This being just one example…
Posts Tagged ‘Education’
The more that some public officials overstep their authority, the more that voters — and others — are stepping up and saying, “Stop!”
The 2014 congressional elections represented a collective shout by voters to politicians and bureaucrats to back off. Way off.
Consider the case of Arnold Abbott, a 90-year old involved in feeding the needy at the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This “scofflaw” is a serial free food dispenser to the poor who come to his church for meals.
Abbott was arrested by the Ft. Lauderdale police for his supposed threat to the peace of society. During the arrest, an officer shouted to Arnold, “Drop that plate right now!”
You read that right. Arnold was not told to “Drop that gun right now,” but rather “to drop that plate!” Onlookers were outraged and shouted: “Shame on you!” to the officers.
Arnold has beaten the city before in court, and expects to see them in court soon on their new law making his charitable activities a criminal offense.
Ideally, the Broward County Sheriff would inform the Ft. Lauderdale police that they would be arrested if they attempted to arrest Mr. Arnold. So far, that has not happened.
In other counties, however, sheriffs have interposed themselves between their people and the threat of rogue power from wayward officials.
America’s history illustrates this on a grand scale. Our War for Independence quickly grew from militia encounters to armed resistance directed and financed (however fecklessly) by the Continental Congress.
In the last century, veterans returning from World War II found that their city of Athens, Tennessee was controlled by a very corrupt machine. When the August, 1946 Democrat primary election (the only election in town) was literally stolen (the police walked off with the ballot boxes), the armed people of McMinn County rose up and rousted the corrupt regime. Clean elections then gave a victory to the reform slate.
The Second Amendment was intended to protect the people’s personal arms so they would be able to resist tyranny should an American government ever go off the rails of the Constitution and rule tyrannically. The Battle of Athens was an applied case of what the Second Amendment is intended to make possible.
In Elkhart County, Indiana, the people have elected a Constitutional Sheriff who has had occasion to interpose himself between the Food and Drug Administration and a county dairy farmer. The FDA was threatening to confiscate the farmer’s dairy equipment because they don’t like raw milk — even though they can point to no problems. Elkhart Sheriff Brad Rogers threatened to arrest any FDA agents making further visits to the farmer’s property. End of the FDA threat.
The voters of Elkhart County indicated their strong support for Sheriff Rogers’ interposition. He was just reelected with 75 percent of the vote.
Rogers’ warning to the FDA has kept the peace in Elkhart County. Let us hope the time will come soon when Broward County will have a sheriff who understands his role as a keeper of the peace against the Ft. Lauderdale food police.
Larry Pratt is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, a grassroots gun lobby with a million members and activists.
Please help out one of the best Gunsmiths alive that is getting back in the business after recovering from some disabilities.
Neil Sea is well known among many as an expert Gunsmith that can fine tune a Ruger’s trigger to the point that you might think that you just dropped the hammer on a Smith & Wesson that has a glass tube trigger job. His work on rifles is renowned among a field that is crowded with talent. You read about minute of angle with other smiths work. Neil’s rifles shoot cloverleafs at two hundred yards, period! Stock work that is simply works of art. I simply cannot praise enough.
The obamanites and other Tory’s would simply crap their pants if all would have passed!
Amendments Offered in
Congress by James Madison
June 8, 1789
First. That there be prefixed to the Constitution a declaration, that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.
That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.
Secondly. That in article 1st, section 2, clause 3, these words be struck out, to wit: “The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative, and until such enumeration shall be made;” and that in place thereof be inserted these words, to wit: “After the first actual enumeration, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number amounts to ——, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that the number shall never be less than ——, nor more than ——, but each State shall, after the first enumeration, have at least two Representatives; and prior thereto.”
Thirdly. That in article 1st, section 6, clause 1, there be added to the end of the first sentence, these words, to wit: “But no law varying the compensation last ascertained shall operate before the next ensuing election of Representatives.”
Fourthly. That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.
The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
No soldiers shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor at any time, but in a manner warranted by law.
No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or one trial for the same offence; nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor be obliged to relinquish his property, where it may be necessary for public use, without a just compensation.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The rights of the people to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation, to be confronted with his accusers, and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.
The exceptions here or elsewhere in the Constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the Constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.
Fifthly. That in article 1st, section 10, between clauses 1 and 2, be inserted this clause, to wit:
No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.
Sixthly. That, in article 3d, section 2, be annexed to the end of clause 2d, these words, to wit:
But no appeal to such court shall be allowed where the value in controversy shall not amount to —— dollars: nor shall any fact triable by jury, according to the course of common law, be otherwise re-examinable than may consist with the principles of common law.
Seventhly. That in article 3d, section 2, the third clause be struck out, and in its place be inserted the clauses following, to wit:
The trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachments, and cases arising in the land or naval forces, or the militia when on actual service, in time of war or public danger) shall be by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage, with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites; and in all crimes punishable with loss of life or member, presentment or indictment by a grand jury shall be an essential preliminary, provided that in cases of crimes committed within any county which may be in possession of an enemy, or in which a general insurrection may prevail, the trial may by law be authorized in some other county of the same State, as near as may be to the seat of the offence.
In cases of crimes committed not within any county, the trial may by law be in such county as the laws shall have prescribed. In suits at common law, between man and man, the trial by jury, as one of the best securities to the rights of the people, ought to remain inviolate.
Eighthly. That immediately after article 6th, be inserted, as article 7th, the clauses following, to wit:
The powers delegated by this Constitution are appropriated to the departments to which they are respectively distributed: so that the Legislative Department shall never exercise the powers vested in the Executive or Judicial, nor the Executive exercise the powers vested in the Legislative or Judicial, nor the Judicial exercise the powers vested in the Legislative or Executive Departments.
The powers not delegated by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.
Ninthly. That article 7th be numbered as article 8th.
The seemingly never ending grab for power by the big government insatiable authoritarian types is an ongoing and never ending situation. Now, we have this to deal with…
URGENT: A new bill before Congress proposes authority to strip any American of their citizenship – and God-given rights – if they are merely suspected of a hostile attitude toward the state.
Pundits and politicians keep repeating the same mantra, “no rights for terrorists,” but ask yourself, who defines terrorist and why should that opinion strip any American of their God-given Constitutional rights? What happens when the government decides the enemy is YOU?
Senators Joe Liebermann and Scott Brown are joined by Representatives Dent, Altmier and Latta in proposing the “Enemy Expatriation Act.” This proposed act, (HR 3166 and SB 1698), seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, (8 USC 1481), to add the following text “To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.”
To many, this language seems benign. First of all, the use of the word “national” seems to give the impression that the proposed punishment would only apply to American citizens who were “nationalized,” i.e. not citizens by birth. However, when we examine the language of 8 USC 1481, we find the law defines a ‘national’ as “A person who is a national of the United States whether BY BIRTH or naturalization.”
Now for the term “hostilities.” What exactly constitutes a “hostility” and/or a “hostile action”? After all, 8 USC 1481 already quite clearly defines who should have their citizenship stripped – anyone who commits actual formal treason and/or who takes up arms against the US. Why the need to add a single undefined word to this age old section of the US Code?
It appears, as with so many other things, this Congress chooses to simply leave the term “hostilities” open to interpretation. And herein lies the danger.
Ambiguity in the law is always dangerous. Considering the fact that Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security has already defined returning veterans, 10th Amendment supporters, pro-lifers and anyone with a 2 week supply of food as potential “rightwing terrorists,” this new ambiguous language leads directly to the likelihood of stifling our Constitutional right of free speech by labeling such speech and action as “hostile” and therefore punishable as “terrorist” and treason. As George Orwell famously penned, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Indeed, it appears that Senator Liebermann and his fellow conspirators agree.
Finally, let’s take a look at the proposed placement of the new language to be added to the existing US Code. While the existing US Code mentioned above does require a conviction of treason before citizenship is removed, the manner in which this new language is added means that the necessity of a conviction does not apply, in statutory terms, to the new language. In other words, if this new bill passes, no conviction will be necessary to strip Americans of their citizenship. Rather, all that will be required is an accusation of “hostility” by a Federal Government agent and voila, your citizenship is gone. The Government is then at liberty to treat you in any way they so choose in accordance with the laws of war. Waterboarding for praying in front of an abortion clinic, anyone?
This unconscionable landslide removing our civil liberty in exchange for the false lie of security must be stopped. This so called “Enemy Expatriation Act” is nothing more than NDAA Part II, when a tyrannical Government doubles down on shredding any concept of Habeas Corpus and the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution – civil liberties paid for with the blood of our forefathers.
Benjamin Franklin warned us not to trade our liberty for the false promise of security. Yet the power mongers in Congress just keep trying.
We are rapidly approaching a time when the culmination of unconstitutional laws can and will be used against us. Under a pro-abortion president will we be rounded up and incarcerated for sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics? Under a “hawk” president, will antiwar protestors be locked in Guantanamo for merely holding picket signs and shouting their objections? This sounds extreme, but such legislation and seemingly benign rulings are exactly what have imprisoned legions of political dissidents throughout history and across the globe. Why should we imagine that we are immune to such tyranny? THIS BILL MUST BE STOPPED! HABEAS CORPUS MUST BE RESTORED NOW!
“Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that will require every citizen to prove they are insured,but not everyone to prove they are a citizen!”
Kinda makes the Obama/Holder DOJ attack against Voter ID laws look silly doesn’t it? ID’s are only required when the DOJ says they are required.
Quick! Blame it on Bush! Blame it on Congress! Blame it on racism! But remember to do it For the Children!
Let’s get back to the basics, and stop the blaiming and finger pointing. Supposedly we have adults working on the economic woes that have beset our nation. What is needed are solutions. Not more he did this or she did that type of whining…
If a house is on fire put the damned fire out. NOW! The investigation into the cause can come later. If a patient is in V-Fib shock him, and do it now! What caused it can be determined at a later date…
Here, are a few guidelines to help the uninformed. So as to not try putting out that fire by spraying it with gasoline.
There are four basic laws of economics. When these laws are applied correctly in a society the society achieves explosive prosperity. Conversely when these four laws are violated that society will spiral down into recessions, depressions and wars.
The following are The Four Basic Laws of Economics.
- All money value is created through and backed by the production of goods and services.
- The individuals who create this production own the money exchanged for it.
- All production must be marketed on an Open Market (open to all on equal terms, absolutely no exceptions.)
- The money supply must be held constant forever with no exceptions. This Law standardizes the economic system like the metric system is standardized with a titanium bar in the length of 39 centimeters. So a constant money supply standardizes economics
These are the four basic laws of economics. When I studied the History of Economics, I found Societies using these laws knowingly or unknowingly achieved roaring prosperity. When these laws fell out of use that Society found itself in a recession, depression and/or war.
