We need less government, not more

Look at all this Free Market / Voluntarily Participating / Mutually Benefiting GREEDY Capitalism! Every single vendor, farmer, craftsman, rancher, baker, and artisan here took their time, money, talent, and sweat equity to produce goods to sell on their own.

There was no govt commissar dictating what to produce, how much, and to what standard. No one is forcing customers to buy things they don’t want or need. The only way an exchange is made is when both parties agree to the terms and are BOTH better off afterward. If buyers don’t like what they see, they move on. If producers are charging too much, they move on. If one guy is charging astronomical rates for eggs, by next week, a dozen farmers will be here to undercut him and grab up market share.

When people say stupid things like Food is a Right or Healthcare is a Right or that Everyone is entitled to Housing and blazing fast wifi, they don’t realize that there are people and labor and investment capital required to bring those things to market. They don’t just magically appear, even when the govt steals half of our paychecks from us. To claim rights to someone else’s labor or work product against their will is tantamount to Slavery.

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My kind of vacation

For the second year in row, our dear friends from Texas (AJ, Laura,and #8) drove all the way to our home in South Carolina to spend a few days of their vacation with us and to celebrate our Independence Day together, blowing stuff up and eating lots of yummy food.  We laughed, shared memories and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Somehow this year, we started talking about Meyers-Briggs personality types and my brother-from-another-mother pointed out a simple description of the difference between Introverts and Extroverts.  I, being an Introvert, lose energy with prolonged exposure to people, even beloved friends.  He, being an Extrovert, replenishs his energy supply from being around people.

So, when I wake up in the morning, my batteries are fully charged because I’ve had a nice long break away from people (well, except for my beloved wife).  AJ wakes up depleted and needs company fast in order to recharge.  Basically, my brother is a vampire feeding off of people like me.  šŸ˜‚

Thing is that I love being around my friends and family, but I don’t really have this burning need to DO stuff.  I just love knowing they are near.  I do, however, need a plan or some milestones for the day – like what we’re going to eat or if I need to drive anyone anywhere or if we need supplies, etc.  Guess if you are a father of seven, much of this stems from necessity.

At one point during our weekend, I think a circuit just snapped in my head and I made a mess of the festivities, getting short with my wife and embarrassing myself in front of my friends because “I just needed to know the details of the plan!“. 

Sigh, thankfully my wife and our friends love me too much to hold a grudge when I get stupid.

Have you ever seen Weird Science?  There’s this scene where Gary and Wyatt are hosting this huge, rocking party and where are they?  Hiding out in the bedroom, taking some consolation that everyone else seems to be having a good time.  I can totally relate to them.  šŸ˜

But here’s how thoughtful and wise God is.  In all my quirks and oddities, my wife is the glue that keeps it all together for me.  She, being an Extrovert, can graciously host dozens of our friends at our home without batting an eye.

Well, the Fourth came and I was super excited.  I had a stock pile of fireworks all planned out.  And then, our friends brought even more!  They brought food, children, and most importantly, themselves.

I was a little nervous because of the rain in the forecast, but it cleared up just in time for the show.  God is good! 

The week was a huge success.  We had such a good time with our friends.  I didn’t have to drive cross country and enjoyed the comforts of home.  We blew up a ton of explosives.  AND, no police showed up!  (We’ve got a cranky neighbor that complains to them anytime we’re out in our yard after 9 pm).  

I am so thankful for all of you in my life.  Thanks for the best vacation an INTJ can ask for.

Quality and Free Markets

Quality.  It’s a hugely subjective measurement. Some may argue there are universally accepted standards for what’s considered to be “good” quality vs. “poor” (eg. your local FDA bootlicker).  I would argue that Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.

Many people mistake Price for Quality.  In a Free Market, Price only indicates the intersection of Supply and Demand.  If there’s a shortage of Supply and relatively stable or even increasing Demand, you very well could see prices for low-Quality junk go higher and higher.  The reverse is also true in that high-Quality goods may be in ample supply and thus prices drop.  (eg. computers, memory, and processors over the last 30 years.)

The reason I bring these up is because Socialists will, without exception, argue there is only one acceptable standard for Quality.  In fact, their aim is to eliminate choice altogether.  A Socialist State cannot allow for product differentiation because that opens the door for Disparity.

The head scratcher in all this is that Socialists want you to believe their agenda will give everyone the best fruits the Free Market has to offer.  Suddenly, everyone will have palatial mansions, Ferraris, and grass fed Wagu filet mignon every night.

This can’t be further from the truth.  Throughout history and even today in countries like Venezuela, Socialists and central planners cannot even supply basic needs like food, water, or even toilet paper.  

