“I Can’t See Myself Supporting Anyone But Trump” | Rand Paul

Rand Paul dodges on if a 2020 primary would be good for GOP: ‘I can’t see myself supporting anyone but’ Trump

….“I think no one can stop primaries from happening, and there could well be a primary that happens. Before you get to that, you need to know, is President Trump running for re-election,” Paul said. “You won’t know that until you get into the second, third year of his presidency. At this point, I can’t see myself supporting anyone but President Trump BECAUSE I THINK HE’S GIVEN US THE MOST CONSERVATIVE CABINET WE’VE SEEN SINCE REAGAN.”

WE’VE REPEALED REGULATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME. GAVE US A GREAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE AND I’M HOPING HE GIVES US A COUPLE MORE IF WE HAVE RETIREMENTS. I see the glass as half full. Doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything. There will be people that if we can end the Afghan war, that’s who I would support. I don’t think that’s going to be an alternative to president trump. I like to accentuate the positive, and I would support him.”……

(WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

Nicole Gelinas On Free-Market Capitalism vs. “State Capitalism”

In an excellent article entitled:

(Via CITY JOURNAL), it is noted [well] that what many people THINK is the free market is anything but that:

…Free-market capitalism isn’t the same thing as radical libertarianism. Stan Veuger, an American Enterprise Institute scholar and economics lecturer at Harvard, dismisses what he calls “the anarcho-capitalist ideal”: an economy with no regulations and zero taxation. “There are places like Somalia that score well” on such purist definitions of free markets, he points out. To work well, capitalism needs “an environment where people can concentrate on being productive,” rather than, say, having private armies to assure personal safety. Free-market capitalism requires laws and rules, more than ever, now that more people live in close proximity in dense cities than ever before. Human activity leads to disputes, and disputes can be solved, or at least moderated, by resolutions that govern behavior. We often forget that markets don’t make broad public-policy decisions; governments do. Markets allocate resources under a particular policy regime, and they can provide feedback on whether policies are working. If a city, say, restricts building height to preserve sunlight in a public park, free-market actors will take the restricted supply into account, raising building prices. This doesn’t mean that the city made the wrong decision; it means that the city’s voters will risk higher housing prices in order to preserve access to sunlight. By contrast, a city that restricts housing supply and restricts prices via rent regulation is thwarting market signals—it takes an action and then suppresses the direct consequences of that action.

[….]

In critical areas of the economy, though, markets are in retreat. Behind the veneer of free-market governance is a deep expanse of government involvement in massive areas of the economy, such as the housing market and health care. People don’t make decisions on housing and health-care concerns every day, but when they do, they would benefit from the information that markets provide about whether they can afford a large house or whether a particular drug is worth the price. Government distortion of these key markets has scrambled these signals.

An annual congressional report, “Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures,” gives insight into how Washington manipulates supply and demand in these sectors. Consider house prices. This year, Washington will pay homeowners $99 billion in forgone taxes to borrow money to purchase or refinance a house or to sell that house and reap the profit. Americans will buy or sell about $600 billion worth of houses this year. Government subsidy, then, represents nearly one-sixth of this market. The federal government also provides a guarantee for most mortgages, thanks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-supported mortgage companies that benefited for decades from an implicit government guarantee before they got an explicit guarantee during the 2008 financial crisis.

These subsidies have fired the growth of the housing industry. Between 1975 and 1979, the U.S. Treasury paid out $102.6 billion in mortgage-interest breaks in today’s dollars. Between 2015 and 2019, the Treasury will pay out $419.8 billion in such tax favoritism—a more than fourfold rise, nearly ten times the population increase. The hike is particularly extraordinary, considering that in the late 1970s, the annual interest rate on a mortgage was 9 percent, twice what it is today. Taking today’s lower rates into account, Washington has increased the mortgage subsidy more than eightfold.

It’s no surprise that mortgage debt has soared, to $9.5 trillion, from $2.6 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars in 1981. Back then, mortgage debt constituted 31 percent of our nation’s GDP. Today, it makes up nearly 53 percent. McCloskey, who thinks that free markets are generally healthy, acknowledges that “there are examples of the price signal not coming through.” The mortgage-interest deduction is “a silly idea,” she says, yet “very hard to change.”

Indeed, government subsidy is a critical factor in whether families can afford to purchase a home, and what kind of home, how large, and in what zip code. The home-mortgage deduction, then, helps determine how people live—yet we barely notice. Few of us consider how the government shapes one of the biggest decisions we’ll ever make, or how the U.S. government’s presence in the housing market maintains the value of our homes.

Housing subsidies that distort individual decisions also affect the biggest investment market in the world: the American housing market is worth $27.5 trillion—more than a tenth of the world’s $250 trillion in total wealth. The government, not capitalism, has determined the value of this market, which, in turn, helps determine the value of other markets: money that goes into this 11 percent of the global asset market can’t go into the other 89 percent. Home values also affect consumer spending. Someone whose home value is rising will feel freer to take on credit-card debt, for example.

Perhaps American house prices should be lower, and people should put their savings into companies that create products and jobs. Or perhaps house prices should be higher, accounting for a growing population, and people should live in smaller homes, spaced more closely together. In turn, perhaps the price of Chinese stocks would be higher, reflecting future growth, if Chinese investors did not divert money into U.S.-backed American housing debt. No one knows, because market signals get obscured.

One can agree or disagree with government jiggering of the housing market. What one cannot do is call it “free-market capitalism.” It is better described as democratic socialism. Americans have embraced government control of one of the world’s most important economic activities.

Free markets are under attack in health care, too, and the trend began long before Obamacare. Critics of our dysfunctional health-care system often blame capitalism for its excesses and distortions. But the health-care “market,” like the housing market, is responding rationally to government signals.

Washington provides massive tax breaks to health care. This year, as noted in Congress’s tax-expenditure report, the government will provide $143.8 billion in federal tax breaks for employers’ coverage of workers’ health insurance—more than the housing-tax break. The health-care subsidy has increased ninefold after inflation since the late 1970s. This tax break means that workers don’t see the full cost of their health-care coverage and thus cannot respond, when the price of health care rises, by demanding lower costs.

In providing Medicare to seniors and Medicaid to poorer people, Washington is the nation’s largest health-care customer, accounting for more than 30 percent of the United States’ annual $3 trillion in health-care spending. The largest customer in any market affects the entire market. Medicare and Medicaid stipulate how much the federal government will pay to hospitals and doctors for visits and surgeries. If hospitals and doctors can’t recover their costs and make an adequate profit under this price schedule, they charge private customers more. Medicare also distorts the price that drugmakers can charge for prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies know that their biggest customer is the government of the world’s richest sovereign nation. They have no way of setting market prices.

This past summer saw a health-care episode that, depending on your point of view, might have looked like an example of successful free-market capitalism or uncontrolled capitalist greed. Drugmaker Mylan said that it would increase the price of a decades-old product, the EpiPen allergy shot, to $600. That was the latest in a string of price hikes that have made the EpiPen 400 percent more expensive than when Mylan purchased the product a decade ago. Mylan has quintupled EpiPen’s revenues during that period, Bloomberg News reported, partly through savvy marketing. At one time, doctors prescribed EpiPens only to people with histories of severe allergic reaction. Now, people with more moderate allergies ask their doctors for EpiPens as a preventive measure.

The would-be free-market defense is that Mylan is making a decent profit, giving some people what they need (a lifesaving drug and medical device) and giving others what they want (a sense of security). Under this argument, Mylan can take that profit and invest it in new drug development. The would-be free-market criticism is that Mylan is enriching its executives by taking advantage of people who have no choice but to buy this product.

The reality: Mylan doesn’t operate in a free market, so one can neither praise nor blame markets for the EpiPen price. Mylan could increase prices and sales over a decade because its “customers” weren’t directly paying—most people buy their EpiPen through subsidized private insurance or through Medicare or Medicaid. Mylan could also boost EpiPen sales by petitioning the government for special benefits. Through lobbying, as Bloomberg notes, the company pushed 47 states to stock the pens in schools. And when federal regulations decreed that people should carry EpiPens in packs of two, the company stopped selling single EpiPens.

