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Posts Tagged ‘Progressives’

Before Progressives Condemn Capitalism, They Should Be Able to Define It

Posted by M. C. on August 10, 2022

If there is no growth in the money supply, prices and interest rates will best reflect the preferences of a society. An Austrian economics definition of capitalism is the interplay of supply and demand, without any growth in the money supply. In this form of capitalism individualism will never pay off. Profits can only be realized if people in society stand to benefit as well.

https://mises.org/wire/progressives-condemn-capitalism-they-should-be-able-define-it

Heiko de Boer

Many people blame capitalism for ever-increasing consumption, individualism, and the greedy pursuit of profits. Not very often do we see capitalism defined in any other way. In this article, I suggest an Austrian economics definition of capitalism that explains capitalism economically and without moralistic tones.

Human Actions Determine Prices and Interest Rates

The basis of Austrian economics price theory is human action. People must make choices on how to spend their scarce time and resources. They aim to improve their situation by ranking their subjective preferences and realizing as many of these preference, one by one.

This explains why the price of water is much lower than the price of diamonds. The supply of water is more than sufficient to meet almost all our needs. It is the last added unit of water that determines its price, which is many times lower than if the supply of water would satisfy the most important use only.

Interest rates are also a category of human action and are an indication of our time preference. This time preference applies to money and goods and services. A young society will be more inclined to save and invest than an older society. Their lower time preference translates into a lower interest rate as more money is offered for investing. Additional investments make it possible to expand the production structure.

By expanding a production structure, a society can consume more in the future. Consuming more can mean many things. If the purchasing power of people stays the same, but people only need to work three days a week instead of five days, people may still feel better off. Or, by investing we can produce similar goods, but with less pollution.

The interplay between interest rates and prices as they come about in a free marketplace, is shaping the production structure such that it meets the needs of society. The interplay of supply and demand could be termed capitalism. However, for a proper definition, more is needed.

What Money System Works Best?

The signaling function of prices and interest rates is distorted by central banks policies. Monetary policies prescribe that consumer goods prices must rise, according to the European Central Bank by “on average” 2 percent per year. Central banks find it unacceptable if a free market creates prices that are going down or do not rise sufficiently.

Central banks are creating money out of nothing, aiming to stimulate demand. More money means more competition for the same amount of goods, with upward price pressures as a result. Banks and central banks jointly issue more credit than what would be possible by savings alone. The additional offer of money pushes the interest rates down. The balance that prevailed in the time market is artificially disturbed.

Initially, money growth will ‘be good for the economy.’ More money is available for investing at a lower interest rate. It is as if the market has given a signal that people in society want to consume more in the future. However, consumers did not signal any change in consumption preferences.

There will come a time when the artificially low interest rate tends to rise, and prices adjust reflecting people’s actual preferences. Producers will be faced with rising production and refinancing costs. After the boom a bust will naturally follow.

The best money system is one that best reflects the preferences of people in society. This will be the case if there is no growth in the money supply. The Austrian school describes this as a sound money system. A proper definition of capitalism would then be the interplay of supply and demand, without any growth in the money supply.

Individualism, Profits, and Externalities

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Why Progressives Love Government “Experts”

Posted by M. C. on June 10, 2022

The State has always been the patrimony of some privileged class or other; a priestly class, an aristocratic class, a bourgeois class, and finally a bureaucratic class.

Moreover, state bureaucratic efforts to plan society from the center, Bakunin noted,

will demand an immense knowledge and many “heads overflowing with brains” in this government. It will be the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant, and contemptuous of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and pretended scientists and scholars.

https://mises.org/wire/why-progressives-love-government-experts

Ryan McMaken

In twenty-first-century America, ordinary people are at the mercy of well-paid, unelected government experts who wield vast power. That is, we live in the age of the technocrats: people who claim to have special wisdom that entitles them to control, manipulate, and manage society’s institutions using the coercive power of the state. 

We’re told these people are “nonpolitical” and will use their impressive scientific knowledge to plan the economy, public health, public safety, or whatever goal the regime has decided the technocrats will be tasked with bringing about. 

These people include central bankers, Supreme Court justices, “public health” bureaucrats, and Pentagon generals. The narrative is that these people are not there to represent the public or bow to political pressure. They’re just there to do “the right thing” as dictated by economic theory, biological sciences, legal theory, or the study of military tactics. 

We’re also told that in order to allow these people to act as the purely well-meaning apolitical geniuses they are, we must give them their independence and not question their methods or conclusions.

We were exposed to this routine yet again last week as President Joe Biden announced he will “respect the Fed’s independence” and allow the central bankers to set monetary policy without any bothersome interference from the representatives of the taxpayers who pay all the bills and who primarily pay the price when central bankers make things worse. (Biden, of course, didn’t mention that central bankers have been spectacularly wrong about the inflation threat in recent years, with inflation rates hitting forty-year highs, economic growth going negative, and consumer credit piling up as families struggle to cope with the cost of living.)

Conveniently, Biden’s deferral to the Fed allows him to blame it later when economic conditions get even worse. Nonetheless, his placing the economy in the hands of alleged experts will no doubt appear laudable to many. This is because the public has long been taught by public schools and media outlets that government experts should have the leeway to exercise vast power in the name of “fixing” whatever problems society faces. 

The Expert Class as a Tool for State Building

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This Is How the Progressives Will Write the History of Covid

Posted by M. C. on February 12, 2022

How many people today are aware that America’s past experiments in Prohibition, ethnic discrimination, and eugenics were all once fervent policies of progressivism? And in many ways it already seems to have begun: only days after a Johns Hopkins University study found that lockdowns caused far more harm than good, the Biden administration claimed it has “not been pro-lockdown; that has not been his agenda—most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous President.”

https://mises.org/wire/how-progressives-will-write-history-covid

Robert Zumwalt

It seems obvious that wherever vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and lockdowns have been imposed in response to covid-19, progressive political and media elites have been the driving forces behind them. This is clear to those of us alive today, but it is worth considering whether future history books will attempt to erase progressives’ culpability for the disasters their covid policies have caused. The argument that follows is speculative, but bad ideologies should be held to the fires of their own making, and it seems to be in the nature of progressivism to attempt to escape the historical reckoning it is due.

Not long ago, it seemed more likely that the progressive elites would eventually just declare covid-19 to be over and herald themselves as humanity’s saviors. But as the pandemic has worn on, the cracks in the covid disinformation regime have widened for all to see. The failures and destructiveness of their policies are now beyond deniability to reasonable people, and so long as it is well known that progressivism was the driving force behind those policies, this episode will tarnish its reputation and its core dogma that technocratic social planners holding “correct” moral beliefs will save mankind from itself.

Therefore, it now seems likely the progressive elites who engineered and proselytized these disastrous public health policies will begin to distance themselves from those actions and eventually attempt to paint a new history absolving their ideology from today’s failures. Philosophy professor Alex Rosenberg argues in How History Gets Things Wrong that narrative histories almost always get the “why” of history wrong because the narratives we spin about history, especially popular histories, are usually motivated by our own moral causes. If true, perhaps even the “what” of history can be distorted for the same reasons.

As Murray Rothbard demonstrated in The Progressive Era, American progressivism was born of just this type of motivated moral cause:

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The Hypocrisy of “Progressives”

Posted by M. C. on January 9, 2022

This is an excerpt from Thomas Sowell’s classic ‘Dismantling America’ — https://amzn.to/3Ewkbhl

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Dear Conservatives: It’s Time to Separate School and State – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2022

Nikole Hannah-Jones, of the New York Times‘ fact-deficient 1619 Project, let the mask drop completely

“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press” – as if this was a suggestion recently floated and not the entire basis on which the government-run school system fools parents into believing that teachers and administrators give a damn what they think.

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/dear-conservatives-its-time-to-separate-school-and-state/

by Scott McPherson

For decades, so-called “progressives” and other leftists have claimed that elected local school boards give parents control over education. Everyone knows it’s a lie, but few have had the courage to speak up. Still, the delusion persists. On the day after Christmas, Nikole Hannah-Jones, of the New York Times‘ fact-deficient 1619 Project, let the mask drop completely.Let parents and families find the best school without government interference
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“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press” – as if this was a suggestion recently floated and not the entire basis on which the government-run school system fools parents into believing that teachers and administrators give a damn what they think. “We send our children to school because we want them to be taught by people who have expertise in the subject area.”

No, Ms. Hannah-Jones, children go to school to learn fundamental skills, like reading, writing, and arithmetic. Across the nation, “public” schools are failing to deliver – despite their large staffs of credentialed faculty. Schools are instead expensive indoctrination centers, “day jails for kids,” as John Holt once wrote, completely hostile to parents and focused on promoting mind-destroying concepts like “gender fluidity,” “critical race theory,” “restorative justice,” “psychoeducation,” and other modern tenets of Marxist ideology. Still claiming otherwise is the height of perfidy.

Hannah-Jones’ view of parental involvement is no outlier. Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf (D-Teachers Unions), recently vetoed a bill that would have put curricula online, and in Scottsdale, Arizona, the school board is actually conducting opposition research on uppity parents. Scariest of all, the National School Boards Association, the Department of Justice, and the White House all colluded to brand protesters at school board meetings (read: concerned parents and taxpayers) as domestic terrorists! What was once said quietly at cocktail parties is now becoming public policy.

Most people are (finally) waking up. A survey by Free to Learn found majorities expressing concern over the politicization of schools and access to curricula. Sixty-seven percent support the ability of parents to exempt students from anything they believe is “harmful or inappropriate,” and a resounding 81 percent said they were “concerned” about the overall quality of education children are receiving – 48 percent saying they were “very concerned.” Driven in part by COVID-19 hysteria, an exodus from government schools to private and religious schools is currently underway, and according to the Census Bureau, the percentage of homeschooled students has more than tripled in the last year.

Conservatives are the most alarmed by the state of public schools, and with good reason. Right-leaning ideas, individuals, and organizations in schools are treated with hostility, while leftist insanity goes unchecked. For example, in Michigan’s Farmington Public Schools, students are encouraged to join Black Lives Matter protests and to “donate to bail efforts” for those arrested. The Mankato School Board in Minnesota voted unanimously in favor of “additional” pay for non-white teachers. A teacher in Paso Robles, California, told members of a high school Conservative Club to “jump off a bridge.” Taft High School in Chicago denied students the opportunity to form a chapter of Turning Point USA.

Unfortunately, conservatives are drawing the wrong conclusions. The trend seems to be in favor of taking over schools, believing this will improve quality. In a commentary for RedState, Kira Davis told her readers, “It’s time to get unpleasant.”

“There’s no playing nice with these people. The whole thing has gotten out of hand, and we parents are to blame. We got too comfortable. We believed the people we elected to our school boards were on our side. After all, they are our neighbors, they are our fellow citizens. These aren’t hardened politicians. They’re local concerned citizens who want to serve.

“But we were wrong. They are not just regular citizens. They are not on our side. They are not here to serve.”

Davis is correct, but her prescription that conservatives should run for school board positions is flawed. “I say the time has come to cause trouble and keep causing it until we get what we want,” she writes. A few states, like Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Tennessee, are considering making school board elections partisan. Another mistake is so-called “parental rights” bills being considered in state legislatures. The conservative group U.S. Parents Involved in Education, which lobbies for an end to federal meddling in education, warned that the actual language in these laws could undermine the stated intent.

Conservatives who want to “take back our schools” or implement a system of “school choice,” are certainly acting in good faith; they genuinely want good schools where kids can learn and where teachers and administrators respect parents’ values. But viewing parents as “customers” is simply misguided when the government is running the show. In this politicized atmosphere, every decision related to a child’s education is a zero-sum game: one side must lose in order for the other to win. A sense of triumph over political enemies may bring temporary gratification, but that will soon evaporate when the “other side” wins the next election. It is in the marketplace alone where diverse demands can be met without one side losing.

If conservatives want better schools, they really should “cause trouble, and keep causing it.” What is missing is an accurate assessment of what that requires. Many political analysts are predicting a swing to the right in the years ahead, which could well place conservatives in positions where they have an opportunity to radically alter the status quo. Nothing could better guarantee an end to the monolithic power of teachers’ unions and government-school bureaucracies, and a rebirth of quality education in America, than a complete separation of school and state.

Let parents and families find the best school without government interference. That’s real choice.

This post was written by: Scott McPherson

Scott McPherson is a policy adviser at the Future of Freedom Foundation, and author of Freedom and Security: The Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. An advocate of the Free State Project, he lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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12 Reasons Why Progressives Should Rethink Their Leaders’ Failing Revolution – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on December 6, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/12/no_author/12-reasons-why-progressives-should-rethink-their-leaders-failing-revolution/

By Mahatma Orwell

Dear Progressive Friends,

Is our survival at stake? Why? As leaders tell the story, existential threats loom everywhere. Viruses. Climate change. Race-gender bias. Their list keeps growing.

