The defense of the modern welfare state in the Western democracies is based on the underlying belief that the system is not gamed in any significant way over time by its individual constituents. It is an impression that social capital produced by the state and practiced by its artificial communities of grateful (mostly honest) clients, never create enough quantitative moral hazard (caused by massive insurance schemes such as public health care and education) to bring forth an appreciable danger to society as a whole. In other words, it is the view that public insurance systems, generally — despite the problems of individual human abuse — never produce enough scamming or gaming of the system to multiply to the point of corruption of the whole political environment, especially given the other option of the government doing nothing about ongoing problems brought about by the affluence and influence of the modern market economy. Thinkers might consider different and radical choices to these broad issues but the ideas themselves don’t ever receive real consideration and can’t be justified, since no matter how much fraudulence occurs, the alternative is unthinkable, i.e. letting the unfettered market resolve its own problems. For example, a government backed, regulated and guaranteed banking system may occasionally sell a mortgage to a house buyer who can’t actually afford it but banks in this arrangement would never sell mortgages to people en masse who couldn’t afford it; events like that don’t happen, especially when it involves millions of purchasers. The chances of the state making such a colossal mistake in one of its (very) regulated sectors is infinitesimal. (I of course include the unregulated, almost criminal, so-called Shadow Banks!). Well, that’s the general premise of the nice middle-people who defend the kindly welfarist arrangement and all the Leftist economists who think Maynard Keynes was a genius.
The Gushing Handmaiden Seduces All
Who Come Under Her Loving Care
Moral hazard is the generally well-regarded insurance concept that if you have public regulated and state subsidized indemnity schemes that an institutional effect will occur where the results are, or could soon be, of an unintended variety. Three quick examples of increased risk-taking are: insured drivers (and ones with safer cars) drive less conservatively than uninsured drivers (and ones with older or less safe cars), people with public pensions don’t save as much for their retirement as they do without one or that people with a free health care system use emergency wards at hospitals for the treatment of minor ills including cold, flu and even headache symptoms. (To say nothing of, "Would a person really become obese if they had to pick up the entire medical cost of its cascading fall-out over the years?", see: Licensed To Kill). It involves actual social, moral and economic consequences, but the theory is that these (moral hazard) costs need to be counterbalanced against the sizable advantages that are supplied through public policy schemes, since the investments that it generates are outbalanced by the advantages of risk-pooling.
I would like to offer a counter-intuitive analysis of what over many years, can, and is, happening all throughout the Western democracies. That is, it — the overall effect of welfare democracy — leads to the decadent, consumer-lead downward spiraling of our frugal instinct, work ethic and upright posture in dealing with the (at one time) limited democratic state. Let us start with a seemingly undeniable consequence of the partially regulated market, or if you will, ‘the mixed economy’. If Barrack Obama states in 2008 that 47 million American citizens are uninsured in regards to health care, we want to call that a real travesty. The reason it is a true risk for society and its individuals is that a citizen and their family can be financially devastated by the publicly-regulated private system if they face serious medical problems and have no insurance. This could happen to anyone at anytime through no fault of their own. But why has this evolved? We could lay the claim that medicine is made too expensive by the set up of the agencies licensed and empowered by the state to deliver it, such as unionized doctors, state-subsidized hospitals, government monitored pharmaceutical apparatuses and insurance regulations. The licensing by the state of doctors has produced a plethora of results favoring institutionalized and traditional medicines as we know it and hurting all of its competitors, including, but not limited to, nutritionists, acupuncturists, holistic practitioners, immigrant doctors from other countries, chiropractors, integrative doctors, massage therapists, physiotherapists and reflexologists. If anyone could hang a shingle, including paramedics, nurses, and pharmacists, then the problem is, medicine is as a general rule not guaranteed as wholly adequate by the state itself. (Think of it as a psychological event. How can I trust this shoe salesperson’s qualifications if he/she isn’t certified by the state?) If the government produces huge inefficient hospitals, how can small cost-efficient medical clinics compete anymore than unlicenced teachers’ associations complete with public schools? How can herbal remedies vie with state-sanctioned pharmaceutical firms? How can private medical suppliers offer low-cost insurance when the cost of health care is so outrageously high? We need public health care, but only because we ignore, to our peril, all the alternatives.
