Hey REpublicans! Elections Have Consequences!

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The elections last night were, to be honest, a disaster for Republicans.

This should serve as a wake-up call to the GOP and to Republicans everywhere. 

There are two problems here.

1. Republicans like to campaign on fiscal responsibility, cutting spending and repealing ObamaCare.  Once in power, we find it’s business as usual.

2.  There is now a remote possibility that these results were only a prelude of what’s to come in the even more significant mid-term elections just one year from now.  The problem isn’t that we might have less Republicans (or conversely more Democrats).  The problem is the messaging that will be shoved down our throats when Democrats begin to re-balance power back in their favor. 

“The People Have Spoken!”

“Conservatives can’t Govern!”

“Single Payer for All!”

Virginia used to be a largely conservative state. Then for many years, it was a reliable swing state. Now it is probably more a Democratic state than anything else (not solidly so–but still). The point: Virginia is continuing its long-term slide to the Left and won’t be the last state to do so.

As has been said many times, the Republican Party must think about their strategy and, crucially, about how they communicate with the public.  It’s a challenge for Google to find a time when Republicans actually reduced the size of government but that might be a starting point.

Republicans cannot expect to overcome that challenge by doing the same things they’ve always done. They need to give serious thought to how we should be reaching out to voters in this day, time, and environment.

For those of you who still support the Republican Party, I understand why your allegiance hasn’t shifted to the Democratic Party.  But when do you think the Republicans will start to represent you?

At what point will you realize that reducing the size of government and reducing spending isn’t going to happen?  

At this rate, I assume it’s when we either a) hit $23 Trillion in Debt (2020) shortly followed by a Democratic President or b) $28 Trillion in debt (2024) and shortly followed by a Democratic President.  

At that point, it will be too late and the Republican Party will have to take a long look at itself and decide if it even holds limited government as a principle, or if it ever did.  

My worry is that, when the Republican Party goes through it’s next soul-searching period, the Democratic Party (shortly to be the outwardly proclaimed “Socialist Party”) will wreck havoc on this great country.

Vote Libertarian in the meantime.

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LIBERTARIAN BOOK CLUB: Organized Crime – The Unvarnished Truth About Government by Thomas DiLorenzo

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​We are a monthly book club for anyone who wants to learn more about Libertarianism. We will discuss each book’s chapter/section in separate posts, so everyone will be able to read along at their own pace. We typically also focus on books which are available for free so that everyone can participate. Join the Private Facebook Group and follow us on Twitter as we seek to learn more about Libertarianism.

Other books we’ve reviewed can be found here.

Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government by Thomas DiLorenzo

Located here for free.

Politics and thieves, coercion and regulation, fascism and the Fed, centralization and liberty, workers and unions, trade and freedom, free-market achievements and government disasters in American history — this book covers it all!

Section 1: Coercion and Regulation

I thought his synopsis and examples from Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Control: How NOT to Fight Inflation was solid. I’ll be adding it to my reading list. Unfortunately, no AudioBook version! 

The “DiLorenzo’s Laws of Government” are pretty solid. I’ll need to expound on them later in a longer article and have them somewhere where I can share them easier when I’m arguing with people who want bigger government. They resounded with me as I think they will with others.

• DiLorenzo’s First Law of Government- In government, failure is success. Welfare Bureaucracy, Government Schools, NASA tragedies and the Federal Reserve, etc.

• DiLorenzo’s Second Law of Government- Politicians will rarely, if ever, assume responsibility for any of the problems that they cause with bad policies.

• DiLorenzo’s Third Law of Government- With few exceptions, politicians are habitual liars.

• DiLorenzo’s Fourth Law of Government- Politicians will only take the advice of their legions of academic advisers if the advice promises to increase the state’s power, wealth, and influence even if the politicians know that the advice is bad for the rest of society.

I also agreed that the price control section was timely after the debate we just endured following Hurricane Irma. I’ve written EXTENSIVELY about it here on my Steemit blog. How is it that The Continental Congress wisely adopted an anti-price control resolution on June 4, 1778 but it’s still up for debate the negative effects?

That Resolution read:

“Whereas it hath been found by experience that limitations upon the prices of commodities are not only ineffectual for the purpose proposed, but likewise productive of very evil consequences—resolved, that it be recommended to the several states to repeal or suspend all laws limiting, regulating or restraining the price of any Article.”

If they knew price controls always failed 240 years ago, why is it even a question today? I blame education, or lack thereof.

Chapter 3 Who Will Regulate the Regulators

The logic on ‘providing more power to the Fed in order to prevent another Great Recession” was spot on:

“One of the biggest governmental lies is that financial markets are unregulated and in dire need of more central planning by government. Laissez-faire is said to have caused the “Great Recession.” Fed bureaucrats have lobbied for some kind of Super Regulatory Authority to supposedly remedy this problem. Th is is all a lie because according to one of the Fed’s own publications (“The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions”), the Fed already has “supervisory and regulatory authority” over the following partial list of activities: bank holding companies, state-chartered banks, foreign branches of member banks, edge and agreement corporations, U.S. state-licensed bank branches, agencies and representative offices of foreign banks, nonbanking activities of foreign banks, national banks, savings banks, nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies, thrift holding companies, financial reporting procedures of banks, accounting policies of banks, business “continuity” in case of economic emergencies, consumer protection laws, securities dealings of banks, information technology used by banks, foreign investment by banks, foreign lending by banks, branch banking, bank mergers and acquisitions, who may own a bank, capital “adequacy standards,” extensions of credit for the purchase of securities, equal opportunity lending, mortgage disclosure information, reserve requirements, electronic funds transfers, interbank liabilities, Community Reinvestment Act sub-prime lending “demands,” all international banking operations, consumer leasing, privacy of consumer financial information, payments on demand deposits, “fair credit” reporting, transactions between member banks and their affiliates, truth in lending, and truth in savings.”​

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I had never heard of the non-profit libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute nor its annual product Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State. It outlines the annual effect of regulations on business in the United States. Just checking out the fact sheet was valuable.

As someone who thinks government spending and the national debt are keystone issues of our time, I also want to check out Underground Government: The Off-Budget Public Sector, his book written with James Bennett in 1983. Maybe we can get that book into the hopper for the Book Club!

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Chapter 5: Our Totalitarian Regulatory Bureaucracy​

“In chapter 5 of F.A. Hayek’s 1944 classic, Th e Road to Serfdom, the Nobel laureate warned that the state need not directly control all or even most of the means of production to exert totalitarian control over the economic life of a nation. He cited the example of Germany where, as of 1928, “the central and local authorities directly control 53 percent” of the German economy. In addition to this, wrote Hayek, private industry in Germany was so heavily regulated that the state indirectly controlled “almost the whole economic life of the nation.” It was through such totalitarian controls that Germany traveled down “the road to serfdom.” As Hayek further stated, “there is, then scarcely an individual end which is not dependent for its achievement on the action of the state, and the ‘social scale of values’ which guides the state’s action must embrace practically all individual ends.” In other words, government regulation was so pervasive that the pursuit of profit, driven by consumer preferences, was mostly replaced by the whims of regulatory bureaucrats.”

Well Said:

“First, construct a totally unrealistic theory of “perfect” competition that assumes away all real-world competition with assumptions of perfect information, homogenous products and prices, free or costless entry and exit from industry, and “many” firms. Second, compare real-world markets to this utopian Nirvana state and condemn the markets as “imperfect” or “failed. The third characteristic of market failure theories is to recommend intervention by presumably perfect government that is assumed to suffer from no failures and which will correct the failures of the market.”

When I read that, it reminded me of this.

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Section 2

I read DiLorenzo’s Real Lincoln which I highly recommend. I like how in chapter nine he describes Rod Blogajevich as an amateur crook compared to Honest Abe. It is not just a matter of businesses contributing to campaigns to get political favors but politicians using threat of regulations to extort contributions.

Chapter 11

Good point on the housing bubble:

“So when the Fed’s expansionary monetary policy caused the real estate bubble, the extraordinary increases in property values were accompanied by equally extraordinary property tax increases. (After the bubble had burst, local governments were eager to raise property tax rates so as not to lose property tax revenue.”

Chapter 12

“A principle of public choice economics is that politicians will always do all they can to disguise subsidies to less-than-meritorious groups, such as millionaire corporate farmers. If they can subsidize them through protectionism, or price supports, this is much preferred than simply writing the millionaire businessman a check.”

Chapter 13

He discusses Hamilton and I recommend the Tom Woods vs Michael Malice debate (in which I side with Tom.

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Chapter 15

He expands a bit on the idea he expressed earlier of why exactly mainstream media is so pro-government.

Section 3

I agree with DiLorenzo that secession, nullification, decentralization and localism is more effective at achieving liberty than nationalism or universalism, but it is important to understand, “Of course “states” don’t have rights; only individuals do.” Since he understands that I think it is confusing that he keeps using the phrase.

I definitely agree with him that repeal of the seventeenth amendment would greatly improve our situation. But that that seems highly unlikely to ever happen.

Chapter 17

The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. I read this short book a few years ago and highly recommend it.

Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virgina Resolutions and their Legacy

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Chapter 21

“The Lacrosse, Wisconsin Democrat newspaper advocate assassination when it editorialized in November of 1864 that “If Abraham Lincoln should be reelected for another term of four years of such wretched administration, we hope that a bold hand will be found to plunge the dagger into the tyrant’s heart for the public welfare.” (Does that violate the NAP?)

Chapter 22

DiLorenzo basically says that Abraham Lincoln and Adolph Hitler were brothers from another mother.

Chapter 23

He points out that governments are by far the worst killers in history and that in that regard Abraham Lincoln was worse than Pol Pot.

Chapter 25

DiLorenzo eviscerates Paul Krugman, which is always fun.

“Krugman is right about democracy in a sense: Democracy is essentially one big organized act of bullying whereby a larger group bullies a smaller group in order to plunder it with taxes. The “Civil War” proved that whenever a smaller group has finally had enough, and attempts to leave the game, the larger group will resort to anything—even the mass murder of hundreds of thousands and the bombing and burning of entire cities—to get its way.”

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Chapter 26 and 27

In these chapters he does still more debunking of the Lincoln mythology. I did notice though that he doesn’t claim that the War of Northern Aggression was an unmitigated evil – just mostly evil with terrible consequences, but he does acknowledge that the abolition of slavery was the one positive outcome of the war.

He also discusses how American government is both fascist and socialist.

Chapter 30 – 33

These chapters are all about the evils of central banking.

I agree completely and have nothing to add except that coincidentally yesterday, before reading chapter 30, I used a very similar article by DiLorenzo to counter a commenter on this post who was saying that all economists think the Fed is great and that basically Ron is a crank.

That post and Brion’s book should be of interest to anyone who liked that chapter.

Ch 32 reminded me of this meme.

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Chapter 34

This chapter debunks the notion that the Federal Reserve is in any way libertarian just because Alan Greenspan was head of it once.

Chapter 35

Debunks the myth that the Fed is in any way independent – Fed chairmen basically do the bidding of the president in order to maintain their jobs. President wants loose policy? President gets loose policy, and vice versa.

I liked his discussion on the damage done by typical college economics textbooks, particularly Paul Samuelson’s, which is most popular.

Chapter 36

Explains how government caused the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.
This is useful because people often try to blame DE-regulation when nothing could be further from the truth.

As an aside, I found The Big Short an entertaining movie on the subject if you have not seen it, but it largely leaves unmentioned government as a cause and this chapter definitely fills in the blanks.

Section 5
Chapter 47

Macroeconomists Discover Economics and Debunk the New Deal (Again) is probably the most intriguing to me. Seven decades of economists who have sold us the line that the New Deal and large-scale government spending is what got us out of the Great Depression.
It took several decades but macroeconomic model builders, who consider themselves to be the elite of the economics profession, have finally discovered freshman-level principles of economics and have used that discovery to finally debunk FDR’s New Deal. (Beginning in the 1930s Austrian School economists like Henry Hazlitt recognized the truth about the New Deal: It made the Great Depression deeper and longer lasting.)

The only wise thing to have done was to have allowed the liquidation of hundreds of overcapitalized businesses to occur, cut taxes and spending, and deregulate. Instead, the Fed increased the money supply by 100 percent in a failed attempt to create another bubble while the president and Congress implemented an explosion of government interventionism. That was the

first time in American history that a depression was responded to with government interventionism rather than governmental retrenchment, and the result was a seventeen-year long Great Depression, the worst in history.

The essay is solid and I’ll need to look into Murray Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression to learn more.

That mainstream macroeconomists and their modeling have come around against governmental interventionism during a depression is great. Now, if the citizenry can learn that before the next bubble pops. I foresee politicians and special interests will use the next crisis as an opportunity to line their pockets.

CHAPTER 48

Will Socialism Make You Happier? The Trojan Horse of “Happiness Research”I hadn’t heard of this statist argument before but basically

“…statists around the world are changing their tune and saying that prosperity doesn’t really matter after all; what matters is how happy we are. And, they say, that is what government can be really, really good at—making us happy. Consequently, they argue, there should be no more limits on governmental powers, for limiting governmental powers will limit our very happiness.”

In the year this book was published, Bhutan was the ‘Happiest’ according to the UN-sponsored “World Happiness Report”. Yes, Bhutan. This hellhole, ahem, I mean paradise:

As an intelligence officer which has experience in this part of the world… No.

This year’s winner is Norway, which is much more beautiful and bearable.Source:WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2017 It’s also a lot more socialist, which to be fair, is the point. It’s edited by leftist academic Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, what else would you expect?

As F.A. Hayek commented in The Road to Serfdom, the end of socialism was always egalitarianism; only the means changed over time, beginning with government ownership of the means of production and transforming to income redistribution through a welfare state and a “progressive” income tax.

These happiness researchers never make any mention at all of the well documented pathologies created by welfare statism, such as the destruction of the work ethic, family breakup, the growth of dysfunctionality caused by a welfare state that removes people from the working population, etc.

Thus, “happiness research” is part of a crusade to persuade the public that poverty and servitude to the state are superior to prosperity and freedom. It is a new version of what twentieth-century communists referred to as “socialism with a smiling face” during the last, dying days of totalitarian communism.

Chapter 49

The Canard of “Asymmetric Information” as a Source of Market FailureGood information on the Nirvana Theory of Markets. I tried to look more into it, but it is unique to only this writing.

Nirvana Fallacy— comparing real-world markets to an unattainable utopian ideal (perfect competition), and then denouncing markets because they fall short of utopia or Nirvana. Having “proven” that markets “fail,” the analyst then proposes government intervention under the assumption that no such failures will infect government. Markets may not be perfect, but government is assumed to be.

Overall, I liked Section 5 the best. The ease at which he demystifies economic myths is extremely understandable. I just wish it was taken onboard by many voters who refuse to heed the empirical evidence against government intervention.

Asymmetric information problem really applies to government not the free market:

“In this case we are dealing with the well-established fact that, in their capacity as voters, people tend to be “rationally ignorant” of almost all of what government does. In fact, government is so pervasive that no human mind could possibly comprehend the tiniest fraction of one percent of what government in a country the size of the U.S. does. Consequently, special-interest groups dominate all democratic governments;”

A related problem I think is that “public servants” are allowed to keep secrets from their supposed masters.

Chapter 51

“Politicians perpetuate the myth of government job creation because the government jobs that are created are seen by the average voter, whereas the private-sector jobs that are destroyed (or never created) are not.”

I.e. Hazlitt’s seen and unseen as described in Economics in One Lesson

Chapter 52

DiLorenzo shoots down the gender wage gap myth. Tom Woods has done a couple of shows on this subject as well, as I recall.

Summary

DiLorenzo lays out a decent criticism of how Government, corrupted by size and motive, has engaged in forceful and deceitful acts against the populace.

To be honest, I really dislike collections of articles such as this and found in other “books”. If an author is still alive, such collections are always better to be formed in to a true book that is able to cleanly explain a subject from start to finish. While DiLorenzo’s articles are well written (and are quite often sourced with citations! Such a rarity among articles), the execution of the message would have been much better had he taken the time to write these out in to full chapters of their own.

The topics covered in the book were good ones to discuss (though I think that the mentions of the Civil war would be better served in a separate book), but I do wish that the author had expanded more on the topics of taxation, subsidies, and the enforcement of victimless crimes.
Overall a good read, and some articles were absolutely fantastic. If only the author could have written this out as an actual book and added another hundred pages or so, this could have been something especially fantastic.

edit: I’ve decided to give the book 5 stars, from the original 4. I find that I often go back to the book to re-read certain articles when I come across various topics of discussion. I still wish that the author had written a proper book instead of just compiling a collection of his articles, though.

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Manners and Political Life: Divisiveness is the Politician's Tool of Choice

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I’ve provided a link to “Manners and Political Life” by Dr. George Friedman.

If you don’t want to read it all, then just scroll down and read the part under the heading “Authenticity.”

As you read it, think of examples of politicians and other public figures who foment animosity and who seem to see the “other side” not as well intended opponents but as enemies.

Be honest with yourself: think of some both from the other side and from your own side. Can you?

Then be even more honest with yourself: Do you respect those who disagree with you? Can you discuss political issues without becoming angry and eventually slinging insults? Even if someone else does it to you, do you refrain from responding in kind?

I watch Facebook discussions frequently, and I must say that it isn’t only some of our politicians who create division and discord. Many of our fellow average citizens engage in hostility toward the other side–and reward politicians who do the same.

Therein lies our greatest challenge as a nation.

Democrats aren’t our greatest challenge. Republicans aren’t our greatest challenge.

Donald Trump isn’t our greatest challenge. Hillary Clinton isn’t our greatest challenge.

​The truth is that all four of these thrive on hostility, but they aren’t thriving on their own hostility. They are thriving on the anger and hostility of an electorate that uses the ballot box to reward them for their intransigence. In a sense, the political discourse among our citizens–not our politicians–is the most fundamental problem.

We pride ourselves less on coming together to forge solutions and more on on our ability simply to prevent the other side from accomplishing anything. We spend less time trying to improve our own side and more time trying to show that we’re not as bad as the other side.

Republicans cannot complain that Democrats call them “ignorant” when so many Republicans call Democrats “un-American.” Democrats cannot complain that so many Republicans call them “baby killers” when so many Democrats blanketly label all Republicans “racist.”

If you want to know which side is at fault, look at your own. If you want to see a person who is at fault–or at least could do better–then look in a mirror.

The next time you find yourself disagreeing with someone, try to understand what the other person is really saying. Do this without simultaneously trying to decide how to respond. The most important thing, after all, isn’t your response; it’s your listening.

When you do finally respond, discuss issues and facts, not each other. The issues are important, and solutions are desired. Your opinion of someone’s character is neither important nor desired.

The point isn’t for you to win an argument against an enemy, which, even if it occurred, would serve no purpose other than your own vanity.

​If you really want to win an argument though, I assure you that you’re more likely to do so when you and the other party respect each other than when you do not.

​At the end of the day, if disagreement persists, then guess what: That’s okay. This is America, where the right to disagree is Constitutional. Learn from the exchange, and move forward with dignity. Even though you disagree with each other, you may have helped to create the trust and space necessary for solutions to eventually take hold.

Read George Friedman’s Full Column Here

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LIBERTARIAN BOOK CLUB: Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal, by Prof Ralph Raico, PhD

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We are a monthly book club for anyone who wants to learn more about Libertarianism. We will discuss each book’s chapter/section in separate posts, so everyone will be able to read along at their own pace. We typically also focus on books which are available for free so that everyone can participate. Join the Private Facebook Group and follow us on Twitter as we seek to learn more about Libertarianism.

Other books we’ve reviewed can be found here.

​The great historian of classical liberalism strips away the veneer of exalted leaders and beloved wars. Professor Ralph Raico shows them to be wolves in sheep’s clothing and their wars as attacks on human liberty and human rights.

