Understand The Free Market in 6 Minutes

Very Enlightening Ron Paul Speech

Under What Circumstances is Democracy Legitimate?

In his essay The Charade of Participatory Democracy, written in 1991, Ridgway K. Foley Jr. writes the following:

“Remember the fundamental question that must be asked of any proposed governmental or public activity: Does this constitute an appropriate state function? If the answer lies in the affirmative, the town meeting may afford an acceptable, if not superior, method of determining and implementing public policy. However, if the answer is negative, no amount of “citizen involvement” procedures will convert an improper act into an ethical and acceptable one. Unfortunately, almost all the instances of participatory democracy assume the propriety of the end sought, concentrate on the superficial means employed, and avoid this central issue which should be studied and answered.

Elsewhere, I have suggested the test to be applied to the central question: Does the proposed state function reasonably concern (1) the protection of nonaggressive persons from acts of force or fraud, (2) a defense of the realm, or (3) the resolution of otherwise insoluble disputes? If the function falls within these limited boundaries, it provides a ripe source for public concern and the exercise of the coercive force we term “government”; if the function lands outside these narrowly circumscribed perimeters, human conduct ought to be left to the individual choices of the people involved.

Deplorably, omission of this seminal question serves to obscure the fact that most, if not all, public hearings relate to matters properly relegated to private choice. Land-use planners don’t consider whether or not the state, or any individual or group of citizens, ought (philosophically, morally, and empirically) to dictate to other, unwilling neighbors the uses of the real property belonging to the latter. Instead, they hold witless hearings (ignoring the basic question or assuming its answer) designed to carve up the countryside into brightly colored blocks and blobs on a map, representing the (presumed) community calculation of how land ought to be employed. Likewise, advocates of mass transit never examine whether taxpayer-residents (1) want a bus system or (2) if so, desire to pay public monies for a municipally owned system as opposed to a private enterprise; instead they ignore the indispensable disquisition and spend citizen time, money, and energy in a search for ways to implement their grand design—through street closures, residence relocation, mandatory ridership in the name of energy conservation, and the like.”

Read the entire essay here, http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/the-charade-of-participatory-democracy/.

My Mom Defending Libertarianism on Facebook

I’m proud to say that my mom is Kit Goldman. See the long debate below for her defense of human liberty. Go mom!

Doug Jacobs: It looks like Jerry Brown’s California Initiative 30 has passed with almost 90% of the vote in. California has actually voted to raise taxes. Maybe this is finally the end of the Prop 13 stranglehold. The UC system and the State of California have had a reprieve. Unfortunately the repeal of capital punishment has not passed, but it looks like the 3 Strikes law has been reformed. And all of the corporate initiatives look as if they will fail. A sign of the times? Maybe California is alive and well afterall.

Like · · November 7 at 3:52am ·

 

Douglas Gabrielle If nothing else, California has become desperate enough to become slightly more realistic…..I hope!

November 7 at 4:20am · Like

 

Larry Delinger Lets hope so! Encouraging isn’t it?

November 7 at 6:53am · Like

 

Richard Vail I hope prop 13 isn’t repealed because we could never pay the adjusted tax rate and would thus lose our home.

November 7 at 8:55am · Like

 

Linda Castro Prop 13 is not going anywhere — but yes, perhaps Calif is alive and well after all — got to get the marriage question squared away — then I’ll believe CA is truly ‘back’

November 7 at 8:59am · Like

 

Mark Danisovszky I LOVE California. Don’t you?

November 7 at 10:50am · Like

 

Douglas W Jacobs No, I didn’t mean that Prop 13 is going anywhere. I meant the strangling atmosphere that taxes are always evil, but a crumbling infrastructure, skyrocketing tuition and unreasonable fines on everything are OK. Also, I’ve heard that a loophole in Prop 13 benefits corporations even more massively than the family homes it was initially designed to protect. Families eventually sell a house and the tax rate is adjusted. Corporations rarely die and the tax rate is never adjusted. If that loop hole were closed down, it would be huge.

November 7 at 11:04am · Like · 1

 

Larry Delinger That’s correct, Doug, Prop13 was never intended to help the lowly homeowner but it became necessary to include them so that the corporations would benefit. Same ol’ story.

November 7 at 12:21pm · Like

 

Kit Goldman With all due respect: See below re: the strangling tax atmosphere you referenced. Look how well it has been spent. So, you want to give them more. OK. You and all who feel that way should send them more. I choose not to. But of course, I will go to jail if I act on my free will.
State Sales Tax: Highest in the Nation
California levies a 7.25 percent general sales and use tax on consumers, which is the highest statewide rate in the nation. Local governments are permitted to levy another 1.5 percent. Click here for the State Board of Equalization’s detailed description of the statewide sales and use tax rate, and here for information on additional city and county sales tax rates.
Gasoline Tax: Second Highest in the Nation
California’s statewide gasoline taxes and fees total 48.6 cents per gallon, the second highest in the nation, just behind New York (49 cents gallon) and tied with Connecticut (according to the American Petroleum Institute, for rates effective January 1, 2012). When the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon is added, Californians pay 67 cents in taxes for every gallon of gas they purchase. Additionally, California’s general sales tax and various local sales taxes are levied on the sale of gasoline — and the sales tax is calculated after the state and federal excise taxes are added to the price, so motorists pay a tax on a tax.
Personal Income Tax: Second Highest in the Nation
California’s personal income tax has the second-highest rate and one of the most highly progressive structures in the nation. As of January 2012, the top rate of 10.3 percent was surpassed only by Hawaii, which has a top rate of 11 percent. Oregon’s top rate had been 11 percent, but fell to 9.9 percent in 2012. Most small businesses are S Corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships, and pay their business taxes at the rates for individuals, which makes California’s taxes on small businesses some of the most burdensome in the nation.
Corporate Income Tax: Highest in the West
“Corporations looking to relocate, or even establish, a business in the West may shy away from California, as the state’s 8.84 percent flat rate is the highest corporate tax rate in the West,” the Tax Foundation said in 2011. Nothing has changed, as the group’s 2012 Business Tax Climate Index report shows that other Western states still have much lower corporate tax rates. Nationally, only eight states have a higher top corporate tax rate than California (Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennslyvania and Rhode Island).
Property Tax: High, Even Under Proposition 13
In its 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index, the Tax Foundation ranks the 50 states on property tax collections per capita. As of July 1, 2011, property taxes in California were $1,458 per capita, ranked 14th highest nationally. Without Proposition 13, the 1978 voter-approved initiative that set limits on property taxes for California property owners, the state likely would rank even worse.

November 7 at 5:44pm · Like

 

Mark Danisovszky We live in CA. People will always want to live and do business in perhaps the most beautiful place to live in the world. If you can’t stand paying more to live here…a place that deserves great schools and infrastructure to match it’s unparalleled natural diversity, you have the option to leave. If you want low taxes, move to Alabama. Or Texas. If you want to be around creative forward thinking people who define their lives by a true personal entrepreneurial spirit, you’re going to have to pay for it. Did you look outside today? How much is the most beautiful November day imaginable worth? What more do you really need?

November 7 at 6:36pm · Like

 

Larry Delinger I came here from Nebraska 40 yrs ago and I’ve pretty much felt it was a privilege to live in this state. I can’t say that I have felt burdened by the taxes I have had to pay. But, of course, I have worked as a composer, mostly in the theatre plus some teaching so maybe I’m not a good example of those burdens that most people feel.

November 7 at 6:40pm · Like · 1

 

Kit Goldman Mark: I fully respect your desire and absolute right to pay more than you now pay. You clearly are confident it will be spent properly and are comfortable giving more and indeed you should follow your conscience. as a native Californian who has paid taxes here for….let’s just say several decades, watching spending go up an astounding 42% since 2000 while all sorts of services declined, and watching our once prosperous, galatically beautiful state descend into fiscal hell, I’ve decided I don’t wish to support this corrupt, inept, out of control government. If I felt my money was being well spent, I would be glad to pay. If someone offers a good service, people will want to pay for it. If its bad they won’t. But the government alone has the option of legal violent force to take what’s yours when you don’t choose to give it. So again, all who believe they should pay more: please follow your lights. But let me follow mine. And if I’m given the option to pay or not, and I don’t, I will agree to forego access to what you fund — or I will pay for it if I decide to use it. It’s another way to look at things.

November 7 at 8:32pm · Like · 1

 

Mark Danisovszky I’m curious what your exact target is for inept governing or corruption? What specifically is the cause of your anger? It’s not clear to me…what specifically do you want changed, what would be the savings, and what would be the benefit?

November 7 at 8:40pm · Like

 

Mark Danisovszky I’m guessing that road and gasoline taxes are very high because the roads are absolutely essential to every part of life in California and we live an an extreme earthquake zone that requires much much more expensive planning, design, and construction costs that are not present anywhere else. So that comparison to other states is meaningless.

November 7 at 8:47pm · Like

 

Kit Goldman Start with the correctional system, move on to LAUSD, the bullet train boondoggle,, L.A.P.D., UC System, big salaries and lifetime pensions legislators vote for themselves, Schwarzenegger’s reduction of the sentence of his buddy, Speaker Nunez’s, son in the death of a San Diego State student This does not begin to scratch the surface. But, look, Mark, from what you say, you are happy and comfortable with how things are being run. You are confident in the state’s leadership and the agenda of those spending your money. You don’t need to explain why to me. I’ll take your word for it. That is how it looks to you. That is not how it looks to me. I have no desire to convince you because I want you to have the liberty to do business with whomever you choose and make as large a contribution as you see fit to the state government. Gvie me the same liberty to act on my conscience. It’s the American way.

November 7 at 9:30pm · Edited · Like

 

Mark Danisovszky I was done with Toledo, Ohio, so I left. It seems like you’re sick of California. Go somewhere extremely cheap for a while and then come back when you’re ready. Why not? It’s tough for those of us who love CA to hear people assailing and attacking the state. That is what you’re doing.

November 7 at 9:36pm · Like

 

Kit Goldman You sound like the old “America: love it or leave it” guys. I’m not through with California. Just the current government. I don’t want to feed it any more. It spends too much and does too little too poorly and cheats too much. The government is not the state. It is not the people. It is a system designed to do certain constitutional duties which in my humble opinion it is not doing well enough to deserve a raise and I am not happy about that. I want to see a change. But I’m glad you’re content with the status quo. You came here from Toledo, so you have a different perspective. I’ve lived here all my life and seen how much better it can and should be.

November 7 at 9:51pm · Like

 

Kit Goldman Actually: let me correct myself. It doesn’t too “too little” — it does too much too poorly! It needs to do less better.

November 7 at 9:55pm · Like

 

Mark Danisovszky The one thing that I notice about your posts is that you place none of the blame on Wall Street and the bankers for crashing the economy. The wars have drained massive resources out of the commons, too. Although some people are gleeful for the spending that increased militarization does for San Diego. I would suspect that a significant part of the problem is decreased revenue because of the national economy. It’s difficult to know what proportion of the problem is caused by the bigger issues. I think that Brown has a sense of what needs to be done. It certainly is his responsibility now.

November 7 at 10:26pm · Edited · Like

 

Kit Goldman California’s spending has increased 42% since 2000 and continued in the face of falling revenues. The excesses and mismanagement which have brought us to this point started long before 2007 and are widely known. You choose not to hold those with the purse strings here accountable. To circle back and put a cap on this invigorating exchange, you wish to pay more taxes. You feel it will be well spent and wish to contribute. I do not wish to feed what I consider to be a wasteful, bloated, out of control bureaucracy, however, I am forced to do under the threat of violent force. My loved ones would be very upset if I went to jail and out of love and concern for them and the fact that I have to earn a living as I can’t issue bonds or force someone to give me their money, I must accept this and move on to happier territory.

November 7 at 11:04pm · Edited · Like

 

Douglas W Jacobs Wow. I’ve been offline all day. Thanks, Kit, for the input. I’ll try to track some of the info you’ve set out here. Here are a few thoughts… I’ve lived in California my whole life. The UC system was really begun by mining and engineering interests to make sure they had educated workers. Those schools were the cornerstone of UC Berkeley. Higher education was a business investment.

