Thoughts On ObamaCare, or: Why We Are All Doomed

The nastiest aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are the individual mandate, guaranteed issue and the partial community rating. The individual mandate survives thanks to the Supreme Court deeming it a tax today, even though Obama said it wasn’t. It stipulates that all persons not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare, or other public insurance programs, purchase an approved private insurance policy or pay a penalty.

So the government forces poor people to buy insurance from large companies. Just like they encouraged poor people to become homeowners and patronize banks, fueling a housing bubble and economic disaster. Just like how they feel that the maximum number of people possible need to go to college, because if 20% of the population go to college and get good jobs, then if 50% of the population go then 50% of the population will have good jobs. Few realize this is just diluting the value of a degree two-and-a-half times over, making the parchment increasingly expensive, causing our horrific levels of graduate unemployment/underemployment and creating yet another bubble.

Remember when insurance was a way of protecting against the risk of some low-probability/high-cost misfortune befalling you? It feels rather silly to point this out, but coming of child-bearing age and choosing to use contraception is not an insurable event. The United States is attempting an insane experiment that completely changes the nature of insurance. Americans are actually an over-insured people. This has been going on since World War II, when the Roosevelt administration decreed that compensation for labor in the form of employment-based health insurance does not count as taxable income, creating some very perverse incentives. Americans rely too much on third-party payment, whether by governments or private companies. Obamacare exacerbates this problem. Paying a third party  to cover the costs of predictable, routine health costs leads to prices shooting upwards.

The guaranteed issue and the partial community rating compel insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to most pre-existing conditions. Obamacare will thus turn every large insurance corporation into the equivalent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, requiring permanent taxpayer bailouts to stay afloat. When they fail, the corporations will be nationalized and unfettered capitalism will be blamed. Which I have always believed is Obama’s end goal.

Remember all those mortgages banks gave to people without the ability to pay back in recent years? This is the same thing, with insurance. How much hand-wringing do I have to do here, dammit? Why do we never learn?

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By the way, I suspect many of us will be arguing with our colleagues at work or university on the role of the state in healthcare. I recommend reading these articles to start pumping you with a little intellectual ammunition:

What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us, by Yuri N. Maltsev

Medical Care Facts and Fables, by Thomas Sowell

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Clint Eastwood: The New Face of the Chrysler Bailouts?

Clint Eastwood is supposedly one of America’s most famous libertarians. You can imagine how crushed I was to see this disgrace of a commercial during half-time at the Super Bowl:

This could have been a Barack Obama campaign video as much as a Chrysler commercial.

Oh Clint, tell me you don’t actually believe this. Tell me it was just a job, and a particularly financially rewarding one at that.

Then again, considering the wholesale adoption of Communist propaganda and smears in Eastwood’s biopic of J. Edgar Hoover, maybe Clint was just using his great acting skills and pretending to be a libertarian all along.

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UPDATE: Eastwood’s manager has said it wasn’t a political thing, merely the man saying to America, ‘Get yourselves together – all of you – and make this a second half.’ I find that hard to swallow. It’s clearly praising the bailouts when it holds up Detroit as a success story. I’ve been showing this video to people across the political spectrum who didn’t see it during the game, and asking the opinion of those who did. Everyone so far has seen it as endorsing the bailouts, libertarian and non-libertarian. Now, Eastwood may not have intended this but it was grossly irresponsible of him if he cares about liberty.

Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors

The environmentalist Patrick Moore was one of the founders of Greenpeace in 1971. He left the organisation in disgust fifteen years later, which he described in the Wall Street Journal:

“At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986”.

The final insult for Moore was when some colleagues in Greenpeace decided it would be a good move to try banning chlorine. This is an absurdity twice over. How can you ban a naturally occurring element, much less one that has led to great advances in public health and the virtual eradication of cholera in the developed world?

Greenpeace have denied trying this, yet the conduct of the Green Movement, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, tells me who is speaking the truth. James Delingpole, one of the heroes of the Climategate scandal, is one of the few writers in Britain with the courage to expose the “Watermelons”: those who are Green on the outside, yet Red on the inside; the people trying to wreak havoc on our prosperity and and take away vital freedoms in order to fulfill a misanthropic vision strongly linked to Communism.

This leaflet from Friends of the Earth, which Delingpole tells us he keeps on his desk, is telling:

Oil companies. Supermarkets. Petro-chemical firms. Airlines. Globally they spend millions of pounds undermining environmental policy.

Big business spends serious money on advertising and PR telling us that they are doing their bit for the environment. But away from the public eye they’re spending millions holding back environmental progress.

Airlines are spending millions to persuade governments to expand airports. Petro-chemical companies are blocking environmentally friendly measures because of the cost to them. Oil companies are funding “independent think-tanks”, designed to to undermine serious climate change research. And they are doing it all for one thing: Profit.

To any readers who believe profit is evil, I pity you. James Delingpole’s triumph of a book is not designed to enlighten you in this regard. What it can tell you is that the claims made about big business funding climate change and Green skepticism are laughably bogus when you look at the bigger funding picture. The US federal government alone spends 3,500 times the funds trying to prove the existence of Anthropocentric Global Warming (AGW) than anything offered to the skeptics. Its difficult to keep track of the vast and labyrinthine funding to the AGW Industry, which is a truly massive complex involving government departments, quangos, corporations, pressure groups, universities and the UN among others. Dr. Richard North at the EU Referendum blog calculated that the EU has spent well over $100 billion on climate funding since 1989. This is five times the cost of the Manhattan project.

Here just a few examples of taxpayer and even Big Oil money wetting the beaks in the AGW Industry:

– $4 billion allocated by the US federal government for climate research in 2011.

– £650 million paid by the EU for research and development in the same field between 1994 and 1998.

– $100 million donated by ExxonMobil (!) to Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project (no doubt for the purposes of reputation building).

– £13.7 million received in grants by the disgraceful Phil Jones at the infamous Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

– £6 million paid by the British government in October 2009 for an ad campaign promoting man-made global warming.

– A$13.9 million paid by the Australian government for an ad campaign on climate change.

I could go on all day, but its all too depressing. Obama’s 2009 stimulus package included $50 billion in handouts to ‘green’ corporations. The result was a whole bunch of Solyndras.

Now, you may ask about all those scientists who are all aboard the AGW expressway. Well, scientists are susceptible to corruption, idiocy and left-wing misanthropic agendas as much as the next person. The leaked Climategate e-mails prove that. There one can see, at the world’s foremost center of climate change research: manipulation of evidence, private doubts among the researchers about whether the world is really heating up, attempts to cover up the truth about the Medieval Warm Period (WMP), a period of global warming between 950 to 1250 CE (check the Domesday book, many crops were growing then in England that can’t grow now due to cooler temperatures), attempts to squeeze intellectual opponents out of the peer-review process and even fantasies about killing and maiming scientists who disagree with their agenda. Among other things.

Its also wise to get acquainted with something called ‘Post Normal Science’. Normal Science is what the average person believes what science is and ought to be about: empricism, impartiality, honesty and so on. Post Normal Science was defined by the US academics Jerome Ravetz (associated with the Communist Party) and Silvio Funtowicz. In a 1993 treatise called “Science for the Post Normal Age” they claim:

“… a new type of science – ‘post normal’ – is emerging…in contrast to traditional problem-solving strategies, including core science, applied science, and professional consultancy… Post-normal science can provide a path to the democratization of science, and also a response to the current tendencies to post-modernity”.

At its heart, Post Normal Science is about subverting traditional science for to achieve desirable leftist political ends. The nonsensical language of Ravetz and Funtowicz is in the fine tradition of Derrida, Edward Said, Chomsky and the post-modernists. Anyone who opposes them is usually labelled a ‘reactionary’ in the pockets of Big Business. Post Normal Science holds sway over large swathes of academia and the scientific community. It has destroyed scientific integrity and made the AGW scare possible. Its long been realized that the Green pundits have always been more  about politics than science. A good example is Alexander Cockburn, who tellingly went from attacking Gorbachev – for selling out Brezhnev – to penning environmentalist tracts when he knew the Soviet Union was a goner. To Cockburn’s credit, he was questioning a lot of environmentalist dogma in his twilight years.  Unfortunately today, we can’t even trust the scientific community itself.