Lastly, Mylan lacks a competitor. If Mylan were operating in a competitive market, it could not have imposed these price increases, regardless of whether it wanted to invest the profits in new drug research or line its executives’ pockets. If Penguin Books tried to charge $300 for a copy of A Tale of Two Cities, another bookseller would price the tome at $8, and that would be the end of that.

Just as political forces helped shape Mylan’s pricing, politics, not markets, made the company retreat from its latest price increase. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton singled out the drugmaker as “the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers.” But Mylan wasn’t exploiting consumers; it was only responding to perverse government signals.

Just as in housing, one can agree or disagree with the U.S. government’s policies in health care. One can argue that the government should pay high prices for drugs to signal to global investors that they can expect big payoffs for taking risks. Or, one can maintain that the government should use its negotiating power to lower prices, as European nations do. One cannot claim that either policy is a free-market one; both are social-democratic positions.

The government’s hand is increasingly busy in other areas of society, too, preventing market signals from coming through. In life’s decisions, getting an education is right up there with buying a house or choosing the right cancer medicine. Yet prospective students don’t determine the free-market value of a particular school’s curriculum through the amount that they are able and willing to pay. Instead, the government distorts this market. Washington provides $2.1 billion a year in tax subsidies for student loans. Just as important, it keeps the interest rates on these loans low by directly lending money to students. This cheap money has inflated the cost of education by giving students more borrowed money with which to pay and by removing any incentive for schools to control expenses. Over the past decade alone, the amount of debt that students owe has more than doubled after inflation, from less than $600 billion in 2005 to $1.4 trillion in mid-2016.

Just as in health care, America saw a striking example of how government, not the market, governs education over the summer. Just before the start of the fall term, ITT, a for-profit college with 35,000 students, said that it was going out of business. It wasn’t for a lack of customers; rather, it was for a lack of federal money backing those customers. Washington had demanded that the company pay much more to participate in the federal student-loan program, to account for, as the government put it, “significant concerns” about ITT’s “integrity, financial viability, and ability to serve students.” The college couldn’t pay, and it shuttered its classrooms. When a school cannot stay open without ceaseless infusions of government-guaranteed tuition payments, it is not operating in a free-market environment (and neither are its for-profit and nonprofit competitors). Just as with housing and health care, one can agree or disagree with government control of the higher-education market. One just can’t call it a free market….

(read the WHOLE article… it is worth it)

The Long Road To Hell – Statism and Truth (William J. Murray)

Before the excerpt, here are some short videos with the author, who happens to be the son of MADALYN MURRAY O’HAIR:

Here is an excellent excerpt from a book a friend got me reading:william-murray-utopian-road-hell-book-330

  • William J. Murray, Utopian Road to Hell: Enslaving America and the World With Central Planning (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2016), 112-119.

…As Hayek noted back in 1944: “There can be no doubt that plan­ning necessarily involves deliberate discrimination between particular needs of different people, and allowing one man to do what another must be prevented from doing. It must lay down by a legal rule how well off particular people shall be and what different people are to be allowed to have and do.”

From these examples you can see that the totalitarian nature of government does not suddenly appear in a democracy. First there must be social acceptance among the elite, who then persuade the rest of society to go along with them. Hayek noted this progress in his 1944 essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism”:

The political development of the Western World during the last hundred years furnishes the clearest demonstration. Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for the obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction of theorists, deriving from certain tendencies of abstract thought with which for a long time only the intellectuals were familiar; and it required long efforts by the intellectuals before the working classes could be per­suaded to adopt it as their program.

TYRANNY THROUGH THE BALLOT BOX

Hayek reminded us that socialist tyrannies can come through legal means in the democratic process just as easily as through abrupt totalitarianism. Adolf Hitler, for example, was elected to office, unlike Cambodia’s Pol Pot, who seized power. Thus, democracies aren’t necessarily a protection against utopian central planners taking away the liberties of individuals.

Quite often, democratically elected representatives can delegate authority to bureaucrats who have the authority to impose the draco­nian policies on an unwilling populace. Hayek wrote, “By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.”

Hayek isn’t the only philosopher or economist to warn about the dangers of tyranny being imposed through the democratic process. Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French philosopher who visited the United States in the mid-1800s to study the democratic system and culture, warned that democratic systems could become despotic.

