Brad Miller

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Love, Will Power, and Praxeology

In True nature of the State on September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

There is however no valid objection to a usage that defines human action as the striving for happiness.” Mises Human Action

 Speaking for myself I believe like the French that “The only Happiness on Earth is to Love and Be Loved

Praxeology is the Science of Human Action. I believe it  can illuminate how when the State Limits Liberty, it Limits Love. Ludwig von Mises Opus “Human Action” is the best resource for anyone who wants to better understand the Science of Human Action.

“Human action is purposeful behavior. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego’s meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person’s conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life. Such paraphrases may clarify the definition given and prevent possible misinterpretations. But the definition itself is adequate and does not need complement of commentary.” Mises “HUMAN ACTION

Mises steered clear of any psychological motivation except that all action is meant to remove “uneasiness” for the individual acting.

The ultimate goal of human action is always the satisfaction of the acting man’s desire. There is no standard of greater or lesser satisfaction other than individual judgments of value, different for various people and for the same people at  various times. What makes a man feel uneasy and less uneasy is established by him from the standard of his own will and judgment, from his personal and subjective valuation. Nobody is in a position to decree what should make a fellow-man happier.”

Individuals choose who to love and how to love them. Love is expressed through action.   Each individuals determines who he loves and how he wants to express that love. When the State steals money through taxation and limits choice through regulation they are effectively destroying an individual’s capacity to love.

Henry Hazlitt the great champion of the Free Market who helped bring Mises’ works to America wrote an often overlooked book  “The Way to Will Power” .Written in 1922 he lays out the way to attain what you desire. The book is centered around his concept that there is no Will or Will Power. His take was that what most people call Will-Power is “persistently held desires”.

When we say a man has will-power, we mean that he has a certain desire which persists and predominates for a comparatively long period. It is not being constantly dethroned by a multitude of other desires. Either the other desires are not strong enough, or it is too strong for them (which as we shall see later, is more than a mere verbal distinction); and if perchance this desire is forced to abdicate for a little while, which may sometimes happen with the strongest-willed persons, it quickly throws out the usurping desire and reigns again.”

This echoes Mises’ assertion that “will” is nothing more than choice. .

“We may say that action is the manifestation of a man’s will. For the term will means nothing else than men’s faculty to choose between different states of affairs, to prefer one, to set aside the other, and to behave according to the decision made in aiming at the chosen state and forsaking the other.”

I suspect  a lot of other  individuals besides myself holds the persistent desire to love and be loved above others. Just as there are infinitely varied individuals so are there are  infinite ways in which individuals choose to love and be loved.

When the Collectivists distort the “Free Market of Love” by stealing individuals mental and physical energy, time and money, through State Control, they are hurting everyone’s ability to Love and Be Loved.   They use force to dictate how others should live. The use of force is the opposite of love. And it is this in my opinion that is what  distinguishes a system based upon Collectivism and one founded upon Individualism. The absence of State force leads to a Society in which individuals are free to define how they who they love and how they express that love.

“Acting man is eager to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory one.”  Mises

The less satisfactory state is usually one in which we are “less loved” for a situation where we are “more loved”. This includes the often derided self-love. The more of our time, thoughts, actions and money are ours to dispose of the more we can express love through action towards the people we choose.

If we want to love and be loved more I suggest we take Socrates advice and become familiar with the classics like Mises “Human Action” and Hazlitt’s “The Way to Willpower”.

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.” Socrates

For my Liberty and Love go hand in hand. Without Liberty, Love is constrained.  Without Love, Liberty is purposeless.

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.” Socrates

When the State limits are ability to choose they limit our ability to exchange a less satisfactory state for a more satisfactory state. It prevents us from achieving our “persistent desire” and thus limits our ability to Love and Be Loved, which in turn limits our experience of man’s “only true happiness“.

 And That’s My Take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

http://mises.org/books/humanactionscholars.pdf

http://mises.org/books/willpower.pdf

 

Outcompeting the State

In True nature of the State on September 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

A Private Sector Path to Liberty.

What if Entrepreneurs and Capitalist stopped looking at the State as an immovable monolith  and started looking at it as an inefficient competitor begging to have its customers stolen?

The State is the biggest competitor any of us face, whether we are competing as an entrepreneur or as an employee. Every action the State takes is designed to take more of  our  life, liberty and property. They are competing everyday to steal more and more market share away from you the individual and claim it for the Collective.

But what if those who love Liberty and have an entrepreneurial spirit decide to compete directly with the State in the areas where it believes it’s untouchable?

What if private companies and private associations began forming to take market share away from the State in the areas of “Social Insurance” , “Policing” and “Mail Delivery”?

 The State was not always so powerful. In the recent past  private initiatives provided all the needs of the customers in America. There were no  “State services”.

Many who have been born in the last century, I like to call it the Collectivist Century of America, have been taught that private individuals working voluntarily with other private individuals can not provide education, unemployment insurance, or mail delivery to the  current customers of the State. 

The History of America before 1913 tells a different story.  After the Revolutionary War Mutual Aide Societies sprang up across the New Nation. They were voluntary associations where members paid dues and would receive benefits if they were unemployed, sick or unable to work. They were often religious in nature but  not always, they discriminated against who could join, and enforced a code of conduct of its members.  This voluntary discrimination led to thousands of mutual aid societies that cropped up all over the country to serve their members who shared religious beliefs, common heritage or lived in the same area. These societies unlike the Great Welfare State were organized not to just provide physical benefits but also spiritual and intellectual as well. They encouraged their members to achieve success through self-improvement. 

