Friday, 18 June 2021

'Colonial' technology

"[P]rior to, say, 1769 [t]hese islands and the descendants of their first settlers had been almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world- whether people-to-people movements, trade or technologies.... Consistent with the absence of so many technologies and trade here, material living standards were very low.
    "'Colonial' is one those ill-defined words. Sometimes it means lots of permanent settlers from abroad, and sometimes just a period of control and government by a foreign power. In New Zealand, of course, it involved both, although the control by the foreign power was very short-lived. But, as people sometimes point out, even if these islands had never fallen to any foreign power, or if there had been little or no foreign settlement, many of the technologies would still have found their way here.... And that is a good thing."
          ~ Michael Reddell, from his post 'Colonial Constructs'

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Precision > luck

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
          ~ Ernest Hemingway, from his novel The Old Man and the Sea

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

“The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.”*

"The new enemy: Ute owners. It was landlords before. Then employers. Before that it was farmers. Rinse and repeat when you get to the end of the cycle."
          ~ 'Richard Singula Libertas/ Libertatis' on Twitter

* headline quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Labour's coal-powered cars ...

"The really crazy thing about Labour’s electric car incentives is we don’t have the electricity generating capacity to power them other than burning more imported coal at Huntly."
          ~ Kiwiwit, on Twitter

Monday, 14 June 2021


"A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery."
          ~ James Joyce, from Ulysses


Thursday, 10 June 2021

"The relationship between child labour and income is striking."

"The main reason children do not work in wealthy countries is precisely because they are wealthy. The relationship between child labour and income is striking."
          ~ Benjamin Powell, from his essay 'The Case Against Child Labour Prohibitions'

"Most economic historians conclude that ... legislation was not the primary reason for the reduction and virtual elimination of child labour between 1880 and 1940. Instead they point out that industrialisation and economic growth brought rising incomes, which allowed parents the luxury of keeping their children out of the work force."
          ~ Robert Waples, from his article 'Child Labour in the United States'
[Hat tip Yaron Brook]

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

'The Media and Politics'

"Journalists cannot serve two masters. To the extent that they take on the task of suppressing information or biting their tongue for the sake of some political agenda, they are betraying the trust of the public and corrupting their own profession."
          ~ Thomas Sowell, from his 2008 op-ed 'The Media and Politics'

[Hat tip Mike Webber

Friday, 4 June 2021

The long march through the schools...

"The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."
           ~ Abraham Lincoln


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

"Never confuse education with intelligence...."

"Never confuse education with intelligence. You can have a Ph.D., and still be an idiot."
          ~ attrib. Richard Feynman


Tuesday, 1 June 2021

When politicians say “follow the science,” they’re really saying “follow our plan.”

“The planners pretend that their plans are scientific and that there cannot be disagreement with regard to them among well-intentioned and decent people."
          ~ Ludwig von Mises, from his 1947 monograph 'Planned Chaos'

[HT John Miltimore

Monday, 31 May 2021

Some things the Climate Change Commission needs to hear

The central-government created Climate Change Commission presents its final report to the government today. Can't wait to hear how they will recommend centrally-planning the country's people and their production to combat a cock-and-bull "crisis," and how the government must throttle our thriving dairy industry -- the one that essentially pays the country's way -- and strangle our fledgling oil and gas industry.

A shame this country doesn't have someone sensible to talk to the parliament along the lines Alex Epstein just did to the US Congress. Invited to speak to the  'Natural Resources Committee' on May 19, Epstein, from the Center for Industrial Progresstold them that's if human flourishing is your standard and eliminating poverty your goal (as our Prime Minister often says it is), then shuttering industry -- especially the oil and gas industry -- is a massive own goal.
How important is an industry that produces low-cost, reliable energy for billions of people? If you care about human life, nothing is more important. Energy is the industry that powers every other industry. The lower cost energy is, the lower cost everything is.
   Low-cost, reliable energy enables billions of people to enjoy the miracle of modern machines that make us productive and prosperous — such as the oil-based agricultural machines that enable one modern farmer to do the work it used to take hundreds of farmers to do.
   Low-cost, reliable energy produced by the fossil fuel industry has made humanity so productive that since 1980, the fraction of people living in extreme poverty — less than $2 a day — has gone from more than 4 in 10 to less than 1 in 10.
   While billions of people today get low-cost, reliable energy from the fossil fuel industry, billions more need it. For example, there are 800 million people who have no electricity and 2.6 billion people are still using wood or dung for heating and cooking. 4.5 billion live on less than $10/day.
   The global leader of the fossil fuel industry is the US oil and gas industry, which, through incredible innovation, has become a world leader in producing oil — the essential fuel for mobility — and natural gas, an amazing fuel for electricity, industrial heat, and residential heat.
The US oil and gas industry has helped billions of people climb out of poverty. What could be a more positive impact on the world? And yet so few in our media and government ever even talk about this impact, denigrating this life-giving industry as "polluters."
fossil fuels do impact the climate. Climate change is real. But “climate crisis” is a fiction that comes from wildly exaggerating fossil fuels' negative climate-related impacts and ignoring fossil fuels' massive positive climate-related impacts.
    The fossil fuel industry ... makes the world a far better place to live—and is needed by billions more. We don't have a moral obligation to shrink this industry, we have an obligation to liberate and expand it.