The consequences of not fighting this are too great to be ignored, even if you will be subjected to the abuse deserved by us ‘deniers’. Delingpole provides Denmark as an example of Green policy disaster. The Danish government’s commitment to Green values has given Denmark the world’s highest density of wind towers, which have blighted much of the landscape. Yet the Danes pay the highest energy prices in Europe (and four times the US average). The wind farms only survive on a 257 million euro annual subsidy. Half of the Danish household electricity cost is tax. Denmark then ends up exporting 50 percent of its wind power to Sweden and Norway, because wind power cannot be turned on and off according to need. Yet the poor Danes happen to be charged for the use of their neighbors’ hydroelectric power, which can be turned on and off. Has any good come from this policy? How much has Denmark cut from its carbon emissions, for instance? The answer is 0.3% between 1990 and 2007. Wind farms need a conventional power source to back them up, so they end up saving virtually nothing in terms of CO2 emissions.

Britain is not immune from the madness. The Climate Change Act of 2008 aims to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The Department of Energy admits this will cost the taxpayer £18 billion per year for the next forty years. All this to stop a threat that is probably as imaginary as the vision of the Carthaginian priest Tertullian in the year 210:

Our teeming population is the strongest evidence our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly support us from its natural elements. Our wants grow more and more keen and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, while nature fails in affording us our usual sustenance. In every deed, pestilence and famine and wars have to be regarded as a remedy for nations as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race.

From Tertullian to Malthus to Friends of the Earth, the misanthropic Green vision has always been with us. I am reminded of the words of H.L. Mencken when he said: “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”.

Climate change, overpopulation and ManBearPig are hobgoblins. Nothing more. And remember, Greenies, capitalism and economic growth happen to be the greenest policies around:

Not to mention the Kindle, CDs and the floppy disc

Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors [Kindle Edition]

America’s Budget Problems Explained

This appears to have gone viral, and deservedly so.

The Randian Supermen

An old acquaintance has said that my remarks on Michael O’ Leary were ludicrously fawning, constituting ‘Randian worship’ of ‘übermenschen’ – the kind that states some people just don’t count. He knew me in my Objectivist period and we haven’t met much since. It was on a kibbutz trying to find myself when I first read Atlas Shrugged, and as a result I was one of those insufferable admirers constantly quoting Rand for about a year and a half afterward.

Yes, I do believe Michael O’ Leary is the greatest Irishman since the country’s independence. He has done more for the average Irish person (and indeed, people all over Europe) than any politician. Daniel O’ Connell is the only political figure I can think of who managed to lift the masses and bring them more liberty in a greater way than O’ Leary. O’ Leary and Steve Jobs could be Randian supermen.

Yet to read Atlas Shrugged now, as I have done, is a little cringe-worthy. The last few years have shown how timeless the observations made by by Adam Smith are, when way back in 1776 he wrote that “people of the same trade seldom meet together… but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public”, and some contrivance to raise prices and provide them with a monopoly through state coercion. The Irish people saw in the fall of 2008 a great government-banker conspiracy against the public, just like the conspiracy at Jekyll Island in 1913.

To be fair, some of the villains in Atlas Shrugged are businessmen of the Anglo-Irish director and bondholder variety. Overall, though, Rand portrays the captains of industry as superman; intellectual and even moral giants who are the key to productivity in a capitalist system. This is far too rosy-eyed a view, and its  a mistake for libertarians to to use this kind of thing for outreach. High-minded some entrepreneurs can be, but ultimately entrepreneurship is the ability to forecast the economic future and allocate resources to meet consumer demand. A genius for making money, the desire for which is always what drives the entrepreneur, need not be fawned over as a sign of intellectual purity, as Rand bizarrely claims. The self-interested businessman will try to use the political system to crush competition, just as much as an ‘altruistic’ businessman who genuinely believes its in the public interest. Galt’s Gulch is an interesting idea, but the comparisons to businessmen fleeing to Singapore or Hong Kong some pundits have been making is not really the same thing. The captains of industry will simply never get up and leave in ideological protest, as they are in it for the money.

Sound Misesian Gary North writes:

The greatest discontinuity that we face today is the discontinuity imposed by a government-licensed central banking cartel that has lured entrepreneurs into high-risk projects. How? With false signals: low interest rates produced by fiat money rather than thrift. The threat is not that Atlas will ever shrug. It is that he will lift the earth too high, stagger, and then drop it without warning. His looming problem is not shrugging. His looming problem is a hernia, followed by a slipped disc.

As we progress towards each new year, Smith’s writings on entrepreneurs, as well as the observations on their behaviour in a fiat money system made by Mises and Hayek, will be ever more timeless. Rand’s will probably generate more chuckles.

Michael O’ Leary On The EU, Innovation, and Why They Don’t Mix

I simply had to post this video. Michael O’ Leary is one of my heroes. He  brought the jet-setting lifestyle to the common man, making weekend trips to Prague to available to plumbers, waitresses and students. He helped change the image of the Irish nation for the better in the Celtic Tiger years and beyond. With people like him and Tony O’Reilly becoming the face of Ireland on Bloomberg, NBC and CNN, it became harder to think of the Irish as drunk men good for little but menial labor, with their battered wives at home popping out babies to add to the Pope’s never-ending legion of drones. That is why so many people hate him. I can’t recall any positive coverage of Ryanair or O’ Leary on the BBC. Yet its the likes of O’ Leary who will always make our lives better and get us out of economic malaise, not the politicians.

Marxists used to think that under a capitalist system the working classes would get progressively worse off and eventually revolt. Due to entrepreneurs like O’ Leary, they had to change their tactics. Instead, they claim free-markets hurt Third World countries (countries of course, that are nearly all socialistic) and the environment. I digress. Watch the video. O’ Leary pulls no punches.

Ignoramus in the Áras

Did Michael D. Higgins seriously claim that the heterodox Austrian School of Economics was responsible for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the fact that credit was too cheap during Ireland’s boom period? This is not only a massive factual error, but to my mind a great sign of who people like Higgins are really afraid of.

At a recent debate at the LSE, one of the world’s most renowned Keynesians, Lord Skidelsky, was able to say with a lot of accuracy (unfortunately) that Austrians have virtually no influence on public policy. If Michael D. Higgins were anything but a pretensions and disgraceful ignoramus, he would know that the Austrian School has made rapid gains in recent years, especially among young people, precisely because the Austrian theory of the business cycle is a perfect explanation for the crash of 2008 and our ongoing recession. In fact, I have made acquaintances with several Marxists and socialists who will concede this point.

Michael D. Higgins should be forced to explain what exactly he believes the Austrian School of Economics is about, as he showed no signs that he knew this during his interview on RTE Radio. As Murray Rothbard, often regarded as the ‘Dean’ of the Austrian School said:

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

UPDATE: Just to remind everyone, the only advocate of Austrian Economics in the US Congress at the time, Ron Paul, actually voted against the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

Ron Paul Victory at the Values Voter Summit

Economic historian Tom DiLorenzo writes:

“After Ron Paul’s decisive victory in the Value Voters straw poll in which his nearest competitor was eleven percentage points behind, Faux News had this running headline on the screen to announce the results:

“Herman Cain Comes in Second in Value Voters Straw Poll.” The anchorette did manage to mention that Ron Paul “also did well” without mentioning any details about the vote totals”.

Nevertheless, Ron Paul’s speech was powerful and worth reading. It reminds us of the biblical view of big government and of how the state undermines the family. He certainly deserved this latest victory.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL (R-TX): Thank you. Thank you. So early in the morning, too. I appreciate that. Thank you very much for coming.

And I appreciate very much this opportunity to visit with you to talk about families. Obviously family values are very, very important. And, as was mentioned in the introduction, I have delivered a few babies. And that does contribute to family, let me tell you. (Laughs.)

But also I’m from a rather large family. I have four brothers. But we have five children and 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren as well. (Cheers, applause.)

But, you know, the one thing that is fascinating to me when we bring new life into the world or a new baby comes into the family has always been the reaction of the siblings – maybe one, two, or three, four years old. I’m always fascinated with the intrigue of the siblings looking at a small baby. And I thought, well, that was natural and good and really symbolizes what the family is all about.

Unfortunately, our families have been under attack. And I have a few ideas about why that has occurred and what we might do about it. But the value of the family was something that was early described in the Bible. And there’s one reference to the family that I thought was very important. That was in Samuel, 1 Samuel, chapter eight. And this is when the people, not the elders, came to Samuel when he was very old and they knew he would be passing on, so the people came and said to Samuel, what we need is a king. We need a king to take care of us. We want to be safe and secure.

And Samuel, although he knew he wasn’t going to be around long, he advised the people of Israel not to accept the king, because the king, he warned, would not be generous. He would undermine their liberties. There would be more wars. There would be more taxes. And besides, accepting the notion of a king would reject the notion that, up until that time, since they had left Egypt, their true king was their God and the guidance from their God.

But the governing body was the family. And they did not have kings, but they had judges. And that’s what Samuel was. But this was the time there was a shift away from the judges and the family into a king. And I think a lot of that has happened to us in this country. We have too often relied on our king in Washington, and we have to change that. (Cheers, applause.)

Samuel warned that the king would want to make servants of the people. And he even talked about taxes going up and he talked about the use of young men being drafted and he talked about the women and young women being used by the king. And the warning was not heeded, as Samuel didn’t expect it to be heeded. But he also said that if you depend on the king, the morality of the people will be rejected, the emphasis on the people themselves; the morality should come from the people and not from the king. And generally it doesn’t work that way.

You know, morality of the people or the lack of morality of the people can be reflected in the law. But the law never can change the morality of the people. And that is very important. (Cheers, applause.)

In the 1960s and the 1970s, there were dramatic changes in our country. During the Vietnam War there was a lot of antiwar sentiment. There were a lot of drugs. This was the decade that abortion was done flagrantly against the law. And, lo and behold, the laws got changed after the morality changed.

But it was also – about the time we had Roe versus Wade, we also had the breakdown of our monetary system, the rejection of the biblical admonition that we have honest weights and measures and honest money. And not to have honest weights and measures meant we were counterfeiting the money and destroying the value of the money, which implies, even in biblical times, they weren’t looking for a central bank that was going to counterfeit our currency. (Cheers, applause.)

But the culture certainly changed. The work ethics changed. The welfare state grew. And it wasn’t only for the poor who were looking to be taken care of, but we finally ended up with a system where the lobbyists were from the rich corporations and the banks that would come to Washington and expect to get their benefits. And the whole idea of a moral society changed.

But, you know, biblically there’s a lot of admonitions about what the family should be in charge of. Certainly the 10th commandment tells us something about honoring our parents and caring for them. It didn’t say work out a system where the government will take care of us from cradle to grave. No, it was an admonition for us to honor our parents and be responsible for them, not put them into a nursing home and say the federal government can take care of them. Besides, sometimes that leads to bankruptcies and the government can’t do it anyway. So that responsibility really falls on us.

In the Bible, in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, Christ was recognized to be the prince of peace. He was never to be recognized as the promoter of war. And he even said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God.” He never said blessed are the war makers. It was the peacemakers that we must honor and protect. (Cheers, applause.)

Christ was very, very clear on how we should treat our enemies. And some days I think we quite frequently forget about that. Early in the history of Christianity, they struggled with the issue of war and peace, because Christ taught about peace. Did that mean Christ was advocating pacifism? The early church struggled with this and came to the conclusion, at least in those early years, that Christ was not a pacifist, but he was not a war promoter.

And this is when they came up with the just-war principles, saying, yes, war could be necessary, but only under dire circumstances, and it should be done with great caution. All other efforts should be exhausted before we go to war, and always under the proper authority. And today I think the proper authority is not the U.N. or the NATO forces to take us to war. (Cheers, applause.)

We are taught in the New Testament about caring for the poor and caring for our families and our neighbors and friends. But never did Christ say, you know, let’s go and lobby Rome to make sure we’re taken care of. It was a personal responsibility for us. Christ was confronted at one time by a prostitute, but he didn’t call for the centurions. He didn’t call for more laws. But he was very direct and thought that stoning was not the solution to the problem of prostitution.

So do laws take care of these things, or do we need a better understanding of our Christian values and our moral principles?

Life is most precious. I talk about life and liberty. I defend liberty to the nth degree, as long people aren’t hurting and killing each other and stealing and robbing. But you cannot defend liberty unless you have a clear understanding of life. And believe me, as an experienced physician and knowing the responsibility of taking care of life, from the earliest sign of life – I know, legally and morally, I have a responsibility to take care of two lives. And therefore you cannot be a great defender of liberty if you do not defend and understand what life is all about and where it comes from. (Cheers, applause.)

You know, many great religions, and especially both the Old and New Testament, talks about a golden rule. And I think it’s an important rule. We want to treat – we should treat other people the way we want to be treated. And I would like to suggest that possibly we should be thinking about having a foreign policy of the golden rule and not treat other countries any way other than the way we want to be treated. (Cheers, applause.)

There were great dreams by Isaiah in the Old Testament about the time that would come when the swords would be bent into plowshares and spears into pruning forks, the dream of ending the wars and to the point where peace is prosperous. And I have come to a strong conviction that one of the most greatest threats to the family is war. It undermines the family. (Cheers, applause.)

Just in our last decade, an undeclared war that we’re dealing with, we’ve lost over 80,000 – 8,500 men and women in our armed services. We have 40,000 who have returned, many of them with severe amputations. And it’s, in essence, forgotten by the general population of this country. We have literally hundreds of thousands begging and pleading for help.

I talked to a young man the other day and he was telling me about losing all his buddies and his frustration with the war and not having a goal of winning the war and not knowing when it would end. And yet his conclusion was – almost in tears he said to me, he says, I lost my buddies over there, but now I’m losing many of them to suicide.

And when you think of this, of what the consequences of war, the death and destruction, what does it do to the families? What does it do to the husbands and the wives and the mothers and the daughters who have to deal with these problems? So, yes, it is very, very damaging. War costs a lot of money. It causes a lot of poverty. Poverty and the economic crisis in this country is undermining the family. But $4 trillion of debt has been added in the last 10 years to fight a war that seems to have no end.

Wars generally lead to inflation, the destruction of money. We don’t honor the biblical principles of honest money. We invite this idea that we can spend endlessly and we can print the money, and literally it undermines the family and undermines the economic system. When you lose a job, it’s harder to keep the family together.

Divorce rates are very, very high among the military, because these young men are being sent back two and three and four times. And there was one story told me about a little boy, a little boy who was 10 years old, and his dad was getting ready to go back again. He was screaming, I hate you, daddy, I hate you, daddy, because he was leaving him.

So this is why, in the early church, they talk about being very careful about going into war, and also to be thinking about the admonition that peace is far superior to war. That should be our goal. (Cheers, applause.)

The goal of a free society, from my viewpoint, is to seek virtue and excellence. And only we as individuals can do that. When we turn this over to the government, when we seek our king and depend on our king, it can only be done at the sacrifice of liberty. And that means eventually all liberties – our personal liberties, our civil liberties, our religious liberties, our right to teach our children and our responsibility to teach our children, whether it’s home schooling or religious school – it’s always under attack.

The more we turn it over to the government – it was a sad day in this country when we went this full measure about acknowledging the authority of the federal government to educate our children. There was a time when the Republican Party said that we shouldn’t even have a Department of Education. And I believe it should go back to the family, not the federal government. (Cheers, applause.)

If we – if we do not get our moral values from our government, which I think it’s impossible to get it from them, where does it come from? First, it comes from us as individuals. We have the responsibility for dealing with our eternity and salvation. But we have our responsibility to ourselves to do the best we can with our own lives.

But then our next step is our families; you know, our children and our parents, and then our neighbors and our churches. That’s where the moral values should come from. And, quite frankly, that is where I think we have slipped. So you can pass all the laws that you want. You can fight more wars than ever that’s going to bring us peace and prosperity. But if the basic morality of the people does not change, it will not matter. We must change our hearts if we expect to change our family and treat our family values as they should be. (Applause.)

We have been blessed in this country by having the freest and the most prosperous. We’ve had a good Constitution, far from perfect. But today we are living way beyond our means. We are living in debt. And debt is not a biblical principle, whether it’s personal debt or whether it’s a national debt. We owe $3 trillion to people overseas. We are suffering from a mountain of debt because we have accepted this idea that we have this responsibility to mold the world, mold the people and mold the economy.

Government is incapable of doing that. The responsibility of the government is to provide the environment which is proper to allow us to thrive, for us to work hard and have the incentive. If we have our right to – (applause) – if we have a right to our life and liberty, why is it that we don’t fight for the right to keep the fruits of our labor? (Cheers, applause.)

If we accepted that, there would be no demands for the king. The people – the early Israelites demanded the king to be taken care of. But we have too, and we have accepted this notion as a country and as a whole that the king will take care of us.

But I prefer the different king, the original king, the instruction that comes from our creator, not from our government. Our government should be strictly limited to the protection of the liberties that allow us to thrive. (Cheers, applause.) And our liberties and our economy, they are under attack today. There is no doubt about it.

So we will have to meet up and make these decisions. To me, the most important decision that we have to ask, just as they asked, you know, in biblical times, as well as at the time of our founding of this country, what should be government like? What should the role of government be? It isn’t, you know, where do you cut this penny or this penny, and what do we do here and there, and tinker around the edges. It should be what should the role of government be? The founders said the role of government ought to be the protection of liberty. That is what the role of government ought to be. (Cheers, applause.)

But the experiment is about to end unless we reverse this trend. I would say that we have gone downhill nearly for 100 years, especially for the last 10, and especially for the last four, when we think of our economy. But the real challenge is, are we going to transition from the republic to the empire and to dictatorship? And there are so many signs that we are, you know, transforming into empire and dictatorship. And just think of the bearing down on our personal liberties today. Think about what happens when we go to the airports. Think about now you have no privacy whatsoever. Now the government can look into every single thing.

So we are living in an age when government is way too big. And it’s time this government act properly, and that is to protect our freedoms. (Cheers, applause.) The – if you read the Constitution carefully, you will find out that the Constitution is directed at the government. There aren’t restraints placed in the Constitution on you. The restraints are that you don’t hurt and kill people, that you fulfill your promise that you’re honest and you fulfill your moral obligation. The restraints are placed on the federal government.

So as long as we allow the federal government to grow and we don’t obey those restraints, things will get worse. But the good news is there’s a whole generation of Americans right now rising up and saying we were on the right track at the right time. Let’s get back on that track. Let’s restore liberty to this country and prosperity and peace. (Cheers, applause.)

Thank you.

(Music.)

(END)

Libya’s Revolution

It’s time for my opinion on the hot story of the moment: Libya. This is something I’ve purposely avoided so far because so many of the facts have been blurred.

First off, Gaddafi has to be one of my least favourite despots around, even by the standards of the real dregs the Middle East and Africa regularly churn out. The Gaddafi philosophy has been a mixture of Islamic socialism, pan-Arabism and Afro-centrist nonsense that could be the dream-stuff of a SOAS postgrad student. Interestingly, during an interview with Al Guardian, Gaddafi’s son, Saif, claimed Libya is very similar to Switzerland.

Switzerland it certainly wasn’t. Some of my favourite Gaddafi stories have to include his infamous invite to Jews of Libyan origin to return to their old abodes (Gaddafi had expelled the last Jews of Libya in 1971). His terms were enticing: “If they come as warriors, we will fight them… if they come trading cheese, we will buy cheese”. Another great one came in 1977. As part of his many efforts for Libya to achieve self-sufficiency, Gaddafi decreed that every Libyan family should raise chickens at home. Live chickens were delivered to every home in the country, even to apartments in the inner cities of Tripoli and Benghazi that had no capacity to engage in chicken farming. The smell of cooked chicken wafted over Libyan cities for weeks. The list of ridiculous arbitrary decrees instructing Libyans on what to wear or read have become the stuff of legend, but far too long to list here. Of course, he was also fond of public hangings on university campuses if there was discontent among the young or the intellectuals. It wasn’t always funny under Gaddafi. You just know he’s the type to have a ‘human rights’ award named after him, and that Nelson Mandela and Louis Farrakhan would have it. Shame he wasn’t around long enough for our friend Ezra Nawi to get one.

Gaddafi is a liar. Look at the video above. Sometimes he’s secular, sometimes he’s an Islamist. Oh, and the step-daughter he claimed was killed by Ronald Reagan in an air-strike has turned out to be alive. It was all part of a plot to gain sympathy.