In the backdrop of this blistering and deeply insightful and scholarly history is the whitewashing of “great leaders” like Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, FDR, Truman, Stalin, Trotsky, and other collectivists. They are highly regarded because they were on the “right side” of the rise of the state. But do they deserve adulation? Raico says no: these great leaders were main agents in the decline of civilization in the 20th century, all of them anti-liberals who used their power to celebrate and enhance state power.

The book can be found here Free!

It is striking how history seems to repeat itself continually. Reading through this book, it is very easy to see parallels drawn between the effects of foreign policy (and interventionist leaders) then and what we deal with now as an effect of the War on Terror (and certainly what is coming from that).

I was interested from the intro pp 29-30, the man Raico names as the founder of anarcho- capitalism:
“Unsurprisingly, the most thoroughgoing of the liberal revisionists was the arch-radical Gustave de Molinari, originator of what has come to be known as anarcho-capitalism. In his work on the Great Revolution of 1789, Molinari eviscerated the founding myth of the French Republic. France had been “proceeding gradually and organically towards liberal reform in the later eighteenth century; the revolution put an end to that process, substituting an unprecedented expansion of state power and a generation of war. The self-proclaimed liberal parties of the nineteenth century were, in fact, machines for the exploitation of society by the now victorious predatory middle classes, who profited from tariffs, government contracts, state subsidies for railroads and other industries, state-sponsored banking, and the legion of jobs available in the ever-expanding bureaucracy.”

Chapter 1This chapter Illustrates a lot of hypocrisy. British government saw German violation of Belgium sovereignty as an aggression that could not stand, overlooking their own long history of violating others’ sovereignty. In fact, Raico argues that it was the British example that gave Germany the idea in the first place.

This reminded me of American concern toward Russian alleged tampering in US elections, but no commiserate concern with the CIA’ long history of tampering with the outcome of other countries’ elections including Russia’s.

Chapter 2“In a way, Churchill as Man of the Century will be appropriate. This has been the century of the State —of the rise and hypertrophic growth of the welfare-warfare state — and Churchill was from first to last a Man of the State, of the welfare state and of the warfare state.”

I remember at the start of Trump’s presidency conservatives applauding Trump bring back to the Oval Office a bust of Churchill that Obama had apparently removed. Appropriate perhaps but definitely NOT a good omen.

I will be recommending this chapter in the future with anyone who speaks well of Churchill. Here is another good resource.

Continue reading “LIBERTARIAN BOOK CLUB: Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal, by Prof Ralph Raico, PhD”

Economics should teach about "queerness," say students

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Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

“Get the equivalent of a Ph.D. in libertarian thought and free-market economics online for just 24 cents a day.”
Most of us learned politically correct U.S. history in school. The economics was at least as bad.
It’s never too late to learn the truth.
At Liberty Classroom, you can learn real U.S. history, Western civilization, and free-market economics from professors you can trust.
Short on time? No problem. You can learn in your car. 
​FIND OUT MORE HERE

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Economics departments have their problems — which is why Liberty Classroom has an entire course critiquing a typical textbook, chapter by chapter.

But being “too capitalist” certainly isn’t one of them.

According to students at Tufts University, though, that’s precisely the problem.

One student complains that all she hears in her economics course is “profit, profit, profit.” “We got so disconnected from the social side of it—that our economic system is supposed to benefit society,” she says.

Someone hasn’t been studying.

Profit is how a business determines whether it is serving society or not.

There are countless resources that can be combined in a countless number of ways, to produce a countless number of consumer goods.

How can a business know whether it’s using scarce resources in the most value-productive way? And once it knows what to produce, how can it know whether it’s producing that thing in a way that’s least wasteful?

Profit.

Profit ratifies the firm’s production and allocation decisions. Loss encourages the firm to rethink the whats and hows of its production decisions.

This way, waste persists for as little time as possible.

There’s more:

“Theories like these,” says an op-ed in the Tufts student newspaper, referring to the assumptions behind their economics courses, “regard individuals as able to make deliberate, calculated choices to serve their own interests, instead of seeing happiness as communal.”

There is precisely zero in mainstream economics — these kids even have me defending mainstream economics! — that assumes people’s happiness can’t involve other people.

It’s almost like these kids are searching for something to be offended by, instead of — for a change — shutting up and listening to ideas they’ve never been exposed to before.

How can the Tufts economics department improve? By being more like the economics department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, students say, which has “professors who focus on feminism and queerness in their economic research, teaching topics such as the economic and social benefits of legally recognizing queer marriages and the impact of fertility decisions and household work on the economy.”

Translation: if what I’m studying doesn’t affirm me and my prejudices, it must be invalid.

Thus we have the most closed-minded people in human history lecturing everyone else about openness and tolerance.

Our own courses on economics don’t cover “queer marriages,” but they sure do explain how the world works. Not to mention they smash the fallacies you run into all over your Facebook feed.

Haven’t joined us yet? For shame!

Check out LibertyClassroom!

