The Establishment is very concerned this morning that the representatives of the people have resisted demands for stricter gun control measures. The president calls it “shameful.” The New York Times editorial board intones, “The Senate Fails America.” Dana Milbank of the Washington Post deplores a lack of “courage” on Capitol Hill, though some might think it takes courage to defy the overwhelming drumbeat of the national media.
Whatever the merits and popularity of the specific measures that went down to defeat in the Senate on Wednesday, I think the Establishment fails to appreciate the depth of American support for the Second Amendment. NPR and other media have lately noted a growing libertarian trend in American politics. That’s not just about taxes, Obamacare, marijuana, and marriage equality. It also involves gun rights. After each high-profile shooting, support for gun control rises. But it tends to fall again in short order, as public opinion reverts to the baseline of strong support for gun rights.
I was struck by this poll graphic in the Washington Post on Wednesday. Despite the virtually unanimous support for stricter gun control in the national media, along with other opinion shapers such as Hollywood and the universities, and despite the mass shootings that have received so much attention in our modern world of 24-hour news channels, Americans are becoming more convinced that guns make your family safer.
The fact is, America is a country fundamentally shaped by libertarian values and attitudes. Our libertarian values helped to create the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and those documents in turn shape our thinking about freedom and the limited powers of government. In their book It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marx write, “The American ideology, stemming from the [American] Revolution, can be subsumed in five words: antistatism, laissez-faire, individualism, populism, and egalitarianism.” If political scientists Herbert McClosky and John Zaller are right that “[t]he principle here is that every person is free to act as he pleases, so long as his exercise of freedom does not violate the equal rights of others,” then we can expect Americans to cling to their gun rights for a long time.
The New Republic’s daily email this morning asks, “Who killed gun control?” Who? The Americans.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
From Thomas Sowell’s latest column:
Amid all the heated, emotional advocacy of gun control, have you ever heard even one person present convincing hard evidence that tighter gun-control laws have in fact reduced murders? …
What almost no one talks about is that guns are used to defend lives as well as to take lives. In fact, many of the horrific killings that we see in the media were brought to an end when someone else with a gun showed up and put a stop to the slaughter. The Cato Institute estimates that there are upwards of 100,000 defensive uses of guns per year. Preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves can cost far more lives than are lost in the shooting episodes that the media publicize. The lives saved by guns are no less precious just because the media pay no attention to them.
Read the whole thing. Go here for the Cato research that Mr. Sowell is talking about.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
In what is either a case of blinders-wearing or just poor timing, today the Fordham Institute’s Kathleen Porter-Magee has an article on NRO, co-written with the Manhattan Institute’s Sol Stern, in which she and Stern take to task national curriculum standards critics who assert, among other things, that the Common Core is being pushed by President Obama. Yes, that’s the same Kathleen Porter-Magee whom it was announced a couple of days ago would be on a federal “technical review” panel to evaluate federally funded tests that go with the Common Core.
The ironic timing of the article alone is probably sufficient to rebut arguments suggesting that the Common Core isn’t very much a federal child. Still, let’s take apart a few of the specifics Porter-Magee and Stern offer on the federal aspect. (Other Core critics, I believe, will be addressing contentions about Common Core content).
Some argue that states were coerced into adopting Common Core by the Obama administration as a requirement for applying for its Race to the Top grant competition (and No Child Left Behind waiver program). But the administration has stated that adoption of “college and career readiness standards” doesn’t necessarily mean adoption of Common Core. At least a handful of states had K–12 content standards that were equally good, and the administration would have been hard-pressed to argue otherwise.
Ah, the power of parsing. While it is technically correct that in the Race to the Top regulations the administration did not write that states must specifically adopt the Common Core, it required that states adopt a “common set of K-12 standards,” and defined that as “a set of content standards that define what students must know and be able to do and that are substantially identical across all States in a consortium.” How many consortia met that definition at the time of RTTT? Aside, perhaps, from the New England Common Assessment Program, only one: the Common Core.
NCLB waivers, for their part, gave states an additional option – having their state college systems confirm state standards as “college and career ready” – but that came after RTTT had already pushed states to adopt Common Core, and offered only a single alternative. That’s probably why, to use Stern and Porter-Magee’s own words, “President Obama often tries to claim credit” for widespread adoption of the Core. He actually had a lot to do with it!
