Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The meaning of words

One of the weapons of propaganda is a continuous effort to influence the language itself. As Orwell said in "1984", the goal is to change the language to the point when no "wrong" thoughts can be expressed. Since Obama's take over in 2009, the nation could see a number of rather peculiar attempts of the White House at newspeak. Terrorist attacks became "man-caused disaster". A terror attack by a deranged Islamist were characterized as "workplace violence", while Time magazine speculated if major Hasan contracted the Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder from the returning soldiers. American were told that the worst tragedy of the Fort Hood attack could be "And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse." Apparently, the need to hire supporters of Islamic terrorism is what constitutes diversity in the eyes of the Obama administration, and "not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength" which should we cannot afford to lose.

Obama administration seemed to decided that it was a great idea to test how far they can push the absurd in our everyday life. Charles Bolden, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, listed Obama's priorities for NASA: "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering — science, math and engineering." A careful observer would notice that space exploration was not in the top 3 goals of NASA - but making Moslems feel better about themselves was.

The mainstream media obviously is trying to follow the lead of their leader. As a political gesture, AP (a media monopoly) outlawed the term "illegal immigrant". Apparently, some people (i.e. liberals) did not like the term, and it only made sense that AP had to follow orders from the crowd. 

Recently, my attention was caught by the CNN's article (other news outlets are no better). In the wake of the Moslem Boston bombing, CNN published an article on terrorism. Here is the offending passage:

Of the 380 individuals indicted for acts of political violence or for conspiring to carry out such attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, 77 were able to obtain explosives or the components necessary to build a bomb, according to a count by the New America Foundation.

Of those, 48 were right-wing extremists, 23 were militants inspired by al Qaeda's ideology, five have been described as anarchists and one was an environmentalist terrorist.

There are a few interesting notes here. Firstly, White racists, anti-semites and nut-cases are arbitrarily called "right-wing" - even though there is little ideological correlation between most of these people except their support for terrorism.

On the other side, Moslem terrorists, united in their Moslem faith are claimed to be "inspired by al Qaeda's ideology". Left-wing, progressive terrorists are assigned a misnomer of "anarchists", as if those people were extreme followers of Bakunin. Any objective person would see a bias in CNN's reporting - and a more careful observer would note that this is clearly an attempt of influencing the nation's mind through changes in vocabulary.

It's also interesting to note that Scott Roeder,  a schizophrenic, and a member of the pseudo-anarchist group "Sovereign Citizen Movement" who killed an abortionist is also characterized as "right-wing". In general, any anti-abortion group is claimed to be right-wing - and this highlights a rather peculiar dichotomy. Doctor Kermit Gosnell, an infamous abortionist is personally responsible for murdering hundreds if not thousands of babies through so-called "abortions". Many of the children were murdered outside the womb (although it is left unexplained what is the major difference between killing a 24 week viable baby inside the woman or beheading it later). Dozens of people from Gosnell's medical personal, Planned Parenthood, government officials,  and numerous of his patients covered up his crimes. And yet, all these people, clear supporters of abortion without limits, are never classified as "liberal", "left-wing" or "progressive". Common sense would dictate that if freedom of abortion is a dividing line between right-wing and left-wing, then Doctor Gosnell would clearly fall in the category of a hard-core progressive individual. A media outlet which seeks the truth would also note that Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, objected to the proposed law that would have made Gosnell's behavior illegal.

I have little doubt that my readers will find other numerous examples of the left-wing attempt to change our vocabulary. A few additional examples would include "kinetic military action" as a substitute for "war", as well as "diversity" and "affirmative action" as code words for "discrimination based on race".

The article will not be complete if I did not share the euphemism that I invented - "reverse reverse discrimination" to denote the reaction of White Americans to "affirmative action".

Monday, April 29, 2013

Smart foreign policy

In 2011, America got a splendid gift from the Middle East - the Syrian "reformer" and John Kerry's "Dear Friend" finally got in trouble with his own population. Today, Syria is battleground, a place where Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Lebanese Hezbollah fight against Al Qaeda. The war between American bitter enemies brings to mind Henry Kissinger's famous quip about the Iran-Iraq war: "It's a shame they can't both lose". What a smart US president would do in this case? He would try to stay as non-committal as possible, and say his thanks to God that helped his country.

