Letter to the editor of the Daily Beacon, 02.05.10

My following letter appeared in the Daily Beacon, the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, on February 5th:

Sam Smith’s Feb. 1 column was written with the journalistic integrity of a White House spokesperson.

Of President Obama’s unprecedented social reforms, he says that “it’s clear the policies being proposed would greatly benefit the American people.” This clarity is imaginary. The real lack of clarity in legislation today is a government failure, not to mention a broken campaign promise. If asked what exactly is being proposed in Washington, Smith would not know. Nor would anyone else. I suspect that general benefits to the people never require 2,000 pages of statutory language. While the reforms being proposed by Obama’s administration may arguably benefit some, it is a mistake to say that they would benefit the people in general. A law enforced always injures someone.

Smith also called Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito an “idiot” for mouthing the words “not true” and then challenged Alito to explain this. Just in case Judge Alito forgets to read Smith’s column, I will explain for him. Obama said that because of the Citizens United decision, American elections could be “bankrolled by foreign entities.” This is, as Alito correctly mouthed, not true. The opinion contains language specifically preventing this from happening. Obama was lying. If Alito had any chutzpah (which Smith incorrectly spelled hootspa), he would have channeled Joe Wilson and yelled, “NOT TRUE!”

Smith opines that the Republicans are “no longer a ‘serious’ opposition party,” with no serious ideas and no serious leaders. Republican leadership is serious to the extent that it is truly Republican—it is not. Serious Republican ideas do exist, even though the party’s official leadership does not acknowledge them. That human existence involves some degree of suffering that cannot be legislated away is an idea as serious as it is true, but it makes the political tinkerers in Washington seem irrelevant, so they selfishly refuse to give credence to it.

Alex Winston

Senior in political science

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Letter to the editor, 09.17.09

Obama schoolchildren

This letter appeared, with some cosmetic edits, in the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, The Daily Beacon, on September 17.

Sam Smith’s friday column, “Criticism of Obama’s speech outrageous,” was nothing if not educational. While reading it, I learned that I am “either a hateful individual or a nincompoop.” I learned that I am “involved in the madness and mistruths,” that my behavior should be called into question, that I should refrain from expressing myself, so that the country can move forward. I learned that I am perhaps an adherent to “the worst sentiments among us like covert prejudice and ignorance.” I learned that I do not accept the fact of Obama’s presidency. I learned that all opponents of the White House’s unconstitutional plans for healthcare and energy are small-minded and petty. I learned that I am a global citizen, although I do not recall accepting the rule of a global government. These revelations say nothing about me, but they speak volumes of the columnist’s attitude toward those who disagree with him.

At the risk of being outrageous, I will criticize Obama’s speech to the nation’s schoolchildren. I take no issue with the speech’s content. It spoke of hard work and self-reliance. It could have been written by a staunch conservative. The speech, however, was not given in good faith; it was disingenuous. It was pure demagoguery. If Thomas Paine was correct in writing that “infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what [one] does not believe,” then Obama’s speech epitomized infidelity. He preached hard work and personal responsibility, but his policies encourage laziness and collective responsibility. If Obama had spoken in good faith, his message to America’s youth would have been: “I hope you work hard for your country, but if you do not, don’t worry. It is not your fault and it should not be your responsibility. I will force your hardworking, responsible neighbors to give you food, cash, cars, homes and healthcare.”

Respectfully,

Alex Winston

Junior in Political Science

Racist, sexist President Obama appoints racist, sexist judge Sotomayor

Obama appoints Sotomayor

Surprise, surprise. Brief thoughts on the bigoted choice:

President Obama considered only females for the open Supreme Court seat; that’s sexism epitomized.  His choice was, by his own admission, largely influenced by race as well.  If Wal-Mart considered only men when choosing a new board member, and then announced they were proud of their choice because he is not only male but white, they would face a lawsuit.  Objectively, that is exactly what Obama did (only with a Hispanic woman), to the cheers of “liberal” bigots everywhere.  The absurdity and injustice of the process was disgustingly bigoted.  As is our wont, government sponsors injustice, the government-educated majority loves it, and everyone capable of objective, critical thought has to accept it, because democracy, in all its tyrannical splendor, is the new god.