The Mutual Aid Societies were established to temporarily assist their members during times of financial difficulties. The benefits paid out were not only temporary but also accompanied by the advice and education to overcome unforseen difficulties in the future. They helped individuals in the present and also made available instruction to the members how to become more and more self-sufficient.  The Focus of the associations was not the benefit of “Mankind”. They were focused on the improvement and well-being of individual members. The individual paid dues voluntarily, the individual acted responsibly because if he didn’t he was kicked out, and  focused on helping individuals become self-sufficient as soon as possible after benefits start paying out. 

The Free African Society founded in 1787 was typical of this type of society.  It was founded to provide mutual aide to the Free Blacks of the City of Philadelphia.  

“…that a society should be formed, without regard to religious tenets, provided, the persons lived an orderly and sober life, in order to support one another in sickness, and for the benefit of their widows and fatherless children.” Preamble of Free African Society

The FAS had code of conduct for its members and would not pay benefits out to those who caused their own misfortune by impertinent behavior. It helped educate the children of members who’ve died or helped them find apprenticeships. They took care of the widows of deceased members as well. FAS was typical of the Mutual Aide Societies that sprang up voluntarily around the nation. They played a huge role in helping minorities and immigrants assimilate and become successful in the Free Market Society of early America.

These associations were voluntary creations created long before the Welfare State existed. There is no reason why individuals could not choose to form similar associations today. If someone were to venture down this path I would suggest keeping the membership within families and discreet circles of friends. Individuals who wanted to be members would pay  dues or “subscriptions” just like members of the Mutual Aid Societies of the past.  There would be diverse  associations meeting the diverse needs of their members. Each one could decide who gets in and what benefits they pay out. In this way hundreds of thousands of these associations would crop up without the State even knowing it. The more financially free we are the more free we are of the State. This is a great way to compete and win Market Share back from the Collectivists State. This would also be a concrete example to everyone that individuals acting  voluntarily together can take care of themselves. No force is required.

When pundits and politicians deride the “Rugged Individualism” of early America they fail to see what de Tocqueville found when he visited America in the early 1800s.

 “Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds—religious, moral, serious, futile, extensive, or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found establishments for education, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; and in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it be proposed to advance some truth, or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society. Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association”. Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America Vol. 2

 The poor will always be among us. But the State doesn’t have to be.  In a Free Market Society people have the best opportunity to improve their lot in life and lift themselves out of poverty. The price they have to pay is the same for all; hard work, savings, and personal responsibility. Mutual Aid Societies, like the  Free African Society,  were one way in which individuals who faced temporary set backs were able to continue on their path to prosperity. 

 Why can’t this happen again today? What if someone started up the Free People’s association? This would be a voluntary association with the intent of replacing the welfare state for a voluntary insurance type service. The world around us was built by individuals entering into voluntary exchanges in spite of the growing Sate . The key to expanding freedom today is by expanding this activity of the  Private Sector by stealing Market Share away from the State.

 Those who want to Live Free often  focus exclusively on elimination or limiting of the State . What if more of us instead, focus on increasing the market share of the Private Sector which is the only way of  ultimately achieving our goal of putting the State  out of business?

An “anti-something” movement displays a purely negative attitude. It has no chance whatever to succeed. Its passionate diatribes virtually advertise the program that they attack. People must fight for something that they want to achieve, not simply reject an evil, however bad it may be. They must, without any reservations, endorse the program of the market economy.”  Mises “Anti-Capitalist Mentality

That is why I think its important to have private alternatives to the services the State currently imposes on us. The Voluntarism of early America is an endorsement of the program of the market economy.

If we focus solely on the elimination of the State without adequate focus on the Free Market solutions to replace the services it provides, the millions of the State’s customers will bound together under the banner of collectivismand reinstitute the State with all its taxes  and services.  Free Enterprise is the only way to starve out the Leviathan.

The voluntary associations are only one way we can start competing with the State. As police budgets are cut around the country business’ are increasingly hiring private firms to protect their property. Soon I believe they will start protecting residential property as well.   Private Alarm companies first began to protect businesses and then moved into the residential monitoring.  I believe its only a matter of time before the Private Police companies are formed to defend residential property. Alarm Companies could link to these private police departments instead of the local tax payer funded police department.  Different alarm companies and private police departments would compete and a better more efficient service would result.

The State is always less efficient than the  private sector and that is why it uses Legalized Force to impose its monopoly across different sectors of Society. Direct Competition with the State is difficult because is the only entity to wield legalized force. But  Challenges to the State’s monopoly occurs everyday indirectly as individuals serve their fellow-man within the profit/loss system of the Free Market. By doing so they keep the State from extending its Monopoly further into new areas of Society

Direct competition to the State has occurred in the past. The most famous was short-lived but serves as a hopeful example to others who wish to do the same.

 Lysander Spooner,  a champion of individualism, outcompeted the Postal Service back in 1844. His America Mail Carrier Company was so much more efficient than the Post Office, he forced the State to lower its postage rate to compete with him. The State, backed by endless resources, then lowered the stamp prices so low he was unable to match the reduced rate do to the fact his capital was not unlimited and had been consumed by the relentless legal battle waged against him by the State. Even though he had to shut down because of  the power of the State his challenge is a reminder that the State can be competed with Even for short periods of time. 

 I don’t think the Post Office as we know it will exist in 5 years. Enterprising individuals will step in to fill the customer demand created by the failed State enterprise and they will do it better and more efficiently,  just as Lysander Spooner did in 1844. This will be a market share gain for the private sector.  Spooner believed in self-employment and was a staunch opponent of the State. He  sought a private sector solution to a certain State Monopoly . If more and more individuals embarked on such endeavors the State would be unable to quash them all. The more we do that the more the True Nature of the State will be Reavealed. Once more folks understand that the State uses  threat of force or actual force to accomplish everything it does,  the more the Private Sector will steal market share from the Collectivist State.

I believe that there is too much “We should” or “You should” in this country and not enough “I will”. That being said I am presenting ideas from the past with the hope of changing the future. The State is not omnipotent. In the recent past (pre-1913) it was significantly smaller than it is today. Over the “Collectivist Century of America” it has taken massive amounts of Market Share away from the private Sector.  Our job is to take it back!!!

We can’t regain our Liberty by being “Anti-Something”. Even though our Enemy is the State, we must remind ourselves that as Individuals our greatest Ally is the Free Market System. I believe that State  is not invincible. The State is limited in what it can actually control. Its eyes and hands are those of individual citizens which delivers services to individuals. If Private individuals or groups of individuals provide a superior product than the State provides at a lower cost, even with legalized force, it will not be able to stop the majority from choosing the Free Market Solution. When individuals steal Market Share from the State its dominion diminishes. The more those who love Liberty do that the less the State there will be.

The world around us is built by private individuals voluntarily exchanging. Everything around us has been buil in spite of the State intervention and Monopolisitic activities.  Just think every time you sell your labor to someone who voluntarily purchases it you are in a small way out competing the State. You have chosen not to be its eyes and hands and chosen instead to serve your fellow-man by pursuing your self-interest on the Free Market. You are providing a better service or product to your customer at a lower price than the State could ever do. As long as entrepreneurs and Capitalists are competing with each other to meet the demands of consumer they are preventing the State from increasing its Monopolistic Market Share of Society.

The Quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions you ask yourself. So for those who love Liberty the question is how can we become more free of State control. Another way to phrase this question is to ask ourselves how can we steal market share from the State?

 How can the Private Sector gain market share away from the State? Our Natural Rights to our Life, Liberty and Property depend on the Free Market System. And the only way to save it from the Collectivists is to increase the number of voluntary exchanges between individuals. The key is to figure out a way of replacing the forced transactions of the State with voluntary transactions.  The more we do this the more the State shrinks and the more Liberty we enjoy.

“How cheaply can freedom be bought?-

  That is a question Leonard Read asked in his must read Elements of Libertarian Leadership. And I think it is one of those quality questions that we must all asks ourselves. How much of our time and energy are we willing to expend to be Free? Who out therein America today  has the courage to start up a Mutual Aid Society to compete with the Welfare State or do as Lysander Spooner did and compete directly with the State’s sacred cow, the Post Office? 

In sales the first person you have to convince that your product is the best product, is yourself. With the Freedom Movement it is no different. WE focus on things like the Federal Tax Code or on Nefarious EPA regulations which are terrible. But what if we begin focusing on how to better serve the current customers of the State and begin stealing their Market Share? This starts with the individual seeking  voluntary solutiosn to your current struggles instead of relying on the State. Then developing products and services that others who currently depend on the State would want to purchase. Most of us who love Liberty are competing with the State indirectly, becasue we don’t work for it. I don’t know if that is enough. I believe when more and more folks start risking all to directly compete with various State Monopolies the more Liberty we will enjoy.
  And That’s my Take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Collectivism kills Love

In True nature of the State on September 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

If you do not live free, how can you be free to love?

None of us are immortal. Time is scarce. Resources are scarce. Scarcity is the reality of life.  The question we must all ask “is how are we to spend our limited time with limited resources? ”

I believe the best way to spend my time on Earth is to live free and spend as much time as I can with those that I  love.  Within a Free Market Society that acknowledges everyone’s right to defend their Life, Liberty and Property I believe I have the best shot at doing  this.

In a Collectivist Society, the Masses, more accurately those who speak for the masses determine who lives, how they live and by what means.  In such a world you do not own yourself or any property.  Your “I”, your identity, your will is sacrificed to the  will of the “WE”. In this world your choice of how to spend your time is  deterermined by the will of others. If you are not free to live as you see fit and keep the fruits of your labor how can you love yourself or anyone else?

In Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” she writes about that kind of  society. In the dystopian future of “Anthem”  the  very word “I” has been  outlawed and replaced by “We”.  The main character Equality 7-2521 and the others in Society think of themselves only as “We”.

In this  world it is  forbidden for men and women to even look at each other. The State forbids any contact between the genders except once a year during the Time of Mating. Then the Council of Eugenics decides which women mates with which man. They force the unsuspecting male and female together in the City Palace of Mating to procreate. All actions are devoid of any semblance of Love. The individuals are just cogs in the machine. The hero Equality 7-2521 discovering his individuality and defies “The Will of the Masses” by choosing to love Liberty 5-3000. And with this act he sins, the Sin of Preference.

You might think this sounds like an extreme future with no similarity to the world in which we live. But the reheoric today from politicians who espouse the duty of  individuals to sacrifice more and more of their life, liberty and property to the “greater good” is straight out of the Collectivist hand book.  It is the exact ideology of “Equality Through Force” that Ayn Rand explores in “Anthem”. The difference is not in substance, only in degree.  The Collectivist ideology at its core denies individual preference.  Every time the State power grows and substitutes the “will of the masses” for the choice of individuals it brings us one step closer to the dark dystopian future of “Anthem” where the very word “I” is outlawed.

Most people forget that the Eugenics movement was huge in America and that Eugenics departments were in vogue in many Universities. And it was the Nazis who adopted the ideas and  used the “science” of the west to carry out their particular brand of Collectivism. Do you think love flourished for those who the Nazis deemed unfit to live? Do you think Love floursihed in Paris under Nazis occupation or on the Eastern Front?  Do you think love flourished in the concentration camps? Did Love flourish in Germany as their  Collectivist Utopia crumbled around them?

(If you want to read a cautionary tale about the evils of the partnership between Science and the State read up on Eugenics, it’s frightening stuff.)

Even today this type of  State intervention into the love life of individuals continues. In Communist China they have a one child policy for 40% of the population. The State tells them how many children they can have!!! The planners in America hold up the Chinese model of  “State Capitalism” as the one that we should emulate. So it should surprise no one that the Collectivist policies of the U.S.  Federal Government help determine the amount of children couples have in America.

A lot of  Americans have up to 60% of their income stolen by the State. The affected parents now must choose between the love for their existing child and the hardships they would  all would have to endure if they brought another child into the world. The resources stolen by the State effectively limit the number of children these folks have. What is even worse the money stolen from them goes to support mothers who are “encouraged’ to have more children by the State, through the “theft/reward” system (AKA TAX CODE).   How does the principle of effecting the reproductive decision of millions through the Force of the State differ from  the ideology that produced the City Palace of Mating and the Board of Eugenics in Rand’s “Anthem”?

When speaking of Love most folks think of interpersonal love, one person caring for another. What does it mean to “care” for someone? Can you care for someone if you are dead? If you are bound by the will of another? If you have no property to “share” with your beloved? How can you love if you are determined by the Collective to be a detriment to the majority and “they” decide to revoke your permission to live? Tens of millions of people have had their permission to live slips revoked by Collectivist governments in the last 100 years. It’s work for the benefit of the collective or die.

If the Collectivists want to love mankind and work for the Collective’s benefit there is no one stopping them today. They are free to sacrifice themselves upon the Alter of the State.  But how many of these Collectivists have destroyed their concept of “I” and voluntarily given up all the fruits of their labor for the State to redistribute to others?  No one is stopping them. The Collecitivists never lead by example because they want to be the priests and priestess of the State who oversee the the sacrifices of others.

Ony Individuals think. Only Individuals act. Mises stated in his classic Socialism., that Only Indivdiduals think and Only Indivdiduals Act. I would like to add one more to that, “Only Individuals Love”.

The choice of who we love directs the way we dispose of our life and our property. The State claims it is doing “good work” with the money they steal from us. They tell us we should all love one another and they are administering our charity to others on our behalf. Why do I need to have someone else act as my “Charitable Administrator”? If I keep the fruits of my labor I can choose whom I share them with.  The Planners and Politicians gain all the accolades when they use the Force of the State to lavish their chosen one’s with the property of others. How often do you hear someone using a EBT Card turn around and thank the individuals labor he is living off? The receiver of the stolen property of others, the one using the EBT Card, thanks and then rewards the politicians who promise him more stolen loot by voting him back into office when election time rolls around.

No one has a claim to your heart or to your wallet. Both are your property. You are an individual who has the right to choose who you love and who you show love toward. If you want to work 100 hours a week, never get married and spend all your cash on yourself. That is your choice. That is a form of self-love and doesn’t violate anyone’s Natural Rights.  Then it holds true too, that  if someone wants to have ten kids and work to care for them that is their choice. In a Free Market Society individuals are free to pursue their happiness as they see fit and define how and who they love, as long as they don’t violate the right of others to do the same.

Ask yourself this this:

As Government Intervention into our lives, which is all based upon the Collectivist Creed “From Each according to his abilities to Each according to his needs” grows does it create an atmosphere that is more or  less conducive to love?

When someone picks your pocket on the street and steals your money that creates feelings that are the opposite of love. You feel resentment and hatred toward that person. The same principle applies when individuals vote to have the government steal money from you, that action creates the same feelings of animosity.

Frustration, Fear, Dehumanization, Death, and Envy,are the emotions generated when your individual will is supplanted by that of another. Love is a choice. It is not anyone elses’ but your own. Too often when we talk about Individual Liberty we fail to mention the greatest reason on Earth to be free, and that is be FREE To LOVE!!! Property, Liberty and Life are all prerequisites to loving. If you believe you have a Natural Right to Love the Person you choose then you must have the Natural Right to Defend your Life, Liberty and Property which are all prerequisites for expressing that love.

As Liberty dies so does our ability to Love.

If the Right to love whom ever we choose is an innate right then the right to our Life, Liberty and Property is as well, because without the later the Right to Love does not exist.

And that’s my take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Anti-Capitalist Mentality – Why do so many people hate capitalism?

In Advocates of Liberty, True nature of the State on September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm

It’s hard to watch the news today and miss the myriad of Politicians, Pundits, and Professors espousing their hatred for Capitalism. But why in the world do they hate it so much?

And more importanlty how can there be so many ordinary individuals who also loathe the economic system based on private property rights and individual liberty?

That is the question that we need to answer today.

Fortunatley someone has already provided the answer for us. Our job is to relay his answer to the millions who still embrace the “Anti-Capitalist Mentality”.

Ludgwig von Mises the Austrian Economist and champion of Liberty gives us his brilliant answer to the question “Why do so many people Hate Capitalism?” in his essay  “The Anti-Capitalist Mentality’. Originally published in 1956 it is still  relevant today as we see so many politicians in power seeking to replace the private property model of Capitalism with the State ownership model of Collectivism.

http://mises.org/etexts/anticap.pdf

Most people who Hate Capitalism hate how others have succeeded because of it. They despise the fact that:

“The profit system makes those men prosper who have succeeded in filling the wants of the people in the best possible and cheapest way. Wealth can be acquired only by serving the consumers.”

Because they feel like they are the true “Literary, Intellectual and Cultural Nobility” they should be the one’s prospering instead of those serving the masses.

“It has, they say (Capitalism), “atomized” society, dissolved its “organic” subdivisions into “amorphous” masses. The “much too many” are now supreme, and their mean materialism has superseded the noble standards of ages gone by. Money is king. Quite worthless people enjoy riches and abundance, while meritorious and wor-thy people go empty-handed.”

But waht can those who feel slighted by the Capitalist system do to remedy their situation as a “victim”?

“The entrepreneurs and capitalists owe their wealth to the people who patronize their businesses.”

They can’t go to the entrepreneur and capitalsits (even though that is happening more and more).

The control of the material means of production is a social function, subject to the confirmation or revocation by the sovereign consumers. This is what the modern concept of freedom means. Every adult is free to fashion his life according to his own plans. He is not forced to live according to the plan of a planning authority enforcing its unique plan by the police, i.e., the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion. What restricts the individual’s freedom is not other people’s violence or threat of violence, but the physiological structure of his body and the inescapable na-ture-given scarcity of the factors of production.”

But those who hate captialism and want to substitute their own  economic system for it, take their case to the masse. Their pitch is that they could enjoy a higher standard of living if it weren’t for the greedy capitalist who exploit them.  The planners and collectivists prey on the unviersal truth that:

“as soon as some of his wishes are satisfied, new wishes spring up. Such is human nature.”

Even though most Americans enjoy a standard of living far behond that of anyone who has ever lived on Earth, idndividuals naturally want more. This is derided by most as “mass consumption” and disparag it as a  great evil.  But as Mises points out  this endless  search to satisfy desires is not our problem.

” This lust is precisely the impulse which leads man on the way toward economic betterment. To content oneself with what one has already got or can easily get, and to abstain apathetically from any attempts to improve one’s own material conditions, is not a virtue.  Man’s most characteristic mark is that he never ceases in endeavors to advance his well-being by purposive activity.”

The problem is not that people want to satisfy more and more desires. The problem arises when they choose the wrong means to do so. This is where the politicians, pundits and professors gladly peddle their brand of State Controlled Economic System. So the people:

“… fall prey to spurious ideolies”… and then …They advocate measures which are bound to result finally in general impoverishment, in the disintegration of social cooperation under the principle of the division of labor, and in a return to barbarism.”

This is the condition in which we are living under today. The politicians, pundits and professors jealous of the wealth of those who have served their fellow man in the best most efficient way have convinced a majority of the population that they have been exploited and deserve more. All the masses  have to do is to allow them to “modify” capitalism to ensure they get what is rightfully theirs.

The people fail to see that they are “soveriegn” under Capitalism and need no one to “advocate” for them in order to prosper all they have to do is serve their fellow man better than others currently do.

“What makes a man more or less prosperous is not the evaluation of his contribution from any “absolute” principle of justice, but evaluation on the part of his fellowmen who exclu-sively apply the yardstick of their own personal wants, desires and ends.”

This too is an insult to the self proclaimed “supermen”.  The Politicians, pundits, and professors  hate that the masses, the ignorant unwashed “vote” to determine who succeeds or fails in the Free Market. The Planners want to control the economic destiny of the masses to secure theirs.

“It is precisely this that the democratic system of the market means. The consumers are supreme—i.e., sovereign. They want to be satisfied.”

Those who hate Capitalism hate it becasue they are arrogant enough that they think they know best how other men should live. Captialism is the economic system based upon priveate property which has led to the expolosion of the human population and is responsible for you and I to be here on Earth. It is the only economic system on Earth that has led to the “mass production” and mass production of goods which has steadily improved the living standards of millions of people. Those who hate Captitalism should as Voltaire wrote “Tend your own garden” first.

“To the grumbler who complains about the unfairness of the market system only one piece of advice can be given: If you want to acquire wealth, then try to satisfy the public by offering them something that is cheaper or which they like better”.

 In a Capitalist system those who fail or don’t achieve what they want have no one to blame but themselves. On the Free Market everyone is free to unseat those with established market share. All you have to do is provide a better product at a cheaper price.

Here (under Capitalism) everybody’s station in life depends on his own doing. Everybody whose ambitions have not been fully gratified knows very well that he has missed chances, that he has been tried and found wanting by his fellowman.

And instead of “From Each according to his abiltiy to each according to his need”  which is the Collectivist guiding principle.

The guiding principle of Capitalism is” To Each according to his accomplishments”.

The Capitalist principle is one that doesn’t require the services of the Collectivist Planners whose only product is “planning for others”.

“The price and market system of capitalism is such a society in which merit and achievements determine a man’s success or failure.”

That is why the siren song  of collectivism is so hard to resist. The planners gain power and status as they institute their plans, the “masses” get to blame their failings on others and both use the lethal power of the State to appropriate the property of  Capitalists and Entrepreneurs. The successful are punished and the unproductive are rewarded.

But the collectivists are not the only one’s who are to blame. Those who love liberty but fail to bravely and persistently expose the ideology of “slavery” are also to blame. If Lenin and Marx’s Collectivism were torn apart immediatley and  repeatedly and with more “eloquence” we may live in a different world today. Instead of the Welfare/Warfare State we would be living in a true Free Market Society.

Mises also spoke of the dangers of the “stealth collectivist”. These are the politicians and pundits who support collectivist ideas like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the entire Welfare System.

 “These individuals are aiming at is communism without those inherent and necessary features of communism which are still unpalatable to Americans”.

But as Ayn Rand wrote in the introduction to “Anthem”, those who share the “Anti-Capitalist Mentality” will reap what they own.

“They expect when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape responsibility by wailing: But I didnt mean this!”

Collectivism always leads down the Road to Serfdom.  And becasue of this:

“Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore, everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.”  Mises

And as Henry Hazlitt used to tell those who didn’t understand why the collectivist creed was winning out over Liberty, he would tell them “We Haven’t been good enough”. It is our task to be better writers, speakers and communictors than those who share the “Anti-Capitalist Mentality”. That is the only way to reverse the course of Collectivism across the world.

It’s good to remember the words of Bastiat as well:

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked but to be ineptly defended.”

We are the defenders of Liberty and Liberty is under attack.

And That’s My take

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

Individualism vs Collectivism

In True nature of the State on September 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

All societies are based upon either the idea of Individualism or Collectivism. In today’s America we are travelling further and further down the road to Serfdom because a majority of Americans accept some of the foundational  ideological premises of Collectivism.

Ayn Rand understood even back in the 40’s that many Americans were supporting the Collectivist principles without even knowing it. Most Americans were staunch anti-communists at the time but they failed to realize that most of the Federal and State laws passed were actually based upon the same Collectivist ideology  which was ideological foundation of the USSR. The problem as Rand saw it was that people had a hard time understanding the fundamental premise behind the two ideologies. She masterfully laid out in her 1946 “Textbook of Americanism” the irreconcilable differences between two.

Ayn Rand’s ” Textbook of Americanism” is as she puts it is an  ” intellectual ammunition depot” for those want to advance the cause of Liberty.  It has had limited exposure due to the fact it only appeared  in a Hollywood Trade magazine “The Vigil” back in 1946. Thanks to The Foundation for Economic Education for making this ideological ammunition again  available for those who are fighting for the advancement of Freedom. 

Rand is a perfect authority for clarifying the differences between a Society based upon  Individualism and one that is based on Collectivism. She and her family suffered terribly after the 1917 Russian Revolution because her family was “bourgeoise”.  Which caused her to move to America in 1926.

I recommend reading her under appreciated novel “We the Living” set  in Russian after the Communist Revolution to get a first hand account of living conditions in a Collectivist Utopia. Even though the characters are fictional she states that this story is  her most autobiographical work.  In it she shows in human terms what happens when Collectivist ideology is fully unleashed. Her characters  in the story suffer misery, fear, starvation, poverty,  humiliation, and rampant acts of dehumanization . The arbitrary power wielded by those who spoke for the Collective was brutal and unrelenting. In the foreword she stresses that the evils of Totalitarianism she describes are not limited to the Russian brand of Communism, but are instead inherent to all expressions of Collectivism. 

That is why reading “Textbook of Americanism”  is such an important read today. Too many Americans are unaware of the Collectivist origins of many of the Laws and Programs in place in this country today. They fail to see Lenin’s or Marx’s influence when a politician urges that we “all share in  the sacrifice” and “spread the wealth” .. Even though this stealth Collectivism is hidden in phrases  of “social justice” and “fairness” they still share the same ideological basis which founded the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany which is the individual is subjected to the will of the majority and those who speak for it.  “Social Duty Comes First.”

That is why Rand’s ” Textbook of Americanism” is such a great resource for those who love liberty. 

http://fee.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Textbook-of-Americanism-by-Ayn-Rand.pdf

(It is short only 14 pages long but like “I, Pencil” by Leonard Read,  it is an essential weapon in the ideological arsenal who is fighitng to Live in a Free Society.)

By asking and answering  ten questions, Rand in a clear and rational style shows that the two ideologies of Individualism and Collectivism are irreconcilable. That is an important lesson today because we hear from both major political parties that we need “compromise”.  This compromise unfortunately is  always at the expense of Individual Liberty. In “TOA” Rand makes it clear why we don’t need any compromises when it comes to defending our Natural Right each of us have to our Life, Liberty and Property. In a rational way she explains that a  Society based on Individualism is one that leads to peace, prosperity and FREEDOM and  a Society based on Collectivism is one that leads to misery, poverty, and SUBJUGATION.

Natural Rights and individualism are inseparable. If you belong to yourself than you have a Natural Right to Defend your Life, Liberty and Property. If you belong to the State or the Collective then your Life, Liberty and Property belong to the whim of the majority.

Under a System of Individualism, men are equal before the law. When the politicians ask  Do the Rich should pay their fair share?”. The first question asked should be what moral right does any man have to seize the property of anohter?”The question should be asked “who determines this fair share?” “And more importantly who receives it?” These are moving targets which the biggest “gangs” in Society determine by using the Marxist’s formula of “From Each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” When you read  “We the Living” you’ll see the destruction of Life, Liberty and Property that result when this Collectivist Idea is implemented.

 Rand clearly understood that the greatest issue of the day in 1946 was between the two systems, Individualism vs. Collectivism,  just as it is today.

“Individualism holds that man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken from him by any other man, nor by any number, group or collective of other men. Therefore each man exists by his own right, and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.”

” Collectivism holds that man has no rights; that his work, his body, and his personality, belong to the group; the group can do with him as it pleases; in any manner it pleases, for the sake whatever it decides to be its welfare. Therefore, each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of group.”

Those who advocate for Collectivism believe that only the will of the Collective should determine the rights of the individuals in Society. They believe that a system based on Individualism will leave individuals free to violate the rights of others because there is no clear delineation between when one  individual’s rights end and where another one’s begin. 

Rand’s reply to this argument is one that  everyone who loves freedom should memorize. It is the  foundation of the Freedom Philosophy and the greatest intellectual weapon against Collectivism. Rand describes how rights of individuals are delineated within a Society based on Individualism.

 “It is an objective  division not subject to differences of opinion, not to majority decision, nor to the arbitrary decree of society.”

 -“NO MAN HAS THE RIGHT TO INITIATE THE USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE AGAINST ANOTHER MAN.”

That statement illustrates that the use of force is the gulf that separates the two ideologies. The use of Force is at the heart of Collectivism. When someone proposes that the Life, Liberty or Property of someone should be involuntarily seized to benefit others, that is a clear sign of the ideology of Collectivism in action. 

“The Practical Rule of conduct in living in a Free Society, a Society of Individualism, is simple and clear-cut; you cannot expect or demand any action from another man except through his free voluntary consent.”

This is the moral code of the Society based upon Natural Rights and Individualism where all action is voluntary. A Collectivist Society is not based on no moral code or Natural Law therefore all action is controlled by the majority and those who speak for it.

Ayn Rand ends her “Textbook of Americanism” with some words we should all keep in mind when we hear advocates of Authoritarians claim that more State control is the “moral” thing to do.

Without a Moral Code no proper human society is possible” and “Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.”  

Collectivism is a brutal impersonal ideology based on force. It denies human experience. In “We the Living” Kira the hero is talking to Andrei  a secret police agent with who she is having an affair with  and admonishes him with:

” You may claim the right to kill as all fighters do. But no one before you has ever thought of forbidding life to those still living”.

This is collectivism taken to its logical end.

Even though we don’t live under a total Collectivist Society I do believe that the majority of individuals in this  country accepts Taxation as a way take from those who have to benefit those who do not. Taxation is a  Collectivist idea because it involves the involuntary seizing of a man’s property by force and then transferring that wealth to others because of their “need”. This transference of wealth is based upon the same creed as Russian Communism.

“From Each according to his ability, to Each according to his need”. Collectivism is alive and well in America!!!

I disagree with Rand’s take on  the need for Limited Government. For me I personally throw my hat in the ring with the Free Market Society or Anarcho-Capitalist guys, like Nock and Rothbard. 

That being said, for me not to read Rand because I disagree with her on her limited government stance is just as ludicrous as  those who love liberty; but don’t read her because she was an atheist. I have to confess I used to not read her because of her views on God and selfishness. But I’m glad I matured and now understand that for me to miss out on her clear, rational, passionate defense of individual Liberty  for any reason is in the end only aiding the enemies of Freedom.

Ayn Rand unlike most of us and most of the writers we normally read actually lived under a Collectivist Society. Her warnings of where that ideology lead to is more relevant today than ever. The West,the birthplace of Individualism is forgetting its ideological roots and rapidly embracing the Collectivist creed. If you want to help stop this tide then read  “Textbook of Americanism” and ” We the Living”. They will help your understanding of the differences between the two systems and help you articulate that to others.

And That’s my Take,

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty

The Law of Responsibility -Negative and Positive Consequence Particles

In Liberty, True nature of the State on September 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Every Action has a Consequence.

That is a simple idea that most people hopefully will agree with. What most people will not agree upon though is who should experience the consequences of their actions.

 Mises wrote  in his opus “Human Action” that  all individuals act in order to eliminate “uneasiness”. They do this in the best way that they know how to in order to replace their current state of being for one they believe will be an improved state.

Rothbard elaborated on the idea of action and stated that individuals act to achieve their highest priority on their scale of value. Both Austrian Legends agreed that only individuals can act and that all action is speculative.

No one can know for certain what result will be obtained with any particular action.  But we do know that the action performed will generate a consequence. This can either be a positive or negative result. I like to think of a hypothetical particle generated by each action that when experienced by the individuals produces a “good” or “bad” feeling. And these good or bad feelings shape individual’s behavior and induces them to take more efficient actions while achieving their life’s goals. In doing so these particles and the feelings that they generate “hold” Society together through the Law of Responsibility.

This hypothetical particle is what I like to call a “consequence particle“. It has either a positive or negative charge. In Society today individuals try to avoid experiencing the Negative Consequence Particle or NCP by using the State to swap them for the Positive Consequence Particles or PCPs that others have rightly generated through prudent efficient action. But the Law of Responsibility doesn’t allow them who make this unnatural swap to escape experiencing the NCPs that their actions generate for long.

 The Law of Responsibility is a Natural Law that states simply that each individual is responsible for the consequences of his actions. It is an immutable law  just as much as the Law of  Gravity. 

Like gravity it is experienced by everyone but still  a mystery to the mechanism by which it works.

Gravity is a mysterious force that helps to hold the Universe together. Scientists today even the know-it-alls have to admit they are at a loss to explain the exact mechanism through which gravity works. Some believe that an imaginary particle ( a theoretical particle) called a graviton mediates gravity in the universe.

The Law of Responsibility stated differently is the expressed by the ancient admonition that “You Reap what you Sow.” . What you sow you have a God-given right to reap, whether the consequence of that planting (action) is positive or negative.

But today most folks don’t think they should reap the Negative Consequence Particles which make them feel “Bad” and instead they should benefit instead from the Positive Consequence Particles of others in order to feel “Good”.

  The Law of Responsibility is a part of Natural Law and those who do believe that they  are endowed with their Creator with certain inalienable rights among which are the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, should also include that they are endowed with their Creator with the Responsibility to suffer the consequences of all their actions. 

The Law of Responsibility is like the Law of Gravity which both can be experienced firsthand and understood by a two-year old. Watch a two-year old throw a Duplo block into the air. When it falls back down and lands squarely on top of his head he begins to cry. He is lamenting his discovery of both the Law of Responsibility and The Law of Gravity.
What goes up must come down  just as every consequence generated by an action must fall upon the man who initiated it.  

Like the illusive graviton I believe that most folks fail to see the “consequence” particles that link their actions to the subsequent consequences that they cause.

This consequence particle whether Positive or Negative  forces us all to eventually  “reap what we sow”.  When I talk of action I use the term as Loa Tzu understood it, that non-action is the same as action when it comes to generating consequences.

Since the Law of Responsiblity is as immutable as the Law of Gravity these actions and their “consequence particles” still return to the actor even if he doesn’t realize it.

In this country today everyone wants to be shielded from their “consequence particles” and as a result the State grows because it is the only entity on Earth who can “legally” force “consequence particles” to fall  initially upon others. People who support the Socialist programs do so because they  fail to save, fail to learn how to be more of value to their employers, fail to improve themselves in order that they may take care of themselves later on in life. They don’t alter their actions because they don’t “feel” the NCPs  initially generated by these actions but over a lifetime of these habitual destructive actions they can not escape the NCPs that they created. 

The politicians and the plunderers transfer the negative for the positive and instead of enjoying the rightfully acquired PCPs the  most productive individuals must suffer with 50%  more NCPs than their actions would naturally produce.  That “bad” feeling generated by the NCPs which they are now subject to have no relationship what so ever to their  actions. These NCPs initially effect the producer and in turn affect his future actions to avoid more of his PCPs from being stolen. This is what helps to worsen economic downturns and explains why Socialism can never work.

In Natural Society the only way to feel the effects of PCPs is by reaching one’s goals while respecting the Natural Rights of others. If you violated those rights you would of course be punished. Like Bastiat said, “Life, Liberty and Property do no exist because men have made laws. On the contrary it is because Life, Liberty and Property beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

Through trial and error and the experiencing of both PCPs and NCPs we learn which actions will likely be successful in the future  which will enable us to more efficiently reach our goals. The NCPs are no fun and make us feel “bad”. This bad feeling is absolutely necessary to lead us away from actions which will waste our life in acting in ways contrary to attaining what we desire. 

This is what  Bastiat would call an Unseen consequence of the “bad” feeling caused by NCPs. The Negative Consequence Particles are meant to inflict “pain” on the one whose actions generate them. They are meant to change the behavior of the individual acting. Most people only see the suffering that they cause. But the Statists and Socialists  fail to see how by experiencing NCPs individuals are actually benefited by this “suffering”.

If my goal is to lose weight but continue to each two Snickers Blizzards a day I will have to endure the NCPs generated by this action. When I look into the mirror or try to wear pants that  no longer fit I will feel “bad” because of the NCPs generated by my actions. That “bad” feeling is my brain registering the Negative Consequence Particles generated because my actions have led me away from my goal of losing weight and looking more attractive.  

These NCPs help me to see my errors . The “pain” forces me upon a new course of action thus resulting  in Positive Consequence Particles being felt instead of negative ones. My clothes fit better, I look more attractive and I feel more confident.  Which then produce the PCPs I crave because I know if I experience that good feeling I know I’m on the right track to reaching whatever goal I am acting to acheive.

I despise the distinction of separating the activities of individuals into, economic, political, religious, personal categories. All Human actions are Human actions no matter what goal they are trying to achieve. When human action is categorized and segregated people tend to forget how all actions they we take are subject to the Law of Responsibility.  It doesn’t matter if it is the action of an individual who is an entrepreneur, politician, or soldier. Human beings are indivisible and their actions are human actions no matter what the goal they are trying to achieve. Rothbard called this profit/loss of all actions as psychic profit.

Each of  us working for someone else is always looking to sell our labor at the highest price. But in order to do this we must continually seek to improve our product (labor) in order to please the shifting tastes of our customers (Employers). If you have a product that no one wants to buy that should generate NCPs. Because only then will you want to improve that product and be able to sell it. But if the State through Force makes others buy your labor at a price they would not voluntarily do so you are escaping the NCPs generated by your non-action in improving your product(at least temporarily) by swapping them for your  employer’s PCPs. By doing this though you lose out in the long run. Without experiencing the NCPs due to your actions of nonimporvement you are missing out on the key impetus that would encourage you through pain to improve your product so employers would pay more for your service.

The labor market is like the t.v. or tennis shoe market. The employers who are buying an individual’s labor, his service, wants to buy the highest quality product at the lowest rate possible, just as you want the clearest biggest HD LCD t.v. at the lowest price you can find.  But prices tend to remain high on products produced when workers don’t improve themselves and the quality of their efforts. This is one way the Law of Responsibility ensures that the temporarily shifted NCPs  always find their way back to the individuals who generated them.

The Law of Responsibility like the Law of Gravity can not be escaped. We can fly temporarily in a helicopter or jump on a pogo stick into the air but everything that goes up must come down. And when we act no matter if we transfer our Negative Consequence Particles initially to others  we can not escape their effects. in the long run. When the delayed “bad” effects of the NCPs finally reach the initiator of them he more often than not fails to link the NCPs to the action that caused them. And even if he is able to determine the action or actions that generated the NCPs in his past he now  finds them to be deeply ingrained and habitual in the present making different types of actions difficult in the future.

The State of the Economy (Society) today is the result of the Negative Consequence Particles  of individual actions being funneled through The State and then spread out over millions of people. This problem is further compounded when these same people act and  expect their NCPs to affect others besides themselves. So you have all this negative reinforcement being filtered and diluted and when the NCPs finally reaches  the culpable individuals they are experienced as a down economy, a world in turmoil, and by extension a quality of life that is on the decline.  Most react by railing against the “world”  blaming it for keeping them down but they fail to realize that every action they’ve  taken in which the NCPs have been transferred to others whether it’s for their retirement,their power bill, their  food, their  housing, their low-interest rate, their  security, their medical care, have produced the declining standard of living and a regressive Society through which they now experiences the NCPs of their past actions even though long-delayed.

If you want to live Free you  must also Freely accept the Negative Consequence Particles of your actions immediately and not try to shift them to others. But the opposite of the negatively charged consequence particle is the positively charged particle which if you were truly free would be yours to experience fully. That is only  if your  your actions generated them did not  violate the Natural Rights of others. The PCPs make us feel “good”  and steer us in concert with NCPs into making better decisions and acting more efficiently. The Law of responsibility like the Law of Gravity can be painful. But without it we would never understand why are lives are not improving and we would  continue blaming  others for all our woes.

I believe that when the mechanism by which Gravity  effects matter is discovered it will be a boon to mankind. In the same way the more we are able to understand how The Law of Responsibility holds us accountable for our actions the more we will be able to take advantage of this Law of Nature. This knowledge will be a great benefit to every individual who realizes that the negative consequences of his actions are his God-given responsibility to endure in order that he may improve,  and that the result of those improved more efficient actions will be the generation of PCPs which are by God-given right his to enjoy.

The more we are consciously able to experience the NCPs and PCPs generated by our actions the more we will be able to live the lives that we want.

And that’s my take.

Bastiat1776

AdvocateofLiberty