One side of my family were Democrats. The other side were Republicans. They all agreed that taxes for education were absolutely essential. No arguments there, while there were huge arguments on everything else. That consensus has been lost. My mother, a Republican, was comfortable having a large family because she knew they could go to the greatest university in the world for $25 per semester. $50 per year. When I started at UCSB, it was about $200 per year. She hated Reagan more than my democrat father, because of what Reagan did to the UC system. She was the bookkeeper of the family, and got an accounting degree in her sixties. My skepticism of current Republican policies comes as much or more from my Republican mother and math tutor, than from my Democrat father.

I guess I was also raised by both parents to believe taxes were necessary, and it wasn’t a fear of the police that motivated my parents. But then we also tithed another 10% on top of taxes. So… more and more, I learn my background is unique. Most of my ancestors were also incredibly thrifty, so I don’t like waste, and that’s a big problem in any administration, but that’s a different problem from overall tax policy. I’m with The Economist, a conservative British magazine, and Ben Stein, a heretical conservative… Americans underpay on taxes, esp. at the higher income levels. I absolutely believe it’s corporate welfare (and endless wars paid for with lines of credit) that are damaging the economy. I don’t like paying taxes to subsidize corporations that send jobs overseas. Welfare mothers and education are not the problem.

The present CA administration is relatively new. Brown has a proven record of swinging his budget sword in both directions. He’s made huge cuts. If there is any politician I trust to balance a budget, it’s Brown. He’s the only governor who managed to actually balance California’s budget and deliver a serious surplus. His father, Pat Brown, was a great governor. Jerry Brown also has the skills to be a great Governor, even without his father’s Irish Catholic political charm. Jerry Brown was a strong Mayor of Oakland, and really brought that city back by working with businesses and developers, not against them.

I also never wanted to pay taxes to support the Viet Nam war, but that seems to be the compromise we accept to live in an industrialized country. As for gas, in 1989 in England and Ireland, I regularly paid $3.50 to $5 per gallon. That was 20 years ago, and it was not a crisis. It was standard. I grew up in LA… the air was a serious hazard when I was in school. PE classes were painful to the lungs. California’s regulations and fuel policies have now made the air breathable here, while other states are now wrestling with smog. Have you been to the Utah Valley and suffered the deadly inversion layers there? But their gas is cheap, cheap, cheap. And it’s killing them, with higher than normal levels of cancer.

 

Kit Goldman Doug, you are, as always, a reasoned and articulate soul. I am not a Republican. I am a Libertarian and Ron Paul supporter. I agree fully about corporate welfare but it is the government which gives those goodies. The government is the ONLY entity with the power to give away those goodies. That is where the problem lies. The corporations don’t work for us, but presumably the government does. Corporations work for their shareholders. We can choose not to do business with them if we don’t like their operating principles. We have no choice but to do business with the government. You agree with a big government, statist model. I believe the limited powers stated in the constitution should be observed. In my view, there is no excuse other than greed and abuse of power for the profligate spending and expansion of government we see at both the federal and state level. We’ll agree to disagree and see how things turn out now that the people have made their decisions. Take care.

 

Mark Danisovszky “… there is no excuse other than greed and abuse of power for the profligate spending and expansion of government …” What is the cost of a healthy, sustainable, fair, and positive society? That ultimately is the question. Individuals can’t take on corporations, so they need to be regulated.

 

Kit Goldman So, you believe effective regulation requires profligate, ever increasing spending and out of control government expansion? OK. If that’s how you see it. The government is there to enforce the laws, to be sure. it would appear they haven’t done such a good job of that with respect to banks and other big donors. Who regulates the government, where the power of force and coercion lies? You are very cynical about people, Mark, and their desire and ability to make positive choices with their own resources. You place more of your faith in highly paid bureaucrats who vote themselves lifetime pensions and gold plated health care, don’t contribute to social security and raise billions of dollars from special interests. That’s a big difference in how we see things. I am a civil libertarian. You are a big government guy. You have every right to be that and you are in the majority! Your plan is being worked now, so let’s see the results and then we’ll talk!

Thursday at 11:10am · Like

 

Mark Danisovszky Did I say that effective regulation requires profligate, ever increasing spending? NO! We regulate the government by our votes. Big business deregulates government by money. Did I say that I place my “faith in highly paid bureaucrats who vote themselves lifetime pensions and gold plated health care, don’t contribute to social security and raise billions of dollars from special interests?” NO! I fervently hope that Jerry Brown can clean up the mess. He seems to be striving mightily to do so. As my question above asked…before you put words in my mouth, is: “What is the cost of a healthy, sustainable, fair, and positive society?” Bureaucratic expansion is not fair or sustainable, is it? Isn’t that what I’m asking? What you’re doing is just complaining without providing any concrete examples of what needs to be done and how much will be saved by it. Do you want to drive on a bridge that will not collapse in an earthquake? Then you have to pay for it. The greatest expense of all, wars and the military, are nowhere in you observations. Why is that?

Kit Goldman: I’m sorry, Mark. I thought you read my post to Doug. I am a Libertarian. So that should tell you where I dwell philosophically. Through my son, I am attuned to the Austrian School of economics and am a Ron Paul supporter — the most anti-war candidate out there. I truly don’t have time to work up a comprehensive economic analysis for you nor do I request one from you to support your viewpoint! I take it at face value you are OK with how things are right now and wish to support it further with your (and my) tax dollars. That much is clear from our respective votes. I posted stats re: the growth in spending and where we stand on taxes and stated that I find more unacceptable, that I do not have confidence in what I have observed to be a very incompetent, corrupt, profligate and dare I say slimy state government. I gave you several examples prior. That is how it looks to me and therefore why on Earth would I want to send more money down the rathole? You wouldn’t either if you saw it like I do. You seem to find my divergent opinion quite upsetting. I have lots of friends who think differently than I do — more along your lines — so I am used to it.

Thursday at 12:34pm · Like

 

Kit Goldman One more thing, you say “big business deregulates government with money..” It is government officials — whom we pay handsomely — who take the money and hand out the favors. Halliburton got those monster war contracts from our employees who were supposed to have our interests at heart and who were spending our precious treasure — or as it happens, China’s, but that’s another issue. No one with a brain in their head expects Halliburton or any other business to place the taxpayers interests first. Therefore, I believe your anger at business should be channeled toward those you employ to take care of your business. The people accepting the bribe (donations and kickbacks) and delivering the goods (your money). This same concept of course translates to the state. It is the way of all governments and therefore it is wise to limit the powers and monitor its dealings closely. The founders made it clear that the people must be vigilant on those counts and I believe they were most wise in that regard.

Thursday at 1:29pm · Like · 1

 

Douglas W Jacobs Mark and Kit, thanks to both of you for a spirited discussion. I’ve been saying for a year that there was a potential alliance between Occupy “AnyEveryWhere” and the Ron Paul movement. There is a genuine spirit and trust in liberty and/or anarchy in both movements. I don’t think the corporate media wanted to ever clarify that possibility or demonstrate the very real evidence that it was there. Older figures entered and obliterated the movement with their own biases and agendas. Even the Tea Party roots go back to a growing displeasure among some Republicans about Bush’s war budgets and deficits, but then the corporate world almost instantly captured the Tea Pary, much as the big business interests do the same in Capra’s MEET JOHN DOE. Although I don’t think I agree with them, I find the Austrian economists interesting, worth more attention than I’ve given them, and some Libertarian perspectives are worth a listen. I’ve been planning to spend more time with the Austrians. I stumbled on one of Von Mises short books decades ago, and it has a crispness that’s worth exploring.

Actually, I have a very strong mix of feelings about big vs. small government. I read both The Economist and The Nation… so my skepticisms swing in lots of different directions. Some things need size and scope, and some need a lighter hand. I think teachers are being demonized, but I also think that the current standardizations of curriculum are an abdication of what teaching and education is all about. I support teachers but have great suspicions about the growth of administrators. Something of the same happened in non-profit theatre… more administrators and few actors on payroll. We all lived through that transition. And current testing practices in education are truly demonic.

As for regulations, I tracked the Savings and Loan scandal by reading a wide range of material. In that case, there were regulations in place, but they were designed for mom and pop home loans of about $60,000 not multi-million dollar mini-malls. The regulators were not retrained or given support, but just the opposite. Reagan left many of the regulations in place while defunding the regulators. From things I read, the Mafia was actually tracking this castration of regulation and then moved in when they saw their chance. When Clinton abolished Glass-Steagall, it almost made me hyperventilate. Eveyone who knew how it worked realized that the firewall between savings banks and investment banks was obliterated. It meant the banks could now gamble with our money. It horrified some of us and delighted too many people. The foxes had been handed the hen house. Here’s how weird it is… Adam Smith is often quoted on the Invisible Hand of God. I believe he used the phrase only once in his very long book, the Wealth of Nations. He became the patron saint of deregulation, even though he wrote in 1776 that India was an example of the suffering caused by the corportate rule of an economy (think East India Trading Company). He also said America was an example of a better economy because it was regulated by British Parliament. The first American flag was patterned after the flag of the East India Trading Company, so what can we learn from that? It seems clear that the East India Trading Company was dumping it’s own tea for two reasons: 1) to raise the price of tea even more than the British taxes had done, and, 2) get the British Parliament off their backs and take those tax free inflated tea profits for themselves.

Thursday at 7:27pm · Edited · Like · 1

 

Mark Danisovszky Thanks for the clarity from both of you…I actually worked at a bank during the prelude and inception of the Savings and Loan crisis and I saw exactly how a rigged system worked. My partner in the collections department killed himself in the bank’s van out of despair over what he was seeing. He was a defensive linebacker for the University Of Michigan so the bank’s old boy network treated him as one of their gang. His conscience split him in two. The Vice president of finance in the bank was a colonel in the Army Reserves. The manager of the Collections department was a captain in the Reserves. I was stunned and shocked when I sat in a meeting with them and I swear this: They both wore Nazi SS rings. I had just left Chicago where I was involved in on-the-street confrontational protests where I joined a group called “Chutzpah” which was comprised primarily of concentration camp survivors who were fighting to stop the “Illinois Nazis.” It was a lot to think about….

Thursday at 11:29pm · Like

 

Douglas W Jacobs Mark… you never cease to surprise me… what a sad story.

Friday at 12:07am · Like

 

Kit Goldman Doug, you are a wealth of knowledge and thank you for your reflections. Mark, yes — a lot to think about. What a tragic story from the bank. I can see why their piracy has a very personal relevancy for you. Wishing you both peace and success.

Friday at 6:44am · Like

 

Douglas W Jacobs A hug and kiss to you both…
xo

Friday at 2:36pm · Like

 

Joe Hogan Yes, the California prison system is a mess, and it’s getting worse. Bankers should be audited every year. The outsourcing of prisoners to private corporations who ship them to other states where labor is cheaper is an outrage. The prisoners lose most family support, there is little rehabilitation, and the revolving door kicks in to make sure the corporations don’t lose business. Whatever problems the bullet train has, is mostly the result of the constraints Washington imposed. We need mass transit, pollution will kill us all. Schwarzenegger was always a bad joke, his only saving grace was his support for clean air. Of course, his first act was to waive the car tax. I’ve worked at maybe a hundred different places, and there’s always waste. I’m sure there’s a fair amount of waste at Ron Paul’s business, but that’s life. Hopefully we will get better. Things get better when people get smarter and kinder. I don’t trust Capitalism to be kind (stock market ripoffs) I don’t trust Ron Paul to be kind (he’d give you a handout if you were at his door, but out of sight, out of mind) What would Ron Paul have done after Sandy blew away New York and New Jersey? Probably not a great deal, and I probably wouldn’t contribute any fortune myself. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s why FEMA is a good idea. Sure they waste the big bucks, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Great evil is done by big business every day. They have to be watched carefully. With the scale of their business dealing, they can do great harm in a short time. It takes a strong government to ride herd on those bastards. Proposition 13 does great harm with the incredibly low taxes big, old business pay. PG&E pays a pittance on hundreds of billions of dollars of property that they have been the owners of for close to a hundred years (when it had a very low tax valuation) But our citizens are not the brightest bulbs on the block (I speak for myself as well) and to some extent, I guess we get what we deserve.

19 hours ago · Like

 

Kit Goldman It’s the government that gives out those corrupt goodies. No one else has the power to do so. So when you talk about the great evil being done, what is the source? Those YOU pay to do your business. It doesn’t look like FEMA is kicking too much ass back east. I believe you or I could do a better job with that budget. You are right on re: prison system. Again, your highly paid, lifetime pension getting public servants handing that over, imagine big donations from those contractors and the correctional employee union to name a few.

7 hours ago · Like

 

Joe Hogan I totally agree with you about the unholy kickbacks between political operatives and government officials, Kit, but that dirty money comes from corporations. The corporations are the root of this evil. Somebody has to control them, and since the general populace obviously isn’t up for it, the government is the only other possibility right now. Fema might be not be the greatest, but they’re also the best we have right now.

7 hours ago · Like

 

Kit Goldman If that’s the case, if we are willing to abdicate our responsibility to oversee and ensure the lawful, proper, advantageous use of our hard earned treasure (it is our money wasted and used for corrupt purposes), then what you say is true, we get what we deserve. The founders predicted and warned about this state of affairs. Vigilance by citizens was a key factor in maintaining our constitutional liberties and restricting the role of government to what it was designed to do. The enormous power now in the hands of the politicians and bureaucrats is, in my view, a death knell for our free society if not reversed and repaired. All empires have always ended and I suppose ours will too. But with what we know, why wouldn’t we try to stop it? You can blame business all you want but our employees are the linchpin for the corruption. FEMA’s the best we have right now? You can say that about anything, no matter how bad.

5 hours ago · Edited · Like

 

Joe Hogan Kit, I don’t think Ron Paul is going to do any better than FEMA. Yes, he’d spend a lot less money, but with a lot less results. Yes, I agree that as citizens we don’t do enough good government oversight, but on the other hand, I know a lot of people I wouldn’t want to trust to pick up my trash or be dogcatchers, much less participate in government. The problem with doing away with federal oversight is that many areas of the country are dominated by racist, prejudiced, violent people who make little attempt to climb the tree of knowledge, love warfare, hate welfare and various ethnic groups. Probably, we could both agree that the government needs to be policed better, the stock market needs to be policed better, and the banking industry needs to be policed better. And of course, the police need to be policed better. Who will do the police work? We all should, but we also need an organized force.

3 hours ago · Like

 

Melissa Haviv Inserting myself into the conversation to ensure FB sends me a notice when another post is added to the thread. Thank you all for this provocative exchange. Yes, indeed, a lot to think

 

Kit Goldman Do we really need 7,500 FEMA employees to get funds to a state when disaster strikes? Why not send the funds directly to the state? The problem with big federal programs is how much of the money goes to the bureaucracy and how little ever makes it to those who need it. You and I have different views of human nature. My experiences and observations lead me to believe the vast majority of people are good, cooperative, want to live and let live, help others out, wait their turn in line, stay in their lane, Yes, we need an organized force to take action as a community. I just don’t believe that organized force should be rich and most often corrupt bureaucrats 3000 miles away. It is the nature of the bureaucratic beast that it continues to gorge itself and grow so there may be no turning back until there is no more of other people’s money to spend. Then there will be change. On another note, it will be interesting to see what happens when the feds come in, as they have promised to do, to halt the now legal sale and use of marijuana in WA and CO. I think we’re finally at the tipping point on that one –and wouldn’t you know, I had to give it up last year because it’s so much stronger now and my lungs can’t take it!! Damn, born to soon!! (-:

 

Three Arguments for a Stable Rule of Law

In his essay Invasive Government and the Destruction of Certainty, written in 1988, Ridgway K. Foley Jr. writes the following:

“In the first place, mankind encounters less difficulty in dealing with the vicissitudes of the natural order than it does with the amorphous mass created by unpredictable human beings. Man must plan and attempt to predict; since he lives in a regular, not random, world, and since he possesses the equipment and acuity to grasp relationships, he enjoys the ability to adapt and adjust to the natural order, albeit imperfectly. By virtue of the complex matrix created when fallible men attempt to order human life and action, the world becomes more random and human endeavor becomes less predictable.