Societies using these laws are rewarding Production. Societies not using these laws are rewarding non-production. When you reward production you will get more production. When you reward non-production you will get more non-production.
If we look back at the last 48 years we can see Laws 2, 3 and 4 were very out. The first law cannot be violated because production always creates money value if production is taking place. It is always in, man cannot change this law. Without production money will have no value.
Economic principles are crucial not only to arguments for economic freedom, but also for personal and political liberty and for peaceful coexistence. Yet many people are ignorant of economics, or have heard some misleading or incorrect information. Still more people don’t see how economic principles can be applied to everyday life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the job of the libertarian to show the world how closely tied economics is to freedom.
Economics and Abstraction
The trouble that many people seem to have applying economics, or accepting the libertarian view that economics is much more widely applicable than traditionally believed, is that they view economics as an abstraction, a set of patterns or guidelines, or some philosophy or social science that attempts to model reality. Since economics is viewed only as a model, when economics and reality do not coincide it is simply assumed that the model is flawed, and thus economics is seen as just one way of looking at things, that is sometimes useful and often inaccurate.
Some economics is abstraction. The supply and demand curves, for example, are abstract, not real. There are no actual curves, physically manifest in the real world, that are supply and demand curves. They are a mathematical model, and as such, they are useful only in helping us to visualize the data they represent – not to predict outcomes with great accuracy.
On the other hand, the core principles of Austrian economics are real, universally applicable laws. In the real world, physically, things are produced and consumed; they are supplied and demanded; the laws governing these actions are just as real as the laws of the physical world.
Every action one takes involving any resource that is scarce, anything that can be spent, is an economic action. Whether you are spending money or material goods, or time, attention, or effort, or whether you are spending any social capital, good will, influence, or credibility – any time you shrink your pool of anything that’s available to you, for any reason, you are engaging in an economic action. Taking these actions while ignoring the rules governing them is just as potentially hazardous as driving a car without knowing how to steer, or walking around on top of a steep mountain while ignoring the laws of gravity.
The problem the libertarian faces in convincing people of the veracity of these claims is that there is, within the field of economics, a lot of junk science. Every time a war, hurricane or tsunami hits, someone proclaims that the economy is stimulated, promptly convincing practically everyone within earshot that what’s good for “the economy” – an abstraction – is not necessarily good. Actual economists cringe at this, pointing out the fallacy that Bastiat is credited with exposing, which is that this view does not consider the opportunity cost of the resource being spent repairing the damage. In fact, disasters – natural or man made – are disasters, and throwing the economy in front of the train of public opinion is generally an attempt by those in power to placate the population and maintain the status quo. After all, a public that can see the positive side of hurricanes and tsunamis is that much more likely to buy into a war or some other State-sponsored disaster.
The Market – Real or Abstract?
People speak of the market very often in economics, so it’s of paramount importance to determine the reality behind this term. Is the market a real, actual thing, or is it an abstraction? The answer is both, and neither.
In some cases, the market is a real, physical place. When you buy groceries, you buy them at a supermarket, or a mini-mart, or a convenience store (the name convenience store is all too accurate, since their main commodity for sale is not groceries, but convenience, and you certainly pay for it), which is just as much a market as the supermarket is. Generally, any place where you buy something can be called a market. So in this sense, the market is real.
In other cases, the market is not physical but inferred. You can buy things on the Internet – web sites are “places” in one sense, but not another. The market becomes a facilitator. When we refer to the market value of a thing, we aren’t referring to the price we saw the thing for sale for at the actual market. We are in this case speaking of a metaphorical market. The black market isn’t an actual place one goes that is actually colored black. It’s an abstract term. (One could argue that the place where an exchange takes place becomes a de facto market, so if I sell things at my house, my house is an actual market for those things for that time. Either way, the term market is sometimes used as an abstraction, sometimes not.)
In this sense the market is both real and abstract, depending on the circumstance. However, the sense in which the term is often used is neither a physical location nor an abstraction of such. It is a situation, or a description of the state of things. When things are traded “on the market” it means that ownership of the things has been exchanged publicly, voluntarily, and legitimately. When we refer to a market as free, we mean that there are no barriers to these exchanges placed by others – in other words, no taxes, tariffs, price controls, or other interferences. When we say that something is “placed on the market” we mean that it is being offered for sale or trade.
It is important to distinguish between the abstract and situational uses of this term. For instance, if something is “on the market,” it’s available to be purchased – there is an actual good or service that is really available. If something has a “market value,” however, you can’t infer anything about that thing itself. “Value” is subjective, and relative; “market value” simply refers to the price one could fetch for the item if it were sold publicly. It might be based on the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price), or on the appraisal of a third party, or on the price that previous, similar items have sold for. There’s no way to predict or know market value – you can only guess, estimate, extrapolate, or average.
The Reality of the Free Market
Detractors of libertarianism complain that the free market is idolized and worshiped by libertarians, and that it is just another abstraction, that can never come true; they say it is idealistic or Utopian to expect a free market to ever arise.
The term “free market” often does not refer to a market at all. For instance, some would claim that the free market reduces prices and increases quality as time passes. However, there isn’t an actual marketplace that accomplishes this feat. Rather, “free market” is an abbreviation; what we are really referring to is the collected efforts of individuals acting on the free market. Markets don’t act – people do. The “free market” is simply the state of people acting without barriers to exchange.
Economic law proves that when individuals act without barriers to exchange they bring about states of affairs more desirable to themselves than if they act with barriers to exchange. When the “free market” reduces the price of a commodity, what’s really happening is that individual suppliers are reducing the prices of their goods in order to maximize their profits in the face of competition. When the “free market” increases the quality of a good, what’s happening is that suppliers are making better products, in order to maximize profit in the face of competition. When the “free market” bankrupts one supplier and makes another a millionaire, what is really happening is that individual consumers chose to spend their money on the latter supplier’s product, in order to maximize the utility of their money.
Libertarians do not worship the free market; however, we hold as an ideal that state of affairs brought about by the free market – a situation where everyone is free to act to benefit him or herself, as long as they do not harm others. Theory holds that this leads to maximal prosperity. Empirical evidence shows that the fewer restrictions on non-harmful, non-coercive behavior, the greater the prosperity that is achieved. This is not because of an abstraction or a model, but because of human nature and physical reality.
As for the final accusation, the situation described by the free market is not Utopian. Free exchanges are made every day. What prevents many people from seeing this fact is the limitation of economics to financial matters.
The Scope of Economics
Economics govern not merely financial exchanges but the allocation of all scarce resources, and the actions people take to satisfy their desires. People desire material goods, but they also desire other things. Let us consider the example of interpersonal relationships, and the applications of the free market scenario vs. the hampered market.
Daily, we trade our affections for the affections of others. Friends, family members, lovers, even pets, are capable and willing partners in exchanges of time, energy, favors, and good will – and these things are scarce resources. Governments do not currently place a tax on any of these things; however, I am certain that if a politician could figure out a way to do it it would happen. However, there are plenty of limitations or restrictions. A person cannot legally give a large monetary gift to their spouse, parent, child, or best friend without the government taxing it, even if the giver initially paid income tax on the money. A man cannot legally engage in sexual relations with another man. Consenting adults are limited in their behavior to varying degrees in different states.
Consider the question of voluntary exchange in a romantic relationship. You exchange affection, love, intimate relations, and promises of exclusivity, among other things. In a free market, these exchanges are voluntary and unrestricted. However, imagine if you had to pay a fee to love someone. This is relationship tax. Imagine if you had to give affection or romantic relations to a person who claimed to be unable to attain these things from free exchange! This is relationship welfare. Imagine if you had to marry someone of a specific race because statistics showed it to be harder for people of that race to find spouses! This is relationship affirmative action. Imagine if the State paid some people to have relations with each other, but not others. This is relationship subsidy. Imagine if the government provided everyone with a pet and demanded extraordinary amounts of money from them to take care of this pet. Yet this is what State roads, schools, and every other State bureaucracy is.
We live in a society with a relatively free market in interpersonal relationships. Very few filial, friendly, and romantic relations are taxed, limited, restricted, or forbidden. Many agree that the few restrictions there are should be lifted. Most people would be outraged by any further limitations or by any of the policies outlined above. It is clear to everyone that when it comes to matters of the heart, the freer the better.
But when it comes to matters of the wallet, it’s not clear to them at all. People are willing to force others to spend their money to contribute to the good of society. Money is seen as the root of all evil. Desire for material goods is looked down upon. The only reason for this is that it’s easier to benefit from someone else’s material goods than from their affections. Armed with enough firepower you could steal a million dollars but couldn’t make one person love you. Politicians have spent ages, for this reason, convincing us that it’s their right to steal money from us practically at gunpoint, and they have largely ignored our love lives – except to appease their religious constituency.
Due to centuries of influence by the political apparatus, many people believe that we rely on government interference for our safety and security and that it is necessary to sacrifice some freedom toward this end. However, when we consider that our finances are not the only economic situation we’re in, it becomes easier to see the stark differences between liberty and oppression.
Whenever an individual acts to meet his or her desires, he or she is subject to the rules of physical reality – of cause and effect, of scarcity, and of gravity and other physical laws. He or she is also subject to the rules of economics. Free trade allows the most efficient specialization, which means the greatest productivity. Disasters are bad. People trade things they have for things they want more. Scarcer goods are more expensive. These and other laws are immutable and both empirically and aprioristically proven.
Abstraction is a tool some economists overuse, but this should not be construed to deny the validity of economic laws. The free market is not an abstraction but an actual state of affairs, one that is to be striven for. The scope of economics is wide, and the rules thereof apply to things you might not expect them to – they apply to any action taken to meet a desire.
The denial of economic reality can be as disastrous as the denial of physical reality. The belief that you can defy economics is similar to the belief that you can fly by sprinkling fairy dust on yourself and thinking happy thoughts – it’s a fantasy that could prove harmful or fatal if taken too far. Libertarians should stress the applicability of economic principles and attempt to educate the public about them if we are ever to have victory for the cause of freedom and liberty.
And then there is…
The story of the Austrian School begins in the fifteenth century, when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization.
These Late Scholastics observed the existence of economic law, inexorable forces of cause and effect that operate very much as other natural laws. Over the course of several generations, they discovered and explained the laws of supply and demand, the cause of inflation, the operation of foreign exchange rates, and the subjective nature of economic value–all reasons Joseph Schumpeter celebrated them as the first real economists.
The Late Scholastics were advocates of property rights and the freedom to contract and trade. They celebrated the contribution of business to society, while doggedly opposing taxes, price controls, and regulations that inhibited enterprise. As moral theologians, they urged governments to obey ethical strictures against theft and murder. And they lived up to Ludwig von Mises’s rule: the first job of an economist is to tell governments what they cannot do.
The first general treatise on economics, Essay on the Nature of Commerce, was written in 1730 by Richard Cantillon, a man schooled in the scholastic tradition. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to France. He saw economics as an independent area of investigation, and explained the formation of prices using the “thought experiment.” He understood the market as an entrepreneurial process, and held to an Austrian theory of money creation: that it enters the economy in a step-by-step fashion, disrupting prices along the way.
Cantillon was followed by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, the pro-market French aristocrat and finance minister under the ancien regime. His economic writings were few but profound. His paper “Value and Money” spelled out the origins of money, and the nature of economic choice: that it reflects the subjective rankings of an individual’s preferences. Turgot solved the famous diamond-water paradox that baffled later classical economists, articulated the law of diminishing returns, and criticized usury laws (a sticking point with the Late Scholastics). He favored a classical liberal approach to economic policy, recommending a repeal of all special privileges granted to government-connected industries.
Turgot was the intellectual father of a long line of great French economists of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, most prominently Jean Baptiste Say and Claude-Frederic Bastiat. Say was the first economist to think deeply about economic method. He realized that economics is not about the amassing of data, but rather about the verbal elucidation of universal facts (for example, wants are unlimited, means are scarce) and their logical implications.
Say discovered the productivity theory of resource pricing, the role of capital in the division of labor, and “Say’s Law”: there can never be sustained “overproduction” or “underconsumption” on the free market if prices are allowed to adjust. He was a defender of laissez-faire and the industrial revolution, as was Bastiat. As a free-market journalist, Bastiat also argued that nonmaterial services are subject to the same economic laws as material goods. In one of his many economic allegories, Bastiat spelled out the “broken-window fallacy” later popularized by Henry Hazlitt.
Despite the theoretical sophistication of this developing pre-Austrian tradition, the British school of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries won the day, mostly for political reasons. This British tradition (based on the objective-cost and labor-productivity theory of value) ultimately led to the rise of the Marxist doctrine of capitalist exploitation.
The dominant British tradition received its first serious challenge in many years when Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics was published in 1871. Menger, the founder of the Austrian School proper, resurrected the Scholastic-French approach to economics, and put it on firmer ground.
Together with the contemporaneous writings of Leon Walras and Stanley Jevons, Menger spelled out the subjective basis of economic value, and fully explained, for the first time, the theory of marginal utility (the greater the number of units of a good that an individual possesses, the less he will value any given unit). In addition, Menger showed how money originates in a free market when the most marketable commodity is desired, not for consumption, but for use in trading for other goods.
Menger’s book was a pillar of the “marginalist revolution” in the history of economic science. When Mises said it “made an economist” out of him, he was not only referring to Menger’s theory of money and prices, but also his approach to the discipline itself. Like his predecessors in the tradition, Menger was a classical liberal and methodological individualist, viewing economics as the science of individual choice. His Investigations, which came out twelve years later, battled the German Historical School, which rejected theory and saw economics as the accumulation of data in service of the state.
As professor of economics at the University of Vienna, and then tutor to the young but ill-fated Crown Prince Rudolf of the House of Habsburg, Menger restored economics as the science of human action based on deductive logic, and prepared the way for later theorists to counter the influence of socialist thought. Indeed, his student Friederich von Wieser strongly influenced Friedrich von Hayek’s later writings. Menger’s work remains an excellent introduction to the economic way of thinking. At some level, every Austrian since has seen himself as a student of Menger.
Menger’s admirer and follower at the University of Innsbruck, Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk, took Menger’s exposition, reformulated it, and applied it to a host of new problems involving value, price, capital, and interest. His History and Critique of Interest Theories, appearing in 1884, is a sweeping account of fallacies in the history of thought and a firm defense of the idea that the interest rate is not an artificial construct but an inherent part of the market. It reflects the universal fact of “time preference,” the tendency of people to prefer satisfaction of wants sooner rather than later (a theory later expanded and defended by Frank Fetter).
Boehm-Bawerk’s Positive Theory of Capital demonstrated that the normal rate of business profit is the interest rate. Capitalists save money, pay laborers, and wait until the final product is sold to receive profit. In addition, he demonstrated that capital is not homogeneous but an intricate and diverse structure that has a time dimension. A growing economy is not just a consequence of increased capital investment, but also of longer and longer processes of production.
Boehm-Bawerk engaged in a prolonged battle with the Marxists over the exploitation theory of capital, and refuted the socialist doctrine of capital and wages long before the communists came to power in Russia. Boehm-Bawerk also conducted a seminar that would later become the model for Mises’s own Vienna seminar.
Boehm-Bawerk favored policies that deferred to the ever-present reality of economic law. He regarded interventionism as an attack on market economic forces that cannot succeed in the long run. In the last years of the Habsburg monarchy, he three times served as finance minister, fighting for balanced budgets, sound money and the gold standard, free trade, and the repeal of export subsidies and other monopoly privileges.
It was his research and writing that solidified the status of the Austrian School as a unified way of looking at economic problems, and set the stage for the School to make huge inroads in the English-speaking world. But one area where Boehm-Bawerk had not elaborated on the analysis of Menger was money, the institutional intersection of the “micro” and “macro” approach. A young Mises, economic advisor to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, took on the challenge.
The result of Mises’s research was The Theory of Money and Credit, published in 1912. He spelled out how the theory of marginal utility applies to money, and laid out his “regression theorem,” showing that money not only originates in the market, but must always do so. Drawing on the British Currency School, Knut Wicksell’s theory of interest rates, and Boehm-Bawerk’s theory of the structure of production, Mises presented the broad outline of the Austrian theory of the business cycle. A year later, Mises was appointed to the faculty of the University of Vienna, and Boehm-Bawerk’s seminar spent a full two semesters debating Mises’s book.
Mises’s career was interrupted for four years by World War I. He spent three of those years as an artillery officer, and one as a staff officer in economic intelligence. At war’s end, he published Nation, State, and Economy (1919), arguing on behalf of the economic and cultural freedoms of minorities in the now-shattered empire, and spelling out a theory of the economics of war. Meanwhile, Mises’s monetary theory received attention in the U.S. through the work of Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr., an economist at Chase National Bank. (Mises’s book was panned by John Maynard Keynes, who later admitted he could not read German.)
In the political chaos after the war, the main theoretician of the now-socialist Austrian government was Marxist Otto Bauer. Knowing Bauer from the Boehm-Bawerk seminar, Mises explained economics to him night after night, eventually convincing him to back away from Bolshevik-style policies. The Austrian socialists never forgave Mises for this, waging war against him in academic politics and successfully preventing him from getting a paid professorship at the university.
Undeterred, Mises turned to the problem of socialism itself, writing a blockbuster essay in 1921, which he turned into the book Socialism over the next two years. Socialism permits no private property or exchange in capital goods, and thus no way for resources to find their most highly valued use. Socialism, Mises predicted, would result in utter chaos and the end of civilization.
Mises challenged the socialists to explain, in economic terms, precisely how their system would work, a task which the socialists had heretofore avoided. The debate between the Austrians and the socialists continued for the next decade and beyond, and, until the collapse of world socialism in 1989, academics had long thought that the debate was resolved in favor of the socialists.
Meanwhile, Mises’s arguments on behalf of the free market attracted a group of converts from the socialist cause, including Hayek, Wilhelm Roepke, and Lionel Robbins. Mises began holding a private seminar in his offices at the Chamber of Commerce that was attended by Fritz Machlup, Oskar Morgenstern, Gottfried von Haberler, Alfred Schutz, Richard von Strigl, Eric Voegelin, Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, and many other intellectuals from all over Europe.
Also during the 1920s and 30s, Mises was battling on two other academic fronts. He delivered the decisive blow to the German Historical School with a series of essays in defense of the deductive method in economics, which he would later call praxeology or the logic of action. He also founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research, and put his student Hayek in charge of it.
During these years, Hayek and Mises authored many studies on the business cycle, warned of the danger of credit expansion, and predicted the coming currency crisis. This work was cited by the Nobel Prize committee in 1974 when Hayek received the award for economics. Working in England and America, Hayek later became a prime opponent of Keynesian economics with books on exchange rates, capital theory, and monetary reform. His popular book Road to Serfdom helped revive the classical liberal movement in America after the New Deal and World War II. And his series Law, Legislation, and Liberty elaborated on the Late Scholastic approach to law, and applied it to criticize egalitarianism and nostrums like social justice.
In the late 1930s, after suffering from the worldwide depression, Austria was threatened by a Nazi takeover. Hayek had already left for London in 1931 at Mises’s urging, and in 1934, Mises himself moved to Geneva to teach and write at the International Institute for Graduate Studies, later emigrating to the United States. Knowing Mises as the sworn enemy of national socialism, the Nazis confiscated Mises’s papers from his apartment and hid them for the duration of the war. Ironically, it was Mises’s ideas, filtered through the work of Roepke and the statesmanship of Ludwig Erhard, that led to Germany’s postwar economic reforms and rebuilt the country. Then, in 1992, Austrian archivists discovered Mises’s stolen Vienna papers in a reopened archive in Moscow.
While in Geneva, Mises’s wrote his masterwork, Nationalokonomie, and, after coming to the United States, revised and expanded it into Human Action, which appeared in 1949. His student Murray N. Rothbard called it “Mises’s greatest achievement and one of the finest products of the human mind in our century. It is economics made whole.” The appearance of this work was the hinge of the whole history of the Austrian School, and it remains the economic treatise that defines the School. Even so, it was not well received in the economics profession, which had already made a decisive turn towards Keynesian.
Though Mises never held the paid academic post he deserved, he gathered students around him at New York University, just as he had in Vienna. Even before Mises emigrated, journalist Henry Hazlitt had become his most prominent champion, reviewing his books in the New York Times and Newsweek, and popularizing his ideas in such classics as Economics in One Lesson. Yet Hazlitt made his own contributions to the Austrian School. He wrote a line-by-line critique of Keynes’s General Theory, defended the writings of Say, and restored him to a central place in Austrian macroeconomic theory. Hazlitt followed Mises’s example of intransigent adherence to principle, and as a result was pushed out of four high-profile positions in the journalistic world.
