Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

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.

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.

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-21

The Red Badge of Courtesy #lesserbooks #

A Midsummer Night's Insomnia #lesserbooks #

A Brief History of Tim #lesserbooks #

Mein Kampfire #lesserbooks #

I'm taking out my new Hobie Revolution Kayak for the first time tomorrow–today, actually–to Lake Hodges. Very excited. Expect pics, vid. #

The Puppy of the Baskervilles #lesserbooks #

The Sandwich of Monte Cristo #lesserbooks #

Tarzan of the Suburbs #lesserbooks #

The Moon is a Gentle Mistress #lesserbooks #

The Caves of Tissue #lesserbooks #

The Postman Never Rings #lesserbooks #

The Three Bruises Of Palmer Eldritch #lesserbooks #

The Day of the Truffles #lesserbooks #

A Clockwork Papaya #lesserbooks #

The Andromeda Stain #lesserbooks #

Ender's Nap #lesserbooks #

Starship Paralegals #lesserbooks #

A Connecticut Janitor in King Arthur's Court #LesserBooks #

Mopey Dick #LesserBooks #

Tom Swift and his Common Butter Knife #LesserBooks #

A Journey to the Center of Town #LesserBooks #

A Picture of Mars #LesserBooks #

The Food of the Dogs #LesserBooks #

The Timeshare Property of Doctor Moreau #LesserBooks #

The Comptroller of the Rings #LesserBooks #

To Mildly Irritate a Mockingbird #LesserBooks #

Heart of Moderate Discoloration #LesserBooks #

The History of the Peloponnesian Wart #LesserBooks #

The Administrative Assistant of Oz #lesserbooks #

Barleby the Scribbler #lesserbooks #

All Quiet on the Western Side of the Yard #lesserbooks #

A Good Manatee is Hard to Find #lesserbooks #

The Lingonberries of Wrath #lesserbooks #

Lord of the Moths #lesserbooks #

Indigestion Comes for the Archbishop #lesserbooks #

Remembrance of Things That Happened Yesterday #lesserbooks #

The Vaguely Satisfied Wives of Windsor #lesserbooks #

The Taming of the Vole #lesserbooks #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-20

WW1 started when Gavrilo Prinzep shot Franz Ferdinand. Germany's ban on naked short selling yesterday may be the financial equivalent. #

Richard Blumenthal says he "misspoke" and had a few misplaced words". Yeah. The words were "I" and "Vietnam". #

Dow closes -376.51. 10-year Treasury Yield drops 95 basis points. There's no way to come up with a positive spin on today. # The Democrat-controlled House Armed Services Committee has dealt a potential deathblow to plans to close Guantanamo Bay #

Ask yourself a question: if the economy is recovering so nicely, then why has the Dow dropped 800 points in the last month? #

Both the Dow and NASDAQ are essentially where they were during the "flash crash" low last week. Dow 4000 doesn't seem as silly as it did. # Dow Theorist Richard Russell: Sell Everything, You Won't Recognize America By The End Of The Year. #

The Times of London asks "Can the Euro survive?" I suspect the Euro will, though the Euro-zone may be a LOT smaller. #

The good news: Treasury prices rise, sending interest rates down. Bad news: weekly claims jump, leading indicators decline, Dow -200. #

Hawaii 5-0 is coming back. The old show had the best credits: With Zulu as Kono…and Kam Fong as Chin Ho. #

You only live once. Might as well enjoy it. My new Hobie Revolution Mirage Drive Kayak. #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-19

Oakland city council becomes the first government organization in CA to support the pot legalization initiative. #

Somalis are upset we're trying a pirate. Solution: Simply shoot them out of hand when caught in the act of piracy. #

Why CA is bankrupt: CalPers bennies were assumed to be self-financing…as long as the Dow was at 25,000 by 2009. #

Somalis are upset we're trying one of their guys for piracy. Solution: Shoot them when they're caught in the act. #

Germany bans naked short-selling. Asian markets tumble. "Germany just switched off the financial lights in Europe." #

You'd think that receiving the power to protect the island would require something more dramatic than sipping a delicious beverage. #Lost #

Of COURSE Jack volunteers immediately. Now, he can spend the next 1k years thinking what a wonderful, self-sacrificing guy he is. Ass. #Lost #

Is it just me, or does Jacob make things more difficult than they actually need to be? #Lost #

The thing about Ben is, that he keeps a grudge 'til it's dead. Then he has it stuffed and mounted. #Lost #

Well, we won't be subjected to Zoe's bad acting any more. #Lost #

Delenn is back! #Lost #

Apparently, John didn't actually WANT to talk to Richard. #Lost #

Jack keeps Kate's dirty t-shirt on while he sews her up. He's a really good doctor. #Lost #

Watching Sun and Jin die in the #Lost Recap: You have a child, ass. You're SUPPOSED to leave her. Sure, make your kid an orphan. #

The euro has plummeted against the US dollar, falling below $1.22 for the first time since April 2006. #

Arlen Specter can now be the mean old man who lives on the corner. Every neighborhood needs one. #

Critz still looks like a winner in #PA12 though. #

AP calls #PASen for Sestak. #

In #PA12 Critz is still holding at 57% with 22% of precincts reporting. #

Sestak is now at 51%. You want to hear a "bitter clinger" from Pennsylvania? Watch Arlen Specter's concession speech. #

Current PA-12 Results: Critz (D) – 59.2%, Burns (R) 38.6%. So far…not good. #

Well, I've got to stop twittering for a bit. I've got to take a dog for a walk. And, no, that's not a figure of speech. #

Maybe it's too early to call either race in PA. #

PA House 12: 82 votes counted, Critz (D) leads 86%-0%. Is a disaster looming for Burns!? #

Very first election returns from PA: With 114 votes counted, Sestak leads Specter, 56%-44%. #

I wonder how the election in PA will be affected by the bad weather, and resulting low turnout. #

Everyone seems happy about the #Randslide in KY. Maybe you should curb the triumphalism until you see results from PA, AR, etc. #

Dale’s Observations For 2010-05-18

Cass Sunstein, Obama’s regulatory czar, thinks that bloggers should be forced to link to opposing viewpoints. | #

First results in KY Senate race: Rand Paul 49%, Trey Grayson 43%. #

Bristol Palin has signed on with Single Source Speakers to give lectures at $15kto $30k. She must be very wise. | #

Amazon says Kindle reader for Android devices is coming soon. That will be nice for my HTC Incredible. | #

With 20/20 hindsight, Shell will pre-position a concrete coffer dam in the arctic for containing any oil leaks. | #

Alabama math teacher tries to teach geometry by by explaining shooting angles for assassinating Obama. | #

Dow drops another 115 points on worries about the €. Is the European Currency on its last legs? | #

    Dale’s Tweets for 2010-05-18

    • YouTube now gets 2 billion viewers a day, a larger audience than all three networks' prime-time viewership…combined. #
    • US Treasury says it took a $1.6 bil loss on Chrysler loan. Total losses from automaker loans expected to be $34 bil. #
    • Iran reached a deal to swap low-enriched for high-enriched uranium with Turkey. Iranian press calls it "epic victory". #
    • …and that's when Neil exited the LM, to join me on the lunar surface. #BlumenthalSpeeches #
    • So, right after Omaha Beach, my CO asked me to take a squad and find this Ryan fellow, whose brothers had all died. #BlumenthalSpeeches #
    • "Mojo In The Morning" show has been contacted by Miss Universe officials about her part in a "Stripper 101" contest. #
    • Miss USA, Rima Fakih, the first Arab American to wear the crown, is a pretty good stripper, too. | #
    • California pot growers face a new and serious threat: falling prices. A man can't even make a decent illegal living.¦ #

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    Dale’s Tweets for 2010-05-17

    • Miss USA is Muslim lass. I guess that means we'll be disappointed in her swimwear shots. #
    • Lemonade from lemons: The € crisis has resulted in record capital inflows to the US, keeping treasury yields.down.¦ #
    • I soooo want one of these. ¦ #
    • Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating the CalWORKS welfare program. Democrats, who run the legislature, want taxes. #
    • Local California governments boycott Arizona, due to new immigration law. Arizonans notice. Hilarity ensues. ¦ #
    • Government spending is bankrupting the country. We know it. But, we will do nothing until it all comes crashing down. ¦ #

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