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Friday, December 30, 2005

Human Created Disaster Of The Year

Bill Suda suggests we provide nominations for "Human Created Disaster Of The Year". Of course, then he wins the competition by nominating The Kelo Decision.

Here are my nominations:

Corzine's Election

Terrell Owens

NYT

Anything involving George Clooney

The US Tax Code

Move On.Org

Anti-trust statutes

Elliot Spitzer's Mother

Harvard Law School

Every Other Law School

That Geena Davis Show Where She Plays Hilary Clinton And All Conservatives Are Portrayed As Evil

Salma Hayek's haberdasher

Skip March nominates the UN.

Bill Suda getting greedy nominates Air America. He gets "Win" and "Place".

Foreigners Hold Our Economic Fate In Their Hands?

Is there some sinister threat to the US economy with foreigners holding so much US debt? Mike Taylor provides this explanation:

My grasp of economics is rudimentary at best.

But I’ve heard a few Democrats say that we’re “in debt” to China or “we’re borrowing money from China” at alarming levels or that “China is propping up the US as the US is its best customer”. Their aim seems to stir up fear among the voting population that Bush deficit policies are putting Americans at a disadvantage to Asian countries.

(As if China could re-possess American housing and throw Americans into the street, homeless. But China has not purchased hard assets, they purchased federal debts backed “by the full faith and credit of the United States of America”.)

If you want to read a little further about this “sky is falling” theory I direct your attention to an article in an April 2005 issue of “The New Yorker”:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/050418ta_talk_surowiecki

An excerpt: “The Japanese, who despite their creaking economy remain flush with savings, bought a quarter trillion dollars of American debt last year, even though the interest is lousy and the assets themselves are losing value. More than any other nation in history, the United States depends, economically, on the kindness of strangers. Right now, Asian investors appear very kind.”

This is a gigantic load of B.S. …in my humble opinion.

First off, the writer was quickly proven wrong about the “creaking economy” of Japan in the remaining 8 months of 2005. The Nikkei is up +40.2% for the year, Japanese deflation seems on its way out, the GDP of Japan is predicted at +2.4% next year… and if I cared to Google other Japanese statistics I’d probably find some more good news. If that’s “creaking” I’d like to see what the writer thinks is robust.

Secondly, “the interest rate is lousy”. If there’s one thing that interest rates are, they are not “lousy”. Would anyone like to go back to the Jimmy Carter days of non-lousy interest rates? Does that signal economic strength? I didn’t think so.

Thirdly, the “assets” of the United States are not losing value. I guess the writer was following the Democratic National Committee talking points about how the American economy was on the skids. As Milton Friedman so adroitly pointed out, only the creation of inflation will lessen the value of American debt in relation to other debt.

Fourth, investors are never “kind”. Investors look for the best return at an appropriate risk. There is a simple reason that federal US debt attracts so many. We have the world’s fastest growing economy, we represent the lowest risk in the international community and THAT’S the reason the interest rate is low. We don’t need a high interest rate to attract investors for our debt issues.

Fifth, I take the phrase “more than any other nation in history” to mean that the US has more debt issues held by foreigners than other nations. Is this a bad thing? Only if you believe that foreigners expect to LOSE their investment in US debt. Rather, the amount of US debt held by foreigners indicates the United States is a damn good place to put your money IN COMPARISON to other countries right now. Anyone for buying the debt of France or Germany? Does the EU seem a better risk to you?

(And no, it wasn’t Paul Krugman writing in the New Yorker… but he’s also been SPECTACULARLY wrong about both Japanese and American economies for YEARS now… who gave him that medal in economics anyway?)

If any particular nation (say China) wanted to do damage to the US economy by “dumping” it’s accumulated US debt suddenly on the marketplace it would be very unwise to do so. Other nations would step forward to purchase the debt of a growing, stable and low-risk debt issuer. AND they’d have to buy US dollars to purchase that debt. And what would China do with all that hard currency? Stuff it into the nation’s mattress? Invest it in North Korean debt?

If there is one fascinating aspect of an efficient market is that it always, ALWAYS finds an equilibrium point.

It’s a beautiful thing.

-- Mike

Milton Friedman On Dumping By US Creditors- They'll Never Do It

A worry regarding the US trade deficit is that foreigners holding US government notes (the creditor-enablers of US profligacy) will dump their assets and create an economic disaster. Milton Friedman dispels that hysterical fear in his discussion with PBS' Charlie Rose and provides a simple economic lesson (thanks to Cafe Hayek for the partial transcript):


MILTON FRIEDMAN: Why - who -- how would they dump it?

CHARLIE ROSE: They would sell it back.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Sell what?

CHARLIE ROSE: The interest on the debt that they have. The dollars they have.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: To whom? To whom would they sell it?

CHARLIE ROSE: Your point is that there is no buyer.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Well, there are buyers, of course there is always a buyer. At what price?

CHARLIE ROSE: But wouldn`t that be destabilizing?

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Who would lose money? Who would lose money on that kind ...

CHARLIE ROSE: Wouldn`t that be destabilizing? Wouldn`t that suggest a lack of confidence in the American economy?

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Yes, it might. But the people who would lose by it would be the foreigners who held that and who dumped those dollars.

CHARLIE ROSE: Well, then are they in a frozen position then, so that they - they have no flexibility?

MILTON FRIEDMAN: They are not in a frozen position. They are in a position they want to be in, because that`s why they are holding these assets. Because they are afraid of risk, of political risk.

CHARLIE ROSE: What happens if they would allow ...

MILTON FRIEDMAN: And in general, let`s suppose foreigners start dumping their assets here. They would dump them at distressed prices. They would have no ...

CHARLIE ROSE: Once it started (INAUDIBLE) would begin.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: And who would buy them? The people at home, here, the people in the United States, who had confidence in the United States. So what you would have would be that the assets would go from weak hands to strong hands. It isn`t going to happen, because there is no reason for foreigners to dump the dollars.

CHARLIE ROSE: But nothing is certain, is it? I mean, certainly in economics ...

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Of course not. Nothing is absolutely certain. But you can be pretty damn sure of what is likely to happen and what isn`t.

CHARLIE ROSE: What might -- but argue the other side. What might cause someone to say we`re holding too many dollars and - and we don`t think it`s healthy.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: There is only one thing that would cause them to do that, and that`s if we engage in inflation.

Charlie, let the man talk!

Mike Taylor adds:

Nothing like a little Friedman-esque common sense to end the year…

If there is one fundamental economic precept that is lost on many people is that there is a buyer… and a seller… and they meet in the marketplace to determine a price to exchange goods/services… and that price provides benefits to both buyer and seller.

Liberals believe in a “zero sum society” wherein a gain by one is a loss to another… a theory that surmises that the vast majority of us are stupid and make stupid choices every day. Charlie Rose has obviously bought into that premise. He couldn’t grasp the simple truth that Friedman was trying, patiently and persistently, to make clear to good ol’ Charlie.

It is my strong belief that the Liberals in this country succeed because they generate fear in the population at large: fear that voters will be economically ripped off if they buy or sell something without a paternal government bureaucrat watching out for their best interests….and fear that a Conservative government means more poverty and starvation because they believe in a free market.

The reality couldn’t be farther from those cynical theories.

Happy New Year to all and to all a free marketplace!

-- Mike Taylor

Skip March adds:


Greater economic interdependence will lead to greater political/economic stability and national security. Tom Friedman makes an excellent argument for this using India/Pakistan and China /Taiwan examples in his book "The World Is Flat". Nixon understood this when he opened the door to China and sought detente with the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union's case he knew we would eventually beat them. In China's case, he understood their vast economic potential.

These financial transactions (given that there is free access and liquidity) are quite rational. Unless you have completely bought into James Bond novels and Spectre, there is no one entity that would be able to corner the market on currency or national assets. Of course nuclear blackmail is always a possibility, but if our economy is damaged other major economies in the world are going to get hit hard too. The more interdependence the more cooperation against terrorism, etc.

Skip

Teenager Runs Away From Home--- To Iraq!

Farris Hassan ran from his home in Fort Lauderdale to see what is happening in Iraq with his own eyes. He is 16-years old and did not tell his parents.

Excerpts from Hassan's report:

There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction. You are aware of the heinous acts of the terrorists: Women and children massacred, innocent aid workers decapitated, indiscriminate murder. You are also aware of the heroic aspirations of the Iraqi people: liberty, democracy, security, normality. Those terrorists are not human but pure evil. For their goals to be thwarted, decent individuals must answer justice's call for help ... So I will.

Life is not about money, fame, or power. Life is about combating the forces of evil in the world, promoting justice, helping the misfortunate, and improving the welfare of our fellow man. Progress requires that we commit ourselves to such goals. We are not here on Earth to hedonistically pleasure ourselves, but to serve each other and the creator. What deed is greater than sacrificing one's luxuries for the benefit of those less blessed? ...

I know I can't do much. I know I can't stop all the carnage and save the innocent. But I also know I can't just sit here ...

I feel guilty living in a big house, driving a nice car, and going to a great school. I feel guilty hanging out with friends in a cafe without the fear of a suicide bomber present. I feel guilty enjoying the multitude of blessings, which I did nothing to deserve, while people in Iraq, many of them much better then me, are in terrible anguish. This inexorable guilt I feel transforms into a boundless empathy for the distress of the misfortunate and into a compassionate love for my fellow man ...

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless the one who gives them.

Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We kids at Pine Crest (School) live such sheltered lives. I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress. I also want to immerse myself in their environment in order to better comprehend the social and political elements ...

I plan on doing humanitarian work with the Red Cross. I will give my mind, body, and spirit to helping Iraqis rebuild their lives. Hopefully I will get the chance to build houses, distribute food supplies, and bring a smile or two to some poor children.

I know going to Iraq will be incredibly risky. There are thousands of people there that desperately want my head. There are millions of people there that mildly prefer my demise merely because I am American. Nevertheless, I will go there to love and help my neighbor in distress, if that endangers my life, so be it ...

If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral conscience, I would be a hypocrite. I must do what I say decent individuals should do. I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.

He wrote half the essay while in the United States, half in Kuwait, and e-mailed it to his teachers Dec. 15 while in the Kuwait City airport per AP news. He is returning back home to Florida soon. (His mother is not going to leave him alone at home again, she said).

Thanks to Wayne Alder for the tip.

Iran: Closing Hitler's Circle

Iran has vowed to destroy Israel and has been openly admitted to use its eventual nuclear bomb to facilitate that end. And which European country is the biggest supporter of virulently Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying Iran? Germany.

As Matthias Kuntzel explains in the Transatlantic Intelligencer:

For the last 25 years, the German government has offered its good offices to the anti-Semitic Mullahs in Tehran with a shamelessness unrivalled by any other western government. In 1984, Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the first western Foreign Minister to pay his respects to the Mullah regime. Ten years later, Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), trained Iranian intelligence agents in Munich. (See Arthur Heinrich, “Zur Kritik des ‘kritischen Dialogs’”, Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, May 1996.) And whereas since 1995 American firms are prohibited from trading with Iran, Germany will, in the words of Werner Schoeltzke of the German Near and Middle East Association, , “remain the preferred technology partner of Iran also in the years to come” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 December 2003).

Germany is today by far the most important supplier of goods to Iran and its exports are increasing at a steady 20% per year. In 2004, German exports to Iran were worth some €3.6 billion. At the same time, Germany is the most important purchaser of Iranian goods apart from oil and Iran’s most important creditor.

Isn't that a pretty picture? The circle can be completed.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Growth Over Past 5 Years Is Amazing!!!

You may hate him on the war and you may think he should veto some spending bills (I sure do) and he is way too soft on illegal immigration (both stopping it and getting rid of them) but you cannot argue about his stewardship of the economy (especially considering the ignorance of his adversaries).

Thanks to Econopundit (see the site on the right) for this recap of average annual productivity growth over 5 year periods since 1955 as provided by another favorite economist, Arnold Kling:

1955-1960---2.03
1960-1965---2.79
1965-1970---2.09
1970-1975---2.31
1975-1980---1.55
1980-1985---1.38
1985-1990---1.65
1990-1995---1.59
1995-2000---2.28
2000-2005---3.39

Notice the past 5 years? That was not blind luck either. Let's give Clinton some props for the first year's contribution.

Where Is Dem Outrage At Our National Security Breach?

With their carping about the Valerie Plame, CIA outing controversy, the Democrats portrayed themselves as only interested in the national security breach rather than petty political benefits. They declare that their patriotism cannot be impugned as the breach of security by Scooter Libby's leak to a NYT reporter could have caused serious harm to our country.

Now, have we heard anything about the more egregious leak to the press of the government's wiretaps of conversations between people in America and cohorts in Muslim countries that conspire in terror?

Linda Chavez finds this issue an interesting "Double Standard". She writes:

The NSA leak, which appeared first in The New York Times on Dec. 16, could cripple intelligence operations in the war on terror. Yet virtually the entire focus of members of Congress since the leak has been on whether the president has broken any laws. Where is the outrage on the obvious lawlessness with regard to the leak itself? The level of detail suggests a source -- or sources -- with the highest level of security clearance and access to the nation's most sensitive secrets. Whoever it is that leaked this information should be tracked down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He or she has jeopardized national security, endangering American lives and compromising intelligence-gathering operations that have already thwarted attacks.

Leading Democrat NY Senator Chuck Schumer wrote this to the Deputy Attorney General James Comey about the Plame incident (from his website):

It goes without saying that our nation’s trusts with highly classified information, such as a covert agent’s identity and other national security material, is critically important in the protection of that information.

House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi wrote the GAO's David Walker (from her website):

Protecting our nation’s secrets is essential to protecting our nation’s security. Safeguarding the identities of covert intelligence officers is especially critical to protecting their lives and the lives of everyone they come into contact with...The disclosure of Valerie Plame’s covert CIA identity calls into doubt the adequacy of the procedures that the White House has followed to safeguard these vital national secrets.

Harry Reid's 11/1/05 comment on the Libby indictment (from the Senate Democratic Communications Center website)

This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant. The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm's way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.

Where are these leaders now that there has been a security breach, not of one office-worker in the CIA, but of a national security investigation of suspected terrorists?

My opinion is the Democrats are not , and never have been serious, about national security.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Trade Deficit Decreases by Exporting Violence

In an attempt to reduce the trade deficit, the US is exporting gun violence to Canada. So say Canadian officials. Reports CNN.com:

While many Canadians take pride in Canadian cities being less violent than their American counterparts, Toronto has seen 78 murders this year, including a record 52 gun-related deaths -- almost twice as many as last year.

One leader says the violence is root-caused by poverty. Aren't they about 30 years behind with that canard? Never ones to find a solution with greater bad consequences that they currently face Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin plans to ban all hand-guns. That will reduce violent crime, right? Everywhere except where it has been tried.

Freezing Snow In Europe-Start Burning Those Carbon Fuels, Marcel!

That global warming is really creating havoc in Europe. Per the Guardian Unlimited in "Travellers face chaos as freeze hits Europe":

Freezing conditions across parts of northern Europe caused travel chaos today as forecasters warned that more snow and colder temperatures were expected over the next two days.

That warming of the globe is making temperatures go down? I am sure there is a connection. Because I have faith.

Spying: Are We At War?

Regarding the claimed criminality of the "domestic" surveillance of electronic communications of people suspected of communicating with terrorists by George Bush, I would like to know the answer to 2 questions:

1. Are we at war?

2. If so, do our enemies have overt imperialist objectives to overthrow our government or inflict catastrophic harm upon our citizens?

The answer to question 1 must be "Yes" since we hear time and again the soldiers who have died in the "War" in Iraq.

The answer to question 2 must be "Yes" since we have the very words of Bin Laden, Zarqawi and countless imams in mosques world-wide stating so.

Therefore, how does a statute like FISA overcome the presidential imperative and power to avoid time-consuming warrants for such eavesdropping? The Constitution says such an attempted over-riding by Congress usurpating presidential prerogative (as is allegedly attempted by this statute) can only be done by Constitutional Amendment.

Today's WSJ has a column by Robert F. Turner, co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, who states:

America is at war with a dangerous enemy. Since 9/11, the president, our intelligence services and our military forces have done a truly extraordinary job--taking the war to our enemies and keeping them from conducting a single attack within this country (so far). But we are still very much at risk, and those who seek partisan political advantage by portraying efforts to monitor communications between suspected foreign terrorists and (often unknown) Americans as being akin to Nixon's "enemies lists" are serving neither their party nor their country. The leakers of this sensitive national security activity and their Capitol Hill supporters seem determined to guarantee al Qaeda a secure communications channel into this country so long as they remember to include one sympathetic permanent resident alien not previously identified by NSA or the FBI as a foreign agent on their distribution list.

Ultimately, as the courts have noted, the test is whether the legitimate government interest involved--in this instance, discovering and preventing new terrorist attacks that may endanger tens of thousands of American lives--outweighs the privacy interests of individuals who are communicating with al Qaeda terrorists. And just as those of us who fly on airplanes have accepted intrusive government searches of our luggage and person without the slightest showing of probable cause, those of us who communicate (knowingly or otherwise) with foreign terrorists will have to accept the fact that Uncle Sam may be listening.

Our Constitution is the supreme law, and it cannot be amended by a simple statute like the FISA law. Every modern president and every court of appeals that has considered this issue has upheld the independent power of the president to collect foreign intelligence without a warrant. The Supreme Court may ultimately clarify the competing claims; but until then, the president is right to continue monitoring the communications of our nation's declared enemies, even when they elect to communicate with people within our country.

The above is absolutely correct, unless you can explain cogently that we are not at war and that the enemy does not present the danger to our country that I think it does.

Further, presidential powers such as this are completely expected under our laws. Wrote Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt in WaPo:

A key reason the Articles of Confederation were dumped in favor of the Constitution in 1787 was because the new Constitution -- our Constitution -- created a unitary chief executive. That chief executive could, in times of war or emergency, act with the decisiveness, dispatch and, yes, secrecy, needed to protect the country and its citizens.

That is why the president uniquely swears an oath -- prescribed in the Constitution -- to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Implicit in that oath is the Founders' recognition that, no matter how much we might wish it to be case, Congress cannot legislate for every contingency, and judges cannot supervise many national security decisions. This will be especially true in times of war.

Are we at war or are we not?

Gumming The News

Jonah Goldberg covers this past Sunday's Meet the Press devoted to the year in news. It had Brokaw, Koppel and Rather on to opine about the year's biggest stories. To a man, including Russert, every problem stemmed from George Bush for either creating the problem, exacerbating the problem or failing to solve the problem. Russert never prodded them into supporting their positions or considering alternative views.

Goldberg explains that this is why the MSM is heading the way of the dinosaurs.

Fewer than 10 percent of viewers of the major network news shows are under the age of 34. The average viewer is over 60. Haven't you noticed that all of the ads are for adult diapers, denture cream and Viagra? There's nothing wrong with that, but it's a sign that the old system cannot last.

Russert is doing a "The Year In Rock" this coming Sunday. Slated to appear are Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Jack Bruce, Pete Townsend and that hottie Grace Slick.

Respect Comes From Strength and Courage

We are winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world----in Pakistan. WSJ Bret Stephens in "Chinook Diplomacy" explains how our military's relief efforts in Pakistan after earthquakes hit in October are making America very popular.

He writes:

U.S. helicopters have flown 2,500 sorties, carried 16,000 passengers and delivered nearly 6,000 tons of aid. Just as importantly, the Chinook has become America's new emblem in Pakistan, a byword for salvation in an area where until recently the U.S. was widely and fanatically detested. Toy Chinooks (made in China, of course) are suddenly popular with Pakistani children. A Kashmiri imam who denounced the U.S. in a recent sermon was booed and heckled by worshippers. "Pakistan is not a nation of ingrates," a local businessman told me over dinner the other night. "We know where the help is coming from."

We are the only ones in the world who can do this. Now, why have the Lefties been voting down military appropriations for the past 40 years? I thought they were humanitarians (I was one of them and have to admit liability).

The view of America is not only improving in Pakistan but elsewhere in the Muslin world. Reports Hussein Haqqani and Kennethy Ballen:

[T]he poll commissioned by the nonprofit organization Terror Free Tomorrow and conducted by Pakistan's foremost pollsters ACNielsen Pakistan shows that the number of Pakistanis with a favorable opinion of the U.S. doubled to more than 46% at the end of November from 23% in May 2005. Those with very unfavorable views declined to 28% from 48% over the same period. Nor is this swing in public opinion confined to Pakistan. A similar picture is evident in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Again that's largely because of American generosity in the wake of a natural disaster. A February 2005 poll by Terror Free Tomorrow showed that 65% of Indonesians had a more favorable opinion of the U.S. as a result of American relief to the victims of last December's tsunami. If these changes in Pakistan and Indonesia influence thinking in other countries, then we could be looking at a broader shift in public sentiment across the Muslim world.

Winning the hearts and minds is coming from strength and courage. Are you listening Europe?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fewer Mouths To Feed In Japan- Fewer Producers

Found this interesting report on Japan from Andrew Sullivan. It's population is decreasing. It was expected to start years from now but began this year as:

The number of deaths outnumbered births by 10,000 this year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Excluding wartime figures, the number of births, at 1.067 million, was the lowest since records have been kept; births dropped 44,000 from the previous year.

For the "over-population" crowd, I guess Japan will have fewer mouths to feed and thus should be exaltant over the "development". Anyone with knowledge of economics will tell you that it should be a grave worry. (That was intentional).