Tom Woods

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RESPONSE: Five things that just don’t add up about the Las Vegas mass shooting

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With the lack of any quality reporting covering the gunman attack outside of a Las Vegas casino last night, the information void is unsurprisingly filled with speculation and conspiracy.

Natural News posted this article, titled Five things that just don’t add up about the Las Vegas mass shooting. The only one I find even remotely peculiar is #2.

With that said, I think everyone should go read Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Market Manipulator.  Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines. Publishing content for contents-sake.  Don’t believe everything you read in blogs.

Except ours.

​This Natural News article is reminiscent of the idea that blogs should always be writing SOMETHING. 

But here are my thoughts:

#1) Dozens of concert-goers reported the presence of multiple shooters

Everyone reports this following active shooter events.  “There were multiple shooters from different angles.”

Most of it is because of the panic  Adrenaline and inability to cope during these high-stress event can, and most often does create inaccurate reporting.

In this case, all the towers in the area would provide for a LOT of echo, making the victims believe it even more so.

#2) Who warned concert-goers they were “all going to die” a full 45 minutes before the shooting started?
 

I saw this 21-yr old’s interview this morning. If someone actually was saying “you’re all going to die”, was she arrested? If so, interview her.

More likely, she was just escorted out. I’d be interested to see if they at least called in her license for disorderly conduct. 

#3) The weapon you hear on videos was FULL AUTO, which is almost impossible to acquire through legal means
It probably was a fully automatic firearm. Even with admitted surrounding echo, it was too rapid for a bump stock or a trigger rotator.  Bump stocks were found in his room, but he would have had to been Lee-Harvey-Oswald-fast to shoot as fast as I saw/heard (no conspiracy pun intended).

These are automatic weapons are illegal. While I don’t wish harm on anyone, I’d almost rather he used an RPG. I mean, those are illegal too. Killing people is also illegal.

Quit trying to make things illegal and think you are solving problems.  You’re not.

#4) Why were the exits blocked, trapping victims like rats in a maze?
The Exit Blocking reports were in Orlando Night Club shooting as well (4:50 into this video) 

Until I see a POS admit he locked doors, I’m not buying it. First rule of intelligence or information gathering: Initial Reports are Always Wrong.  I’ll just assume that reports are either still wrong or panic was too great and the victims were inaccurate.

#5) Why did the shooter have as many as 10 firearms in his room?

No conspiracy or oddity here. Dude was trying to kill people.

ONE MORE QUESTION: Why is ISIS claiming responsibility for the Las Vegas massacre?

Of course ISIS is claiming responsibility. It helps their recruiting, emboldens those in their ranks who believe they are capable.

​Also, ANTIFA claimed responsibility too. It’s win-win-win to claim responsibility for all of the world’s ill wills. 

Reports are now suggesting that ANTIFA literature was found in his room as well.  Let’s not turn this thing into “Russia Hacked the Election!” until we get solid reporting.  The Blogosphere will be quick to publish content speculating without any proof.  In the end when that happens, we all lose.

The worst conspiracy theory I’ve heard is that he was likely an MK Ultra patient who was programmed to change the US public narrative from ‘People in Catalonia should be free if they want to be free’ and focus is on ‘Gun Control is necessary’. Come on, people!
Don’t believe everything you read online folks.  Everything should be viewed through a critical lens.  Even libertyLOL…

Thoughts and prayers don’t do a thing to comfort anyone right now. If someone wants to help, they should write a damn check.

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Source: Liberty LOL – RESPONSE: Five things that just don’t add up about the Las Vegas mass shooting

Do You Want an ACTUAL Conversation by Kneeling During the National Anthem?  Let's Talk! (HINT: You Don't)

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In case you weren’t aware, or have only been tracking what football players do during the national anthem… There was a shooting in an American church today.

person died in Tennessee, today.

I know it’s classy and popular to hate on the President (because OMG did you hear what he said today?) and the constant media-hysteria rakes in dollars and good ratings, but… someone died today. People have been sitting during the anthem since last season (NFL) and other sports/Olympics since it became our ‘National Anthem’ in 1913.

But Trump said something? Oh gee, let’s continue the ‘hysteria-over-everything-since-the-election’ and ruin NFL Sunday for everyone while continually dividing everyone apart with another relatively non-issue.

This is LITERALLY another problem created by government. People act like NFL players standing for the anthem has been a longtime thing but it only became a permanent fixture in 2009 when the military gave the NFL a bunch of money to promote patriotism during a period of prolonged war. Before that, teams weren’t required to be on the field until after the anthem (though they were on sometimes at their discretion).

The media molds the national dialog. 90% of it is distraction.

Let’s talk about our $20 Trillion debt. The Drug War which disproportionately affects minorities. Civil Asset Forfeiture allows police to take money and property without even bringing charges against citizens. None of our elected leaders are ever accountable while citizens are (because it’s the law, and we’re a ‘Nation of Laws’). People are committing physical violence against others based on religious beliefs. Our social security system is mathematically unsustainable. Our public policies do nothing bad add costs and regulations, yet we want more? We have this thing called the Federal Reserve which isn’t discussed because it requires people to learn about something that’s not taught in school.

Let’s have a conversation.