And let’s not forget the fact that not everyone wants or needs the same Quality of goods or services.  My needs may be very different from yours.  We have 7 children in our home.  Do you think for one minute your transportation needs are the same as mine?  Or size of home?  Or meal planning?  Or healthcare needs?

What about your own needs over time?  Will your needs change over the next 10, 20 or even 40 years?  My wife and I are big fans of Ikea and Walmart mostly because they provide LOW-COST options for our family.  It’s understood that everything we buy from them is pretty much disposable.  Furniture, electronics, food items, sundries, clothing — we have zero expectation of holding on to these things after all of our children have grown and moved out of the house.  But these things are very much in demand in our household for the time being.  The Free Market gives us the power to weigh our needs, wants, and preferences against our own personal Demand curves throughout time.  

The Socialist State will tell you what you need when you need it.  

You have children with Gluten or Dye Allergies?  LOL!  You think the Socialists care?  

You want organic, non-GMO produce for your salad?  The Socialist has no salad for you this month.  

You like energy-efficient, hybrid cars to ‘save’ the environment?  Socialists can’t even deliver the rubber for making tires.

Make no mistake about it.  When Socialists proclaim equality and fairness for all, they are talking about the lowest, common denominator of quality with no other options allowed.

Anyone Want to Fly United?

Gotta capture this one for the books. This week started off with a viral video clip of Dr. David Dao’s violent removal from Flight 3411 because, though the flight was NOT overbooked, 4 airline employees needed the seats to get to Louisville for other flight duties. So after an unsuccessful attempt at offering up to $1000 per passenger to voluntarily deplane, flight attendants arbitrarily picked 4 people, including Dao and his wife, to be ejected from their ticketed seats.

You probably know the rest. Dao refused. Airport Security / Chicago PD was called. They grabbed him, apparently clocked him in the mouth, and dragged him off the plane. Ā He’s now believed to have lost 2 front teeth and suffered a broken nose and concussion.

Not helping the situation has been United Continental Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz. In his first 2 responses to the PR crisis, he’s gone from behaving like a cold, legalese-spouting robot to even blaming Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent”. At the time of this writing, Munoz has made several additional attempts at apologizing in public and also to Dao directly. He’s announced that all passengers on Flight 3411 will be reimbursed for the flight. And United has promised never to call the police on its passengers again.

All that you probably knew. What I wanted to capture here was the surprising reaction I’ve been seeing from friends and total strangers on social media to the situation. But to start, I’ll summarize my personal take on it.

When you make a purchase from a business to provide a service, you are entering into an agreement. In fact, by accepting payment, the business is creating a POSITIVE RIGHT for me. (See my previous post on the differences between Positive and Negative Rights for more details.) There’s no need to have a formal, notarized contract ratified to legitimize our agreement. I give you some money. You promised to deliver a service. It used to be that we did things on a handshake because our word was our bond.

An agreement can have several conditions included in the exchange ā€“ some are explicit, others are implicit. For example, if I order a pizza to be delivered and it shows up next week, technically the business met the WHAT part of our agreement, but they certainly failed to meet the HOW or WHEN.

When it comes to the airline industry, it’s a hot mess. As consumers, we’ve grown so accustomed to receiving appalling service, getting molested and robbed by TSA agents, enduring abysmal on-time service level agreements, and begrudgingly stomaching an overall customer satisfaction rating that rivals most used car lot interactions.

So how shall we think about the events of this week? Well for starters, let’s look at the fact that city police were called to intervene on behalf of a business when no laws were being broken. Judge Andrew Napolitano said:

“By dislodging this passenger against his will, United violated its contractual obligation. ā€¦ [Dao] bought the ticket, he passed the TSA, he was in his seat, he has every right to stay there.”

The Judge went on to say “If the reason for their call is not a crime, [CPD] should leave. ā€¦ They have no right using violence to resolve a civil a dispute. … If the passenger is politely or reasonably sitting there, waiting for the flight to take off, he’s not committing a crime, he’s not engaged in violence, he’s not doing anything that justifies police force.”

Couldn’t agree with the Judge more. For those that are defending the authoritarians and touting the “Romans 13 / always obey the man with the badge” line of thinking, consider the dangerously slippery slope this creates. What’s to stop business owners from calling the police if you complain that you didn’t get the food you ordered at your favorite restaurant? They can now call the cops to just have you punched and dragged out? What about when you put money down to have a builder create your dream home? During your final walk through, you notice they used the nickel faucets instead of the copper that you had ordered. Cops will be called to force you at gunpoint to take delivery?

Again, these are civil matters. Not criminal. That’s exactly why the Judge states police have no business intervening. And these are obviously extremes, but in today’s crazy times, I’ve learned never to say “never”. Once the precedence is set, the door only swings open wider. Pandora’s box never closes.

Then you have the ad hominem attacks on Dr. Dao’s character. I haven’t seen any of my friends specifically justify UAL / CPD’s actions because of it, but they’ve felt the need to regurgitate the ‘background’ juicy details that have surfaced by digging into Dao’s past. So let’s think about this. Did the CPD know anything about his past when they assaulted him? Did UAL? Of course not. So anyone that’s actually taking even a second’s notice of anything that has to do with Dao’s character is basically playing a game of Statist Russian Roulette.

Put another way, when your moral evaluation of an attack hinges on whether the victim’s history warranted an arbitrary, unrelated, random (almost karmic) dispensation of justice today, then your argument is contrary to the ‘sanctity of the Rule of Law’ most of you also spout from the other side of your mouths. You can’t have both. You can’t support the “follow the rules” mantra and at the same time say “well regardless, he deserved it because he’s a jerk”.

Lastly, there’s the matter of the fine print. I’ve read over and over that the “fine print” on our tickets basically signs away all of our civil rights, constitutional protections, our first born, and part of our 401ks for the privilege of being stuffed into a can and shipped like cattle. (It’s very similar to the case of the Social Contract I often hear about whenever I protest the government stealing from us through taxation or waging wars we don’t support.) To this all I say, “is this fine print set in stone? We, as consumers, can’t demand more for our business? Are we completely powerless and simply have to take it?”

And yet again, the FREE MARKET is the solution to all of the airline industry’s problems. Why do we have such horrible service? It is not because of the lack of government intervention. It is directly CAUSED by government preventing competition from entering the US air carrier marketplace.

Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that domestic airlines are protected against foreign airlines that want to fly domestic routes in the U.S.:

Since the Air Commerce Act of 1926, federal law has imposed ownership and control restrictions on U.S.-flag airlines. These restrictions were tightened under the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938. Under current law, the maximum foreign ownership and control share of U.S.-flag airlines is 25 percent (see 49 U.S.C. Ā§ 40102(a)(15)(c) for the relevant definition of “citizen of the United States”). This is why Richard Branson only held 25 percent of Virgin America prior to its sale to Alaska Airlines. The rest was owned by a New York hedge fund.

The Air Commerce Act of 1926 also prohibited cabotage (see 49 U.S.C. Ā§ 41703 and 19 C.F.R. Ā§ 122.165), whereby foreign airlines service U.S. domestic routes. There are extremely narrow emergency exceptions to this broad ban on foreign airline competition along U.S. routes and these typically are only granted when a remote domestic route in the Pacific loses all U.S.-flag carrier serviceā€”which has occurred in Guam, for instance.

Have you ever flown Virgin America or Emirates Airlines? I’ve flown VA. Still waiting for the chance to fly EA. I can tell you that VA was one of the most pleasant flying experiences I’ve ever had. And I wasn’t flying 1st Class or Business. Just regular coach. Ā (I’ve heard that Emirates is the stuff of legend.) Ā Competition in the marketplace forces businesses to offer better service, more reliable departure/arrival SLAs, friendlier staff, and competitive pricing. Take away the competition (i.e. Cronyism) and you reduce incentives for businesses to improve. They get lazy. They get complacent. And they aren’t as eager to keep your loyalty.

It will be interesting to see what changes take place at United and the US airline industry in the next few months and years coming out of this debacle. The cynic in me thinks the public will lose interest in less than a month and Dr. Dao’s violation will become a distant memory in the Hall of Memes. The realist in me believes opportunistic politicians will see this as their clarion call to further regulate which keeps out competitors from entering the marketplace. I hope for our sake that sanity will prevail and the public will keep the pressure on businesses like United to change. I also hope we embrace competition and freedom rather than control and regulation to energize the airline industry.

A quick thought on the additional benefits of the Free MarketĀ 

Any reputable economist will tell you that the cure for racism, sexism, and religious xenophobia is not regulation or more government but the Free Market.  When I buy a digital song or a car or a pair of jeans or a TV or a house or some chimichangas, I am unknowingly supporting millions of people from all walks of life and geography — men, women, old, young, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jews, atheistā€‹, and even poor and rich.

The Free Market doesn’t care who or what you are. It only cares what value you can bring to the table.  To produce anything, all of the components, parts, assembly, raw materials, financing, transport, warehousing, marketing, sales, and management come together, usually without central planning, without the need for coercion, and without any extra incentives other than individuals seeking out their own self interests. And yet, in the midst of the selfish anarchy of Free Will and Voluntary Association, every day people put aside all of the things that divide us and are able to work together on the majority of the things that unite us.


#Embraceliberty #MiltonFriedman #Rothbard #Hamsandwich #Thepencil #Adamsmith #Invisiblehand