Why?

Japan has not only one of the world's lowest birthrates, currently 1.29 lifetime births per woman, but also the highest life expectancy. Those trends are particularly evident in rural areas, where graying Japanese dominate and schools are being shuttered. By 2025, nearly 30 percent of the population is expected to be older than 65.

Who is going to pay for the old-timers' financial needs? Where is innovation going to come from? Who will defend them? Watch Old Europe follow suit. Stay alive, Americans. And please keep having kids.

Meanwhile in Spain (who knew?):

The number of abortions carried out in Spain has risen by almost three quarters in the past decade but the figure remains low by European standards, the country's health ministry said. In 2004 the total reached 84,985, up by 6.5 percent on 2003 (79,788) et 72 percent on 1995 (49,367), it reported.

Fewer and fewer and fewer.....

What is "Liberal"?

I guess when I label my friend in the posts below a "liberal", it is in the modern sense of the term, as historically incorrect as the label has become.

The modern liberal actively seeks government power, growth and control rather than personal responsibility and self-empowerment. He wants the government to redistribute wealth for community retirement, community health care, community employment and other resources communally. I guess with all of this communal "sharing", we have to call them communists (small C). In the historical sense, many have written that George Bush is not a "conservative" at all with his growth of the federal goverment and fiscal irresponsibility. But would his opponents shrink federal government's size, intrusions and spending?

Economist Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek writes the following:

Each of the three economists applauded by Jeffrey Hart as central to modern conservatism ("The Burke Habit," Dec. 27) - F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman - rejected conservatism. Hayek closed his great book The Constitution of Liberty with a chapter entitled "Why I Am Not a Conservative." Mises's political manifesto is his book Liberalism. And Friedman explains in Capitalism and Freedom why he is a liberal, in the proper sense of the term.

True liberalism is not the rule-of-elites orthodoxy that in today's English-speaking world calls itself 'liberal.' Instead, it - and not conservatism - grows from the principled understanding that, as Friedman explains, "an extension of freedom [is] the most effective way to promote welfare and equality."

I am a former new liberal who is becoming a classical liberal. The key is liberty.

More conversation With A Liberal- Free Market

Liberal:

Agreed markets are amoral but society and governments are not, hopefully.

My response:

That is far from my point. Actually, what you say is more true in reverse. The free market is moral and society and government is largely amoral.

The free market allows individuals the right over their own person, bodies and lives. Every decision the individual makes in a free market is voluntary. There are no strictures upon ones labor, property and personal decisions by this all-knowing society or government that tries to remove these issues from our choice.

Yet you, in the face of history, keep seeking the holy grail of institutional morality. Governments possess massive power and decide issues on the special interests of dictators, parties, contributors, patrons or voters. They cannot decide what is best for the individual because they cannot know that individual better than the person himself. The big government types look down their noses at individuals. They say the individual is not intelligent enough, not aware of the nuances, not educated enough to decide for himself what is best.

Government controlled the South during the slavery period in America. It was only through individuals like the Beechers that created the groundswell that forced the Union government to fight to eradicate the institution. And who did they fight? Another government and society.

Big governments tell the individual what to study, what job to take, how much to pay for workers and products and on and on. Yet, the history of mankind shows that those societies where its citizens make more of the choices on their own develop the skills and technology to efficiently provide for the whole by allowing Adam Smith's "invisible hand" to provide for society's needs.

Government types give great speeches about freedom and their care for the needy. FDR has provided thousands of pages of speeches on that theme. Yet, his government developed laws that benefited big interests like large farmers, unions and businesses over the rights of small farmers, minority workers and competitors. Yes, he redistributed some of the wealth. And in so doing, extended and deepened a horrific Depression in the process.

Meanwhile, by allowing the free market to work, allowing people to handle all matters voluntarily, is the true moral way. Society is just a group of individuals. It may issue its judgment on one's actions but it is not a coercive method that comes close to that used by government. This is the essence of Judaism. The individual is judged by his acts (of course there it is a sin to gossip or do other pernicious things that corrode a society). Under this free will framework, you are judged to do good deeds. However, that is a religious goal not a governmental edict. Edict supported by guns and servitudes.

If you seek a moral government you are not only wasting your time, you are harming your fellow man. Pursue morality in your example. Do not force them on me through your vote. And let your fellow man decide what they wish without outlawing it through government.

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