But being a smart president is not something Barack Obama is capable of doing. As someone previously noted, ""He wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening". And so Obama, in the best traditions, "acted stupidly" - he decided that the world simply cannot survive if he keeps him mouth shut - and he announced that if Assad used chemical weapons, that would be a game changer, and would provoke America to do something really-really drastic.

And in 2013 it became undeniable that Assad used the chemical weapons against the rebels - and even Obama's Secretary of Defense conceded that fact - together with about half a dozen countries. It also became quite clear that our president has no idea what to do next and even felt remorseful for "acting stupidly". If Obama ignores the use of chemical weapons, the world will judge him and the country as non-serious. Israel will finally conclude that all Obama's pronouncements about nuclear Iran were worthless. If Obama decides to send the US troops to fight in Syria, he will screw up a perfectly fine conflict between Iran and Al Qaeda - and Syria will likely look even worse than Libya after Obama's war.

Even the Democrats noticed that Obama put the credibility of this country on the line. Rep. David Cicilline, a Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “There’s no question that when the United States takes a position that this crosses a line, that our failure to respond has implications. So that if we, in fact, determine that chemical weapons were used, I think the expectation is that we and the coalition and others take some action.”

The most amazing thing about our president is that he is capable to take a perfectly good situation and turn it against the interests of this country. This man has a serious talent of turning anything he touches into shit. Too bad American people were stupid enough to elect him twice. We all will pay for this in the decades to come.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The terror attack in Boston fits the Islamist MO

It's always wise to wait until all the data are collected before pronouncing any conclusions on who could be the guilty party. You don't want to sound like the mainstream media that is infamous for always blaming some mythical right-wing extremists for the acts of terror. Here are the 6 most recent examples of this sloppy (and incorrect) analysis by the media outlets:

  • ABC’s Brian Ross tries to blame the Tea Party for the Aurora attack.
  • Reuters Foundation Fellow Jonathan Curiel blames "racism" for the attack by professor Bishop.
  • Think Progress proclaimed that James Lee (a man who took hostages in the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Md).
  • Andrew Sullivan and Stephanie Miller blamed GOP, Fox News and the Tea Party for the death of United States Census Bureau William Edwin “Bill” Sparkman.
  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss and the folks from Daily Kos blamed conservatives for the attempted bombing of the Times Square.
  • Jonathan Capehart from the Washington Post and Chris Rovzar from New York Magazine blamed the Republicans and the Tea Party for Andrew Joseph Stack kamikaze-style attack on the IRS building.
  • And last but not least - most of the mainstream media blamed Sarah Palin for Jared Loughner's attack on Giffords and other government officials.
Of course, all this pales in comparison with liberals blaming the deaths of JFK (killed by a communist) and RFK (killed by a socialist Palestinian) on, as you would guess it, the right-wing conservatives.
The other side of the story, is, of course, Barack Obama, bizarrely asking the public not to jump to conclusions about the Fort Hood attack by a Moslem terrorist, who screamed "Allah Akbar before gunning down American soldiers.
I will try to walk a thin line between these two extremes and instead will use logic and reason to guess who was the terrorist who bombed the Boston marathon.
A logical analysis of the facts would point in the direction of Islamic terrorism. Firstly, I cannot remember any non-Islamist attacks in US in recent history which would be similar to the attacks in Boston. An attack by the KKK on black churches was 50 years ago, and was specifically targeting people of color. The Oklahoma City bombing was an attack on a federal building, and the perpetrator claimed that civilians were not targeted on purpose.

Numerous progressive terrorists (from Obama's friends, Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers to Occupy Wall Street as well as so-called "Animal Rights" activists) don't fit the profile either - it's unlikely they would attack marathon runners on the streets of Boston. Numerous non-Islamic terror groups (from IRA to Basques and Kurds) are unlikely to have any interest in attacking American cities.

Boston marathon attack was specifically designed as an attack on all Americans, without any distinction of color, race or connection to the federal government. The attack also showed a rather sophisticated use of multiple explosive devices, armed with ball bearings in order to result in maximum number of civilian damage, and timed in order to hurt the police and the medical personal which are expected to rush to scene and provide help to the wounded. The relevant terrorist attacks which resemble the Boston massacre are Islamist attacks in Israel, Europe, Bali - and the latest three attacks in the US - namely the attacks in Portland and two attacks in New York (New York Federal Reserve building and Times Square). If I were a terror profiler, I would conclude that the Boston bombing was a terrorist attack by Islamists with a high degree of confidence.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A few words at this late hour

1. American "Progressives" have as much in common with progress as "People's Democracies" had with democracy.

2. Prime-minister of Turkey recently compared Zionism (a movement which supports the self-determination of the Jewish people) with anti-Semitism and fascism. For those who are not following the Turkish politics - Erdogan a big friend of Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group. In case you are wondering, Obama considers Erdogan to be among his top 5 closest foreign world leaders.

3. There are relatively few articles about the Kurdish war for independence in Turkey, and the media apparently don't want to give their struggle any publicity - as well as the Turkish military campaign against the Kurdish freedom fighters. The media and liberal academia clearly treat the Kurdish fighters much worse than, say, the PLO or Hezbollah. Is it because the Kurds do not target Jewish women and children?

4. According to liberal lobbyist, "The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2 [The first day of sequester]. The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens." Even before the sequester took effect, Obama's administration grounded a US aircraft career, and freed thousands of criminals from jail. Moreover, Obama and his people promise numerous hardships for the American people if the sequester is not stopped. The sequester "cuts" federal budget by 45 billion dollars in 2013, which amounts to about 1% of the federal budget. Even this datum is rather optimistic on the cuts - the actual federal budget in 2013 will be larger than in 2012 according to experts. One of the arguments against the sequester is that the cuts are "dumb" and the Obama administration will be forced to cut essential services - and yet, when the GOP proposed a legislation that would give Obama more flexibility in the budget cuts, he promised to veto it. It is projected by many that the Obama administration will most likely use the sequester cuts in the ways most painful to the American citizens. This brought to my mind a dictionary definition of "sabotage":

sabotage (ˈsæbəˌtɑːʒ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
the deliberate destruction, disruption, or damage of equipment, a public service, etc, as by enemy agents, dissatisfied employees, etc

I am curious if Obama can be impeached for deliberate destruction of  public service for political gain. Would it qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

5. The Democrat party is determined to introduce a bill that would require "universal background check for gun purchases". I presume that the buyers would need to show their photo IDs, and the FBI would check their records for criminal activity and mental illness. Yet same Democrat party decried as draconian and racist the Republican proposals for voter IDs. I am curious if some gun activist will file a lawsuit against the background checks on the basis on their disparate impact on poor and minorities. Moreover, I would want to know why we allow mentally ill people to vote in presidential elections if they cannot be trusted to own guns. After all, votes do matter in this country, and voting for a wrong person may be more dangerous than a gun crime.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let's talk about racism, Part 1

The topic of race and racism is one of the most dangerous in American public discussion. As Eric Holder, a highly controversial Attorney General said, "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and we, I believe continue to be in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” He also added:

If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us...
"If we're going to ever make progress, we're going to have to have the guts, we have to have the determination, to be honest with each other. It also means we have to be able to accept criticism where that is justified," Holder told reporters after the speech.

I believe that Mr.Holder is right, and I will try to be brave and honest when discussing race in America. I promise to my reader that I will not be cowed by race mongers hurling insults at me for telling the truth to power.

Exhibit 1. Race resentment from the NYT and the academia

I was reading this article from the NYT, and its fallacies became immediately apparent to me. The article is called "How Much Does Race Still Matter?" and it purports to examine the effects of Obama's election on the racial resentment in America. The first obvious flaw of the article is that all the research quoted by the author examines exclusively the attitude of White Americans versus Black Americans. The article itself concedes that there are 32% more Hispanics than Blacks - and yet, the author fails to find any research articles that examine the racial resentment between Blacks and Hispanics, let alone Asians and Blacks (and vice verse). The author also does not even attempt to discuss the racial prejudice towards White people in America - and given the ubiquity of institutional racism in universities and employment (the so-called "affirmative action"), this blindness to the obvious is unexplainable.

But what bothered me most is the article's discussion of a set of questions (put together by Tesler and Sears) which purportedly showed (if answered "incorrectly") a person's "explicit anti-black attitudes". The author conceded that not everyone agreed with these questions, but apparently, a lot of scientists did agree with Tesler.

I believe it would be educational for my readers to answer these questions (and read my own replies) and then debate which answers could be judged as demonstrating "explicitly anti-black attitudes".

1) Irish, Italian, Jewish and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.

For some undisclosed reason, the questioners decided to ignore the multiple non-White minorities that were able to over-come the prejudice and work their way up in the American society. These, of course, include the Chinese, Koreans, Indians, and Japanese, Arabs, Persians, Thai, Malaysians and Vietnamese. If anything, the people from these minorities can claim higher median income than the White people. It is also quite well-known, that all minorities suffered discrimination's (and many of them are still discriminated in university admissions and job applications) both by the government and the private business. Indeed, discrimination against Asians is legal today, and is even openly promoted by the federal, state and local governments. And yet, in spite of that, these groups are extremely successful in the US. Based on this undeniable evidence, I am forced to conclude that the Blacks can and should achieve success in this country without any "special favors". I would even contend that any "special favors" would prove to be disastrous to the Blacks and the race relations.

2) Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.

Tens of millions of poor, illiterate minority immigrants came to the US in the 20th century, and in spite of continuous discrimination were able to achieve the living standards far above the level of the White Americans. There is absolutely no reason to presume that American Blacks cannot achieve the same success.

 3) Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.

Given the wide-spread usage of "affirmative action" which explicitly discriminates against White and Asian workers and applicants, and given the fact that the US economy is mostly free, there is no evidence to suggest that the Blacks "got less than they deserve." In fact, the opposite may actually be quite true.

4) It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.

Given the history of minority empowerment in America, it is beyond any doubt that the Blacks may achieve much more than the Whites if they demonstrate the same level of dedication to success as Asian-Americans and Jewish-Americans have in the 20th century.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Liberty and justice for all: Continued

As man is free, we say he exists for his own sake and not for another's
Aristotle, "Metaphysics"

My previous article on liberty and justice (which I also re-posted on a popular political website Alexandria) received a number of responses - including a post specifically written as a direct criticism of my letter.  I will try to write a response to this post as soon as the time permits - but as a quick summary I must confess to be astonished that a post so verbose, and which clearly required some effort from the author was amazingly brilliant at completely missing the point of my original post.

But the most confused and therefore more delightful response to my article was produced by the Wired Sisters, a regular writer (or a group of writers) at Alexandria, and I decided to reproduce it here in its entirety (see below):

Whose freedom? Must the Catholic church be “free” to keep its employees from getting contraceptives on their employer’s health insurance, or should those employees be “free” to spend their health care dollars any way they deem appropriate? Should the slave owners in the antebellum South have been “free” to own their slaves, or should the slaves have been free to choose their own work and homes? Should Lester Maddox have been “free” to decide who all got to eat in his fried chicken place, or should African-American citizens of the state of Georgia have been free to decide where to eat lunch? There is no such thing as absolute freedom. Everybody’s freedom can conceivably, at some point, intersect with and impede somebody else’s. Justice lies in the balancing act between them.
At first I thought that Wired Sisters was rather confused in her discussion of liberty, that she refused to discuss "liberty" as a term with an actual meaning and instead attempted to build an emotional argument against my article. But then I thought about it some more, and reached a different conclusion - while somewhat confused, Wired Sister's did follow a certain pattern, which will become obvious when her reply is put in the proper context. In order to trace the roots of Wired Sister's thinking, I will reach into the past and seek enlightenment from our great forefathers. For example, Abraham Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, addressed the very question of liberty in 1864, and had this to say:

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name———liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names———liberty and tyranny.

It is known which definition of liberty Lincoln and his Republican Party believed in 1864, while it's also apparent what the pro-slavery party, the DNC chose as their version of "liberty". The most remarkable thing is that in spite of all the amazing changes that we have seen in our nation during the last 150 years, the demarcation line between the main political parties remains largely unaltered.

It's beyond any doubt today which party believes that liberty is "for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor", and which party thinks that liberty is "for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor." As if to demonstrate the first line of thinking, Friedrich Hayek, an intellectual leader of modern day conservatism who influenced such major historical figures as Churchill, Goldwater, Thatcher and Reagan, defines liberty as:  "The state in which a man is not subject to coercion by the arbitrary will of another or others". He continues: "Freedom thus presupposes that the individual has some assured private sphere, that there is some set of circumstances in his environment with which others cannot interfere".