When we say addiction is the highest form of personal mismanagement — it’s about managing one’s life in a wealthy society as a form of moral imperative — we want also to remark that being addicted to drugs and being addicted to alcohol are two separate problems in our society. Addiction to alcohol has a social cost and an economic price, but it doesn’t often necessitate complete social and financial self-destruction. Most alcoholics, especially ones who drink daily but not to oblivion, do not necessarily lose either their family, friends, or income. An addiction to meth, cocaine or heroin will almost certainly cost you and your loved ones any financial stability you might have enjoyed. What makes addiction to illegal substances so destructive is that there is no legal recourse to the supplier or seller who might or might not be morally responsible for imperfect or spoiled product; it is totally against the law and is dangerous just on the surface of it (even if you’re not risking your employment or hurting your loved ones, which you likely are); the illicit selling of the product entails corruption of much of the world’s law enforcement; it produces massive amounts of violence on many fronts; and though cheap to produce, prohibition makes it financially ruinous to almost all constant users who are middle-class. It quickly wipes out their savings and wrecks all their relationships due to sponging. It leads to desperate situations involving petty theft, the sex trade, unemployment and often leads to the addict living on the streets. Today, in the world, more people are killed enforcing the ban on drugs than who died as the result of using; this sober fact is alarming because the Platonists (the religionist and Marxist sentiment inside of us) doesn't care about that; liberty is license: if we were free to use crack, everybody would fall down. This fear, which brings out panic inside of us about drug use, allows the state to use it to its full advantage. It has become one of the biggest worries in the world, and the growth of violence around the problem is growing exponentially. The feeling of national superiority over the South Americans or Mexicans is indeed misplaced. For instance, the reason for the tragedy due to the conduit of illegal drugs pouring into America through the southern borders is the absolutely-useless utterly-failed 'War on Drugs' which as French playwright Molière long ago noted, "More men die of their remedies than of their illnesses." The drugs flow into the USA from customer-demand, even Leftist economists have to admit it. A drug-free life sells itself . . . and they're certainly to be feared, as are jelly-beans and chocolate-cakes. Sugar kills more people than crack ever will (crack defined as "processed rocks of cocaine", see Cocaine Cowboys I and II). [Having said that, it must also be admitted: the drugs responsible for the most deaths in the world are the most used and legal ones; as an example take tobacco; 480,000 deaths annually and 40,000 more caused by secondhand smoke. People who smoke, on average, die seven to nine years before people who do not smoke. Alcohol is not as deadly but it is responsible for more deaths than prescription drugs, heroin, and cocaine combined. The 30,000 annual deaths from health problems because of alcohol consumption are swelled by fatal accidents due to drunk driving and alcohol-related violence.]
If you say, without compulsory education, the alternative is an uneducated population, then you are trapped in a modern myth. If you are concluding licensed doctors have nothing to do with expensive medicine, then it isn’t through any facts you assert it but again just through current vogue. The myth of the 19th Century was that without religion we would all be murderers or adulterers. The myth of the 20th Century is that without the state we would all be addicted or exploited. Certainly without public school teachers, we would be uneducated, without licenced doctors, we would receive inadequate health care and without regulating the money supply, we would have an unsound economy. I want to argue, contrarily, that we are uneducated, receive poor health care and have unsound money, and for all of it, we pay a high mercantile price far in excess of what we should have to pay. See, Medical Mercantilism, The Separation of Market and State and The Gold Standard.
Why zero tolerance of moral hazard is a good thing when the state is involved is at a glance obvious. If there is moral hazard to a private insurance scheme, over time — if the company wants to survive, then quite quickly — the loop-holes will be closed and incentives will be put into place to diminish the risks to the company. With government, this is a serious failing, see Bureausclerosis and Demomatosis. The political event, and the private one are different in kind, not degree. If a company goes insolvent, it’s a tragedy for the people involved; if a city faces bankruptcy, it’s civil unrest and a radical downsizing for a sizable majority of its residents, but if a nation does it, it is blood on the streets, possibly the loss of human rights and even fatalities. The body politic cannot face these types of crises without violence, see The State of Nature; that is why tinkering with the market, growing the state, and especially allowing state indebtedness, is outright dangerous to democratic stability. The Right doesn’t get it. The Left is oblivious. They are both bullies, and to them, money is magic. The magic is that if the will of the people demand that wish-fulfillment become law, it will print currency. The collective thinks that if we pool our resources we face no serious dangers. In the process, we will eventually outlaw liberty and slowly suffocate freedom, although not as a conscious thoughtful act but by accident of wishful thinking, of equalitarianism itself. But this still is not the singular risk of failure. The real peril is that nations will not declare bankruptcy and renew itself as a matter of necessity as inept private companies are often forced to do. State renewal will mean actual pain and death. That is why state debt is unethical. There is no third party institution or overseer who will supervise state bankruptcy and the peaceful transfer of funds to achieve national liquidity. Street fighting, civil chaos and much human suffering will inevitably follow if the state defaults. Greece comes to mind, but other nations like Argentina have faced these difficulties in the recent past. The problem with the modern state is that it cannot deal with the 'Law of Evolutionary Biology': the constant flux and the relentless restless competition. The political economy of the statist cannot cope with it: Veblen, Malthus, Marx and Keynes; better to fool themselves that the state can use force without using violence and that man’s Platonic nature is in fact true though everyday facts contradicts it!
"When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed." Ayn Rand
If I can make a case that public moral hazard — or more and more people gaming the system — will lead eventually to the nation’s downfall, then I have shown the implicit danger of the growing welfare state, or that public risk-pooling, is disadvantageous to the whole society in the long run. The argument being, that once you have socialized the money supply, licenced the doctors, instituted compulsory education, have universal health care, added government supplied dental insurance, plus free prescription drugs, supplied federally administrated pension funds, guaranteed saving accounts, given free legal representation, allowed religions tax-free benefits, furnished bailouts for large employers and other such strategies, you truly have a free market, that is, free of failure and risk, and then, by implication, we put all of those possible losses and risks onto society itself. That’s you, your family, friends and even your whole community being used as collateral. Do you see the mirror of a mafia complex in this reflection? (You must pay into this protection racket even if you know it to be wrong). The question now is: ‘Is the thing in itself — the state — so large that no matter how much gaming (or if you prefer, moral hazard) there is, all of us as a collective cannot fail?’
Now You Sense the Imminent Danger of the Equation
You say to yourself, ‘The economic breakdown of our nation is inconceivable!’ Your social inner voice says, ‘The total collapse of the Western World is impossible!’ But you are wrong. It is not only possible, but unless there is an reversal of the ramped growth of the democratic state, it will, I am sorry to say, indeed occur, maybe not tomorrow, but some day soon. The eclipse of 2008 only underscores the fragility of the whole enterprise. Many people from Greece to America to Italy to fill-in-the-blank are gaming the system. The whole joint is rocking; it’s late at night and we’re having a good old time, hash and pogy included. A shot of public welfare with that rum and cola? For every person being productive, many are doling. Hell, how can one person make a difference in the whole global economy? What’s to worry? Be happy. Have another drink. I’ll buy.
Don’t Fool Yourself
That Drink’s Never Free!
I want to explain about building a house: if you were a pioneer and you and your lover found a nice spot to raise a family, let’s say on high ground near a river but protected from the wind. You start to build. (You won’t be drinking for sometime now). We’ll discount the accumulation of knowledge. We’ll pretend you have the skill or possess books which expertly instruct you on building it. We are only concerned about the physical labor. One thing will become immediately obvious as you and your lover begin clearing and building – even if you can phone a hardware depot and get them to deliver the necessary supplies — it is an immense exhausting amount of work. If you were a soldier returning to North America from WWII, a small war bride’s home was already built and for sale for you with an unfinished basement. Though small and expensive, you could still afford it on one person’s salary. That salary took a large chunk of your labor for a quarter of a century. Inflation in the last fifty years has raised the price of it by over a factor of ten. Today, you and your partner have bought a much bigger house at what seems to your parents as unimaginable prices. (That’s what inflation does, it causes everyone to lose track of an item’s real worth). You both work to maintain your overpriced home. It takes a large percentage of your combined salaries. Repairing even the smallest thing is sometimes a fortune.
