Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Libertarianism’ Category

Visa and Mastercard ban David Horowitz Freedom Center

This is another step forward in big corporations with monopoly power censoring conservatives.

The irony here is that Front Page Magazine has been libertarian, and now the big corporations are paying back all of that editorializing against regulation of big corporations by shutting down their income. It’s time for the right wing to stop being cucks to big business.

I can’t help but point out that Horowitz is Jewish. Some anti-Semitic types think that Jews have protection from this type of stuff that gentiles don’t have, but obviously that is not the case.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 23, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Libertarianism

It’s time for big tech to be regulated

Public utilities (like electricity, telephone, etc.) are required to serve anyone who will pay them, and customers are entitled to due process before their services are turned off. Con Ed (the utility that serves New York City) can’t just turn off your electricity and gas because they don’t like your speech, and even for nonpayment they have to give you fair notice and due process rights.

When businesses were discriminating against blacks, a Democratic constituency, Democrats passed the Civil Rights Act requiring businesses to serve everyone regardless of race.

It’s time to regulate big tech the way utilities are regulated, and the way every business is regulated with respect to discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

A new law should require that big companies like Google/YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, and Twitter are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of political viewpoint or any other type of speech (other than pornography because everyone hates pornography), and that if there is any denial of service for any reason, the user is entitled to fair notice and a hearing just like when the electric utility turns off someone’s electricity. And this includes fair access to searching and discovery. No more shadowbans and other nefarious algorithmic suppression of speech based on political orientation.

And sure, throw in “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” and throw in “sexual orientation” as well, to make the law look more fair and like something Democrats should support.

Republicans in Congress, stop being cucks to big business while they stomp all over conservatives.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 6, 2018 at EST pm

Liberals no longer support free speech as much as they used to

This is something I’ve been writing about for quite some time. For example, in 2014, I write this:

The end of free speech?
In the United Kingdom, a right-wing politician was arrested for quoting Winston Churchill in a speech, charged with “religious or racial harassment.” Apparently Winston Churchill has some politically incorrect observations about Islam that today are considered to be “racist.”
In the United States, there is no doubt that a lot of people think we should have laws like the U.K. does. This Donald Sterling guy is now considered the most evil person in Los Angeles because he told his gold-digging mistress in a private and possibly illegally recorded conversation his feelings about her hanging around with black men. Even though he was set to receive a “lifetime achievement” award from the NAACP before the recording was released.

Despite being the most evil person in Los Angeles, there isn’t much anyone can do about it. Liberals may decide that it’s time to abolish the First Amendment. Sterling’s wife may also be a racist. I think there could be new McCarthy-type hearings in which Congress tries to root out “racist” people.

Yesterday, the New York Times finally observed something I have been noticing for a long time:

Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict.

Take pornography and street protests. Liberals were once largely united in fighting to protect sexually explicit materials from government censorship. Now many on the left see pornography as an assault on women’s rights.

In 1977, many liberals supported the right of the American Nazi Party to march among Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Ill. Far fewer supported the free-speech rights of the white nationalists who marched last year in Charlottesville, Va.

However, it’s still biased fakestream media. The biased headline reads “How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment” instead of a more neutral headline such as “Liberals No Longer Support Free Speech as Much as They Used To.” And don’t say they are just quoting Justice Kagan, that’s how the fakestream media biases the news, they find a quote to support their narrative, and they can pretend innocence and say “we are just quoting an important person and not presenting our own opinion.”

Free speech is always a “weapon” for the side that has less power. Today, liberals have all the power, they control the fakestream media, the universities, and are securing their control over the big corporations. So free speech no longer benefits liberals, they want to use their power to suppress conservative speech (which they would call “hate speech”).

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 1, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Law, Libertarianism

Abortion will never be left up to the states

I see this over and over again in the comments, that a repeal of Roe v. Wade “only” means abortion will then be left up to the states.

This is totally deceptive. Abortion is too important for Congress to ever leave this up to the states. If Democrats control Congress (which they don’t) they would enforce mandatory access to abortion, and if Republicans control Congress (which they do), they would face some pretty strong pressure from the anti-abortion Right to make abortion illegal everywhere.

There is no way, in the long run, or even the medium run, that this issue would be left to the states to decide.

As I said in the comments, I’m not sure that the conservatives on the court want to repeal Roe v. Wade. But if they do, it would be bad for America if abortions become illegal; abortions are keeping the population of people with less desirable genetics in check. This is because women with high IQ and high future-time orientation rarely get accidentally pregnant in the first place. Rightists have this dumb idea that Juno is the typical person getting an abortion, and that’s a completely fake narrative. The most typical women who gets an abortion is an unmarried black woman who collects welfare and already has at least one kid.

I previously pointed out that poor black women have a twelve-times higher abortion rate than middle-class white women

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 28, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Libertarianism

Steve Bannon disses libertarianism

Steve Bannon told a NY Times reporter:

I think the Democrats are fundamentally afflicted with the inability to discuss and have an adult conversation about economics and jobs, because they’re too consumed by identity politics. And then the Republicans, it’s all this theoretical Cato Institute, Austrian economics, limited government — which just doesn’t have any depth to it. They’re not living in the real world.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 3, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Libertarianism

The importance of Heinlein

I know that some readers are thinking, “Why are you wasting your time with posts about a long-dead science fiction writer? That’s stuff for nerds. We want to hear more about Donald Trump.”

I think, maybe, that Heinlein is more important than anyone realizes. I sense that most of the libertarian arguments I see today don’t actually come from Ayn Rand, but they come from Heinlein. Heinlein’s endorsement of libertarianism is a lot more subtle and less in-your-face than Ayn Rand’s novels. However, Heinlein’s novels are a lot more readable. And Heinlein understood that novels can be a powerful form of influence. You are much more likely to accept a new idea if first you come to identify with a character, and then the character comes to believe in the idea based on events that happen to him, even though the whole situation is a fictional setup by the author.

Heinlein’s novels were probably read by most white American engineering types when they were teenagers (at least the older ones), and that’s why engineering types veer so strongly libertarian.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 20, 2016 at EST pm

Posted in Books, Libertarianism

Utopia: Economy of 1515-1516 and the wool industry in England

Raphael has a lot to say here.

He complains about noblemen who don’t do anything useful to contribute to the economy. And then he complains about noblemen’s retainers who are more numerous and also don’t do anything useful to contribute to the economy. And then he complains about the amount of resources wasted on standing armies.

Sheep: Per Wikipedia, wool and cloth spun from wool were the chief exports of medieval England. Raphael doesn’t believe that this is a good thing for the average Englishman. He complains that the nobles enclose land for pasture for sheep grazing, kicking out the peasant farmers and leaving them with no way to feed themselves.

Because sheep herding is much less labor intensive than farming crops, converting farmland to sheep pastures results in mass unemployment. The peasants don’t even enjoy the benefits of cheap wool, because sheep farming is controlled by a few rich men who can raise prices because they have an “oligopoly” (that’s the word that Paul Turner uses in his translation).

Towards the end of Book 1, Raphael praises the “communist” economy of Utopia. I think the best thought in all of Book 1 is this critique of capitalism:

[W]hen everyone’s entitled to get as much for himself as he can, all available property, however much there is of it, is bound to fall into the hands of a small minority, which means that everyone else is poor. And wealth will tend to vary in inverse proportion to merit. The rich will be greedy, unscrupulous, and totally useless characters, while the poor will be simple, unassuming people whose daily work is far more profitable to the community than it is to them.

That’s right, you can’t cure poverty by growing GDP! Thomas More saw that 500 years ago. That’s why I’ve made the grim prediction that automation and robots will increase poverty even as they, paradoxically, create an abundance of material goods with minimal human labor.

RAPHAEL: … I’m quite convinced that you’ll never get a fair distribution of goods, or a satisfactory organization of human life, until you abolish private property altogether. So long as it exists, the vast majority of the human race, and the vastly superior part of it, will inevitably go on labouring under a burden of poverty, hardship, and worry. …

MORE: I disagree. I don’t believe you’d ever have a reasonable standard of living under a communist system. There’d always tend to be shortages, because nobody would work hard enough. In the absence of a profit motive, everyone would become lazy, and rely on everyone else to do the work for him. Then, when things really got short, the inevitable result would be a series of murders and riots, since nobody would have any legal method of protecting the products of his own labour – especially as there wouldn’t be any respect for authority, or I don’t see how there could be, in a classless society.

RAPHAEL: You’re bound to take that view, for you simply can’t imagine what it would be like – not accurately, at any rate. But if you’d been with me in Utopia, and seen it all for yourself, as I did – I lived there for more than five years, you know, and the only reason why I ever left was that I wanted to tell people about the New World – you’d be the first to admit that you’d never seen a country so well organized.

Well that’s an interesting exchange. More, pretending to be himself, makes an argument that Ayn Rand will make 441 years in the future, and Raphael responds that you should believe him because he’s seen it with his own eyes. Except that Utopia is a fake country that doesn’t exist.

Which character does the real More actually believe?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 12, 2016 at EST am

Value transference essay no. 1

Another re-post from the archives.

* * *

The reason we need to talk about value transference is because other people are talking about “value creation.” If you look at the Google ngram viewer, you will see that the phrase “value creation” was practically nonexistent before the 1970s, and that its use skyrocketed during the last two decades.

I don’t really know why the phrase was originally created, but people of a libertarian-conservative bent have glommed onto it as a way of explaining the results of what they call “free markets” and as a way of justifying a libertarian-conservative approach to taxation

The theory behind value creation is that people and businesses make money be creating value that other people are willing to pay for. People may pay in currency, but of course currency is just a store of value that allows people to more efficiently trade the value they created for the value that others created.

Because the United States has a so-called free market, it is argued that the only way to make money in the United States is by creating value. Therefore, the richest people (at least the richest self-made people) are those who created the most value, because there’s a direct and nearly-perfect correlation between value created and how much money an individual or business has accrued.

The correlation between value creation and wealth bolsters the libertarian-conservative viewpoint that taxes should be kept low. Suppose Doctor Uno is lazy and only saves one life per week. Doctor Dos works hard and saves ten lives per week. Is it fair to punish Doctor Dos for his hard work and his life-saving contributions to society by hitting him with a higher tax rate?

What about rich people who clearly didn’t do anything useful in order to become rich, such as people who were born rich or who married rich spouses? The libertarian-conservatives would argue that, if property rights are to mean anything, they should mean that rich people are entitled to do whatever they want with their money, and that includes giving it to spouses and children. So taxing these people would be punishing the original act of value creation.

Even if one accepts the argument that all wealth accretion is the result of value creation, it doesn’t necessary follow that progressive tax rates are wrong or immoral. The purpose of taxation is not to punish anyone but to fund necessary government functions. The rich are taxed at a higher rate because they can afford to pay more and because they have a lower marginal utility for additional money.

As you know, it’s my hypothesis that great fortunes are the result not of value creation but the result of transferring the value created by the hard work of other people. This is what I call value transference, and it’s a necessary counterbalance to the now popular term of “value creation.”

Why do people deny the truth of value transference? No doubt for the same reason they deny the truth of evolution, or HBD. Libertarian-conservative types are so psychologically invested in the idea of wealth equals value creation that any hint of a greater truth causes severe cognitive dissonance. And they get angry at me. If the rich are rich not because they created value but because they transferred the value created by the hard work of others to themselves (some might replace “transferred” with the less polite word of “stole”), what justification is there for allowing them to keep their wealth?

Actually, history is full of justifications for why the people with wealth and power are entitled to their wealth and power. There has never been a society in recorded history where there weren’t a few who were rich and powerful and many who were poor, and the rich and powerful always had explanations for why they were entitled to their positions long before modern theories of economics were invented. Divine right was one such explanation. The Pharoah of ancient Egypt went one better and said the he himself was a god. Today we look back at these explanations and laugh, but who’s to say that in the distant future, humans wiser than ourselves won’t look down similiarly at the justifications used by the billionaires of the present?

This introductory essay leaves many unanswered questions, such as:

1. Is our economy really a free market?
2. What the heck do people mean by a free market anyway? (Answering this question is necessary to answer the previous question as well as the following question.)
3. Is it true that the only way to make money in a free market is by creating value?
4. Why would anyone voluntarily give money to someone else unless they were getting value in return?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 6, 2016 at EST am

How the rich make life unaffordable for regular people

There’s a Wall Street Journal article about how very rich people are buying multi-unit apartment buildings and turning them into single-family urban mansions.

In September, Ms. Painvin bought a three-unit townhouse in Brooklyn with plans to convert it into a 3,000-square-foot home. “We were kind of floored at the amount of space you could get,” she says.

Libertarian types often ask “how does it hurt me if someone else makes a lot of money?” Well here is an example of how it hurts you, by making it unaffordable to live in the good neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 1, 2016 at EST pm

Saint of libertarian economics: Arthur Laffer

There are many saints of economic libertarianism. For this post I profile one of them: Arther Laffer.

Laffer (still alive today) was a relatively unimportant economists, though prominent enough to be at a meeting in 1974 with Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, at which a divine miracle happened in the form of him drawing a squiggly line on a napkin which became known as the Laffer Curve which proved, once and for all, that high taxes are really really bad.

Now, to give a certain amount of fairness to Laffer’s point of view, the top marginal income tax rate in 1974 was 73%, but at the same time there was only a 35% capital gains rate, plus there were a lot of loopholes which allowed taxpayers to present their income as capital gains, and even bigger loopholes which allowed taxpayers not to show any income at all (pass-through of partnership losses because of accelerated depreciation played a big part in those loopholes). The corporate income tax rate was also lower than the personal income tax rate, which encouraged wealth to be kept in corporations rather than paid out as dividends. They say that there’s no avoiding death or taxes, but in fact the 73% tax rate in 1974 was avoidable, which meant that tax collections were a lot lower than 73% of true income, and also that a lot of business activity went into tax avoidance rather than productive growth of companies.

I could state a general rule of tax avoidance behavior, which is that if different types of income have different rates, then over time an increasing percentage of declared income will be of the types that have the lower rates. I applaud the efforts during the Regan administration to reform the tax code by closing loopholes, which did in fact result in higher tax collections despite lowering the top rates.

I have stated before my belief in the importance of closing tax loopholes and eliminating tax deductions. If there’s a need increase tax revenue, we should always attack loopholes and deductions before raising rates. However, for each loophole or deduction there’s a strong lobby behind it. This is because, unlike libertarianists, real-world rich people see wealth as a zero-sum game: so as long as everyone’s tax rates increase, their status in the economic pecking order remains unchanged, so they aren’t actually harmed by higher tax rates, they are only harmed if a deduction or loophole which benefits them in particular is eliminated.

Libertarianists, have come to worship the Laffer Curve as proof that all taxes are evil and their worldview is correct, much like Christians see the Shroud of Turin as proof that Jesus really existed. From the libertarianist comments on my blog, I see that they think that current tax rates like the 39% top income tax rate or any amount of estate taxes are causing rich people to retire and stop working entirely, much like the rich people of Atlas Shrugged.

Why is it even a problem if rich people want to retire? It’s only a problem if you take the Atlas Shrugged point of view that rich people are needed to make the economy function and if they stop doing work, there aren’t any people with modest incomes who could step in and take their place.

However, the libertarianist point of view doesn’t make any sense if you assume that rich people behave rationally and want to be richer than their peers. Who would pass up the opportunity to make a billion dollars on account of the fact that 50% of it, or even 70%, of it was taxed? Isn’t it better to have $300 million than to have nothing? I would say it’s a hell of a lot better. I hear about all of the amazing businesses that have not been formed because the tax rates are too high, and it’s all nonsense. No one who starts a business is thinking about what happens to their estate after they die. Libertarianists, despite thinking of themselves as rational economists, are clueless about why people start businesses. And even if they did think about estate taxes, if they were even the slightest bit rational they would realize that it’s much better for their children if they die rich than if they die middle-class or die poor, and that would still be true if estate taxes were increased significantly over their current levels.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 10, 2015 at EST am

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