Archive for September, 2012

Is It Time To Be Worried About Privacy?

Dave Killion — September 30, 2012

I have never been anxious concerning privacy, despite repeated cautions in the media. Like many, I shrug off warnings because I don’t think I have much worth hiding, and neither I nor anyone I know has fallen victim to any kind of identity theft. Still, there are enough stories that I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before something strikes close enough to home that it will overcome my laziness and denial. But even a lazy denialist might find this Belgian commercial persuasive –

 

Left Libertarians

Antony — September 28, 2012

Many libertarians start their philosophical journey from a right-wing position, especially in economic matters, and through their studies and investigation gradually evolve to libertarianism. But I have recently become increasingly aware of a another, perhaps less well known, group who start at the left end of the political spectrum, even as avowed socialists, whose investigations of state power lead them to libertarianism. Some examples of this group are Roderick Long and Gary Chartier.

The thing that I find interesting about this group is that although they may come to the same conclusions as “right libertarians”, their arguments often have a different emphasis. This is valuable because they often have perspectives that can be more persuasive and appealing to others coming from a leftist perspective, of which there are many in current society. They focus on issues like “equity”, and argue for why these concerns should lead one to a libertarian stance. For example, Prof. Long’s criticism of Ron Paul’s answer to a debate question on health care offers an interesting opinion on how to better frame his argument to avoid appearing heartless. Because of their familiarity and experience with the leftist politics, these “left libertarians” are able to speak in a language that can effectively communicate ideas of liberty to a more left-wing audience. I am also very interested in, and hope to soon read, Gary Chartier’s book “The Conscience of an Anarchist“, discussed in the video below:

I am just beginning my investigations in this area, but it is certainly encouraging to see people from the political left coming around to libertarian ideas. For if we are to be effective in spreading ideas of liberty through society, the message must transcend political divisions. Only in that way can society as a whole move towards the ideals of a justice and freedom.

Wonders Of The Market

Dave Killion — September 27, 2012

 

The government gives us taxes, wars, and no-knock raids. What does the market give us? Alligator pool parties! –

“You say, ‘Well, we’re gonna have a party,'”…. “They go, ‘That’s nice.’ But you say, ‘We’re going to have a pool party with a gator.’ They go, ‘What?’ Everybody comes.”…. “The alligators used are juveniles, and their mouths are taped shut during the parties. They also have fun names like Burger, Fido and Kermit. Barrett claims that he teaches participants alligator safety first, and says that the chlorine doesn’t bother the gators.”

Man, oh man! Between the pony rides, bouncy castles, clowns, and petting zoos, I thought that kids’ birthday parties couldn’t get any better. But that is the genius of the market. Every minute of every day, some entrepreneur is trying to discover things I never even knew I always wanted. Who knows what delights await us, once we beat back the state.

Time For A Fresh Coat Of Whitening

Dave Killion — September 26, 2012

I have praised The Whited Sepulchre before, but not lately. So let me remind you – visit the Whited Sepulchre. Not only does he comment on current events with insight and humour, he also links to stuff he thinks is just pure fun. Here are two recent recommendations

 

Subsidiarity Podcast, Episode 6

Dave Killion — September 26, 2012

 

In our latest podcast, my co-host Ashley Johnston and I are joined by Jeremy Maddock for an investigation into the rise of  civil forfeiture laws in Canada.

Listen to the podcast here, and subscribe here.

Lack Of Government Regulation ≠ No Regulation

Dave Killion — September 25, 2012

The CEO of MKG Group, Michael Strong, has declared that the model city his outfit will be building in Honduras will be organized with the goal of being “the most economically free entity on Earth“. For Paul Willcocks, the prospect raises questions he appears to be incapable of answering for himself. Perhaps I can help –

“…does that mean no minimum wage, no employment standards, no health and safety rules?”

No. It means that wages, employment standards, and health and safety rules will be negotiated by workers and employers, rather than politicians and activists. The willingness of poor Hondurans to accept low wages for tough, dangerous working conditions means that there will be a flood of investment in their country, offering them levels of prosperity and opportunity they have previously only dreamt of.

….”who will pay for the vision of better health care, education and policing(?)”

Consumers will pay, but they will be paying for their vision, rather than that of some elite. Each one will pursue the goods and services in the quantities he desires most, based on criteria only he himself is capable of evaluating.

Honduras is an unhappy place, and has been an unhappy place for a long time. The government is untrustworthy, and investors will need strong incentives before they are willing to come to the table. Demand too much in the way of regulation, and entrepreneurs will take their money to places that may be less profitable, but are also less risky. Let the state keep its distance, and great things will happen.

 

Anything Is Possible

Dave Killion — September 24, 2012

The secret to splitting a mountain? Persistence and time.

Sometimes I despair that all my efforts to spread the libertarian philosophy will never succeed, but then I stumble across something like this

“Almost five decade ago, a landless farmer Dashrath Manjhi from Gahlor Ghati, of Gaya (a district of Bihar) resolved to end the difficulties of his villagers by shouldering a near impossible task of slitting a 300-feet-high hill apart to create a one-km passage.”

“He knew his voice (would) not create any reaction in the deaf ear of the government; therefore, Dashrath chose to accomplish this Herculean task alone. He sold his goats to purchase chisel, rope and a hammer. People would call him mad and eccentric spirited with no idea of his plans. Unfazed by his critics’ discouraging remarks, Dashrath hammered consistently for 22 long years to shorten the distance from 50km to 10km between Atri and Wazirganj. The day came when he stepped through a flat passage — about one-km long and 16-feet wide — to his dream, ‘the other side of the hill’.”

People like this humble me, and I am ashamed that I am both so impatient and so easily frustrated.

How Concerned Should We Be About GMOs?

Dave Killion — September 23, 2012

 

The Future of Food had a recent showing in Langley, courtesy of a couple of resident ladies. Articles about the event emphasize that these women are ‘moms’, as does a website named for the daughter of one of the women (apparently this lends them extra credibility, or signals that they are more genuinely concerned about the well-being of others). Both women have made it clear that they are simply out to educate consumers so that people can decide for themselves what is best, and insist that getting the government involved is not one of their goals.

Just kidding. These folks think GMOs are EVIL, and they want them banned!

Don’t get me wrong. There are issues with GMOs, mostly surrounding patents, but unfortunately many activist critics have proven themselves untrustworthy. Happily, you can always turn to the libertarian journalists for accurate information.

Equally important, you can count on market forces to bring about the changes consumers demand. When it became clear that a number of consumers were concerned about the use of herbicides and pesticides in their food, producers rushed to provide clearly-labeled organic produce. When a sufficient number of consumers indicate they have a preference for GMO-free food, you can bet producers will respond. Until then, is it too much to ask these busybodies to stop making demands that will result in higher prices, when the rest of us aren’t concerned?

 

The Charity Of The One Percent

Dave Killion — September 21, 2012

From left to right... Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Peter Peterson, Leon Black, Jon Bon Jovi, Marc Benioff, David Rubenstein, Steve Case, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Marc Andreessen.

 

Here are a dozen of the world’s most wealthy and influential philanthropists. When you consider that every dollar they got came from people who felt they were getting more value in exchange than they gave up, their collective net worth of $120 billion (+/-) is a testament to the contribution they have made to humanity. As if that weren’t enough (and in a decent, rational world, it would be), they have given or pledged tens of billions of dollars to charitable causes.

And yet, I suspect that there is a large class of people for whom this generosity makes no difference. In their eyes, the only money that ‘counts’ is the money that is taken from the wealthy against their will. Because for that certain class of people, it’s not enough that the poor should be elevated, but the rich must also be humbled. The rich must be hurt, so that they suffer. They must be punished for their lives of ease, comfort, and privilege. And worst of all, those who are driven by envy and prejudice to lobby for stripping so much wealth from the rich don’t even recognize their own motivations. They think they are kind and noble, and doing good work. And they will never, never, never stop.

Now I’m Worried

Dave Killion — September 20, 2012

 

Well, that’s just what they would want us to believe, isn’t it!

Via ShortFormBlog