Archive for March, 2011

The State Against Blacks

Dave Killion — March 30, 2011

I’m still on holidays, but I have enough time to make a quick recommendation and it is this: get to know the views of Walter Williams. Williams authored “The State Against Blacks” in 1982, in which he lays out his case that government regulations intended to help minorities have had devastating consequences for blacks. I highly recommend the book, but these are busy times and you may prefer the PBS documentary “Good Intentions”, which is based on the book. Here is Part 1 –

Part 2 –

aaaaand Part 3 –

The whole thing is less than 30 minutes, so don’t pass it up.

Even more “Atlas Shrugged”

Dave Killion — March 28, 2011

I’m on holidays this week, so I don’t have as much time to post. While you wait for my return, here is some dialogue from “Atlas Shrugged” performed by two robots –

More On “Atlas Shrugged, Part 1”

Dave Killion — March 26, 2011

Here is a clip from the upcoming filmed version of “Atlas Shrugged” –

I remember when I read “Atlas Shrugged” that it wasn’t until this scene that I really became engaged with the work. Since then, many other readers have told me they had the same reaction at the same point, and for most of us the pivotal revelation was Phillip’s eagerness to obtain a donation from his brother Hank, despite being embarrassed to have his organization associated with someone whose values they consider unworthy.

I am further intrigued by the moment in which Hank confirms Phillip’s accusation that he, Hank, doesn’t really care about the underprivileged.  In Phillip’s eyes, this will not do. It is not enough that Hank makes a huge donation. He must care.

Libertarians are often accused of not caring about the poor because they wish to dismantle the welfare state. But ask any libertarian, and he will tell you that a libertarian society will be better for the poor. Given that, then even if the accusers are correct, so what? Why would anyone care if libertarians care?

Let There Be Light

Dave Killion — March 25, 2011

I cannot tell you what most libertarians will be doing at 8:30 PM, 26 March 2011, but you may be assured that precious few of them will be turning out their lights and sitting in the dark in recognition of Earth Hour.

Being not only environmentally but also economically aware, libertarians recognize that advancements in science and technology are blessings that should not be rejected, but rather spread to all peoples so that we may drive away disease, ignorance, and hunger. Where market forces are permitted to function without interference, conservation and maximization of resources are the rule. Although increasing wealth may initially cause environmental degradation, affluence ultimately makes affordable the costly good of maintaining a clean environment. In light of this, I hope you will join me in declining to participate in Earth Hour, and in electing to celebrate Human Achievement Hour:

Helping the Crap Out of the Poor

Dave Killion — March 24, 2011

Getting a job can be a real challenge, and for many poor people it is particularly so. Child care responsibilities and uncertain transportation can make punctuality difficult and limit one’s availability for work. Failure to complete high school may signal unreliability to a potential employer. Lack of work experience can suggest a lack of skills. Yet even in the face of these challenges, poor people have a competitive advantage: the willingness to start working for a wage low enough that an employer will overlook other concerns. That is, unless government takes that advantage away.  From the article –

“…  just two days after stating that her government would “focus on job creation in our province,” Premier Christy Clark announced her first major policy move, a $2.25 (28-per-cent) increase to British Columbia’s current minimum wage of $8 per hour.

“I don’t think it will cost jobs,” she stated.

If a job pays more, it’s reasonable to expect that the pool of applicants will improve in quality and that employers will face less pressure to risk hiring those folks I described above. As I understand it, if an employer has to pay more for labour, then he has less money for other things.  So if Ms. Clark doesn’t think this will cost jobs, what does she thinks it will cost?

 

But They DO Look Stylish!

Dave Killion — March 23, 2011

There is an outfit named Carolee that produces jewelry, and I don’t know if the folks over there are idiots or geniuses, but this campaign is likely to get them the attention for which they were aiming;

I can only dream of future ads in which we will be encouraged to admire the fashionable wear of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Francisco Franco, and Benito Mussolini.

Heh heh heh. Mercy.

A Milestone

Dave Killion — March 22, 2011

I am pleased to find out that yesterday’s post was the Victoria Libertarian Book Club’s 100th. Although we still have a small audience, we have watched it grow steadily, and we know that there are people who visit regularly because they value the libertarian perspective we bring to issues that the mainstream media portray from a primarily Team Red/Team Blue perspective.

Thanks to those who have offered some valuable criticism, and to those who have shared this site with others. Please keep doing both. It is my personal hope that some other members of our group will begin contributing posts so that all of you can benefit from their insight the way that I have.

Set Trade Free

Dave Killion — March 21, 2011

On each side of the Federal Trade Commission building in Washington, DC is one of a pair of sculptures entitled Man Controlling Trade. I have never seen them in person, but from the photos I’ve seen they look to be powerful works. The few people I’ve shown the images to have all been libertarians, who I think see these very differently from non-libertarians.

 

The usual first reaction is marvel at the portrayal of strength and struggle, but more interesting is the response once my fellow libertarians find out the name of the pieces. Each one of them gets a sad smile, and shakes his head at how so many misunderstand not only the proper relationship between man and trade, but also the harm that comes from man attempting to dominate and direct such a powerful force.

To a libertarian, this doesn’t look like man controlling trade. It looks like ‘Man Abusing Trade’.

 

 

Drinking For Liberty

Dave Killion — March 20, 2011

A favourite topic between libertarians is the means by which the cause of liberty can be advanced, and when the Victoria Libertarian Book Club last met, we touched on the matter again. My fellow club member and co-blogger David C reminded us that just about 80 years ago this month, Gandhi began the Dandi March, initiating a non-violent campaign against the British salt monopoly in India. The campaign was known as the Salt Satyagraha. In brief, protestors spent three and a half weeks walking to the sea, and then made salt without paying the salt tax. End result, India 1 – Britain 0.

Crazy as it sounds, I have always thought that Team Gandhi had it easy in some ways. The Indian independence movement had a nice, big, fat, juicy colonial oppressor for a target. Who do we have? Ourselves! And who wouldn’t be vexed at a tax on salt? The British might as well have taxed air, or water. If you tax something that fundamental, you’re sticking your chin out. At any rate, inspirational as the story is, it didn’t appear to me that there was anything practical libertarians could take from it. Then I thought about it a little more…

The thing is, Gandhi didn’t start making salt and saying, “Hey, I’m being civilly disobedient over here!” No. What Gandhi did was announce weeks in advance that he was going to walk to a certain place and then break the law. He took his sweet time, allowing the movement to build up interest and support, and committed a victimless crime that cheated the government out of pennies. Upon reflection, I think this could be done to good effect in the US and Canada. Imagine a group starting from Thunder Bay with the announcement that they will walk to Ottawa with the intention setting up their camp stoves and distilling a shot or two of alcohol on Parliament Hill. Throw a little Facebook, Twitter, and other social media in there, and it might be something meaningful.

I wonder what activities other than distilling might be worth considering?

Photo source

This is What a Principled Progressive Looks Like

Dave Killion — March 19, 2011

I don’t see eye-to-eye with Ralph Nader on many issues, but I respect that he doesn’t permit his left-wing values to turn him into a cheerleader for Team Blue. Watch here as he makes it clear that if George W. Bush is a war criminal, then so is Obama;

Quite right, Ralph!