Mises’s New York seminar continued until two years before his death in 1973. During those years, Rothbard was his student. Indeed, Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State (1963) was patterned after Human Action, and in some areas–monopoly theory, utility and welfare, and the theory of the state–tightened and strengthened Mises’s own views. Rothbard’s approach to the Austrian School followed directly in the line of Late Scholastic thought by applying economic science within a framework of a natural-rights theory of property. What resulted was a full-fledged defense of a capitalistic and stateless social order, based on property and freedom of association and contract.
Rothbard followed his economic treatise with an investigation of the great depression, which applied Austrian business cycle theory to show that the stock market crash and economic downturn was attributable to a prior bank credit expansion. Then in a series of studies on government policy, he established the theoretical framework for examining the effects of all types of intervention in the market.
In his later years, Mises saw the beginnings of the revival of the Austrian School that dates from the appearance of Man, Economy, and State and continues to this day. It was Rothbard who firmly established the Austrian School and classical liberal doctrine in the U.S., especially with Conceived in Liberty, his four-volume history of colonial America and the secession from Britain. The reunion of natural-rights theory and the Austrian School came in his philosophical work, The Ethics of Liberty, all while he was writing a series of scholarly economic pieces gathered in the two-volume Logic of Action, published in Edward Elgar’s “Economists of the Century” series.
These seminal works serve as the crucial link between the Mises-Hayek generation and the Austrians now working to expand the tradition. Indeed, without Rothbard’s willingness to defy the intellectual trends of his time, progress in the Austrian School tradition might have come to a halt. As it was, his wide and deep scholarship, cheerful personality, encyclopedic knowledge, and optimistic outlook inspired countless students to turn their attention to the cause of liberty.
Though Austrians are now in a more prominent position than at any point since the 1930s, Rothbard, like Mises before him, was not well treated by academia. Although he held a chair in his later years at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he never taught in a capacity that permitted him to direct dissertations. Nonetheless, he managed to recruit a large, active, and interdisciplinary following for the Austrian School.
The founding of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in 1982, with the aid of Margit von Mises as well as Hayek and Hazlitt, provided a range of new opportunities for both Rothbard and the Austrian School. Through a steady stream of academic conferences, instructional seminars, books, monographs, newsletters, studies, and even films, Rothbard and the Mises Institute carried the Austrian School forward into the post-socialist age.
The first issue of the Rothbard-edited Review of Austrian Economics appeared in 1987, became a semiannual in 1991, and becomes a quarterly in 1998, The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. The Mises Institute’s instructional summer school has been held every year since 1984. For many of these years, Rothbard presented his research into the history of economic thought. This culminated in his two-volume An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, which broadens the history of the discipline to encompass centuries of writing.
Through the Mises Institute’s student fellowships, study guides, bibliographies, and conferences, the Austrian School has permeated, at some level, virtually every department of economics and the social sciences in America, and in many foreign countries as well. The annual Austrian Scholars Conference at Auburn University attracts scholars from around the world to discuss, debate, and apply the entire Austrian tradition.
The fascinating history of this great body of thought, through all its ebbs and flows, is the story of how great minds can advance science and oppose evil with creativity and courage. Now the Austrian School enters a new millennium as the intellectual standard bearer for the free society. That it does so is thanks to the heroic and brilliant minds that make up the family history of the School, and to those who are carrying that legacy forward with the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
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Seems that with all the training and certifications some people can just never figure out some of the simplest things. It might just be yet another case of being stuck on stupid. Then again, technically? It could also be treason...
This piece from Downsizer is great!
Quote of the Day: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
Surely you’ve had this experience . . .
* You marshal your evidence
* You deploy powerful arguments
* And you thereby convince a friend to drop his or her support of some government policy.
But then, you don’t see your friend for a while . . .
* He or she is left for weeks or months, swimming in the river of Statist propaganda that streams from every media outlet
* So that when you meet again you find that his or her mind has snapped back to where it was before
It’s as if the two of you had never talked. He or she has completely forgotten . . .
* The evidence you marshaled
* The arguments you used
* The fact that he or she ended up agreeing with the case you made
Jim Babka calls this the “The Rubber Band Syndrome.”
* Visualize yourself stretching a cartoon brain to a larger size
* Visualize the brain snapping back to it’s former shape as soon as you walk away
This Rubber Band Syndrome makes a mockery of our persuasion efforts. It causes us to waste time, energy, and money. But here at Downsize DC we consider it part of our mission to prevent wasted effort, to make difficult things easy, and to constantly accomplish more with less. That’s why . . .
We want to find a cure for The Rubber Band Syndrome.
Is there a cure? We think there is. In fact, we think there may be two cures . . .
It seems clear to us that we have to equal the river of Statist propaganda that streams from every media outlet every day. One way to do that is something we talk about constantly . . .
For those who are new to this list, Operation Everywhere is our plan to reach a size that will enable us to make our ideas seen and heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. In other words . . .
We can solve the problem of minds that snap back to their previous dimensions as soon as our arguments are no longer being heard, by creating conditions under which our arguments are ALWAYS HEARD. This is clearly a full-proof solution to the problem, BUT . . .
It’s not an easy solution. Operation Everywhere will be hard to execute. It will take time to get there. So, this particular cure doesn’t meet one of our most important criteria . . . making difficult things easy. Which brings us to . . .
This Oliver Wendell Holmes quote is very famous: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” But the experience we’ve all had with The Rubber Band Syndrome tells us that it’s actually very difficult to stretch a mind in such a way that it REMAINS EXPANDED. So what we need for Cure #2 is obvious . . .
