Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do we need jobs, or do we need real economic growth?

In my criticisms of Keynesians in general and Paul Krugman in particular, I have said that the Keynesians tend to ignore simple Opportunity Cost. For example, in his best-seller, The Return of Depression Economics, Krugman declared that printing money in the face of a so-called "liquidity trap" provided what he called a "free lunch."

Well, it turns out that Alan Blinder has rejected the notion of a "free lunch," or at least he claims to reject it. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Blinder, while calling for a new "jobs" program, admits that his suggestion is "mitigation," not a "cure," as "there is no such thing as a free lunch." Of course, he then goes and lays out the plans for what essentially is a "free lunch" when it comes to dealing with the economy, as we shall see shortly.

Krugman, on the other hand, takes a more "bold" approach. Unlike Blinder, who advocates a "jobs tax credit" to employers, Krugman wants massive new borrowing and spending by the government in order to create a vast federal employment apparatus. He asks, in a rejoinder to those who say the "stimulus" did not work:
Everybody knows that President Obama tried to stimulate the economy with a huge increase in government spending, and that it didn’t work. But what everyone knows is wrong.

Think about it: Where are the big public works projects? Where are the armies of government workers? There are actually half a million fewer government employees now than there were when Mr. Obama took office.
Krugman further claims that most of the "stimulus" actually "consisted of tax cuts, not spending," and the government's attempt for mortgage relief has failed because the government has not tried it, spending only $2 billion of the $46 Congress set aside for the program. Even if that is true, Krugman has not explained how mortgage relief would jump-start the economy.

If there is a difference between Blinder and Krugman (even though they both teach at Princeton University), however, I would say that Blinder believes that any "jobs program" would provide temporary relief while Krugman seems to be a True Believer that new government jobs would promote new spending which would give the economy what he calls "traction" to move on by itself. What neither person seems to understand, however, is that unemployment is a symptom of the current economic problems, not a cause.

Now, to a certain extent, Krugman kind of understands this, but only on a most superficial and, frankly, circular basis. In Krugman's analysis, spending creates jobs, but then people with jobs also spend, so if the economy suffers from a lack of spending which causes people to lose their jobs, then the government should start spending so that people can get their jobs back so they can spend.

Neither person seems to have a clue as to what an economy really is, and neither seems to understand even the most fundamental basis of production. To them, an economy is something that just happens; spend the money and an economy magically appears. And if an "economist" cannot even understand an economy or only can explain its workings in the most superficial and mechanistic fashion (Y = C + I + G), then he or she pretty much is incapable of understanding that a "job" is not an independent and random creation of the state, but rather the employment of factors of production that is purposeful in nature.

To Keynesians such as Krugman and Blinder, factors of production really are homogeneous; as long as money is spent, it will flow evenly to all of those factors that currently are unemployed and lift them back into employment at the same time. Yet, one cannot understand the dynamics of a recovery unless one understands the simple fact that factors of production are heterogeneous.

This goes back to the Keynesian view of the boom, which Keynesians see as a good thing. When the bust occurs, argue Keynesians, government must spend to "fill the hole" (in Krugman's words) in order to keep boom conditions flowing. However, the booms do not go off the rails because of a lack of spending per se, but rather because the boom is based in large part upon spending and investment that is directed toward lines of production that cannot be sustained because consumer spending is trying to move in a different direction.

The contraction, or recession, actually is a corrective action in which the malinvested resources no longer are receiving the same amounts of investment money, with entrepreneurs looking for those lines of production that are sustainable, given consumer preferences and choices. The bitter irony is that the government's "stimulus" actions, along with its regulatory initiatives, are trying to keep resources in those unsustainable lines of production and actually are blocking a recovery.

Furthermore, President Obama has painted himself into a corner. By continuing the Bush initiatives to deal with the original crisis and prevent the necessary liquidation of some lines of production, Obama also has guaranteed that an ensuing correction will be much worse than it would have been had the economy been able to take a corrective course four years ago, and I think that he and his advisers know it.

Unfortunately, Obama continues to insist that he can do the impossible: direct investment into lines of production that are unsustainable in a free market (such as "green energy") and blame Bush and the Republicans for everything. (And Bush and the Republicans bear a lot of responsibility, but Obama is in his third year of office and he only has made things worse.)

The sad fact is that the American economy has not yet seen the very necessary economic correction that needs to happen before we can have a real recovery. The political classes have done all they can to block the correction, which means that we are going to have the worst of both worlds: economic stagnation. There is a way out, but neither the "elite" economists nor the people in political power are willing to take that route, and everyone else will pay for their foolish choices.

119 comments:

Lord Keynes said...

"... because the boom is based in large part upon spending and investment that is directed toward lines of production that cannot be sustained because consumer spending is trying to move in a different direction."

All your analysis is based on the pure myth of ABCT - a theory that, as even Rothbard would have had to admit, if he were alive today, is irrelevant to what happened in 2000s:

To the extent that the new money is loaned to consumers rather than businesses, the cycle effects discussed in this section do not occur.

Rothbard, M. N. 2004 [1962]. Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Ala. p. 995–996.

"unemployment is a symptom of the current economic problems, not a cause."

Yeah: these problems were a financial crisis, a heavily over-indebted private sector and an economy barely staving off the type of debt deflation that led to the Great Depression.

Hayek and Garrison, to their credit, recognise the dangers secondary deflation:
Hayek:

“There is no doubt, and in this I agree with Milton Friedman, that once the Crash had occurred, the Federal Reserve System pursued a silly deflationary policy. I am not only against inflation but I am also against deflation! So, once again, a badly programmed monetary policy prolonged the depression” Pizano, D. 2009. Conversations with Great Economists, Jorge Pinto Books Inc., New York. p. 13.

Garrison:
"Deflation caused by a severe monetary contraction is another matter. Strong downward pressures on prices in general put undue burdens on market mechanisms. Unless, implausibly, all prices and wages adjust instantaneously to the lower money supply, output levels will fall. Monetary contraction could be the root cause of a downturn - as, for instance, it seems to have been in the 1936–7 episode in the USA. "
R. W. Garrison, “The Austrian School,” in B. Snowdon and H. R. Vane (eds), Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. 2005. p. 515.

Apparently those dangers can be magically wished away in your analysis.

"The sad fact is that the American economy has not yet seen the very necessary economic correction that needs to happen before we can have a real recovery.

= the way of deflationary depression. That worked wonders in Weimar Germany.

American Patriot said...

The fact that some around here love to quote economists all the time is a surefire sign that they are merely parrots and do not have a comprehension of how an economy works.

That aside, several points.
First, much of the stimulus went to paying off Obama's cronies like ACORN, labor unions (as much of the money to states went to saving union jobs - AFSCME, AFT, NEA, etc...), etc. The tax cuts that Krugman is talking about are temporary credits and don't do jack on the production side.

Also, again, for the millionth time (I even posted a Harvard study on this), government spending just displaces private capital and is a net loser of jobs. The only jobs that are productive are private sector jobs based on fundamental conditions of the economy - not temporary tax breaks!

As a consumer, if I get a 2% temporary witholding tax break, and I fear losing my job, do you think I will necessarily spend it? Or pay my debts? Or simply put it aside as rainy day fund?

Thus is the folly of consumption oriented tax breaks. They do not work. Neither do business tax credits to hire workers, etc.

Business requires clarity to invest. If I will invest 10 million on a project and it will take me 10 years to recoup my investment along with a reasonable return, that calculation depends heavily on what will happen tax and regulation wise within those ten years.

Under the environment this administration has fostered, there is no clarity and thus little investment activity.

Tax cuts must always be permanent for clarity sake. Temporary cuts do nothing to alter the economy fundamentally.

Bala said...

LK,

"All your analysis is based on the pure myth of ABCT"

I have personally torn you to pieces on this. That you just continue to parrot it only shows what a jerk you are.

"as even Rothbard would have had to admit, if he were alive today, is irrelevant to what happened in 2000s"

I have torn you to shreds on this as well. Houses were treated as capital goods and not as consumers goods. The fact that they are durable goods that have a capital value at any point in their lifetime only confirms my point.

"Yeah: these problems were a financial crisis, a heavily over-indebted private sector and an economy barely staving off the type of debt deflation that led to the Great Depression."

Crap.

"Apparently those dangers can be magically wished away in your analysis."

OK. So let's inflate away to glory and cause the next boom-bust cycle. What a jerk!

"= the way of deflationary depression. That worked wonders in Weimar Germany."

So the monetary inflation that reduced the Mark to nothing had no role to play, did it?

Bob Roddis said...

LK can only make his baseless statements because, like all Austrian "critics", he refuses to comprehend the concept economic calculation. Funny money dilution is going to disrupt longer term and more complex projects more than shorter term and less complex projects. Since he won't deal with the fundamental concepts, he just looks for disagreements on derivative subjects, none of which support the truly mindless totalitarian statism he supports.

And, of course, we have the "what to do about the bust" issues when the answer is to not let the Keynesians cause them in the first place.

Lord Keynes said...

"LK can only make his baseless statements because, like all Austrian "critics", he refuses to comprehend the concept economic calculation"

We've already dealt with that alleged rubbish: businesses and economic agents in general have subjective expectations about the future and the investment decision. You cannot give objective probability scores for a distribution of future events affecting investment.

There is NO reason whatsoever why decentralised decision-making by millions of agents under uncertainty and shifting and potentially diverging subjective expectations or utilities overcome the knowledge problem.

Austrian economics is right up s**t creek too.

Bob Roddis is miserably and contemtibly ignorant of the Austrian school of Lachman that ADMITS this.

And, no: you shouldn't accept Lachmann's argument because he is an Austrian or an "authority", you should explain how you refute it.

There is no reliable, consistent tendency to neoclassical general equilibrium or even Austrian plan/pattern coordination.

Bala said...

"You cannot give objective probability scores for a distribution of future events affecting investment."

OK. Which Austrian did that?

"There is NO reason whatsoever why decentralised decision-making by millions of agents under uncertainty and shifting and potentially diverging subjective expectations or utilities overcome the knowledge problem."

Crap. This position has been torn to shreds. The answer is arbitrage plus the profit-loss mechanism.

"There is no reliable, consistent tendency to neoclassical general equilibrium or even Austrian plan/pattern coordination."

And, pray, what is the theory that you base this wondrous claim on?

"And, no: you shouldn't accept Lachmann's argument because he is an Austrian or an "authority", you should explain how you refute it."

As I said just above, the onus is actually on you to provide YOUR arguments before you ask for a refutation.

Sam said...

There is NO reason whatsoever why decentralised decision-making by millions of agents under uncertainty and shifting and potentially diverging subjective expectations or utilities overcome the knowledge problem.

If true, you are implying that the government has some sort of super humans that can read all thoughts and desires at once, make the appropriate calculations, and implement policy all in matters of seconds to keep up with the ever changing desires.

Lord Keynes said...

The answer is arbitrage plus the profit-loss mechanism.

Those are wholly insufficient. I repeat: arbitrage and the profit-loss mechanism CANNOT overcome the fundamental uncertainty of the future and the potentially diverging and shifting expectations of millions of agents
making decentralised decisions.

Sam@July 12, 2011 11:27 AM

"If true, you are implying that the government has some sort of super humans that can read all thoughts and desires at once, make the appropriate calculations, and implement policy all in matters of seconds to keep up with the ever changing desires. "

False. Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. Humans in both public and private scetors can make mistakes. Neither can or ever will have perfect knowledge. The case for the alleged superiority of wholly private decentralised economic decision-making is a crock of s**t.

Bala said...

" I repeat: arbitrage and the profit-loss mechanism CANNOT overcome the fundamental uncertainty of the future and the potentially diverging and shifting expectations of millions of agents
making decentralised decisions."

I repeat: Justify this claim with the theory behind it.

Sam said...

False. Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. Humans in both public and private scetors can make mistakes. Neither can or ever will have perfect knowledge. The case for the alleged superiority of wholly private decentralised economic decision-making is a crock of s**t.

If equivalent, then why have any government intervention? The argument that government can pull us out of a recession would be just as valid as the do nothing approach.

Eric said...

I'm curious how this concept of malinvestment deals with sectors that are unprofitable at first but then become profitable later. For example, the development of the internet occurred on government funding (hiring programmers to design the communication protocols ect.). However, once government funding laid the groundwork, private industry ran with it and generated tremendous wealth. In the current crisis, I'm pretty sure most liberals dream is to fund green energy initiatives and infrastructure improvements (wind farms, improved public transportation, ect. It seems to me these kind of investments have low initial profitability (like when oil is "only" $80 a barrel), but once they're set up they create big benefits (like when oil is $150 a barrel). Things like wind power are the kind of thing where private industry won't start investing until the profit margin would be more immediate. If the government uses stimulus spending to push green energy now, wouldn't it help stimulate the economy in the short term (which I don't think you are denying) and create profits in the long term? Things like infrastructure investment also have non-economic benefits (decrease pollution, improving quality of life). Beyond these simple examples, I guess I'm asking if stimulus spending inevitably a "malinvestment" of resources. If the stimulus spending is in a sector where private industry would invest in the future, wouldn't stimulus spending lead to an improved economy in the short and long term?

zackA89 said...

LK, there is a big difference between private and public decision making. To say there is no difference is absolute nonsense. Nothing is perfect, and pointing out nothing is perfect is absolutely no indictment against the free market. Nor does government intervention mitigate this "subjective expectations" or "imperfect information" problem. If anything, government makes it worse.

Market forces like profit and loss that individual market agents are subjected to allow market participants to deal with uncertainty and expectations in a much more efficient way as opposed to government who has no such incentives.

Market forces are what separates the two sectors, and allows for individual market actors to make much better use of the available imperfect information that non market actors like government. The profit and loss mechanism incentivizes firms to satisfy consumer demand at a low cost. In the free market business people have to obtain their revenue voluntarily, and they cannot use force to make anyone purchase their good or service.

When a profit is made, more resources are shifted into that line of production to satisfy that demand and the price of the good or service tends to fall (absent some type of government intervention). Also in the private sector when firms fail and operate at a loss (absent government bailouts which is intervention), firms go bankrupt and the resources tied up in the failed operation are shifted toward more profitable lines of production.

What I have described here is how the profit loss mechanism and other market forces promote efficiency in the market place and although they’re not perfect (nothing is, and government can’t make things more perfect through intervention), they allow entrepreneurs to guide resources to their most profitable ends.

Market agents also use the price system which consumers convey their preferences through. Resources are allocated throughout the economy according to these price signals. The price system works best when it is not tampered with by central banks or government. This is the essential nature of economic calculation.

Everything I have just described is why the market can plan more effectivey than government. Government is not subject to market forces in general, has no profit loss motive, has no incentive to satisfy consumer demand at a low cost, no incentive to be production or efficient, and has absolutely no ability to make any sense of the information that consumer convey through the price system which makes economic calculation on behalf of government meaningless and outright useless.

Market forces matter. They are the best and most effective tool to make the best use of the imperfect information. How you obtain your revenues matter. Free market is voluntary and is able to use this more effective tool in ways government simply cannot.

The case that government planners can plan as effectively as people in the free market who can actually can go bankrupt and don’t have a monopoly on force is a crock of s**t. As if government planners had the necessary information to do such a thing. They don’t and they can’t.

Lord Keynes said...

Market forces like profit and loss that individual market agents are subjected to allow market participants to deal with uncertainty and expectations in a much more efficient way as opposed to government who has no such incentives.

That is nonsense. There is no reason why individual agents can deal with uncertainty and shifting subjective expectations any better
than government.

In fact, decisions by a large enough number of people that appear rational at the micro level can have negative macro effects.

A perfect analogy is crowd behaviour during stampedes at large events that result in loss of life and injury. Rumour and panic can thrive in large crowds and the macro-effects are disastrous. Rumour and panic can cause crashes in financial markets or investment decisions: negative subjective expectations (with or without rational foundation) can spread to large numbers of businesses causing investment to collapse.

Government is akin to the management of a theater using its power to prevent disastrous macro events like stampedes.

Intervention by theater management (the analogy to government) to prevent panic and disaster in a theater (or government stopping secondary deflation and depression in an economy) is a better outcome than allowing large scale micro-behaviour that has terrible macro-effects.

Sam said...

Intervention by theater management (the analogy to government) to prevent panic and disaster in a theater (or government stopping secondary deflation and depression in an economy) is a better outcome than allowing large scale micro-behaviour that has terrible macro-effects.

Is in contradiction to this statement:

Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. Humans in both public and private scetors can make mistakes. Neither can or ever will have perfect knowledge.

Mike Cheel said...

"False. Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. Humans in both public and private scetors can make mistakes. Neither can or ever will have perfect knowledge. The case for the alleged superiority of wholly private decentralised economic decision-making is a crock of s**t."

The motivations are different between government and private sector. That should be obvious.

American Patriot said...

The totality of LK's comments make it abundantly clear that he is more comfortable with collectivism than free markets.

I just have one question that none of these guys have ever answered: Why won't you admit that you are at a bare minimum euro style socialists and maybe even long for more than that.
Are you ashamed? Do you not have the courage of your convictions?
(and please do not spew crap saying you are for free market capitalism - if you do, you will have lost whatever little credibility you have)

zackA89 said...

There is plenty reason why individual agents in the market place can deal with uncertainty and shifting subjective expectations better than government. I don’t know why you think uncertainty and shifting expectations are somehow a reason to justify intervention in the marketplace. In fact, government intervention exacerbates those two issues.

In the free market, individuals can make the best use of the available information and deal with uncertainty and expectations because they use the price system and profit loss incentives to channel resources to their most profitable ends. Government is flying blind, and cannot make any sense of what it does because it does not have the proper market based incentives or price signals to make sense of the available information much less obtain it to begin with.

Government operates in the dark, and is completely oblivious to consumer preferences. There is no substitute for the price system and market forces. Government obtains its revenues through the use of coercion, which makes productive economic planning almost impossible. The price system is what conveys information to market agents. If you are not subject to it, you shouldn’t be in the business of planning. Voluntary planning is more efficient and in tune with consumer preferences than violent government planning through the use of force.

The information necessary for government to plan an economy cannot be held by any managers or planners within the bureaucracy. It is simply impossible. They can’t make any sense of their information available much less obtain it because they can’t go bankrupt and can use coercion to obtain revenue in order to finance projects they deem worth even if they are operating in the red. In the market if you operate in the red, you go bankrupt. Profit and loss matters by the way.

People don’t cause recessions by panicking all at once or having random “freakouts.”Even if they did, government intervention or planning could not mitigate this problem or even “solve” it because the information necessary to do so cannot and will never be held by planners.

I sound like a broken record here but honestly I don’t know why you don’t understand the difference between voluntary planning and state coerced planning. People can work out their own problems voluntarily in the free market. It can and has happened. Force is not required to solve problems. Initiating force into the market is the source of the problems, not the cure.

I don’t know why you think the government planners are super humans with god like powers that can wave a magic wand and solve, mitigate, or prevent economic disasters or conflicts from occurring. Often times, if not all the time waving the magic wand of the state is the source of the problem.

Nothing is perfect, but government can’t make things more perfect or less imperfect. Almost always, the voluntary market sector can sort out the information and make the best use of it in ways government simply cannot.

Rob said...

LK, do you just sit in your mother's basement constantly refreshing this blog in order to be the first commenter? Dude, get a life! Have you ever kissed a girl?

zackA89 said...

Rothbard blew up this foolish statist notion that government can allocate resources efficiently and or operate like a firm in the marketplace. This should end the discussion.

http://mises.org/daily/1471/The-Myth-of-Efficient-Government-Service

While reading this great piece, This passage really stood out to me

"On the free market, consumers can dictate the pricing and thereby assure the best allocation of productive resources to supply their wants. In a government enterprise, this cannot be done. Let us take again the case of the free service. Since there is no pricing, and therefore no exclusion of submarginal uses, there is no way that government, even if it wanted to, could allocate its services to the most important uses and to the most eager buyers. All buyers, all uses, are artificially kept on the same plane. As a result, the most important uses will be slighted, and the government is faced with insuperable allocation problems, which it cannot solve even to its own satisfaction."

"Thus, the government will be confronted with the problem: Should we build a road in place A or place B? There is no rational way by which it can make this decision. It cannot aid the private consumers of the road in the best way. It can decide only according to the whim of the ruling government official, i.e., only if the government official, not the public, does the "consuming." If the government wishes to do what is best for the public, it is faced with an impossible task."


Our work has already been done.

Lord Keynes said...

"I just have one question that none of these guys have ever answered: Why won't you admit that you are at a bare minimum euro style socialists

(1) European social democracy IS a form of capitalism, idiot. Outside of America, it is basically the standard model of modern capitalism: you find it in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel. Meanwhile in East Asia - in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea - the very successful newly industrialised states used a model of capitalism even more interventionist than in Western Europe, with industrial policy and planning in certain sectors.

(2) And, yes, European social democracy provides a far superior form of economic system than America's wasteful model of the mixed economy with bloated military spending, and miserable social spending.

(3) If you think Western Europe is "socialist": (and socialist in what sense, anyway? Marxist? Communist?), apparently some of these "socialist" countries are richer than the US:

Real per capita GDP
Luxembourg 81,383
Norway 52,013
United States 47,284

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

Lord Keynes said...

I love this statement:

"and please do not spew crap saying you are for free market capitalism - if you do, you will have lost whatever little credibility you have"

Given that you support Reaganomics: a system with massive government spending, regulation, bloated military programs, central bank interventions, public education, etc etc, dont make me laugh.

