Tag Archives: libertarianism

Individualism vs Collectivism – The True Debate of Our Time

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What the debt debate is really about

Everyone is talking about the present debt ceiling debate, but few people are talking about the root of the issue. Why is it that our nation spends more than it receives in taxes?

Here are a couple of issues which outline the root of the issue, our fractional reserve banking system:

And is a rather hilarious version:

This is what the debt ceiling debate is really about. What is amazing is that people who are for raising the debt limit are actually for inflation. Its a sadomasochistic state of affairs. Liberals get people hooked on money that isn’t theirs, it doesn’t exist actually, and through that addiction they get them to support the system of printing money without end.

Who is hurt the most in this scheme? The poor. It is difficult, if not impossible, to build wealth if your wealth’s value is constantly depreciated.

Pining for a perfect world

Everyone wants to live in a perfect world.

That’s not a really surprising statement. What separates us, however, is whether we think a perfect world is attainable given the current state of affairs and whether we think it is possible  to bring about a perfect world.

How we answer these crucial questions is what defines our political outlook.

Big government advocates, for instance, think a perfect world is obtainable through the right policies. In the past these policies were based purely on theory (a la Karl Marx) but in more recent times these policies are being based on statistical averages. Modern proponents of big government are fond of making the case based on scientific research and strong appeals to game theory as a solution to the tragedy of the commons. In short, a perfect world is possible if we limit the non-optimal decisions of others.

This view sells. Its a sound theory. It is possible to bring about the most optimal set of circumstances through the application of something like the Nash equilibrium. However it fails to account for one crucial fact. The fact that complete and flawless knowledge of all the relevant facts is required in order to make the calculations accurate. Big government proponents either fail to factor in the uniqueness of individuals or else they boldly assert that individuals are obligated to conform to the community’s desires. The recipe for a perfect plan calls for perfection.

This inconvenient truth is where big government advocates often find their lofty ideals being dashed on the shores of reality.

There are no individual humans or group of humans who have acquired the omniscience required in order to concoct such a perfect plan in order to bring about a perfect world.

And its this reality that leads people to advocate for a realistic system designed not to bring about a perfect world, but a just one.

Small government supporters rightly recognize the problem inherent in designing a perfect society. So rather than try they prefer to uphold the individuals right to chart their own course through the ocean of life. Small government advocates believe in the principle that more people come up with better solutions to problems than a small group of people do. Small government supporters also believe that it is wrong for others to try and force their view of what constitutes a perfect world on others.

Book Review: The Virtues of Capitalism

The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets was written to combat the popular notion, especially following recent economic events, that capitalism has failed and/or that it is somehow inherently immoral.

From the book’s Facebook fan page:

Capitalism brings out the best in people. It stabilizes society, fosters creativity, rewards initiative, promotes cooperation, engenders civility, and encourages personal responsibility. People who possess those virtues also make better neighbors and a better society.

In this timely and balanced book, Austin Hill and Scott Rae agree with capitalism’s critics that the economy is essentially a moral issue, but they argue that free markets are the solution to financial disasters rather than the cause. Sure there are legitimate criticisms of the market system — and real limits to what it can and should accomplish — but, in the end, capitalism both depends upon and sustains classic Judeo-Christian virtues better than any of its rival systems. Thoughtful and engaging, The Virtues of Capitalism pushes against the tide of current public opinion and some of the administration’s proposed economic policies with a principled defense of capitalism.

The virtues outlined in the book are:

  • Creativity
  • Initiative
  • Cooperation
  • Civility
  • Responsibility

Additionally, I greatly appreciate how the authors address a common refrain from the Christian community wherein economic issues are said to be periphery and not something most Christians think they should be involved with. The authors rightly point out that the furtherance of moral issues requires money. And how our economics are structured determines how much or little we will be able to do about any particular issue.

The authors also have a helpful Youtube channel with video shorts designed to elucidate some of the points made in the book. I’ll likely post them later.

And finally, here is an interview with one of the authors, Scott Rae (part 1, part 2, part 3).

Private roads

Liberals are fond of using publicly funded roads as an example of why socialism is necessary. Well Bruce Benson gives us a history and economics lesson on why there is no reason to think that the private sector can’t provide a suitable road system.