Keynesian economic policies are indirectly responsible for much of the 20th century’s inflation rate. A dollar in 1900 is worth a nickel in 2000. Keynes followed fundamentally a socialist approach, which encouraged centralized planning and lead to much capital abuse in the last seven or eight decades. The cause of business cycle collapses has far more to do with state tinkering in the money supply than recession being cued by shortfalls in printed denominations. Printing money without backing, that is fiat money, is far more consequential than the leftist economists pretend. Keynesianism is fallacious on many scores, but especially that previous public output would be repaid by politicians of another stripe over time — this has in fact hardly ever happened anywhere in the world and why democratic indebtedness continually increases in every country in the West. It is also false that recessions are caused by micro economic factors in the supply of money and that booms and busts before the creation of fiat money were caused by money shortfalls in the banking system. Small shake outs, like bankruptcies, are an important part of the market. It is how it renews itself. The market is organic not static, see: Creative Destruction. Direct state interference causes a catastrophic event like The Great Depression — the Austrian explanation for this case is far superior to the self-serving Keynesian one — see The Planned Economy. When the state temporarily fixes something, it becomes part of a permanent expanding bureaucratic muddle which stifles the private sector and is part of the massive problem that the democracies face today. Indeed, Keynes has much to answer for, his philosophy can be likened to the state guaranteeing bank deposits. If government backed deposits ended a technical problem with bank runs, wouldn’t that have eventually been dealt with by the private banking system through trial and error? What? They were all stupid except for neo-Marxist economists? On the surface, guaranteeing deposits is an amazing benefit for the individual saver and to society as a whole — to say nothing of the banking system — there’s no seeming downside, except that there is an incredible long-term problem with it: the bank’s behavior is adversely affected. Risk-taking has increased dramatically by bankers since deposit insurance was enforced by the state. Long term, it thwarts national thriftiness and endangers the global economy. There has been bubble after bubble, not stability in the system as is often claimed. Credit expansion has been increased through state’s cheap money policies and the money supply has never been significantly contracted by the Fed since 1930, and moreover, they have been terrified to do it since the dot-com bubble of 2001. Of course, since 2008, they are stuck in their own dried cement, now their only tool is to print paper.
Build a house and see just how much labor it takes (and how much cement). Watch the television show, Holmes on Homes. It is the major labor outlay of your life (translated from your salary) and that’s why they generally don’t give them away, they are damn costly in just sheer labor. But what about a door? If you own a house and you’re motoring along in your life with cars, kids and pets — the good life — you could afford fifteen dollars a year to give some poor smuck a door. What about $500 a year to give someone windows and doors? A $1000 a year for a new comer to start a fresh life in your country? It might give him or her a porch and a portion of an investment in a mosque or church. Not an overwhelming sacrifice. What if that tax exempt church attacks the decadent West and pluralistic democracy under-minding our slightly civil, pluralistic society and semi-free markets? If they joined with the street-wise Left and preached for free houses for all and a church, temple and mosque in every community, then you see the Left and the Right have common cause? After all, everyone should have a house and community faith can’t hurt, can it?
A new house for those who don’t have one, who would object? Only a fascist, and only a racist would say everyone should work for it like our forefathers did. Besides, very few people would game such an honorable intention of society anyway, don’t doubt it for a second. The state-subsidized mis-managers, the tax-exempt places of worship join with the street-wise social activists who yearn for power and the ‘Fannie-Newt’ type of political parasite, and over time, that fifteen dollars for a door leads you to building free houses for people (via your labor through taxation). All of this, I might add, for people who under no circumstance would do the incredible amount of labor (via monthly mortgage payments) to build the houses for themselves and would certainly never build one for you. They want it for free and they have organized together to bring it about in a semi-free, semi-slave society. Good for them. Good for Newt Gingrich. Good for all the political activists. They outmaneuvered the productive members of society like in that movie, There Will Be Blood, where the preacher for a while outsmarted the oil producer.
How do you feel about giving fifteen dollars for the door now? If you’re in for the door, you’re in for the whole house. If you license doctors you will eventually have to supply free medicine. If you compel students to go to school, you will have public-unionized teachers who will fight against merit pay, if you outlaw pleasurable substances, you will fight an endless unwinnable violent war against drugs.
Let’s say you constitutionally limited welfare to a five percent tax on the eligible tax payers. (We’ll forgo for a moment the problem with the use of state force to do this -- i.e., forcing people to pay for other's welfare is the very definition of human sacrifice.) My contention is that even if it takes a century or two, that five percent will grow inevitably into absolute governance by a cumbersome nanny state. This length of time measured in our own lifetime seems long, but for a civilization is incredibly short. Zero toleration of moral hazard when it comes to state expansion is a concept worth considering. Shortsighted behavior is our hallmark; everybody understands the logic that to lose weight is far harder than to gain weight. What reason dictates is to pay up front and watch your weight constantly so as not to get to an unhealthy weight. Get on the scale everyday! This is also true with money. Debt is damn hard to get out of, harder than saving, which is hard enough, but buying an item with cash is the only way to get the price that is advertised (that is by not paying money for your money). Zero toleration for all the government agencies which can be scammed, and that’s all of them, should be enforced by the electorate.
