There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means. The primitive exercise of the political means was, as we have seen, by conquest, confiscation, expropriation, and the introduction of a slave economy… The feudal State, and the merchant-State…. are merely higher integrations of the primitive State. The State… is the organization of the political means. Now since man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion, he will employ the political means whenever he can… He will… have recourse to the State’s modern apparatus of exploitation; the apparatus of tariffs, concessions, rent-monopoly, and the like. -Nock, Our Enemy the State, ch.2, p.58-59
Recently I left the world of IT to start a business venture, so Joe the Plumber gave me a good laugh. One of the great things about my business venture is that I’ve left the white-collar world of IT and now I’m interfacing more with guys who paint, who install stuff, who provide various services. They are industrious, skilled people who are out serving others, whether they know it or not. Starting a business is incredibly hard, but working with these folks is fun.
Plumber Joe threw a far more damaging punch to Obama’s gut than anything Humpty McCain and all his high-powered advisors have managed. Exactly why should a man invest years of savings, work very long days, employ others, and provide useful services to society, then be punished for this by having his money forcibly extracted to give to others who have not done these things? Why do we provide bad incentives? It is nothing but immorality and outright thievery; there’s no gun and no mask, but it’s a stick-up all the same.
What percentage of regulation-happy bureaucrats and politicians have ever run a business or provided a useful service via their vocation, yet are ready and willing to create burdens for those who do? They sit in their office with their aides and decide who is making more than they deserve and try to punish them accordingly. They redistribute other people’s money in exchange for power. It is appalling that these folks who’ve never had a real job themselves and who I wouldn’t hire in my business always think they can regulate my business better than I can. They’re leeches.
Similarly, attorneys who add ridiculous costs and regulations on society to enrich themselves. I can’t even begin to describe the areas in a business where there aren’t burdensome costs where the stench of past trials is very clear. You can’t even interview someone without tiptoeing through the landmine of potential lawsuits. Another example is what an insurance agent told me about worker’s comp: someone gets “hurt” on the job, they call the lawyer they see on TV, then the claim instantly jumps from, say, $1,000 to $20,000. And the end result is that the attorney gets the bulk of the money and everyone’s premiums go up. And of course, that gets passed on to consumers. Winner: the attorney. Losers: everyone else.
We really need fewer leeches. How do you know if you’re a leech? Well, ask yourself these questions:
Are you are doing something that no one would voluntarily pay you or your employer to do?
Are you doing something that the vast majority of sensible people resent (e.g. personal injury attorneys and union bosses)?
Would you be more helpful to society if you were paid not to work?
If you answered yes to any of these, you’re leeching, and I think Joe the Plumber would agree: go get a real job!
OK, it’s not over yet, and John Milhous McCain may still win, but if he loses he need look no further than to the week the financial blowup occurred. These bailouts are the federal government’s way of propping up artificially high housing prices, bad debt, and connected friends and associates at insolvent banks. Most of all, they are an attempt to pump life support into a system that is geared toward protecting the ongoing financial irresponsibility of the federal government.
If the race had a real fiscal conservative (e.g. Ron Paul) who flatly opposed these ongoing bailouts from the beginning, I believe that guy would be well ahead right now. Instead, McCain played the consummate insider and went to D.C. He couldn’t do otherwise; it’s just not who he is.
Despite being a self-proclaimed “maverick,” McCain, like George W. Bush, Dole, Ford, and Nixon before him, is an establishment Republican. It’s no surprise that his hero is Teddy Roosevelt. McCain’s “maverick” status was mostly built on taking liberal stands on environmental and economic issues. Anyone remember his silly campaign finance reform bill that liberals (and George W. Bush) were only too happy to support? How about his support for Kyoto? How about the prescription drug boondoggle he trumpeted a few years ago (also supported by W)? Yes, John the Maverick is against some earmarks and pork, but this is a drop in the bucket compared to, say, his prescription drug plan or the 300 billion he recently promised to back up bad mortgage debt. He rarely mentions the largest Ponzi scheme in world history, America’s social security system, which is where any serious reform needs to start (along with abolishing the central bank). McCain spends dollars while fighting to save pennies.
McCain’s “conservatism” was pegged long ago by R.L. Dabney:
Its history is that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at least in the innovation. It is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition.
The sad part is that as bad as McCain is on economic matters, Obama would be even worse. That’s saying something.
I must admit a bitter grudge against the SEC. I hate their arrogance, especially since the Buckeyes have a notorious problem beating anyone from the SEC (the other Big 10 teams don’t seem to have as much trouble). However, this wonderful story about Georgia Bulldogs football coach Mark Richt makes me a fan of one SEC team… except when he plays a Big 10 team, of course.
Christian contemporary music has long seemed a wasteland for if you’re looking for Biblical lyrics. Word and sacrament are out, feelings-based mysticism is in. The most annoying feature of much of this music is that it’s all about me: how I feel, what will I do, etc. That’s one reason — along with snarling guitars — why this is one of the best recordings of the last 10 years. It speaks to the first and truest words in Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life: “It’s not about you” (alas, if only Warren had stopped writing right there…).
The Lord’s kingdom rolls ever on. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10). All authority on heaven and earth is His (Matt 28:18).
Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin the following questions recently:
Couric: If a 15-year-old is raped by her father, do you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion, and why?
Couric: But ideally, you think it should be illegal for a girl who was raped or the victim of incest to get an abortion?
Couric: Some people [read: people like Katie Couric] have credited the morning-after pill for decreasing the number of abortions. How do you feel about the morning-after pill? … And so you don’t believe in the morning-after pill? [horrors!] … I’m sorry, I just want to ask you again. Do you not support or do you condone or condemn the morning-after pill?
The answers to these aren’t tough, but we all know that the point is to the offend the sensibilities of the moderates who’ll swing the election. One wonders if Katie Couric will ask her preferred candidates similarly tendentious questions. Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head:
Mr. Biden, some people think that all forms of abortion are vicious killings. Let me explain a few of the procedures and I’d like you to tell us in each case why you think it’s both good and right to support them and even take money from the people who perform them. Let’s start with the most common procedure (and I have a few pictures here)…
Pro-lifers argue that the child is alive, and with ultrasound that’s pretty much beyond a reasonable doubt even to the ignorant that we’re dealing with a baby. How can you allow someone to destroy a child? Doesn’t that innocent child have rights?
If the government doesn’t exist to protect life and liberty, what’s the point of it?
No, extremism only runs one way. You say you support a woman’s right to murder her offspring? Nothing extreme about that. No biggie. You get a 100% rating from NARAL— straight A’s? That’s not extreme or unbalanced. You’re a family man and you look good on TV. You speak at events like this held by the nation’s largest abortion mill operator, and you speak approvingly of new clinics? Hm, well, it seems like you’re more than a reluctant supporter, but hey, it’s all in moderation and extremists don’t wear nice suits anyway. Oh, you take money directly from abortionists? Well, nothing to see here either. Move along.