If you were for genuine "free market capitalism" (Austrian economics), you wouldn't support the statist, big spending Reagan.

You have already come up against what free market captalism means to the Austrians here: to them you are just another "statist", "collectivist" apologist.

Bala said...

"European social democracy IS a form of capitalism, idiot"

No, you retard. There are no such things as 'forms' of Capitalism, except for retards who do not want to define anything clearly lest their ludicrous theories get exposed for the farce they are. I do know that your statement is based on your warped and idiotic definition of Capitalism, but then what else is one to expect from a whatever-Keynesian except a mangling of basic terms and definitions so that discussion becomes impossible.

Your attempt to equate interventionism with capitalism is utterly (like every one of your other statements) laughable. Fool yourself all you like. Just don't expect others to fall for your garbage.

Anonymous said...

Like, seriously, why are you guys so combative? What ever happened to civil discourse? Like, just make your point and leave it at that. You really don't have to sling all those hateful words at LK, 'cause, like, just because he doesn't understand economics, and is, like, an idiot.

American Patriot said...

"There is no reason why individual agents can deal with uncertainty and shifting subjective expectations any better
than government."

Marxist statement of the day by LK

João Marcus said...

(1) European social democracy IS a form of capitalism, idiot.

And it has a strong socialist component. Yeah, I know, God Keynes probably said there can only be socialism or capitalism, and, if God Keynes told you so, it must be true.

"There is no reason why individual agents can deal with uncertainty and shifting subjective expectations any better
than government."


Yeah, because God Keynes says a single entity, composed by a couple of people, will never abuse the immense power of stealing money from everybody else and telling everybody else what they can do. The fact that the US government has been giving tons of free money to bankers and giant companies with connections has nothing to do with the current crisis. No, sir! The solution is to give them even more power!

Sam said...

"(2) And, yes, European social democracy provides a far superior form of economic system than America's wasteful model of the mixed economy with bloated military spending, and miserable social spending."

Your quote implies that the government has a better handle of the knowledge problem over individual actors, which is a violation of your statement quoted below.

"Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making."

Lord Keynes said...

"Your quote implies that the government has a better handle of the knowledge problem over individual actors, which is a violation of your statement quoted below"

It does no such thing. Private agents can make mistakes or get things right; government can make mistakes and get things right too.

Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. No contradiction.

Bob Roddis said...

Private agents can make mistakes or get things right; government can make mistakes and get things right too.

Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. No contradiction.


That's the nub of the disagreement. Without the pricing process, government intervention is blind and stupid. It's the USSR.

João Marcus said...

Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. No contradiction.

Right. A government intervention is no better or worse. I can do nothing about it (wait, I can, I can vote! That's so nice!). Whatever the government decides is something I should do because, well, they made the decision, so I have to shut up and get over it.

That's so much better than private decision making! I feel so much better because I know the government is making the decisions, and I know powerful and connected people will not benefit! They will think of me, obvsiouly!

Sam said...

"Government intervention is, in principle, no worse or better than private decision making. No contradiction."

Being able to choose when the government does or does not error, as all of your examples in your favor imply, says that the government is somewhat better at economic calculation than individual actors.

Anonymous said...

"That's the nub of the disagreement. Without the pricing process, government intervention is blind and stupid. It's the USSR"

OMG Bob, it looks like you are beginning to understand basic principles of economics! I mean,I'm catching some glimmers here because if the disagreement is about the pricing process then you might accept that -

1) Pricing processes are not always (or perhaps even usually) efficient in the real world
2) Markets cannot always automatically correct those inefficiencies
3) Markets sometimes correct those inefficiencies but at a much higher cost than with government intervention
4) While the government has imperfect knowledge with regard to economic calculation, it is not running blind. In fact, it can act as the only rational actor in times of crisis.
5) Government intervention is always limited, even during a crisis. No one is owning all the means of production and setting production quotas.
6) Democracy (and nationalism, states, and politics in general) matters and is unavoidable - albeit it is imperfect. People have a say in the way they want their society to look. Not everything is left to the whims of the marketplace.

So no Bob - you as most Austrians who are still stuck in 1945 frame the debate as between the utopian la-la land of libertarianism versus the Totalitarian-Bureaucratic State and have this debate all in your head rather than engaging with real human experience.

American Thinker said...

"Given that you support Reaganomics: a system with massive government spending, regulation, bloated military programs, central bank interventions, public education..."

Go learn the 4 pillars of Reaganomics before you make an ass of yourself!

You. or any other pie-in-the-sky libertarian for that matter who think that Reagan single handedly could have come to Washington where progs controlled the congress and turned us in to a free market haven is dreaming and understands nothing about our political system or how it works.
I live in it, so I comprehend it unlike idealistic or ideological people.

All one has to do is weigh his (Reagan's) actions in the light of his circumstances, look at his record overall, and listen to his speeches and they will realize Reagan's greatness.

Bob and co. can dream about the whole country becoming a Rothbardsville or whatever - as good as it may sound (and I have no problems with it - it will never happen unless you exterminate about half the population who unfortunately are for government involvement in their lives (entitlements, etc.)

So the choice is between euro style socialism (where we are going, if not already there) or as close to a free market system as we can get as Reagan aimed. He did the best he could under difficult circumstances (a terrible economy early in his admin., a cold war he was determined to end, and a very hostile congress)

American Patriot said...

One more thing:

if you insist on the whole pie (kinda like Ron Paul), and you get not even 3/4 of the pie as a direct result, are you really better off? (so was our system better in the 1980s, 1990's etc. than it is today is what I am getting to)

If anyone's answer is yes to doggedly holding out for the whole pie, than accept euro socialism because you ain't getting free market capitalism with the realities (demographic, etc.) of today!

Bala said...

"It does no such thing. Private agents can make mistakes or get things right; government can make mistakes and get things right too."

It is not about whether government can "get it right" or not but about what happens when the government gets it wrong. If a private agent gets it wrong, he loses HIS shirt. When a government agent gets it wrong I lose MY shirt while he doesn't. He therefore faces no penalty for failure. Since he does not face failure under any circumstances, the government agent has no way of engaging in economic calculation and therefore judging the 'worth' of any venture.

Read this latest one on mises.org

http://mises.org/daily/5454/Was-the-Space-Shuttle-Worth-Itu

p.s. Even a broken clock gets the time right twice a day.

American Patriot said...

BTW, this is how we have degenerated as a country over the past century. Progressives know that taking a small piece of the pie at a time is no defeat.
Overtime, you end up with the full pie.

Just look at what they have accomplished little by little.
Learn from your enemies.
Maybe some of you need to read Sun Tzu's Art of War - the greatest political as well as war strategy book of all time.

Bala said...

"Pricing processes are not always (or perhaps even usually) efficient in the real world"

An assertion that needs to be justified.

"Markets cannot always automatically correct those inefficiencies "

Another mindless assertion that needs to be justified.

"Markets sometimes correct those inefficiencies but at a much higher cost than with government intervention"

One more assertion that needs to be justified.

"While the government has imperfect knowledge with regard to economic calculation, it is not running blind. In fact, it can act as the only rational actor in times of crisis."

Two more assertions that need to be justified.

"Government intervention is always limited, even during a crisis. No one is owning all the means of production and setting production quotas."

One more assertion and a complete failure to understand the nature and consequences of interventionism.

"Democracy (and nationalism, states, and politics in general) matters and is unavoidable - albeit it is imperfect. People have a say in the way they want their society to look. Not everything is left to the whims of the marketplace."

A statement of political preferences with zero economic significance.

OK. Will you now start saying something meaningful or do you just wish to continue making a mountain of assertions?

What a jerk!

Lord Keynes said...

"If a private agent gets it wrong, he loses HIS shirt. When a government agent gets it wrong I lose MY shirt while he doesn't. He therefore faces no penalty for failure"

Rubbish: they face a voting public.

Daniel Hewitt said...

Reagan: No Revolution

http://www.lewrockwell.com/huebert/huebert32.1.html

zackA89 said...

Voting is not a substitue for the price system or profit and loss motive. Not even close.

Anon your arguments for state intervention are laughable. seriously.

rothbard as your number. you have been eviscerated. JG, LK and anon need to educate themselves

i will provide the link one more time:

http://mises.org/daily/1471/The-Myth-of-Efficient-Government-Service

American Patriot said...

"Reagan: No Revolution"

You and likes of Huebert: No brain!

What else would you expect from a moron who thinks that Reagan's nuclear escalation was offensive to his sensibilities regardless of the goals and the outcome of the policy!
I am sure he is the type who would ask criminals to 'pretty please stop committing crimes' too as a solution.


Reagan was no superman, but to a hopeless dreamer, he might as well have been Lenin because there is no middle ground for some (as such they will live their lives dreaming about things that will never happen instead of taking a system that is at least close to their ideal)

Daniel Hewitt said...

AP, here is another one just for you.

On Patriotism

http://lewrockwell.com/reed/reed206.html

João Marcus said...

Rubbish: they face a voting public.

That's nice. If I make a mistake, I have to face the consequences. If a politician makes a mistake, he faces a voting public. Oh, poor politician! Poor regulator! Poor president! He will no longer be elected, he'll have to spend the rest of his life living on public money!

A voting public falls into con schemes that waste money now so they can get away with it and let people deal with the consequences in the future. Politicians hate to deal with the actual problems. They postpone them.

American Patriot said...

If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny to see you anarcho libertarians' deeply conflicted philosophy.

Why conflicted? Because you want a perfect society where everyone is free to do as they wish as long as they do not harm anyone. Yet, you think that it is brute state force to crack down on the criminal element, whether common criminals or on an international level - countries like the former USSR or current Iran.

What is patriotism to you? Is it not, in its different forms:
1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion, and
2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.

How do you intend to defend your liberties from enemies within or outside? By begging to be left alone?
As such, you are sheep waiting to be led to the slaughterhouse by the next criminal or foreign despot since you do not believe in defending yourself (and taking pro active stance is a key part of self defense and survival)

As a nation founded on principles of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, you do not think you need to defend those principles?

You expect for a civil society to exist without well defined morals, principles, and ethics. Do you even realize without civil society, there are no liberties?

Instead of reading morons on Lew Rockwell, you would serve yourself well by reading Edmund Burke.

Sam said...

Most government positions are not voted on by the public (for example, FTC, DOJ, FDA). And from these positions, bureaucrats are able to write their own laws without the consequence of losing their job.

Mike Cheel said...

"Rubbish: they face a voting public."

If voting changed anything it would be illegal.

You only have to read the news to realize that Keynesian policies do not work.

The headline is "Bernanke: U.S. default would cause 'major crisis"

http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/13/news/economy/bernanke_economy/

Assume QE3 is en route...

More fuel to the fire in other words.

Mike Cheel said...

"Instead of reading morons on Lew Rockwell, you would serve yourself well by reading Edmund Burke."

How do you know about the writers on Lew Rockwell if you don't read it?

From your comments you clearly don't.

Bob Roddis said...

Markets sometimes correct those inefficiencies but at a much higher cost than with government intervention.****

Rubbish: they face a voting public.


Well, well, well.

Even more proof that the Keynesians have no familiarity with basic Austrian concepts. While a good profit and loss anecdote is helpful for educational purposes, it really doesn’t go to the core of the Austrian system. Nevertheless, it should be clear to all but a cement-head that when a $150 million film does $5 million worth of business its first weekend that the film is a failure. It is pulled from circulation, the investors take their immediate bath and the corporate officers are canned. Michael Cimino never gets another job.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven's_Gate_(film)

In politics, the voters have been “choosing” the wrong policies for decades, even according to the MMTers (recall the long-lost golden age of capitalism?). Because the government is not revenue constrained like normal people (where have we heard that before?) AND is not subject to the micro (microscopic) pricing process, errors go on building up for decades. Government has no normal information feedback loop like there is for a family or business budget subject to the pricing process. Average people do not even understand that inflation is not some amorphous force of nature but is purposeful and avoidable government policy. I’ve asked this question 5,000 times. If people are too stupid to make intelligent choices in the market (as claimed by the Keynesians), how are they smart enough to elect the proper Keynesian economic overseer?

All that our local Keynesian trolls are good for is helping us re-familiarize ourselves with Austrian concepts. A free version of the 10,000 test questions before taking the SAT.

Also, didn't we determine a week ago that AP suffered from the same delusions as the "progressives"?

Daniel Hewitt said...

AP,

You're trotting out the same arguments that LK uses for collectivism and against freedom. Arguments that you dismissed as stupid when LK used them in an economic context. I don't think that I am the "deeply conflicted" one here.

Bob Roddis said...

AP thinks that the market (voluntary human interaction) does not and cannot provide “civil society” just like LK thinks that the market (voluntary human interaction) does not and cannot provide “full employment”. Both think we need some overseers with SWAT teams to provide us with such "services" and that doing so is somehow not problematic while their specific goals are probably completely at odds with each other’s. Decisions decisions.

Lord Keynes said...

"Most government positions are not voted on by the public (for example, FTC, DOJ, FDA). "

The voting public has the option to abolish government agencies (say, the Fed), if a majority of them wish to, by electing Ron Paul.

Instead, he couldn't even win a Republican nomination.

Government agencies are frequently called upon to explain their actions to House committes. Not only does democratic/congessional oversight exist, but no government can ignore public opinion if it is strong enough.

Just as when Bush tried to privatise social security, he got burned by public opposition.

AP, You're trotting out the same arguments that LK uses for collectivism and against freedom.

LOL.. AP, I told you were just another evil statist to these people.

Lord Keynes said...

Both think we need some overseers with SWAT teams to provide us with such "services" and that doing so is somehow not problematic while their specific goals are probably completely at odds with each other’s. Decisions decisions.

Bob Roddis thinks we need some Austrian anarcho-capitalists overseers to tell us how to run society, where they would substitute private protection agency SWAT teams to provide us with "services" for government ones, and that their "private protection" system wouldn't just collapse into a monopoly, and de facto government.

If you want to look at how "private" protection agencies operate, have a look the mafia: buy "protection" from us or we'll break your legs.

Daniel Hewitt said...

LK,

...collapse into a monopoly, and de facto government...

A good rebuttal to the "Tyler Cowen argument" (private protection agencies will become a de facto government) can be found here (number 10).

http://www.lewrockwell.com/long/long11.html

The LRC link will be sure to offend your fellow evil statist AP :)

Bob Roddis said...

Actually, whether we need to some day move from a minimal state to "no state" in the future is pretty irrelevant to the issue of the Keynesians presently destroying the economy and our civilization.

And I have to admit that LK has really taken us down. We all know that the mafia is expressly based upon a meticulous adherence to the non-aggression principle and that governments never harm anyone.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/belsencorpse.html

I guess he told us.

João Marcus said...

The voting public has the option to abolish government agencies (say, the Fed), if a majority of them wish to, by electing Ron Paul.

Ah, the good old Polyanna theory of politics. You give a huge money machine to a couple of people and then expect the very same people to really solve complex problems instead of just postponing them by appealing to emotional affairs and vote-buying programs.

Mike Cheel said...

Here is some more government goodness! See? They do know how to manage our money than we do!

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/07/13/137795995/how-frequent-fliers-exploit-a-government-program-to-get-free-trips

To quote:

"It's not illegal," he said, "But it's an abuse of the system. That's not what the system was set up to do. The system was set up to promote the use of dollar coins and we are simply trying to do the right thing here."

The right thing indeed. Nyek!

Sam said...

The mafia example sounds like our current system. We pay tribute to our overseers in D.C. to avoid going to jail.

Anon said...

(2) And, yes, European social democracy provides a far superior form of economic system than America's wasteful model of the mixed economy with bloated military spending, and miserable social spending.

(3) If you think Western Europe is "socialist": (and socialist in what sense, anyway? Marxist? Communist?), apparently some of these "socialist" countries are richer than the US:

Real per capita GDP
Luxembourg 81,383
Norway 52,013
United States 47,284


Under this most excellent and wise logic we all should strive to live under a Benevolent Monarchy such as Qatar that has a “Real Per Capita GDP” of $103000. Just in case one country is not proof enough that a Monarchy is better I give you UAE and Brunei who both have a "Real Per Capita GDP" of about $49000.

See how awsome Monarchies are, yay monarchies.

Thank you,

Anon Out

Anonymous said...

European socialist countries can't even take on a tinpot dictator without American bombs.

I suppose we could spend more on welfare and take August off, if we lived under someone else's protection.

American Patriot said...

"LOL.. AP, I told you were just another evil statist to these people"

Bob and other anarcho -ibertarians cannot help themselves. To the the founding of this country on Burkean conservative principles is probably as much of a travesty as it is to hardcore progressives.

To heck with morals, etc. You know, they need to be able to walk around in a drug induced haze (kinda like they were 30-40 years ago in their hippie communes).

They are no less moral relativists than progressives in their weird little way.

ekeyra said...

Patriot,

For all your cacophony over economic freedom, why is it suddenly your business or the government's or anyone else's what substances people choose to put into their bodies? More to the point of what good is economic freedom without the social freedom to spend it how you see fit?

Anonymous said...

PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

http://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/the-gospel-according-to-saint-ambrose/

American Patriot said...

ekeyra:

you misunderstand where I am coming from. I believe individuals can do as they wish as long as they are not hurting someone else. Like sodomy - who cares who does what behind closed doors (in public it is a different story - I am sure even you would not advocate public sex on the streets as a "right")

Same with drugs. I really don't care if you smoke pot at home - that is not the point.
But legalizing especially hard drugs means legalization of the commerce in the open.
Any substance that damages the fiber of the society, damages civil society inevitably. Destruction of civil society eventually leads to loss of individual liberties.

Mike Cheel said...

@Patriot The motivations behind why drugs (using your example) did not come about via reason (as most laws are not). Neither did public decency laws. Someone had an agenda. What you are saying is that people cannot be held accountable for their actions when indeed they can. Why can you avert your eyes in some circumstances but not in others?

burkll13 said...

so, you have to give up liberty to preserve it? and that doesnt sound the tiniest bit statist to you?

Bob Roddis said...

Private neighborhoods would be most utilitarian in dealing with "public" decency. They could simply ban indecent people and have voluntary rules of behavior for the inhabitants.

Thanks to government, we have public schools, giant universities and the military where people get to meet others they otherwise would not meet who teach them how to roll joints, kill and chase hookers. Yawn.

Anonymous said...

They could simply ban indecent people and have voluntary rules of behavior for the inhabitants.


????? How does "Ban" and "Voluntary" jive.

Interesting to see so many anarcho-bots dealing with morality all of a sudden. Its as if their moral universe based entirely on the pricing process starts to hit the reality of human behavior.

A statement like this from AP -
"Any substance that damages the fiber of the society, damages civil society inevitably" really does open up a can of worms for the libertarian argument. On what basis do you judge whether something is damaging the fabric of society? If drugs do that, why can't a society decide that gross inequality does as well?

American Patriot said...

Mike, the agenda that you talk about is the basic morality that is required in a civil society.
You see the negative cultural impact of Hollywood and likes of Comedy Channel, rap music, etc. on the youth today. Add to that people openly shooting heroin in public in front of your young children's eyes (not to mention their cost to society as many are not productive or self supporting members of society).
Is that what you REALLY want? Do you honestly think that that will yield a healthy society? If so, I have no more to say.

bukll13, liberty is not free as our founders knew all too well. There is a cost attached to everything because people are not perfect. That is why I say to you guys 'you can't have your cake and eat it too'. No one ever has, or will. If you want to call reasonable laws statist, so be it. They are not. It sounds like you guys are simply not fit to live in a society, which brings me to Bob.

Bob, you live in a country of laws. You are an attorney. You seriously think that you can live as you wish in your neighborhood without regard to federal, state, and local laws? Not under our system and not unless you are somehow declaring your utopian neighborhood an independent nation.
Then, what is the point of the U.S.A.? Lets disband it and become mountain people.

Look, I hate the educational establishment and stupid laws as much as you, but there is a limit in a civil society. You need laws to define the boundaries of acceptable behavior. I am sure if I signed a contract with you to paint your home, took 5K from you, and never showed up, you would want laws to protect you.

Mike Cheel said...

@Patriot

"Mike, the agenda that you talk about is the basic morality that is required in a civil society.
You see the negative cultural impact of Hollywood and likes of Comedy Channel, rap music, etc. on the youth today. Add to that people openly shooting heroin in public in front of your young children's eyes (not to mention their cost to society as many are not productive or self supporting members of society).
Is that what you REALLY want? Do you honestly think that that will yield a healthy society? If so, I have no more to say."

First, I do not believe that the government can decide what is better for me than I can.

Second, it is not the government's job to decide what is moral and what is not.

Third, in a free society the only legitimate function of government is to secure the rights of the people. Not make them moral or economically sound. Not manage their every day lives. The last thing you mentioned about contracts is a basic tenet of freedom. The government should not be able to tell people who or what kind of contracts they may engage in.What you are describing with the painter is fraud. You have a right to have the contract enforced as does the painter when he expects to be paid for his job done.

No one is crying for no law at all here.

Anonymous said...

AP is right we must outlaw Comedy Central and Rap Music. The children!!!!!

American Patriot said...

No one is talking about banning anything. Part of living in a free society is putting up with less than desirable things sometimes. However, that does not mean that those kinds of conduct (public drug use, inappropriate TV shows or rap lyrics, etc.) should be encoraged any more than they already occur in society.