Alternative small government with no compulsory taxation is a real possibility which has never been tried. For instance, in Canada, we could eliminate the Senate, abolish the absolutely anti-democratic human rights commissions, reduce the number of political representatives, reduce their obscene pensions, forbid any state employee from being in a union due to the fact they perform a monopoly service, do away with all agencies not mandated by the police, courts or army functions, that includes, UI, public pensions, health care, daycare, public education, everything but the courts and law enforcement! It will be a tiny state built on a solid democratic foundation. The obese regime that teeters on the precipice, could collapse any day. The whole welfare system is gamed at every level. Our public sector is corrupt beyond redemption. Remember, small government is much easier to manage than large. Small problems which the free markets creates, become massive problems when the state tries to fix them. We’re not talking about perfect, we are discussing better options to state coercion given what we know of human behavior.
You have to judge the result by the alternative, such as, single moms without state subsidy have a harder life than they otherwise would (to say nothing of the children, who can’t choose to have wedded, better-economically-managed parents). But their instances remain low when they are not subsidized by the commonwealth. With state-welfare, many single moms remain single and have multiple children thus increasing their state income. Many also have lovers living with them whose addresses for tax purposes and to keep collecting these benefits do not match their spouses where they in fact live. Everyone knows that there are only a few fundamental rules in our affluent wealthy societies of the West to avoid outright poverty: if you finish high school, don’t quit a job without having a job and stay married, (i.e, don’t have children out of wedlock) there is a higher than 95% chance you won’t be poor. Single moms in a sense, can’t help themselves anymore than say, smokers. On average, smoking can cost you a decade of your life and we see that this knowledge and other demonstrable health risks caused by smoking are great incentives for many to quit, but not all do. An incentive for the really recalcitrant would be for the state to outlaw tobacco products, and for single mothers to have their babies put up for adoption. However, should the state manage the mis-managers with force, after all, it is for their own benefit? I think in a free society the answer is obvious, but I wonder sometimes if my answer would be in the minority, for while we subsidize single moms, we incarcerate drug addicts.
Charity is an essential part of our social fabric but the state must not try to enforce it through taxation. Insurance schemes like health care only look good on paper. Socialists and religionists have not yet won the philosophical argument about altruism, let alone the economic one. They are bullies and don’t really care about the viable nonviolent libertarian alternative. Someone’s always dying, none of us get out alive and few get to do it with dignity. In Canada, if you have a heart attack or some clearly demonstrative disease defined by traditional medicine, you will be treated with skill and speed.* However, if you have a chronic hard-to-define disease, you will die waiting in line to be treated. No system is perfect but the Canadian health care system is the best in the world as long as you don’t look too closely. Comparatively speaking, Canadian society is about the best there is for many social welfare programs for the size and population it supports. I’m a happy camper here and if they didn’t change a thing, I could live with it. My life is unwittingly subsidized by the rich. I am a writer. What’s to complain? I’m not sure I am even protesting. The trouble with the welfare state, here and everywhere in the world, however, is that it can’t technically get on any sort of treadmill and save itself from inevitability, which is, a slow devolution into complete political corruption with a society of two classes, the private sector and the public one, one productive, one belligerent. Dynamic evolution to changing environmental stresses is the state’s nemesis. It can’t do it. It is the nature of the beast to become a bloated inept entity. I fear, if we’re not already there, then we are one crisis away from it. I am speaking in a generalized fashion. I realize that Sweden might do this particular thing well, and Germany, another event even better, yet I am making a meta-argument which allows for states all over the globe getting some things right for some of the time. The point is that there is an unmistakable malady to which all welfare states over the decades succumb.
State Dependancy like Church Conformity
Has Unintended Results
And Neither Exceptional Wealth nor Authentic Morality are Accomplished.
One of the general philosophic justifications for the necessity of the large modern handmaiden state is the concept of externality. The contention is that it is impossible to live our current life without some external force disturbing us, like my neighbors’ barking dogs or the smell and smoke from their barbeque coming into my property, etcetera, that we can’t live in a social cocoon. These trivial matters are taken up by the theorists and shortly lobbed in with the more familiar and universal pollution problems. The thesis in general is that the global environment is threatened by the capitalists (the big bad neighbor) and that we need the state to save us from them. Theorists of the welfare system don’t consider for even the briefest second that the major external force polluting our rivers, lakes, oceans and air are essential two interlinked ones: local governments, and capitalists, often working hand in hand with the state. It would be no hardship to point out that with a constitutionally amended separation of the market and state, the capitalists and the politicians would have been forbidden these nuptials. No doubt, progress would have been slowed in some areas; companies would have to have immediately worked out what to do with its waste and by-products without the intervention of the state to save them. In other words, these matters would have been litigated through the courts as human rights (or human border) issues. Capitalists aren’t going to sluice sledge up river from me and I think most certainly not from you, if we (the localists), have any say in it. I don’t know that tuna would be safer without international treaties, but they will probably be all gone before any nation signs one anyway. The world’s oceans are truly The Tragedy of the Commons. But just as no one is going to pollute my backyard, so no one would pollute my river, lake or stream and or especially my air, (i.e. with their cars). Private (or common) ownership of these green resources would immediately end most major pollution in the world. I can assure you I am not going to choke on someone else’s smoke. It would surely slow the state sponsored run-away welfare capitalism we see today. It would make not just a few government sanctuaries safe for the creatures of the world but the earth ultimately safe from the capitalists working with the government to boldly go wherever the hell they want, damn the risks to humanity.
