Tuesday, October 21, 2008

End of Libertarianism?

The End of Libertarianism
By Jacob Weisberg | Slate | Oct. 18, 2008

Haven't you people [libertarians] done enough harm already? We have narrowly avoided a global depression and are mercifully pointed toward merely the worst recession in a long while. This is thanks to a global economic meltdown made possible by libertarian ideas...Any competent forensic work has to put the libertarian theory of self-regulating financial markets at the scene of the crime...


Blaming Liberty for the State’s Depredations
by Anthony Gregory | LewRockwell.com | October 20, 2008

Surely, libertarians have not exactly been in charge of the state. Indeed, it would be a contradiction to say that we have – insofar as the state is libertarian, it ceases to be a state. Yet somehow, America’s $3-trillion federal government – the largest state in our planet’s history – is associated with free enterprise in the minds of confused pundits, left and right. But every single dollar spent by that government is of course a dollar that has nothing to do with free enterprise...


Has Libertarianism Ended?
D.W. MacKenzie | Mises Institute | 10/29/2008

The recent financial crisis has been a source of new hope for those who despise capitalism. The Democratic presidential candidate has gone out on a limb by declaring that the current crisis is the result of deregulation during the Bush presidency. (No such deregulation took place.) Slate.com's Jacob Weisberg has taken a more cautious approach. According to Weisberg, the current crisis is the result of the lack of new regulations rather than the shredding of old regulations. While Weisberg is not as obviously wrong as Obama, his claims are unsubstantiated, poorly argued, and false...


The Attack on Libertarianism
Aaron David Ward | LewRockwell.com | October 30, 2008

A source of tremendous frustration amid the financial carnage has been watching the mainstream media exemplified by Jacob Weisberg.


Is Laissez Faire Responsible for the Financial Crisis?
George Reisman | Mises Institute | 10/23/2008
The news media are in the process of creating a great new historical myth. This is the myth that our present financial crisis is the result of economic freedom and laissez-faire capitalism...

Critique of Interventionism
Ludwig von Mises | 1929
In Mises's view, interventionism is an inherently unstable policy because it creates new dislocations that would seem to cry out for further interventions, which, in turn, do not solve the problem. The end of interventionism is socialism, a fate which can be logically avoided only by a sharp turn towards free markets...

What deregulation?
Pierre Lemieux | Financial Post | October 29, 2008
Many critics blame the current crisis on loosened financial regulations. But they can’t get specific.

The Economic Crisis and the Future [audio]
Lew Rockwell Show, special guest: Ron Paul | October 26th, 2008
Greenspan has joined the gang of liberals and socialists to blame the free market for all the problems.

Why The Mortgage Crisis Happened
M. JAY WELLS | Investor's Business Daily | October 29, 2008
It is not free-market capitalism at the root of the current mortgage industry crisis, but rather the very socialism Obama hawks. The historical record makes this fact unmistakably clear.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Values and Politics

Christian values noticeably absent from parties and politics

Pete Reilly | Letter, Asheville Citizen-Times | October 15, 2008

Unless we change things soon, this great nation of ours is in a death spiral and we have no one to blame but ourselves. For a Christian nation it is inconceivable that we have two political parties that have absolutely no Christian values. Lying, slander, innuendo, half-truths, distortion, castigation of another human being by any means possible, solely to achieve the highest office in the land. Or at the rate we are going, is it the lowest office in the land?...

Politics is the concrete expression of an abstract moral framework in the domain of human action.

The writer is correct that there are super-ordinate values that inform morality, and in turn, politics and law in a rational society. But those values do not derive from religion -- even the writer's favorite one.

The values that inform a proper moral worldview derive from the human individual's fact of existence and the facts of reality. A proper moral code respects freedoms of action, freedom of association, and freedom of contract and forbids any predation, fraud or negligence that stands to hamper or injure the individual.

Reason, free will, lucid consciousness -- these are the qualities that distinguish the human animal. It is the need to protect the free exercise of these unique human qualities in a pluralistic society that requires an objective, secular body of law that respects individual rights and the pursuit of happiness as primaries over against the primacy of any social, organizational or religious agglomeration that may form to circumvent the free exercise of human will.


Man's Rights by Ayn Rand | April 1963
“Rights” are a moral concept-the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others -- the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context -- the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist
By Tara Smith
Ayn Rand is well known for advocating egoism, but the substance of that instruction is rarely understood. Far from representing the rejection of morality, selfishness, in Rand's view, actually demands the practice of a systematic code of ethics.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No Bailout!

Leave it alone and the marketplace will mend itself
Letter to Asheville Citizen-Times | October 6, 2008

I oppose the bailout.