Our leaders – politicians, technocrats, academics, media, activists – insist that we must fear for our health and security instead of our freedom. We should obey instead of asking questions. We should shun dissenters instead of seeking unity.

So we’ve accepted fear and division. Now leaders want us to help them transform our political, economic, and social lives in a “Great Reset” or cultural revolution. Then they will “Build Back Better” a global technocracy they run without our help.

We all want to support good causes. But transforming our lives in areas that are not broken may not be the best cause. Thoughtful progressives should consider a dozen likely major mistakes by leaders, and rethink the revolution:

  1. Overconfident Leaders. The worst existential threat of all may be leader error. History shows that bold social reformers overreach and hurt people. They cause crises such as poverty, famine, and war, and have to scrap their plans and start over. Millions died in the 1900s because of leader error. Today’s leaders need more caution and self-restraint, and less certainty and ruthlessness.
  2. Censorship. Leaders and their big tech allies err in censoring disagreement with official narratives like “settled science” and “community standards.” Like us, they make mistakes, and need critical feedback to learn and correct errors. A sure sign of a failing vision is that it imposes right-think by force. Leaders’ erratic experts have lost credibility as their stories keep changing. This pushes us to research facts ourselves, and build more accurate and honest expertise for all.
  3. False Progress. Leaders err in defining “progress” as group struggle toward perfect equality. This 250-year-old cult of Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx promises utopia, but crushes individuality, human nature, and natural incentives, and idolizes an all-powerful state. It’s not progress to suppress natural differences because activists don’t get the value of diverse views, interests, and skills. Real progress starts with each person’s unique value and free will to act by choice.
  4. Ignoring Millennia of Experience.

See the rest here

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Where D.C. Goes From Here After Pelosi’s Big Day – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on November 10, 2021

What will be terrible coming out of that bill is the new administrative powers, snooping, regulations on travel, cryptocurrencies, etc. which will continue to strangle the middle class and ensure the continued roll up of wealth in the U.S. from the middle and lower classes to major firms.

They will not only wind up with the lion’s share of the funds, but also operate in a landscape where the costs of the new rules fall disproportionately on smaller firms, increasing their competitive advantage.

https://tomluongo.me/2021/11/09/where-d-c-goes-from-here-after-pelosis-big-day/

Author: Tom Luongo

I was contacted over the weekend by Sputnik News to give them my thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s announcement to force through votes on the two big spending bills she’s been stymied on for months now. The opposition to these bills, even the Infrastructure Bill she eventually got through the House at the midnight hour, is increasing because the perceived need for them is falling.

Sputnik published their article this morning and is worth your time (not just because some of my ideas are presented). Since this bill passed the realization that the “Build Back Better” Bill of Davos’ dreams is still in serious trouble.

The fact that Pelosi arm-twisted this hard so close to last week’s electoral shellacking should confirm for you just how desperate things look on Capitol Hill. There is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party which is playing out both in Domestic and Foreign Policy. More on that later in the week.

Since Sputnik didn’t use all of my comments I’m publishing them here to keep things brisk and clarify any finer points.

Q:How will the “transformative” Build Back Better Act change the everyday lives of ordinary Americans?

That hasn’t passed yet, and if the moderate Democrats in the Senate were listening to the voters on Election Day, they should continue to hold out against it and kill it completely. Compared to the original text of the bill the BBB Act monetarily isn’t a big deal. Most of Trump’s tax cuts are still in place.

What will be terrible coming out of that bill is the new administrative powers, snooping, regulations on travel, cryptocurrencies, etc. which will continue to strangle the middle class and ensure the continued roll up of wealth in the U.S. from the middle and lower classes to major firms.

They will not only wind up with the lion’s share of the funds, but also operate in a landscape where the costs of the new rules fall disproportionately on smaller firms, increasing their competitive advantage.

Q: Six Democrats, known as The Squad, voted against the infrastructure bill. Do you expect more infighting within the Democratic party, which is soon set to vote on the $1.85 trillion climate, tax, and social policy bill?

