Category Archives: equality

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.

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Trigglypuffs, Toilets, and Tolerance

No shortage of news to discuss. If you care about the elections, which I don’t, every day there seems to be more finger pointing, name calling, skeletons coming out of the closet, and oh yeah, violence amongst the most rabid sycophants defending their leaders (or tearing down their opponents). I’m just as guilty I suppose (except for the violence). I do take more than a smidge of pleasure in poking fun at the loyalists and exposing just how completely irrational the 2 party system has become. Some people in the Liberty movement (I call it a movement because it’s definitely gaining widespread attraction and attention) get angry or advocate even more violence which I never understood.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve given up on voting because 1) we should have no other king but Christ, 2) the act of voting is pointless because the system is completely corrupt and bought, and 3) even without the corruption, I am no longer able to trust that the majority should be empowered to determine what is just or unjust simply because they outnumber the minority.

What’s interesting about Liberty is that once you get it, once you understand the most fundamental concept of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), it’s very easy to navigate a seemingly complex world of moral tests. (Go Google the NAP or read some of my previous posts on it, but essentially, it comes down to Christ’s 2nd greatest commandment – love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it.)

Now, I can hear my Christian readers chomping at the bit accusing me of elevating the NAP to some sort of new New Testament and that couldn’t be further from the truth. God’s Word should always be the standard by which moral determinations are made. But I can think of very few examples where the NAP actually contradicts Scriptural truth. And in those rare cases, absolutely, the Bible is preeminent. If you’re still not convinced, I would turn your objection back on you who hold Americanism or American Christianity on a pedestal (aka the religion of how ‘Murica is awesome and everyone else sucks. You know, because God is American.)

I had a couple of interesting exchanges on Facebook, and it was abundantly clear that Liberty is not something that is universally accepted as a virtue. Maybe it was 20 – 30 years ago. If you asked the average person on the street whether Liberty was important or good back then, you’d probably be hard pressed to find someone that would disagree. Today, the question is more often than not met with “well, it depends” or just “no”.

And that’s a problem.

What’s ironic is that these people that fear and curse Liberty will oftentimes tell you it’s too dangerous to let men be completely free, that men need to be controlled or monitored or protected for their own good. By whom? Other men, of course.

If you don’t have school-aged children or haven’t been keeping up with college campuses (or even public school K-12), you’d probably be shocked to learn just how far this indoctrination has spread. Safe Zones, Trigger Warnings, and Cultural Appropriations Vigilantes have become part of the fabric of higher education. And this is not the Political Correctness we endured through the 80’s and 90’s. This is “don’t disagree with the liberal mob or we will cut you” thuggery. And it’s not just limited to the students. Who do you think is feeding this insanity?

Which brings me to my favorite example of this cancer of late. Brothers and sisters, I give you – Trigglypuff.

giphy

I don’t know anything about her other than what I’ve seen online when her rant went viral. Apparently, she’s a college student who came to protest some controversial guest speaker named Milo who has ticked off progressives around the globe. She’s also an outspoken critic of fat shamers (a critic of critics, if you will). The reason I bring up Trigglypuff is because her modus operandi is typical of many progressives today that oppose Liberty. They claim it’s their right to Freedom of Speech to protest haters, racists, and misogynists. Yet, their mission is to prevent others their same rights to speech. (The theatrics of her protest are just a hilarious bonus, exemplifying the crying, whining generation of cupcakes.)

If you embrace Liberty, how do you reconcile ugly speech, racism, and vulgarity? You realize that you don’t have to agree with someone’s verbal diarrhea in order to stand up for their rights to it. What’s the alternative? Simple. Keep censoring and someone will someday determine your voice needs to be suppressed or silenced because the mob doesn’t like what you have to say. That includes religious speech, scientific discovery, artistic expression, and political discourse to name a few.

J.K. Rowling, the author of all the Harry Potter books, gets it. I don’t care for her novels, but she’s absolutely right.

The other story that’s dominated the news, particularly in the Carolinas, has been the controversial toilet wars. Who can use which facilities seems to suddenly be on everyone’s minds. So much so that artists, performers, sports teams, and businesses have either canceled or threatened to back out of plans to do business in NC. I don’t want to dwell on the legal gymnastics because as you know, I don’t care about the system. The point I’d like to make on the whole fiasco is that this really comes down to Liberty and Property Rights. If a government entity comes in and arbitrarily decides your business MUST allow someone access to ___, you’ve already lost me. Doesn’t matter the issue. So when I hear about Obama or the governor or some dude wearing a dress telling a private business owner that they must bake a cake or perform a wedding or let anyone that wants into the bathroom, my response is basically – take a hike, not your concern or jurisdiction. That’s between me and my customers and no one else because my business is my property. It is not owned communally.

Again, what’s head scratching to me is the response from the celebrity progressives. They don’t like the law, so what do they do? They exercise their right to choose not to do business in the state of NC. In other words, they seem to completely miss the irony that they are doing exactly what businesses are seeking legal protection to do as well. If they were logically consistent, shouldn’t these artists be forced to provide their goods and services to NC despite their objections, in the name of fairness and tolerance? But why start being logically consistent now?

Which brings me to the overarching realization I’ve had. See, boomers and gen-Xers have been led to believe that Liberals / Progressives are supposed to be people of tolerance and acceptance. They might even remember a time where hippies stood for non-violence, embracing the ideals of people like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, or MLK. Those days are long gone. Progressive, entitled millennials are no longer the people of tolerance and non-violence. They are, in fact, a fascist hate group, completely intolerant of dissenting opinion and totally open to violence in the name of achieving their causes. The sad truth is, most of them can’t articulate what their cause actually is or how they plan to get there. They really haven’t thought it through because, well, they’re entitled. Someone else will probably figure it out for them, right?

So where does that leave the rest of us?

Fortunately, there’s still hope. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Liberty is catching on. More and more people who see the mirage progressives chasing today are realizing that the only sane, rational, consistent, and achievable road to progress is Liberty. People must be allowed to choose how to live, what to eat, where or whether to work, and to reap the benefits and consequences of their choices.

The same is true with the staunchest conservatives. More of them are recognizing the futility of throwing everyone in jail or bombing anyone that doesn’t agree with them, particularly when it comes to victimless crimes. They grow weary of endless wars and policing the entire world. But most importantly, they recognize (due in no small part to the ‘choices’ they are left with the elect come November) that morality transcends the broken system of government control we have in place today. There are other options. There are alternatives to falling behind party lines.

Stand up for Liberty. Justice, equality, compassion, and peace can only be achieved through Liberty. Without it, there can be none.

Liberty – Ends or Means?

If you’ve ever had a moral debate with anyone, invariably the argument will come down to an idea of the Ends and the Means.  The case is laid out something like this:

In one camp, the person has a final goal / utopia in mind.  Because you know it’s a righteous goal, getting to your destination by any means necessary is permissible.  So for example, if your ultimate goal is to ensure every human being has food to eat and clean drinking water, then anything it takes to achieve that goal is of secondary importance, as long as you able to feed every person on earth.  Your END defines your morality.

The other side of the argument is that the Means is of utmost importance.  You may have a standard of morality which defines good and bad behavior.  Wherever your morality takes you is secondary because you believe if you honor your moral code, the resulting society will be, by definition, just and moral.  So for example, if your morals forbid you from stealing property that belongs to someone else, then theft will never be a part of your utopian road map, even if that potentially means some people would suffer when theft is no longer on the table as a solution.

Now, as much as we’d like to believe in our own moral purity or consistency of beliefs, and although most people will generally favor one over the other (the Means or the Ends), oftentimes we find ourselves in a little bit of both camps.  That’s to say, though philosophically these sound pretty cut and dry and mutually exclusive, in reality moral arguments are hardly ever so black and white.

When you are debating morality, you can usually tell whether your opponent has a Means or and Ends worldview by the evidence that they use to support their argument.  And Political Party lines do not fall one way or the other.  Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Libertarians, Anarchists.  You’ll find Ends and Means proponents across the board.

I’ve found that many of those that favor the End have little or no problem with inconsistency of behavior or decisions they support.  For this reason, pointing out inconsistencies does very little in changing their opinions because they are marching toward an END.  One might say they’re illogical / irrational at times.  Critics will also point out the unintended consequences of their END but again, these usually don’t matter to someone driven to a goal.

I’ve also found that those that favor the Means are oftentimes accused of being rigid or overly-calculated.  Each decision, each idea must pass through a series of evaluations against one’s moral code of conduct.  The downside is that these people get caught up in analysis-paralysis.  They can quickly tell you what’s wrong (morally) with your proposal, but they might not have a well-defined alternative.  For these reasons, arguing against advocates of the Means can be frustrating for End advocates because there’s no guarantees the Means will get you where you want to be.

If you’ve read any of my posts, it should be abundantly clear that I tend to favor pure Means and allow the End chips to fall where they land.  The pursuit of Liberty can only come about through righteous Means.  To me, I can’t simply ignore illogical or inconsistent behavior in pursuit of an End because how we get there is of equal, or even greater, value.  Here are just a few examples of inconsistent and illogical behavior –

  • if you advocate “equality of rights” by giving preferential / protected treatment to one group over another
  • if you support “open markets” but shut out competition (including foreign competition) and use the government to subsidize some of your costs
  • if you favor “smaller, fiscally responsible government” but you want to increase military spending and our global footprint
  • if you want to advocate “freedom of speech” but you censor racist, sexist, religious, blasphemous, obscene, or anti-American rhetoric
  • if you support “our bodies / our choice” but won’t allow grown adults to choose to drink, smoke, take drugs, drive without seatbelts, eat trans fats and super double Big Gulps of Jolt cola

Then there are my critics.  But, but but . . .

  • Roads may fall into disrepair or never even get built.
  • Children will become illiterate or go hungry in the streets. 
  • Pregnant mothers will die in labor because doctors were not allowed to perform 39th week abortions. 
  • ISIS and Al-Qaeda will be running free throughout the world recruiting and bombing homeless animal shelters. 
  • The polar ice caps will melt from all the greenhouse gases we create, literally out of thin air, and the third rock from the sun will be Kevin Costner’s Water World.

As silly as this all sounds, particularly in light of the fact that these tongue-in-cheek, doomsday scenarios are no less likely to happen under the End advocates’ plans, these absurd “but what about __” Straw Men are realities that most of you probably have to deal with every day you engage in thoughtful conversation.

Understanding whether your opponent values Means or Ends can help you overcome their objections.  But the great thing about Liberty is that it is both.  Liberty is an End and a Means.  I don’t see how you could pursue Liberty as one and not the other.  In this way, I’m pretty sure Liberty is unique.  For example, Equality may be something that’s important to some.  But you can’t pursue Equality as an End by using it as a Means.  As I pointed out above, the only way to pursue Equality as an End requires some exertion of force over some people for the benefit of others.  (Psst. That’s the opposite of Equality.)

The mechanism and resulting end of Liberty are just and righteous.  And in pursuing Liberty, there’s no contradiction or conflict between the Ends and the Means.  You have to decide whether you are a Means or an End kind of person, but I challenge you to pursue something that is consistent in both views.

Do you even know what you’re saying?

Socialism, and her inevitable offspring Communism, are gaining popularity once again.  Visions of Che Guevara swell in the hearts and on the T-shirts of the ‘working class’.  Students flock to the local Leftist “Equality” rallies, iPhones and Starbucks Gluten-Free-Mocha-Frappa-Caramelitos in hand.  Disgruntled workers, not feeling the love, covet their CEO’s bonus payout last year without the slightest clue of what it takes to run a company that may employ tens of thousands of workers.

And why not?  On the surface, there’s some appeal to the idea of Socialism.  Why wouldn’t we want everyone to have guaranteed food, shelter, education, medicine, clean air, pothole-free roads, high paying jobs, time and money for vacations on the beach, USDA Prime filet mignon for dinner every night, or blazing fast wifi?  Unless you’re a real sociopath, no one wants to actively prevent someone from having these things.

The problem is that in reality, everyone can’t simply have all of these things just because we want it to be so.  As I’ve written previously, the fundamental truth of economics comes down to 2 basic, opposing forces – the insatiability of our appetites vs. the scarcity of available resources.  You cannot completely satisfy even a personal insatiability because of the scarcity of resources, much less the desires on a national or global scale.

Don’t misunderstand.  That’s not to say individuals cannot find contentment in their situation.  We may resolve to be content with what we have.  But tomorrow, we will be hungry again.  We will need shelter again.  We will want electricity and heat and water again.  That’s what it means to have an insatiable Demand over time.

Despite these fundamental truths, modern Socialists want you to believe that it IS possible for a central planner to gather up all of the resources and equitably parse them out to the masses.  They also want you to believe that in this fairy tale, individuals will choose to work, not for selfish gain, but for the good of humanity.

Can a central planner actually accomplish this better than the free market?

This clip from Milton Friedman explains why no one can even build a pencil on their own.

What is Socialism?  How do they propose to distribute all these goods and services for everyone to enjoy?

Here’s a quote from MarxMail.org —

Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before.

There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are.

Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies.

More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism.

So first off, Socialists want you to have MORE private property by taking away your second kind of Private Property.

wait-what-meme

But let’s take a closer look at this nonsensical banality.  You have the right to your property for use and enjoyment, just not the things that will produce more property for use and enjoyment.

How many of you have 2 separate bank accounts – one for your use and enjoyment (say a checking account) and another for producing more money (say an IRA or Savings account)?  Well, that second account would become property of the Socialist State.

For those of you that are business owners or employers, how many of you sacrifice some of your “use and enjoyment” private property to invest in your business or to create jobs for employees?  Well, you might want to reconsider because the Socialist State would immediately seize your tools of exploitation and oppression.

So what’ you say?  As long as there’s equality and people’s lives improve, isn’t that good?

Let’s imagine if we measured the Total Global Production of Goods today, and declare it be equal to 100 units of measurement (let’s call them widgets).  So as of Jan 24, 2015, there are 100 widgets in the world today.  Socialist believe that if the global population equaled 100 people, well then each person would get, on average, 1 widget to consume.  (True Socialists differ from hard-lined Communists in that they won’t distribute the stolen goods equally per person, but that’s another topic).

So what happens when 100 widgets are consumed?  Will they all be replenished and can we continue to perpetuate this rate of consumption once we take away Private Property (Capitalism and Self-Interest)?  Will consumption remain constant or might it grow?

Ask yourself – what if you could continue to consume what you do today (or even consume MORE than what you do today) without increasing your workload?  What if not a single hour of additional labor would net you any additional benefit in compensation?  You get paid regardless of if you work 8 hours a day or 4.  Would you work as hard as you do?  Would anyone?

I don’t know if you’ve recently been to the United States Post Office.  Take a look at the floors, the walls, the supplies stations.  Even the self-service kiosks.  Unlike privately-owned businesses that are meticulously maintained in order to keep customers satisfied, most of the time the USPO is filthy, out of supplies, understaffed and totally run by clock watchers.  Try walking into the Post Office with a stack of packages at 5:01 pm when the place closes at 5:00.

So now think about the 100 widgets being consumed.  Is there any likelihood those consumed widgets would be replaced or even grow past the current level when you take away the incentives to work harder and longer?

Of course not.  In fact, very quickly, the Socialist State has to scale back their promises of free goods and services, institute rationing and price fixing, and nationalize mandatory labor (e.g. slavery) in order to keep the State alive.  Forget about iPhones and free wifi or healthcare and education.  Now, you can’t even manage to keep everyone fed.

When this happens, you have gone from the Socialist’s Pipe Dream to the hard reality of a Communist State.

So what’s so bad about the Communist State?

Plenty.

Now, any lingering seed of individualism or free thinking is met with severe hostility, violence, persecution, torture, starvation, and death.  This account of the horrific genocide perpetrated by Mao Tse Tung on his own people should be a sobering wakeup call for those who live on some Fantasy Island thinking that we can just take everyone’s property for the good of the people, yet production will be able to keep up with the increased demand.

alewitz2

(okay, I added a bit of truth to this Socialist propaganda.)

Even more disturbing to me are the attempts by Socialist fan boys to re-write or ignore history.  Like Mao, the history of Stalin, Russia and the Soviet Union is written in the blood of millions of people, murdered and tortured by their own leaders.  This film of the Soviet Story is disturbing but must be shared.  If you watch to the end, what’s particularly alarming are the current trends in Russia under Putin to go back to the days of Stalin and ethnic cleansing.

You can also go here to see the film with full English subtitles.

Now I know there are still some naïve daydreamers out there, sitting in your dorm rooms, looking up at your Bob Marley posters, sipping your dandelion tea and thinking “we would never resort to killing and violence and torture in order to achieve equality.  We just want to stand up for the 99%.”

So to you, let me ask you this:  If I choose to ignore your demands on my Private Property, if I refuse to fund your regime with my taxes, if I protest anything that has to do with “contributing My Fair Share”, if I stand defiantly at the doors of my business and do not allow you to come in and take what I’ve created or earned – WHAT IS YOUR NEXT COURSE OF ACTION?

Will you leave me alone?

Will you go pick on someone else instead?

Will your master plan survive with the existence of Choice?

Milton Friedman: The Role of Government in a Free Society (Q&A)

A classic.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of coercion and how government is the antithesis of liberty, pay close attention to the first question and Milton’s response.  You can replace the FCC in his remarks with any number of government agencies (FDA, USDA, EPA, IRS, etc.)

Also very interesting for Christians that support using the State to try and coerce righteousness out of sinners, not unlike the Spanish Inquisition.