Mike, no one is saying government should be the moral police. Decriminalizing drugs is not a moral issue. However, all those things I wrote about are destructive to societies in the long run. Don't agree with me? Look around you - look at today's youth and the counter-culture.
I am amazed that you cannot see the connection between maintaining a certain basic level of ethical and moral standards and a civil society which is the basis for true liberty.

I know, what did the founders know, afterall they lived two and a half centuries ago, right?

American Patriot said...

Here is a good illustration:

Your utopia (or the closest to it) exists in San Francisco.
If you haven't been there, visit it. I lived there for two years in late 1980s when it was nowhere nearly as degenerated as now.

If you want all of the U.S. to look like San Fran, go ahead and stick to your convictions.

Anonymous said...

AP your stuck in the incoherence of your own positions. You claim on the one hand to be a die-hard libertarian, yet you find that the state should be engaged in the enforcement and encouragement of your definition of morality and culture. Basically a cultural conservative in liberatiarian's clothing.

BUT, if you accept (as I do) that democracy can work imperfectly to allow us to define as a society what is acceptable behavior (and through constitutions), then you also have to accept that the public's notion of morality might include economic redistribution, state welfare, and income security. Or, you are on the slippery slope to the absolutism/Austrianism that is found on this blog.

You better be careful before people accuse you of trying to establish an Iranian-style Theocracy (the equivalent of accusing liberal-progressives of being "statists" "collectivists" or "socialists."

FraterM said...

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

American Patriot said...

LOL Anonymous. Where did I ever declare myself as a die-hard libertarian?

I am a proud Burkean, constitutional government conservative. Yes, we do share many libertarian ideals but not nearly to the extent of Bob and company.

Second, where did I say state should enforce morality? If you take not legalizing hard drugs as state enforcement of morality, yes. I have never said rap lyrics should be illegal. Trust me, I do not like any excessive government interference normally but I believe that certain level of ethics and morality is essential for a well functioning civil society.

I disagree with your comparison of acceptable behavior (i.e. drugs being illegal) to wealth redistribution. Try to follow this:

Declaration of Independence, our founding document, guarantees us life, liberty, and pursuit of happyness. These are natural rights that every human being is bestowed by their creator if you are religious (I am not).
As such, each person's sweat equity is his/her own (= private property is sacred). Wealth redistribution is stealing from one group and endowing another. Therefore it is violation of natural rights if you like. You do not have right to anyone else's property, or education, or healthcare, or food, or shelter. A right cannot impose on another being as all those examples do.
Morality on the other hand does not impose on anyone else's physical or intellectual property. These two things are unrelated.

I can expand more on the subject if you like. Here are some posts on my blog related to this whole argument, if you care (Part one is less relevant but I linked to all since it may put it all in context as this was a blog war piece for some fellow progressives of yours):

http://defendourconstitution.blogspot.com/2011/04/deconstruction-of-four-questions-of.html

http://defendourconstitution.blogspot.com/2011/04/deconstruction-of-four-questions-of_27.html

http://defendourconstitution.blogspot.com/2011/05/deconstruction-of-four-questions-of.html

http://defendourconstitution.blogspot.com/2011/05/deconstruction-of-four-questions-of_08.html

http://defendourconstitution.blogspot.com/2011/05/deconstruction-of-four-questions-of_27.html

http://defendourconstitution.blogspot.com/2011/06/deconstruction-of-four-questions-of.html

burkll13 said...

"There is a cost attached to everything because people are not perfect"

agreed. Why am i not qualified to make those subjective valuations for myself? if my life goes down the drain, its my fault and my responsibility. if i hurt someone else, i should be liable. thats all the government you need. prohibition laws not only eat liberty, but their application is funded by taking away resources from their most productive ends, and simultaneously CREATING violence in the streets, in the name of "society". thats 3 strikes.

as i said before, those kinds of laws are only necessary to an insecure mind.

"Your utopia (or the closest to it) exists in San Francisco."

HAHAHAHA! Oh yes, that bastion of liberty that put forth libertarian leadership like Nancy Pelosi!!

you cant blame all of san frans problems on the drug scene.

a better example would be the netherlands, where they have a drug scene similar to the US in usage demographics, but is safe and peaceful and doesnt divert resources away from dutch citizens.

American Patriot said...

So hard drugs do not lead to crime? No social impact of drugged out heroine addicts on the streets everywhere?

Have you been to the Netherlands? Not the society I want here.

Did you know that in Neth. it is illegal to sell or possess marijuana products so coffee shop operators must purchase their marijuana products from illegal drug trafficking organizations.
Also, there has been some public dissatisfaction with the government’s policy. Recently the Dutch government began considering scaling back the quantity of pot available in coffee shops from 5 to 3 grams.

Furthermore, drug abuse has increased in the Netherlands. From 1984 to 1996, marijuana use among 18-25 year olds in Holland increased twofold. Since legalization of marijuana, heroin addiction levels in Holland have tripled and perhaps even quadrupled by some estimates.

The increasing use of marijuana is responsible for more than increased crime. It has widespread social implications as well. The head of Holland’s best-known drug abuse rehabilitation center has described what the new drug culture has created: The strong form of marijuana that most of the young people smoke, he says, produces “a chronically passive individual—someone who is lazy, who doesn’t want to take initiatives, doesn’t want to be active—the kid who’d prefer to lie in bed with a joint in the morning rather than getting up and doing something.”

There are also other issues with designer drugs, etc. as well.
In May 2001, the government announced a “Five Year Offensive against the Production, Trade, and Consumption of Synthetic Drugs.”

Doesn't sound like the heaven people make it sound like, does it?

Anonymous said...

Netherlands GDP/Capita - $47,917
USA GDP/Capita - $45,989

Netherlands Prisoners per capita - 112
USA prisoners per capita - 715

Netherlands murder rate - .93
USA murder rate - 5.0

Netherlands Teenage birthrate - 7.7/1000
USA Teenage birthrate - 55.6/1000

Netherlands abortion rate - 3.9/1000

USA abortion rate - 30.2/1000

Netherlands lifetime prevalence of marijuana use - 17%

USA lifetime prevalence of marijuana use - 36.9%

Sounds like the jungle to me.

ekeyra said...

"No social impact of drugged out heroine addicts on the streets everywhere?"

You rattle that off like the social impact of keeping them illegal isn't staring you in the face every single day. 40,000 swat raids a year sounds like something that should scare anyone a hell of alot more than some lazy teenagers or heroin addicts.

American Patriot said...

ekeyra, in your anarcho libertarian paradise you wouldn't even have the state to take care of those wasted lives thanks to drug use. So you'd rather settle for a bunch of desperate non-productive addicts dying off in the streets and committing crimes to survive? Or do you propose we have 50+% tax rates plus VAT like the Netherlands to trade off for your drugged out paradise? I doubt it as you think (rightly so) that even today's tax rates are punitive.

Every action has a consequence. Legalizing drugs has many (societal corruption, financial cost to society in general, lost productivity, etc.) that you seem to ignore.

As for Anonymous, those stats mean nothing. It is like comparing apples to oranges. Do you have the remotest idea how expensive it is to live in euro socialist states? Their tax rates aside, VATs ranging upwards of 20% in many make their living standards very low compared to us. Have you ever bought a big mac in the U.K. or France for $10? Or a gallon of gas at the same price? Or pay rents of $2000 or more for cramped, old apartments in cities all across western europe?
Didn't think so.

So who cares if GDP per capita is as high as the U.S. for a country with NYC's population. Their incarceration rate is irrelevant as well as they have such liberalized penal systems that you walk away with many crimes you go to jail for here.

Yes, it is a morally and financially corrupt jungle compared to the U.S. as bad as we have become!
I am originally from Europe and know what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

Oh AP, keep on hoping. I could provide you the entire comparison of crime rates and the Netherlands is just incredibly lower than the US's.

I could also show you surveys about life-satisfaction that shows the Dutch are much happier than Americans.

But that was not the main point - the legalization of marijuana has not led to a moral break down of society. Quite the contrary, the Dutch have less criminals, crimes, drug addicts and teenage pregnancies. They also have 4.2% unemployment.

Bob Roddis said...

Drug prohibition is like the minimum wage. It causes more problems than it solves but the proponents claim moral superiority due to their alleged intentions.

But what if their true intentions really are to create a virulent horde of gang bangers and perpetual unemployment? I'm starting to come to that conclusion because both the "drug problem" and low wages are cured by the free market and exacerbated 100x by the interventionists.

And Islamic terrorism is CAUSED by our foreign meddling.

Thus, drug warriors love gang bangers and warmongers love terror and hate the troops. What other explanation can there be?

http://bobroddis.blogspot.com/2011/06/republicans-hate-troops.html

And, of course, democrats hate brown people:

http://bobroddis.blogspot.com/2011/07/republicans-hate-troops-but-democrats.html

Bob Roddis said...

Don't miss this one! LK declares his undying love and devotion to Mary Poppins and the Mary Poppins Theory of Government.

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/07/simple-example-of-micro-versus-macro.html

The all-knowing benevolent government just wiggles her little nose, the toys all pop back into their toybox and all is right again in the world.

American Patriot said...

Crime rates in Europe are on the rise, and rapidly so, since their homogeius societies have become less so over the past two decades. Their social make up has been transforming rapidly along with their crime rates.

Satisfaction means not much as I am sure many N. Koreans or Iranians would be satisfied with their conditions as well. You get used to the conditions you live under.

As for pot, re-read my post. Ever since legalization of marijuana cafes in Netherlands, stats are clear about incresed use of heroin and unproductiveness of the segment of the society that indulges in it. How can you think that loss of productiveness does not cost the society in general? Who do you think pays for it? The productive tax payers. Also, crime wise, if harder drug use increases, how do you think people pay for them? No impact on crime? Even in Neth., it is not legal to smoke pot or sell pot on the streets, so do not expect costs to significantly go down unless you will legalize the open commerce of all drugs.

Bob, I agree with low wages being cured by free markets. But, you have no evidence you can point to about drugs. Even liberalized euro drug laws is nowhere open as you dream about.

Lastly, Islamic terrorism being caused by our own foreign meddling is as ludicrous as anything. Open your eyes and educate yourself about Islam and its teachings. We did not meddle in Egypt and look at what is happening with the Muslim Brotherhood there. They are poised to take over the country and Egypt is about to go back several centuries like S. Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan under the Taliban.

I know foreign affairs is not libertarian's strong suit but look at history of 1920s and 1930s Europe. That is what your mindset brings about - inevitable bloodshed just because some do not have the backbone to police the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

"Declaration of Independence, our founding document, guarantees us life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness."

