Friedrich A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is one of the most fundamental and required readings to understand freedom, markets, and government. Hayek explains how every greater wealth leads a society toward tyranny and, ultimately, serfdom. Written in the early 1940’s, Hayek was able to articulate the natural intrusion of government and was remarkable at predicting political and economic outcomes. Here are a few quotes from The Road to Serfdom:
Minimum mandatory sentences for any criminal offense are an aberration of the separation of powers. A mandatory sentence is an established mandatory for a conviction of a certain crime. For example, having more than 100 grams of cocaine carries with it a minimum 15 year prison sentence in Florida. The judge, despite having reservations about imposing such a high prison sentence, has no recourse other than to imprison for 15 years. While there are limited reasons to deviate downward, even those have been have been further limited by the legislature.
One of the things that has been discussed recently among the general population is the amount of government regulation. Most people don’t really care if some other guy is taxed or regulated. Classic Liberals / Libertarians have always taken, “the other guy’s” cause as their own. To try and highlight the ridiculousness of government intervention, let’s take a look at a recent government regulation being called the, “Christmas Tree Tax.”
There are many of us who are not particularly endeared with being called “Libertarians.” The true name for those who believe in liberty being the supreme political tenet is “Classic Liberal.” The founders of Classical Liberalism philosophy include John Locke, Adam Smith, most of the founding fathers, and more recently Hayek and Friedman. However, so devoid is the modern liberal of ideas, that they had to actually steal our name. Hence, the idea of any Libertarian being confused with a modern liberal is so offensive that it becomes necessary to avoid the term “liberal” in any form.
Dr. Nigel Ashford presents an outstanding introduction to what it means to be a, “Classic Liberal” in the truest sense. It is, without doubt, that the explanation provided by Dr. Ashford encompasses the overwhelming majority of those who call themselves Libertarians. It is almost impossible to understand how ANYONE can disagree with these concepts, but we all know they do. Amazingly, tolerance is one of the tenets of being a Classic Liberal.
It is very easy for the Republicans and the Tea Party to scream about the budget, but it seems very hard for them to have the integrity to actually walk-the-walk. The U.S. Senate today voted on a bill to cut the Rural Development Agency (yes, there is actually a government agency for that) by $1 billion. The cut was not passed by a vote of 85 to 13 with 2 abstaining. AMAZING!
What’s more is that those Tea Party favorites McConnell and Rubio voted NAY. There is no doubt that the general view of these Senators are generally known as wanting budget cuts. Why then would they vote against cutting $1 billion from the REA? Simple: nobody in Washington, NOBODY, want to name specific cuts. Everyone will tout the idea of a balanced budget amendment, or line-item vetoes, and the like. But when it comes to telling a specific group, “we are cutting your budget” these politicians run the risk of alienating a special interest group. By voting to cut the RDA, these Senators ran the risk of alienating the Ruralites. And let’s face it, we just can’t have that.
When our Senators, both Democrat and Republican, can’t cut a measly $1 billion (and it is MEASLY) from the Rural Development Agency, it is testament to the power of political cowardice. One would expect this type of vote from the Democrats and establishment Republicans. It’s easy to see that Tea Party rhetoric about out of control spending is just that.
You are, officially, unable to do things for yourself. The government is telling you, openly and notoriously, that you cannot make it on your own. You are being told that you need the government to make it and, without Washington’s help, you will not be able to live, succeed, or thrive.
President Obama, speaking at a fund raiser, stated, ““The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008 [to get me re-elected], then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’” Can you imagine, the President of the United States, stating unequivocally that people can’t make it on their own? Is there any chance that these words might have been written by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or other leaders? Let’s see:
File this under: You gotta be fricken’ kidding me! California is in such desperate need of tax revenue that it has recently started a traffic ticket amnesty program for unpaid traffic fines. That means, that anyone who has an unpaid traffic ticket in California that is more than 3 years past due, can pay the ticket for 50% off. There is so much wrong with this it boggles the mind. A few of the idiotic consequences of this action are:
“Gimme some too, even if it’s not mine and I didn’t earn it, take it from them and give it to me.” That, it seems, is the premise of the recent, “occupy” protests that started on Wall Street and is spreading to different cities. It seems that those protesting don’t really know what they are protesting, they just are.
As Classic Liberal/Libertarian thought is pro-choice, in everything, it makes no difference that there are people protesting even if they don’t know why they are protesting. It’s legal, and every liberty loving person should support them. However, there is a clear chasm when one examines further the reason for the protests. Here is a quote from a news article:
Mark Schwetz, 36, a carpenter from Berkeley who lost his home in Petaluma, California, to foreclosure in 2009, held a sign reading, “We’re not leaving!” . . . “I’ve been waiting for this moment, for this day for a long time now,” Schwetz said. “I worked really hard for my whole life for my home and it was just taken away from me.”
This guy has a real reason to protest and we can understand his plea. Really, here is a guy who purchased a home, was paying his mortgage, was timely with his payments, and someone took it from him. WTF? That is a tragedy and well worth protesting. Wait, what?. . . really? This just in; Mr. Schwetz lost his home in foreclosure because he didn’t pay the mortgage, he didn’t keep his commitment to the bank, and it wasn’t taken away from him unjustly. Apparently he thought that he didn’t need to pay the mortgage in order to realize his dream of home ownership.
That’s right Mr. Schwetz, protest! What are you protesting? Who is going to address your protests? What, exactly, are you asking for? Your house given back to you? Are you asking the government to forcibly take the home back from the bank and give it to you? That, then, would make you happy. What about when the taxes are due? Should the government pay those for you as well?
This is where things get murky. It’s not the protest that should bother us, it’s the entitlement mentality of protesting for the government to take from them and give to me. That thinking offends every aspect of those who embrace Liberty. This is the classic thought of the government taking from Peter to pay Paul. Well, whenever you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on Paul’s support.
Why do we do what the people in power want us to do? How is it that the government can keep what has been called, “the mystery of civil obedience?” Why can they pass any law, spend any money, subject us to any TSA search, or tax, or forced health care plan without us revolting or fighting back?
File this in the hilarity section of logic and reason. Through some amazing twist of delicious fate, there was news of dealing with panhandlers through more laws and government rules to supplement my recent post. A local newspaper addressed the issue and the different ways of dealing with panhandling. Of note is the fact that never once did the article suggest to stop giving them money as previously suggested here. But then again personal accountability and restraint are fringe/kook ideas so I can see why the newspaper didn’t address the market cure. It did however have various locals discussing the issue. Enter the hilarity part, and file it under the sheep-who-follow the-government-can-solve-all-problems file. Here is a direct quote from the article: