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Twilight Zone USA – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 19, 2020

Escaping from behind the Iron Curtain, I thought I was done with
twilight zones for good. But as I watched in amazement the events of the
last three weeks, I saw something happen that I would have never
dreamed possible: The United States has descended into a twilight zone
of its own.

As with every twilight zone, America’s also came into existence as
the result of a false narrative. This narrative runs thus: The United
States of America is a racist country in which black people are
oppressed and where systemic racism prevails. In America every non-black
person is racist. This applies even to those who have never done or
said anything that could be conceivably construed as racist. The racism
of such people is unconscious – they simply cannot see it due to their
white privilege.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/vasko-kohlmayer/twilight-zone-usa/

By

Growing up in a communist regime was like living in a twilight zone where everything had gone topsy-turvy. If you’ve never been to a twilight zone, it is a most curious phenomenon. It comes into existence when in a certain country or a geographic location a blatantly false narrative takes hold of the collective psyche.

The narrative of the twilight zone of my youth went roughly as follows: Socialism was the greatest socio-economic system ever devised while capitalism was very, very bad. The Soviet Union was a paradisiacal land of freedom, opportunity, prosperity and happiness. The United States, on the other hand, was a country of exploitation and oppression where most people were bound, destitute and miserable. This official narrative was constantly and relentlessly promulgated from every quarter of our twilight zone: television, radio, textbooks, arts, newspapers, magazines, etc. Needless to say, the narrative ran in complete contravention of reality. The actual truth was that socialism was no good. On the other hand, most people in the United States were free, quite prosperous and reasonably happy while the Soviet Union was pretty much an all-around hellhole.

Those who attempted to point out the truth or question the authorized storyline were promptly silenced, suppressed and punished. As a result of the swift and efficient censorship the false narrative prevailed and took a deep hold on the societal mind. And because it served as the paradigm for reality, it distorted and turned upside down almost every aspect of life: the good was bad and bad was good; white was black and black was white. The values and ethics in the twilight zone became inverted.

Escaping from behind the Iron Curtain, I thought I was done with twilight zones for good. But as I watched in amazement the events of the last three weeks, I saw something happen that I would have never dreamed possible: The United States has descended into a twilight zone of its own.

As with every twilight zone, America’s also came into existence as the result of a false narrative. This narrative runs thus: The United States of America is a racist country in which black people are oppressed and where systemic racism prevails. In America every non-black person is racist. This applies even to those who have never done or said anything that could be conceivably construed as racist. The racism of such people is unconscious – they simply cannot see it due to their white privilege.

As with the communist narrative of old, the claim that the United States is systemically racist and oppressive toward black people is completely false. This is something that should be readily obvious to every reasonable person. (In case there is doubt, we have discussed this matter at some length here.) Rather than being oppressed, black people in this country are given protections, resources, privileges and preferential treatment that the majority do not have. No society in world history has, in fact, done more for the advancement and upliftment of black people than the United States of America. And this includes all of the black countries and systems that ever existed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-SpaceX’s success is one giant leap for capitalism

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2020

Private-sector innovation is opening the door to a new era of space exploration. Wouldn’t it be ironic if, just as capitalism is allowing us to explore the farthest reaches of our solar system, Americans decided to embrace socialism back here on Earth?
http://tinyurl.com/yaae68gx

It was one small step for man, one giant leap for capitalism.

Only three countries have ever launched human beings into orbit. This past weekend, SpaceX became the first private company ever to do so, when it sent its Crew Dragon capsule into space aboard its Falcon 9 rocket and docked with the International Space Station. This was accomplished by a company Elon Musk started in 2002 in a California strip mall warehouse with just a dozen employees and a mariachi band.

At a time when our nation is debating the merits of socialism, SpaceX has given us an incredible testament to the power of American free enterprise.

While the left is advocating unprecedented government intervention in almost every sector of the U.S. economy, from health care to energy, today Americans are celebrating the successful privatization of space travel.

If you want to see the difference between what government and private enterprise can do, consider: It took a private company to give us the first space vehicle with touchscreen controls instead of antiquated knobs and buttons. It took a private company to give us a capsule that can fly entirely autonomously from launch to landing — including docking — without any participation by its human crew. It also took a private company to invent a reusable rocket that can not only take off but land as well. When the Apollo 11 crew reached the moon on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong declared “the Eagle has landed.” On Saturday, SpaceX was able to declare that the Falcon had landed when its rocket settled down on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean — ready to be used again.

That last development will save the taxpayers incredible amounts of money. The cost to NASA for launching a man into space on the space shuttle orbiter was $170 million per seat, compared with just $60 million to $67 million on the Dragon capsule. The cost for the space shuttle to send a kilogram of cargo into space was $54,500; with the Falcon rocket, the cost is just $2,720 — a decrease of 95%. And while the space shuttle cost $27.4 billion to develop, the Crew Dragon was designed and built for just $1.7 billion — making it the lowest-cost spacecraft developed in six decades. SpaceX did it in six years — far faster than the time it took to develop the space shuttle.

The private sector does it better, cheaper, faster and more efficiently than government. Why? Competition. Today, SpaceX has to compete with a constellation of private companies — including legacy aerospace firms such as Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance and innovative startups such as Blue Origin (which is designing a Mars lander and whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post) and Virgin Orbit (which is developing rockets than can launch satellites into space from the underside of a 747, avoiding the kinds of weather that delayed the Dragon launch). In the race to put the first privately launched man into orbit, upstart SpaceX had to beat aerospace behemoth Boeing and its Starliner capsule to the punch. It did so — for more than $1 billion less than its competitor.

That spirit of competition and innovation will revolutionize space travel in the years ahead. Indeed, Musk has his sights set far beyond Earth orbit.

Already, SpaceX is working on a much larger version of the Falcon 9 reusable rocket called Super Heavy that will carry a deepspace capsule named Starship capable of carrying up to 100 people to the moon and eventually to Mars. Musk’s goal — the reason he founded SpaceX — is to colonize Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species. He has set a goal of founding a millionperson city on Mars by 2050 complete with iron foundries and pizza joints.

Can it be done? Who knows. But this much is certain: Private-sector innovation is opening the door to a new era of space exploration. Wouldn’t it be ironic if, just as capitalism is allowing us to explore the farthest reaches of our solar system, Americans decided to embrace socialism back here on Earth?

Marc A. Thiessen is a Washington Post columnist. Contact him on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

Marc Thiessen

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How the Left Is Trying to Blame Capitalism for COVID-19 Deaths | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 8, 2020

Two elephants in the room go unaddressed in this argument. First, if a vaccine for the virus would save millions of lives in the US alone, potentially tens of millions of lives worldwide, why would that product not be profitable? Does the author honestly think that a product that could literally save one’s life would not be in high demand?

Secondly, why does the blame for failing to develop a vaccine fall squarely on private pharmaceutical companies? What about all the other developed nations that have some form of single-payer or universal healthcare system that the Jacobin crowd thinks will save us all? Why didn’t any of them develop a vaccine?

Learning from the 2015 MERS outbreak, reports ProPublica, “Korean officials enacted a key reform, allowing the government to give near-instantaneous approval to testing systems in an emergency.”

The result? “Within weeks of the current outbreak in Wuhan, China, four Korean companies had manufactured tests from a World Health Organization recipe and, as a result, the country quickly had a system that could assess 10,000 people a day.”

https://mises.org/wire/how-left-trying-blame-capitalism-covid-19-deaths?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=88948eb202-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-88948eb202-228343965

Not hesitating to exploit a health pandemic to advance their ideological agenda, Jacobin magazine on March 26 published an article attempting to proactively blame “millions” of coronavirus deaths on “capitalism.”

Titled “How Capitalism Kills during a Pandemic,” the article advances tired slogans about free markets placing “profits above people,” buttressed by faulty and at times self-contradictory arguments that prove unpersuasive.

To set the most alarmist tone possible, author Nick French begins by warning the reader that the coronavirus “will likely kill millions of people in the United States alone.”

This prediction cherry-picks the most ominous of such projections, irresponsibly relying on the report from London’s Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, who own authors admitted includes projections that are “worst-case,” combined with the incredibly unrealistic caveat that “there are no interventions or changes in people’s behavior.” The report further admitted that “Epidemic timings are approximate given the limitations of surveillance data in both countries,” in essence cautioning that such predictions will be moot once more sufficient data becomes available. (The Jacobin article was published before a leading author of the report altered his predictions based upon the dramatic responses imposed in countries around the world.)

With the reader sufficiently shocked by the worst-case projection of victims based on partial data and unrealistic assumptions, French quickly assigns the villain: “Many of these fatalities could have been avoided if we had a social order that placed the needs of people over profit,” he declares.

Helping to shape the readers’ cartoonish image of evil capitalism, the article informs us: “capitalists prioritize profits over the welfare of their workers and of humanity as a whole,” and adds, “They will pollute the environment with deadly toxins and planet-destroying greenhouse gases before spending money on safe production processes.”

Mass death is but an unconsidered side effect in the heartless system of capitalism. Such is the framing that French establishes.

This leads into his specific critiques:

“First, pharmaceutical companies could have started to develop a vaccine for the virus years ago. The novel coronavirus that is now ravaging the world is actually one of a family of coronaviruses (including SARS and MERS) with which we have long been familiar,” French notes. “It would have been possible to begin research on vaccines and cures for coronaviruses in general, giving us a head start on treatments for the current outbreak. But pharmaceutical companies did not pursue this research, because the prospect of a cure was not sufficiently profitable.”

Two elephants in the room go unaddressed in this argument. First, if a vaccine for the virus would save millions of lives in the US alone, potentially tens of millions of lives worldwide, why would that product not be profitable? Does the author honestly think that a product that could literally save one’s life would not be in high demand?

Secondly, why does the blame for failing to develop a vaccine fall squarely on private pharmaceutical companies? What about all the other developed nations that have some form of single-payer or universal healthcare system that the Jacobin crowd thinks will save us all? Why didn’t any of them develop a vaccine?

Next, the article addresses concerns about the consequences of the economic shutdown being imposed on the American economy. “Losing a job could result in losing your health-care coverage or being unable to pay your student loans,” French writes. This concern is entirely justifiable.

But somehow French doesn’t see the irony in lamenting the close tie between one’s job and health insurance coverage—a result of government policy making insurance coverage tax exempt—as somehow the fault of “capitalism.” Without government interference, far more health insurance coverage would be owned by individuals, not supplied by employers.

Moreover, the student loan debt crisis is largely a government phenomenon as well. Decades of government subsidies and low-interest loans have helped drive up college tuition, and the federal government owns more than 90 percent of all student loan debt.

French blames “capitalism” for putting individuals in precarious situations that are highly exacerbated by the pandemic crisis, but the roots are to be found in government intervention.

Next, he blames greedy capitalist owners for forcing workers to go to work and risk their health because doing otherwise would “hurt bosses’ bottom line.”

In the following paragraph, however, French is forced to concede that the only specific example he cites, Starbucks, despite staying open for a while, “has since shifted to only providing drive-through service because of employee pressure.”

In a competitive market, employers must treat employees reasonably well, or else they will be bid away by more hospitable workplaces.

French then points out the shortages of personal protective equipment such as face masks at hospitals across the country, insisting that this too “is the product of a system that puts profit over people.”

Not so fast. Cumbersome FDA approval processes have been instrumental in slowing the production of much-needed face masks. Moreover, it’s profit-driven private companies such as 3M that are ramping up production of face masks right now in order to bail out the unprepared public health system.

Undaunted, French insists, “If we adequately invested in public hospitals or used state resources to rapidly produce necessary medical equipment, the unfolding pandemic would not hit our health-care system nearly as hard.”

What amount of “investment” would be adequate goes unmentioned. Also unmentioned are the certificate of need (CON) laws still in place in thirty-five states, which require healthcare facilities to get permission from a government commission to expand or otherwise invest in additional medical equipment. These commissions are often stacked with representatives from existing hospitals, who have an incentive to restrict new supply and thus limit competition. Imagine if potential rival retail stores needed to get permission from a committee full of Walmart and Target executives in order to open a new location.

CON laws are one of countless government interventions limiting the supply of medical care in the US. In this the American Medical Association also plays a vital role. As reported by the American Conservative, the AMA “artificially limits the number of doctors, which drives up salaries for doctors and reduces the availability of care.”

For more than a hundred years, the AMA has successfully lobbied governments to enact laws that restrict the number of new doctors in the country. AMA activities have included dramatically decreasing the number of medical schools across the country and turning the process of becoming a doctor into a monumental feat that “requires navigating a maze of accrediting, licensing, and examining bodies.”

The only system putting “profits over people” is that of government interference into the healthcare industry.

French next tries to convince readers that countries with single-payer systems are well equipped to handle the outbreak, unlike the allegedly free market US system.

But on this attempt he also can’t avoid self-contradiction or a downright obfuscation of facts: “Despite the fact that Italy’s health capacity has been overstressed by the particularly brutal explosion of coronavirus there,” he writes, “its universal single-payer health-care system is ensuring that every person, no matter their job or income level, can receive the best treatment possible.”

Well, not every person.

As Politico reported as early as March 3, weeks before French published his article, “anesthesiologists and doctors are being called on to make increasingly tough calls on who gets access to beds and respirators when there are not enough to go around.”

Instead of every person receiving treatment, as French would have you believe is happening, doctors in Italy are forced into “prioritizing younger, otherwise healthy patients over older patients or those with pre-existing conditions.”

French also insists that “Single-payer systems have allowed Denmark and South Korea to quickly institute coronavirus testing on a large scale, which has been essential to their success in slowing the virus’s spread.”

In the case of South Korea, however, it was a previous decision by the government to get the public sector out of the way and allow private sector companies to come to the rescue in cases of emergency that was responsible.

Learning from the 2015 MERS outbreak, reports ProPublica, “Korean officials enacted a key reform, allowing the government to give near-instantaneous approval to testing systems in an emergency.”

The result? “Within weeks of the current outbreak in Wuhan, China, four Korean companies had manufactured tests from a World Health Organization recipe and, as a result, the country quickly had a system that could assess 10,000 people a day.”

In these unprecedented times, many are scared, mourning, and otherwise looking for a villain to blame. Jacobin wants to convince readers that somehow for-profit capitalism is to blame for an underwhelming preparedness. Their argument, however, amounts to little more than sloganeering and half-truths. If anything, it’s the wealth created by capitalist systems that will save lives during this pandemic.

Be seeing you

 

 

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What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2020

The comments in the linked article are as enlightening or in the case of the post itself-entertaining- as the post.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/01/what-libertarianism-has-become-and-will-become-state-capacity-libertarianism.html

by  Tyler Cowen

Having tracked the libertarian “movement” for much of my life, I believe it is now pretty much hollowed out, at least in terms of flow.  One branch split off into Ron Paul-ism and less savory alt right directions, and another, more establishment branch remains out there in force but not really commanding new adherents.  For one thing, it doesn’t seem that old-style libertarianism can solve or even very well address a number of major problems, most significantly climate change.  For another, smart people are on the internet, and the internet seems to encourage synthetic and eclectic views, at least among the smart and curious.  Unlike the mass culture of the 1970s, it does not tend to breed “capital L Libertarianism.”  On top of all that, the out-migration from narrowly libertarian views has been severe, most of all from educated women.

There is also the word “classical liberal,” but what is “classical” supposed to mean that is not question-begging?  The classical liberalism of its time focused on 19th century problems — appropriate for the 19th century of course — but from WWII onwards it has been a very different ballgame.

Along the way, I believe the smart classical liberals and libertarians have, as if guided by an invisible hand, evolved into a view that I dub with the entirely non-sticky name of State Capacity Libertarianism.  I define State Capacity Libertarianism in terms of a number of propositions:

1. Markets and capitalism are very powerful, give them their due.

2. Earlier in history, a strong state was necessary to back the formation of capitalism and also to protect individual rights (do read Koyama and Johnson on state capacity).  Strong states remain necessary to maintain and extend capitalism and markets.  This includes keeping China at bay abroad and keeping elections free from foreign interference, as well as developing effective laws and regulations for intangible capital, intellectual property, and the new world of the internet.  (If you’ve read my other works, you will know this is not a call for massive regulation of Big Tech.)

3. A strong state is distinct from a very large or tyrannical state.  A good strong state should see the maintenance and extension of capitalism as one of its primary duties, in many cases its #1 duty.

4. Rapid increases in state capacity can be very dangerous (earlier Japan, Germany), but high levels of state capacity are not inherently tyrannical.  Denmark should in fact have a smaller government, but it is still one of the freer and more secure places in the world, at least for Danish citizens albeit not for everybody.

5. Many of the failures of today’s America are failures of excess regulation, but many others are failures of state capacity.  Our governments cannot address climate change, much improve K-12 education, fix traffic congestion, or improve the quality of their discretionary spending.  Much of our physical infrastructure is stagnant or declining in quality.  I favor much more immigration, nonetheless I think our government needs clear standards for who cannot get in, who will be forced to leave, and a workable court system to back all that up and today we do not have that either.

Those problems require state capacity — albeit to boost markets — in a way that classical libertarianism is poorly suited to deal with.  Furthermore, libertarianism is parasitic upon State Capacity Libertarianism to some degree.  For instance, even if you favor education privatization, in the shorter run we still need to make the current system much better.  That would even make privatization easier, if that is your goal.

6. I will cite again the philosophical framework of my book Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals.

7. The fundamental growth experience of recent decades has been the rise of capitalism, markets, and high living standards in East Asia, and State Capacity Libertarianism has no problem or embarrassment in endorsing those developments.  It remains the case that such progress (or better) could have been made with more markets and less government.  Still, state capacity had to grow in those countries and indeed it did.  Public health improvements are another major success story of our time, and those have relied heavily on state capacity — let’s just admit it.

8. The major problem areas of our time have been Africa and South Asia.  They are both lacking in markets and also in state capacity.

9. State Capacity Libertarians are more likely to have positive views of infrastructure, science subsidies, nuclear power (requires state support!), and space programs than are mainstream libertarians or modern Democrats.  Modern Democrats often claim to favor those items, and sincerely in my view, but de facto they are very willing to sacrifice them for redistribution, egalitarian and fairness concerns, mood affiliation, and serving traditional Democratic interest groups.  For instance, modern Democrats have run New York for some time now, and they’ve done a terrible job building and fixing things.  Nor are Democrats doing much to boost nuclear power as a partial solution to climate change, if anything the contrary.

10. State Capacity Libertarianism has no problem endorsing higher quality government and governance, whereas traditional libertarianism is more likely to embrace or at least be wishy-washy toward small, corrupt regimes, due to some of the residual liberties they leave behind.

11. State Capacity Libertarianism is not non-interventionist in foreign policy, as it believes in strong alliances with other relatively free nations, when feasible.  That said, the usual libertarian “problems of intervention because government makes a lot of mistakes” bar still should be applied to specific military actions.  But the alliances can be hugely beneficial, as illustrated by much of 20th century foreign policy and today much of Asia — which still relies on Pax Americana.

It is interesting to contrast State Capacity Libertarianism to liberaltarianism, another offshoot of libertarianism.  On most substantive issues, the liberaltarians might be very close to State Capacity Libertarians.  But emphasis and focus really matter, and I would offer this (partial) list of differences:

a. The liberaltarian starts by assuring “the left” that they favor lots of government transfer programs.  The State Capacity Libertarian recognizes that demands of mercy are never ending, that economic growth can benefit people more than transfers, and, within the governmental sphere, it is willing to emphasize an analytical, “cold-hearted” comparison between government discretionary spending and transfer spending.  Discretionary spending might well win out at many margins.

b. The “polarizing Left” is explicitly opposed to a lot of capitalism, and de facto standing in opposition to state capacity, due to the polarization, which tends to thwart problem-solving.  The polarizing Left is thus a bigger villain for State Capacity Libertarianism than it is for liberaltarianism.  For the liberaltarians, temporary alliances with the polarizing Left are possible because both oppose Trump and other bad elements of the right wing.  It is easy — maybe too easy — to market liberaltarianism to the Left as a critique and revision of libertarians and conservatives.

c. Liberaltarian Will Wilkinson made the mistake of expressing enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren.  It is hard to imagine a State Capacity Libertarian making this same mistake, since so much of Warren’s energy is directed toward tearing down American business.  Ban fracking? Really?  Send money to Russia, Saudi Arabia, lose American jobs, and make climate change worse, all at the same time?  Nope.

d. State Capacity Libertarianism is more likely to make a mistake of say endorsing high-speed rail from LA to Sf (if indeed that is a mistake), and decrying the ability of U.S. governments to get such a thing done.  “Which mistakes they are most likely to commit” is an underrated way of assessing political philosophies.

You will note the influence of Peter Thiel on State Capacity Libertarianism, though I have never heard him frame the issues in this way.

Furthermore, “which ideas survive well in internet debate” has been an important filter on the evolution of the doctrine.  That point is under-discussed, for all sorts of issues, and it may get a blog post of its own.

Here is my earlier essay on the paradox of libertarianism, relevant for background.

Happy New Year everyone!

Be seeing you

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This Martial Law Will End, and End Badly

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2020

The plebes – to their credit – know intuitively the economic reality which dictates there is no bottom in a market economy based upon closing the markets. Thus, they knew they had better stock up on food, guns and other necessities. And it will be bad: Great Depression-level bad. Last week, Tyler Cowen of George Mason University rather off-handedly posited that if current policy is maintained until August, the result would be 20 percent unemployment – not for months – but for years. 

There are now two kinds of people in the world: 1. Those who believe the Democratic candidates for President, and 2. Adults. There’s no going back to the old economy or old jobs, and Biden and Sanders are both knowingly lying to you.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/this-martial-law-will-end-and-end-badly/

by

First, let’s get the three principles for the post-COVID-19 world out there:

  1. If you think COVID-19 is fake, or not really scary, you don’t know science and are an ignorant person.
  2. If you post cavalierly about frolicking socially with your friends, you have no empathy for the elderly and other vulnerable populations and are a horrible person.
  3. If you think we only had two options to fight COVID-19 – “A. Destroy the economy, or B. Grandma dies.” – you are sheeple-level stupid, and the media programming has brainwashed you. There were options C, D, E and F.

Now that I’ve offended everyone on social media, let’s talk about that last principle, which also happens to be the one no one in the media or Washington wants you to talk about. Politicians and their media spokesliars call their policy “social distancing,” but that’s just the political marketing angle for an economic and social shutdown we’ve always called martial law.

The other options could have included a two-stage isolation of the infected and separately isolating the vulnerable elderly and immuno-compromised populations. The latter self-isolate in their own communities in many cases anyway. For those that don’t already self-isolate, all those empty hotel rooms today could have provided sanctuary, or the federal government could have cleared out all those ICE detention centers and welcomed boomers into them. Today’s closed casinos – already famous for feting seniors – could also have become a refuge for the oxygen-tank-and-walker set.

Moreover, Trump using his bully-pulpit to call for greater ICU capacity to accommodate COVID-19 cases would have been helpful. The pandemics of a century ago – polio, the Spanish flu, smallpox and cholera outbreaks – should have provided historical clues that increasing hospital capacity is key. The data thus far from Italy and China shows COVID-19 has taxed the capacities of hospitals, as the elderly and the younger with pre-existing conditions need hospitalization many multiples more frequently than the regular flu virus.

The unfolding disaster of martial law

The plebes – to their credit – know intuitively the economic reality which dictates there is no bottom in a market economy based upon closing the markets. Thus, they knew they had better stock up on food, guns and other necessities. And it will be bad: Great Depression-level bad. Last week, Tyler Cowen of George Mason University rather off-handedly posited that if current policy is maintained until August, the result would be 20 percent unemployment – not for months – but for years.

This false choice of “a new great depression or grandma and two million more dies” has already aged worse than a dead tuna on a hot summer day, so it shouldn’t be a surprise the Trump administration has already pulled lead on suppressing the dire jobs numbers. It will only stink more as time goes on. But that doesn’t mean people with a brain stem no more complex than a box jellyfish won’t defend the martial law status quo. I turned on Fox News the other night to hear that twit Sean Hannity agree with Sen. Lindsay Graham’s call for the federal government to – not end the closure of markets – but reimburse wages for people being prevented by federal and state mandates from producing the goods and services we all want.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump have embraced Andrew Yang’s UBI platitude. With what money, neither pair said. Nor did they have to; there isn’t any money in a federal government already running a $1 trillion deficit whose tax revenue income source is about to hit the far slope of K2. So much for “conservative” small government principles. All politicians and mass media corporate whores are Keynesians now.

Democrats never pretended to have small government principles, but Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders likewise opted to cynically lie to the American people in the most recent Democratic debate rather than tell inconvenient truths. Biden claimed of people who have lost income to the virus shutdown: “We can make them whole now, now, and put in process a system whereby they all are made whole.” Sanders also deployed nearly identical language: “We have got to say to the American people, if you lose your job, you will be made whole.”

There are now two kinds of people in the world: 1. Those who believe the Democratic candidates for President, and 2. Adults. There’s no going back to the old economy or old jobs, and Biden and Sanders are both knowingly lying to you.

But the above at least confirms we will never have any relief from the politicians of either party in Washington or the establishment corporate media.

If working Americans want an end to the looming great depression, they’ve got to rise up in a revolution and end it themselves. Expect the stock market to lose a minimum of 5-10% per week and the effective unemployment rate (the unemployed plus furloughed employees no longer receiving a check) to increase 2% per week until that revolution happens. Much of that effective unemployment – maybe even half – will be permanent once the shutdowns are lifted, as leveraged or marginal firms shutter after accumulated fixed costs and no revenue make re-openings impossible.

The end of martial law will come, as the status quo becomes increasingly unbearable and a new Great Depression emerges. I’m convinced the workers will rise up, even if “social distancing” does make protests and riots more difficult. And the riots will come once the peaceful protests are inevitably ignored by Washington.

This end was known, or at least should have been obvious, owing to the likelihood that Trump had no clue. America is not just ruled by fascists; we are governed by dumb fascists.

If Trump had possessed the stones, and even a whiff of economic sense, he would have called out Italian President Sergio Mattarella as a lunatic for ruining his country by putting the entire nation on lockdown. He would have quipped that Mattarella is really “Stupid Mussolini”: Mussolini made the trains run on time, but Mattarella is dedicated to making sure the trains don’t run. Trump could have then recommended the voluntary isolation of the elderly in the US, and encouraged the markets to provide spaces for sanctuary to seniors. Instead, America’s Mango Mussolini decided to show solidarity with the Eurocratic democratic socialists ruining their nations by aping their stupid fascist policy of economic suicide.

This shutdown was probably the inevitable result of letting scientists set government policy: What else would one expect from a socially awkward group of pencil-necks with no knowledge of regular human social interaction, or, for that matter, economics? Of course scientists were going to suggest ruining society; these dweebs never understood human society in the first place. All that mattered was their “human social interaction” computer models about how the virus might spread. Scientists are like Bill Murray in the movie “Caddyshack,” blowing up the whole golf course in order to stop a gopher infestation. But it’s emblematic of any government by so-called “experts,” who will “solve” the problem but inevitably show shortcomings in areas in which they are not experts, creating greater overall misery.

Even Wall Street has also been slow on the uptake; it has certainly been behind the prols mobbing the grocery stores. If you happened to turn on CNBC, Bloomberg or any other financial network last week (or even yesterday), you were treated to the highly-paid and delusional chattering class telling us that the bottom is near. Yes, I’m talking about you, Jim Kramer. All they see are percentages and profit margins, and the directives of their corporate masters. But the plebes knew there is no bottom to a market when nobody is making things or providing services and everybody is still consuming them. The bottom won’t happen until the shutdowns end.

If there’s a “sheeple,” it’s the media class. Sure, there were lots of people who stupidly accepted the incremental state-based martial law in reaction to the COVID-19 virus, and blindly repeated the political talking points. But most workers intuitively know that’s not true, even when they’re repeating those same talking points. It’s actually the people who are America’s greatest chance for ending the  madness. It’s time those workers lead, and demand an end to the charade and reopen the markets. The longer they wait, the greater the economic damage.

Workers of the world, unite … to reinstate capitalism!

Be seeing you

demsoc.jpg

 

 

 

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Socialism’s Past – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/walter-e-williams/socialisms-past/

By

Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for socialism has resonated among many Americans, particularly young Americans. They’ve fallen prey to the idea of a paradise here on Earth where things are free and there’s little want. But socialists never reveal what turns out to be their true agenda. Let’s look at the kind of statements they used to gain power. You’ll note that all of their slogans before gaining power bore little relation to the facts after they had power.

Vladimir Lenin promised, “Under socialism all will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing.” That’s Friedrich Engel’s prediction about “the withering away of the state.” Lenin also promised, “Communism is Soviet power plus electrification,” and “No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses.” Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, said, “Advance towards socialism cannot but cause the exploiting elements to resist the advance, and the resistance of the exploiters cannot but lead to the inevitable sharpening of the class struggle.” He also said, “Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union,” and that “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.”

Then there’s China’s Chairman Mao Zedong, who said: “Socialism must be developed in China, and the route toward such an end is a democratic revolution, which will enable socialist and communist consolidation over a length of time. It is also important to unite with the middle peasants, and educate them on the failings of capitalism.” Mao advised: “A communist must be selfless, with the interests of the masses at heart. He must also possess a largeness of mind, as well as a practical, far-sighted mindset.”

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro said: “Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty. We must establish a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace.” He added, “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating… because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.”

Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez promised: “I am going to do my best to try to create a country in which children are not living in poverty, in which kids can go to college, in which old people have health care. Will I succeed? I can’t guarantee you that, but I can tell you that from a human point of view it is better to show up than to give up.” Adding, “I am convinced that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism, the path is socialism.”

His successor Nicolas Maduro said: “Fidel Castro represents the dignity of the South American continent against empires. He’s a living legend: an icon of independence and freedom across the continent.”

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants. Sanders says, “Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America,” and “We need to change the power structure in America, we need to end the political oligarchy.”

Stalin’s campaign didn’t mention that he would enact policies that would lead to the slaughter of 62 million people in the Soviet Union between 1917 to 1987. Mao Zedong didn’t mention that his People’s Republic of China would engage in brutal acts that would lead to the loss of 76 million lives at the hands of the government from 1949 to 1987. The late Professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book “Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900.”

Because socialism is a fight against basic human nature, it requires brute force in the attempt to reach its goals. The best warning about socialism comes from Aesop, who said, “Those who voluntarily put power into the hands of a tyrant … must not wonder if it be at last turned against themselves.” We shouldn’t ignore Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

Be seeing you

Harsh Words For Liberals Who Say Socialism is Not ...

 

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Socialism Would Have Solved This Problem – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 14, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/thomas-woods/socialism-would-have-solved-this-problem/

By

Everything about this virus situation is making me crazy.

Including this kind of thing, from socialists:

So it’s “capitalism” that makes people fight over toilet paper at a time when toilet paper isn’t a product they particularly need.

Socialism, they tell us, is “a system in which scarcity is no longer an issue.”

So when there’s an unanticipated pandemic, socialism will evidently have huge warehouses of toilet paper sitting there for no reason, waiting for consumers who don’t actually need it to get all they need.

Well, that seems like a rational approach to production.

How about the fact that it’s capitalism itself that’s made it seem normal and unremarkable that everybody you know readily purchases and uses soap, disinfectants, and sanitizers?

Which European king had all of these?

Scarcity is always an issue. If we produce A with resources B, C, and D, we cannot simultaneously produce F with B, C, and D. If we employ labor in the service of one line of production, we cannot simultaneously employ it in the service of another.

Here is the situation we face:

Billions of people have an enormous number of conflicting preferences.

We have to figure out a way to satisfy as many of those preferences as possible, but arrange the means of production in such a way that in satisfying one preference we are not inadvertently depriving more urgent preferences of the resources necessary for them to be satisfied.

The market economy, with its price system, accomplishes this seemingly impossible task — or at least approaches it as closely as mankind is capable of — without coercion or central direction.

It does it so well that people consider it automatic, like a spontaneously occurring feature of human existence.

Instead of marveling at it, they complain — and risk destroying the very thing that in all likelihood makes their own existences possible.

I might add, incidentally, that one thing the market provides that socialism surely would not, is home education.

The kind of system being described above would place indoctrination of the young fairly high on its list of goals, so good luck homeschooling.

Meanwhile, we’ve created the Ron Paul Curriculum, which — gasp — presents students with more than one point of view, while at the same time giving them a top-notch education in all the major subjects, plus others: like how to speak effectively, how to run a small business, how to operate a blog, or how to manage money.

There’s going to be more demand for it in the coming weeks, for obvious reasons.

Curious? Join through my link and I throw in three bonuses I created myself:

http://www.RonPaulHomeschool.com

http://www.LibertyClassroom.com

Be seeing you

 

 

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Gospel Nonviolence and Class Warfare – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2020

This is Marxism

The wealthy and powerful, the ruling class, are wealthy and powerful in part because they are better at killing; the one thing they cannot do is carry on forever the fiction that their interests coincide with the interests of most of the community. They cannot forever con people into believing that it is in their own interests and that of their families to work or to die for the profit of the ruling class.” -Herbert McCabe, OP

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/02/fr-emmanuel-charles-mccarthy/gospel-nonviolence-and-class-warfare/

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law and community moral restrains act as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, European governments, under pretense of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. If once our people become inattentive to the public affairs, you, Carrington, and I, and Congress, and judges, and governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; experience declares that man is an animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Edward Carrington – January 16, 1787

“Class warfare is not, in the first place, a struggle between the haves and the have-nots. It has very little to do with what people in England call ‘class distinctions,’ meaning a peculiarly English kind of snobbery. It is not differences of wealth that cause class differences, but class differences that cause differences of wealth. The worker by his labor creates a certain amount of wealth, only part of which is returned to him in the form of wages, etc. The rest is appropriated by the capitalist, so called because his function is to accumulate capital in this way. The capitalist receives from a great many workers the extra wealth which they produce but do not need for their subsistence and minimal contentment, and bringing all this wealth together he is able to invest, to provide the conditions under which more work may be done — and so on. On this fundamental division between worker and employer the whole class system rests.

The worker is whoever by productive work actually creates wealth. The employer is not simply anyone who makes overall decisions about what work shall be done and how; he is the one who takes the surplus wealth created by the worker and uses it (in his own interests of course) as capital. Capitalism is the system in which capital is accumulated for investment, in their own interests, by a group of people who own the means of production and employ large numbers of other people who do not own the mean of production but produce both the wealth which they receive back in wages and the surplus wealth which is used for investment by the owners in whatever way they desire. The wealthy and powerful are wealthy and powerful, they are the ruling class, in part because they are better at killing; the one thing they cannot do is carry on forever the fiction that their interests coincide with the interests of most of the community. They cannot forever con people into believing that it is in their own interests and that of their families to work or to die for the profit of the ruling class

The wealthy and powerful, the ruling class, are wealthy and powerful in part because they are better at killing; the one thing they cannot do is carry on forever the fiction that their interests coincide with the interests of most of the community. They cannot forever con people into believing that it is in their own interests and that of their families to work or to die for the profit of the ruling class.” -Herbert McCabe, OP

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Pope Francis: Liberation Theologian

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

Others were traditional welfare state redistributionists. Bergoglio was among this group.

Since then, the percentage of world’s poor has been reduced to under 10%. The Bookings Institution, a Keynesian, middle-of-the-road think tank, recently announced this.

This is what the present world economy is delivering. But the Pope doesn’t see it this way. He thinks the world needs a new taxation system and a new ethic.

This week, the Pope called for international economic redistribution. I have reprinted his speech here.

https://www.garynorth.com/public/20510.cfm

Gary North

Pope Francis is a liberation theologian.

Liberation theology was popular with a hard core of far-Left Catholic priests in Latin America from the mid-1960’s until December 25, 1991. A few of them were outright Marxists. They believed in armed revolution against the state. The Pope, then Father Bergoglio, , criticized this interpretation of Christianity.

Others were traditional welfare state redistributionists. Bergoglio was among this group. With the disintegration of the Soviet economy in the late 1980’s, followed by Gorbachev’s announcement of the suicide of the USSR on December 25, 1991, liberation theology ceased to be the latest and the greatest. It became passé overnight. It began to fade.

Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina in the mid-1970’s. A decade earlier, the Jesuits had been a formidable force for theological conservatism within the Catholic Church. Then, within ten years, the Jesuits moved to the left theologically and politically. They abandoned four centuries of tradition in a decade. The story of this astounding transformation is recorded in Malachi Martin’s book, The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church (1987). Martin was appalled by the change. In contrast, Garry Wills applauded it in his book, Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion (1972), which I reviewed in The Wall Street Journal.

From the foundation of the Jesuits in the mid-16th century until about 1965, the Jesuit order had been militant in its defense of the papacy. Pope Paul VI (1963-78) radicalized the Jesuits. He was the most theologically liberal Pope in history. He was also the most radical in terms of his social views. Pope Francis is extending his legacy after a four-decade gap. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the most conservative Pope since Pius XII, who died in 1958. That was a gap of almost five decades. He was a staunch opponent of liberation theology. The magnitude of this change is conveyed in the new Netflix movie, The Two Popes. The dialogue is fictional, but the theological confrontation was real. To get some idea of the change, imagine Calvin Coolidge deciding that the best person to follow him as President would be Franklin Roosevelt.

THE POPE’S CALL TO ACTION

This week, the Pope called for international economic redistribution. I have reprinted his speech here.

Last June, the Vatican posted his statement on the need to care for the poor. In that statement, he did not mention the need for state action. I have posted it here. In terms of traditional Catholic views on voluntary charity, there was nothing new in the presentation from a theological standpoint. But his language and his rhetoric was clearly that of liberation theology.

We can build any number of walls and close our doors in the vain effort to feel secure in our wealth, at the expense of those left outside. It will not be that way for ever. The “day of the Lord”, as described by the prophets (cf. Am 5:18; Is 2-5; Jl 1-3), will destroy the barriers created between nations and replace the arrogance of the few with the solidarity of many. The marginalization painfully experienced by millions of persons cannot go on for long. Their cry is growing louder and embraces the entire earth. In the words of Father Primo Mazzolari: “the poor are a constant protest against our injustices; the poor are a powder keg. If it is set on fire, the world will explode”.

This statement was issued to promote the Church’s World Day of the Poor: November 17. Why his statement was published five months early, I do not know.

His latest declaration reveals his commitment to a non-Marxist, meaning non-revolutionary, form of liberation theology. It is also consistent with what is sometimes called the new social gospel, best represented in the United States by political activist Jim Wallis. I devote a department to his theology and his tax-exempt political mobilization. It is here. The Pope has a lot more followers than Jim Wallis does. But his rhetoric is the same.

Structures of sin today include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development; tax havens for private and corporate profits; and, of course, the possibility of corruption by some of the world’s largest corporations, not infrequently in line with some ruling political sector.Every year hundreds of billions of dollars, which should be paid in taxes to finance health care and education, accumulate in tax haven accounts, thus preventing the possibility of dignified and sustained development for all social actors.

Impoverished people in heavily indebted countries are suffering from overwhelming tax burdens and cuts in social services as their governments pay off insensitive and unsustainable debts. In fact, public debt incurred, in not a few cases to promote and encourage a country’s economic and productive development, can become a factor that damages and harms the social fabric. When it ends up being directed towards another purpose.

THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY

One of the most astounding facts of the last two decades is the dramatic reduction in life-threatening poverty around the world. Nothing like this has ever taken place in man’s history. It is becoming a well-known phenomenon because of the remarkable 2007 TED talk video by Swedish statistician Hans Rosling.

Since then, the percentage of world’s poor has been reduced to under 10%. The Bookings Institution, a Keynesian, middle-of-the-road think tank, recently announced this.

Looking at poverty trends worldwide, World Data Lab now estimates that on New Year’s Day 2019, just under 600 million people across the world (excluding Syria) will live in extreme poverty. By 2030, this figure is expected to fall to some 436 million.The good news is that 2019 will start with the lowest prevalence of extreme poverty ever recorded in human history—less than 8 percent. In all likelihood, this level will set the “ceiling” for a new era of even lower single-digit global poverty rates for the foreseeable future.

This is what the present world economy is delivering. But the Pope doesn’t see it this way. He thinks the world needs a new taxation system and a new ethic.

You, who have so kindly gathered here, are the world’s financial leaders and economic specialists. Together with your colleagues, you help set global tax rules, inform the global public about our economic condition, and advise the world’s governments on budgets. They know first-hand what the injustices of our current global economy are, or the injustices of individual countries.Let us work together to end these injustices. When the multilateral credit agencies advise the different nations, it is important to take into account the high concepts of fiscal justice, responsible public budgets in their indebtedness and, above all, the effective and leading promotion of the poorest in the social network. Remind them of their responsibility to provide development assistance to impoverished nations and debt relief for heavily indebted nations. Remind them of the imperative to stop man-made climate change, as all nations have promised, so that we do not destroy the foundations of our Common House.

The Pope’s mindset was formed by 1975. His worldview has not changed. His rhetoric has not changed. Meanwhile, the world is getting steadily richer. The poor are steadily getting richer.

While I don’t have a biblical passage to support the following, I recommend to Pope Francis a familiar slogan in American life: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

THE BIBLE PROMOTES CAPITALISM

For over half a century, I have been arguing that the system of property rights mandated by the commandment against theft (Exodus 20:15) and also by the Mosaic laws defending private property inevitably produce a free market society when they are widely respected by the public and defended by civil government. In turn, free market society inevitably increases per capita wealth. I have defended this position in 31 volumes of economic commentaries on the Bible. I have defended it in four volumes of detailed economic analysis.

The Pope does not believe that biblical law and biblical ethics promote a private property social order which in turn produces capitalism. The theologians in Salamanca, Spain, argued that this was the case back in the 1500’s. But the Pope either is unaware of this or does not believe what the school of Salamanca taught.

I hope that a future Pope spends his years as a priest, a bishop, and a cardinal reading and re-reading the economics books written by members of the school of Salamanca. Even better, maybe he will read my books. I can always hope. After all, I’m postmillennial.

 

 

 

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Serving Your Fellow Man.

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2019

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