I’m not a fan of people sitting during the anthem, but if you’re seeking attention, start a conversation. Don’t do it just because “OMG Trump said words that hurt my feelings”.

Want to sit during the anthem? Want to protest? Want to start a dialog? I haven’t heard any real dialog past the 20-second Colin Kaepernick interview clip (wearing a Che shirt, no less) where he says there is “injustice in the U.S”.

OK, and now what?

Let’s have a conversation. I’m sure the media and the talking points will stick with Anti-Trump rhetoric, pride-in-nation patriotism, “those who have died for the flag”…

Let’s talk about injustice of the Drug War and spending money our children will have to pay back. Let’s talk about why we ONLY vote in people who promise to spend MORE money our children will have to pay back. Let’s talk about why people think it’s OK to kill unsuspecting citizens in their place of worship because they disagree with their religious beliefs.

That’s an injustice. But people will just talk about “Merica” talking points instead.

Just get politics out of my football.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum”

History of National Anthem Protests

Too Long, Didn’t Read:

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Source: Liberty LOL – Do You Want an ACTUAL Conversation by Kneeling During the National Anthem?  Let's Talk! (HINT: You Don't)

QUIT MAKING ME DEFEND DONALD TRUMP!: National Anthem Edition

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Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

From a policy standpoint I don’t like Trump, but I find myself supporting him when he goes against this level of dishonesty and distortion of the truth. Those against Trump are so sensational about everything Trump does, that I find myself aligned accordingly just to appose the leftists. Does anyone else fall into this trap?

Literally everything since the election has been hysterical. Turn off the news for one month and what has happened to you? Nothing. Nothing President Trump has done has affected your life. It’s all hysteria for hysteria-sake.

Trump said that some of those in Charlottesville were “very fine people”, and he’s right, most of those protesters were not affiliated with white supremacy groups, most just opposed the removing of statues. This is just one of many small examples of what leftists do to create a false narrative.

Policy wise, he’s a Bill Clinton that likes guns. Not great, but could be worse. But I find myself defending much that he does or says because the narrative from the “other side” is SO false that I just can’t let it be.

I recommend a book written by Sharyl Atkkisson “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote”.

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​This book details how political operatives use these little phrases in order to influence public opinion. In this case, the phrase “Trump said they’re all fine people” is completely false, but is being repeated and propagated by political operatives with support of the media. By the time it gets to your average Social Justice Warrior, the vast majority will not check if it is true but instead embrace it because it fits with their world view. A false statement only needs a kernel of truth to be considered true in this fake news world we live in.
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Now on to the National Anthem.  I find this confusion over the difference between patriotism and nationalism very disturbing. These flamboyant displays at sporting events are NOT patriotism. They are for the indoctrination of nationalism.

“Patriotism” is not demanded it is an act of admiration to the collaborative success of good by ones countrymen. It is the show of pride in the brothers and sisters you share the nation with. It is not your duty to show patriotism as it is a gift from each of us the individuals and our choice when to display it.
“Nationalism” is a tool, a disease that collectivist like communists, socialists, and fascist, employ to manipulate public opinion to control the masses and dissenters.

If you’re up in arms over these idiot athletes attempting to protest social issues then you yourself are just as foolish as they are.

I have been in the military for 19 years and counting. I serve alongside great brothers in arms who are Purple Heart recipients. We all bleed red white and blue and some of my friends will even stand up at attention for the national anthem if we were out in public or at a restaurant. Great for them. That’s what they want to do and they are able to do it and it’s awesome. We don’t demand that every able-bodied person HAS to stand though. That’s not America.

Instead I see the following image all over my social media.

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Source: Liberty LOL – QUIT MAKING ME DEFEND DONALD TRUMP!: National Anthem Edition

DEBUNKED: "Teachers in Finland are Paid as Much as Physicians, Thus Better Schooling!"

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This is an example of why you shouldn’t get facts from internet memes.

I’ve found what is “factual” is often grossly distorted and even “quotes” are often bogus or manipulated by someone to serve their own ideological agenda. This is true when the message is conservative, liberal or even libertarian. Also, it is almost impossible to get all the relevant facts into a meme thus there is gross biasing out of necessity. And none of them list sources leaving you to take it on faith, or do your own research, and most people never do the latter. Look at this one FB meme as an example.

What is the source?

No source is listed but an “anonymous” teacher in Norway, according to the picture, the source of which is not entirely clear either. We have double anonymity. Is the unnamed teacher the one in the picture? Probably not. Her name is Niina Utso and she is from Estonia, though she now teaches in Finland. Her images is the first that comes up if you do a google search on “Finland teacher.” I doubt she was the source, her image was used by the originator of the meme merely to look good.

Let’s grant that Finland has the “best” school system in the world. I don’t know if it does, and haven’t considered how to judge that claim.

What about the rest?

First, consider what is left out.Finland has a homogeneous and small population. The total student population of the country is 20% smaller than what we find in the Los Angeles School District alone. One article I read said Finland’s schools tend to be so small most teachers know ALL the students in the school. Small schools tend to be better than large ones. Having only 500,000 students, nationwide, to worry about helps a lot with results.

