Americans tolerate a costly global national-security apparatus in part because they believe the country would be economically vulnerable without it. After all, we use resources from all over the world – oil being only the most prominent example. What if an embargo cut us off from supplies?Read the rest of TGIF: Trading for Security here.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Britain's prime minister and his agents were engaged in secret maneuverings to detach the Ottoman Empire from the Central Powers. They were offering, among other inducements, that the Turkish flag could continue to fly over Palestine. [Emphasis added.]In other words, Britain promised sovereignty over the same land to three different groups. Lord Balfour surely knew of that which he wrote when he stated in a memorandum to Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon in 1919:
[S]so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.As I say, most of our foreign policy problems today can be traced back to British imperialism.
Friday, August 27, 2010
If a YMCA or a YMHA were planned for 51 Park Place in Lower Manhattan, two blocks from the Twin Towers’ former site, who would have noticed?
Instead, the equivalent of a Muslim Y (without the implied male exclusivity) is to be built there. What’s the big deal?
Read the rest of the op-ed here.
(HT: Shikha Dalmia)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
An American Muslim has been knifed. A Rev. Nutcase has declared Sept. 11 Burn A Koran Day. A Muslim center construction site in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is struck by an arsonist. Will the bigots and cynical right wingers who inspire this crap just go away? Get the hell away and let the rest of us live in peace.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
He invented a perpetual motion machine: the war on terror. Prosecuting the war produces new "terrorists" who in turn justify further prosecution of the war, and so on forever. Brilliant!
Friday, August 20, 2010
The Associated Press reports that the current fiscal year’s federal budget deficit will fall short of a record, coming in at over $1.3 trillion, but below last year's record $1.4 trillion, when the year ends September 30. But something is wrong with the AP’s information.
The U.S. Treasury says the national debt at the end of last fiscal year was $11.9 trillion and a year earlier was $10.02 trillion. Let's do the math: 11.9 - 10.02 = 1.88. That means last year's deficit was $1.88 trillion, not $1.4 trillion.
Did the AP get its incorrect number from the Office of Management and Budget?
HT: Ken Sturzenacker
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Not only are those not the same things, they are in conflict with each other. You can have a pro-business agenda or a free market, but not both.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Conservatives believe that a civilized society demands orders and classes, that men are not inherently equal, that change and reform are not identical, that in a free society men are children of God and not wards of the state. Self-reliance is a conservative principle. The work ethic is a conservative ethic. The free marketplace is vital to the conservative’s economic philosophy.
Note the contradictory endorsement of orders, classes, inequality -- and the free market. As Mises and others have long pointed out, the free market respects none of those other values. Freedom means social and cultural evolution, unguided by coercive authority. It means the constant potential for the upsetting of tradition as people discover new ways to live and do things.
Amazingly, conservatives still have not learned that lesson, which is why at best they are poor advocates of economic freedom. For evidence, see the hassle over gay marriage.
Read more on this issue in my review of the movie Chocolat and Steve Horwitz's discussion of the evolution of marriage and family.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I'm appalled at the mental gymnastics some libertarians have undertaken to avoid having to acknowledge that the State has no valid grounds for refusing to recognize same-sex marriage. This is truly a disgrace. The reasons they give for not embracing the California ruling (pdf) striking down the ban on same-sex marriage on equal-protection grounds look more like evasions than good-faith objections.
I've come across at least four such evasions:
- The State should have nothing to say about marriage, so approval of the ruling implies acceptance of the State's role (and by implication, the State).
- Aren't there more pressing issues?
- Marriage is about procreation.
- Federal courts have no jurisdiction over state matters.
- Of course the State should get out of marriage. But it's in it now, so it should not be permitted to discriminate invidiously. If the State barred gay people from driving on the roads, would demanding that such discrimination cease imply approval of State roads or the State itself? Of course not.
- To people denied the normal benefits of marriage -- regarding custody of children, hospital visitation, medical decision-making for an incapacitated partner, next-of-kin matters -- there may be no more pressing issue. Liberty is not an abstraction; it's about living the life you want to live. It's easy for heterosexuals to see this is no big deal. (Jim Crow was similarly no big deal -- to whites.) Besides, the ruling has been made. How does praising it distract from whatever is "more pressing"? We're capable of multitasking.
- Marriage has never been exclusively about procreation. If that were so, couples that were infertile, elderly, and uninterested in having children wouldn't have been allowed to get married. Many other values have been at the core of marriage: economic security, love and emotional fulfillment, and more. A good place to start reading about this subject is Steven Horwitz's article on the evolution of family. A related objection to the ruling is that heterosexual intercourse has been the criterion of marriage consummation. So what? Institutions evolve. And besides, even if consummation were somehow essential, the reasonable mutatis mutandis principle is available. This objection is particularly absurd.
- When people ignore the existence of the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, those interested in freedom generally get annoyed. So how can they ignore the existence of the Fourteenth Amendment, which says, in part, "nor shall any State … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"? Like it or not, that amendment exists. So I see no argument against federal jurisdiction. For excellent discussions of this issue, see Roderick Long's writings here and here.
Friday, August 13, 2010
It’s not obvious to me a priori that the American variant of the welfare state is superior in every respect to the European variant. One variant may indeed cushion the victims of political privilege-granting better than others. Considering who writes the rules over here, I see no grounds for thinking that we necessarily have it better than the Germans do in every possible way.
The rest of TGIF is here.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
It's all nonsense. The quickest way to see this is to watch this video, in which the heroic Scott Horton, host of Antiwar Radio, debunks the empty claim that Iran is building nukes.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Last I checked, "all options" included mass murder via infrastructure demolition and conventional carpet bombing -- and even nukes.
Have we had enough of these thugs yet? Progressives, what say you?
The U.S. government goes to appalling lengths to deny this truth. It is about to try before a military commission a young Canadian, Omar Ahmed Khadr, who was taken into custody in Afghanistan eight years ago when he was 15 years old. The charge? War crimes, among them “murder in violation of the rules of war,” which lawyer Chase Madar calls “a newly minted war crime novel to the history of armed conflict.”The rest of the op-ed is here.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, one of President Harry Truman's two acts of butchery against Japan in August 1945. There isn't much to be said about those unspeakable atrocities that hasn't been said many times before. The U.S. government never needed atomic bombs to commit mass murder. Its "conventional" weapons have been potent enough. (See the firebombing of Tokyo.) But considering how the "leaders" saw The Bomb, its two uses against Japan stand out as especially heinous acts. The U.S. government may not have used atomic weapons since 1945, but it has not yet given up mass murder as a political/military tactic. Presidential candidates are still expected to say that, with respect to nuclear weapons, "no options are off the table."
The anniversary of the Nagaski bombing is Monday.
Mario Rizzo has pointed out that Americans were upset by the murder of 3,000 people on 9/11 yet seem not to be bothered that "their" government murdered hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in a few days.
Rad Geek People's Daily has a poignant post here. Rad says: "As far as I am aware, the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima city center, which deliberately targeted a civilian center and killed over half of the people living in the city, remains the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the world."
Finally, if you read nothing else on this subject, read Ralph Raico's article here.
[This post appeared previously. It has been amended.]
If there is going to be a reformist movement in Islam, it is going to emerge from places like the proposed institute. We should be encouraging groups like the one behind this project, not demonizing them. Were this mosque being built in a foreign city, chances are that the U.S. government would be funding it.Zakaria rejected the ADL's position as bigotry, saying, "Does [ADL National Director Abraham] Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they're victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?"
Hats off to Zakaria for his principled action.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk (1851-1914), the second-generation giant of Austrian economics, famously refuted the theory, most commonly associated with Marx, that the employer-employee relationship is intrinsically exploitative. Less well known is that Böhm-Bawerk had an exploitation theory of his own.The rest of TGIF: Austrian Exploitation Theory is here.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
But it's private property, isn't it? "Property rights are limited and they are contextual," he says. ".... In any situation where metaphysical survival is at stake all property rights are out."
If you haven't heard, our metaphysical survival has been declared at stake by Dr. Peikoff. It looks more to me as though the metaphysical survival of Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Somalians, and Iranians is what's at stake these days. American society doesn't appear to be in any great danger (except from U.S. occupation forces).
Peikoff is clearly calling for terrorism -- what else would you call it? (Oh, sure he'd evacuate the center before bombing it.) Have any Objectivists denounced him? I think a few have.
Monday, August 02, 2010
My old friend David Hart posted the lyrics, which are faithful to the Fuhrer Prinzip:
Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.
Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that's our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!