As for states having “equally good” standards somehow being able to get past RTTT commonality demands, well, that’s just not how it works. The rules were the rules, and states didn’t just get out of them by saying “I dare you to act like our standards aren’t super.”
Education policymaking — and 90 percent of funding — is still handled at the state and local levels. And tying strings to federal education dollars is nothing new. No Child Left Behind — George W. Bush’s signature education law — linked federal Title I dollars directly to state education policy, and states not complying risked losing millions in compensatory-education funding (that is, funding for programs for children at risk of dropping out of school).
This is a very curious, self-defeating argument. Basically, Porter-Magee and Stern are asserting that the Feds only supply a small fraction of education money, and yet all states got sucked into No Child Left Behind. Applied to Common Core, federal money needn’t be very large in percentage terms to be irresistible, illustrating the very point about compulsion that Stern and Porter-Magee hope to refute. And it’s not hard to see why relatively small bombs of federal money pack a big punch: Taxpayers – who live in states – had no choice about paying their federal taxes, and no matter how they look in relative terms, millions or billions of federal dollars seem like mammoth sums in most news stories.
Perhaps the clearest evidence that states can still set their own standards is the fact that five states have not adopted Common Core. Some that have adopted it might opt out, and they shouldn’t lose a dime if they do.
It’s true that five states have not fully signed on to Common Core (Minnesota has adopted the language arts, but not math, portions), but that’s likely in large part because Race to the Top did not put annual funding on the line, and waivers had a non-Core option. But forty-five state did sign on, suggesting that the push was still very forceful. And it is irrelevant whether Porter-Magee and Stern think that states that opt out shouldn’t lose a dime of federal money. The reality is that those that have opted out did lose a full chance to win Race to the Top money, and if Common Core and accompanying tests are made central to a reauthorized NCLB – and why wouldn’t they be, since almost every state has adopted them – then annual funding would be put at risk. Which is what Common Core supporters have probably wanted since before the Obama administration existed, writing in 2008 that the job of the federal government is to furnish “incentives” for state adoption of “common core” standards.
So please, do look at NCLB when thinking about possible federal control of the Common Core. It’s a clarion alarm about what’s likely coming.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
The Dow is at a record high and so are corporate profits – so why does it feel like most of the country is deeply suffering right now? Real household income is the lowest that it has been in a decade, poverty is absolutely soaring, 47 million Americans are on food stamps and the middle class is being systematically destroyed. How can big corporations be doing so well while most American families are having such a hard time? Isn’t their wealth supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us? Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. Today, most big corporations are trying to minimize the number of “expensive” American workers on their payrolls as much as they can. If the big corporation that is employing you can figure out a way to replace you with a worker in China or with a robot, it will probably do it. Corporations are in existence to maximize wealth for their shareholders, and most of the time the largest corporations are dominated by the monopoly men of the global elite. Over the decades, the politicians that have their campaigns funded by these monopoly men have rigged the game so that the big corporations are able to easily dominate everything. But this was never what those that founded this country intended. America was supposed to be a place where the power of collectivist institutions would be greatly limited, and individuals and small businesses would be free to compete in a capitalist system that would reward anyone that had a good idea and that was willing to work hard. But today, our economy is completely and totally dominated by a massively bloated federal government and by absolutely gigantic predator corporations that are greatly favored by our massively bloated federal government. Our founders tried to warn us about the dangers of allowing government, banks and corporations to accumulate too much power, but we didn’t listen. Now they dominate everything, and the rest of us are fighting for table scraps.
In early America, most states had strict laws governing the size and scope of corporations. Individuals and small businesses thrived in such an environment, and the United States experienced a period of explosive economic growth. We showed the rest of the world that capitalism really works, and we eventually built the largest middle class that the world had ever seen.