For anyone who isn't as ignorant as AP, this is what you need to know: The US Constitution does not live up to The Declaration of Independence. There is no guarantee of "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" in the Constitution, and this is for good reason. Governments can't exert immense power over people AND grant true freedom at the same time. The Constitution declares how the Government governs, meanwhile the Declaration doesn't meen $%@#.

If this phrase was in fact in the Constitution we might be living in a libertarian society today.

AP, you obviously need to go back and study these two documents further since you present a complete lack of understanding of history.

ekeyra said...

"in your anarcho libertarian paradise you wouldn't even have the state to take care of those wasted lives thanks to drug use."

Ill fix your mistake:

in your anarcho libertarian paradise you wouldn't even have the state. There you go, end it right there.

"So you'd rather settle for a bunch of desperate non-productive addicts dying off in the streets and committing crimes to survive?"

Lets pretend this is even an actual either or scenario. Hmmmm strung out junkies or body armored, puppy murdering, fourth amendment smashing gestapos? Tough choice.

Besides that you completely ignore the fact that prohibition drives up prices of illegal commodities. Incentivizing already violent and illegal orginizations to compete for massive profits on the black market, which has no peaceful recourse to disagreements and leads to even more violence.

Even more absurd is your assertion that these people would be productive members of society if left untouched by the influence of drugs. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe people do drugs because they already have problems? If your problem is with "unproductive" people than why not just make being "unproductive" a criminal activity and then you can round up everyone who is naturally "unproductive" and then you dont even have to worry about which chemicals to ban.

"Or do you propose we have 50+% tax rates plus VAT like the Netherlands to trade off for your drugged out paradise?"

Of course. If theres any position ive been consitstently in favor of its higher taxes.

"I doubt it as you think (rightly so) that even today's tax rates are punitive."

You have no idea what I think.

American Patriot said...

Anonymous, don't tell me to study the founding documents. Obviously you are the one who is completely in the dark.

D.O.I. IS the original founding document that sets up the framework. It is a philosophical document, if you prefer to look at it that way. The Constitution, as such, was not meant to parrot the same lines, but to provide the framework for laws to follow. The Bill of Rights (first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution) lives up to the D.O.I. perfectly. Only a know-nothing moron would allege otherwise. Throughout decades and centuries, the Constitution has been misinterpreted plenty of times (due to changing ideologies of the Court over time, primarily starting with FDR's appointments) by the SCOTUS to bring us to today, but the document remains unchanged (other than the newer amendments) and faithful to the spirit of the D.O.I.

As for government exerting immense power, founding fathers were not anarcho-libertarians by any means. If you bothered to read the Federalist papers and read rest of their writings, you would know that.

Thanks for showing your ignorance of the founding documents.

American Patriot said...

"You have no idea what I think."

True, the confused libertarian that you are, you must be for no government and high taxes.
Hmm, what would Bob and others here say to that, I wonder.

Mind numbing confusion.

Mike Cheel said...

@Patriot

I hear you saying you are libertarian but then you tell us your thoughts after that. Your ideas on drugs, personal freedom and even history seem to be very flawed and don't reflect libertarian ideology or historical fact. I'm going to guess that you think 9\11 started everything too right?

Sam said...

So... the constitution states that the federal government can regulate what it's citizens can consume? If so, it could outlaw apples and big macks if it wanted.

American Patriot said...

Mike, for the millionth time, I never said I am a libertarian. I agree with many of libertarianism's tenets but I am a constitutional conservative - repeat, not a libertarian!

We do not think 9/11 started everything at all. The seeds of it all were planted over 14 centuries ago with Mohammad and watered throughout history. 9/11 was just the latest manifestation of what really started with all the terror attacks in the 1990s (Tanzania, Kenya, Kobar Towers, U.S.S. Cole, WTC Tower original bombing).

It seems you are the one in desperate need of a history refreher!

As far as personal freedom goes, there are reasonable limits to it as one might expect. Just as I cannot run over your dog because I felt like it, I cannot commit acts that are harmful to the fabric of society. Liberty comes with heavy responsibility and that is the difference between libertarians and conservatives. You want to have it all with no consequences, we, like our founding fathers, realize that existence of a healthy civil society is a pre-requisite of a constitutional republic that safeguards maximum amount of individual liberties while maling a civil society possible. It is a fine line, but there is a line nevertheless.

Sam, I see where you are going with your argument. If the government can tell you not to shoot up heroin or smoke pot, why not ban big macks. (BTW, the constitution does not say government can regulate what your intake is. Anti-drug laws do. Are they constitutional? Courts say yes because they safeguard the welfare of the society in general - a debatable point obviously)

A reasonable argument, indeed.
Here is my response to it:
Eating too much apples or big macs have no appreciable effects on the general welfare of society. Consuming drugs, especially hard ones, do. If you argue the personal effects of drugs on the individual, I agree, That is his or her choice and it is no one's business. HOWEVER, ingesting drugs require commercial transaction of the drug and that becomes problematic. That requires a supply chain and brings in the criminal element. Furthermore, its effects do not stay behind closed doors in the privacy of your home. As a drug abuser, one's outside the home existence further causes societal decay through lost productivity (translation: cost to others in society - if you believe that each person is entitled to the fruits of his labor and redistribution is therefore wrong, this does exactly that)
Then there is the damage to the moral fiber of the society but I do not want to dwell on that because you will tell me that I am imposing my morality on others (though you would not disagree if someone proposed that sex should be no crime if one decides to hump their girlfriend in the park)

Anonymous said...

AP you still have not reconciled your claim to be a Burkean conservative with your claim that you sympathize with libertarians. They do not coincide. Libertarianism - as argued on this blog - is an absolutist position, while Burkean conservatism is essentially a middle-ground, somewhat muddled position (and while I do not agree with you, a much more pragmatic position).

And just claiming that crime is on the rise in Holland and they are on their way to becoming a drug-addicted, crime-ridden jungle is not a fact. I provided statistics from the past year.

Sam said...

Why don’t we ban alcohol? Its impact on society is worse than marijuana. There are a lot of unproductive hours due to hangovers. Sometimes people get violent with each other (I’ve never seen a stoner fight, but they may exist.). It is more addictive. And the health problems of users of alcohol tend to be greater.

And yes, I know about alcohol prohibition and the criminals it created just like today’s drug prohibition.

I hope a swat team doesn’t break down my neighbor’s door shooting up the house looking for me in the middle of the night because of my posts on drugs.

Anonymous said...

"The Bill of Rights (first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution) lives up to the D.O.I. perfectly"

Like I said, the Constitution does not guarantee "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". In the face of this fact, only an idiot would say that the Bill of Rights satisfies the intentions of the D.O.I.

In fact, many of the "framers" of the US who signed the Declaration did NOT sign the constitution. Oh yeah, they were conveniently out of the country, that's why they didn't sign it (that was sarcasm if you didn't catch it).

The Bill of Rights was a last-ditch effort to inject *some* of the concepts from the Declaration but it has obviously failed miserably.

In the end, politicians don't care about the "philosophy," as you call it, of the Declaration. The constitution is the law and that's what they'll manipulate to legally steal, imprison, and murder innocent people.

Anonymous said...

AP:
"Eating too much apples or big macs have no appreciable effects on the general welfare of society. Consuming drugs, especially hard ones, do."

Are you sure about that first part? Eating too much of the wrong kinds of food leads to obesity, which in turn contributes to all sorts of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Given the increasing socialization of health insurance, these problems do have social costs, not just costs to people with bad eating habits. So similar arguments apply to both drug prohibition and unhealthy food prohibition. Of course, we could simply stop compelling people to pay for other people's medical problems, and then the costs would be borne only by those with health problems and those who choose to assist them with their own labor and resources.

"If you argue the personal effects of drugs on the individual, I agree, That is his or her choice and it is no one's business. HOWEVER, ingesting drugs require commercial transaction of the drug and that becomes problematic. That requires a supply chain and brings in the criminal element."

Actually, it's the prohibition of drugs that brings in the criminal element (or criminalizes formerly legitimate commercial elements), just as was the case with alcohol prohibition.

"Furthermore, its effects do not stay behind closed doors in the privacy of your home. As a drug abuser, one's outside the home existence further causes societal decay through lost productivity (translation: cost to others in society - if you believe that each person is entitled to the fruits of his labor and redistribution is therefore wrong, this does exactly that)"

I do believe that each person is entitled to the fruits of his labor. I do not believe that any person is entitled to the hypothetical fruits of anyone else's unperformed labor. Absent wealth redistribution programs, lost productivity is a problem only for unproductive people and those who choose voluntarily to support them.

"Then there is the damage to the moral fiber of the society but I do not want to dwell on that because you will tell me that I am imposing my morality on others (though you would not disagree if someone proposed that sex should be no crime if one decides to hump their girlfriend in the park)"

Well, if it's his park, it's his business. If it's someone else's park, that someone else would decide who can hump and who can't. The problem here is that most parks are "public", which is to say owned by the government, so conflicts arise over what sorts of things can go on in them that would not arise in privately owned parks.

Anonymous said...

"Why don’t we ban alcohol?"

You see, patriots love the status quo. They live and breath the status quo. They build up a twisted, perverse, confused philosophy to justify their belief in the status quo. They have to, because they are patriots.

So, why doesn't AP suggest banning alcohol (which happens to be a drug) if he thinks drugs are so "bad"? One possibility is that AP is either totally ignorant to the history of drug prohibition or just intellectually dishonest. But it doesn't really matter, a patriot will always find a way to justify the status quo, even if it contradicts everything he claims to believe. That is just the nature of the idiot, err, patriot.

Furthermore, AP can say on one hand, that drug addicts should be locked-up or shot-and-killed because they are unproductive members of society and poor role-models for children. But he laughs at the suggestion of replacing drug prohibition with a blanket law simply making it illegal to be unproductive (or a bad role-model). He completely fails to understand the irony.

Furthermore, he actually believes that all drug addicts are unproductive losers who sit around just taking drugs all day. I hate to break it to you, AP, but this country is full of brilliant, wealthy, and productive pot-heads. They simply don't go around advertising that they smoke pot because they know that this is not a free country.

American Patriot said...

Anonymous,

conservatism and libertarianism share some of the basic tenets as political philosophies. Most important being limited government and concepts of property rights and liberty. The main departure comes in the importance of morality as a societal dynamic.

Both of these philosophies are natural extensions of classical liberalism. Of course, minarchists are in general closer agreement with classical liberalism of Burke compared to anarcho capitalists, which I suspect likes of Bob and maybe you are.

What I am trying to convey is that like any other philosophy, libertarianism's spectrum is quite wide also and it meshes with philosophies of Burke, Hobbs, and other clasic liberals. Indisputable personal rights to life and liberty are unmistakably classic liberal. Of course, libertarianism is a much more recent philosophy than conservatism of classical liberalism. So where do you think your philosophy was born? Surely not progressivism.

