The Old-School Liberal

“Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom” — Friedrich Hayek

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Cato on the Gold Standard

Posted by Poorsummary on February 20, 2008


50267026.jpgLawrence H. White, Professor of Economic History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis debunks several myths about the gold standard and concludes the following:

“A gold standard does not guarantee perfect steadiness in the growth of the money supply, but historical comparison shows that it has provided more moderate and steadier money growth in practice than the present-day alternative, politically empowering a central banking committee to determine growth in the stock of fiat money. From the perspective of limiting money growth appropriately, the gold standard is far from a crazy idea.”

Read more about the seemingly antiquated monetary regime that our constitution prescribes and politicians ignore here.

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Posted in 2008 Presidential Race, Constitution, Politics, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

McCain on The US as World Policeman

Posted by Poorsummary on February 18, 2008


080225_r17114_p233.jpgYou thought the Bush Administration was hawkish on policing the world? You ain’t seen nothing yet. (from Foreign Affairs; Quoted here by Reason Magazine):

America needs not simply more soldiers but more soldiers with the skills necessary to help friendly governments and their security forces resist common foes. I will create an Army Advisory Corps with 20,000 soldiers to partner with militaries abroad, and I will increase the number of U.S. personnel available to engage in Special Forces operations, civil affairs activities, military policing, and military intelligence. We also need a nonmilitary deployable police force to train foreign forces and help maintain law and order in places threatened by state collapse.

It is ideas such as these that spawn such seemingly oxymoronic groups such as Libertarians for Obama. Apparently, socialism appeals to some libertarians more than empire building. It is truly a tragedy that the politics of the day demand that such a choice be made.

Posted in 2008 Presidential Race, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Why not ask the Iraqis?

Posted by Poorsummary on February 12, 2008

LennieWhile politicians debate about how many decades we should leave troops in Iraq, more evidence surfaces to indicate that the US is less like the penitent shopper who broke an item, and more like Lennie Small from Of Mice and Men who just can’t leave well enough alone:

THE US occupying army in Iraq (euphemistically called the Multi-National Force-Iraq) carries out extensive studies of popular attitudes. Its December 2007 report of a study of focus groups was uncharacteristically upbeat.

The report concluded that the survey “provides very strong evidence” to refute the common view that “national reconciliation is neither anticipated nor possible”. On the contrary, the survey found that a sense of “optimistic possibility permeated all focus groups … and far more commonalities than differences are found among these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis.”

This discovery of “shared beliefs” among Iraqis throughout the country is “good news, according to a military analysis of the results”, Karen deYoung reports in The Washington Post.

The “shared beliefs” were identified in the report. To quote deYoung, “Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of ‘occupying forces’ as the key to national reconciliation.”

So, according to Iraqis, there is hope of national reconciliation if the invaders, responsible for the internal violence, withdraw and leave Iraq to Iraqis.” (link)

The Iraq situation is a complicated one. Those who respect the constitution (though few they may be) say we had no right to go in, but there may be something to be said for fixing what we’ve broken. Perhaps the issue would be a bit clearer if we included the voice of the Iraqis in our decision making. After all, it’s their lives on the line.

Posted in Constitution, Government Gaffes, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Would a Ron Paul Presidency Hurt Israel?

Posted by Poorsummary on January 16, 2008

Israel FlagSome have claimed that a Ron Paul presidency would be bad for Israel. Shimshon Weisman, an orthodox jew who lives in Israel, begs to differ (thanks to Lew Rockwell for the post):

There are a number of issues here. First, aid to Israel. It has been obvious for a long time that Israel does not need this aid. Israel’s GDP per capita is at European levels and rising. The aid itself is a form of corporate welfare in that it must be spent in America. It comes with many strings attached.“It allows the government to avoid sorely needed economic reforms.

“Along with the aid Israel receives, potential or actual enemies receive several times more. That aid doesn’t just allow the recipient nations to avoid reforms, it actually props them up and allows them to continue to maintain a bellicose stance against Israel (this certainly includes Egypt, with whom Israel has a peace treaty in place).

“When the entire world condemned Israel, including President Reagan on down in America, Dr. Paul supported Israel’s right to act in its own self-interest (and preemptively, I might add) in its bombing of the Osirak reactor in Iraq. He had absolutely nothing to gain by taking this position, and nothing to lose by following the herd in its condemnation of Israel.

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Posted in 2008 Presidential Race, Politics, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Does the Constitution Also Scare Elizabeth Edwards?

Posted by Poorsummary on December 24, 2007

Gun ControlThe Economist quotes Elizabeth Edwards expressing her fear of Mike Huckabee and Republicans in general:

“[Mike Huckabee] doesn’t believe in evolution and has some nutty views about what it is we should do about ending violence in our inner city—we should make sure all of our young people are armed. Republicans scare me.”

While there are legitimate reasons to fear, or at least disagree with, Mike Huckabee (e.g. his tax reform legislation that doesn’t actually eliminate any existing taxes) and Republicans (e.g. their determination to make criminals of people who use or prescribe medical marijuana in accordance with state laws), the right to bear arms is not one of them. Reading Edwards’ quote above does make gun ownership seem like a silly answer to ending violence, but if one looks at the empirical evidence, there is little reason to believe that making it a crime to own a gun does anything but ensure that the only people who own guns are criminals. Consider the following examples of gun ownership deterring crime:

  1. In 1966 the police in Orlando, Florida, responded to a rape epidemic by embarking on a highly publicized program to train 2,500 women in firearm use. The next year rape fell by 88 percent in Orlando (the only major city to experience a decrease that year); burglary fell by 25 percent. Not one of the 2,500 women actually ended up firing her weapon; the deterrent effect of the publicity sufficed. Five years later Orlando’s rape rate was still 13 percent below the pre-program level, whereas the surrounding standard metropolitan area had suffered a 308 percent increase.
  2. During a 1974 police strike in Albuquerque armed citizens patrolled their neighborhoods and shop owners publicly armed themselves; felonies dropped significantly.
  3. In March 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia, enacted a law requiring householders to keep a gun at home; house burglaries fell from 65 per year to 26, and to 11 the following year.
  4. Similar publicized training programs for gun-toting merchants sharply reduced robberies in stores in Highland Park, Michigan, and in New Orleans; a grocers organization’s gun clinics produced the same result in Detroit.

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Ron Paul: The Most Electible Republican

Posted by Poorsummary on December 2, 2007

Ron Paul AdThe 2008 presidential election is rapidly approaching, and Republicans are going to have a difficult time holding onto the presidency after the Bush administration. Prediction markets like Intrade provide a fairly accurate assessment of the probability of each candidate winning the primary nomination, as well as the probability of each candidate becoming president. In determining which candidate to send to a general election, however, primary voters should choose the candidate most likely to win the general election, given that they receive the primary nomination.

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Non-Interventionism ≠ Isolationism

Posted by Poorsummary on December 2, 2007


Non-interventionism

Bruce Miller of The Blue Voice confuses non-interventionism with isolationism:

“Let me start this by saying as I’ve said in a number of posts before that most warnings about ‘isolationism’ are fake, straw-man arguments. At least outside of Ron Paul’s political corner, there are no actual isolationists in American politics…If you listen carefully to what Ron Paul and similar isolationist rightwingers are saying, their brand of nationalism is coming from a very similar place. They want to discard normal diplomacy, foreign aid, even the threat of economic and trade sanctions from the set of foreign policy tools available to the United States. They are not far from the neocons in that essential focus. As the Overstreets described the perspective 43 years ago, “What we might need to do abroad, in military terms, could be done by a well-placed bomb or a regiment of Marines.”

Bruce mischaracterizes Congressman Paul’s foreign policy. Paul does not advocate “pulling back out of the world” altogether, but merely eliminating US military intervention unrelated to our national security. Whenever he talks about the success we’ve had by leaving Vietnam, he also talks about the stability that has come from our actively trading with them:

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What is the state’s role in regard to abortion?

Posted by dagnygalt on December 1, 2007

3D Image of a fetusThe issue of abortion has blown up in recent elections and passionately divided the electorate between the two different “pros”—pro-life and pro-choice. The main conflict on the abortion issue is that few people fall in the middle and thus fewer are willing to compromise. Given the divisiveness of this issue, policy makers have almost always addressed the sanctity of two groups of rights: women’s rights, and human rights (supposing fetuses to be right-bearing humans). The classical liberal case for individual liberty mandates that individuals be free from the coercion of the state to pursue their own aims, insofar as these aims do not infringe upon the rights of others. Clearly, the issue of abortion comes down to whether fetuses ought to be considered to be right-bearing humans. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008 Presidential Race, Constitution, Government Gaffes, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Will the GOP Reduce the Size of the Government?

Posted by Poorsummary on November 30, 2007


In the GOP Youtube debate, Emily Ekins asked a very straightforward question which begs for a simple answer: “What are the names of the top three federal programs you would reduce in size in order to decrease [spending]?” Here are the answers:

Fred Thompson seemed to be answering the question when he started talking vaguely about Medicare and Social Security reform, but he makes it clear that he is not providing a straightforward answer:

Cooper: So of the top three you would say Social Security?

Thompson: No. I didn’t say that. There is — the OMB has come out with a list of over 100 programs. I would take all 100 of them, the ones that are full of waste, fraud and duplication.

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Posted in 2008 Presidential Race, Current Events, Politics, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stossel Shares the Lost Lesson of Thanksgiving: Property Rights

Posted by Poorsummary on November 21, 2007

TurkeyStossel reports:

“When the Pilgrims first settled the Plymouth Colony, they organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share everything equally, work and produce. They nearly all starved. Why? When people can get the same return with a small amount of effort as with a large amount, most people will make little effort.”

Sharing is good, but only when it is voluntary, motivated by the goodness of one’s own heart, rather than from a fear of punishment at the hand of the government. “Public charity” is a bit of an oxymoron, since charity means “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity” and the presence of actual charity in the heart of the giver would obviate the need for any threats from the government. In fact, public charity reduces the actual amount of true charity, as it spawns a sense of resentment on the part of the giver and a sense of entitlement and dependence on the part of the receiver, and since there’s no sense of urgency to help one’s fellow man if the government is already taxing you under the auspices of performing this sacred task.

This Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful to live in such a prosperous land where wealth has flourished due to adherence to the oft forgotten advice of its founders:

“To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.'” –Thomas Jefferson

Thanks to Greg Mankiw for the Stossel link.

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