Another central philosophical justification for the requirement of the intrusive state is the Marxist concept of commodification. The belief that human labor should not be a commodity like everything else — that it’s special — and needs to be acutely monitored by government. To the Platonists, Catholics, Marxists and other religionists this is self evident: surrogacy is baby selling, paying a person to stand in line for you is egregious, scalping tickets is greed gone mad, purchasing votes in a democracy is outright immoral, having a professional non-conscripted army is unpatriotic, (they’re in some real sense mercenaries), legalizing personalized labor is insanity (how can a person be his own government?) and overall, the use of labor without emotional or national sentiment collectively directing or controlling it for moral reasons instead of economic ones, is both repugnant and may be the very downfall of a civilized society. The household maids and butlers have to go, as do the wet nurse, gardener, personal chef, i.e. slavery shouldn’t be allowed and, of course because of capitalism, we’re all slaves. That almost no one but politicians and billionaires connected to the state have these kind of servants in our mixed economy is beside the point.
I want to explain why my wife would have you and your spouse’s baby (with a codicil) and why I would stand in line for you (for a price). (I’ll admit these two things don’t quite equate). You and your spouse are professionals — let’s say you’re industrial neurosurgeons whatever that is. The thing is, you’re rich and damn busy and months of gestation is a real hardship for both of you as you define your life. My wife and I are struggling to pay our mortgage and feed our two children. You offer my unemployed wife an undertaking to carry your baby. (It’s your sperm and your wife’s egg), and she signs a contract with your lawyers for $15,000 and you and your wife pay for all the expenses of the pregnancy including inheriting and looking after the child if it has any deformities. How is this not employment and a fee for service? Only religionists can define what dignified labor is? We have self-respect and would seek whatever employment the market offered provided we could have our family survive. The codicil above is: it is what we thought we could morally tolerate so as to feed and protect our children — it is based on our priorities — but so as not be completely humiliated in the process we have discussed it. We don’t do it blindly; economic necessity didn’t completely coerce us. We realized that for some people it is an indecent proposal, but for us it is an economic opportunity given everything else. The point is, it’s our decision and not the church or state’s. We’re not brain surgeons; we’re just ordinary people. But we are free. It’s our life and we get to decide how to spend it, not priests or rulers. The point is, despite what Marxist claim, every economic choice is a moral descision.
Someone offers me to have sex for money or I have to clean their house for the same amount of cash. One is an hour’s work, the other, eight hours. That isn’t that hard a choice, maybe I’ll clean your house, but at some level, labor, love, loyalty and all human action can be reduced to prostitution if you look at it the wrong way. A lot of what you do for money is about your attitude. I am being used for a fee, even if I like cleaning your house or having sex with you. I am a friend to someone because I expect fidelity in return. I am a husband because I want security, faithfulness and lifetime companionship. I am a father because my children are of me and reflect it. I am a law-abiding citizen because I expect my human rights will be upheld by a democratic government. I give to others because of the principles of reciprocity. My choices are limited. I would like to be a famous doctor, celebrity, artist or business person. But maybe I don’t have the ambition, tenacity or talent that it takes. Or maybe I’m just not as much of a whore as it takes to do these jobs and get famous. Instead, I’ll sell shoes, or sex, or clean houses. Is it really the Catholic, Marxist or Platonist’s place to judge me? (To say nothing of society as a whole?)
You’re filthy rich, as they say, and you don’t want to ever stand in line — you’re a legend in your own mind — but you are willing to pay me to do just that to get the latest iphone the day that it comes out. I’ll be in line for 48 hours, perhaps in the rain, heat or snow. I want to say, this is exactly the kind of job (if I could get no other) that I would have no trouble performing to feed my family. I would take a dozen books, stand in line, and in effect, get paid for reading, hopefully, several good stories. I couldn’t care less about a phone, rock star or sports game, but some people have the luxury to go see them all. Good for them; they’re welcome to it.
A politician offers me $200 to vote for him. But it’s a tax cut and he has publicly promised it to everyone. As a citizen and voter I don’t like what has happened in our democracies but I ponder it. I approach his surrogates weeks later at a night rally and say, ‘If your party gives me $100 cash to vote for your leader, I’ll do it’. They agree and give me the cash on the spot. What moral code has been broken here? The bribe (the public tax cut) is all the worse. It corrupts everyone. The secret one is better. It only corrupts me, and moreover, I’m richer by $100 or $300 if he wins the election. I’d normally never vote for the son of a bitch but I keep my end of the bargain. The trouble with tax cuts (i.e., giving me my money back which was forcefully taken from me through taxation in the first place), is that it is the worst kind of bribe. It’s like this: the state says, “Give us $10,000 dollars of your salary every year or we’ll jail you, but if you do so without complaint, we’ll give you $250 back, whereas the other extortionists — the other party — will just take the $10,000 but you’ll feel better. Ours is the superior bargain even if we are more corrupt than them on "some’ level".
I expect that if you had to sell your body to save your wife, children or friend, but couldn’t do it for moral reasons, then you are too platonic for this life. Go hang yourself. It’s just sex, not love, loyalty or sin, just labor, sure, it isn’t neurosurgery or some coveted occupation like political science, but certainly not a crime against humanity either. If porn proves anything, it’s that sex is sex and love is another thing all together.
A non-coercive society based on cooperation and human rights is wholly within our reach — as it always has been — don’t let the state apologists excuse either the nonproductive welfare gamers or the obese inefficient state. Whether the gamers are capitalists, anticapitalists, con-artists or free riders makes no difference. The result of slackers joining with the state to be unproductive at the expense of the middle-class, who they disdain, is a moral disgrace. Liberals and conservative parties are mere reflections of each other, especially as promoted in the media class or as defined in The New Ancien Régime. Socialists really do want to achieve democratic communist states. They are Platonists, and one should never overestimate their intelligence or underestimate their willingness to commit state violence against the individual when he refuses to conform to the “inexorable collective march toward progress”. However, conservatives are the ultimate bullies. They really are intolerant religionists who want you to conform to their insipid tired uninspired morality until you’re so bored that you’ll blow your neighbor’s brains out with the first gun you can find, which because of their insane mismanagement of the gun issue, are to be found in the hands of nearly every psychopath with even the smallest grievance. They are truly the Babbitts of the cold gray sterile industrial landscape, a government whose close marriage to the capitalists for two centuries has now left the West lurching without moral roots.
The Grim Parade of State Build Up
Will Lead Us to Gulag Heaven
And the Age of Stagnation
Well over a million people die in vehicle accidents every year, millions more are injured. If the roads were privately owned — see The Privatization of the Roads and Highways — what would the socialist crowd say? They would scream bloody murder and call for regulation of the private roads. I fear the following decades will be total carnage. Let’s stop it. You should demand better. When the government does a thing, whatever that thing is, it is considered the status quo, and in our minds, no alternative exists. Private enterprise can’t possibly do it let alone do it better. The airlines do it. But that’s different. Imagine a million deaths in the air. Flight paths, air ports and airlines would be immediately seized by the state. This area of course is heavily regulated by the government today as well but the point is that the idea of publicly owned roads has no intrinsic inevitability. The state has always done it but so what? 'How could the market even do it?' many would ask. If you stop and think about it, all private enterprise looks impossible from a start up position. The thing is, we might not be able to predict exactly, but it would get done under the laws of supply and demand.
Who would live on a fault line? Earthquakes are an act of nature and it’s nobody’s blame where they’re born. Are state-owned highways and roads an act of nature too? It feels like it, but no more so than compulsory education. J T Gatto mentions in Dumbing Us Down: "'No amount of tinkering will make the school machine work to produce educated people; education and schooling are, as we all have experienced, mutually exclusive terms". There's certain truth in this sentiment; remember, the decision to move to a public school system was philosophical not born of necessity. Neither of these events — public ownership of roadways and mass education by the state — is inevitable. You can stop the bloodfest by privatizing the roads and end the mind-numbing conformity of public mass instruction by quitting state forced schooling. "For a nation that had been able to point with pride to extraordinary advances in all areas of endeavour carried out by individuals, with no assistance whatsoever from the government, the early years of the twentieth century surely reflected a “Turning of the Tides.” An alien collectivist (socialist) philosophy, much of which came from Europe, crashed onto the shores of our nation, bringing with it radical changes in economics, politics, and education, funded—surprisingly enough—by several wealthy American families and their tax-exempt foundations." Deliberately Dumbing Down America, C T Iserbyt.
