Friday, June 30, 2006

A blessing of the Judicial Branch

A few cheers, a few boos, but we have to be thankful for a Supreme Court who can reduce the power of any man, even if he is the President. Reduction of power may be saying a bit much as it is not really a reduction of power. Really it is a reminder that no one runs the government. It is not a one man or a one branch show. Throughout the United States history, the Judicial Branch has been looked upon as the weakest branch, but thankfully, when it comes time for them to shine they do can do it brightly upholding the Constitution that they swore to defend as Justices. I am not going to take any opportunity to take stabs at the administration, but I will at least give a note of thanks for not letting the government create a monarch whose absolute rule is final. A government without limited powers is a government who interferes with our lives too much. What rights can we have when a government has their watchful eye upon us, discouraging any thinking that may otherwise threaten that current administrations ideals. For freedom, the Justices have checked the Executive Branch from growing to strong. Again, I am not claiming that the current Executive administration would have caused a loss of freedom by their strengthening of the Executive power. Heck, they may have been doing it for our best interest, but the truth is what about a future Executive administration who takes advantage of the power and then begins denying the citizens of their freedom.

Thank You once again lovely Justices. Constricting Leviathan before it constricts us.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mises Institute this summer

I thought I would continue with my updates on the Austrian school of Economics. I am not sure if most of the readers agree with the Austrian philosophy, but I thought to send this link just in case for those who are interested. The Mises Insititute is holding a summer seminar from July 30 to August 5. Of course, they give a listing of required reading that should be read before attending the seminar. So for those with the opportunity, I say take a quick stop and check out the webpage for the Mises Institute summer seminar here. Hope some of you enjoy the seminar. Will I be joining? It all depends if my calendar opens up, but I would if I could.

Quiz Time

I was searching throughout the webpage and found a great quiz. There are two different formats, a 10 question quiz and a 25 question quiz. The objective is to find how much of an Austrian are you. What is an Austrian Economics? Rather than defining the Austrian School of Economics I will link you to the econlib webpage here. The quiz that I hope you are interested in taking can be found here . Of course, I will note that some knowledge in economics is needed since the quiz has answers for four schools of economics; the Austrian, Keynesian, Socialist, and the Chicago. Enjoy the quiz. It takes some time, but it is always good to know under what school of thought you fall under, or even if you do not know any economics; the questions give you a basis of what economics can teach you, how economics helps society, and the differences between the different school of thoughts.

Half a month in the making...

I try not to write poorly upon todays administration. In fact, if I do write about politics I do not try to put names upon any of our elected politicians. It is not because I do not want to offend the politicians but rather the voters, the everyday citizen. As an elected official, I do not believe you have a personal life. That is my opinion.
Those who serve in the military know it best; they are on duty 24/7 even during weekends and vacations. The military are always on call and are only given up to two weeks off per year. So, I need to be explained why politicians are giving time off that exceeds more than two weeks? Why do the politicians feel they can bend the rules to their whim, and above all, why is it they can choose the boundaries of their districts?

There are many questions to ask ourselves about the logic of politicians. To trust them or to not? I do not think it is my job to explain if a politician's actions is wrong or right. I believe it is the job of the everyday citizen to keep that watchful eye on the politicians because I can not watch them all, and it is the watchful everyday citizen who keeps the politicians from becoming so shifty that they try to detour from the Constitution. The Constitution was only created for one reason, to detain the Leviathon that is government. Not all politicians, but many try to increase their power, yes September 11 did happen but we can not allow our own freedom to be taken away only to increase the power of government which was feared in the early years of our country. History has been repeating itself with politicians trying to gain more control of the government. Luckily there have been some fantastic politicians with the dream of making the United States a country for the people.

Why did I feel the need to write such a blog expressing the everyday citizen's duty? It was the newspapers expressing the wrongs of the government; the wrongs being the loss of rights, of freedom. I said it has happened before throughout our nation's history. I take this moment to introduce a new book that is entering the market in October. The book is by Thomas DiLorenzo and called Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know About Dishonest Abe. I will also include a link to his speeches upon the government here. The speeches are from and tend to be on the libertarian side, but they are informative and useful in achieving a greater knowledge of what the politicians should and should not do.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Taxation; Selflishness

Dr Boudreaux from Cafe had written a letter to the New York Times editor explaining his opinion over taxation. Dr Boudreaux with the utmost dignity stands up for freedom, yet he posted a reply that was sent to his commenting on his letter to the editor. What is sad is the confusion the replier holds upon economics and freedom. The replier had the belief that those who opose the Estate Tax only have selfish, greedy reasons. If this were true, then why would Dr. Boudreaux have spent many hours blogging upon the reduction of the government involving itself within our lives. I have attached a link to Cafe Hayek, Dr Boudreaux and Dr Roberts economic blog site. Perhaps Dr Boudreaux response said it best, these outcries that it is selfish and greedy are "muddled".

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Politicians; Doing the Right Thing? Privatization of Roads

It is political career suicide to try to do the right thing although all your voters are opposed to the thought. It is an issue of efficiency, of economics, and of decentralization, yet there are still politicians who want to do the right thing for the country. Politicians who know, that although their approval ratings may plummet and that they may not be reelected, they must push forth certain legislations to better the country.

A dark veil had been placed over the government as politicians
abused the system, but it is now being lifted as the politicians with strong morals step up for the right causes. What cause brought to my eye this subject? The privatization of roads. Articles have began to rise over the dispute between lawmakers and citizens over the topic. Politicians see a way to increase government funds by leasing the roads, the private firms see a profit from the roads, but most citizens believe it to be a harmful proposal. Even though private firms are more efficient than public entities

skepticism abounds: Will companies take good care of highways? Will toll roads become too expensive to drive? Will investors pluck profitable routes, leaving others to crumble? What will happen to public toll-road workers -- including 600 in Indiana who have been promised interviews by the new operators, but not the same job?

The quote taken from Washington Post over the topic...

Lets face it, private firms only want to make money. Therefore they will take good care of the highways. The toll roads will not become too expensive to drive since it will cause a decrease in the traffic leading to a loss in profit for the firm. The toll roads prices have not changed in years, therefore private firms will increase the price until they reach the market equalizing price. As a driver of their routes, we become their consumer. If the consumer wants a route, the firm will provide it. Does the grocery store not order a certain brand of cookies if you want it? And unlike the public sector, the private firms will maintain the roads as they would begin to compete with other routes. I know I would take a long route with less potholes then a short route full of many. Its harmful to the vehicle and causes me to waste more money otherwise. Privatization is just what the major highways need. Congestions will always be a problem but if there are more drivers than there is road, the price will rise decreasing the number of drivers, or to be more efficient the private firm will expand the road or find an alternate route(a detour) to better serve their consumers. Lets face it, for once the politicians are doing the right thing. Privatization can increase jobs for the state, either as maintenance or support. They can take better care of the highway system and the driver. The road system will become another market, and just as any market, it will aim to become more efficient by providing more for the consumer. Think of new technologies, more signs, and more messages that screen telling the driver where the major congestions are and what routes to take. Privatization of the highways is definitely a good proposal. It only guarantees a better future.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Group Protests in National Parks illegal?

After some trouble with blogger, I have finally been able to post another blog.
I have stumbled on another threat to American Freedom...
This Saturday, a number of members of the KKK , also part of the National Socialist Movement of America, met on the battlefield that was home to the bloodiest battle of the Civil War to protest on certain topics. Now I have my own opinions especially against socialism but that is not what threat I am speaking about. As the opinion polls spread throughout the internet, I found one upon the right to assemble at a national park and most who had voted had voted upon making it illegal for protests at National Parks.

Although I do not agree with the opinions of this organization(KKK or National Socialist Movement), I do believe in our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble.
I understand that most American citizens are offended by this group and the message they send, but we can not restrict them from freely speaking without decreasing our own rights. The loss of our own rights, although at first small, would be the stepping stone for the loss of more rights. A controlled society would arise and this controlled society was what the control was meant to detain in the first place. Freedom is a guaranteed right and restricting ones freedom decreases all of our freedom.

As a sidenote, I had read the National Socialist Movement webpage only to find that they do not understand what the meaning of Socialism is. They begin their introduction by depicting the Aryan race and their inspiration came from Adolf Hitler. They do not discuss any poltical/ economic views. How does a group who calls themselves Socialist not have a political or economic view. Namely, they appear to be a hate group. This is only my opinion from reading their website. As I do not want to attract more hits for their website... I do not include a weblink as I usually do.
Are we to reduce our rights for a hate group? Let us maintain freedom.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Purpose of Religion and Government

Day after day. Discussion after discussion, I seem to find an endless debate; the debate on Religion and Government.
The ideas behind the arguements begin with "They just want to control you" and lead to "They just want your money."
I am not sure why religion seems to be feared more by the educated society than the uneducated. The educated society appears to have a chip on their shoulder that gives them a matrix of illogical thoughts.
I begin the defense not to support my religion but all religions. For I do not want to push everyone to take in any of my views. I want everyone to learn to decide for themselves, and so I begin the defense for religion by asking the rational questions.
  • What is the point of religion or government?
  • Is the point of religion/government to control its followers?
  • Is the point of religion/government to collect alot of money so the church may be wealthy?
I accept that man can be corrupted and that men of high stature in a religion may have abused their position, but these men are not different from any other. Governments are frowned upon just as much as religions yet people still maintain faith upon their government even when the abuse is in full view. Elected officials may have abused their positions, but confidence in the government is renewed every election with high hopes that the electee will have a strong moral constraint to do whats best for the country rather than themselves and their friends.
The difference between government and religion? Government changes every election while as religious organizations do not readily change. Yet don't the men who hold a religious position have stronger moral constraint. I agree that religious orders may be used for purposes to control and to contort the people, but it is not the point of religion. What is? Let me answer my questions above.

  • The point of religion is to "save" the people of society. What does save mean? It means that the world is full of confusion and religion, in any sense, only tries to bring a sense of salvation and meaning to people's lives.
  • The point of government is to maintain order among the society so that they may be more prosperous. (i.e. defining property so that people may maximize their own gains)
  • Government and religion do not want to control the people who follow them. They only wish to give guidelines to help people better themselves and society. Without freedom, man has little reason to live. Without freedom, you become a machine and to the church, who only want to promote salvation(heaven, nirvana, rebirth...), find that machines are useless as they can never reach salvation.
  • Governments and religious orders do not want more money to become more wealthy. What good is wealth if you have nothing to spend it on? Most religions collect money in order to help promote welfare in society. Government, in turn, tries to make society more prosperous by collecting taxes in order to fund projects in society.
Yes, governments and religions have been abused, but the moral constraints of man are there. We, as rational beings, must decide when elected officials, Rulers, Kings, Popes, and any other official of high esteem are not controlled by moral constraints. By a rational decision we can decide if someone is indeed truly a holy man, a man of state, or just a corrupt man. The meaning of life is not to be controlled, it is to choose. To choose your path to reach salvation. To choose to advance society by increasing your own education or to make decisions that better the society rather than your own income. Religion was made to promote salvation and in doing so only increases the moral constraints on man's decisions. Government was founded on the principle of maintaining a society that is able to distribute labor in order to increase societies gain.

Governments and Religions are not a ideology that should be hated but that should be cheered on. They should not be the object of hatred upon the belief of control, but rather frowned upon with the belief that immoral men have abused so wonderous systems that only are founded to improve our own self being.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Supporting Fallen Heroes; Protests at Military Funerals?!?

For the past few years, a congregation from Westboro Baptist church from Topeka, Kansas has terrorized families of fallen military servicemembers. The congregation has been shouting obscenities calling the fallen hero a sinner. Why do they protest at servicemember's funerals? They are protesting against gays; claiming the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are caused by America's tolerance on gays. There was a rise of motorcyclists and former servicemembers who followed the congregation in order to drown out the protests by revving their engines. Most families during the funerals claimed that the sound of the motorcycles was sweet compared to the protests by the congregation.
Protests at funerals are completely immoral; protests at military funerals therefore are a strike of hatred towards the United States. If something is immoral and seen as a disgraceful act, how come no one has sued them yet? The claim of the congregation is that they are only expressing their First Amendment rights. Interesting that the central government denies the right of free speech to those at work but allows a public protest at a private funeral.

The protests are an externality. The protests disrupt the purpose of the funerals and therefore incur a cost. Ronald Coase proposed the Coase Theorem which claims that government involvement is needed only to specify where private property begins or ends; letting the parties bargain a deal to fix the problem or externality. Thus, Mr Al. Snyder has stepped up on suing the congregation. On his web site he proclaims:
This is a private civil lawsuit that is separate from any actions being pursued
by states or the federal government against Mr. Phelps. While those cases
involve Government action and potential 1st Amendment issues, this case is
distinct. This case simply alleges that one does not have the right to
conspire to use lies in order to inflict intentional harm upon persons who
are grieving the death of their children.
His lawsuit is not to take away the right of Free Speech. He is suing the congregation upon their externality they had inflicted upon his son's funeral. He is looking to define his private rights. We are all given certain "inalienable rights", but when does the line get crossed when those who claim to have a right begin taking away the rights of another? Forget about the arguement upon if gay rights is right or wrong. The rights of families to mourn at their family members funerals are being denied to give the right to others to protest. Support Al Snyder in his suit against the church congregation. His website Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder. You can donate to the cause on his website or can email the family expressing your best wishes. Support the Fallen Heroes and their families. Let us remember the final words from John Rambo, 80's movie icon,
What do I want? I want what they want...
(indicates P.O.W.'s)
And what every other guy who came over here and spilled his guts and
gave everything he had wants... for our country to love us as much as
we love it... That's what I want. And that's what they wanted.
(indicates P.O.W.'s)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Disappointment in a National Museum

I recently toured the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. and was greatly disappointed. Not that I have never toured through the museum; I had never toured the museum after finding the wonder of what is economics.