A letter concerning economic reality

As a response to this bloomberg.com article, which declares and celebrates the end of laissez-faire economic influence, I shared with my mother (who forwarded the article to me) thoughts so relevant to the economic discussion in America today, they are worth repeating here:

This article, besides unpardonably confounding economic liberty with imperial oppression and brutal dictatorhip, grossly neglects theoretical argument, so the ignorant reader is to accept its conclusion without understanding it.  This negligence of thought is a necessary means to an unreasoned end.  So far from being worthy of publication, this article would be expensive at any price, and is not worth the time spent reading it.  By equivocating much, it says nothing.

The idea that Barack Obama will “referee the laissez-faire versus free-market debate” is laughable; as referee in that non-existent contest (laissez-faire and free-market are inseparable allies), Obama would probably sabotage both competitors and declare an interventionist victory.

I will present a few points ignored by this article that, if attended to, would render a very different image.

First, it has been over a century since we have had a free market for goods and services and private control of production and consumption.  Therefore we have not had capitalism, and it is irrational to blame economic woes on a system that does not exist; it is as reasonable to blame Martians.

Secondly, and most importantly, government fostered the economic crisis.  Behold artificially low interest rates during the tech bust of 2001-02.  The only way to keep rates so low is by printing money out of thin air.  This government-created free money combined with implicit government guarantees of new loans via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac generated a housing bubble and subsequent financial bubble large enough to threaten the existence of the global financial system.  Because that system is naturally undeserving of its legitimacy, its collapse may be a good thing, but only if governments practice humility in the aftermath.  Governments should understand that the maximization of individual freedom is their purpose, both politically and economically.  Governments should come to know that the evils of paper money cannot be overstated.  Governments should not allow interested monopolies to control monetary bases.  Governments should focus on destroying monopolies, not turning them into unavoidable institutions.  Inexplicably, we must now rest our hopes of economic salvation upon the imminent Representative Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, both of whom promoted bad loan practices and free money policies for years, and neither of whom saw the economic crisis coming.  This is a sure case of the inmates running the asylum.

On this point, note that at least one House Representative did accurately predict the events that led to the financial bust.  In a speech to the House in 2001, he said “despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government’s interference in the housing market, the government’s policies of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing.” That Representative was ignored by almost everyone, and probably laughed at by the interventionist economists that this article aggrandizes.  That Congressman was Dr. Ron Paul, who continues to be widely ignored by popular economists, his colleagues, and our media.

Thirdly, most true free-market economists follow the “Austrian” theories of Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich A. von Hayek.  Free marketeers typically place more value on each of these three than Milton Friedman because their work was much more thorough, more laissez-faire, and more conclusive.  Few if any contemporary proponents of laissez-faire economics hail from the University of Chicago.

Economic science and history inform us that there will eventually be a final and all-destructive economic downturn: the fiat currency bust, which in the United States will be the destruction of the dollar.  The nature of this destruction will likely be hyperinflationary, like Germany’s post-WWI Mark or the ancient Roman denari (severe dilution of silver content in coins was the ancient “paper” money, and is still practiced).  I hope this will be followed by a return to sound asset-backed currencies and the elimination of fraudulent banking institutions, whose theft brings so much hardship to the unaware, unoffending, humble human.

Emerson cherished gold standard, limited government

Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writing is popular among progressives, who often share his criticisms of materialism, simony, and intolerance.  When I began reading his complete works, I wrongly expected to see “progressive” economic and political views; I did not.  I was surprised to learn that, regarding the size and scope of government, Emerson is at odds with progressives; when they use his words, they abuse his philosophy.  Emerson not only advocates the idea of limited government, but holds the political philosophy of no-government.  He certainly did not believe in what Joe Biden incorrectly calls “fairness.”

Emerson is no critic of capitalism or free markets; he sees injustice in fiat money, and cherishes the gold standard.  Logically, then, the progressive who defames the gold standard shows more respect to the economic philosophy of Richard Nixon than that of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  If Emerson were to have a conversation with Barack Obama about economics, he would probably conclude that Obama is either poorly educated, or educated to think poorly.  Emerson, being a good assessor of fitness, would probably find Obama unfit to govern in a free society.

Relative Emerson quotes:

“We live in a very low state of the world, and pay unwilling tribute to governments founded on force.”

“It is not the office of a man to receive gifts.  How dare you give them?  We wish to be self-sustained.  We do not quite forgive a giver.  The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten.  We can receive anything from love, for that is a way of receiving it from ourselves; but not from any one who assumes to bestow.”

“Necessity does everything well.”

“All public ends look vague and quixotic beside private ones.  For any laws but those which men make for themselves are laughable.”

“The less government we have the better.”

“Money, which represents the prose of life, and which is hardly spoken of in parlors without an apology, is, in its effects and laws, as beautiful as roses.  Property keeps the accounts of the world, and is always moral.  The property will be found where the labor, the wisdom and the virtue have been in nations, in classes and (the whole life-time considered, with the compensations) in the individual also.”

“Since we are all so stupid, what benefit that there should be two stupidities!”

“The laborer is a possible lord.  The lord is a possible basket-maker.”

“The English dislike the American structure of society, whilst yet trade, mills, public education and Chartism are doing what they can to create in England the same social condition.  America is the paradise of the economists; is the favorable exception invariably quoted to the rules of ruin; but when he speaks directly of the Americans the islander forgets his philosophy and remembers disparaging anecdotes.”

“The ambition to create value evokes every kind of ability.”

“Another machine more potent in England than steam is the Bank.  It votes an issue of bills, population is stimulated and cities rise; it refuses loans, and emigration empties the country; trade sinks; revolutions break out; kings are dethroned.  By these new agents our social system is molded.”

“It is rare to find a merchant who knows why a crisis occurs in trade, why prices rise or fall, or who knows the mischief of paper money.”

“What befalls from the violence of financial crises, befalls daily in the violence of artificial legislation.”

“How did our factories get built?  How did North America get netted with iron rails, except by the importunity of these orators who dragged all the prudent men in?  Is party the madness of many for the gain of the few?  This speculative genius is the madness of a few for the gain of the world.  The projectors are sacrificed, but the public is the gainer.”

“I have never seen a man as rich as all men ought to be, or with an adequate command of nature.  The pulpit and the press have many commonplaces denouncing the thirst for wealth; but if men should take these moralists at their word and leave off aiming to be rich, the moralists would rush to rekindle at all hazards this love of power in the people, lest civilization should be undone.”

“Wealth brings with it its own checks and balances.  The basis of political economy is non-interference.  The only safe rule is found in the self-adjusting meter of demand and supply.  Do not legislate.  Meddle, and you snap the sinews with your sumptuary laws.  Give no bounties, make equal laws, secure life and property, and you need give no alms.  Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue and they will do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands.  In a free and just commonwealth, property rushes from the idle and imbecile to the industrious, brave and persevering.”

“Friendship buys friendship; justice justice; military merit, military success.  Good husbandry finds wife, children and household.  The good merchant, large gains, ships, stocks and money.  The good poet, fame and literary credit; but not either, the other.  Yet there is commonly a confusion of expectations on these points.  Hotspur lives for the moment, praises himself for it, and despises Furlong, that he does not.  Hotspur of course is poor, and Furlong a good provider.  The odd circumstance is that Hotspur thinks it a superiority in himself, this improvidence, which ought to be rewarded with Furlong’s lands.”

“The true thrift is always to spend on the higher plane; to invest and invest, with keener avarice, that he may spend in spiritual creation and not in augmenting animal existence.”

“To detach a man and make him feel that he is to owe all to himself, is the way to make him strong and rich.”

Open bailout opposition letter to Congress

Stolen from you by U.S.

“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.” – Thomas Jefferson

There is a lot of hype in Washington this week, a lot of short-term thinking, but very little honest reflection and philosophically sound governance based on the long term prospects of the American economy.  Jefferson was right: our financial markets have fallen into a cycle of government dependence and therefore no longer discipline themselves.  The American economy has lived beyond its means; to deny this is to declare yourself ignorant and unfit to govern.  We have floated on a cloud of credit, and believed ourselves to be in heaven, and though we have ventured far from earth, the latest liquidity squeeze has allowed us to see just how far we must fall when our economy’s bill comes due.  Though the $700,000,000,000 proposal before you may indeed postpone the payment date, the American people will eventually have to pay dearly for living on money that has been given value–not by production–but by irrational faith, and you can be certain that every postponement will make that future payment more painful than it would be today.  Do not be convinced that there are no free market solutions to this crisis.  The unspeakable ideal of economic freedom will pump more liquid capital into our financial markets than the government ever could, and more importantly, the money generated by such a system would be sound and valuable.  The chronic risks of moral hazard and inflation this bailout poses far outweigh the risks of a brief credit crisis caused by market-liquidated debt.

We cannot become wiser before we admit that we have been foolish in the past.  Market interference was, in most instances, foolish.  The Community Re-Investment Act was foolish.  Taxing capital gains was foolish.  Turning over Congress’ constitutional money-coining responsibility to a private, secretive organization was foolish.  Encouraging irresponsible lending through never-ending taxpayer bailouts was foolish.  Artificially low interest rates were foolish.  Price manipulation was foolish.  Giving up on sound money was foolish.  Losing faith in freedom was foolish.  Ours, however, is not a fated existence.  Nowhere is it written in stone that we must remain foolish, or that we cannot obey Constitutional principles.  If, as Senator John McCain likes to say, you “came to Washington to change Washington,” now is your chance to realize your lofty dreams.  Crisis is the proper time for reform.  Now is the time to embrace real capitalism.  The American people should not be told to fear freedom, as they are being told now, but to embrace it.  The time has come for Americans to be rewarded for their own successes, and held accountable for their own mistakes.  The time has come for the ambitious legislators in Washington to stop fiscally abusing the children of this nation.

1994, 2000: Remembering the words of Goldwater and Reagan, American median voters want smaller government and balanced budgets, so they elect Republicans; in return, they receive the most rampant growth in government (and public debt) this continent has ever known.  2006: the median American voters want out of a conflict that is unrelated to their security or welfare, so they elect Democrats; in return, the war’s funding is not cut off but greatly increased.  2008: the American people want no taxpayer bailouts, they want to end the bubble-blowing policies of the Federal Reserve, and they want to stop the growing cycle of debt that has ruined a once free economy; in return, they are presented with the largest taxpayer bailout ever, a more powerful and secretive central bank, the largest economic bubble-blowing scheme ever contrived, and more debt than they can ever afford to pay off.

The blindfold has been removed from the American people.  They are awakening to a pattern that reveals self-government as a myth.  The extraordinary actions of the federal government are only serving to remove its mask, revealing its nationalist, socialist, imperialist, authoritarian, unresponsive, evil face.  We can accurately predict that, on matters of true importance, when a particular course of action is supported by more than 70% of the American people, their government will pursue the opposite course, pretending the people are a force of no consequence–an attitude to be expected of King Louis’ court, but not of a republic’s elected leaders.  I need not remind you of the French response to that attitude.  The United States government has lost so much legitimacy that it may not survive the latest proposal, should it pass.  The American people are well-aware of the truly criminal nature of any financial bailout; a huge one will both injure and offend them.  Moreover, it will not come without consequence; their lanterns are burning, their pitchforks are raised, and they are prepared to halt the criminal acts of this government, should it become necessary for them to do so.

The Iraq War, in the tradition of Jonathan Swift

Iraqi prisoners

Before reading:

Read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. This will help you understand the title and the tone.
http://www.uoregon.edu/~rbear/modest.html
Watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFptybbietQ
Intellectuals will understand the nature of this piece without explanation, and those readers who do not will find themselves inspired to defend the Iraqi people, which the media has taught them are subhuman.
It is satirical.  It is supposed to be disgusting.  My aim is to help the disgusted American reader, by forcing the reader to view Iraqis as humans, which is what they are.

The fundamentalist factions of Islam and Christianity have such similar social goals regarding women, substances, arts, sciences, and sex, that I have often wondered why the two don’t join forces against socially liberal ideas. These factions are almost invariably better armed and more passionate than liberals, and could together defeat and rule their pusillanimous counterparts within weeks. Instead of joining forces, however, they have become brothers at arms, and because the Christian faction “represents” my nation, I submit a modest proposal, hoping it will teach U.S. rulers how to maximize the economic productivity of their otherwise wasteful war (beyond the apparent strategy of stealing oil).

By some counts, our war has extinguished more than one million souls in Iraq, many of them young and–aside from bullet and/or blast wounds–relatively healthy. A show of hands reveals that many of the million dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) have suffered severed limbs or crushed skulls, but that a large percentage of their torsos remain intact.

Let us modestly assume that–subtracting infants, the aged, and the unusable–we have produced 300,000 employable human torsos in Iraq, and we have let them all decay to waste. This is tragic when we consider that many die on transplant waiting lists in the United States each year, and that there are only 107,213 Americans on all such lists today. To the list registrants and their families, there can be no sufficient reason why the bodies of our enemies should not have been harvested for useful organs. We know our enemies are evil, but we are well aware that the corruption resides in their minds–not in their hearts, livers, lungs or kidneys–so let us use their organs productively.

We know that many of those who die waiting for transplants are waiting for new livers. This is where our habit of killing Islamofascists in defense of freedom will be uniquely helpful. The backward people of the Islamic world are discouraged from consuming alcohol, and have outlawed its use in many places, which makes their livers pristine replacements for those of good, freedom-loving, beer-drinking Americans.

Many liberals–and even some weak-hearted conservative Americans–are saddened by the innocent-looking eyes of Iraqi children, but I assure you, we should feel no remorse for the children we have incidentally killed. First, we must face the reality that the people we are fighting are peculiarly wicked and–even as children–believe that freedom-loving people deserve death. Moreover, I understand that the children will be very useful to us (given that they are dead). There are certain areas of the body in which a transplant from a child is preferable to one from an adult. Corneal transplants are a perfect example.

Given that our toll of useful corpses nearly triples our conventional need for them, and that we have been assured, “my friends, there will be more wars,” it is only appropriate–for the sake of production–that some unconventional uses for dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) be explored.

For example: intestine. Of the 107,213 on the organ transplant waiting list, only 236 are waiting for intestine, which naturally brings us to wonder what is to be done with all of the extra gut. Gut has a variety of productive uses, and its excess promises to be of great use to American society. It can be fashioned into a tough string for musical instruments or tennis racquets. It is a source of rennet, which is used for the production of cheese. It can be used to case sausages. With all the possible uses of gut employed, we will be able to minimize the waste of Islamic intestine.

The use of human remains is not my area of expertise, and I hope and trust it never will be, but I am sure our government’s scientists will find a number of uses–known and yet unknown–for leftover Iraqi flesh. This new resource will be undoubtedly welcomed by the struggling United States economy.

The management of the war has also given us overseas prisons filled with terrorists. Of such prisons and their occupants, we are told, “my friends, there are some bad people down there,” and this is undoubtedly true. If the people in our government’s secret prisons were not obviously guilty terrorists, they would never have been arrested and detained by our benevolent military forces.

Currently, the scoundrels in our overseas prisons are a drain on the American economy, but this effect can be reversed. Because we know that their cases will never be formally tried, and that they will remain in these prisons indefinitely, we are fools to let them age wastefully. They are terrorists. They are guilty. They are fanatics. They cannot be rehabilitated. They are not getting out, ever. They are, for all intents and purposes, already dead. It is torturous beyond measure for a person to live endlessly in confinement this way, so it is with the utmost mercy that we should kill them humanely, and harvest their remains. This is the only way for them to become productive members (or–pardoning the pun–dismembers) of society. Because of their religious beliefs, a number of them are begging for death, so I am merely suggesting that we fulfill their requests.

Given our economic strife, and the necessity for our war despite its hefty price tag (not to mention the irrefutable sense of what I have proposed), there can be little doubt that these suggestions will be taken into serious consideration by our elected deciders in Washington. I believe, through sincere reason and revelation, that the measures I have proposed will help the United States win its war against evil, and thus they will help ensure that good people always prevail.