In Democracy in America, in his classic chapter “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear” (volume 2), Tocqueville accurately predicted the rise of bureaucratic czars and webs of legislation that would stifle human freedom and productivity. It is as if he were writing prophetically about the Environmental Protection Agency, which has imposed so many irrational rules on industry that our nation is in danger of losing its ability to compete in many industries, such as energy.

Tocqueville compared the ancient tyrannies of the past and noted that Roman emperors had tremendous power over the lives of their subjects who were scattered throughout the world, but that the “details of social life and private occupations lay for the most part beyond his control.” However, Tocqueville warned:

It would seem that if despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them. I do not question, that in an age of instruc­tion and equality like our own, sovereigns might more easily succeed in collecting all political power into their own hands, and might interfere more habitually and decidedly within the circle of private interests, than any sovereign of antiquity could ever do. But this same principle of equality which facilitates despotism, tempers its rigour.

He continued: “I think then that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the world: our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I am trying myself to choose an expression which will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it, but in vain; the old words ‘despotism’ and ‘tyranny’ are inappropriate: the thing itself is new; and since I cannot name it, I must attempt to define it.”

According to Tocqueville, this kind of democratic oppression is

absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, fore­sees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances—what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.

America’s schoolchildren today are educated under policies of “no tolerance” that demand they become automatons. Showing various emotions, such as anger or love, can lead to expulsion from school, or worse. Children have been arrested for pointing a finger and saying, “Bang!” and suspended from classes for sharing a hug in the hallways. Currently, some high school students, thanks to legislation promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama, are not allowed to eat more than 750 calories for lunch, even boys on the football team, who require upwards of 3,000 calories a day. This is exactly the type of democratic oppression that both Tocqueville and Hayek discussed, and it continues to spread in Western nations.

Tocqueville described what happens to citizens when they’re slowly enslaved by an all-powerful central government:

It [the statist] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, ener­vates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described, might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom; and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.

Like a frog placed in cold water, and then the temperature is increased slowly until the frog is cooked, the populace do not notice the melting away of individual liberty. For instance, the American people were placed in the cold water of a “small” income tax imposed by President Woodrow Wilson that has become today almost total control of the economy by the central government. Hayek and Tocqueville both described accurately the destruction of individual liberty, not only through absolute dictatorships, but by democratic totalitarianism as well.

THE END OF TRUTH

Hayek devoted a full chapter in The Road to Serfdom to the function of propaganda in a socialist welfare state. He pointed out that in such a totalitarian system, it isn’t enough just to force everyone to work for the end desired; they must also be convinced that those ends are actually theirs and that they are obtainable. Thus, the propagandist must be able to brainwash the populace into believing that the central planners are benevolent and that their goals are actually those of the people.

As Hayek observed, “The skilful propagandist then has power to mold their minds in any direction he chooses, and even the most intel­ligent and independent people cannot entirely escape that influence if they are long isolated from all other sources of information.”

According to Hayek, the moral consequence of totalitarian propa­ganda is that it undermines the sense of and respect for the truth. In fact, the totalitarian propagandist isn’t concerned with the truth. He only wants to convince the populace that the rulers are acting in the best interest of the enslaved citizens, to achieve their utopian dreams. Lying becomes the standard of utopian governments.

FREDERIC BASTIAT’S WARNINGS AGAINST SOCIALIST UTOPIANISM

French economist and politician Frederic Bastiat’s writings aren’t well known in the United States these days, but they certainly should be. Bastiat was the deputy to the Legislative Assembly in France during the mid-1800s, when that nation was rapidly turning into a socialist state.

Alarmed by the trend, Bastiat spent his time and energies debunking all of the    excuses that were used to impose statism on the French people. His classic, The Law, was published in 1850 and followed some of the similar lines of logic as did Hayek’s later work. It was his desire to convince his fellow Frenchmen that socialism would inevitably lead to slavery and Communism. Regrettably, his warnings were mostly ignored, but his prophetic writings against socialism are very timely, as our own nation’s leaders play with totalitarian ideas about how to turn us into dependent serfs.

Bastiat began The Law by clearly asserting that God gave us life, including physical, intellectual, and moral life. In addition, God gave each person the ability to use resources to create value and to own property. He further asserted, “Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?”

He defined law as the “organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and prop­erties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.”

But what happens when the state uses the law to destroy freedom? It is engaging in what Bastiat rightly called “lawful plunder.”

When a state legalizes plunder, wrote Bastiat, one of the first effects is to erase “from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

When legalized plunder becomes commonplace in a socialist govern­ment, noted Bastiat, every group in society will want to get their share of it. Everyone will begin plundering from everyone else: “Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few, whether farmers, manufacturers, ship owners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so.”

Bastiat clearly shows us how we can determine if a law is actually legal­ized plunder. His definition perfectly fits much of the transfer of wealth that occurs in Western nations today, including in the United States.

See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites repri­sals. If such a law—which may be an isolated case—is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

Sadly, when Woodrow Wilson introduced the income tax, the people had the opportunity to stop just such an evil, but out of the promise that it would benefit the many at the expense of the few rich of the time, a constitutional amendment was approved to allow the theft of the income of those who produce value through labor or investment. The result is massive government today, which takes from virtually everyone’s earnings to some degree.

Bastiat continued: “Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help.”

Augustine of Hippo made a similar statement regarding government plundering in the fifth century:

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity.

Following a road to serfdom as described by Hayek inevitably leads to what might be called a benign authoritarian system, where everyone is brainwashed into docile obedience, or to a brutal dictatorship that includes a police state, a reign of terror, and gulags to keep the populace under control. Authors George Orwell and Aldous Huxley have described these two kinds of societies, but the result is the same in both: freedom of the individual is destroyed and the state rules from cradle to the grave.

Big Government Defined

“Big Government refers to a government that is very influential in the everyday lives of citizens, often due to its far-reaching agencies.” In other words, the growth of centralized government. Pat Buchanan once put it well:

  • The mammoth government we have today is a result of politicians rushing to solve ‘crises’ by creating and empowering new federal agencies.

Thomas Sowell says of this in a recent book he wrote:

  • Big Government damages trust rather than enhancing it, by making it more difficult for people to voluntarily cooperate for mutual profit.

Installing new powers for existing departments of government that create more legislation that straps the common man and business owner with more regulation and less freedom (an example would be the EPA and its new powers over more private property). Creating new departments and growing government in it’s scope and regulating powers (for instance, the ACA).

This is why “Dubya” always rated low in polls of people with differing political views. The left didn’t like him because he was on the opposite side of their viewpoint. The right didn’t like him because he teamed up with Kennedy and reinforced the idea of the Dept. of Education in joint legislation to increase its scope and influence WHEN it should be abolished all-together.


Thomas E. Dewey stated the case against Big Government in 1950: “All-powerful, central government, like dictatorships, can continue only by growing larger and larger. It can never retrench without admitting failure. By absorbing more than half of all the taxing power of the nation, the federal government now deprives the states and local governments of the capacity to support the programs they should conduct … it offers them in exchange the counterfeit currency of federal subsidy.”

Dwight Eisenhower deplored what he called “the whole-hog mentality,” which “leans toward the creation of a more extensive and stifling monopoly than this country has ever seen … you don’t need more supergovernment.”

✦ Republican House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, in 1966, blamed it all on the Democrats, labeling them “the party of Big Business, of Big Government, of Big Spending, of Big Deficits, of Big Cost of Living, of Big Labor Trouble, of Big Home Foreclosures, of Big Scandals, of Big Riots in the Streets and of Big Promises.”

✦ “The truth about big government,” said John F. Kennedy in 1962, “is the truth about any other great activity: it is complex. Certainly it is true that size brings dangers, but it is also true that size also can bring benefits.”

✦ A favorite Ronald Reagan line was “Government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” President Bill Clinton astonished some followers and delighted some critics with “The era of big government is over.”

(Quotes are from William Safire, Safire’s Political Dictionary (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2008), 52, cf. big government.)


Professor Thies notes “what conservatism is” in a short numbered way, that defines well what the base of the GOP stands for (or doesn’t stand for):

1. Belief in a transcendent order or body of natural law that rules society as well as conscience. There is objective truth in the universe, and we can know it. All sources of knowledge testify to this truth, and therefore faith and reason must be reconciled. Furthermore, our knowledge of “self-evident truths” grows as we become more aware of our nature and that of the universe.

2. Affection for the variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrow uniformity and egalitarianism of “radical” systems. We love people, not merely “the people,” and we enjoy our culture and all the cultures of the world. We love the planet on which we find ourselves and the entire universe in its vastness and in its tiniest details. It is all utterly amazing and beyond human comprehension, and we also love that. And, we are suspicious of those who would seek to impose their designs on society, as they only reveal they have no idea of the limits of their knowledge.

3. Civilization needs the rule of law and something Adam Smith described as “useful inequality.” This is in contrast to the notion of a “classless society.” Conservatives believe there are natural distinctions among men, leading to inequalities of condition. Conservatives affirm equality before God and the law; anything more leads not only to servitude but to boredom.

4. The argument for property is more than economic efficiency. It is that by having something a person can call his own, and by earning his living as opposed to depending on the apparatus of the state, a person is enabled to see himself as a unique and wonderful creature, and to love himself; and, loving himself thusly, and relating to others on the basis of mutual advantage and affection, he is enabled to love others as he loves himself. (I got this profound insight into the moral foundation of capitalism from Pope John Paul II.)

5. That social institutions such as the family, churches, fraternal organizations, for-profit business organizations, charities and even governments, are animated and justified by the choices made by those entering into them. (This is a wholesale substitution of the fifth principle of the Kirk Center, which is merely the converse of the second principle.) (I developed this from James Buchanan’s theory of clubs. It is the nexus of libertarian and conservative thought, libertarians being concerned with freedom, and conservatives with social institutions.)

6. Conservatives recognize risk and reward involved in change. While we believe in progress, we accept that mistakes are and will be made by those engaged in the process of discovery. Hayek dedicated his book The Constitution of Liberty to “The unknown civilization taking shape in America.” Hopefully, after the election we should again be excited about the great adventure we embarked upon with the founding of this country.

Three question the left rarely [if ever] ask:

1) compared to what?
2) at what cost?
3) what hard-evidence do you have?

 

McDonalds and Drinking Whole Milk vs. the Government

John Cisna, a teacher, ate only McDonald’s to teach his class how to choose low caloric meals and how to embrace healthy choices, even at Mickey D’s.

The Government warned us strongly that we shouldn’t drink whole milk… but now that’s proving to be untrue. What else do they lie about?

Do BIG Unions Buy Politicians? (Daniel DiSalvo)

Who poses the biggest threat to America’s economy by striking deals with crooked politicians? Big Oil, Big Pharma, or Big Unions? Daniel DiSalvo, political science professor at the City College of New York, gives the answer.

Confused About the Ongoing Bundy Ranch Debacle? Read On…

I have been a bit confused as well, but after a few days of digesting news — old and new media — I have come to the conclusion that if I had the time/money I would take a trip out to the Bundy Ranch and help. Below is some of the news that fortified this previous “on-the-fence” position I had.

(The below video is via GOP Daily Dose.) An earlier video had me hoping this would end well, but alas, it turns out Harry Reid was right for once when he said, “Well, it’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over” (Breitbart).

Firstly, I wish to thank Powerline for a well written, thought out, presentation that has cleared up some more issues for me. I suggest reading their entire article entitled: “Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy,” it is worth the time.

On Saturday, I wrote about the standoff at Bundy Ranch. That post drew a remarkable amount of traffic, even though, as I wrote then, I had not quite decided what to make of the story. Since then, I have continued to study the facts and have drawn some conclusions. Here they are.

