Archive for October 20th, 2008

Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

‘Twas a good day for Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish.

Article Number 1: A look back into Palin’s shady medical history. Mr. Sullivan tries his best to not show his seething hatred.

Article Number 2: He links an article from the NYT’s blog the Caucus, in which they report that Sarah Palin has not heard any of the threats and accusatory remarks from her supporters at rallies. Money quote:

“We have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some pretty atrocious and unacceptable things,” including threats of harm, she said, adding “we have not heard that.”

Ms. Palin added: “If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mic, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that’s unacceptable, let’s rise above that please.”

The Huffington Post’s Alan Schram has an excellent post called “The Greatest Heist in History”. Quote of the week:

Even the government bonds, which represent the most solid of credit and are in such high demand now, are a robbery. They are paying an interest rate much lower than LIBOR or the rate of inflation, so effectively people are paying to put their money with the US government. Consider: the same government that is spending hundreds of billions to bail out the financial sector, the same government that is running massive deficits, the same government that is inflating the currency and will pay back its mountain of obligations in underappreciated money, thus escaping its fiscal commitments, this is the same government that people believe is a safe haven for their hard earned life savings.

The Bad

Foreign Policy magazine interviewed Tom Clancy. He’s a nut. On Colin Powell:

“He’s very smart; he’s honest. When he cuts himself shaving he probably bleeds green. He’s all soldier, and he’s real smart. Maybe the best person I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve met a few smart guys in my time. Colin Powell is in the top five. Soldiers as a class of people, especially the four-star variety, they tend to be smart people. If he’s ever said anything dumb, I’m not aware of it. Little George should have listened to him.”

‘Cept, Tommy forgets that Colin Powell was the guy who shoved the Iraq war down this country’s throats. Bush DID listen to him: he went to war.

The Insightful

The big story is the New Yorker’s editorial “The Insiders”, where Jane Meyer suggests that Sarah Palin, despite her folksiness, is really an insider just like the rest of ’em. However, my kudos go to Michael Tomasky of the Guardian for summing the article up for those who don’t have the time to read it.

Unbelievable, quite frankly.

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Jacob Weisberg, sir, you are the epitome of an idiot. I had to get that out of the way.

The absurdity of your title, “Libertarianism is Dead”, is only surpassed by the absurdity of the subtitle, which reads “The financial collapse proves that the ideology no longer makes sense”.

It’s a bad assumption to assume that the concept of free market capitalism is dead, and this is why: to err is human. Simple as that.

If you expect those with the freedom to act in the markets to err, saying that they have too much freedom and it’s anarchy in the markets and so on, then wouldn’t it make sense that if you give those in the government the same freedom to police the market instead, they would also err, possibly (more of an inevitability, really) that would damage the market and impede trade and profits. Yes, regulation in copious amounts is a good thing (meaning anything that applies under current laws, like tax evasion and theft, should be cut down), and I’m in no way advocating complete libertarianism, which blurs the line between it and anarchy (in all fairness, maybe this is what Mr. Weisberg was pronouncing dead, in which case I tell him, “Did you just wake from a coma?”). But libertarianism as the direct opposite of authoritarianism and bigger government rule isn’t dead yet and should not and will not go down easy, if ever (I hope it doesn’t, as a libertarian moderate).

Yes, you can blame the free-market for the previously stratospheric oil prices and the currently massive health care costs (privately, at least), but my opinion on the both of those is this: those companies that are pricing their goods so high are damned smart. Brilliant, all of them, and I’m not being sarcastic in the least, I assure you. Want to know why? Because they know that demand is so high for their drugs/oil that they can price the goods high and reap excellent profits. Is it immoral? Depends on your point of view — but I think that it’s perfectly fine for them to make money. As I say, what do you call a man who doesn’t make a profit?

Unemployed.

But I digress: libertarianism will not die as long as this country exists and people are still believing in the American Dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The thing that caused most of my rage over this article is the sheer fact that, while the writer claims libertarianism to be dead, he doesn’t say what has been born to secede it, or rather, he implies what has been born but doesn’t comment on whether it will work at all. The third of Newton’s laws of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus: if libertarianism has been pushed out of the way, what has come to take its place in America? Severe government regulation? As they say: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Or, who watches the watchmen? The point being that, if the government were to get involved in regulating the economy more (we’re not in a complete laissez-faire economy, folks, let’s get that straight), isn’t it inevitable that they’d become corrupt just like the folks on Wall St.? And here’s the problem: the crooked dealers on Wall St. will meet their demise by their own hands (via bankruptcy) or their companies (firing), while the government’s laws (or policemen) will not be able to repealed quite as swiftly. This Wall St. collapse of late has been (as I see it) the market’s form of justice. If the banks’ collapse is a sign of the “rampant corruption” on Wall St., then why are we bailing the corrupt out? Isn’t that just rewarding bad business practices?

P.S. The government is rewarding them, I should add. The same exact government that would be policing the market.

I’m done.

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