Yes, I actually do.  The Democratic Party isn’t a political party per se.  Instead, it is best to think of it as a three-headed coalition of the aggrieved. 

They are in panic mode to ‘just sign anything’ and give their people something to run and fundraise on, even though they already know they’ve lost the mid-terms. 

What happened on Friday was more interesting from the Republican side of the aisle (as always) as enough of them caved to politically neuter “The Squad” on this vote.

These squishy RINOs did what they were supposed to do, betray their constituents at the last minute to serve whatever higher master, in my view the ones who just met at COP26, they answer to. 

By neutering “The Squad” over this vote with the help of RINOs, it will be easier for Pelosi and company to get The Squad to cave over the second bill.  The Progressives got their heads handed to them last night. 

See the rest here

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Rejecting meritocracy clashes with nation’s basic premises

Posted by M. C. on August 8, 2021

It is a virtue of meritocracy that it produces inequality. ‘You need,’ Wooldridge writes, ‘above-average rewards to induce people to engage in … self-sacrifice and risk-taking. Reduce the rewards that accrue to outstanding talent and you reduce the amount of talent available to society as a whole.’

Follow the link below to view the article. Rejecting meritocracy clashes with nation’s basic premises https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=1c96bd1de_1345e9c

Rejecting meritocracy clashes with nation’s basic premises

‘Even young Mozart had to practise.’ – Adrian Wooldridge WASHINGTON – This cultural moment is defined by the peculiar idea that America has such a surplus of excellence, it can dispense with something that should be rejected as inequitable – rigorous competition to identify merit. Progressives are recoiling from the idea that propelled humanity’s ascent to modernity: the principle that people are individuals first and primarily, so individual rights should supplant rights attached to group membership.

Progressives’ unease with society measuring merit when allocating opportunity and rewards is discordant with the nation’s premises. And rejecting meritocracy at a time when China – the United States’ strongest geopolitical rival ever – is intensifying its embrace of it is ‘an act of civilisational suicide,’ Adrian Wooldridge warns.

In his book ‘The Aristocracy of Talent,’ the Economist’s political editor and Bagehot columnist argues that in pre-modern societies ‘the most important economic resource was not the brain inside your head but the land under your feet.’ Today, some anti-modern progressives are wary of intelligence because it is an engine of inequality.

So they attack selective public schools that base admissions on standardized tests. All uses of such tests, and Advanced Placement high school classes, and other sorting procedures are stigmatized because they produce disparate outcomes, which supposedly reveal ‘systemic racism.’ That dangerous dogma collides with this fact: Substantial cognitive stratification is inevitable in modern, information-intensive societies. As Wooldridge says, there cannot be sustained economic growth without meritocracy.

Pascal said, ‘We do not choose as captain of a ship the most highly born of those aboard.’ Thomas Paine said hereditary legislators would be as absurd as a ‘hereditary mathematician.’ And Wooldridge says, ‘Most of us would hesitate before flying with a pilot who had been chosen by lottery.’

He says Martin Luther’s greatest contribution to modernity was not Protestantism but competition: Schism meant that faith factions had ‘to improve their performance or lose their market share.’ Meritocracy, feudalism’s antithesis, was wielded by the French Revolution as a hammer to smash feudalism’s remnants: The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen declared all citizens ‘equally admissible’ to all public ‘offices and employments … with no other distinction than that of their virtues and talents.’ As Wooldridge says, Enlightenment thinkers, aiming to match ‘talent to opportunity and knowledge to power,’ stressed the difference between natural aristocracies of talents and artificial aristocracies of breeding and inheritance.

Some progressives, who are more interested in minimizing inequality than maximizing opportunity, insist that not even industriousness makes an individual deserving is because it is an inherited trait. However, less loopy progressives rightly warn that there can be inherited hierarchies in meritocratic societies. America does fall short of Thomas Jefferson’s hope for ‘culling’ talent ‘from every condition of our people.’ SAT prep classes are not models of social diversity; parents are conscientious (this is not a vice) about transmitting family advantages to their children.

The answer, however, is to improve the culling, not to jettison the aspiration on the ground that all metrics of merit must be unfair. A first step would be to rescue children from uneducated educators of the sort who natter about ‘racist’ arithmetic and the ‘myth’ that some students are more arithmetically gifted than others.