* We need ideas that are so large and powerful that they do not allow the mind to shrink back to its former dimensions.
* We need ideas that EXPLODE the dimensions of the human mind to vast new boundaries.
* I call this kind of idea . . .
The Mental Depth Charge
You’ve probably had this experience too . . .
* You say something powerful to someone, but it seems to have no immediate effect
* Days, or months, or sometimes years pass, until . . .
* Eventually the person you said the powerful thing to comes to you and says . . . “I’ve only just now understood what you said way back when, and . . .
Understanding it changes everything.”
You see, your idea needed time to sink-in, just like a “depth charge.”
But for this to happen the idea has to be something that will actually stay in your friend’s mind for the time required, and not be popped out by The Rubber Band Syndrome.
We’ve all had these experiences. We’ve all laid mental depth charges in the minds of others, and had them placed in our minds too. Often these explosive ideas come about by accident, in the flow of conversation, but the trick we want to master is to create Mental Depth Charges by design!
This means we need a laboratory to conduct experiments, and a factory for production.
I have good news! If financing permits, we’re days away from unveiling our new factory/laboratory for creating Mental Depth Charges. This is the first of the 43 new tools we’ve promised to create, each of which is aimed at helping us to add at least 1 new net recruit per day to the Downsize DC Army. As you can see . . .
Our aims are modest. We believe this new tool can accomplish even more, but we don’t want to over-sell it. After all, it’s an experiment — a laboratory. Fortunately, it’s also something that can be funded with TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donations, because the new tool we’re about to unveil is also . . .
A new home for our non-profit educational organization, The Downsize DC Foundation!
To be clear, most days, the Downsizer-Dispatch comes from DownsizeDC.org, Inc. But this new project is part of the educational mission for the Downsize DC Foundation.
We’ve put our staff and vendors to work so that we can deliver this exiting new tool, quickly. Thus, part of the team needed to complete this project is is already hard at work. Now, we need to activate the rest of the team — and that’s YOU.
Organizational forward progress and timely delivery of this new tool requires about $6,400 in new income. Look . . .
That amounts to just twenty one cents per member of the Downsize DC Army. Or, just one person could pay it off in one big bite by contributing $6,400. More likely, we will need something like the following . . .
* 2 people to give $1,000 = $2,000
* 4 to give $500 each = $2,000, bringing us to $4,000 total
* 4 to give $250 each = $1,000, bringing us $5,000
* 10 to give $100 each = $1,000, bringing us to $6,000
* And a few dozen 10s, 20s, and 50s to round us out at $6,400
Thanks to monthly pledgers, we’re able to get started. But to keep growing, we really need 21 new pledgers. Please consider making or increasing a monthly pledge.
Can you be one of the people who make this happen?
If so, we will publicly say “Thank you,” by publishing your name in an upcoming Downsizer-Dispatch, as well as on the new website. Of course, if you wish to remain private, you can indicate so on the secure contribution form.
Thanks in advance for your confidence and support.
The Downsize DC Foundation
The brief essay contained in this message is copyrighted by Perry Willis — (c) 2010. Permission to re-distribute or reprint this message for non-profit educational purposes is granted and encouraged, as long as proper attribution is given, and you provide a link to the original source. Permission to use this message for commercial purposes is denied.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – More than 30 non-profit outdoor and sportsmen’s groups, government agencies and outdoor-related businesses from across western Colorado will sponsor the 3rd Annual Outdoor Heritage Day in Palisade on Saturday, April 24. The free event began in 2008 from the efforts of Colorado Division of Wildlife officer Frank McGee. McGee became concerned with how little time today’s youth spend outdoors and organized the first Outdoor Heritage Day event to get kids and their families outside and experiencing what Colorado can offer.
“There are so many different things locally that families can enjoy,” said McGee. “People don’t realize what we have within just a short car ride. We want to give families, especially kids, what they need to know to get out and experience the best parts of western Colorado.”
Outdoor Heritage Day is free and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at Riverbend Park in Palisade. Activities for school age youth include a fishing clinic, hunting simulator, climbing wall, mountain biking, nature walks, a mobile shooting range and much more. Presentations by outdoor organizations will also be held throughout the day. Lunch and all activities are provided at no cost. Visit http://www.outdoorheritageday.org for more information and full event schedule.
Outdoor Heritage Day is sponsored by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Town of Palisade, Colorado Mule Deer Association, Colorado Sportsmen’s Wildlife Fund, Ducks Unlimited, Mesa County School Districts 50 and 51, Colorado State Parks, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Boy Scouts of America, 4H, Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers – Grand Valley Anglers, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, Future Farmers of America, Colorado Outfitters Association, Grand Valley Audubon Society, Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, Grand Mesa Back Country Horsemen, North American Grouse Partnership, Camp Redcloud, Red Rock Archery, The Moose 100.7, Mesa County Search and Rescue, US Bureau of Reclamation, Western Slope ATV Association, Army National Guard, US Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service-Grand Valley Ranger District, Girl Scouts of America, Western Colorado Retrievers Club, Outdoors Alive, Colorado State Forest Service, Western Flyers Youth Project, Gene Taylors, Colorado Hawking Club, Rocky Mountain Spearfishing Association, Friends of the Mustangs, Sportsman’s Warehouse, REI, Western Colorado Conservation Corps, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Cabela’s.
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For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.