I wandered around the National Museum of American History finding great exhibits that ranged from the United States at war, to music, to inventions, and even to segregation. What I did not find was a single exhibit upon economics or an economist. Am I to be lead to believe that the "Muppets" are more dear to our nation's history than great economists like Coase, Buchanan, or Friedman? The names of great economists rose greatly in the 20th century. Their idealistic views helped shape economics and fought harder against the spread of communism than any war had fought. Yet these men, scientists, that study as Mises had put it in one of his many book titles Human Action, find themselves forgotten in the minds of Americans.

Asking myself why are the great economists not included in the history of the United States? Is the United States itself not a history upon economics? Decades ago, President Nixon had famously proclaimed, "We are all Keynesians now," honoring the interventionist economist, J. M. Keynes. Have we lost touch with economics since the slow decline of interventionistic views in economics?

The answer to my questions appear to be that economists do not interest the American citizen. How could American citizens not be interested in economics? Do we care more for the Julia Child Kitchen rather than the words of Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard who helped shape the United States? I hope not; as Julia Child's Kitchen did not impact my life or most citizens in any way while economists with their views have helped change the world. Don't believe me? Communist Manifesto, The Road To Serfdom, Calculus of Consent, Wealth of Nations : do any of these sound familiar? Each has helped change the world of their ideologies and these are only three of the many books upon the benefits given to society by economists...

The Wonderful World of Podcasts

I finally had settled and bought an IPOD... I did it for the selfish reasons; for those moments where the world seems to grow tired and silent giving off that feeling that I can not think with such silence. I needed something... just a little noise.
No, I am not trying to advertise for the IPOD. I could really care less for the music and noise now. Its the podcasts that have me erasing my music files only to add more podcasts onto my IPOD.
The world of podcasts is plentiful fitting into any category. The more popular podcasts are the comedy sketches(Comedy Central), the daily news (The News Hour With Jim lehrer, Democracy Now), to running or biking blogcasts for the lifestyle of cycling and running. The best part of the podcasts? THEY ARE ALL FREE.
I can not seem to stop downloading these podcasts. Whats worst, is that I am not downloading the comedies as much as I would have thought I would, rather its the economic, political podcasts. Most are recorded lectures or discussions that are debating over certain topics. No longer are my days spent listening to the silence over the library as I huddle over another book to answer a mindless question, but I listen to scholars discuss certain material as I head to the library or bookstore helping me find new material to question.
The world of Podcasts is diverse and easily accessible. Let it be a preference in a religious ideology or just an interest for a short video clip for a good laugh. Podcasts are a wonderful gift that the world has granted upon us.

And for those of you without an IPOD, you don't need an IPOD in order to listen or watch podcasts, although with an IPOD you can listen to it on the go.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Loss of Freedom... of Speech

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.- FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
The First Amendment grants many rights, one of these rights is the freedom of speech. It does not say that these freedoms are only granted when not in the workplace, yet the Supreme Court has state that

When public empoyees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.
What does this mean? It means that when an employee expresses himself with what he has found in the workplace, he is not protected under the First Amendment. Can this be true? A freedom of speech except when it is work related?
In a recent case, the public sector has been held as almost untouchable by the ruling of the Supreme Court. As a government worker you can do your job to the best of your ability and still feel repurchusions for your hard work and dedication. Let us note that on the end of the above quote its stated, "does not insulate their communications from employer discipline." In this case, the public employee had done his job; he found an error in the public workplace and sent a note upon the fault. Instead of reprimanding the guilty party for its fault, the public employee was demoted. I will not go into detail upon the Supreme Court case since it can be found else where...
What I will note is where is our Freedom of Speech?

The question James Buchanan, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, asks is, "Who watches the Guards?" If there are government employees who do their duties and watch over the government with good moral constraints, they should be promoted and given bonuses. These are the men that bring success! Yet, by limiting our Freedom of Speech in the workplace, we are reducing the men with good morals in government positions. If we demote the men of high moral constraints, we are left of the workers with low standards allowing the government to do as it wishes because of the fear of job loss. Thus, the government is allowed to bend its own laws without anyone reprimanding them. The laws are written to protect the citizens from citizens. The Constitution and the Amendments were written to protect the citizens from the government.

But what is government itself but the greatest reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.- JAMES MADISON "Federalist Papers"