First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that?…. (continued after break)…

LOL! Government Thinks the 1st Amendment Is an Area (Scary)

“Let’s be clear: the BLM is its own worst enemy on this issue, and many others. The agency’s ludicrous mishandling of this week’s protests with “First Amendment Zones” and the like is part and parcel of a years-long and mounting disrespect for public involvement in the management of its own lands. The probably illegal denial of public comment at solar project hearings we reported on in 2011 remains BLM Desert District policy, an issue we’re continuing to track.” (KCET)

The Washington Times gets to the core of the issue and why a militarized force (many government agencies, even the Post Office, that have no law enforcement needs have such units now) may be being used. And it is where an administration places it’s eggs:

Mr. Reid’s son Rory Reid, a former Clark County commissioner, represented ENN Mojave Energy, a Chinese-backed company seeking to build a $5 billion solar plant near Laughlin, Nev. The company ultimately dropped those plans after failing to secure sufficient financial backing, according to reports.

That project was more than 100 miles from the Bundy Ranch, Ms. Orthman said.

A separate solar project, involving a local Indian tribe, that Mr. Reid has pushed also does not overlap with the Bundy ranch.

“[Harry] Reid’s push for solar energy development in southern Nevada included attendance last month at a groundbreaking ceremony for a solar power facility that involves the Moapa Band of Pauites and First Solar Inc.,” said the KLAS-TV report. “But that 250-megawatt power plant will be roughly 35 miles southwest of the Bundy ranch.”

…read more…

Powerline continues to explain there may be some alternative energy interests (the Washington Times article directly above) involved in why the BLM is enforcing the issue right now, and then PL goes on to explain:

…So it is possible that the federal government is driving Bundy off federal lands to make way for mitigation activities that enable the solar energy development to the north. But I don’t think it is necessary to go there. Rather–this is the second and more important point–it is obvious that some activities are favored by the Obama administration’s BLM, and others are disfavored. The favored developments include solar and wind projects. No surprise there: the developers of such projects are invariably major Democratic Party donors. Wind and solar energy survive only by virtue of federal subsidies, so influencing people like Barack Obama and Harry Reid is fundamental to the developers’ business plans. Ranchers, on the other hand, ask nothing from the federal government other than the continuation of their historic rights. It is a safe bet that Cliven Bundy is not an Obama or Reid contributor.

The new head of the BLM is a former Reid staffer. Presumably he was placed in his current position on Reid’s recommendation. Harry Reid is known to be a corrupt politician, one who has gotten wealthy on a public employee’s salary, in part, at least, by benefiting from sweetheart real estate deals. Does Harry Reid now control more than 80% of the territory of Nevada? If you need federal authority to conduct business in Nevada–which is overwhelmingly probable–do you need to pay a bribe to Harry Reid or a member of his family to get that permission? Why is it that the BLM is deeply concerned about desert tortoises when it comes to ranchers, but couldn’t care less when the solar power developers from China come calling? Environmentalists have asked this question. Does the difference lie in the fact that Cliven Bundy has never contributed to an Obama or Reid campaign, or paid a bribe to Reid or a member of his family?

Based on the evidence, I would say: yes, that is probably the difference. When the desert tortoises balance out, Occam’s razor tells us that the distinction is political.

So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?

Read it all!

Here is a good explanation in media form via FreeDomain Radio that clearly goes through the many aspects of this confrontation.. well:

(From the above videos description) Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy – of Bundy Ranch – is locked in a standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over illegal cattle grazing, endangered tortoises and property rights. It gets even better…

The fight involves a 600,000-acre area under BLM control called Gold Butte, near the Utah border. The is the habitat of the protected desert tortoise, and the land has been off-limits for cattle since 1998.

Five years before that, when grazing was legal, Bundy stopped paying federal fees for the right. Bundy stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. He said he didn’t have to because his Mormon ancestors worked the land since the 1880s, giving him rights to the land.

“We own this land,” he said, not the feds. He said he is willing to pay grazing fees but only to Clark County, not BLM.

“Years ago, I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers,” he said. “I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.”

Nevada, where various federal agencies manage or control more than 80 percent of the land, is among several Western states where ranchers have challenged federal land ownership.

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Another good “new media” presentation filters out the junk and provides the below cache of the original issue and drive behind the Bundy Ranch “round-up” ~ pun intended. This comes via SCG News:

Cached Forensic Evidence

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The Bigger the Government the Smaller the Individual (PragerU)

(Video description) In every society throughout human history the following relationship has held true: as government grows, human freedom and happiness shrinks. Best selling author, Dennis Prager puts it this way: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” This has been true in Europe for decades and is becoming ever more so in the United States. But it’s not the kind of nation, the Founding Fathers had in mind. Can we get back to the principles of liberty and individual responsibility? It’s a big challenge. But first we have to recognize the problem.

