Monthly Archives: January 2012

The soil is fertile for the seeds of freedom

Our group with no name finally met this weekend.  (We’re not calling ourselves a book club. And though presently only men are meeting, we are certainly open to women joining us.  For some reason, our wives find our topics boring.)   We were discussing “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt.  I would highly recommend this book, even if you’re not as enthusiastic about Economics as I am.  It’s written in common sense language so anyone can pick it up and understand the concepts.


Anyway, lots of great discussion.  But I wanted to capture a couple highlights that came out of it.  At one point, one friend said something along these lines.

The problem with the government is that they keep feeding us these lies about how bad things really are or what they’re doing.



My response was something like this.


We live in an INCREDIBLE time.  The free exchange of information is almost seamless.  Historically, one of the limitations of economic theory was the flawed assumption of perfect information.  So, Supply and Demand curves are fundamental and truthful, but if you’re talking about remote areas where price information is not readily available – you may see behavior outside of expectations.  This applies not just to prices and money, but any kind of decision made based on information (eg. elections, civil rights, bad restaurants, good books, etc.).


BUT today with Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Ebay, etc. – pretty much ANY kind of information is available.  And so unlike any other time in history, we are witnessing INSTANTANEOUS behavioral changes based on the availability of information.


Two examples came to mind:


1.  JON BON JOVI IS DEAD.


Around the end of 2011, someone started a rumor that Jon Bon Jovi was dead.  Not sure who or why.  But the lie spread quickly.  It was all over the internet, mainstream news, Twitter, and FB.  


But something amazing happened.  


Jon actually got wind of the rumor and posted a picture of himself, alive and well, in his NJ home.



And just as quickly as the false story spread, it disappeared.


No government agency, internet police or international court had to dispel the lies.  People came together and communicated.

2.  SOPA / PIPA.


Two separate pieces of legislation were introduced into the House and Senate in an effort to protect property rights.  That sounds good, right?  House bill SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and the Senate equivalent PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) have been around since early 2011.  But had you even heard about them before mid-January?  I know I had not.


Again, here’s where freedom of information triumphed.  On Jan 18, it looked like these bills were going to pass through without much resistance.  But then, Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and some other big internet players started to share their concerns about these bills.  They raised awareness and literally overnight, these bills were killed.  Yes, technically they are not dead but chances are most politicians are not willing to risk their political necks to throw their support behind these widely unpopular bills anytime soon.

Look at this graphic:




What’s interesting to me is not so much the ratio of supporters to opponents going down (from 72% to 39%), but that the total number of politicians having an opinion on the bills jumped from 111 to 166.  At least 55 more politicians voiced new opposition and net 15 switched their positions.


So what happened?  Free people came together, shared information, and changed the course of our country.  It didn’t cost most people anything.  It didn’t take years of research or PhD’s to understand that the cost of freedom these bills had proposed to protect online IP was too great.


Here’s something to consider.  Social planners, whether on the left or the right, are fighting to push through their agendas, to apply force on you and restrict your freedom because they genuinely believe it’s for some greater good — the good of the country, society, the environment, our souls, etc.


But our attention and support, like any other commodity in scarcity, can only allow us to focus on so much at a time.  So how can civilized, social planners fairly decide for us which issues are most important and need to be fixed?  They can’t.  And they shouldn’t.


What Hazlitt brilliantly shows in his book is that good intentions oftentimes backfire because we fail to see all of the unintended consequences of our decisions, particularly when you are making a decision for other people.  

When they say that the way to economic salvation is to increase credit, it is just as if they said that the way to economic salvation is to increase debt: these are different names for the same thing seen from opposite sides.  When they say that the way to prosperity is to increase farm prices, it is like saying that the way to prosperity is to make food dearer for the city worker.  When they say that the way to national wealth is to pay out governmental subsidies, they are in effect saying that the way to national wealth is to increase taxes.  When they make it a main objective to increase exports, most of them do not realize that they necessarily make it a main objective to increase imports.  When they say, under nearly all conditions, that the way to recovery is to increase wage rates, they have found only another way of saying that the way to recovery is to increase costs of production.”

The more I study liberty, the more inclined I am to think that the solution to our problems should be discovered in the hands of the affected parties — not well-intending government bureaucrats.  But more exciting for me is witnessing people beginning to understand the power of liberty, how we CAN make a difference.  The time is right for the voices of true freedom to emerge from the ashes once again.

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Worship by IAmDavidHenderson

Have to share my friend’s latest blog post on Christian Worship. It is excellent and a must read.

Worship | IAmDavidHenderson

Grow up already

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 (NKJV)

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

There’s something disturbing about adults today.  Men and women from their 30’s well through their 60’s are stuck in a retarded adolescence.  I wonder what the world looks like to our seniors.  How do they perceive their children and grandchidren’s generations?


We have so much in this country.  We have an endless supply of toys.  We’re obsessed with having fun.  In fact, we are entertained to the point where value now seems to be scaled on how much physical pleasure we get out of something.


To be sure, I’m just as guilty.  I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for going to the movies (though my wife and I have vastly different tastes) or ogling over ridiculous things that I don’t need and can’t afford.


That’s not to say that I think these things should be restricted or banned.  You have the right to choose how to spend your time and money.


But we are doing our children and grandchildren an injustice by not showing them a better way.  Too often we sacrifice long term good for short run satisfaction.  My mother always told me that everyone has 24 hours each day.  Time is one of the most precious commodities we have and also the great equalizer.  Some choose to sleep for 1/2 the day.  Others labor for wealth morning, noon and night.  And still others devote their lives to making the world a better place.


We, meaning I, need to redeem the time that we have.  

Writing for the Remnant

Have to post this link again.  Thanks Tanya for sharing this with me.  And I apologize in advance, I’m probably going to embarrass you.

Isaiah’s Job – Albert Jay Nock – Mises Daily


I’ll have to admit that when I first started blogging a few weeks ago, I had no idea if anyone would notice or care.  It’s an interesting sociological study of narcissism, I’m sure, but Nock’s opening dialogue with his European scholarly friend captures exactly how I had felt at first.  David and a couple other friends have turned me on to reading some great books recently, and I felt compelled to share my enthusiasm, my “A HA!” moments, with the masses.

And I will further admit that it was pretty quiet out there.  I had no idea who was reading this other than a couple friends that have decided to follow my blog.  Soon, I started to wonder if I was making a fool of myself or wasting my time.
For those of you who’ve never heard of it, Gary Chapman wrote a book called the 5 Love Languages.  There’s actually a place at his website that you can take a test to see which is your Love Language.  I can tell you that I’m all about getting the “ata boy!” or as Chapman calls it, Words of Affirmation.  Some people like Gifts or spending Quality Time.  Me.  I just need to hear genuine, verbal (or written) praise.  I can have the worst day ever but someone tells me what a great job I’m doing or, even better, recognizes my work before my peers — man, I can quickly gather up enough strength to tackle a dozen more days just like it.  Now, I’m not talking about pandering which is really the opposite of Words of Affirmation.  When it’s forced or fake, pandering accomplishes exactly what you don’t want to happen with speaking someone’s love language.
So anyway, as I begin to doubt whether I should continue this, whether I’m having any impact at all on anyone — my new friend Tanya appears.  From out of nowhere.  I’ve never met her.  I’m told she’s stumbled upon my blog coincidentally.  But she immediately encourages me to keep writing, sharing her own thoughts and experiences (mind you, with a total stranger), and this gives me the confirmation I needed.
I have a good friend now named Laura that is also following my blog.  Laura and I became friends under similar circumstances.  When I was blogging years ago on xanga while still living in Chicago, we too stumbled upon each other — probably because we were both homeschooling or shared conservative, Christian values.  We started writing, encouraging and commenting on each other’s blogs, and then something amazing happened.  God gave me an opportunity to take a job in TX and moved my family here.  Not long after moving, we had a chance to go to Houston for my daughter’s rhythmic gymnastics competition.  And finally, our families were able to meet for the first time.  We are still very close and keep in touch through Facebook and blogging.
As if that weren’t enough, I find out that my friend David and now his father-in-law have been encouraged to begin blogging as a result of what I had done.
And so I want to say to all of you, thank you.  I will continue to write and share my journey with y’all, the Remnant.  You have restored my hope in humanity and reminded me of the importance of taking a stand for what I believe is right.

Social Cooperation in the Market Economy | LearnLiberty

Social Cooperation in the Market Economy | LearnLiberty

Hmmm . . . . I see where this is headed, Tanya.  Intriguing.