Leftist books like Dark Money, The Family, In a Few Hands and many others of similar vein, opine that the one percent of the population -- the wealthy -- control the Right's agenda but on the Left, the rich have no undo influence. LOL. It's like the pedophile priest giving a sermon to the cheating husband, but I suppose rational anarchy should be left for unaltered old people and their young libertarian admirers. I mean to say, the leftist teenage anarchist smashing McDonald’s windows at G20 Conferences around the world isn’t exactly my idea of advancement and is not what I am talking about. Something is to be said for people all over the world living without armies like in Costa Rica. I have broached these issues further in Atheism, Scepticism and Philosophy. The problem with porous democratic borders is history’s long experience of the steppes, always the conflict from non-democratic sources who illegally cross our borders, threaten to cross our borders in huge numbers, or indeed, cross our borders with their armies. Democracies must defend themselves. Conversely, the trouble with keeping regular armies is that after the birth of the modern military industrial complex in your democratic hometown, there may be no turning back. If the shoe factory closes down in your vicinity there is not a damn thing you can do about it. But if Fort Unnecessary closes, there’s a heck of alot you can do. There are so many levels of government which are motivated to help keep Fort Unnecessary going that it can create a huge movement which in a sense is paid for by the state. Even closing a post office outlet is a trauma in any of our Western democracies. How does a junkie get off the junk? I don’t know exactly. It would be better if he had never tried it. The point being, one of the main troubles with large handmaiden states is, that if we change our minds and decide that we are better off with less government, how will we ever get off the junk? That’s why I am calling for a radical solution: a withdrawal, a reversal, a quick downsizing and a small narrowly-defined modern night-watchman state with a modest high-tech military, an uncorrupted police force and a court system of impartial judges, that, and little else, to be paid for without the threat or use of forceful taxation.
Liberals say libertarianism is mean spirited; that demanding constant liquidity in the market, economic self-independence for everyone and making us solely responsible for our decisions is setting the bar intolerably high for most folks. However, I counter that political chaos and destruction of social order will be the ultimate end-product of the welfare state which will lead a population addicted to government to spilling blood in the streets. I sure do hope I’m wrong but it seems that if evolution and natural selection teach us anything, it’s that getting something for nothing is simply human sacrifice: when it does occur, it's at the expense of other human beings. It's the way liberals ignore moral hazard which make them repulsive, that is, in the debate between Locke and Hobbes, they want it both ways, and ignoring Locke we will surely end-up with Leviathan. In just this manner, order trumps liberty, not despite liberalism, but because of it!
From, The End of Poverty: "Many people assume that the rich have gotten rich because the poor have gotten poor. In other words, they assume that Europe and the United States used military force and political strength during and after the era of colonialism to extract wealth from the poorest regions, and thereby to grow rich. This interpretation of events would be plausible if gross world product had remained roughly constant, with a rising share going to the powerful regions and a declining share going to the poorer regions. However, that is not at all what happened. Gross world product rose nearly fifty-fold. Every region of the world experienced some economic growth (both in terms of the overall size of the economy, and even when measured per person), but some regions experienced much more growth than others. The key fact of modern times is not the transfer of income from one region to another, by force or otherwise, but rather the overall increase in world income, but at a different rate in different regions. This is not to say that the rich are innocent of the charge of having exploited the poor. They surely have, and the poor countries continue to suffer as a result in countless ways, including chronic problems of political instability. However, the real story of modern economic growth has been the ability of some regions to achieve unprecedented long-term increases in total production to levels never before seen in the world, while other regions stagnated, at least by comparison."
This article was written in response to and as a general criticism of Filthy Lucre, Joseph Heath.
* If statistics are reliable, you’ll probably get a stent and die anyway, see, The Great American Heart Hoax and other works reviewed in Eating Well.
The next financial crisis will not be merely a bigger version of the 1998 and 2008 crises. It will be qualitatively different. It will encompass multiple asset classes on a global scale. It will exhibit inflation not seen since the 1970s, insolvency not seen since the 1930s, and exchange shutdowns not seen since 1914. State power will be summoned to contain panic. Liquidity will come from the IMF as directed by the G20, including a large voice for China. Capitalism will be discredited once and for all. Road to Ruin, James Rickards, author of Currency Wars.
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