Big government leads to lobbyist and special interest groups… Larry Elder points out that if you dislike these controlling and influencing aspects on our body-politic, you would want to diminish it by diminishing the size of government. But these ills the left loves to harp on will only increase as government increases in size and scope. Likewise, Milton Friedman points out that monopolies are ONLY possible with big government intervention.

And from an article via Dennis Prager:


Rational People Fear Big Government, Not Big Business

You cannot understand the left if you do not understand that Leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some Left-wing Christians’ and Jews’ claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in Leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian.

One of them is material equality as the preeminent moral goal. Another is the villainy of corporations. The bigger the corporation, the greater the villainy. Thus, instead of the devil, the left has Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the “military-industrial complex,” and the like. Meanwhile, Big Labor, Big Trial Lawyers, and, of course, Big Government are leftwing angels. And why is that? Why, to be specific, does the left fear big corporations but not big government? The answer is dogma — a belief system that transcends reason. No rational person can deny that big governments have caused almost all the great evils of the last century, arguably the bloodiest in history. Who killed the 20-30 million Soviet citizens in the Gulag Archipelago — big government or big business? Hint: There were no private businesses in the Soviet Union. Who deliberately caused 75 million Chinese to starve to death — big government or big business? Hint: See previous hint. Did Coca Cola kill five million Ukrainians? Did Big Oil slaughter a quarter of the Cambodian population? Would there have been a Holocaust without the huge Nazi state?

Whatever bad big corporations have done is dwarfed by the monstrous crimes — the mass enslavement of people, the deprivation of the most basic human rights, not to mention the mass murder and torture and genocide — committed by big governments.

How can anyone who thinks rationally believe that big corporations rather than big governments pose the greatest threat to humanity? The answer is that it takes a mind distorted by leftist dogma. If there is another explanation, I do not know what it is.

Religious Christians and Jews also have some irrational beliefs, but their irrationality is overwhelmingly confined to theological matters; and these theological irrationalities have no deleterious impact on religious Jews’ and Christians’ ability to see the world rationally and morally. Few religious Jews or Christians believe that big corporations are in any way analogous to big government in terms of evil done. And the few who do are leftists.

That the Left demonizes “Big Pharma,” for instance, is an example of leftwing thinking. America’s pharmaceutical companies have saved millions of lives, including millions of leftists’ lives. And I do not doubt that in order to increase profits, they have not always played by the rules. But to demonize big pharmaceutical companies while lionizing big government, big labor unions and big trial law firms, is to stand morality on its head.

There is yet another reason to fear big government far more than big corporations. ExxonMobil has no police force, no IRS, no ability to arrest you, no ability to shut you up, and certainly no ability to kill you. ExxonMobil can’t knock on your door in the middle of the night and legally take you away. Apple Computer cannot take your money away without your consent, and it runs no prisons. The government does all of these things.

Of course, the left will respond that government also does good and that corporations and capitalists are, by their very nature, “greedy.”

To which the rational response is that, of course, government also does good. But so do the vast majority of corporations, private citizens, church groups, and myriad voluntary associations. On the other hand, only big government can do anything approaching the monstrous evils of the last century.

As for greed: Between hunger for money and hunger for power, the latter is incomparably more frightening. It is noteworthy that none of the twentieth century’s monsters — Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao — were preoccupied with material gain. They loved power much more than money.

And that is why the left is much more frightening than the right. It craves power.

Calvin Coolidge ~ The President Who Shrank Government (PragerU)

Is it possible to make government smaller? Few think so today. Few thought so almost a century ago, following WWI. But one man proved them wrong, our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge (1923 -1929). Acclaimed historian Amity Shlaes explains how Coolidge did more by doing less and why his governing style might just be the approach we need now.

My Favorite Coolidge Quote

“Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness.”

Calvin Coolidge, “Have Faith in Massachusetts,” Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech (Jan. 7, 1914) ~ 30th President of the United States (1923–1929)