Barack Obama famously counters this with "You did not build that" and "I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money". Rawls, a famous liberal philosopher argued (as summarized by Richard Posner) that "no one should be allowed to keep more of his earnings than necessary to 'incentivize' him to exert himself in a way that will maximize the social product."

It is quite obvious that the definition that Hayek and Lincoln used -  could not or would not resolve ALL the issues that society may need to confront in regards to individual liberty, but it is undeniable that we can use it as a guiding star in our discussion. For example, it's easy to see that freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association are obvious components of the general freedom that we are discussing, while "freedom to handouts" is clearly not.

And this brings me back to the series of questions asked by the Wired Sisters - and it becomes apparent that it can be easily answered based on the values and views of the Republican Party of Lincoln and Hayek.

Of course, freedom is a gift for everyone. And yes, Catholic Church may choose which medical insurance plans it offers to its employees for obvious reasons. No one is forced to become an employee of the Catholic Church, and no one has a right to force Catholic Church to buy any particular insurance for their employees. Anyone who does not like the insurance which is provided by the Catholic Church is free to seek other employment. This is the only policy that would protect the freedom of the Catholic Church and its employees.

When the government is prescribing the type of medical insurance or payment that Catholic Church provides to its employees, it is clearly violating the freedom of association. It's quite obvious that employees have no inherent right to be provided with a specific (or any) type of insurance as a reward for their work - because that would clearly violate the rights of the Catholic Church.

The alternative to freedom of association is to have someone to coerce Catholic Church at gun point to buy an insurance chosen by a third party - which is clearly morally wrong and unjust. And let's not forget, this is exactly what the Lincoln enemies in 1864 believed in - "for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor."

In order to underline the contrast between the Lincoln's Party and the Party of slavers, let me quote two significant economists from each camp. Frank Hyneman, a famous conservative economist and supporter of individual liberty said: "The primary function of government is to prevent coercion and so guarantee to every man the right to live his own life on terms of free association with his fellows".

Paul Krugman, a liberal icon had this to say: "“I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.” 

While it's relatively clear how a legal system can built in accordance with ideas of Frank Hyneman, Krugman's "rule of law" clearly cannot coexist with the ill-defined institutions "that limit extremes of wealth and poverty", since neither can be defined, and the government will be operating based on the whims of the electorate.

Wired Sisters' questions about the slavery are actually quite peculiar. It is true that some White people in the South (and the North) believed that Black people were inherently inferior, and thus could not be trusted to attend to his own affairs, and required the elite to be their "keepers". Moreover, freeing the slaves was supposed to be detrimental to the economy, and the "common good", and the blacks were better off as being a property of the  kind-hearted white elites than being free people competing for employment  with evil non-feeling capitalists. Apparently, it was preferable being an actual slave than being a "wage slave" (a term popular with Democrat slavers 150 years ago and Democrat liberals of today).  It's quite uncanny how DNC arguments against freedom for slaves  in the 19th century shown here and here were preserved to become the arguments against individual liberty in the 20th century.

The most amazing thing is that Lincoln's arguments targeting the Democrat Party could be used today when debating individual liberty. For example this passage from Lincoln's speech would make any supporter of individual liberty smile, because it perfectly explains why left-wing belief in anointed elites running the lives of hoi polloi is silly:
You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

Wired's Sisters issues with Lester Maddox can too be easily resolved if we follow Lincoln and Hayek. While Maddox bigotry against Black customers is shameful, he has a right to refuse service to anyone. While I surely sympathise with the people who are upset about his behavior, it's undeniable that no one, Black or White has an inherent right to demand someone to work for them - and this includes cooking food at the restaurant. You simply cannot force other people to associate with you - your freedom ends exactly where other man's freedom begins. No one can have a claim on other people's labor - and Lester Maddox may be an evil man, but he is no one's slave.

