Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's the Principles, Dtroit

I'm re-posting this from The New Clarion in case any of my readers don't read the Clarion.

The Thursday 12/19 Detroit News carried an editorial by Reynolds Farley who once conducted the Detroit Area Study at the University of Michigan. Titled "The often-overlooked roots of Detroit's bankruptcy" it looks at these 'roots' only in terms of details, of concrete particulars as if no underlying principles were involved. This detail caused that detail which in turn led to this other detail. But no one asks the obvious question: "What gave rise to the first detail?"

Mr. Farley declares that "Long term economic and demographic trends brought Detroit to its present condition." After reeling off a plethora of depressing numbers of jobs and people leaving the city, all of which are true, he declares as a cause the fact that: "First, Michigan's system of financing local government and schools is broken. In 1911, the Legislature adopted a Home Rule Law encouraging communities to organize their own governments, generate their own tax revenue and pay for their own services. The law gave local governments no incentives to cooperate with one another in solving common problems and , over the years, the law was amended to make it difficult for communities to annex or merge."

I for one don't believe this to be the case. I have lived most of my 71 years in a Detroit suburb and can testify to the fact that local communities have often got together to solve problems. Nor do I accept the notion that it's the State's fault for not being foresighted enough to see that locals would eventually need incentives to cooperate.

But the point I really want to make is look at the cognitive pattern: the details of'economic and demographic trends' caused Detroit's demise. But what caused those trends? The detail of the 1911 Law we are told. But the 1911 Law is not an economic or demographic entity. It's a political one. Politics is a science that deals with the principles of social organization. Thus what is left out of the discussion is any mention of possible political principles that could have had a causal effect on Detroit's suicide. The 1911 Law is not a principle. It is a concrete law based on a principle, the principle of self government which I believe the 1911 Legislature was acting upon and wanted to encourage.

Detroit's failure to its citizens was not caused by an endless string of details but by the principles that gave rise to all those sad details. The main principle behind Detroit's sorry state is the principle that government--a political entity--should provide economic goods and services instead of the market place--an economic entity of voluntary trade to mutual benefit. Government has a legal monopoly on the use of force. It is not an economic entity. Political principles are not the same as economic principles and cannot be mixed. Our Declaration of Independence identified the political principle on which governments at all levels are to operate: "To secure these rights governments are instituted among men." The City (and State) abandoned its role of rights protector long ago and has tried to be the provider of economic services. The mixed economy is Detroit's state. Its real often-overlooked roots are the political and economic principles Detroit has tried to live by. It must now relearn the political and economic principles that actually created a once free and prosperous city. The principles of laissez faire capitalism.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Real Zombies Are in Washington

It seems to me that Hollywood's creation of modern Zombies has taken on a new life. Not just for horror movies any longer, they are showing up in TV series like The Walking Dead and even on bumper stickers. Recently I saw one such sticker declaring "My zombie child just ate the brains of your honor student." Of course that was in jest, I think. But what is it with Zombies being portrayed as essentially brainless? Where did this idea come from? My 1967 Webster's collegiate dictionary says in part
"In west Indian superstition, a supernatural power through which a corpse may be brought to a state of trancelike animation and made to obey the commands of the person exercising the power.
Wow! Does that ever sound like Washington or what?

Now in most of my 71 years observing politics and human nature, I seriously doubt there is any supernatural power guiding the creatures roaming around Washington (or Lansing for that matter). But a recent movie I was informed of gave me a hint. In that movie, the zombies were created by a virus which killed the thinking part of the brains of otherwise normal people leaving only their automatic bodily functions still alive. Now to me that sounds plausible (almost). Except that in today's real world the virus would not be a physical one but rather a cognitive one, you know like a computer virus. If one of these enters your computer the whole thing dies instantly. Bang! Dead. It won't even add 2 & 2. This seems to support my theory that since it is a cognitive pathogen, then like computer viruses, there are different strains of it.

I think I have detected two different strains of this malady: the programmed and the non-programmed. The programmed virus injects into its victim a program of self destruction whereby its recipient has no choice but to follow a path that will lead to its own demise. It does this by implanting the impulse that destruction and death are good, things to be achieved. This strain is prevalent in humans calling themselves progressive or liberal or leftist. They are found in both political parties but mostly in the Democratic Party. They ignore the past. For example, the fact that no society on fiat money has ever avoided collapse means nothing to them. They stagger on.

The non-programmed virus leaves its victim with complete cognitive dissonance. These are mostly found in the Republican Party. That is why Republicans are often seen wandering around aimlessly, with no purpose, nothing to achieve, making herky-jerky motions and incoherent utterances, having no goal except to eat the brains of Democrats.

Now I want to add that there may be other strains of the virus. I suspect one has infected our news media with a particularly virulent submissive, obedient, unquestioning, pied piper form. But I'll leave that for other investigators to examine. Zombies, like all effects, have a cause and it's becoming obvious that this cause lies in academia. That is where the queen bee of brain deadness resides. They are the powers pulling the strings of media and political corpses.

Is Debbie Wasserman Schultz Right?

I repost this here for those of my readers who don't go the The New Clarion.

Gary North, former staff economist for Ron Paul, has a blog called Tea Party Economist in which he posts links to current political and economic news. His latest posting carries an article on Debbie Wasserman Schultz's claim that the Democrats will win in 2014 because they will stand solidly behind the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare. For those who don't know, Ms. Schultz is the national chairwoman of the Democrat Party.

Judging by the article's comments and other reactions around the web Republicans and conservatives are having knee-slapping guffaws over her announcement. But they shouldn't be in such a hurry to dismiss her words. There is a method to her seeming madness. You see she understands that the moral argument always wins over the practical argument. Her party and its sycophants in the media have been arguing that ObamaCare is a "moral imperative" and other moral platitudes. The Republicans have been confining themselves to the practical argument that ObamaCare doesn't work and in doing so have conceded the moral high ground to the Democrats.

She further knows that Obama will present himself to the voting public in a very presidential way. He will campaign against all the disastrous results of the ACA and promise to fix or get fixed all the problems. The public will vote for his Party because they will still think it cares about them which caring they consider to be of uber importance. They will not see the Republican's claim that ObamaCare is bad because it doesn't work, as having no more moral importance than fixing a flat tire. They will go with the Dems.

Unless that is, the Republicans learn to retake the moral high ground from the Dems. It's not that hard to do. For example, the next time a news anchor or politician or academic confronts a Republican with "you don't care about the needy" or homeless or uninsured or whatever malady is in vogue this week, he should reply with something like "hurting the needy is a strange way to show you care for them" and then back it up with an explanation of how government policies do in fact hurt the needy. There are many variants on this theme, and the evidence for them is all over the place. Republicans must give up the notion that free markets are evil because they are greedy and selfish. To do that Republicans must learn that such concepts (greed and selfishness) are fraudulent concepts designed only to destroy rational self interest.

But before the Republicans can take back the moral argument they must learn that it is theirs for the taking. The Dems never had a right to it. To defend capitalism and free markets is to defend man's unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that this is the morally right thing to do.