It surprises many that I am very sceptical of the revolution, pessimistic about Libya’s future and have spoken against intervening in Libya since the rescue of Benghazi. This is because, like pretty much all Muslim countries, there is no tradition of liberalism on the ground in Libya. Western societies, like the ones most of my readership are comparatively lucky to live in, were not built from the top-down by powers thousands of miles away. It was a process that took centuries of trade and economic advancement, consensus building, and revolutions in ideas, industry, science and the political sphere. The Muslim world remained largely retarded through most of this. Trying to mould another America out of the devout Muslim country of Afghanistan, which has an 80% rate of illiteracy, and all in about a decade or so, has failed miserably. Muslims in Tower Hamlets and the suburbs of Paris are headache enough, thank you.

It became clear in the very early stages of the revolt that opposition to Gaddafi was as much based on tribal grievances as it was on governing principles. Then there is the Islamist factor. We know Al Qaeda has been involved in the rebellion, and that the rebel stronghold of Bayda has been declared an ‘Islamic Caliphate’ by them. Islamists are behind this in a big way, even if it was not orchestrated by them from the beginning. I for one don’t expect the rebels to have enlightened views when it comes to Jews or other infidels. Not surprisingly, the Libyan Draft Constitution says “Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)”. Oh, here we go.

If Libyans end up with government that represents them better, that is probably for the best. I’d just have preferred we remained more cautious and avoided assisting the rebellion. Aside from the financial commitment involved in the midst of an economic depression, we just don’t know what kind of negative blowback will result. The assistance given to Libya could very well help bring about the death of westerners someday soon. It appears that some of Gaddafi’s stock of 20,000 SAMs have already surfaced elsewhere in the Middle East, including Gaza.

It may even help bring about the deaths of black Africans in Libya. Libya has imported many African migrant workers in recent years as Gaddafi has sought to build bridges with African Union countries (he’s fallen out with much of the Arab leadership). This has proved unpopular with many Libyans. In 2000, there was a pogrom against blacks in which dozens were killed. Now bad news abounds concerning violence against blacks on the part of the rebels.

One of my favourite descriptions of the war came from the great libertarian commentator Ilana Mercer. Referring to the philosophy of interventionism behind the Libyan adventure espoused by the unbearable Irish-American leftist Samantha Power, Susan Rice, as well the Wicked Witch of the White House herself, Hillary Clinton, Mercer dubbed Libya a “war of the womb. A product of the romantic minds of women who fantasize about an Arab awakening. It is estrogen-driven paternalism on steroids… In Libya, the casus belli for war consists of nothing but silly assertions. This “angels and demons” approach befits a children’s Disney production: Once upon a time an evil dictator was killing his noble people. Then Lauren of Arabia rode to the rescue…”

Ouch!

One final point. A few commentators such as Mercer and Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal have pointed out a truly disturbing factor that could alter our understanding of Libya completely. So it’s being ignored by the mainstream media of course. It is interesting to note that (from Mercer):

 In 2009—in his capacity as head of the African Union—Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi had proposed that the economically crippled continent adopt the Gold Dinar… Had a gold revolution engulfed oil-rich African and Persian-Gulf states this would have spelt trouble for the debt-strapped West.

If only symbolically, a gold revolution across Arabia and Africa would have outweighed by far the significance of a democratic revolution

A Gadhafi-driven gold revolution would have… imperiled the positions of central bankers and their political and media power-brokers. The former surreptitiously print away the fruits of the people’s labor; the latter scramble their brains so that they don’t know they are being robbed blind.

Funnily enough, according to Bloomberg, a rebel group known as the Transitional National Council last week released a statement announcing that they have created a Central Bank in Benghazi to control monetary policy in the new regime. They have even appointed a governor to this Central Bank of Libya, temporarily headquartered in Benghazi.

Since when has a central bank been created in just a few weeks out of a popular uprising? How ‘rag-tag’ are these rebels? What help from foreign powers have they been enjoying to organize something as sophisticated as this?

Keynesians Inspired By The Twilight Zone

Submitted for your approval… a small town orders all young men to dig ditches…

Paul Krugman serves up destructive economic nonsense with a smile. Remember, this is the man who actually proposed that the US Government create a housing bubble, in order to make up for the dot com crash and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Now he preaches how wonderful war and fear of war is for the economy – and not just the undertakers – making reference to a classic TV series.

How can presumably decent and intelligent men do stupid and evil things? Taking up Keynesianism appears to be one way.

Transcript:

Krugman: If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better.

There was a Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time…we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.