Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-02

Yesterday, I snidely commented that BP's Plan C for the oil spill was to nuke it. For some, that option isn't a joke. #

So, the national debt now exceeds $13 trillion. There has simply GOT to be a way to get the government to buy me a BMW R1200RT. #

Google is going after Apple with Android devices, and Microsoft with the Chrome OS. Google certainly isn't timid. #

Steve Jobs created the PC Era. Now, it appears he's creating the post-PC era. #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-01

48% of voters say they want state laws similar to AZ's immigration law. 76% oppose anti-AZ boycotts. #

Newest poll shows CA voters favor penalizing pot 49% to 41% opposed. Well, they'll get their chance in November. #

BP's Oil Spill Plan B appears to be "grasp at straws". I presume Plan C is to detonate some sort of nuclear device. #

Al & Tipper Gore are splitting up. Thank God we won't uave to watch those two make out on national TV ever again. #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-27

The top 3 reasons to expect a double-dip recession is coming. #

Treasury gets solid bidding on 7-year notes. Is there a little fear about equity prices out there? #

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina seeks boycott of AZ. Except for buying water and electricity from AZ, of course. #

Obama on oil leak: Since the horse escaped, we've done everything possible to close the barn door. #

Blumenthal's misstatements about his service "in Vietnam" don't appear to have hurt him much. #

Kentucky Libertarians say that Rand Paul isn't libertarian enough for them. No one electable ever is. #

USCG Adm. Thad Allen says the "top kill" has plugged the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. #

Blinding glimpse of the obvious: Jamaica violence tied to US drug trade. #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-25

N. Rosenkrantz proposes an entirely new framework for Constitutional jurisprudence. It's groundbreaking and fantastic. #

White House investigation of Sestak allegations shows no White House wrongdoing. Nothing to see here. Move along. #

Radley Balko discusses the Detroit SWAT raid that got a 7 year-old girl killed by the police. In the wrong apartment. #

It's back to the Cold War on the Korean peninsula. With US troops there, let's hope it stays a cold war. #

With the Dow down 200 points at the moment, the 10-year T-note yield is down to 3.1%. But the economy is recovering, right? #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-24

Despite economists' previously noted optimism, is a double-dip recession now assured? #

10-year note yield approaches 3%, 2- to 10-year spread narrows on fears of slowing US growth. #

Economists predict solid US growth. Happy days are here again. Right? #

The Euro takes a hammering on news of Spain's central bank taking over Cajas, regulatory moves & new recession fears. #

The #Lost finale really worked for me. The sideways timeline is neither sideways nor a timeline. For the rest, whatever happened, happened. #

And, lo! The tomb was empty. #Lost #

So, the sideways world in #Lost clearly isn't sideways. It's something…else. #

Lapedus is a good pilot. #Lost #

Lapedus is going to "back" a 767 up? He must have the extra special #Lost 767, with the reverse gear. Unlike every other one in the world. #

Jack: Worst. Locke-Killer. Ever. #Lost #

So far, Jack sucks at Locke-killing. #Lost #

Don't go towards the light, Desmond! Even if it IS the entrance to #Lost heaven. #

It's good to see Jack and Locke together on #Lost again, isn't it? Just like it used to be in the old days. Good times. Good times… #

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 23 May 10

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Rand Paul, this week’s elections, and the stock market.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.


The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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Misrepresenting Libertarianism

The editors of the New York Times misrepresent libertarianism by way of Rand Paul and his statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying:

As a longtime libertarian, he espouses the view that personal freedom should supersede all government intervention. Neighborhood associations should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, he has written, and private businesses ought to be able to refuse service to anyone they wish. Under this philosophy, the punishment for a lunch counter that refuses to seat black customers would be public shunning, not a court order.

It is a theory of liberty with roots in America’s creation, but the succeeding centuries have shown how ineffective it was in promoting a civil society. The freedom of a few people to discriminate meant generations of less freedom for large groups of others.

It was only government power that ended slavery and abolished Jim Crow, neither of which would have been eliminated by a purely free market. It was government that rescued the economy from the Depression and promoted safety and equality in the workplace.

Let’s start with the most obvious canard, which is the proposition that Jim Crow had anything to do with free markets. They were called “Jim Crow Laws“, not “Jim Crow Markets”, the obvious reason for which is that separate accommodations were mandated by state governments, not organically grown in some mythical garden of free association rights. Indeed, the entire reason for the corrupt deal behind the presidential election of 1876 was to throw the South’s support behind a president who would end Reconstruction.

It was government–in this case, the state governments in the South–that imposed Jim Crow, and government that forced private companies to impose the desired restrictions on blacks.  If government intervention was required to Jim Crow, that was only because governments had imposed it in the first place.  And it certainly wasn’t the free market that imposed racial segregation on federal government employment, or military service. Nor was it the free market that imposed poll taxes or literacy tests aimed at preventing blacks from voting in elections. The argument of the New York Times’ editors is essentially that because one level of government ended the racial segregation that another level of government imposed, this shows the superiority of government over the free market.

Now, this is not to say that the owner of a drug-store lunch counter would have served blacks.  Some most certainly would not.  But we’ll never know how long that state of affairs might have lasted, because the state governments of the South did everything in their power to ensure that it would last, until forced to do otherwise. And to argue that the free market would never have eliminated Jim Crow is to argue an unprovable negative.  What we do know, however, is that there are examples, such as bus companies refusing to make blacks sit in the back of buses until forced to do so by state law, that indicate otherwise.

To the extent that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary, it was only so by virtue of eliminating state laws that imposed segregation, and restricted free markets from functioning.So, what “succeeding centuries have shown” is that government restriction of free markets kept segregation alive for a century after the Civil War. In presenting such a revisionist version of history, either the editors of the New York Times are abysmally ignorant, or they are actively malign.

Or both.

As far as government rescuing the economy from the Great Depression, a number of serious economic historians would argue precisely the opposite. To the extent that the government did end the Great Depression, it did so by absorbing 12 million citizens into the armed forces, and producing billions of dollars worth of war materials, a great proportion of which were destroyed between 1942 and 1945, along with about half a million of those uniformed Americans. Which, I shouldn’t have to point out, hardly commends it much as a general recipe for escaping economic downturns.

In any case, the child-like trust the editors of the New York Times seem to have for government action hardly seems warranted in either instance.