I suspect the main point is the meme’s creator wants teachers in the US to be paid like physicians. It is part of the constant theme that US teachers are woefully underpaid. It also implies Finnish teachers are paid far better than US teachers. By the way, Finnish teachers tend to be far better educated than US teachers and many US teachers would not be admitted as teachers there. All Finnish teachers have to finish a rigorous master’s program, US teachers have no such requirement. But, assume equal quality of teachers so we are only comparing actual salary. Worldsalaries . org has convenient salary comparisons based on official data. They also look at how salaries compare when purchasing power is taken into account. Using purchasing power parity is important.

I am comparing the cost of living in Finland vs the US thanks to the site Numbeo, which keeps this information. Consumer prices in Finland are 28% higher than in the US. Somethings are worse. A meal at McDonald’s is over $9 per person, a domestic beer is well over $6, chicken is almost double in price.

​However, Worldsalaries takes all that into account with the PPP comparison using constant 2005 US dollars. They found the average teacher in the US in those terms was making $4055 per month. (All comparisons are with 2005 dollars.) In Finland, the teacher earned $1,936 per month, on average, taking PPP into account. US teachers are paid about twice as well as their Finnish counterparts.

So, what about being paid as much as doctors?

That seems like BS, if Worldsalaries data (from Statistics Finland) is correct. In fact, Finnish physicians earns about twice as much as Finnish teachers. Actually, American physicians earns about twice as much as American teachers as well, again according to Worldsalaries when it comes to purchasing power parity in 2005 constant dollars.

I think that was the most important section of the meme, it is trying to emphasize the pay issue. As for the other two, students in Finland get more play time than in the US and also spend more time on things like arts and crafts in school. School isn’t quite the prison it is in the US. They are also heavy with courses teaching skills like carpentry, metalwork, cooking, etc. They also do not use the stupid standardized testing the US does.

So, there is a fail on the implied issue of paying US teachers more, they already earn more than their Finnish counterparts while being less qualified than Finnish teachers. In other words, U.S. teachers would be overpaid in comparison. Accurate in terms of given kids more free time and play time and accurate in terms of testing. I just get the impression the salary was the main issue they were pushing.

Should we possibly look into the number of administrators we have instead?

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Source: Liberty LOL – DEBUNKED: "Teachers in Finland are Paid as Much as Physicians, Thus Better Schooling!"

Hiring Our First Employee: Enter Government Hurdles

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I have my own business. It’s about as simple as a business can be.


We want to hire our first employees. In case anyone has any doubt whatsoever about how much more difficult/worse the government makes things for employers and employees (excluding income taxes and 15.3% Social Security & Medicare taxes!), check this out:


We have to worry about “wrongful termination.” Federal, state, and city law prohibit discrimination/harassment on the basis of the following protected categories: Race, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy), gender (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical, mental, or perceived disability, alienage or citizenship, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, genetic predisposition or carrier status, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation (including actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality), partnership status, and victim of domestic violence status.


We have to comply with the “Fair Labor Standards Act,” NY labor law, and the NY minimum wage ($12/hour effective 12/31/17). We have to comply with the “New York Paid Family Leave Act,” and the “NYC Paid Sick Leave Law.” We’ve been advised by both an accountant and an employment lawyer that we must retain a payroll provider just to be able to keep up with the constantly changing government rules.


We have to register with NY State as an employer. During the process, they ask questions that you literally can’t know the answer to at the time you’re registering. They also ask probing questions such as, “Does anyone work for you that you don’t consider to be an employee?” And guess what? The guidelines around what constitutes an employee versus a contractor are so vague that a lawyer who specializes in employment and a lawyer who specializes in our field can’t definitively advise us on what we can do to know whether we’re complying with the law.


We have to report to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, comply with the “Wage Theft Prevention Act,” and the “Immigration Reform and Control Act.”


We have to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, “NY State Disability Insurance,” and “Unemployment Insurance,” which “starts” as a 4-5% tax (you have to wait for the State to tell you after you register) and, presumably, goes up from there based on how well our company is doing. (There’s also another business tax on top of everything else that kicks in once we hit some arbitrary amount of profit.)


We need to deliver “workplace postings” to every employee, even though we don’t have a physical office. There’s a whole industry around this because the government doesn’t even provide the information in any kind of easily accessible way. (Check out complianceposter.com for fun.)


What a productive use of our time, energy, and the valuable resources we need to grow! I’m sure our customers love paying higher prices, since they have plenty of disposable income. I bet the people we hire actually prefer having chunks of money taken out of their pay before they get it, because they know they’re going to get every inflation-adjusted dollar back someday, and more!


Hey, at least we have a government making sure that we don’t do anything “wrong.” Otherwise we could lie, cheat, and steal, since that’s how you succeed in business! And at least we have a government doing everything possible to encourage our business to grow so that we can create jobs and prosperity!


Can’t wait to discover what other nonsense we have to deal with. These things do nothing but hurt everyone involved.

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Source: Liberty LOL – Hiring Our First Employee: Enter Government Hurdles