In the second place, economic success depends upon accurate prediction. Since all value is subjective, the successful producer creates and distributes the goods, services, and ideas most desired in the marketplace. Satisfaction of consumer demand requires the supplier to assess those desires, an assessment which requires certainty and regularity in order to avoid mere fortuity. Thus, to the extent that the law renders the legal or permissible results of human activity uncertain, economic efficiency declines into misapplication of scarce resources to satisfy nonexistent or less pressing human wants.

In the third place, unnecessary interference with human activity and needless uncertainty creates significant human unhappiness and anxiety. Creative, innovative, and adventurous actions spice life and lift the individual from the doldrums, at the same time occasioning the material and mental wealth of the world. Useless dampers on such creative action not only impede personal and societal growth but also cause that mold of frustration which breeds in unnatural cultures. Litigiousness, instability, incivility, shoddiness, sharp practice, dishonesty, and their unpleasant companions become natural sojourners in the mandate state.”

Read the entire brilliant essay here, http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/invasive-government-and-the-destruction-of-certainty/.

Equality or Equality Under the Law?

In his essay Invasive Government and the Destruction of Certainty, written in 1988, Ridgway K. Foley Jr. writes the following:

“A commonplace tautology equates justice with fairness, without any feint at content or elucidation. Nonetheless, “fairness” in the common law tradition gives birth to the beguiling beauty of equality_ Equality, in the guise of Cain, cultivates a leveling egalitarianism, quite apart from sound tradition or good sense. Equality, in the garb of Abel. calls for like treatment in similar situations: it is “fair” or “just” if commoner and king each must keep their uncoerced promises, avoid trespassing upon the next-door neighbor’s land, and restore gains secured by deception and malevolence. The grand phrase, “equality under the law,” properly conveys no more than this notion.

Certainty represents an essential component of this sort of fair or just behavior. Occupants of all stations in life start legally equal if each individual understands that similar responses will follow like acts or omissions. The common law participated in a sentiment that every man should know the law and govern his actions accordingly. This presumption—less a fiction in the fifteenth century than in the twentieth—obviated any defense of the unintended consequence; one could not avoid an unpleasant outcome by the subjective assertion that he did not understand his act to be unlawful, or that he did not contemplate a specific binding result. Derided by some modernists as unduly formalistic, the certainty of the common law allowed men to organize their activities and to accommodate their behavior to regular, common, known rules of order, similar in concept to the natural rules of order of the physical and praxeological universe.”

Read the entire essay here, http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/invasive-government-and-the-destruction-of-certainty/.

Does the U.S. Have a Self-Governing People?

Thomas Sowell answers:

“You do not have a self-governing people when huge laws are passed too fast for the public to even know what is in them.

You do not have a self-governing people when “czars” are created by Executive Orders, so that individuals wielding vast powers equal to, or greater than, the powers of Cabinet members do not have to be vetted and confirmed by the people’s elected representatives in the Senate, as Cabinet members must be.

You do not have a self-governing people when decisions to take military action are referred to the United Nations and the Arab League, but not to the Congress of the United States, elected by the American people, whose blood and treasure are squandered.

You do not have a self-governing people when a so-called “consumer protection” agency is created to be financed by the unelected officials of the Federal Reserve System, which can create its own money out of thin air, instead of being financed by appropriations voted by elected members of Congress who have to justify their priorities and trade-offs to the taxpaying public.

You do not have a self-governing people when laws passed by the Congress, signed by previous Presidents, and approved by the federal courts, can have the current President waive whatever sections he does not like, and refuse to enforce those sections, despite his oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.”

Read the entire article here, http://lewrockwell.com/sowell/sowell116.html.