Wooldridge reminds us that the ancient Greeks contrasted government by the best (aristocracy) with government by the richest and best-connected (oligarchy). Although the idea of aristocracy grates on democratic sensibilities, in the modern age a true aristocracy, meaning the ascendency of the talented, should be an aspiration. It need not mean an entrenched class insulated from the churning of competition. Indeed, it cannot mean that: In a society of careers truly open to talents, a real aristocracy will be constantly weeded and refreshed by upward – and downward – mobility driven by competition.

America, as Wooldridge writes, was ‘born meritocratic.’ Meritocracy is as American as immigration, which predisposes Americans to believe in ‘self-made men’ (a phrase used by Henry Clay in 1832). Meritocracy is as American as the frontier, where life ‘on the edge of the civilized world encouraged self-reliance.’

It is a virtue of meritocracy that it produces inequality. ‘You need,’ Wooldridge writes, ‘above-average rewards to induce people to engage in … self-sacrifice and risk-taking. Reduce the rewards that accrue to outstanding talent and you reduce the amount of talent available to society as a whole.’

Meritocracy, Wooldridge says, ‘is the closest thing we have today to a universal ideology.’ It, like many other good things, must, however, be saved from today’s profoundly retrogressive progressivism.

Contact George Will at georgewill@washpost.com.

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Venice Beach: the Purgatory Progressives Built | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2021

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/venice-beach-the-purgatory-progressives-built/

Policy

A trip down the California boardwalk to see what the activists have done to the residents, housed and “unhoused.” (Luis A Chavez/Shutterstock)

July 5, 2021|

12:01 am Kurt Hofer

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In iconic Venice Beach, California, it is also paved with feces, structure fires, knives, needles, tarps, and tents. My guide through this dystopian underworld, my Virgil, is named Soledad Ursua. Ursua is a native Angeleno who spent much of her professional life in New York. When she returned five years ago, she wanted to live in a walkable neighborhood similar to her adopted home of New York. Venice, with its mixture of historic bungalows, pedestrian-friendly walkways between them, and its proximity to the beach and restaurants, seemed like a perfect fit. It wasn’t. 

On the start of my walking tour, with an ironic smile (there were many more of those to come) Ursua points me to a sign posted by the City of Los Angeles that says “Special Enforcement and Cleaning Zone.” The sign explains that sidewalks will be cleaned and cleared of encampments, waste will be removed, and unclaimed possessions taken to a storage facility. The irony, of course, is that directly behind the sign sits an unbroken, block-long train of homeless encampments. (Since the start of COVID-19 measures, the city of Los Angeles suspended anti-encampment ordinances; but now that the pandemic has abated, the encampments remain.) Some sanitation workers try, in a struggle of Sisyphean proportions, to sweep and clean the streets. Mobile shower and hand washing stations sit parallel to the encampments. Loaves of bread and other perishable food sit on unattended tables. 

“The activists think they’re helping when they drop off food like that. But then the rats come. They spread disease. This whole area is at serious risk for bubonic plague and typhus,” Ursua explains. She is a self-described libertarian who began to advocate on behalf of Venice residents in the Venice Neighborhood Council, an elected body which consults with City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice. The council also tries to engage with Mayor Garcetti, who many Venice residents tell me “already has one foot out the door” in anticipation of an appointment as ambassador to India. Bonin and Garcetti are both smart enough to stay away from Venice—no posing on the boardwalk with “mission accomplished signs” for them.

Another resident, who commiserates with Ursua and identifies himself as a lifelong Democrat, tells me that Bonin hasn’t been to Venice in years, even though he lives in nearby Mar Vista with his husband. It’s a shame, because Bonin apparently, like me until today, only sees Venice on YouTube or the local news. Ursua’s tour takes me past not just encampments, but the burned out house of one of her neighbors. The fire was likely caused by the “unhoused” to use the preferred term. Another fire on the boardwalk recently destroyed a $26 million beachfront commercial property. All the parks, playgrounds and even the bike path along the beach have been ceded as public spaces; they are now the private domain of the encampment dwellers. “I don’t jog. I don’t walk my dog. I had to join a gym to exercise because I don’t feel safe. When dusk hits I get that pit in my stomach that I need to get home,” Ursua explains to me.

On the boardwalk I see a man sitting on a bench spreading canned tuna across bread with a hunting knife. “I’m glad you saw that,” Ursua tells me. “Would you take your kids here?” This is such a common refrain that I almost think it should be on a bumper sticker. We walk to where the boardwalk meets the boundary between Santa Monica and Venice, which is part of the City of Los Angeles. “It’s like a Tale of Two Cities,” Soledad explains. In neighboring Santa Monica there are no tents on the beach and the boardwalk comes back to life with people. Liberal Santa Monica, not exactly a bastion of rightwing law and order, is where the No Man’s Land ends. Unlike Los Angeles, Santa Monica enforces the laws requiring overnight encampments to be disassembled during the day.

Ursua walks me back down the boardwalk while a woman inside a tent shouts expletives to herself. Along the way she points out a senior center. In the good old days, five years ago, you would see seniors outside the building enjoying the weather. No more.

See the rest here

Kurt Hofer is a native Californian with a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature. He teaches high school history in a Los Angeles area independent school.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Police Problems? Embrace Liberty!

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2021

The drug war is a major reason police have increasingly looked and acted like an occupying army. Police militarization threatens everyone’s liberty. Black people have been subjected to drug war arrests and imprisonment at relatively high rates.

Those interested in protecting and enhancing black people’s (and all people’s) lives should embrace liberty. Libertarians reject the use of force to achieve political, economic, or social goals, Therefore, in a libertarian society, police would only enforce laws prohibiting the initiation of force against persons or property.

Free markets, individual liberty, limited government, sound money, and peace are key to achieving prosperity and social cohesion. Those sincerely concerned about improving all human lives should turn away from the teaching of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, who advocated expansive government power, and, instead, embrace the ideas of pro-liberty writers such as Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/april/26/police-problems-embrace-liberty/?mc_cid=74f313367e

Written by Ron Paul

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Many Americans saw former policeman Derek Chauvin’s conviction on all counts last week as affirming the principle that no one is above the law. Many others were concerned that the jury was scared that anything less than a full conviction would result in riots, and even violence against themselves and their families.

Was the jury’s verdict influenced by politicians and media figures who were calling for the jury to deliver the “right” verdict? Attempts to intimidate juries are just as offensive to the rule of law as suggestions that George Floyd’s criminal record somehow meant his rights were not important.

The video of then-policeman Chauvin restraining Floyd led people across the political and ideological spectrums to consider police reform. Sadly, there have also been riots across the country orchestrated by left-wing activists and organizations seeking to exploit concern about police misconduct to advance their agendas.

It is ironic to see self-described Marxists, progressives, and other leftists protesting violence by government agents. After all, their ideology rests on the use of force to compel people to obey politicians and bureaucrats.

It is also ironic to see those who claim to want to protect and improve “black lives” support big government.

Black people, along with other Americans, have had their family structure weakened by welfare policies encouraging single parenthood. This results in children being raised without fathers as a regular presence in their lives, increasing the likelihood the children will grow up to become adults with emotional and other problems.

Those at the bottom of the economic ladder are restrained in improving their situation because of minimum wage laws, occupational licensing regulations, and other government interference in the marketplace. They are also victims of the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax.

Many progressives who claim to believe that “black lives matter” do not care that there is a relatively high abortion rate of black babies. These so-called pro-choice progressives are the heirs of the racists who founded the movement to legalize and normalize abortion.

The drug war is a major reason police have increasingly looked and acted like an occupying army. Police militarization threatens everyone’s liberty. Black people have been subjected to drug war arrests and imprisonment at relatively high rates.

Those interested in protecting and enhancing black people’s (and all people’s) lives should embrace liberty. Libertarians reject the use of force to achieve political, economic, or social goals, Therefore, in a libertarian society, police would only enforce laws prohibiting the initiation of force against persons or property.

A libertarian society would leave the provision of aid to the needy to local communities, private charities, and religious organizations. Unlike the federal welfare state, private charities can provide effective and compassionate aid without damaging family structure or making dependency a way of life. In a libertarian society, individuals could pursue economic opportunity free of the burdens of government regulations and taxes, as well as free of the Federal Reserve’s fiat currency.

Free markets, individual liberty, limited government, sound money, and peace are key to achieving prosperity and social cohesion. Those sincerely concerned about improving all human lives should turn away from the teaching of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, who advocated expansive government power, and, instead, embrace the ideas of pro-liberty writers such as Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.

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