Archive for March, 2010

Banking on Failure: Is Financial Speculation Moral?

I came across this video the other day via Jeffrey Tucker.

Click the above image to watch the video on the BBC website.

In the video, BBC’s Justin Rowlatt spends the day with financial speculator Hugh Hendry in order to, as the BBC website states, “find out whether public unpopularity of speculators is well-founded.”

Hedge funds are indeed pretty unpopular, and always have been, but this interview is particularly timely in that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has recently been quite outspoken in criticizing financial speculators and blaming them for Greece’s many economic woes.

In the video, Rowlatt lobs the following Papandreou quote Read the rest of this entry »

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Arnold Kling: If a Libertarian Gave a Sermon for Passover

I thought this piece by Arnold Kling was a fun way to kick off Passover:

As we approach Passover in 2010, many people are unemployed. But in a free society, government does not create jobs.

Pharoah created jobs for us. Moses led us away from those jobs. Even though those jobs helped to complete public infrastructure. Even though they were green jobs, where we used our muscles and our backs instead of fossil fuels.

Click here to read the rest.

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Census 2010: Am I Breaking the Law?

Last week I filled out the form for the 2010 Census, and like many others, I participated in an organized protest regarding the questions about my race and ethnicity. This action was spurred by this post by Mark Krikorian on The Corner.

For those unfamiliar with the protest, Krikorian summed it up as follows:

Fully one-quarter of the space on this year’s form is taken up with questions of race and ethnicity, which are clearly illegitimate and none of the government’s business…So until we succeed in building the needed wall of separation between race and state, I have a proposal. Question 9 on the census form asks “What is Person 1′s race)”…we should answer Question 9 by checking the last option — “Some other race” — and writing in “American.” It’s a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes.

The fact that we would even be asked such a question is a sign that institutionalized racism exists in today’s society, and since the U.S. government is certainly the most aggressive promoter of such racism, Krikorian’s appeal seemed to me like a worthwhile endeavor. Therefore, I filled out Question 9 on my census form as depicted in the following image:

For the 2010 Census, I answered "American" for Question 9.

However, as I learned prior to taking this action, such a “protest” may not be entirely legal. In this post on the Foundry, Hans von Spakovsky warned protest participants about Read the rest of this entry »

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Ashes to Ashes, Nothing to Nothing: The Evolution Myth

Joe Carter has an amusing piece at First Things called “In the Beginning was Nothing: A Creation Story for Young Materialists.” Carter begins by sarcastically lamenting how the children of evolutionists are deprived of an engaging creation myth.

However, since evolution does indeed have a “myth” of its own, Carter decides to take a stab at dumbing it down for the kids.

He begins as follows:

In the beginning was Nothing and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it explode. The explosion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance with it to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth.

Read the rest of the article here. Enjoy!

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Ethical Populism: Why Are Americans Resisting Freebies?

Last year Arthur Brooks wrote an engaging piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Real Culture War is Over Capitalism.” Although the article is somewhat dated, I encourage you to read it, as it still effectively sums up a dichotomy that is ever present in our society.

In the article, Brooks argues that the “culture war” of today is different from the one of yesterday:

There is a major cultural schism developing in America. But it’s not over abortion, same-sex marriage or home schooling, as important as these issues are. The new divide centers on free enterprise — the principle at the core of American culture.

This certainly still seems to be the case. By listening to the rhetoric of both President Obama and the Tea Party Movement you can quickly gather that the disagreements are not purely about the economics of each policy, but also the ethical implications.

A sign proclaiming "America Will Not Be Mandated" signals ethical resistance to government force.

Obama thinks the government has an ethical obligation to redistribute wealth, but many Americans see that as an ethical violation of individual freedom. To be sure, many Americans see redistribution of their own wealth as an ethical obligation, but the idea that someone would forcefully do it for them defeats (or at least diminishes) the entire imperative. Here we come back to the concept of True Community vs. Forced Community.

On a positive note, Brooks believes Read the rest of this entry »

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Gendercide: When Modern Technology Partners with Ancient Barbarity

If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to read this article from The Economist about abortion and gender discrimination.

As the article states, approximately 100 million girls have disappeared across the world due to abortion. In China and India the ratio of boys to girls is currently 6 to 5.

But why are societies killing off girls? The Economist answers as follows:

The destruction of baby girls is a product of three forces: the ancient preference for sons; a modern desire for smaller families; and ultrasound scanning and other technologies that identify the sex of a fetus.