But now we have replaced capitalism with something that I like to call “corporatism”. In many ways, it shares a lot of characteristics with communism, and that is why nations such as communist China have embraced it so readily. Under “corporatism”, monolithic predator corporations run around sucking up as much wealth and economic power as they possibly can. Most individuals and small businesses cannot compete and end up getting absorbed by the corporations. These mammoth collectivist institutions are in private hands rather than in government hands (as would be the case under a pure form of communism), but the results are pretty much the same either way. A tiny elite at the top gets almost all of the economic rewards.
There are some out there that would suggest that the answer to our problems is to move more in the direction of “socialism”, but to be honest that wouldn’t be the solution to anything. It would just change how the table scraps that the rest of us are getting are distributed.
If we truly wanted a return to prosperity, we need to dramatically shift the rules of the game so that they are tilted back in favor of individuals and small businesses. A much more pure form of capitalism would mean more wealth, less poverty and a more equitable distribution of the economic rewards in this country.
But it will never happen. Most of our politicians are married to the big corporations and the wealthy elitists that fund their campaigns. And most Americans are so uneducated that they believe that what we actually have today is “capitalism” and that the only alternative is to go “to the left” toward socialism.
Very few people out there are suggesting that we need to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations, but that is exactly what we need to do. We need to give individuals and small businesses room to breathe once again.
With each passing year, things get even worse. In fact, the founder of Subway Restaurants recently said that the environment for small businesses is so toxic in America today that he never would have been able to start Subway if he had to do it today.
For much more on how small business is being strangled to death in the United States, please see my previous article entitled “We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America“.
What I want to do now is to discuss some of the results that “corporatism” is producing in America.
First of all, we continue to see incomes go down even though we live in an inflationary economy.
As Time Magazine recently reported, personal incomes took a huge nosedive during the month of January…
Data released by the Commerce Department last week showed that personal income fell 3.6% in January, the biggest decline in 20 years. The drop was even bigger when taxes and inflation are taken into account. Real personal disposable income fell by 4%, the biggest monthly drop in half a century.
Real median US household income — that’s “real,” as in “adjusted for inflation” — was $50,054 in 2011, the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau. That’s 8% lower than the 2007 peak of $54,489.
Meanwhile, big corporations are absolutely raking in the cash. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”
The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.
Just check out the following chart. Corporate profits have absolutely exploded over the past decade…
Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP continue to fall rapidly…
Most of the jobs being created in America today are “low wage” jobs. Tens of millions of Americans are working as hard as they can only to find that they can barely put food on the table and provide a roof over the heads of their children. The ranks of the “working poor” are exploding and the middle class continues to shrink.
Many of you that are reading this article are members of the working poor. You know what it is like to stare up at your ceiling at night wondering how you are going to pay the bills next month.
Today, most Americans are living very close to the edge financially. A recent article by NBC News staff writer Allison Linn shared some of their stories. The following is one example…
Crystal Dupont knows what it’s like to try to live on the federal minimum wage.
Dupont has no health insurance, so she hasn’t seen a doctor in two years. She’s behind on her car payments and has taken out pawn shop and payday loans to cover other monthly expenses. She eats beans and oatmeal when her food budget gets low.
When she got her tax refund recently, she used the money to get ahead on her light bill.
“I try to live within my means, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Dupont, 25. The Houston resident works 30 to 40 hours a week taking customer service calls, earning between $7.25 and $8 an hour. That came to about $15,000 last year.
It’s a wage she’s lived on for a while now, but just barely.
Sadly, the number of Americans that are “just barely” surviving continues to grow.
But if corporate profits are soaring to unprecedented heights, then who is getting all of those rewards?
The monopoly men of the global elite are.
Just check out the following video which does a great job of illustrating how corporatism has systematically funneled all of the economic rewards in our system to the very top…
Once again, I want to make it very clear that I am not advocating socialism as the answer in any way, shape or form. Socialism takes away the incentive to create wealth and it almost always results in almost all of the economic rewards going to a very tiny elite anyway.
As I said earlier, what we need is a return to a much more pure form of capitalism, but this is so foreign to the way that most people think that most people will not be able to grasp this.
It certainly would be possible to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations at the same time, but this is so “outside the box” for most people that they cannot even conceive of doing such a thing.
We need to create an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive once again. But instead, most of us are content to continue “playing the game” and getting enslaved in even more debt.
For example, according to CNBC, auto loans just continue to get larger and continue to get stretched out for longer periods of time…
American car buyers, attracted by new models and cheap financing, are taking out bigger auto loans and stretching out the terms of those loans to a new record length.
New analysis from Experian Automotive shows the average new car loan in the fourth quarter of last year was $26,691 and stretched out over an average of 65 months. The length of the average loan is one month longer than the previous record set in the third quarter of last year.
What will they think of next?
Will we eventually have auto loans that get paid off over 10 years?
By the way, that is another way that the monopoly men of the global elite get all of our money. They enslave us to debt, and we spend year after year of our lives slaving away to make them even wealthier.
They are very smart. There is a reason why they have 32 TRILLION dollars stashed away in offshore tax havens. They know how to play the game, and they are very happy that most of the rest of us are asleep.
Fortunately, it appears that an increasing number of Americans are waking up.
For example, I wanted to share with you all an excerpt from a comment that one of my readers left on one of my recent articles…
In the past year, I’ve been slowly but surely waking up to the nonsense happening around me. There’s so many things I need to simply get off my chest, so excuse the length of this post. Recently in the past two years, I’ve gotten married and have been medically discharged from the Marines after being injured in Afghanistan. Being 23 years old and married, my goal is secure a secure a future for my family, but with the way things are going, I’m not exactly sure how much of a future we’re going to have in 50 years. I can’t explain it, but I’ve felt this need to change my attitude and motivations lately.
I started by turning off the garbage music, television and other mindless entertainment that seems to plague my generation. It was easier than it looked – I don’t miss most of it really. The next order of business was to educate myself on world news, so that’s what I did. Every day, like clockwork, I check all major mainstream news feeds (NBC, Fox, Abc, CNN, Reuters, BBC, etc.) as well as not-so-mainstream news sites – yours being one of them. It’s incredible how fast our world changes and the manner in which it changes. The local 10 o’clock doesn’t show anything but local news, sports, weather, lottery #’s and whatever else they decide to throw in. It’s a night and day difference once you start to actually research and see what’s happening all over the world. Look at the number of comments about a news story on the economy and then look at a celebrity story on the “news”….People are so blind, it truly amazes me. My friends, family and classmates at college seem to be under a spell of some sort. They’re distracted – and it’s contagious. Nobody I know gives a damn about global affairs/economics. They’re more interested in the newest iPhone, cars, shows, movies, and just about anything else you can think of. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things, but my friends/family/peers are CONSUMED by these distractions. When the election was taking place in 2012, every Tom, Dick and Harry on Facebook had an opinion and rant. After the circus ended however, everyone simply went back to posting about parties, kittens, Farmville etc. It’s a huge joke. For me, it’s little terrifying and exciting to see history unfolding in front of our eyes. This country of ours is going through big changes now that will most certainly affect our future, so I strive to adapt and prepare myself and my family. I’m looking at buying my first home this summer. Right now I live in an apartment right outside Philly and spend more money on rent than most pay for a mortgage. I need a house with a little land to raise chickens, grow fruits/vegetables, store canned food – and to be as independent from the system as I can. For my job, I wanted a skill/trade that people would always need, so I picked the funeral business. On the side, I work in construction and have been learning everything there is to know about building with my own two hands. I feel as though these old forgotten skills are going to be handy in a short while.
Hopefully we can get a lot more people to wake up and start breaking out of “the matrix” of control that is all around us.
Right now, the system is designed to continually funnel more money and more power to the very top of the pyramid. The global elite are becoming more dominant with each passing day. Unless something dramatic happens, at some point the American people will become so powerless that they won’t be able to do anything about it even if they wanted to.
The idea of a very tiny elite completely dominating all the rest of us goes against everything that America is supposed to stand for. In the end, it will result in absolute tyranny if it is not stopped.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
In a hyper connected world, the globalists want to shape the information culture to their desired designs, and to govern the digital media
The Insidious Globalist Control
- Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh (Bio and Archives) Friday, February 15, 2013
The State of the Union address, however disingenuous, contained two interesting seeds of truth. I had mentioned them in my book, “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy.” The two seeds of truth are universal child care and equal pay for women, contained in Section III, Chapter 24:3.
(d) Programmes to promote the reduction of the heavy workload of women and girl children at home and outside through the establishment of more and affordable nurseries and kindergartens by Governments, local authorities, employers and other relevant organizations and the sharing of household tasks by men and women on an equal basis, and to promote the provision of environmentally sound technologies which have been designed, developed and improved in consultation with women, accessible and clean water, an efficient fuel supply and adequate sanitation facilities;
(f) Programmes to support and strengthen equal employment opportunities and equitable remuneration for women in the formal and informal sectors with adequate economic, political and social support systems and services, including child care, particularly day-care facilities and parental leave, and equal access to credit, land and other natural resources;
The excerpt is found in Agenda 21, signed in 1992 by 178 countries; the document describes in 40 chapters the eventual regulation of every aspect of human behavior and economic activity once Agenda 21 is completely implemented around the globe, making the United Nations and its global governance cabal the ultimate authority.
The two directives may be necessary in third world countries and nations ruled by totalitarian regimes that discriminate and abuse women, but are definitely not necessary in developed countries where women and children are protected by laws and the government’s welfare system.
It is not necessary to have further government intrusion in child care and equal pay for women. The government already controls Head Start, k-12 education, with not so stellar results in many states, while liberal professors complete the socialist indoctrination at the university level. We already have laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on gender.
Just how much control do we need or want, and how much are the global governors willing to inject into the various societies around the planet?
Jack Doyle revealed that a new health service program in the U.K. called Everyone Counts will force general practitioners to disclose confidential records to NHS (National Health Service) involving weight, cholesterol, BMI (body mass index), family health history, pulse rate, alcohol consumption, and smoking status. The biggest data grab so far, the invasion of privacy will become permanent even though officials have insisted that it will be deleted after analysis.
Once Obamacare is fully implemented in the U.S., previous confidential data between patient and doctor will become part of the government’s data base to be used as they see fit.
But the control does not stop here. When we shop in grocery stores, our buying habits have been compiled and sold to the Department of Agriculture and other third parties. The data can be stored and synchronized with the new health care cards issued by the health care exchanges of Obamacare.
How far of a stretch will it be to have special food purchase cards that must be used anytime groceries are purchased? Could such cards prevent you from buying alcohol or certain fattening foods, based on your specific health care information? If you don’t comply, you may have to consult a doctor in order to change your eating, drinking, smoking, or whatever unhealthy habits you may have.
The New York City government is already meddling in the people’s sodium intake and the size of beverages purchased. Portion size and food offerings have already been changed in schools across the country and in some restaurants. That is not to say that we should not be eating healthy food and drinking in moderation, however, why should the government be the nanny that dictates what we eat or drink?
If you think the idea far-fetched, consider this. The World Economic Forum 2013 in Davos, Switzerland, recognized obesity as a danger to human health and discussed how to deal with or tax those who are obese.
Fifty global risks were assessed by 1,000 omniscient experts from industry, government and academia, who were “polled on how they expect 50 global risks to play out over the next ten years. The results were compiled into an analysis of three major risk areas, Testing Economic and Environmental Resilience, Digital Wildfires in a Hyperconnected World, and the Dangers of Hubris on Human Health.” The Davos report also included a chapter on “X Factors,” concerns identified by experts with unknown consequences. Although these consequences are not known, it did not stop experts from speculating and scaring low information humans into preventive compliance.
Our consumption of meds may be affected as international efforts are underway to curtail use of antibiotics through government regulatory control. Global monitoring of antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread is recommended. “Significant reduction in antibiotic use can be achieved in human medicine.”
Davos experts recommended the use of public-private partnerships, partnerships promoted by U.N. Agenda 21, to incentivize the development of new antibiotics. Knowledge must be shared freely between academia, private companies, and government regulators.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation developed the “open-lab” research concept in which patented monopolies and secrecy would no longer exist if innovation is to be achieved. This flies in the face of capitalist beliefs that ideas, entrepreneurship, and individual hard work are rewarded. Instead, the Foundation advocates that ideas and research should be given away from inception for the public good. It is easier to promote such generosity when you already have amassed so many billions, you cannot possibly spend them in a lifetime.
The Davos conference also reported that humans do not understand the risks from satellites. Disruptions can be catastrophic in telephone service, financial markets, Internet, banking, data centers, energy delivery via Smart Grid, TV industry, weather predictions, emergency rescue, peacekeeping, and military operations. The risks are identified as the three main “black swan” events:
Satellites targeted in a conflict between states
Strong geomagnetic storms
Collisions with space debris
The solution offered by the experts is more control—the “critical space-based infrastructure” (satellites et al) must be managed sustainably—sustainability is the bedrock mantra of U.N. Agenda 21 control.
The top five global risks by likelihood identified by Davos experts were:
Severe income disparity
Chronic fiscal imbalances
Rising greenhouse gas emissions
Water supply crises
Mismanagement of population ageing
The top five global risks by impact identified by Davos experts were:
Major systemic financial failure
Water supply crises
Chronic fiscal imbalances
Food shortage crises
Diffusion of weapons of mass destruction (p. 10)
The most interesting part of the Davos report is the chapter on “X Factors” developed with the editors of Nature, the leading science journal, which analyzes five “emerging game-changers:”
Runaway climate change (postulating that we have possibly passed the point of no return, causing the planet’s atmosphere to go into the “inhospitable state” (I know global warming/climate change has been debunked voluminously by science, it appears that it does not matter to these people’s agenda)
Significant cognitive enhancement (if athletes take drugs to enhance their abilities, why not in daily life and particularly in “neural enhancement of combat troops”)
Rogue deployment of geo-engineering (technology that manipulates the climate is acceptable as long as a state or private individuals do not use it unilaterally)
Costs of living longer (prolonging life through palliative care is expensive and “could be a struggle;” the report does not propose the alternative but it is easy to read between the lines)
Discovery of alien life (proof of life in the universe might profoundly affect the human belief system psychologically)
Another interesting section of the Davos report deals with Digital Wildfire in a Hyperconnected World – Benefits and Risks of the Social Media as part of the Internet. Three examples illustrated a response from a disgruntled customer incident, a defamation of character incident, and “an affront to religious sensitivities” story.
“The existence on YouTube of a video entitled “Innocence of Muslims”, uploaded by a private individual in the United States, sparked riots across the Middle East. These riots are estimated to have claimed more than 50 lives.”
Although it has been documented that the riots in the Middle East were not sparked by a video, the Davos report included this fallacy.
The experts seem to have misgivings about the fact that millions of individuals have the freedom to broadcast widely across the globe when prior to the Internet age only a handful of elite organizations had the capacity to broadcast extensively, and this “reality has challenging implications.”
The Davos report also mentions the concepts of “Astroturfing”, Satire, “Trolling,” and Attribution Difficulties. Nancy Pelosi did use the term “astroturfing” when referring to the Tea Party rallies.
Because the report considers social media as one of the greatest risks, a “global digital ethos” is recommended in light of the fact that governments are debating how “existing laws which limit freedom of speech, for reasons such as incitement of violence or panic, might also be applied to online activities.” The globalist experts are not worried that the freedom of speech would be curtailed, they are worried how it would be enforced and who would be trusted to enforce it. Additionally, low education users are “much less knowledgeable than editors of traditional media outlets about laws relating to issues such as libel and defamation,” posing further problems.
It will be a very sad day when the Internet will be controlled to the point that all information will come from the alphabet soup networks that are now a self-appointed propaganda arm of the perennial presidential campaign. In a hyper connected world, the globalists want to shape the information culture to their desired designs, and to govern the digital media.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:34 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
Part 2 of the groundbreaking series made in 1980, Free to Choose.
Friedman examines the folly of government intervention in post colonial India, why trade unions and business work together to restrict innovation and trade, and as a special bonus, a young(er) Don Rumsfeld makes an appearance during the final debate.
The post Free to Choose Part 2: The Tyranny of Control (Featuring Milton Friedman) appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
DAVID MAMET ON GUN CONTROL
Posted on 26th January 2013 by Yojimbo in Economy
What a brilliantly written essay. Concise and powerful. Essay like this help me understand the mental illness of my fellow Massachusetts residents that we politely call “Liberalism”. First, Liberals actually have a profound TRUST of government, instead of a healthy distrust and skepticism. Second, Liberals fundamentally misunderstand human nature, and believe that, if only given more government intervention and power, the failings of human nature can be perfected. Mamet displays an excellent understanding of the nature of The State and why we must be deeply mistrustful of it.
Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.
For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read “The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”
All of us have had dealings with the State, and have found, to our chagrin, or, indeed, terror, that we were not dealing with well-meaning public servants or even with ideologues but with overworked, harried bureaucrats. These, as all bureaucrats, obtain and hold their jobs by complying with directions and suppressing the desire to employ initiative, compassion, or indeed, common sense. They are paid to follow orders.
Rule by bureaucrats and functionaries is an example of the first part of the Marxist equation: that the Government shall determine the individual’s abilities.
As rules by the Government are one-size-fits-all, any governmental determination of an individual’s abilities must be based on a bureaucratic assessment of the lowest possible denominator. The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.
President Obama, in his reelection campaign, referred frequently to the “needs” of himself and his opponent, alleging that each has more money than he “needs.”
But where in the Constitution is it written that the Government is in charge of determining “needs”? And note that the president did not say “I have more money than I need,” but “You and I have more than we need.” Who elected him to speak for another citizen?
It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs. One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. “One-size-fits-all,” and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is “slavery.”
The Founding Fathers, far from being ideologues, were not even politicians. They were an assortment of businessmen, writers, teachers, planters; men, in short, who knew something of the world, which is to say, of Human Nature. Their struggle to draft a set of rules acceptable to each other was based on the assumption that we human beings, in the mass, are no damned good—that we are biddable, easily confused, and that we may easily be motivated by a Politician, which is to say, a huckster, mounting a soapbox and inflaming our passions.
The Constitution’s drafters did not require a wag to teach them that power corrupts: they had experienced it in the person of King George. The American secession was announced by reference to his abuses of power: “He has obstructed the administration of Justice … he has made Judges dependant on his will alone … He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws … He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass out people and to eat out their substance … imposed taxes upon us without our consent… [He has] fundamentally altered the forms of our government.”
This is a chillingly familiar set of grievances; and its recrudescence was foreseen by the Founders. They realized that King George was not an individual case, but the inevitable outcome of unfettered power; that any person or group with the power to tax, to form laws, and to enforce them by arms will default to dictatorship, absent the constant unflagging scrutiny of the governed, and their severe untempered insistence upon compliance with law.
The Founders recognized that Government is quite literally a necessary evil, that there must be opposition, between its various branches, and between political parties, for these are the only ways to temper the individual’s greed for power and the electorates’ desires for peace by submission to coercion or blandishment.
Healthy government, as that based upon our Constitution, is strife. It awakens anxiety, passion, fervor, and, indeed, hatred and chicanery, both in pursuit of private gain and of public good. Those who promise to relieve us of the burden through their personal or ideological excellence, those who claim to hold the Magic Beans, are simply confidence men. Their emergence is inevitable, and our individual opposition to and rejection of them, as they emerge, must be blunt and sure; if they are arrogant, willful, duplicitous, or simply wrong, they must be replaced, else they will consolidate power, and use the treasury to buy votes, and deprive us of our liberties. It was to guard us against this inevitable decay of government that the Constitution was written. Its purpose was and is not to enthrone a Government superior to an imperfect and confused electorate, but to protect us from such a government.
Many are opposed to private ownership of firearms, and their opposition comes under several heads. Their specific objections are answerable retail, but a wholesale response is that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. On a lower level of abstraction, there are more than 2 million instances a year of the armed citizen deterring or stopping armed criminals; a number four times that of all crimes involving firearms.
The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves? Is this absurd? Yes, and yet the government, of course, is arming criminals.
Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot.
Cities of similar size in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere, which leave the citizen the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed in the Constitution, typically are much safer. More legal guns equal less crime. What criminal would be foolish enough to rob a gun store? But the government alleges that the citizen does not need this or that gun, number of guns, or amount of ammunition.
But President Obama, it seems, does.