Wired Sisters is, of course, correct that no one's freedom is absolute, and we may think of many different situations where the definition of liberty used in this article may prove to be insufficient. And yet, the words of Lincoln and Hayek must be our guarding light, and it is quite clear that all the situations that Wired Sisters was able to conjure are easily resolved without any conflict between the freedoms of different people.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that contrary to liberal view, there is also no inherent conflict between justice and liberty, and justice may only exist in a free society, where people are free to choose. One may also claim that  liberty and justice are inseparable...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liberty and justice for all

I was reading this article on Internet - and as is customary, I grabbed my head with both hands and screamed "How can you people be so stupid?!" But let me go directly to the quotes that show the confusion which is inherent to American so-called "liberalism" and "progressivism"...

A meritocratic society can’t be an entirely egalitarian society, and the principle of limited government recognizes that some injustices can’t be corrected. The challenge of democratic politics is to balance and reconcile these equally indispensable, unavoidably contradictory ideas: on one side liberty, and on the other justice.

In the later part of the article, Clive Crook, the self-described progressive makes it obvious that the type of justice he claims is in conflict with freedom - is the so-called "social justice", and it is clear that he associates justice with equality of result. He never attempts to explain why he believes that justice demands that all people earn same amount of money or achieve equal success. Indeed, it's well understood that justice requires equal treatment under the law - and people of different abilities, treated equally are unlikely to achieve same results. For example, it's obviously absurd to proclaim that the world is unjust because Garry Kasparov was the world chess champion, and not, say, Al Sharpton or Joe Biden. The rules of chess are equally applied to all, and no one stops Al Sharpton from competing in the chess tournament - it is his innate abilities and circumstances of his life which made his participation absurd.

It's also quite obvious that taking at gun point the fruits of labor from one group of people and giving to another is fundamentally unjust. One can support Medicaid, welfare, foodstamps and subsidized housing as acts of mercy - but it's impossible to make a claim that these programs represent an act of justice. Indeed, one could notice that the only type of society that practices justice in any reasonable form is a society where people are left to their devices and allowed to direct their own lives with minimal coercion from the government or fellow citizens.

Liberals often pronounce that no one truly achieves everything in his life due to his own personal efforts. As Barack Obama infamously proclaimed "You did not build that", while the faux-indian Elizabeth Warren muttered that "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own". But this line of reasoning seems to ignore the obvious - while everyone can use roads, and bridges and schools, only very few people actually succeed, while a great majority of people succumb to an average life. So, what did the successful people do differently? This is a question not asked, let alone answered by Obama and Warren. And if people are treated justly - i.e. equally by the state, who would expect equal results from millions of people, each of them an individual, each of them different, each with his own talents, character traits and personal choices? You can certainly complain that God or destiny or Gaia did not give you the talent to create new things or perseverance to work on the project, but it's irrational to blame society for your own deficiencies - and what's worse, it is actually rather counter-productive.

If anything, history shows that any attempts to fight the conceived "injustice" of freedom ends in the loss of both freedom and justice. Even if I ignore the major experiments in "redistributive justice" in USSR, North Korea and China (which ended in the worst possible injustice in the last 1000 years), one can easily see that if anything, all latest experiments in Western Europe and USA for equality of result did not end up in more justice.  For example, America showed a dramatic reversal in the growth of living standards and equality after the major liberal programs (Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, subsidized housing) were put into effect. Obama's proclaimed attempts to "invest in communities" resulted in expected massive handouts of taxpayer money to his donors, political allies and supporters, while the taxpayers were left with tremendous debt obligations and sluggish economy.

The coming bankruptcy of the welfare state both in Europe and US also demonstrates that the attempt to give up freedom in order to gain justice is also unsustainable. It's clear that American society is getting closer and closer to a crisis - when young and relatively few workers will be faced with massive demands for their fruits of labor to pay for the massive federal, state and local debts - while at the same time supporting tens of millions of retired baby-boomers. Ignoring the obvious financial peril, our president is vastly expanding the welfare state, which in turn promises even steeper tax penalties for the future Americans.

In the final analysis, the concept of justice cannot exist in a society without freedom. Any attempt to ignore this fundamental truth will result in the breakdown of society - and America's choice of Barack Obama in 2012 is another step on the path to destruction of this fine country. When tens of millions of people confidently believe that they have a right to take the fruits of labor of other people - be it "millionaires and billionaires" or the families which earn more than an arbitrary sum ($250k or 400k) , and these people are a majority, the fall of the country into the abyss may be inevitable. No freedom, no justice, no prosperity - Live free or die. This is the choice for our country.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Some statistics for the policy wonks

It is often proclaimed that it normally takes very long time for the economy to recover after a financial crisis. During one of the on-line arguments, I was once challenged to compare the recovery after 2008 crisis with the recoveries from similar financial crises in the past. My opponent offered me a list of recessions - and I arbitrarily chose to analyze the crisis of 1907 (I confess my laziness to check the other ones).

But before wasting a lot of numbers, here is the background for the 1907 recession. According to wikipedia:

The Panic of 1907, also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic or Knickerbocker Crisis, was a financial crisis that occurred in the United States when the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred, as this was during a time of economic recession, and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. The 1907 panic eventually spread throughout the nation when many state and local banks and businesses entered bankruptcy. Primary causes of the run include a retraction of market liquidity by a number of New York City banks and a loss of confidence among depositors, exacerbated by unregulated side bets at bucket shops. The panic was triggered by the failed attempt in October 1907 to corner the market on stock of the United Copper Company. When this bid failed, banks that had lent money to the cornering scheme suffered runs that later spread to affiliated banks and trusts, leading a week later to the downfall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company—New York City's third-largest trust. The collapse of the Knickerbocker spread fear throughout the city's trusts as regional banks withdrew reserves from New York City banks. Panic extended across the nation as vast numbers of people withdrew deposits from their regional banks.

Lets examine the aftermath of the 1907 crisis and how quickly economy recovered under the unobstructed free market economy - and then compare with the recovery under president Obama and welfare socialism.

From 1907 to 1912, the real GDP grew from 801 billion dollars to 857 billion dollars (all are in 2008 dollars). The real growth of the economy was 7% , five years after the start of the financial crisis. The data was downloaded from the website "Many Eyes".

In 2007, the US GDP was 14,071 billion dollars (in 2007 dollars) according to the website  Infoplease. In 2012, the US GDP is expected to be 15,903 billion dollars (in 2012 dollars) according to website Forecasts. When I add the 11% total inflation from 2007 to 2012 (inflation calculator is here), the 2007 GDP in 2012 dollars becomes 15,619 billion dollars. This means that the real GDP growth from 2007 to 2012 was only 1.8%.

In short, the US economy recovered much faster from the 1907 financial crisis than from the 2008 financial crisis. After 5 years, the US economy grew by 7% and 1.8% respectively (1907-1912 and 2007-2012).

Please keep these numbers handy when someone tells you that Obama's recovery is not unusually slow.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Liberals say the darndest things

Liberals say the darnedest things when they think no one is watching them. A hard-left media outlet Huffington Post published an in depth article examining the problems faced by the Republican Party. It's an interesting read for an attentive reader. One passage made me laugh out loud:

"But as I [Huffington Post reporter] sat among the Heritage's luncheon crowd -- part of a daylong anti-poverty forum -- a series of more immediate and pressing questions came to mind: How will the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement it's meant to embody fix their problems with the poor, the disadvantaged, women and minorities? How will the Republican Party evolve?  Romney's loss forced the GOP to recognize that its support is built on a shrinking base of aging, ethnically monolithic, and geographically isolated voters -- while the Democrats have amassed a coalition of growing and engaged constituencies."

Most of the rest of the article is spent on the author challenging the GOP activists on how they plan to rectify this situation and attempt to persuade the "poor and disadvantaged" to vote Republican. The unstated but apparent assumption is that the number of poor people will grow in Obama's America, and will give DNC a ruling majority unless Republicans find a way to appeal to this growing demographic. This logic is based on actual facts on the ground, the number of people on foodstamps went from 28.2 million in 2008 to 47.7 million people in 2012. Not only that - the number of people receiving disability benefits jumped from 9,273,839 in 2008 to 10,890,896 in 2012.

And yet, it makes me wonder - who will notice this pearl of wisdom? Why is it that even the Democrats allies in the media assume that poverty will skyrocket under Obama?  And an even more penetrating question - if "poor and disadvantaged" are the key allies of the DNC, and their number is expected to expand under the Obama administration - is it really unnatural to assume that growth of poverty in the last 4 years may not be accidental? After all, Obama holds the keys to the US economy....