Here we have both tradition and “progress” contributing to discrimination and infanticide. Abortion has been around since we can remember, but what disturbs me most about these recent trends is the extent to which such acts are premeditated. Ultrasound technology has contributed to so much life among those who have used it for the right purposes, yet it has also been twisted and perverted to feed the goals of ancient bigotry and barbarity.

All tools can be used for evil, and ultrasound technology is no different. Therefore, just like other tools (e.g. money), modern medical technology cannot be blamed as the root cause.

When it comes to discovering the causes behind such trends, one thing that stands out is that Read the rest of this entry »

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Overriding Earthly Kingdoms: Robbie Seay Band’s “Kingdom and a King”

Robbie Seay Band's "Miracle"

Robbie Seay Band’s new album Miracle was released this week, and the lyrics to one song stuck out to me. The song is “Kingdom and a King” and you can hear the full song streaming from his site by clicking the green play button on the module below.

The lyrics I found particularly engaging are as follows:

My heart is beating faster in my chest | As I sing of where my loyalties will rest | To never wait on the governments to move | As the broken and the poor cry out for You

For the kingdom and the King | For His glory we will sing | For the rescue of our souls | He has come | For the kingdom and the cross | Oh, the triumph and the loss | Love has broken through and now redeemed | For the kingdom and the King

On Robbie’s blog he explains what Read the rest of this entry »

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Is War Inseparable from the Human Condition?

Last week military historian Victor Davis Hanson appeared on Uncommon Knowledge on National Review Online. Hanson discussed his new book The Father of Us All, and in the segment below claims that war is inseparable from the human condition.

Peter Robinson starts off by quoting Hanson next to his ideological opposite John Mueller. The quotes are as follows:

Hanson: “War seems to be inseparable from the human condition.” (from The Father of Us All)

Mueller: “War is merely an idea — an institution like dueling or slavery that has been grafted onto human existence…Unlike breathing, eating, or sex, war is not something that is somehow required by the human condition.” (from The Remnants of War)

Hanson’s argument rests, as he says, on empirical evidence. Even in mankind’s most peaceful and just societies we have Read the rest of this entry »

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The Remnant of Albert Jay Nock: Is Failure Inevitable?

Albert Jay Nock

Albert Jay Nock’s essay entitled “Isaiah’s Job” was originally printed in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936, and has since become somewhat of a classic.

The article is particularly relevant to the issues discussed on this blog, given that the “Remnant” Nock speaks of is similar (though not identical) to the one this blog hopes to promote. Nock discusses the Remnant through the eyes of Isaiah the Prophet — the man who warned the Israelites (and their leaders) to turn back to the one true God.

According to Nock, Isaiah’s job was inherently futile when it came to actually persuading the masses, and God knew it was such. For Nock, the only reason Isaiah was commissioned to speak to the people was for the Remnant’s sake, because they were the only ones who would Read the rest of this entry »

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Health Care Reform: Physical and Spiritual Consequences

Given the recent goings on with the health care “reform” passed yesterday, I thought I’d offer some brief comments on the situation. These are simply initial reactions, and I’d love to hear yours as well.

Physical Consequences

First, in my opinion, the health care “reform” passed yesterday will most likely result in the following physical (or earthly) consequences:

  • Increased red tape in health care industries (i.e. increased costs, decreased competition) — This reminds me of the damage Nixon did to the system when he passed the Certificate of Need (CON) law in 1972. By establishing more regulation and rules, there will be even more barriers in the way when it comes to creating new hospitals, cutting costs, and delivering services. Wealthy health care giants won’t mind (they never have), because like Nixon’s policy, it shuts out any start-up competitors.
  • Increased mandates for employers — Rather than shifting the system away from employer-based health care, mandates will be imposed on employers who will not be able to afford the requirements without either raising their prices, laying off workers, decreasing product quality, or a combination of all three.
  • Perceived necessity for a public option — Once any of the above occur, people will begin feeling the ill effects of all the government manipulation, but they will still think the free market is to blame. Once again, Obama will tour the country lamenting the free market still isn’t working, after which he will make another attempt to persuade the American people toward the necessity of a public option.
  • Even more limited health care options — We currently have very little real-world liberty in our health care system. In most cases, we are virtually forced to take the health care options offered by our employers (another byproduct of government manipulation). We have some choice (to sign up or not), but for many, answering “yes” to health insurance is followed by only one or two (if any) realistic options. There are two possible outcomes of this bill, neither of which Read the rest of this entry »

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