But is there really a "crisis," as New Zealand's Climate Change Commission will undoubtedly claim later today?

When you hear scary claims about a “climate crisis,” keep in mind that climate catastrophists have been claiming climate crisis for 40 years. For example, President Obama's science advisor John Holdren predicted in the 1980s that we could have up to 1 billion climate deaths today. 
    To be sure, many prominent scientists and organisations predict catastrophe--but this is wild speculation and nothing new. Indeed, many of today’s thought leaders have been falsely predicting catastrophe for decades. 30 years ago, NASA climate leader James Hansen predicted that temperatures would rise by 2-4 degrees between 2000 and 2010; instead, depending on which temperature data set you consult, they rose only slightly or not at all.
    Thirty years ago, President Obama’s top science advisor, John Holdren, predicted that by now we’d be approaching a billion CO2-related deaths from famine. Instead, famine has plummeted as have climate related deaths across the board. According to data from the International Disaster Database, deaths from climate-related causes such as extreme heat, extreme cold, storms, drought, and floods have decreased at a rate of 50%8 since the 1980s and 98% since major CO2 emissions began 80 years ago.
    How is it possible that we’re safer than ever from climate?
    Because while fossil fuel use has only a mild warming impact it has an enormous protecting impact. Nature doesn’t give us a stable, safe climate that we make dangerous. It gives us an ever-changing, dangerous climate that we need to make safe. And the driver behind sturdy buildings, affordable heating and air-conditioning, drought relief, and everything else that keeps us safe from climate is cheap, plentiful, reliable energy, overwhelmingly from fossil fuels.
    Thus, the [US] President’s anti-fossil fuel policies would ruin billions of lives economically and environmentally--depriving people of energy and therefore making them more vulnerable to nature’s ever-present climate danger.  

Something to think about. 

Something about which to wish the local Climate Change goons could hear.

The sort of something you'd like to hear from the local dairy industry, and all the other targets of the goons: i.e., forthright fightback instead of supine surrender.

The Congressional Committee sat through his testimony, and one sought more questioning later. Read or watch the five-minute testimony above to the hearing (which was hosted online), or the 66-minute complete overview below, which includes the entire Q+A with the congress-things.

Friday, 28 May 2021

The infantilising welfare state


"The welfare state is a process of infantilising adults. It is funded by the same people whom it claims to be helping -- except they have to pay three times as much to get half the value."

          ~ Stephanie Bond, from a post at HBL on 'What's Wrong With the Welfare State'

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Keynesian economics with Chinese characteristics

China appears to be wealthy. But if it is, wonders Per Bylund in this guest post, why is there so much (Keynesian) waste right out there in the open?

China: A Keynesian Monster

by Per Bylund

I recently spent two weeks traveling in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a vast country with many contrasts: old vs. new, poor vs. rich, traditional vs. modern, East vs. West. While it is a strange experience with many impressions, what’s most striking is the obvious and contradictory economic contrast between wealth and waste.

Chinese city skylines in the economic development zones consist of business-district skyscrapers mixed with high-rise apartment complexes at least 30 stories high. The latter exist in groups of a dozen or so buildings of identical designs shooting far up into the sky, sometimes placed in the outskirts to facilitate the city’s expansion or change travel patterns according to some (central) master plan for the city.

