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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Excusing Polanski

It is truly sickening to see Hollywood types make excuses for Roman Polanski, the slimeball director who drugged and boozed up a 13-year-old girl 30 years ago before committing a variety of sexual assaults on her. For example, witness Whoopi Goldberg's attempt to distinguish what Polanski did -- and pleaded guilty to before fleeing the country -- from "rape-rape."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Here We Go Again

I saw a television commercial today in which a lending company urged people to refinance their homes. It made a special appeal to those who have been unable to refinance: FHA (Federal Housing Administration) now requires less documentation than before and no appraisal of the property.

Isn't this the sort of thing that caused so much trouble just a short while ago? This sounds like another government attempt to keep the market from pricing houses accurately, i.e., to reinflate the housing bubble.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Take It Off the Table

...the military option, that is.

The Art of Politics

Politics: the art of seducing people to cooperate in their own exploitation.

TGIF: Bastiat in Poland

Last week I mentioned that I traveled to Warsaw, Poland, to participate in the Liberty Weekend Devoted to the Life and Legacy of Frédéric Bastiat. I can report now that the conference, sponsored by PAFERE, was a smashing success.
The rest of TGIF is here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

October Freeman

The October Freeman is now online. Contributors include Jim Powell on government incompetence, Kevin Carson on intellectual property, James Payne on government impediments to volunteerism, Ross Levatter on free-market medicine, Todd Zywicki on consumer debt, and Andrew Morris on Curacao.

Click on the cover at the right for the table of contents.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TGIF: Monsieur Bastiat, Call Your Office

Tomorrow [i.e., yesterday] I’ll lecture at the Liberty Weekend Dedicated to Frédéric Bastiat, sponsored by the Polish-American Foundation for Economic Research and Education (PAFERE) in Warsaw. Preparing for my visit, I reread Bastiat’s great book The Law. Oh we do we need Bastiat today!
The rest of TGIF is here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Modest Health-Care Proposal

Enough dithering! President Obama says it’s time to act on health care. I agree.
Read the rest of my latest FFF op-ed here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let's Hear It for One-Party Autocracy

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.
Who wrote that? Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Is any comment necessary? Possible?

TGIF - ObamaCare: Status Quo on Steroids

Let’s begin by noting that the so-called health-insurance companies deserve little sympathy. As they exist today, they are very much creatures of the State. In fact, there’s a sense in which it can be said that if we didn’t have health-insurance companies, we wouldn’t need them.

Read the rest here.

Ten Lessons from 9/11

1. Killing one or many innocents, regardless of one's grievances, is monstrous. This elementary principle would seem to apply to George Bush, and now Barack Obama, as much as to Osama bin Laden. Can someone say why it doesn't?

2. Despite all its guarantees -- contrary to its ideological justification for existing -- the state can't protect us -- even from a ragtag group of hijackers. Trillions of dollars spent over many years built a "national security apparatus" that could not stop attacks on the two most prominent buildings in the most prominent city in the country -- or its own headquarters. That says a lot. No. That says it all. The state is a fraud. We have been duped.

3. The shameless state will stop at nothing to keep people's support by scaring the hell out of them. (Robert Higgs writes about this.) That people take its claims about "why they hate us" seriously after 9/11 shows what the public schools and the mass media are capable of doing to people. But the people are not absolved of responsibility: they could think their way out of this if they cared to make the effort.

4. Blowback is real. Foreign-policy makers never think how their decisions will harm Americans, much less others. They never wonder how their actions will look to their targets. That's because they are state employees.

5. As Randolph Bourne said, getting into a war is like riding a wild elephant. You may think you are in control -- you may believe your objectives and only your objectives are what count. If so, you are deluded. Consider the tens of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqi and Afghanis. What did they have to do with 9/11?

6. No one likes an occupying power.

7. Victims of foreign intervention don't forget, even if the perpetrators and their subjects do.

8. Terrorism is not an enemy. It's a tactic, one used by many different kinds of people in causes of varying moral hues, often against far stronger imperial powers. Declaring all those people one's enemy is criminally reckless. But it's a damn good way for a government to achieve potentially total power over its subjects.

9. They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Maybe, maybe not. But it seems abundantly clear that the enemy of my friend is also likely to be my enemy. See the U.S.-Israel relationship for details.

10. Assume "your" government is lying.

(Adapted and re-posted from 2006.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Forcing Insurance Companies to Cover Preexisting Conditions Is Immoral

The Christian Science Monitor today published my op-ed on the fundamental dishonesty of President Obama’s healthcare proposals. Read “Forcing insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions is immoral” here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama Speech

Predictable crap. How many times does it have to be demolished?

It was nothing but theater. The objective was to get good reviews from the pundits. He was no less ambivalent about the "public option" than he has been, so the "Progressives" shouldn't be terribly happy.

But I am curious why all these employers are buying health plans for their employees that drop them when they get sick? What's up with that?

Obama's Message to Kids

From Barack Obama's speech to schoolchildren, which even many conservatives praised:

And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you -- don't ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Health-Care “Reformers” Duck the Hard Questions

Advocates of what is called health-care “reform” must lack confidence in their case. Were they sure that more government control of medicine and medical insurance was a good thing, they would answer the opposing arguments rather than marginalize their adversaries as corrupt or crazy.
The rest of this week's op-ed is at FFF website.

TGIF: From 1944 to Nineteen Eighty-Four

I’m inclined to think of George Orwell and F. A. Hayek at the same time. Both showed great courage in writing the truth, undaunted by the consequences awaiting them. Both valued freedom, though they understood it differently.
The rest of TGIF is here.