Your contention that the constitution does not guarantee life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is pointless in that it does NOT have to. DOI already does that and all founding documents including the DOI, the U.S. Constitution, and Federalist Papers build on each other. They (each successive one) are not stand alone documents to be interpreted in a vacuum. Bill of Rights and the foundational principle set in the DOI are inextricable. Your mind probably has been poisened by your college professors many of whom are antagonistic towards our foundational principles. You need to read a lot more about them before making hasty statements like you do.

BTW, the U.S. Constitution is NOT the law as you state as even a first year pre-law student will tell you. It is the framework within which laws have to fit.

American Patriot said...

Abusing any substance is bad but I simply draw the line in hard drugs because you cannot be a recreational user of heroin or pcp. They are highly addictive. Alcohol is not.

Tel said...

The state operates as a protection racket, it is as simple as one statement: "Ya need protection!"

Point being that you can protect people from each other, but you cannot protect them from themselves. Sure you can give people some good health advice (and I'm all for the promotion of good health), and you can set a good example re. lifestyle. When it comes down to it, people need to make their own decisions how they want to live, and all that I would ask is that they be allowed to make those decisions, and be allowed to live with the consequences of those decisions. And note well: I say "live with the consequence of those decisions" not live with the consequence of someone else deciding arbitrarily that they feel like punishing someone for the lifestyle that they choose for themselves.

Now I fully accept that hard drugs do their share of harm to society, but then again, the "War on Drugs" has also done a far bigger share of harm to society. You can't stop commerce and trade, it is just too efficient, and too inventive. You can drive it underground but that just puts bigger money into the pocket of the drug dealers.. Simple statistics should make it clear that there is no way our modern illegal drug trade could operate without significant government and police corruption.

As for the "private neighborhood" idea, well since the state cannot effectively make rules about people's private lives, then should a group of people on their own private land choose to make rules about who they associate with and on what basis -- that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Tel said...

Abusing any substance is bad but I simply draw the line in hard drugs because you cannot be a recreational user of heroin or pcp. They are highly addictive. Alcohol is not.

If you want to get into the stats, alcohol is surprisingly bad stuff. Some people seem to have a stronger genetic resistance, probably because their ancestors died in droves as they adapted to the stuff (and I'll tell you that my ancestry is part Irish, part German and part Eastern European so alcohol is no stranger to my family, my grandfather died from it).

Take a look at what alcohol has done to the American Indians or the Australian Aboriginals to see thee effect on a society with no deeply established defense.

That said, prohibition of alcohol was the biggest boon to criminals and the biggest disaster. You just can't use the law to solve social problems. It's not the right tool for the job.

American Patriot said...

I have nothing to say to people who claim that war on drugs have done much bigger harm to society than drug abuse itself. Anyone saying that is either a drug smuggler/dealer or in complete denial.

I am willing to be enlightened, however. Maybe you guys can explain it to me?

Your whole explanation of living with the consequences of your decisions is perfectly consistent with classical liberalism. No problems there. No one here is advocating government run healthcare or anything of that sort. Drug laws are something else entirely. Just like any other criminal laws against theft, murder, etc. Not even a libertarian opposes those.

burkll13 said...

"Anyone saying that is either a drug smuggler/dealer or in complete denial."

someones in denial all right.

heres the gist, one more time. drug prohibition reduces/chokes off the supply of drugs, raising prices. the high prices drive off people who would otherwise be "responsible" with their recreational use, but not people who are addicted. people who are addicted take greater and greater risks in order to satisfy their urges. same goes for the supply chain. the responsible businessmen get driven out so that the only people remaining are the ones who are willing to take great risks, including ultra-violence. attempting to control the supply of drugs, like just about every other social intervention, becomes self defeating.

and i didnt even touch on the costs projected on the innocent populous to fund this war. you want to talk about lack of productivity, but did you ever consider the loss from funding prohibition?

* im guessing you dont believe that someone could try heroin and not get addicted, but FWIW, from the numbers ive been looking at, somewhere around only 12% of people in the US who have tried heroin are active users.*

"Drug laws are something else entirely. Just like any other criminal laws against theft, murder, etc. Not even a libertarian opposes those."

drug laws ARE NOT like theft and murder. theft and murder are acts of aggresion towards another person. drug use, in the most liberal sense, is an act of aggresion ON YOURSELF. if you own your body, you should not be punished for vandalizing it.

American Patriot said...

One comment, burkll,

I agree with the dynamics you are talking about. However, as you say, if prohibition discourages would be "responsible" users, is it not worth it? I don't know about you but I have known a few addicts and despite the candy coating, their lives are truly wasted. I know, their choice!

You say theft, etc. are aggression towards others and as such justifiably crimes. As it stands, so are drugs as simply looking at Mexico shows the kind of violence it causes. I understand your point that legalizing them would make the underground aspect of it go away but that requires total legalization - including manufacture, trade, and selling of it. Even Netherlands has refused to do that and I suspect for good reasons.

In sum, I am symphatetic to your views but still in disagreement until I see more indications that it would work better than now.
At least in principle (concerning liberty), we agree.
It is just that I am being pragmatic and you are being idealistic (not that it means you are wrong and I am right)

Anonymous said...

"Your mind probably has been poisened by your college professors many of whom are antagonistic towards our foundational principles."

Oh the irony. You say this as you perfectly parrot the brainwashing of government-sponsored education.

You truly are a patriot.

Anonymous said...

"Your contention that the constitution does not guarantee life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is pointless in that it does NOT have to. DOI already does that and all founding documents including the DOI, the U.S. Constitution, and Federalist Papers build on each other."

Why do you insist on having a stalwart stance on issues you obviously have not studied? Almost all intelligent people who have actually studied the matter, (regardless of their political leanings) recognize that:
(A) The D.O.I. has no influence on the law and
(B) the Constitution seriously and purposefully diverges from the D.O.I.

The fact is that the country's founders did not all agree. Some advocated federalism, while others advocated Jeffersonian democracy. What we ended up with was the former. Unfortunately, the notions of freedom and property protection come from Jeffersonian democracy, *not* federalism.

You insist on arguing these very basic points. Meanwhile most historians may agree with you or disagree with you politically but they all disagree with your interpretation of history. They don't ask, "does the Constitution guarantee freedom?", they argue about whether is should.

So, why not at least be intellectually honest and admit that we purposefully don't live in a free country, and that's the way you like it?

That said, I know it is impossible for you to understand any of this because to you the notion of what is freedom or liberty is a complete enigma.

Tel said...

If drugs were unoquivically bad, why does the pharmaceutical industry earn such a huge amount of money (perfectly legally)? I think we all accept that drugs can be a force for good or bad depending on how they are used, for example opiates have a long history of use in medicine as a pain killer and a way of helping people relax.

Of course, someone can point to the addict in the gutter and say, "Ahh, there is clearly inappropriate usage!" but I can just as easily point to cases such as Guido Squillaci where a highly regulated system still kills people and I can just as easily cry, "inappropriate usage!"

The real question is who should get the final say in matters relating to a person's body? The only rational answer I can come up with is the person themselves should be able to make that choice. They are the ones taking the risk, they are the ones who live or die, they must be the one who makes the decision.

When it comes to upholding the law with respect to theft of property, vs upholding the law with respect to drug laws, I believe that we face an either/or decision. It is not logically consistent to believe in property laws while also believing that people do not have soverign ownership over their own bodies. If the state owns your body then how can ownership of a car or a house be meaningful?

There's a bigger issue here, libertarians are often marginalized because of their tolerant attitude toward drugs, and this is used as a tool by the statists to divide and conquer. I think we need to get our priorities right here. Having a centrally planned economy and an unaccountable socialist government is far more dangerous than a few more or a few less drug addicts wasting their lives. We are at the stage where we are struggling to find ANY mechanism to limit government intervention in our lives, and yet we are fruitlessly arguing about what would happen under extreme cases.

burkll13 said...

"if prohibition discourages would be "responsible" users, is it not worth it?"
not to me, and its not even close. if a person can still be a functional and productive (as much as they choose to be), then whats the harm? why on gods green earth should i punished by paying for the enforcement as well as losing my liberty in the process?

"I don't know about you but I have known a few addicts and despite the candy coating, their lives are truly wasted. I know, their choice!"

i probably have more experience than most, which is probably why i have such a strong opinion on the subject. the entire one side of my family are VERY active users of just about anything. one of my earliest memories involved my younger cousin bragging about how when he was older he was gonna "smoke grass". i was maybe 5. he most likely would have been 3. my SIL is living with us because her fiancée died of an overdose 2 months ago. their daughter is living with her grandfather because the SIL is unfit. (i know A LOT of THOSE situations, including the aforementioned cousin, his sister and brother.) Not to mention the surprising amount of my current friends that have ingested cocaine at one point or another. all of those people never became addicted or were even remotely impressed with it. none are active users. and thats just a brief summary.

but of the people that are complete and total bums, there is one common theme there; they are not losers because they use mind altering substances, they are losers AND they use mind altering substances. All of those cases have had semi long to long clean periods, but they were still pieces of shit during those times, including my SIL right now.

for the sake of openness, before anybody thinks i am an active drug user, i have smoke pot twice in HS, once in college, all were 'unpleasant', to say the least, and no hard drugs. and of all the people i smoked with, i can only think of one person who does not live a functional, productive life, and he fits VERY WELL into the POS category.

American Patriot said...

Anonymous,

your ignorance amuses me.
FYI, I did not get the piss poor government education of this country that has failed so many like you. I am a european transplant and went to Swiss private school in the 1970s and later got two advanced degrees from top schools in this country.

Your critical skills are such that it is clear to me you are one of the 55% or so of college grads who graduate with less than appropriate skills for a college grad.

Lets get to the constitution.
Though there is a grain of truth to what you say, it is neverthless the epidemy of ignorance for anyone to claim that the Bill of Rights grossly violated the spirit of the D.O.I.

In order to sound intelligent, you say things like "all intelligent people who have studied...." when if you followed constitutional scholars, judges, et.al. like Justice Scalia, Mark Levin, Judge Napolitano, etc. you would realize how dumb you sound. (what else do you expect from someone who refers to the U.S. Constitution as law, lol)

Even your reading comprehension skills leave a lot to be desired.
DOI is the framework within which the U.S. Constitution was eventually written to fit, I said.
If you think you are so smart, answer me this:
Exactly how does the Bill of Rights (forget about the rest of the later amendments now) diverge seriously from the D.O.I.? (I am not asking what happened in the following decade and centuries)

Each of the first ten amendments are essential for preservation of our natural rights - the core principle behind it all. There is no debating that.
Maybe Bob can chime in on that.

Founders not all agreeing is besides the point. You are trying to paste bits and pieces of information but lack the critical thought process to tie it all together.
In reality, some degree of federalism is inescapable, even in a Jeffersonian democracy. You cannot have a federal government and not endow it with certain powers over the states. Otherwise there would be no union to speak of - no purpose for a federal government. That is exactly what the 10th amendment was written for - so that the federal government's limited powers is defined. Has the 10th amendment been bastardized in subsequent years after the ratification of the Constitution? Yes, but how can that indite the intentions behind the constitution?

Regarding Jefferson, he was definitely an opponent of unchecked federalism (unlike proponents like Hamilton) but he did not express (to my knowledge) major concerns over the ratification other than for not securing religious freedoms sufficiently. Jefferson would come to oppose much of the legislation put forth by the Federalist party of Alexander Hamilton. There is a difference between the federalists of Constitutional Convention era and the federalists that came to dominate the Washington and Adams administration. Jefferson, served as Washington's Sec of State and Madison was the primary author of the Constitution. These two individuals would later oppose much of Hamilton's policies and vision of the role of the new Federal Government. Hence, I think the confusion as to why one might think of Jefferson as being an Anti-federalist.

Federal powers exercised properly - with great restraint - do not negate a true Jeffersonian democracy. Unfortunately, after the first half century, the U.S. decayed more and more in to a federalist system with more and more centralized power exercised each passing decade. But what happened later does not taint the Bill of Rights as ratified. Could it have been written with more safeguards against built in to it? Maybe. Does the Bill of Rights trample the D.O.I.? No.

Finally, repeat after me:
The U.S. Constitution is not law by itself! It is the framework within which laws must fit.

American Patriot said...

Tel and burkll,

I am fine with the concept of "you've made your bed, now lie in it"
In other words individuals should be able to do as they wish as long as they accept the consequences of their actions.

Here is my problem: How do you reconcile that with civil society? Is civil society possible if people lose all empathy and become so self oriented that they let others die on the streets because of their poor judgement?

It is an ethical question that begs an answer.
The society you hardcore libertarians want is just such a society as there is no middle ground for you.

ekeyra said...

Patriot,

"Is civil society possible if people lose all empathy and become so self oriented that they let others die on the streets because of their poor judgement?"

You do realize this is word for word the exact rationalization ive heard given by lefties for welfare, ss, and medicare. You do realize that right? I mean when you question them about the dubious benefit of redistributive economic policies, that is what you will hear 99 percent of the time. The only variation is that you used the word civil.

When you start parroting the rhetoric of your supposed idealogical counterpart maybe you should start wondering about the foundation your logic is based on.

Tel said...

Patriot, I'm not in any way attempting to stop you giving bread to the poor... if it happens to be your bread, and you have more than you need then by all means give it out on what basis you see fit. If you think that a man who has lost his fortune gambling is more worthy than a man who blew it all on heroin then only you can make that decision, and yes, it is a difficult decision, I can't make it easier for you.

On the other hand, if I was to point a shotgun at your head and demand that you give to the poor, then not only would it no longer be your decision, it would hardly be real charity at all. If you see what I mean. The whole point of charity is that you give voluntarily, based on your own feeling of the good you can do in this world.

Individual rights don't necessarily mean the end of civil society, they do mean that those individuals who voluntarily want to be part of a civil society can do so on mutually acceptable terms. The outcome very much depends on the individuals concerned, but it's a big world, and I think there might be room enough for various groups of people to live various different lifestyles. They just need to be willing to tolerate other people in some other place being different to themselves... and lay out some basic ground rules for staying out of each other's hair.

Tel said...

The society you hardcore libertarians want is just such a society as there is no middle ground for you.

I think that's very unfair, there's no middle ground in what I want (but what I want is ultimately my business). There certainly is middle ground in what I'm willing to work towards... as I said above, I'm anxious to see ANY limitations on government power, and if working with constitutional conservatives achieves that outcome, then let's get some basic limitations in place first (before disaster strikes us all) and we can argue about other details at our leisure, when the situation is stable enough that we have time for leisure.

Anonymous said...

>>Your critical skills are such that it is clear to me you are one of the 55% or so of college grads who graduate with less than appropriate skills for a college grad.

Thank you, sir. And your critical skills end at your knack for useless ad-hominem arguments.

>>In reality, some degree of federalism is inescapable, even in a Jeffersonian democracy.

Why would that be? To preserve civility?

>>Regarding Jefferson, he was definitely an opponent of unchecked federalism (unlike proponents like Hamilton) but he did not express (to my knowledge) major concerns over the ratification other than for not securing religious freedoms sufficiently.

In a letter to Madison, Jefferson-- after the ratification of the Constitution at the first congress sans Bill of Rights--wrote: "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth." By saying "against", clearly he anticipated how government would naturally strip away freedoms. So you can say that the B.O.R. satisfied his concerns at the time.

>>what else do you expect from someone who refers to the U.S. Constitution as law, lol

How many ways shall we split this hair? All laws must be "constitutional" therefore in the court of law, the constitution is the ultimate authority of law. Meanwhile, the D.O.I. is worthless: lawyers nor judges use the D.O.I. to affect interpretation of the law except in the case of determining the beginning of the sovereign nation.

>> Federal powers exercised properly - with great restraint - do not negate a true Jeffersonian democracy.

The fact that you believe federal powers are ever exercised with great restraint has me bewildered. I think Jefferson would realize today that the bill of rights were not sufficient, but if not, I do.

>>Exactly how does the Bill of Rights diverge seriously from the D.O.I.?

"...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." (5th Ammendment)

"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"(D.O.I)

As an example:

I propose this law: "If you run on a sidewalk, you shall serve 3 years in jail"

Such a law is constitutional but anti-D.O.I. The example seems contrived but drug prohibition is a perfect example of an equally absurd law.

American Patriot said...

ekeyra:

"When you start parroting the rhetoric of your supposed idealogical counterpart maybe you should start wondering about the foundation your logic is based on"

Not at all. It is not all or nothing in real life. You do not need a euro style welfare state to provide a basic safety net. It is all natural part of civil society.

It is a false narrative on your part to say that most basic of safety nets is akin to a full fledged welfare state.

I suggest reading Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin. He talks about civil societ and why is is essential for a free society to exist.

Tel,
even most of what is welfare today is unnecessary because the society can handle those truly in need through charity. I am talking about minimal safety net only.

It seems you guys cannot distinguish between civil society and a welfare state. I do not blame you as it is a very difficult concept to wrap one's brain around. I suggest reading as much as you can about it. I, myself, still do read, and think about the concept because it is difficult to distinguish between necessary civil society (to maintain one's liberties) and welfare state run amock.

American Patriot said...

Anoymous,

you started the ad-hominem attacks earlier. Are you taking lessons from Obama about blaming others for what you do?

Besides that, lets see why some degree of federalism may be necessary, hmmm...
Could that be because there is something called the federal government and as little as it should be doing, it still needs to exert some minimal power over the states for the common defense, etc. (see 10th amendment for what might fit in there)?

What I find amazing that some of you guys exagerrate what constitutional conservatism believes in into outright collectivism. Now, isn't that the height of absurdity? It is, but you need to do it because that is the only way you can justify the anarcho-libertarianism you promote.

My comment in no way said I believed that federal government does or has exercised restraint.
I said in several places that the first half century was the purest for of goverment our founders imagined, after that it has been a steady decline.

I am not sure that such a sidewalk law would be constitutional (first the act, then the punishment which does not fit the crime). If declared as such, it would be just another bad interpretation of the constitution.

We all agree that the constitution has been bastardized through faulty SCOTUS precedences. If the founding fathers could see today, they'd turn around and get back in their graves right away.

Anonymous said...

AP,

First it is not appropriate to brag about your advanced degrees when you misspell "epitome."

Second, what has been revealed here is really the inconsistency of your poorly thought out position and amateurish reading of US history and the constitutions (Mark Levin really!?)

You are not going to be able and reconcile your Burkean conservatism with any sort of libertarianism. If anything, I think you have highlighted how untenable libertarianism is in a world that is essentially political first, and economic second. People care about what type of society they have, and will use the state and coercive measures to obtain it. Democracy is a form of government, which while imperfect, helps us navigate that coercion while libertarianism is utopian.

But I hope this has actually revealed to you how much you share with progressives and liberals. Once you head down the road that accepts government intervention to create socially derived goods, you must accept that the state might regulate commerce as well. You have no foundation other than democratic consensus and basic principles to define the range of goods the state should regulate or monitor.

In fact, I would argue that Burkean conservatism is much more reconcilable with progressiveness than it is with libertarianism. Think about the power of market forces and prices and their impact upon social institutions. What could be less conservative than an ideology that sees you only as a factor of production, who should pick up and move if the market dictates so?

Strangely, the ones protecting the environment, cultural heritage, small and locally owned businesses and neighborhoods from the forces of the market are the progressives! That is very Burkean - assuming that there is accumulated wisdom in social institutions that need to be gradually changed rather than completely rejected. It is unfortunate that "modern" conservatism is essentially religious and overtly moral (i.e. regulating marriage, sex, and drug-use), while Burke referred to all sorts of institutions and practices worth preserving or conserving.

American Patriot said...

Anonymous,

got a problem with Levin? You apparently aren't too familiar with him.

You've got my point. Libertarianism is as untenable as Marxism or any other political system that defies human nature. Thus the reason why more reasonale/realistic libertarians vote for the conservative candidates (and why politicians like Ron Paul try to fool people by running under the Republican banner instead of libertarian party candidates)

I share next to nothing with progressives. It is your extremism that make you think that. You've got a lot to ponder about political philosophy. I suggest you start with dictionary definitions before making foolish statements likening Burkean Conservatism to progressivism.

I'll leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the armchair lecture AP. If you want to flash credentials, believe me mine are stronger than yours. But that would just be arguing from authority.

Calling me an extremist is not engaging with the argument. How about responding to the claim that Burkean conservatism as regards to its emphasis on the value of social institutions has much in common with much of what progressives say. Go back and reread your Reflections on the Revolution in France.

How exactly does Burkean conservatism congeal with extreme free-market capitalism - a social force that has uprooted and rapidly changed billions of people? What would Burke think of China or India? What would he think of the United States during the past 50 years?

ekeyra said...

"It is a false narrative on your part to say that most basic of safety nets is akin to a full fledged welfare state."

I never made any such claim. The only thing i stated was that your given justification of the drug war is the same justification given by those nasty progressives you hate so much when questioned about their policies of economic redistribution. The size and scope of those policies are irrelevant to the discussion, the reasons given to enact them are.

You entire argument rests on the belief that swat raids, police corruption and outright theft through asset foreiture, and hundreds of thousands of lives ruined through violence and incarceration, is preferable to simply letting people be responsible for their own actions.

On top of all that you lack any perspective on how economically, prohibition makes things better for the drug runners and the police, while making life hell for everyone else. Instead of suggesting reading material why not take a minute and get an intellectual grip on just what the fuck your talking about.

POKEMON said...

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