The boxy skylines are interrupted by vast numbers of tower cranes in the many construction projects that produce more high-rises and skyscrapers at impressive speeds. The city is conquering the countryside, and devouring the surroundings much like a swarm of locusts.

This image is one of production, a society experiencing enormous economic growth and wealth creation.

But travelling, as the day gives in to night, shows a very different picture of these sprawling Chinese cities. While the setting sun makes the tower cranes stand out even more, what is obviously missing is the obvious sign of civilisation within these hulking towers: artificial lighting. Many of these newly constructed buildings become silhouettes against the sunset that are as dark as a dead tree trunk. They are dead hulks, empty carcasses without any signs of life.

One can stand in the middle of the city watching the glass-and-metal skyscrapers wrapped in neon lighting, as one would expect. Yet among them see many dark shapes of buildings that are empty – if not dead. These buildings are not necessarily new and move-in ready, they are simply uninhabited and unused.

This image is one of wasteful spending and immense economic errors. The contrast is as puzzling as it is scary. It tells us something important about the nature of the recent Chinese economic miracle: that it is fundamentally fake.

The Chinese economy obviously relies very heavily on state-sponsored, state-planned projects such as these constructions of buildings. It probably wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that the Chinese economy is a Keynesian jobs project of outrageous scale, which also means that is as removed from real value creation as any Keynesian undertaking.

The much talked about “Belt and Road” project is the same thing on an international scale. The project aims to recreate the silk road with modern infrastructure, connecting the Far East with Europe via both land and water. Consisting of numerous infrastructure projects in about 60 countries and trade deals to leverage the projects, the OBOR is a political project to connect the East and the West. It is state-planned and state-sponsored, and intended to, at least during the build phase, create projects primarily for Chinese companies abroad (though the immediate effect seems to have been capital outflow). It will most likely boost Chinese GDP, just as intended, and will be a catastrophic failure due to its reliance on planning rather than markets. But as states tend to think of GDP statistics as actual economic growth, rather than as a crude and faulty measure of it, the project may seem like a success at first.

What China teaches us about economics and economic policy is the lesson that is generally not provided in college classrooms: the important distinction within production between value-creation and capital consumption. The story of China’s economic development is to a great extent one of unsustainable, centrally planned growth specifically in terms of GDP — but a lack of sustainable value creation, capital accumulation, and entrepreneurship.

Production creates jobs even if what is produced is wasteful infrastructure projects, ghost cities, or only ghost buildings in otherwise inhabited cities. But those jobs only exist for as long as the projects are underway – that is, for as long as there is already created capital available to consume, domestically or attracted from abroad.

Per Bylund, PhD, is a Fellow of the Mises Institute and Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship & Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, and an Associate Fellow of the Ratio Institute in Stockholm. He has previously held positions at Baylor University and the University of Missouri. Dr. Bylund has published research in top journals in both entrepreneurship and management as well as in both the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics and the Review of Austrian Economics. He is the author of two full-length books: The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unrealized: How Regulations Affect our Everyday Lives, and The Problem of Production: A New Theory of the Firm. He edits the Austrian Economics book series at Agenda Publishing, and edited the volume The Next Generation of Austrian Economics: Essays In Honor of Joseph T. Salerno, published by the Mises Institute. He has founded four business startups and writes a monthly column for Entrepreneur magazine. For more information see
His article previously appeared at the Mises Wire.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

The World, The Naked Truth + The Well-Dressed Lie

Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind
Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1896, oil on canvas, 910 x 720mm

One day, a long time ago, legend has it that The Truth and The Lie meet up. 

And The Lie says to The Truth: “It’s a marvellous day today”! The Truth looks up to the skies and sighs in surprise, for the day really was beautiful. And so The Lie began earning the trust of The Truth, and they began spending a lot of time together.

And then one day, they came upon a well. Says The Lie to The Truth: “The water is very nice, let’s take a bath together!” The Truth however--still suspicious--tests the water, discovering it is indeed very nice. So they undress together and start bathing. Until suddenly The Lie leaps out of the water, steals the clothes of the Truth, and runs away with them! 

The furious Truth swarms out of the well in pursuit, running everywhere to find the Lie and retrieve her clothes -- but to no avail. And The World, seeing The Truth naked for the first time, turned its gaze away to hide its own embarrassment, and contempt.

So poor Truth returned to the well and disappeared forever, hiding her shame from The World. And ever since then, The Lie travels around the world dressed as The Truth. Which satisfies the needs of society, because, the World, in any case, harbours no desire at all to ever see the naked Truth.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

'Race consciousness'


"I know very well that the idea of being ‘colour blind’ is out of fashion, that Martin Luther King’s vision of character over skin colour is considered to be naive. But that vision surely made our society better. I’m not sure the modern vision of ‘race consciousness’ is making things better."
          ~ Sean Ono Lennon

[HT Robert Tracinski]

Monday, 24 May 2021

"...small racism problem ..."?

Philosopher Stephen Hicks, author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, says this about the U.S.:
“We have a small racism problem in this country. We have a medium-sized perceptions of racism problem. Mostly, we have a huge race-hustle ideology problem.”
Does that apply here too?

Answers on a postcard, please.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Supermarkets: " of the great bargains of all time."

"The logistics chain that is Amazon, or [Warehouse], or even a [Countdown], is one of the grand capitalist achievements in history. It used to be, in those heady days before the capitalists inserted themselves into the food supply system, that the working man spent 80% of income on food and rent. Sure, rent is a bit of a problem in certain places still. But food bills have fallen to perhaps 10% of household income.
    "We can check this too. Back in 1962 or so Mollie Orshansky noted that a poor family was spending about 30% or so of income on food. So, if we take a reasonable diet and triple it – roughly – then we’ve got a reasonable estimation of the poverty line. Sure, it was a back of the fag packet estimation and was meant to be used for a year or two while they all figured out something more sensible. But that is what the Official Poverty Line in the US is today, merely upgraded for inflation. And as general inflation has been significantly higher than food price inflation over those decades that average poor family, on the same inflation adjusted budget, is now spending 12 to 15%, not 30%, of their budget on food.
    "Supermarkets are the reason why. The people who own supermarkets charge a 1 or 2% margin on their activities. They get 2%, we get a 50% reduction in costs. It’s one of the great bargains of all time.
    "And this is what Guardian columnists complain about…"
          ~ Tim Worstall, from his post 'The problem is the solution - Jeff Bezos'

             [Hat tip Samizdata

>>READ MORE about The Miracle of Breakfast ....

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Q: Who owns the territory that currently comprises Israel?

"In the wake of each flare-up in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, people inevitably argue over the same question: 'Who owns the territory that currently comprises Israel: the Arab Palestinians, or the Jews?' Then long debates ensue about the history of the two different groups in the region, who was there first, which group was the aggressor, which group has rightful title, etc.
    "But the Objectivist answer to the question of which ethnic group has the right to the land is: Neither. Land cannot belong to ethnic groups, social classes, or other categories of people, in any sense...." 

"The vast bulk of the wealth created by 'the economy' is in the hands of ordinary people."

"I want to focus on [this claim]: '... the rich are capturing almost all the gains of economic growth these days.'
    "This is classic socialist rhetoric. The idea is that 'society' creates economic growth, and that the wealth from that growth is a social (or tribal) product, not a result of individual productiveness, and that whatever wealth someone has is simply 'captured' from that pile of tribal wealth. 
    "But 'societies' don’t create wealth.... only individuals create wealth through their own productive efforts (with the aid of free trade). The sentiment that informs that quote is the savage’s (or socialist’s) view of wealth as a fixed given, in which the 'distribution' of wealth is a zero-sum game....
    "[Also,] wealth is not money, ... money is not net worth. Money is a means of the exchange of wealth, not actual wealth. Net worth is measured in dollars, but is not actual money. So, yes, the richest people have a high net worth, which is [generally] held in the form of stock in productive companies. As to actual wealth -- that is, stuff -- the wealth of the top 1% is an inconsequential pittance compared to what others hold.
    "For example, the bottom 50% of households in America encompasses all of those earning less than about $75,000 per year. That group owns roughly half of all autos in America.... If you add in people earning up to $150,000, the auto ownership ration jumps to 91.6%.... You can play this game with cell phones, homes, food, central heating, running water, air conditioning, and any other mass-market category of wealth ad infinitum, and come up with the same observation. The vast bulk of the wealth created by 'the economy' is in the hands of ordinary people."
~ Mike LaFerrara, from his post 'Star-Ledger Uses Socialist Rhetoric to Debunk Christie’s Socialist Accusations Against Biden'

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

“The magnificent progress achieved by capitalism in a brief span of time ... is a matter of historical record”


“The magnificent progress achieved by capitalism in a brief span of time ... is a matter of historical record,” observes Ayn Rand. (See for an example the post below this one.) 

