Amit Ghate PJM OpEd: Ideas and the State

 Posted by on 16 August 2010 at 1:00 pm  Activism, Government
Aug 162010
 

Amit Ghate has another nice OpEd in the August 16, 2010 edition of PajamasMedia.

Here’s the opening to his piece, “Ideas and the State“:

What do the following disputes — running the cultural gamut — have in common?

In education: Should creationism or evolution be taught in public schools? In science: Should we form de facto boards of inquisition to maintain the government-funded consensus on global warming? In arts: Should we support “diversity” in the form of the “Piss Christ”? Or should we engage in social engineering by funding art “that would show support for Obama’s domestic agenda”? And in a sad mixture of religion, politics, and science: Should taxpayers continue to support NASA with an annual budget of $19 billion so that it can pursue its new mission to “engage… with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science”?

The answer? Each seeks to determine which ideas taxpayers must fund and support. In so doing, each contributes to making modern politics more acrimonious and fractious than ever.

(Read the full text of “Ideas and the State“.)

I very much like his formulation, “separation of ideas and state”. Congratulations, Amit!

Jul 082010
 

The July 2, 2010 edition of PajamasMedia has published Amit Ghate’s latest OpEd, “Socialism’s Second Guessers“.

Here’s the opening:

In a recent marketing move, GM donated a car to Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga after his perfect game was ruined by an umpire’s mistake. In the subhead to a feature article on the subject, the New York Times second-guessed GM, asking: “Was a prize to a pitcher for a near-perfect game, ‘some of the best dollars invested in publicity,’ or a squandering of taxpayers’ equity?”

Note that the car in question was a $53,000 Corvette; GM’s global revenues are on the order of $100 billion. It’s like asking whether a $10 million company should have purchased a $5 box of pens. Pace the NY Times, there’s nothing special about this particular decision; every business or enterprise makes similar ones daily.

And that’s the point. Previously we could take for granted that private individuals or enterprises would be allowed to make such decisions for themselves. But no longer. At the behest of our political and cultural leaders, we’re socializing property at an accelerating rate. The type of meddlesome question the New York Times poses is but one of its consequences…

(Read the full text of “Socialism’s Second Guessers“.)

Jun 092010
 

In the May 29, 2010 episode of “Front Page” on PajamasTV, Yaron Brook and Terry Jones answered viewer questions.

One question in particular should be of interest to many NoodleFood readers:

What can we realistically do to stop the advancement of tyranny? What will actually work and can we avoid violence?

Click on the image below to watch the video and hear their answer:

PJTV3666

Ray Niles Article on Housing Crisis

 Posted by on 4 June 2010 at 7:00 am  Activism, Economics, Government
Jun 042010
 

Our friend Ray Niles has just published an article on the housing crisis in the George Mason University School of Law’s Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring 2010. entitled “Eighty Years in the Making: How Housing Subsidies Caused the Financial Meltdown”.

Diana and I have both had the pleasure of reading it, and I found it especially valuable because it presented a thorough historical overview of the many decades of government intervention in various aspects of the market that led to the housing bubble (and subsequent collapse).

I had read several prior articles that discussed one or more of these causes, but Ray’s article did a nice job of presenting all of that information in a nice integrated fashion, accessible to a layperson without specialized economic training.

The article is not available in downloadable form, at least not at present. But Ray has permission from the publisher to send PDF copies. So if you’re interested, send him an e-mail at: “rayniles (at) rcniles (dot) com”.

I highly recommend his article, and I’m glad to see him building on his excellent work from the past few years.

May 312010
 

The May 31, 2010 PajamasMedia has just published my latest OpEd, “Beware Dr. Galbraith’s Snake Oil“.

My theme is that even in the face of the Greek situation, some economists continue to argue that deficits don’t matter. Here is the introduction:

As the Greek welfare state collapses, citizens there have been rioting over cutbacks in social spending necessitated by mounting government debt. The rioters apparently fail to recognize that whenever a government routinely promises to spend more money than it has, then eventually it will be unable to fulfill those promises. Many Americans worry that we will soon be facing similar troubles at either the state (e.g., California) or national levels.

Yet some renowned economists, such as Professor James Galbraith of the University of Texas, are trying to convince us that the U.S. government should ignore our massive federal budget deficit and instead spend even more. Galbraith argues that calls for fiscal responsibility are “misguided” and that greater deficit spending will create greater prosperity.

Galbraith’s proposals are dangerous because they are based on the notion that you can get something for nothing. Unless we want to see a Greek-style collapse here in America, we must reject those ideas as economic “snake oil” and instead demand an end to our government’s fiscally irresponsible deficit spending.

James Galbraith is no street corner crank. Instead, he has a BA from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Yale, both in economics. He is a professor of economics at the University of Texas, Austin, and son of famous Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Because of his impressive academic and intellectual pedigree, many Washington politicians and pundits take his ideas seriously. Hence, so must we…

(Read the full text of “Beware Dr. Galbraith’s Snake Oil“.)

As always, please feel free to leave supportive comments, blog about it, e-mail to friends, promote via Twitter/Facebook, etc.!

Paul Hsieh LTE in NYT on Cass Sunstein

 Posted by on 28 May 2010 at 7:00 am  Activism, Government
May 282010
 

The New York Times has published my LTE on former University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, a leading advocate of so-called “libertarian paternalism”.

My LTE was in response to their May 16, 2010 article in the Sunday Magazine section, “Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us” praising his work as President Obama’s director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to use his philosophy to push people into behaviours the government deems desirable.

The LTE will also be appearing this weekend in the May 30, 2010 print edition of the NYT in the Sunday Magazine section (as opposed to the main letters section of the newspaper). It’s the second one down:

Cass Sunstein explicitly compares Americans to Homer Simpsons requiring government guidance to live. In my view, the proper function of government is to protect individual rights and freedoms. Unless we violate others’ rights by force or fraud, the government should leave us alone to live according to our best judgment.

Of course, individuals may voluntarily “nudge” themselves to achieve long-term goals, like having your bank automatically deposit a portion of each paycheck into a child’s college fund. But each person must make these decisions for himself based on his goals and circumstances. These choices are his responsibility and his right — not the government’s.

Libertarian paternalism in essence says, “Don’t worry — we’ll do your thinking for you.” If Americans start surrendering their minds thus to the government, they will become easy prey for demagogues and dictators.

PAUL HSIEH
Sedalia, Colo.

Apr 302010
 

Objectivist blogger Gus Van Horn has an OpEd in the April 30, 2010 edition of PajamasMedia, “Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom: Welfare State Is Draw for Illegals“.

Here is the opening:

With Governor Jan Brewer’s signing of SB 1070, the battle lines were drawn. The prospect of empowering and requiring law enforcement in Arizona to enforce federal immigration law raises civil rights concerns on both sides of the debate. Many supporters seem torn between these concerns and the prospect of overwhelming schools, social services, and the police if illegal immigration is left unchecked. However, as someone who sympathizes with its proponents, I must say that SB 1070 is wrong for Arizona for reasons far beyond civil rights issues.

SB 1070 deserves only one fundamental criticism: It would fail to protect the individual rights of American citizens — even if it hermetically sealed our borders and the police never touched a single American hair in the process of enforcing it. This is because the biggest headaches attributed to illegal immigration are not caused by it at all…

(Read the full text of “Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom: Welfare State Is Draw for Illegals“.)

Gus is absolutely right. Too many conservatives want to restrict immigration while failing to place the blame where it properly belongs — on welfare state policies that encourage an entitlement mentality amongst American citizens as well as immigrants (and often more among the former than the latter.)

Too many liberals want both open immigration and a welfare state — a recipe for disaster.

The only approach that respects individual rights is a policy of open immigration (which is not the same as unrestricted immigration) — and the abolition of the welfare state. For more on this, see Craig Biddle’s article in the Spring 2008 issue of The Objective Standard, “Immigration and Individual Rights“.

Congratulations, Gus, on getting published in PajamasMedia!

(Please feel free to add your own comments to the PJM site.)

Obama’s Proposed Budget Cuts

 Posted by on 29 April 2010 at 1:00 pm  Government, Politics
Apr 292010
 

Here’s an amazing visual representation of Obama’s proposed budget cuts. I don’t see any way to embed it, but this video is a must-see. It’s just 1 minute 38 seconds long. (Via C Andrew.)

Update: Thanks to Kelly, here’s the embedded version:

Blackman OpEd: "Fighting Statism"

 Posted by on 27 April 2010 at 7:00 am  Activism, Government
Apr 272010
 

The April 25, 2010 edition of American Thinker has published the following OpEd by Justin Blackman entitled, “Fighting Statism“.

His theme is that individual rights must be the rallying point for reclaiming liberty.

Here’s the opening:

The Founders of the United States hoped to create a society of free individuals, but for at least a century, the nation has been marching ever more quickly in the direction of tyranny. The independent Tea Party movement represents a renewed desire to roll back the tide of government expansion, but this cause will fail unless its participants take an uncompromising stand in favor of individual rights. A building, no matter how rigid, cannot stand upon a weak and cracked foundation. In the same vein, errors and inconsistencies in a society’s philosophical foundation will cause its downfall — even in one as great as ours.

The Republican Party inadvertently teaches this lesson…

(Read the full text of “Fighting Statism“.)

Justin is a student a the Colorado School of Mines.

Congratulations, Justin, on getting published!

Government Propaganda Machine

 Posted by on 21 April 2010 at 7:00 am  Government
Apr 212010
 

Via Greg Mullen, I present you with the following news item: EPA Contest Seeks Videos Promoting Government Regulations:

President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging the public to create video advertisements that explain why federal regulations are “important to everyone.”

The contest, which ends May 17, will award $2,500 to the makers of the video that best explains why federal regulations are good and how ordinary citizens can become more involved in making regulations. The videos must be posted on YouTube and can be no more than 60-90 seconds in length. …

As explained in the EPA press release announcing the contest, the purpose of the videos will be to remind the public that federal regulation touches “almost every aspect” of their lives and to promote how important those regulations are.

“The contest will highlight the significance of federal regulations and help the public understand the rulemaking process. Federal agencies develop and issue hundreds of rules and regulations every year to implement statutes written by Congress. Almost every aspect of an individual’s life is touched by federal regulations, but many do not understand how rules are made or how they can get involved in the process.”

The videos should be designed to “capture the public imagination” and to “explain” why government regulations are “important to everyone.”

Jesus Christ in a Cracker! What the heck am I supposed to say about that? I have nothing… my brain is still busy boggling.

Oh and what I quoted is just a small dose of the insanity. Go read the whole thing for the rest. If only I had video skills, I might work on a satire video that satisfied all of their requirements to the letter.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha