keynesians, with their quaint, quasi-hydraulic depiction of the economy, such intensified end demand will not automatically translate into higher revenues for all the businesses strung out along the chain of production, just as a sudden appetite for beef will not instantly cause the grass upon which the cattle feed to grow more luxuriantly in the pasture.

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What it will tend to do instead is to strip those not immediately involved in meeting that end demand of their ability to call upon productive resources on the same terms as before.

Squeezing margins as in a vice, this development may also diminish the orders received from those closer to the shop front, since these erstwhile business customers will now be too busy scrambling to restack their emptying shelves to contemplate closing off the sales area for a refit, much less to ponder the purchase of a gimmicky new IT system, or to think of splashing out on an expensive and distinctly nonessential corporate makeover.

This last may not wholly be a matter of discretion since, besides seeing their own wage bill expand, consumer-goods merchants are likely to see inventory replacement come complete with higher invoices, so working-capital needs may soon start to crowd out much more deferrable fixed-investment schedules.

Costs up, labor more pricey, yet demand flagging: this is the fate of all too many of the myriad businesses which comprise the vast, hidden, submarine bulk of the iceberg that is our modern, highly specialized, vertically stratified, distributed assembly-line economy — to the befuddlement of a mainstream lacking a proper theory of capital or a true appreciation of the role of time.

Welcome to the crisis point of the inflationary boom!

Sean Corrigan is Chief Investment Strategist at Diapason Commodities Management. Send him mail. See his articles. Comment on the blog.

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June 3, 1997: PNAC, Obama’s Statement of Principles.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

This is actually from PNAC.

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital — both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements — built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation’s ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Project for a New American Century
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Ok. So it’s not Obama. But come’on. It’s a one party system folks.
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Letter to President on Iraq
January 26, 1998

The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.

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Obama pulls at our heart strings…

Posted by Jesse on March 4, 2008

but who’s pulling his?…

January 27, 2008

Paul vs. Obama
Posted by Anthony Gregory at January 27, 2008 03:08 PM
Anyone serious about foreign policy, civil liberties, and the war on drugs — issues on which the left is typically, if however marginally, better than the right (at least today) — has got to hand it to Ron Paul for being so principled and correct. Tom Woods points out Paul’s superiority here. And let’s keep in mind that Ron Paul has been a unique voice on all these crucial issues – issues on which his own party tends to be nearly uniformly terrible – quite consistently, at times when all popular sentiment was going in the opposite direction.

Check out Ron Paul’s warning in October of 2001, at a time when most Democrats were firmly behind the war on terror. Paul was prescient then in saying the war on terror could easily become as deadly and disastrous as the war on drugs.
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February 18, 2008

Obama: Warmonger
Posted by Anthony Gregory at February 18, 2008 09:23 PM
Although I do think he’s probably less of one than Hillary and McCain, and maybe less of one than Bush, here Obama is advocating war in Pakistan.

Sure, he sounds less bad on foreign policy than McCain, now. And Bush sounded less bad on foreign policy than Gore — before he was elected.

Ron Paul is pro-peace, pro-national defense, anti-intervention and anti-empire. None of the other major candidates have come close. Too bad the best debate the establishment wants us to get to see in November, 2008, will be one between escalated neocon aggression and old-school, someone less belligerent Rockefeller imperialism. And that is only if Mr. Change actually defeats the witch.

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The above photo comes from this article:

Make the World Safe for Hope
Can Barack Obama, who campaigns as an icon of peace, actually be more bellicose than Bush?
Yes, he can.

Obama-mania is getting out of hand. Full-grown and well-educated men—from swooning Andrew Sullivan to the entire staff of GQ magazine—are developing “man crushes” on Barack Obama, going weak in the knees for his immaculately pressed suits, oratorical skills, and shameless hope-mongering.

“I’ve never wanted anyone more than I want you,” warbles Obama Girl in a song called “I Got a Crush on Obama,” which has been viewed over 6 million times on YouTube. Celebs are queuing up to fall at his feet. “My heart belongs to Barack,” says Scarlett Johansson. There’s a palpable whiff of semi-religious hysteria at Obama rallies. As Joel Stein wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “Obamaphilia has gotten creepy,” and its “fanatical” adherents are starting to embarrass themselves.

Actually, it’s worse than that: they are deluding themselves. Many Democrats have become so goggle-eyed, so insanely convinced that Obama is the savior of American politics (potentially rescuing both the Democratic Party from political ruin and America herself from the decadence and violence of the Bush era), that they are beginning to suffer political hallucinations. They fantasize that he is pure and righteous, a miracle-worker who, in a pique of rage, will overturn the conventions of neocon-ruled America.

The blind hope in Obama-as-messiah is most clearly expressed in the widespread delusion that he would be a “president of peace,” welcomed by a world eager to bury the warmongering ways of the office’s former occupant and renew its respect for America. Columnist Michael Kinsley praised Obama’s “valuable experience … as what you might call a ‘world man’—Kenyan father, American mother, four formative years living in Indonesia, more years in the ethnic stew of Hawaii, middle name of Hussein, and so on—in an increasingly globalized world.” But from my sedate Obamarama-free home in London, I’m not cheered by the prospect of this “world man” in the White House. Rather, I see him for what he is—or for what he threatens to become. Having never been stirred by the sight of Obama giving an MLK-style speech on the need for change, I can only take the candidates at their words. And Obama’s words are ominous indeed.

President Obama would be a warmonger. He would be a wide-eyed, zealous interventionist who would not think twice about using America’s “military muscle” (his words) to overthrow “rogue states” and to suppress America’s enemies, real and imagined. He would go farther even than President Bush in transforming the globe into America’s backyard and staffing it with spies and soldiers. He would relish the “American mission” to police the world and topple tyrannical regimes.

After eight years of Bush’s military meddling in the Middle East, if you want more war, vote Obama.

Read the rest here…..

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