However ...

Read the 12 full definitions and descriptions here. (Summary by Stephen Hicks, 2021) Here are two outline excerpts by leading pro-capitalists:

Complete summaries by Stephen Hicks, online here and here. Buy Rand's book here, read Hessen's article here.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Good news you didn't know

These last fifty years have enjoyed "the fastest period of economic growth in history" --  "the average income per person has almost tripled since 1960. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty." 
    "How? Millions joining the workforce every year. Improved productivity, thanks to technological progress, and better management of resources." Oh and of course the death of Mao Zedong, which almost at a stroke rescued nearly a quarter of the world's population from grinding poverty.... 

NB: Data here. Source here. Note that the measure is GDP, which measures flow not stock, and as we know is at best only a proxy for production. But still ...

Monday, 10 May 2021

'The rich should pay their fair share' ?

"'The rich should pay their fair share.'
    "This term, 'fair share,' is an anti-concept. It's rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept.
    "One legitimate concept is: the purpose of government.
    "Another is actual fairness. Fairness is when you get what you deserve. But in this catch-phrase, fairness is when you're harmed by the right amount....
    "What does fair mean [in this statement]? It means more. More than they currently pay. Then more than that. Then more again. A blank check until the rich are drained of all blood."
          ~ Keith Weiner

Friday, 7 May 2021

The Free Speech Coalition is no more

** Guest post by Terry Verhoeven **

The Free Speech Coalition has been something of a cocoon, it turns out. What emerged this week from the chrysalis is something called the Free Speech Union. 

The former organism, founded spontaneously in the wake of several speakers being 'cancelled,' has now been reborn as the latter. The Free Speech Union appears on its surface to be good for this country, professing to stand for the right to free speech, and wanting to fight cancel culture. Sounds encouraging. But beware. 

It turns out that the word "Union" is being used literally. In its email announcing the emergence of the new entity, the FSU made a point of explaining why it is has formed into a real union, rather than remaining a coalition: the union model has "advantages,"  says the email, which include (in their words):
  • "the right to access employer’s property to conduct union business. The next time Massey University bans Don Brash or Martin Bradbury because what they might say is ‘unsafe’ – we may organise a union event on campus. That could include giving those they want to de-platform the legal right to enter as delegates of the Union.
  • "employers can’t stop people from joining our union – if they do, they’ll be in breach of employment law. We know of instances where universities have scolded academics for their public support of free speech / our campaign. If they try to do that with the Free Speech Union, they’ll be breaching employment law." [Emphasis in the original.]
Get that? Their explicit reason for a union model being adopted is, in the name of upholding “free speech," to trespass on and thus violate the property rights of employers! 

This is bizarre. As I and Peter have argued here many times, the only means by which to implement all rights in a compossible* manner, including the right to free speech, is to recognise property rights. Put simply, he who owns the microphone (or the hall) gets to choose who uses it. Understand this, and you understand that free speech itself is also at root a property-rights issue.   

The only alternative to implementing rights via property claims is a chaos of clashing claims to "rights." Determining, midst this chaos, whose claims are to be respected (and whose violated) results inexorably in a system of political pull in which all freedom is eventually lost. Violate property rights, the foundational right which supports the implementation of all others, and one necessarily violates all those rights, including the right to free speech.

The crux of the issue is this. Where property exists, it is the right of the property owner themselves to decide what can and cannot be said on or with their property. That's an absolute. The alternative is to legalise the hijacking of people’s property to spout ideas with which the property owner disagrees or, worse, actively undermines their own values and interests. Yet this is the direction the former Free Speech Coalition is now taking in its fight for “free speech,” i.e., to undermine the very foundations of its stated cause.

As I said: bizarre.

The former Coalition intends to begin its proposed legal violations of property rights on campuses and in so-called "public" venues, setting out explicitly to hamstring the administrators and agents of those properties -- starting precisely at the point that anti-free speech activists found a crevice in the system, and for similar reasons. But the next logical step (especially from those so blind to the difference between public and private) would be to hamstring private-property owners and to force upon them speech with which they disagree, to be propounded on or with their property. The logic is as inevitable as it is disturbing.

