Today’s post is a response to the numerous comments that I received, both online and in person, on my post about President Obama’s Inaugural Address. Please read the comments before reading this post.
I want everyone to know that I appreciate the comments. If you ever need clarifications on what I write, just leave a comment and I will do my best to explain. Also, I enjoy reading individuals’ thoughts on what I write, especially if they disagree or find an error. Anytime errors that can be corrected benefit us all by bringing us closer to the truth.
First, I want to start out with a few clarifications of what I do and do not support, in case it was not clear in my last post. From some of the comments that I received, there seems to have been a little confusion with this.
I do not support the Republican Party or the Bush administration. Both have strayed far from their original goals and I think that the Bush administration brought more socialism to the United States since the 1930s than any other administration through massive intervention into the financial markets, the attempted take over of the auto industry, massive intervention into the medical industry, and a very large growth of government. That said, I do not support any political party, so in criticizing President Obama’s ideas, I am not in favor of any other candidate.
I do not support ad hominem attacks on the new president. Calling him by his middle name, Hussein, is trying to make a connection between him and terrorists and is nonsense. He clearly is not a terrorist and, though I do not know him personally, I suspect he is most likely a morally upright man. Calling him a terrorist makes one sound like a jingoistic, nationalistic, talk-radio host. We should look at what President Obama advocates rather than the correlations between his name and the name of a man who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. I also want to remind everyone that ideas expressed in the comments on my blog are not my own unless posted by me under the name “cagrimmett”. Each person takes responsibility of his or her own comment.
When I say “government”, I mean government as is seen in the world today. Technically, the word government can mean the regulation of any relationship between any two or more entities. What I mean here when I say government is the coercive body which regulates and controls a nation, state, or community, which we see in the world today. (All governments proper in the world today employ coercion to stay in power.) I am not arguing government in its regulation of some sort of relationship between entities should not exist, because that is impossible. Any time there is a regulation, even if both sides contractually agree, there is government. What I am against is coercive government, a.k.a. the kind that we see most often in the world today. When I say government, I mean the coercive sense rather than the regulation of any relationship between any two or more entities unless I specify. If it is ever unclear, ask.
When I talk about the free market, I am not talking about the market that we see in America, I am not talking about “American Capitalism” as we see today, and I am not talking about the so-called free market that the Republicans advocate. Such things are not the free market. There has not been a free market in America, or anything relatively like it, since the 1800s. In fact, I do not think a clear example of it can be seen in the world today. I am talking about the free market that Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Menger, Hazlitt, and others advocated. If you do not know what I am talking about, ask me. What we see in America today is a market with very large interference and control by the government. Some people call it a free market, but it really is not.
Happeningfish, this part is addressed to you: A large part of what I wanted to reply to you with was said in the free market paragraph and the government paragraph above, so I will not repeat myself. You wrote, “To say that more government necessarily means less freedom is naive in the extreme and displays a lack of familiarity with different shades of government and policy in effect around the world.” I agree that I do not know all of the different shades of government and policy around the world. I do, however, understand how government exists and I understand the necessity of freedom. I agree with Mises when he says, “Government is essentially the negation of liberty.” If you can show me a situation where more government proper produces more personal and economic freedom than less government proper can, I would be very interested and it would, if your example is true, change the way I view things and what I believe.
Sean, this part is addressed to you: I think that our country’s biggest problem is not intolerance of race, religion, or lifestyles (though certainly those are problems, I agree); it is that we do not have a firm foundation of property rights and what we do have is not entirely protected. I think once property rights are fully in place and respected, it will do more for fixing the problems that intolerance causes than President Obama can fix by trying to unite people. We have discussed this before. I think it works the opposite way as well, though. Once people are “united” and people are more tolerant, property rights will be respected. The more difficult of these two tasks is in getting people united, though. Like I said, once property rights are respected–by the government as well as people–the problems caused by intolerance will be minimal to non-existent.
Also, Sean, when I say “sheep”, I mean people blindly following what they hear without fully examining the consequences. I admit that I am occasionally a sheep, as is everyone at some point in time) but I try to minimize the amount of time I am by continually learning and questioning.
Alex (and partially, Mort), this part is addressed to you: Monopolies can not happen under an actual free market. Artifically high prices can not be sustained for any long length of time unless there are government barriers to entry. If prices are too high, the “monopoly” has to contend with the possibility of competitors entering the market and producing goods and selling them at lower prices. If the original firm once afforded to sell its goods at a lower price, chances are their competitors can do the same and the artificially high price becomes unsustainable. On the other hand, Rothbard extends Mises’ socialism argument to show that a free-market monopoly cannot persist anyway. If a firm has no competitors, it becomes subject to the same calculation problems inherent in a socialist system, and will become uncompetitive and lose its position of dominane. The real monopoly is the government. Do you have any choice to start another form of government in an area? No. Force will be used to subdue you and tear down what you started. As of now, your only choice is a coercive government here or elsewhere and the degree of coercion (forced confiscation of wealth or slaughter). I will write more about my understanding of monopolies, and why they do not exist under a free market, in the future.
Also, Alex, a choice between two individuals in government is not the same in any respects to a choice between two goods in the free market. You are correct, the majority of the people wanted Obama. I am not saying that if they want to be happy they should go against what “they feel in their own hearts is correct.” Being happy is a subjective thing. I am saying that if they want to be free, the LAST place to turn is the government. I do not know “more about what they want and need than they do.” If they want Obama, that is fine. I am just telling them what is likely to be the consequence of their decisions. (By the way, you might want to check your basis of what is a right. In my opinion, “the most important right[s] in the history of the world” are property rights.) Also, I do not like democracy. Like our government, I think it is illegitimate.
I have a few more comments about President Obama’s address. If he wants to extend opportunity to every willing heart, he needs to immediately stop government subsidies of all kinds, because they are selective and amount to favoritism. They help out inefficient businesses and encourage the misallocation of resources. Additionally, he needs to read up on the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. If he is worried about these booms, busts, and recessions, the best thing to do is deregulate the financial markets. A basic understanding of the ABCT tells us that these conditions which cause recessions and economic downturns are caused by the Federal Reserve artificially lowering interest rates. Artificially low interest rates amount to printing money and “is an artificial means of recovering from a very real effects of an artificial boom.” To quote more of Dan Mahoney, “Money is property, and under a monetary system which makes it appear that more property exists for production than actually exists, failure is inevitable.” Instead of allowing markets to clear malinvestment, the current monetary system keeps propping it up until the bottom drops out. What happens then? A recession, until entrepreneurs have time to liquidate. Only though the process of converting malinvestments to productive capital can the foundation for growth be achieved.
One thing I am positive about in Obama’s presidency is that he loves technology. He promises to set up a website, recovery.gov, to show where tax dollars are spent. He also promises to digitize the nation’s health records within 5 years. Anytime the government becomes more accountable (if you can trust their information), it is a good thing. He also is doing a weekly YouTube address.
Also, keep perspective in mind over the next four years. The bar has been set pretty low by the socialism and false promises of the Bush administration, so it is difficult for Obama to look bad.
9 responses to “Day 24 – Response to Comments”
Can you explain to me how there are no monoplies in the free market? I don’t understand that. And about digitizing the health records – I heard that many people are worried that others will be able to access their personal records once they are digitized. Would this be safe?
Thanks for the new clarification Chuck. I know that you’re not particularly against Obama, but anyone in that position, but I’m not sure if everyone else realized that.
I’m not sure what to think about your opinion on personal property rights and how that is the country’s biggest problem, but I’m glad that we can agree on the fact that nothing can be solved until we are united as a country.
Concerning the sheep, I was actually referring to the post that your dad made (which in a few places was nonsense and mean). I was a bit offended that in effect he was calling supporters ignorant/stupid and just seeking leadership. How about this. I think that everyone who supports McCain and Palin are retarded. That was easy, and has the same effect.
Piggybacking off what you said about Obama and technology, I couldn’t agree more. As I’m sure you noticed, the new whitehouse.org was released in true Apple fashion as soon as the inauguration.
I’m not sure if you read this, but it’s interesting.
As I have posted earlier, it is ok for us to disagree and have different opinions. That’s why we live in America.
Freedom to think and speak as we wish.
Without this there would be no need for fine establishments like Hillsdale College.
I am not against Obama, I hope he does well. I personally don’t think we as a nation can afford him, but we will see. All eyes are on him. If he does well I will acknowlege him. If he fails, It will take decades to pull us out of debt.
I cannot belive people are calling Obama the Messiah, The chosen one, crying in the streets praising him. HE HASEN’T DONE ANYTHING YET! But I cannot expect much more, the same folks gave Al Gore a Nobel Peace Prize for global warming when it was -10 degrees at the Global Warming Summit!
Why not, he invented the internet!
I think people are calling him the Messiah or whatever else because he has done something that no other President really has…. PRE Inauguration. I’m not saying that his ability to unite people and give many Americans hope is something to marvel at because it is nothing concrete, however people are not praising him based on his political experience and/or acts of policy.
And the Al Gore internet thing always drives me crazy. I am yet to find where Al Gore said or any variations of saying “I created the Internet.” Not saying he didn’t say it, however I haven’t found it yet. So please, if ANYONE can find where he said something like that, I would greatly appreciate it. Otherwise… I don’t think it’s fair.. the closest thing I’ve ever seen is where he said said along the lines of how he helped advance the use of technology greatly in the 90’s. But besides that, I’m not sure, so get back at me if we can find it
“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.”
Apparently that is the quote, so I did that myself. Although he does misstate that, It has been proven that he in now way intended on saying he invented the internet. Some say creating and inventing is different, but I guess he was apparently alluding to the implementation of the internet, in which he felt he played a large role in. So although he did say he created the internet, he does not claim that he himself invented it.. it is said that that he meant it as “created the internet to what we know of it now today”, but not really the invention.. either way, I still don’t think it’s fair we STILL use that against him somehow.
And apparently Global Warming does not exist either. Millions and millions of scientist are actually making this whole thing up, as we (who know nothing of the environment), say that are wrong, and are probably doing it to further Al Gore’s political career…(but wait Dude, Al Gore isn’t involved in Politics anymore, so then what is the motive?) Oh, it must be used as a tool to further liberals careers then… quite the complex conspiracy if you ask me.
How dare Al Gore make some kind of attempt to drop the elementary bickering of Politics and do something worth while.
Dudey, you say “I think people are calling him the Messiah or whatever else because he has done something that no other President really has…. PRE Inauguration.” Is that that he “united” people, or are you talking about something else?
“Calling him a terrorist makes one sound like a jingoistic, nationalistic, talk-radio host.” Chuck this literally made me laugh for a good five minutes. And also, going along with what you said, I cannot stand that people automatically assume I am a Republican or I supported President Bush as soon as I start criticizing President Obama’s policies. I completely agree that he is probably a more effective politician than Senator McCain; however, I don’t want an “effective politician” telling me what to do with my wealth. I can decide that myself thank you very much.
yeah Amanda basically. Whether it is because he is black or not…(probably for most people), he has stirred up something ridiculous in the country. Much of it is because he is African American, however I think a lot of it his not about race, but personality, speaking, and yes… the ability to unite people and bring hope. Obviously it hasn’t worked for everything, or about 46% of the nation, however he has worked up something that no one can relate to any other political member in the past. Again, he hasn’t done anything for me yet (except a few things I support… i.e. Gitmo), so I’m making the point that people aren’t praising him based on his policy/politics, but just what he has done from a non-political perspective.
Dudey, that paragraph on global warming was brilliant. If I could take the credit for that I would. That’s pretty much how I’m seeing that situation too.