“The principle that the end justifies the means in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule; there is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves “the good of the whole,” because the “good of the whole” is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.” Hayek, Road to Serfdom, Chapter 10
Below is my column today in USA Today on the Boston bombing and the call for new security laws and expanded surveillance. I have been doing interviews trying to caution against these calls for immediate action — a mantra that we hear after every attack no matter the cause. I am in Chicago today and was struck by how quickly Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called for more surveillance cameras in a city with one of the largest surveillance systems in the United States.
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Mitt is the lesser of two evils in this presidential race. He’s still a big government conservative.
I definitely appreciate Sara Rosso’s post. The thing that stops most people from realizing success it right between their ears!
If you’re new here, you should probably read my biography just to give you a better sense of who I am. In short: I do a lot of stuff. I’m curious. I love learning. I take risks. I speak my mind. I dare.
The risks I take are reinforced by a belief that I owe it to myself to at least try. I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a Jack of all trades, rather than an expert in one subject, but I’ve come to believe that’s a blessing rather than a curse. Releasing myself from the aim of being an expert or being perfect at something means that I have the complete and utter freedom to try. And fail. Hell yes, fail. Even often!
But trying, definitely.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking with (girl)friends about what’s next for them. I mentioned that I wanted to have…
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… between the state, which is lavish with impossible promises, and the public, which has conceived unrealizable expectations, two classes of men intervene: the ambitious and the utopian. Their role is completely prescribed for them by the situation. It suffices for these demagogues to cry into the ears of the people: "Those in power are deceiving you; if we were in their place, we would overwhelm you with benefits and free you from taxes."
And the people believe, and the people hope, and the people make a revolution.
Its friends are no sooner in charge of things than they are called on to make good their promises: "Give me a job, then, bread, relief, credit, education, and colonies," say the people, "and at the same time, in keeping with your promises, deliver me from the burden of taxation."
The new state is no less embarrassed than the old, for, when it comes to the impossible, one can, indeed, make promises, but one cannot keep them. It tries to gain time, which it needs to bring its vast projects to fruition. At first it makes a few timid attempts; on the one hand, it extends primary education a little; on the other, it reduces somewhat the tax on beverages (1830). But it is always confronted with the same contradiction: if it wishes to be philanthropic, it must continue to levy taxes; and if it renounces taxation, it must also renounce philanthropy.
Bastiat, Frédéric, Selected Essays on Political Economy. Seymour Cain, trans. 1995. Library of Economics and Liberty. 19 September 2009. http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss5.html.
A good friend of ours – guest writer Lord Addison West – shares a legend that’s been passed down through his family. “The origin is unknown,” he tells us, “but its veracity cannot be disputed.”
“An economics professor said he had never flunked a student before but had, once, failed an entire class,” the legend begins. “That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.”
“The professor then said ‘ok’, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.
All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.”
“After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little. The second test average was a D!”
“No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.”
“The scores never increased as bickering, blame, and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great; but when government takes all the reward away; no one will try or want to succeed.”
“There are three caveats on the road to socialism:
1) The quality of all products and services will regress to the mean – no more good, better or best.
2) Eventually, you will run out of "other people’s money."
3) Once you go over, it is impossible to come back."
“The more a government spends, the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets, the more people employed in the public sector. The bigger the public sector, the greater the percentage of voters who will vote to protect their government jobs, i.e., bigger and bigger government.”
It’s often poetic when such a simple principle defies the understanding of some of the world’s most complicated people.
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FOX News published the video of Maxine Waters’ gaffe. Her response came after an executive said that oil would certainly rise to $5 without intervention from Congress or a substantial decrease in demand. She had asked him for guarantees that prices wouldn’t increase. Maxine responded:
“And guess what this liberal would be all about? This liberal would be all about socializing — er, uh. [Pauses for several moments] …. would be about … basically … taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”
Yep – another liberal who refuses to learn from history. Does the government EVER run anything other than national defense that actually benefits the people in the long run? Does the Constitution of the United States give Congress the authority to STEAL private enterprise?
Maxine was voted one of the most corrupt members of Congress in 2005 and 2006. Now she’s advocating thievery. California – why do you keep electing her?
Maybe I am a bit angry – and just too busy to admit it…
One of my co-workers just happened to mention that she had finally posted ‘no trespassing’ signs around her property. It seems that there is a group of neighbor kids that are jumping her fence on a regular basis in order to retrieve their sports related paraphernalia.
Part of her justification is that, due to some steep embankments there was a potential liability issue, and should she get sued her insurance rates would go though the roof. ("I would refuse to pay it anyway" said she). Also she was tired of always tossing their balls back over the fence. Besides, their yard was too small, and they should not have put in an athletic court anyway. Ultimately, amongst a myriad of petty justifications, posting these signs would give her the right to call the police to keep these hooligans from importuning her life.
I’m afraid at that moment, the little red guy sitting on my shoulder with the horns and pitch-fork was whispering in my ear, and I just had to ask: "So how do you feel about amnesty for undocumented workers?"
Her reply: "Oh, I guess I’m not against it."
Apparently she was unable to apprehend the irony of my question. Knowing her political bent, I was not surprised. Had her fence been on the U.S./Mexican border, and she had 30-50 Hispanics (or heaven forbid, Hezbollah operatives) passing through her yard on a daily basis as currently happens to folks along the border, she would be calling for the National Guard!