He has just passed a bill that extends to him and his family protection, around the clock and for life, by the Secret Service. He, evidently, feels that he is best qualified to determine his needs, and, of course, he is. As I am best qualified to determine mine.
For it is, again, only the Marxists who assert that the government, which is to say the busy, corrupted, and hypocritical fools most elected officials are (have you ever had lunch with one?) should regulate gun ownership based on its assessment of needs.
Q. Who “needs” an assault rifle?
A. No one outside the military and the police. I concur.
An assault weapon is that which used to be called a “submachine gun.” That is, a handheld long gun that will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held down.
These have been illegal in private hands (barring those collectors who have passed the stringent scrutiny of the Federal Government) since 1934. Outside these few legal possessors, there are none in private hands. They may be found in the hands of criminals. But criminals, let us reflect, by definition, are those who will not abide by the laws. What purpose will passing more laws serve?
My grandmother came from Russian Poland, near the Polish city of Chelm. Chelm was celebrated, by the Ashkenazi Jews, as the place where the fools dwelt. And my grandmother loved to tell the traditional stories of Chelm.
Its residents, for example, once decided that there was no point in having the sun shine during the day, when it was light out—it would be better should it shine at night, when it was dark. Similarly, we modern Solons delight in passing gun laws that, in their entirety, amount to “making crime illegal.”
What possible purpose in declaring schools “gun-free zones”? Who bringing a gun, with evil intent, into a school would be deterred by the sign?
Ah, but perhaps one, legally carrying a gun, might bring it into the school.
We need more armed citizens in the schools.
Walk down Madison Avenue in New York. Many posh stores have, on view, or behind a two-way mirror, an armed guard. Walk into most any pawnshop, jewelry story, currency exchange, gold store in the country, and there will be an armed guard nearby. Why? As currency, jewelry, gold are precious. Who complains about the presence of these armed guards? And is this wealth more precious than our children?
Apparently it is: for the Left adduces arguments against armed presence in the school but not in the wristwatch stores. Q. How many accidental shootings occurred last year in jewelry stores, or on any premises with armed security guards?
Why not then, for the love of God, have an armed presence in the schools? It could be done at the cost of a pistol (several hundred dollars), and a few hours of training (that’s all the security guards get). Why not offer teachers, administrators, custodians, a small extra stipend for completing a firearms-safety course and carrying a concealed weapon to school? The arguments to the contrary escape me.
Why do I specify concealed carry? As if the weapons are concealed, any potential malefactor must assume that anyone on the premises he means to disrupt may be armed—a deterrent of even attempted violence.
Yes, but we should check all applicants for firearms for a criminal record?
Anyone applying to purchase a handgun has, since 1968, filled out a form certifying he is not a fugitive from justice, a convicted criminal, or mentally deficient. These forms, tens and tens of millions of them, rest, conceivably, somewhere in the vast repository. How are they checked? Are they checked? By what agency, with what monies? The country is broke. Do we actually want another agency staffed by bureaucrats for whom there is no funding?
The police do not exist to protect the individual. They exist to cordon off the crime scene and attempt to apprehend the criminal. We individuals are guaranteed by the Constitution the right to self-defense. This right is not the Government’s to “award” us. They have never been granted it.
The so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant. The guns it supposedly banned have been illegal (as above) for 78 years. Did the ban make them “more” illegal? The ban addresses only the appearance of weapons, not their operation.
Will increased cosmetic measures make anyone safer? They, like all efforts at disarmament, will put the citizenry more at risk. Disarmament rests on the assumption that all people are good, and, basically, want the same things.
But if all people were basically good, why would we, increasingly, pass more and more elaborate laws?
The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution.
President Obama seems to understand the Constitution as a “set of suggestions.” I cannot endorse his performance in office, but he wins my respect for taking those steps he deems necessary to ensure the safety of his family. Why would he want to prohibit me from doing the same?
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:52 am
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Caleb O. Brown
We didn’t get the “Andrew Shepherd moment,” a neat parallel between Obama’s gun-control newser and Michael Douglas in The American President confidently declaring that he’s going to “get the guns.” That the faux President made that pledge just moments after confidently affirming his membership in the ACLU (!) shows just how much the Second Amendment debate has changed since the Heller decision in 2010.
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