The current economic crisis is not a failure of a (non-existent) free market. This crisis is a failure of 100 years of interventionist public policy that hampers the free market. Policy such as Smoot-Hawley, Sarbanes-Oxley, Community Reinvestment Act, Federal Reserve Act, Fannie Mae.

These are egregious interferences into the economy by the government that result in loss of wealth and liberty. The Community Reinvestment Act (1977), for example, allowed the government to coerce honest business-people into providing housing and mortgage loans to the riskiest Americans, who invest erroneously. The program paints a false picture of the economic and business environment that humans act in and which must, at some point, be corrected – usually painfully.

Dishonesty (faking reality) is the moral basis of these interventionist policies. Socialism isn't bad because it doesn't work; it doesn't work because it's bad -- that is, immoral.

We now propose rewarding these government and corporate failures with public plunder for private gain. We cannot expect a greedy and powerful federal government to reign in the leviathan political culture of economic interference and regulation that now, and inevitably, culminates in disaster.

Reject the bailout and allow the marketplace to operate freely.


Repeal the Bailout
Online resource for intellectual activism on the US Government's dangerous and immoral "financial bailout" policies. Inspired by outrage at Congressional passage of the 850 billion dollar Bush/Paulson "financial bailout bill" on October 3, 2008, Repeal the Bailout uncompromisingly opposes such legislation, advocates the repeal of any that may still be in effect, and calls for the removal from office of elected officials who support its passage.

Ron Paul on CNN 10/1/08 [video]

Bob Barr on "Your World w/Neil Cavuto. [video]

Bob Barr weights in on the attempted $700 billion bailout. [video]

DeMint Opposes Wall Street Bailout
U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) | September 22, 2008
"Plan does not solve the problems that caused the current credit crunch, and could make them much worse.."

How Government Stoked the Mania
By RUSSELL ROBERTS | Wall Street Journal | Oct 3, 2008
Beginning in 1992, Congress pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their purchases of mortgages going to low and moderate income borrowers. For 1996, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave Fannie and Freddie an explicit target -- 42% of their mortgage financing had to go to borrowers with income below the median in their area. The target increased to 50% in 2000 and 52% in 2005.

Pressured to Take More Risk, Fannie Reached Tipping Point
Charles Duhigg | New York Times | October 4, 2008
With that self-assurance, the company announced in 2000 that it would buy $2 trillion in loans from low-income, minority and risky borrowers by 2010. All this helped supercharge Fannie’s stock price and rewarded top executives with tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Raines received about $90 million between 1998 and 2004...

Kill the Bailout
By Robert Tracinski | Real Clear Politics | October 02, 2008
Some cold, realistic scrutiny of the bailout is desperately needed because this plan is not just an attack on the free market. It is an attack on reality. The financial crisis was caused by more than a decade of using government power to rewrite the facts of reality and override the judgment of the market, and the bailout just offers more of the same fantasy economics...

The Long Road to Slack Lending Standards
By Steven Malanga | Real Clear Markets | October 01, 2008
What happened in the mortgage industry is an example of how, in trying to eliminate discrimination from our society, we turned logic on its head.

Financial Crisis and Recession
Jesus Huerta de Soto | Mises Institute | 10/6/2008
The severe financial crisis and resulting worldwide economic recession we have been forecasting for years are finally unleashing their fury. In fact, the reckless policy of artificial credit expansion that central banks (led by the American Federal Reserve) have permitted and orchestrated over the last fifteen years could not have ended in any other way.

An Open Letter to Members of Congress on the Financial Mess
by John Lewis | Capitalism Magazine | September 30, 2008
I oppose all bailouts of financial institutions by the US government. Government regulation and meddling is solidly to blame for this crisis. We must reduce government involvement in the economy now.

Ayn Rand Center's Response to Financial Crisis
ARC experts clarify the fundamental issues involved in the current crisis—the controls that led to it, the ideas that led to the controls, the destructiveness of the government response so far.

Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure
Murray N. Rothbard | Mises Institute | 10/2/2008
[...] But all parties agree that the fault lies deep within the market economy and that if anything can save the day, it must be some form of massive government intervention. There are, however, some critical problems in the assumption that the market economy is the culprit...

Don't Blame Capitalism
By Peter Schiff | Washington Post | October 16, 2008
...Absent from such conclusions is the central role the government played in creating the crisis. Yes, many Wall Street leaders were irresponsible, and they should pay. But they were playing the distorted hand dealt them by government policies. Our leaders irrationally promoted home-buying, discouraged savings, and recklessly encouraged borrowing and lending, which together undermined our markets.

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
Steven A. Holmes | New York Times | September 30, 1999
In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's...