Free Markets, Free People

Quote of the day

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Quote of the Day: BOHICA edition

Grab your wallets, this is going to cost you plenty … for zero gain against a made up problem:

“A principal challenge to all of us of life and death proportions is the challenge of climate change…I regret that my own country – and President Obama knows this and is committed to changing it – needs to do more and we are committed to doing more.”–Secretary Kerry

And the apology tour continues.

~McQ

Quote of the Day – Fine Arts and Capitalism edition

Or perhaps it could be called the wages of the liberal cant (Camille Paglia):

Capitalism has its weaknesses. But it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.

[...]

Thus we live in a strange and contradictory culture, where the most talented college students are ideologically indoctrinated with contempt for the economic system that made their freedom, comforts and privileges possible. In the realm of arts and letters, religion is dismissed as reactionary and unhip. The spiritual language even of major abstract artists like Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko is ignored or suppressed.

Thus young artists have been betrayed and stunted by their elders before their careers have even begun. Is it any wonder that our fine arts have become a wasteland?

I’ve truly never understood how one does what is routinely done by those who denounce Capitalism – live on and enjoy it’s benefits while calling for its destruction.  I don’t see how anyone who would describe themselves as intelligent could live with the contradiction.

Unless, of course, they have a completely twisted and warped understanding of what Capitalism is.  And, frankly, that’s precisely from what most of them suffer.  They’re spoon fed this ignorant pap without opposition.  They get the one side.  They have Capitalism defined and characterized as something it’s not and leave believing that definition to be true.

Obviously that mischaracterization would fall mostly within liberal academic pursuits I’m guessing (because they’re unlikely to be pursuing business or economic courses in those pursuits, and thus would never be exposed to what Capitalism is really).  So Paglia’s point makes sense.  These students are indeed “indoctrinated”.  I don’t know how else you describe “teaching” with no balance, with no valid opposing view presented, as anything but indoctrination.

Of course, she describes the result of such a twisted orthodoxy.  Art which must conform to the orthodoxy and, as a result, is mostly rejected by the vast majority of the real world.  It has gone from being “edgy” and “out there” or a “comment on our culture/society/whatever” to being another example of the same old thing – bashing what others hold sacred or dear.  They can’t imagine why others don’t like it or want it.

Of course, when it doesn’t sell, well, that’s Capitalism’s fault.

And why shouldn’t these enlightened few demand subsidies for their “art?”  After all, we have no taste and certainly don’t have the intelligence to discern what is or isn’t profound.  We owe them such support.

Capitalism?  Well that stands in the way, doesn’t it?  It requires they produce something of value to others, not just of value to themselves, doesn’t it.

Down with Capitalism.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

Quote of the Day: Pro-market edition

From Professor Luigi Zingales:

“There is not a well-understood distinction between being pro-business and being pro-market. Businessmen like free markets until they get into a market; once they are in it they want to block entry to others. Pro-marketeers want free markets at all times. The more conservative pro-marketeers are fearful of criticising business, because they assume they will be seen as criticising the free market. But we need to stand up and criticise business when business is not helping the cause of free markets.”

We talk a lot about crony capitalism.  Well what the good professor is talking about when he says that businessmen like free markets until they get in one and then they try to “block entry to others” is part of what we’re talking about.

One aspect of cronyism is where businesses attempt to use the power of government, if they can so influence it, to give their company sweetheart regulations, raise artificial barriers to entry and to otherwise impede competitors to the point that they have an advantage.  I’d like to say advantage in the “market”, but the market, at that point, no longer exists as a free one.  It is now a distorted market due to government cronyism.

That’s something that badly needs to stop.  Whether at this point that’s even possible and if it is, how we’d actually go about it are some interesting questions to discuss.

However, the primary point is being pro-business does not necessarily being pro-market and it certainly doesn’t mean you are necessarily for free markets.

We need to change the way we discuss this.  We nee to talk about free markets and roundly condemn any business that attempts to use the coercive power of government to it’s advantage in markets as well as condemning those in government who use its power for such things.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO

Quote of the day: Eschewing individual rights for majority rule

It’s not like we haven’t seen where we’re headed before.  One of the reasons for the war on individualism?  Because it yields a desired result, a result, unfortunately, all to common in our history.

Auberon Herbert (via the WSJ) in "The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State", written in 1894, provides the lesson we’ve still apparently not learned:

We are fast getting rid of emperors and kings and dominant churches, as far as the mere outward form is concerned, but the soul of these men and these institutions is still living and breathing within us. We still want to exercise power, we still want to drive men our own way, and to possess the mind and body of our brothers as well as of our own selves. The only difference is that we do it in the name of a majority instead of in the name of divine right. . . .

In this case the possession of power would necessarily confer upon those who gained it such enormous privileges—if we are to speak of the miserable task of compulsion as privileges—the privileges of establishing and enforcing their own views in all matters, of treading out and suppressing the views to which they are opposed, of arranging and distributing all property, of regulating all occupations, that all those who still retained sufficient courage and energy to have views of their own would be condemned to live organized for ceaseless and bitter strife with each other.

In presence of unlimited power lodged in the hands of those who govern, in the absence of any universal acknowledgment of individual rights, the stakes for which men played would be so terribly great that they would shrink from no means to keep power out of the hands of their opponents. Not only would the scrupulous man become unscrupulous, and the pitiful man cruel, but the parties into which society divided itself would begin to perceive that to destroy or be destroyed was the one choice lying in front of them.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Forward!

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the Day: Composite Obama edition

Heh … I think this sums it up pretty well.  A sort of Ott Scerb like litany:

If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen because you’ve been a little lazy over the last couple of decades and you’ve lost your ambition, your imagination and your willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge, causing you to become bitter and cling to guns and religion and antipathy toward people who aren’t like you, and to act stupidly, just like a typical white person or our troops who are just air-raiding villages and killing civilians. Frankly, that’s why I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism, and that’s why it’s necessary for me to fundamentally transform America and spread the wealth around — just as soon as I get more flexibility in a second term.

In his own words.

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the day: Silly collectivist edition

Apparently Barack Obama was channeling Elizabeth “Fauxahontas” Warren the other day in a speech when he said:

Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.

The natural angle of attack when one wants to demean accomplishment is to attempt to portray it as something you were given vs. something you earned.

In this case, where Obama denigrates the accomplishments of the successful (and my goodness when did success become something you attack?), he’s attempting to do just that.  Because, so the collectivist thinking (oxymoron alert) goes, if he and others helped the successful become successful then they can justify claiming a portion of the pie the successful have.

Of course that requires ignoring how the successful become successful.  We heard Elizabeth Warren talk about public works that she claims enabled businesses to succeed.  Like roads, power grids, etc.  What she would have you believe is everyone else paid for those things but apparently the entrepreneur was just a net beneficiary.  Silliness to the extreme.

Also always shunted aside are the sacrifices the “successful” made to reach the stage of success they enjoy.  I personally know “successful” people who mortgaged their house to the hilt, cashed in whatever they had in savings and borrowed the rest to start their business. 

They took all the risk, and yes, some of them failed.  But they didn’t have anyone holding their hand when they set out on their journey to success.  They simply worked harder than anyone else, made the additional sacrifices that had to be made (80 hour weeks, little time with the family, etc). to make that success a fact.

The focus for the collectivists starts at the big house the successful have now, not the risk, work and sacrifice they went through to build that house.

And now that they are a success, suddenly they have a bunch of leeches who want to claim a portion of it (remember about 50% of those in this country pay no income taxes at all).  It reminds me of the lottery winner who suddenly discovers he has cousins, nieces and nephews he’s never heard of all clamoring for some of the winnings.  But in this case, what Obama is trying to justify via this nonsense is not asking for money, but taking it “legally”. 

His is the same song the communists sang in 1917 Russia.  Those who worked hardest and achieved the most don’t “deserve” what they have accumulated because they did it on the backs of everyone else.  We’ve heard variations on the theme quite often from leftist politicians:  “It takes a village”, for instance  or claiming the successful are simply  “the winners of life’s lottery”, etc.

Naturally where Obama wants to strike is precisely where jobs are created.  Almost a million of those in the tax bracket he wants to hit with higher taxes are small businesses.  You’d think the guy who obviously thinks he’s a economic genius would know that.  You’d think a guy who said “the last thing you want to do in a recession is raise taxes” would actually follow through on something he got right.

But no, instead he plays the class warfare card and essentially parrots the communists. 

No, I’m not calling him a communist, I’m simply pointing out the irony of what he’s doing.  Draw your own conclusions about what he is, but one thing he isn’t is a friend of the free market.  He certainly isn’t the economic genius he thinks he is and frankly, he’s leading us down the same path Europe went down years before and we all know how that is turning out.

It is envy cloaked as “fairness”.  Class warfare designed empower government even while it cripples business and, in the end, would contribute to increasing our economic woes.

However, there is value in such quotes as his above.  When you hear him say things like this, it becomes much clearer as to his true ideological roots and what an additional 4 years would bring.  The press may not have done the job of vetting this president before he took office, but quotes like this do as much for that process as any vetting by the press would accomplish There’s no question of where he lives ideologically.   And it isn’t an ideology that belongs in the most powerful office in this land.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the Day: WTF edition

Henry Blodget of Business Insider entitles his anti-Romney piece:

Sorry, Mitt Romney, You Can’t Be Chairman, CEO, And President Of A Company And Not Be Responsible For What It Does…

Really?  Since when did that become true?

After all, according to our current President and the left, everything the last 4 years has been Bush’s fault.  Or ATMs.  Or tsunamis.  Or Europe.  Or …

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the Day: Political vernacular edition

Thomas Sowell, as he has so aptly and wonderfully done for decades, distills down some of the silliness that happens with the language of politics.  He pens a short political glossary  for those who need it.  You can’t tell what a politician is saying without it.

Fairness:

One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is "fairness." It has been used over a vast range of issues, from "fair trade" laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don’t pay their "fair share" of taxes.

Some of us may want to see a definition of what is "fair." But a concrete definition would destroy the versatility of the word, which is what makes it so useful politically.

If you said, for example, that 46.7 percent of their income — or any other number — is the "fair share" of their income that the rich should have to pay in taxes, then once they paid that amount, there would be no basis for politicians to come back to them for more — and "more" is what "fair share" means in practice.

Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.

Dead on right and yes it is indeed a word that has become an “inexhaustible asset” to politicians of a certain ilk.

Racism:

"Racism" is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama.

Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more other talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word "racism" is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a "racist."

On the positive side, sort of, “compassion”:

A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is "compassion." But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers’ money in ways that will increase the spender’s chances of getting reelected.

If you are skeptical — or, worse yet, critical — of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: "mean-spirited." A related political label is "greedy."

In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be "greedy," while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show "compassion."

Make sure to read the rest.

Suffice it to say, Sowell nails it.  Of course there are many other words and phrases that can be included as well. Language is malleable as our politicians prove every day.  That’s why so many people listen and then point to Orwell’s “1984” after many political speeches today.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the Day: McCain says more dumb things edition

In a recent rant about money in politics, a still bitter Sen. John McCain, had this to say about billionaire Sheldon Adleson’s 10 million dollar donation to the pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future.

"Much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau, which says that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign," McCain said in an interview on PBS’s News Hour.

"That is a great deal of money, and we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization… that we have to have a limit on the flow of money and corporations are not people," he said.

That is one of the stupidest attempts to tie money to a foreign government I’ve yet seen.  And make no mistake, that’s precisely what McCain is trying to imply here.  There is no other reason to bring up the source.  It’s a bit like saying that if Adelson had casinos on the French Riviera that he would be funneling French money into the election.

Hey, McCain, he also owns half of Las Vegas.  Oh, and the “profits”  from “Macau”?  They come from people who have lost money there (and, btw, they’re not all Chinese).

McCain still can’t get over the fact that his attempt to stifle free speech was found to be unconstitutional. 

McCain called the decision "the most misguided, naïve, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st Century," and money would be playing a dominant role in American politics for the foreseeable future.

"There will be scandals, there’s just too much money washing around Washington today… I’m afraid we’re for a very bleak period in American politics," he said. "To somehow view money as not having a corrupting effect on elections flies in the face of reality."

His reasoning is a bit like the gun grabbers reasoning that it is guns that are the cause of violent crime, not people.  He believes that if the means of corruption is removed, there’ll be no corruption.

Really?  What is naïve, misguided and uniformed is thinking like that, not to mention repeated attempts to control political speech by this man. 

If there is a Tea Party in Arizona, please, do a Dick Lugar on this guy.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Quote of the Day: Which Republican said this edition

Tell me if you know which Republican Congressman said this:

"President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and that to in order to create jobs," … "We need to address unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas and enact policies that allow us to take advantage of our vast natural resources such as coal and natural gas in a safe and responsible manner which will lower energy costs and create jobs and approving the Keystone XL Pipeline would be a good first step."

House Speaker Boehner?  Paul Ryan?  Eric Cantor?

Uh, no … it wasn’t a Republican at all.  It was Rep. Mark Critz, D-PA.  The  guy who represents most of John Murtha’s old district.  Does this sound like a guy who is wanting the president anywhere near his district as he runs for re-election?

Meanwhile the President gave a “major speech” yesterday in Ohio that was 54 minutes long and could be boiled down into one sentence – No change: more spending, more taxes, same old failed economic policies and blame Bush.

It was widely panned by the usually supportive media.  Said Jon Healy of the LA Times:

President Obama’s much-anticipated speech Thursday on the economy didn’t lay out any new initiatives or make any new arguments. It often sounded like a recap of his first three years, or another version of the familiar "how we got here" blamefest.

Meanwhile, going back to part of Rep. Critz criticism, the Keystone XL pipeline, something which would mean jobs for this country and a big step toward increasing our energy security, is indeed proceeding – toward China or elsewhere:

While Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of natural resources, said in an interview that the United States would remain Canada’s “most important customer,” billions of barrels of oil that would have been refined and used in the United States are now poised to head elsewhere. Expansion of Canada’s fast-growing oil-sands industry will be restricted by the lack of pipeline capacity before the decade’s end, he said, which “adds to the urgency of building them so that the resources will not be stranded.”

Three new pipeline network proposals — two that call for heading west and the other east — have been put forward.

If ever there were a blunder of historic proportions, Obama’s petulant and politically motivated disapproval of the pipeline rank up in the top.

As John Sexton writes:

The scale of this blunder, which the President made ostensibly on environmental grounds, is compounded by the fact that there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Once a new pipeline is built, Canada has no reason to return to selling its oil products solely to the U.S. at a reduced price. The decision not to approve Keystone XL makes Solyndra look like a stroke of genius.

Indeed.

Oh and finally, can anyone guess what was required to attend the President’s Ohio speech?

Yeah, that’s right – a photo ID.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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