I donated to the Free Speech Coalition after it announced that it would be fighting the looming hate-speech legislation, and sent them a couple of emails urging that they recognise property rights as the sole means by which to implement free speech. No one even bothered replying to me. That silence speaks volumes.

What the new Free Speech Union seems to stand for then is not free speech, as you'd expect them to, but being provided a free platform for speech. These are not the same, and it's not just a minor debating point. Anyone who supports  free speech must support the sanctity of property rights. Conversely, whatever they may say otherwise, anyone who does not support the sanctity of property rights is not in truth a supporter of free speech. For this reason, I urge you to be circumspect about giving the so-called Free Speech Union your support. This bug could be dangerous.


Terry Verhoeven is Principal of the Rights Institute (an initiative) and author of the book Rights: Rediscovering Our Means to Liberty


"... a whole lot of integrating going on"

Talking about the birth of jazz -- that musical form integrating blues and spirituals, hymns and moans, African rhythms and western harmonies and much, much more -- celebrated jazz guitarist Danny Barker talks about its birthplace, New Orleans, as somewhere in which people of all nationalities were living together side by side. "And," he laughs, "there was a whole lot of integratin' going on."

I thought of that when I saw Lindsay Mitchell post one of the many fascinating wee statistics that frequently appear at her blog, this one on how many who identify as Maori are not co-habiting with other Maori. 

What the figures show are that more Maori men and women are married to or cohabiting with Europeans than with other Maori. 

Now, I don't generally care for figures or data based on race. But as Lindsay points out, this natural human phenomenon is really a spanner in the works for all those folk presently promoting separatism ...

Thursday, 6 May 2021

New packaging for an age-old weasel word

"The 21st century rebranding of equality of outcome into the shinier and more malleable term equity, with its redolence of ownership and fairness, gave activists a linguistic workaround to what had previously been a public relations obstacle of utopian unattainability. You can't and probably shouldn't just wave a magic wand to erase observed inequality. But inequity? That sounds to the ear more like an immediate and surmountable wrong, deserving of intervention."
          ~ Matt Welch, from his article 'The Equity Mess'

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

"...the transformational power of the state..."

"There’s a paradox at the heart of the Ardern administration: it genuinely believes in the transformational power of the state – but it struggles (and often fails) to get the state to do any of the things it wants it to do."
~ Danyl Mclauchlan, from his oped 'If you need to create a new ‘Implementation Unit’, what is everyone doing now?'

"it does NOT matter even if the science is right"

"To make something clear, it does NOT matter even if the science is right.
    "A doctor is right when he informs someone that repeatedly ingesting large quantities of sugary drinks is bad for their health and should be avoided. But a gestapo of portion-police using force against businesses for selling quantities larger than a number bureaucrats decreed 'too much' may be using the science as justification, however, their actions are not based on the science. The force used to establish a must doesn't necessarily follow from every informed should or is....
    "The leaps people make from 'is' to 'should' to a state enforced 'must' are often done by haphazardly skipping across the surface of philosophy like a stone on a lake, without any concern for the depth of thought required to get to a justifiable use of state force."

          ~ Mark Conway Munro

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

A political spectrum that makes more sense

Sketch 1: The conventional (and endlessly confusing) political spectrum

"Endless confusion persists in political analysis because of the false dichotomy the conventional spectrum (Sketch 1, above) suggests. People are taught to think that fascists Mussolini and Hitler were polar opposites of communists Lenin, Stalin and Mao. In fact, however, they were all peas in same collectivist pod. They all claimed to be socialists. They all sought to concentrate power in the State and to glorify the State. They all stomped on individuals who wanted nothing more than to pursue their own ambitions in peaceful commerce. They all denigrated private property, either by outright seizure or regulating it to serve the purposes of the State...
    "Instead of deploying flawed and simplistic spectrum charts, let us judge political and economic systems by who they empower—the State or the individual. That makes things a lot clearer."
          ~ Lawrence Reed, from his post 'The Only Spectrum That Makes Sense'
Sketch 2: A political spectrum based on whom politics most empowers, the State or the individual

Monday, 3 May 2021

"Society ... practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression..."

“[W]hen society itself is the tyrant--society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it--is means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which ti may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society ... practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”
          ~ John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty