Articles by " William P."
19 Dec
2011
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Divide and Conquer

Quick – a test for you, reader.

Think conservative.  Think of the types of people who are, generally speaking, conservative.  Name some you know.

Now think liberal; liberal types of people; liberal people you know.  Keep both groups in mind for a few minutes.

It is only natural to grow accustomed to certain assumptions: you would never, for example, critically re-examine why it is better to have an umbrella when it rains.  Obviously, it helps to keep you dry.  But as other to ideas we hold, such as who constitutes the typical liberal or conservative, a shifting political reality demands that we apply a critical eye.

What does our news media, popular entertainment, and pop culture tell us about how we’re supposed think about liberals and conservatives?  I’ll elaborate my perspective on this question.

Who are the “liberals?”  They’re women, minorities, gays, “transient workers,” the poor, (now apparently) the “middle class,” and union workers.  If you listen to Democrats, they’ll tell you story after horror story about people in these neatly divided classes who have suffered at the hand of big business, racism, an unjust criminal code, and sexism.

And the conservatives?  The conservatives, particularly the “Republicans,” are white males, religious people, the “rich,” and a curious mix of racists and rednecks, either seething with hatred of all minorities or madly in love with their guns, if not both. If you listen to elected Republicans, too many waste precious news time explaining that they’re not really racist, that they really do care about the “middle class,” and oppose theocracy.  Fortunately for these weak “leaders,” such as Mr. Boehner, very few conservatives are listening to their weak voices.

Now think back to your initial groups.  Check it against your daily experience.  Speaking personally, I know conservative gays, conservative women, conservative union members, conservative immigrants (legal, of course), conservative teachers, etc.  I know wealthy liberals.  I know lower middle class conservatives.  You probably do too.

So what?  The groups aren’t perfect, you say, but they’re more or less accurate.  It’s true that groups typically associated with Democrats vote for them, and the same goes for Republicans.  What kind of a ridiculous article is this?

May I implore the good reader to think deeper?  Democrats, it is indisputable, seek to portray Republicans as uncaring because they are relatively more resistant to extending special privileges to (read: pandering to) certain factions of the population.  Said Speaker Pelosi in October: “Under this bill, when the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling.”  As underwhelming as Speaker Boehner is, it’s difficult to imagine that he wants any part of women dying on the floor.

Such revolting rhetoric is symptomatic of a political party that no longer represents all citizens.  Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and all of the Democrat leadership have adopted an extremely cynical and destructive agenda and campaigning tactics that divide us by race, sex, and income bracket.  On the promise of rewarding 50.1% of the population at the expense of the other 49.9%, they are staking virtually all their election prospects.  Such a campaign is guaranteed to be poisonous, angry, personal, and downright dirty.  Democrats have themselves made this explicit:

All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

Democrats know, through recent experience, that their promises for a better country are lies.  The “working class,” after 3 years of Obama, is suffering with extraordinary unemployment, debt, and loss of personal freedom.  The black community is suffering especially hard.  All kinds of Americans are languishing under a vigorous and systematic statist agenda, one that proscribes private property rights and selectively applies laws, to say nothing of its dangerously inept foreign policy.  Obama and his advisers know that the economy is stalled; they admit just that each time Obama says “Pass this bill now!”

But why would they do this?  The reason is not difficult to understand, but can difficult to believe and accept.  Democrats are power hungry.  They want a permanent class of overlords, managers, intellectuals, and state-funded “scientists.”  In capitalist countries, like traditional America, a permanence of power among a small clique is exceptionally rare.  The greatest families of this nation – the Morgans, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbuilts, the Roosevelts – achieved power, sure.  But not power that spans centuries, like the aristocracy and royalty of Europe.  To achieve longevity requires the co-opting of the political system.

These ideas may sound conspiratorial, but they have a long, written history.  Plato’s Republic was “ideal,” presumably fair, and totalitarian.  Skipping the various manifestations of tyranny that spanned the Middle Ages, French philosophers revived the myth of a virtuous ruling class that could eradicate the troubles of life.  Saint-Simon imbued Auguste Comte with a false knowledge of man, Comte in turn influenced Hegel, and it was Hegel who gave Marx his famous dialectic.  (See Hayek.)  Rousseau contributed the romantic notion of a virtuous natural world beleaguered only by corrupt human institutions.  The destruction of Western political culture comes from those who always promise smarter “rule” through revolution.

Among a massive state apparatus that treats a citizen like a client there is no room for a party that represents a free people, much less a free people to elect such a party.  The people vote for Party A, because A promises to give more to more people than Party B.  It’s impossible to promise two people the same loaf of bread, but it is possible to offer them the same nebulous entitlement program.  See Canada, where neither party opposes nationalized healthcare in principle, but only in trivial detail.  See England, where Prime Minister Cameron meekly manages a dangerous decline.  See Europe, as it erupts in chaos as a result of diminishing rations.  Yet in all the turmoil and debt, do you see any political party in Canada, the U.K., or the EU standing athwart history?  Do you hear them yelling stop?

America’s unique tradition of liberty has preserved the freedom of her citizens.  Right now, our nation’s future is in danger.  Democrats are potentially one election away from cementing their agenda to remake the American government into a giant corporation, thus rendering the American people customers without any alternatives or legal recourse.  Fundamental transformation is their stated goal, and divide and conquer is their strategy for victory.

Speaker Boehner and every presidential candidate should explain to the American people what is at stake.  Explain what President Reagan meant when he said:

Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes – one rich, one poor – both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?

Do not let yourself be identified as your government as anything else but an American, and reject the familiar caricature of political identities.  Demand nothing more than your rights.    This staid mentality will be what saves us or won’t.

5 Dec
2011
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Support Doug Urbanski NOW!

Dear Readers,

Reagan’s famous “11th Commandment” warned that ““Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Maybe I recommend a 12th?

“Thou shalt not abandon fellow Republicans in the fight against liberalism” …  Which brings me to a letter I received from a friend.

“William,” it read “Do you remember a few months back you helped me out with Conservative talk show host, Douglas Urbanski? You were so kind enough to announce it on the [NYYRC] website…. Well… due to Liberal [expletive deleted] The Doug Urbanski Show is going to be off the air in ten days. The show has high ratings. But a new bunch of peeps are coming in, that leans towards Liberal ideas, and Doug is out.”

While I have no doubt that Doug, conservative broadcaster and Hollywood agent, will find new work – and that the liberal who replaces him will fail, just like the pathetic Air America – let’s show our support for those who speak our values by visiting his website and listening to his show!  He has another 10 shows left.

Tune in!  Call in!  Send a message that in these perilous times, conservatives won’t be marginalized.  It’s through grassroots activism like this that we will win our country back.

Very sincerely yours,

William

P.S. – You can visit his producer’s conservative website here: http://www.imao.us/

P.P.S. – It wasn’t such a bad expletive.  Just “schmucks.”  But it was hard to resist the reference.

24 Nov
2011
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Happy Thanksgiving! and An Analogy the Paulies can Appreciate

I’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  May you spend it with your family and friends, enjoying this annual American tradition with fresh turkey and stuffing.  I’m thankful for the wonderful people in my life, my health, and my good country.  For my friends who may read this, I hope you’re well and that we see each other soon.  God bless.

###

Have you observed global capital markets over the last few weeks?  CNBC recently ran an article describing the death of the euro, Europe’s common currency.  This is a result of a sovereign debt crisis that now intimately involves all of Europe’s largest countries.  American stocks are fluctuating wildly, and the American economy grew at just 2.0% annually last quarter, revised down from 2.5%.  Unemployment is stuck at 9%, while government debt increases at the fastest pace ever.  What gives?

For counsel, one is wise to consult with the great Austrian school economists, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek.   In 1912 Mises published The Theory of and Credit, in which he extended the law of supply and demand to money (including the loanable funds market).  Using this powerful application of economics’ most fundamental law, Mises went on to argue that price information – that is, cost in terms of money – was necessary to establish a well-ordered economy, if not modern civilization itself.  Hayek applied Mises’ insights to the Great Depression, and explained how credit expansion by government distorts price information, eventually leading to economic bust.  In particular, credit expansion impairs entrepreneurs’ ability to forecast, the rational basis of which (prices) has been rendered undependable by the (government) increase in the money supply.  This, simply stated, is what our Federal Reserve does best.  To be sure, the Austrian critique is a subtle and devastating argument against government economic intervention in every form.

But is this too confident an assertion?  Were Mises and Hayek overreaching?

Think for a moment about the millions of economic decisions made every second of day.  Is price not a major determinant in what you choose to purchase and in what you accept as remuneration for your labor?  (In the case of my desire for a Ferrari, it is the only determinant.)  If by magic all prices jumped 10% tomorrow morning, wouldn’t we make different choices than we make today?  Could you afford a new wardrobe, television, and apartment if you were to win millions of dollars in the lottery?  Yes, to answer each question; self-evidently so.  People take into account prices when buying groceries, trading stocks, and making business decisions.   Investments in the future are made on the basis of profit-and-loss projections, given a certain interest rate (i.e., the price on a loan).  Economic choices hinge critically on price.

After this contemplation, we come to understand why Mises and Hayek regarded spontaneously generated price information as the only rational basis for economy in a modern society.  Price information signals to society what is productive, what is valuable, and what it can afford.  Business seeks profit, workers higher pay, and consumers less costly goods.  Arbitrary prices set by government decree are artificial, and lead to shortages and gluts.  Only free people engaging in voluntary exchange generate genuine price information that allows society to organize its industry.

There’s one Republican candidate running for President of the United States who champions Austrian economics, and Mises in particular.  This candidate is Ron Paul.  For the record, I believe Paul’s foreign policy is not only stupid but dangerous, and I would never support him for President.  Dr. Paul is also notable for advocacy of complete drug legalization – heroine included.  The folly of his little crusade aside, Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary defines a drug as “something and often an illicit substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness.”  Hmm.  Counterfeiting is certainly illicit.  Governments have clearly proved themselves addicted to printing money.  And the inevitable price distortion and resulting bad decisions are a “marked change in consciousness” from the previously sober consumer and businessman.

Why all the chaos with economies lately?  The analogy is borrowed from an unlikely source.  As the classic PSA put it: “This is drugs.”  Crack!  Sizzle! “This is your economy on drugs.”

Any questions?

 

17 Nov
2011
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The Way of the Future?

As a conservative, you may hear from time to time that you need to modernize your views.  “Universal healthcare is ubiquitous in the developed world with one exception: America.”  “Of course the bank bailout was necessary.  Did you want the world economy to ‘collapse?'” “College has gotten too expensive.  In Europe, college is free.  Americans shouldn’t be in such college debt.”  In word, we could summarize this smarmy attitude as Follow Europe.

It’s interesting to consider these entreaties, which have been prevalent for at least a decade (see here Foreign Affairs article from 2001), in the light of recent events.

The Death of the Euro declares the U.K.’s Express.  Discussions of a “Euro breakup” at MarketWatch.  England’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair warning of “catastrophe” if the euro collapses.  German and French relations strained due to dangerous debt levels.

What caused this, exactly?  Why is Europe in such economic and political turmoil?  Simply put, Europe’s poorer countries (Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal) have been ripping off its richer countries (France, Germany), while Europe’s older generation has been looting from the younger generation.  Their central bank has been bankrolling these injustices for years by keeping borrowing costs artificially low.  Technocrats dwelling in Brussels have infiltrated most aspects of society, centralizing authority in a government to make their lives as leisurely as possible.  Now that giant Ponzi scheme is unraveling, falling prey to the same market forces that doomed socialism and communism.

While Europe loses one aspect of its stability at a time, we look from slightly behind.  America’s debt is rising massively, at the cost of the taxpayer and benefit of the bureaucrat.  Government spending has increased at its fastest peace time record, and the trajectory of debt is through the roof.  In the last several years, states have challenged federal authority in enforcing immigration laws by state means.  The federal government has presumed what one describe as “audacious” authority in health care, including assuming tremendously important personal decisions, and representing one-fifth of the nation’s economy.

We now know the wages to be wrought for behaving like Europe: chaos, instability, rioting, and austerity.  America yet has been lucky to escape European-like violence.  The “Occupiers” have not flourished into a legitimate political movement.  We are still, today, a center right country.

But things, political things, must change if this is to remain so.  We must shrink our government and abolish certain agencies.  We must begin to pay back our debt.  We must reign in our entitlement spending.  We must simplify the tax code.  We must keep a stable dollar.  Precisely to avoid further instability, and possibly widespread violence, we must endure the austerity willingly.  This is easier than it sounds because, in reality, we’re living in it right now.  To ease our economic woes, the government would have to do nothing but pull back.

There are many people in this country who want nothing more than a respectable, smart, and experienced man (or woman) as president, but are not adamant about the candidates’ core beliefs.  Many of these people are barely partisan.  To take the most obvious example, in Mitt Romney Republicans have an exceptionally fine person who has excelled academically, in business, and in politics.  I feel confident suggesting that Mitt Romney will leave this earth one day having accomplished more than 99.999% of all human beings in public life.  Yet he also instituted the most progressive healthcare system in the country – that is to say, retrogressive and injurious to individual liberty.  His policies were emulated by the Obama administration to craft Obamacare.  He has attacked other Republicans for daring to speak frankly about entitlement programs.  He has declined to denounce the bank bailout, and refuses to come down hard on Bernanke, distinguishing himself with the utterly milquetoast Jon Huntsman in this regard.

Formidable as Governor Romney may be, his track record and debate tactics suggest the mind of something other than a conservative.   To be sure, while Governor Romney is indeed an American technocrat (see his 59 prescriptions for a healthier job market) he is not a Brusellian technocrat; and, given the powers of the presidency he would not go as far and as fast as the Europeans.   But we need another mastermind – period – like we need a hole in our collective head.

The next president will have to confront and conquer a domestic and international economic crisis, not to mention a full cadre of complex international affairs, including a dangerously compromised Middle East.  America needs a principled leader who respects the Constitution and reminds citizens how our government is intended to act.  By virtue of his grave lapses in judgment on the economy and, generally, the role of government in a free society, Governor Romney does not deserve the conservative’s endorsement in the primary season.

24 Oct
2011
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Imagine that: Greed at OWS

Reports the New York Post:

Even in Zuccotti Park, greed is good.

Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has nearly $500,000 in the bank, and donations continue to pour in — but its reluctance to share the wealth with other protesters is fraying tempers.

So the protestors are just regular people!  Not saints or martyrs like we’re taught by the media; and not exactly demons, their disgusting actions and signs notwithstanding.

Quoting a frustrated OWS bureaucrat:

“The other day, I took in $2,000. I kept $650 for my group, and gave the rest to Finance. Then I went to them with a request — so many people need things, and they should not be going without basic comfort items — and I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” Smith fumed, even as he cajoled the passing crowd for more cash.

That’s an effective tax rate of 67.5%.  I wonder if they get deductions and allowances.  Maybe direct democracy isn’t the best form of government?

There was always a deep arrogance to this movement.  This just shows what arrogance brings: disappointment and resentment.

21 Oct
2011
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ABC News: Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland

ABC News reported yesterday that Fisker, a “green” car company funded by the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy, has outsourced manufacturing to Finland.  To quote CEO Henrik Fisker,

We’re not in the business of failing; we’re in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business. That’s why we went to Finland.

Clearly Mr. Fisker does not know how to speak to taxpayers.  In addition to founding a flailing company with public funds, he implies that Finland is a better place to do business than the United States.  Also, he sounds like Charlie Sheen.

Let’s further consider some of the facts.

  • According to SEC filings, Fisker has lost money every quarter.  A GAO report states “DOE cannot be assured that the projects are on track to deliver the vehicles as agreed… It also means that U.S. taxpayers do not know whether they are getting what they paid for through the loans.”
  • Along with Fisker, the Obama loaned another $465 million to Tesla Motors.  Thus far, Tesla has developed an exclusive $97,000 electric sports car.  Among the current owners of this vehicle are movie star, Leonard DiCaprio.  After spending the better part of two and a half years screeching about the rich, the Obama administration has effectively developed a $97,000 electric sports car that is purchased by millionaires.
  • According to a “20-year veteran of the electric car movement” Chelsea Sexton, “None of us with any experience in the industry think there’s any sort of guarantee they’ll make it.”
  • Al Gore, Mr. Global Warming himself, is a partner in the venture capital firm behind Fisker.  Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Obama supporters, are investors in Tesla.  Can you say “crony capitalism?”

This story comes on the heals of the scandal that is Solyndra, the now infamous solar company that squandered $535 million in government loans.  In the stimulus alone, $60 billion were intended for “green jobs.”  Fisker, Tesla, and Solyndra account for just 2.5% of that $60 billion, yet the commonalities are apparent.

In all three instances there appears to be elements of politically incentivized loans that benefited connected Democrats (Gore, Brin and Page, and George Kaiser).  Each of the three companies is not, or at minimum not yet, financially viable.  It appears that oversight by government is in the hyperminimalist tradition, seeing as how Solyndra was a known flop, Tesla as of yet only produces high end sports cars that cannot reasonably be said to benefit the average American, and Fisker took its taxpayer loans and outsourced manufacturing overseas.  “Green” “investment” by government, we were told, were going to create green jobs.  How were we supposed to know that the workers would speak Finnish?

On a less snarky note, one wonders if such a massive series of scandals will remind the American people of government’s terrible record as a commercial investor.  Most Americans can accept a role for government in supporting basic, non-commercial research.  And even in this limited capacity, politics tends to corrupt (cf. global warming).  This aside, commercial ventures underwritten by government produce companies that are financial failures.  Although connected investors can make a profit by fleecing the taxpayer, when describing the activity of directing public funds to private companies, the words “graft,” “fraud,” and “laundering” are far more appropriate than “investment.”

20 Oct
2011
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Tea Party Leader: OWS Doesn’t Compare

Writes Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest tea party organization, in Politico today:

We are not lawbreakers, we don’t hate the police, we don’t even litter. A quick glance at the TV reveals the sharp contrast to the Wall Street occupiers.

In recent days, I’ve been repeatedly asked by reporters, “Does the comparison now being made in the media between the tea party and the Wall Street protesters bother you?”

My answer is an unequivocal: “Hell yes, it bothers me.”

It bothers me because it groups millions of patriotic tea partiers, who want to build America back up, together with a bunch of criminals who want to tear America down.

In March 2009, I was back in my hometown of Huntington, NY (on Long Island) attending a Mark Levin Liberty & Tyranny book signing at Book Revue.  There were 5,000, 6,000, 7,000 people lined up to meet “The Great One,” all concerned about the future of the country and about the course that the then young Obama administration had embarked.  Although not billed as a Tea Party event, in retrospect these ordinary citizens who turned out en masse (the crowd was apparently the largest the venue had ever seen, and they host former presidents) were, in essence, the Tea Party.  I met people of all ages, all decent and respectful, with one common cause: to steer the country back to its Constitutional heritage.

Nobody was pitching a tent; nobody was smoking a joint.  The streets were litter and excrement free.  There were no anti-Semitic posters, nor any hate or class warfare speech generally.  The fellow behind me in line was a lawyer who worked for a municipality, and there were business owners, parents and grandparents, and even a handful of children.  For over four hours I waited in line with the other patient Levin fans, and not one indecent incident occurred either on the sidewalk or in the bookstore.  All were friendly and motivated.

The comparisons of the Tea Party to OWS are ludicrous and insulting.  Governor Chris Christie and President Obama appear to be reading the same talking points.  Republicans who embrace the Tea Party are rewarded with votes and support, and rightly so – for the principles of good government are truly bipartisan.  Democrats and Republicans who embrace the radicals of OWS and compare these misfits to the Tea Party will have their reputation marred.

14 Oct
2011
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OWS’s Jewish Problem

Some evidence to weigh when judging OWS (and other Occupy movements):

Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head at OWS
http://dailyrushbo.com/limbaugh-anti-semitism-rears-its-ugly-head-at-ows-the-jews-own-wall-street/

OWS Protester Proclaims “The Jews Control Wall St.” in Zucotti Park Rant
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2791880/posts

Mark Levin reviews audio of OWS Protesters, recorded by WABC Radio in NY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2JGmhttIew&feature=related

“Crazy anti-Semitic Guy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xa-cOqNWtM&feature=related

Hate at Occupy Wall Street
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIlRQCPJcew&feature=related

More Anti-Semitism at Occupy Los Angeles

http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/10/13/more-anti-semitism-at-occupy-los-angeles/?singlepage=true

Finally, while not anti-Semitic, the video below clearly shows the mob-like, almost demonic elements of the movement.  Of all the videos, perhaps this is the most unnerving.  The will of participating individuals is subsumed into the collective will and guided by the creepy dude in the red shirt, who serves as a kind of medium for the group’s “consensus” in true Hegelian fashion.

Occupy Atlanta Silences Civil Rights Hero John Lewis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QZlp3eGMNI&feature=related

Is it not absolutely repulsive the way these people speak and act?  Try to find some examples of Tea Partiers spewing such hateful language on YouTube.  Upon your search, maybe you’ll find this:

The OWS clips posted above are disturbing and indicative of a movement that is more concerned with stoking the embers of chaos rather than reforming the system.   (If it were unnecessary to share the videos with a broader audience for educative purposes, I’d let them alone to never be seen and heard again.)  They are also severely politically incorrect; which is to say that no elected official would ever get away with talking like that – not yet, anyway.  Despite this being so, President Obama and former Speaker Pelosi have both explicitly sympathized with the movement.

Contrast OWS with the Tea Party.  The news media refuse to report the darker underbelly of the Occupiers, yet has spent years trying to find definitive examples Tea Party racism.  Scour YouTube for such examples and you may find questionable signs, and comparisons of the Obama administration to different forms of Marxism.  However, what is remarkable is that in a 3 year old movement with millions and millions of members, only a very small number of such videos are available.  The majority of the Tea Party is made up of hardworking, peaceable, and respectful people: largely parents and grandparents concerned about the future for their children.

On the other hand, consider that OWS is hardly 3 weeks old there are already a plethora of instances of hate speech directed at a certain religion and individuals of a so-called economic class.  Is this footage splashed CNN, ABC, or NBC?  Is the NYT running an expose on the radical elements of OWS and their provocative  language?  Do the protesters regularly receive lectures that their extremism is dangerous, like Tea Partiers must endure (when in fact what they insist is that the Federal government should operate within its lawful bounds)?

The media has been caught, again, covering for the left.  Equally alarming is the support that these anarchists have received from the Democrat party.  Americans, slow to act but quite discerning, should soon come to associate OWS and its radicals with the Democrat party itself.

12 Oct
2011
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Occupy Wall Street and President Naomi Klein

As a New Yorker, a conservative Republican, and Editor-in-Chief of the NYYRC’s official blog, I feel compelled to offer some commentary on the misfits collectively known as “Occupy Wall Street” who are trashing Zucotti Park downtown.  I suggest that elements of my background may lend some credibility to the following commentary.  For example, I have been a conservative activist since 2004; I learned of the Canadian organization Adbusters (the neo-socialist group behind OWS) while living in Canada years ago; I joined the Tea Party shortly after its formation; I worked for both a “Wall Street” bank and security exchange; and finally I’ve spent the last three years studying and observing this modern day depression, as well as the policies and people who are perpetuating it.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Who is Adbusters? They are a small group of radicals devoted to ending capitalism.  They sponsor Buy Nothing Day and Buy Nothing Christmas, which encourage people to abstain from all commercial activities at least two days per year.  At their core they are Marxists, denouncing the alleged spirit-crushing evils of capitalism.  Their stated goal is to “topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we live in the 21st century.”  Adbusters are the organizers of OWS, as evident by their homepage.

Closely related in belief to Adbusters is Canadian author Naomi Klein, whose book The Shock Doctrine identifies the economics of Milton Friedman as a source of cultural corruption.  Klein’s first book, No Logo, is described by Wikipedia as a “manifesto for anti-corporate globalization movement.” In other words, business is the enemy of the people and must be controlled strictly, if not entirely appropriated, by government.  While such anti-capitalist frothing may be acceptable on college campuses worldwide, reality has thus far rendered the likes of Adbusters and Klein adherents a fringe group that appeals to the bohemian lifestyle of unemployed dilettantes.

But it’s not only mush-headed students who are part of this movement.  Indeed, it is diverse and includes Marxists, neo-Nazis, bestials, violent revolutionaries, anarchists, , druggies and sexual exhibitionists, vagrants, 1960’s hippies, and other such parasites and know-nothing types.  OWS famously blocked traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and clashed with the local authorities.  A list of thirteen OWS demands can be found here, and includes everything from the pat (Restoration of the Living Wage) to the zany (reestablishing … the natural flow of river systems) to the ludicrous (Outlaw all credit reporting agencies).   Thrown in for leftist orthodoxy are Single Payer Healthcare and Open Borders.  If something works for other people, whether that be capitalism or the damning of a river, you can bet they’re against it.

More recently, these hooligans have been joined by Democrat constituent groups such unions.  Many prominent Democrats, ranging from members of Congress (notably former Speaker Pelosi) to President Obama himself, have expressed sympathy with OWS.  The movement has spread to other cities outside of New York, including Atlanta and Washington D.C., where protesters sought to storm the Smithsonian.  OWS, like Adbusters, has gone international.  I know this because on Sunday I was in Montreal, and three bearded individuals speaking French were rallying park-goers to attend “Occupy Montreal.”  Yes, Adbusters is also dedicated to “toppling the existing power structure” that is the socialist government of Canada.

In this hardcore anti-establishment vein, communist firebrand and former White House Czar Van Jones described OWS as the “American Autumn,” a not-so-subtle allusion to the so-called “Arab Spring” that swept across the Middle East, deposing dictators and leaving many countries, most notably Egypt, in dangerous political turmoil.  No doubt Jones considered the Arab Spring fortuitous; Communists are revolutionaries for revolutions’ sake, and nothing excites a modern day Jacobian like the prospect of punishing enemies with force.  Putting asides the dangerous aspirations of this former Obama confidant, the very fact that a high ranking, politically connected Democrat with ties to the White House helped organize these protests demonstrates conclusively that OWS is not a spontaneous movement but a desperate political ploy by the Democrat Party looking to generate excitement amidst collapsing support by Americans.

Nearly since the beginning of this spectacle, the media has done their best to portray OWS as a liberal equivalent of the Tea Party movement.  Occasionally, a mainstream media pundit will say that OWS and the Tea Party have much in common – for example, their distrust of power.  At The Atlantic, a contributing writer even offers a “conservative defense” of OWS.  Such comparisons and attempts are difficult to stomach, and their repeated appearance is one reason why I’m taking the time to explain who OWS consists of and why they are nothing like the law abiding conservatives who make up the Tea Party.

In the two years plus since the spontaneous organization of the Tea Party, I cannot recall even one criminal act being committed by Tea Partiers.  Despite multiple attempts by the media to portray it as a racist movement bent on overthrowing the government (presumably, following this twisted logic, because the current president if half black), not one video has emerged as evidence to this narrative.  Although there have been repeated attempts to smear Tea Partiers by the media and even by elected Representatives, the truth that has emerged in the end simply doesn’t fit the stereotype.  The rise of Herman Cain among GOP presidential candidates further explodes the myth of a racist Tea Party, as it infuriates the left.  As for the ludicrous claim the the Tea Party is anti-government (as opposed to anti-Big Government), its critics are sadly too dull to understand that Constitutional government requires that elected officials respect the limits placed upon them by the highest law in the land.  Conservatives support a constitutionally limited federal government, as every decent American should.  As a final point of contrast, all accounts of Tea Party rallies have been famous for their respect of the venue, nearly complete lack of litter, and heartfelt patriotism.

OWS is not liberal Tea Party; they are the losers of society who have nothing better to do but waste time and be destructive.  Of course, society has always had and always will have its losers, and a portion of them will always be sore losers.  That’s fine; conservatives do nothing if not relentlessly accept the imperfectability of man.  However, it does say something about our current president and his party that they sound more like the radical Marxist Naomi Klein than the republicans James Madison or John Adams.

There will be more to come…

4 Oct
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    1 Comment

Our Greek Tragedy

For hard money enthusiasts, what is happening today in Greece and throughout the continent of Europe is nothing short of a modern day tragedy.  The peaceful and vibrant Western Europe that emerged following the war is descending into anarchy as EU Member countries experience something yet unprecedented in the long history of the continent: the bankruptcy of a common currency, the euro.

Leaders of fellow EU nations claim that they will not allow Greece to declare bankruptcy under any circumstances.  To do so would be a tremendous blow against their monetary union.  Yet this is the same official stance that’s been held for years among European authorities.  In the meantime, national finances have only grown direr, and today Greece is joined by Italy, Spain, and Portugal.  Even France has had their credit downgraded.  It seems almost certain that the EU will experience a form of bankruptcy, which the euro may or may not survive.  To keep Greece and the other countries solvent, Europe must either continue to monetize debt and in the process dilute its currency, which would ultimately end in certain calamity; or, strategically default, thus severely relinquishing economic power to her creditors.  Both of these choices are devastating.

The silver lining for Europe is that there may be a third option: to drastically revise and curtail its social welfare programs, the very institutional distinctions of the modern Europe state.  This would involve making tough decisions now regarding entitlements and domestic spending, and drastically reducing the size and scope of European government. Implicit in such a decision is coming to terms with basic, common sense economic principles, which its leaders have stubbornly chose to deny and disregard for generations.  If Europe embraces the common sense approach in an attempt to avoid economic meltdown, Europe should also consider re-implementing “hard” money, i.e. gold, as a common currency.

Long before the euro, Europe had common currency in gold.  From 1750-1870, Europe was on the classical gold standard; and from 1870-1914, Europe was on the gold exchange standard.  Why is a gold standard preferable to fiat (i.e. “paper”) currencies?  Many reasons, including that a gold standard by its very nature more closely calibrates the interests of neighbor nations and people.  It removes from government the potency to corrupt currency markets, and thus prevents the spawn of such corruption – destabilizing market crashes.  It makes it very hard for a nation to declare bankruptcy because it facilitates good bookkeeping practices.

I argue that Europe is not going to lose a common currency if and when it loses the euro, at least not in the economic sense.  Instead, Europe would lose a currency that has been used as political chips by European leaders.  Gold was and still could be a truly common currency, which simultaneously limits and checks the size of government by forcing it to adopt honest accounting standards.  A gold standard prevents cheating and defrauding by virtue of the fact that gold is rare and (extremely) uneconomical to manufacture.  The same cannot be said of paper money.   To raise funds under a gold standard, governments must raise taxes or float bonds to the public.  Fiat money allows governments to purchase their own debt with manufactured money.  In a sense, the euro does not prevent cheating by governments like gold did.  No, it was much too modern for any kind of metal, or what John Maynard Keynes referred to as a “barbarous relic.”  The euro is 20th century “managed currency,” who managers claim, in no uncertain terms, the ability to reduce unemployment by government counterfeiting.

There are very solid philosophical grounds on which to reject fiat currencies as the ideal medium of exchange.  It might sound boring, but accounting is serious business. The information contained in financial data is irreplaceable, and it used by everyone in society from the individual to the family to the federal government.  Poisoning the unit of account (i.e. the euro) through currency debasement causes widespread economic dislocation, unemployment, violent swings in asset prices, and overall chaos.  Yet this knowledge, known well by their forebears, is something that European governments have chosen to willfully ignore for generations.

Consider: Gold has been the world’s currency for 5,000 years, or longer.  It was the money of the industrial revolution.  Its record at maintaining value is undisputed.  It contributed mightily to peacekeeping efforts in Europe from 1750-1914.  Gold forces government to be honest in its financing.  Most fundamentally, it preserves the integrity of the monetary unit and facilitates honest and meaningful financial accounting.  While there are practical problems of keeping an international gold standard, many of these shortcomings are well understood and straightforward to correct, particularly when compared against the problems engendered by fiat currencies.

It seems to me that something is especially tragic when it is wholly avoidable.  We Americans should take head.  Europe’s economic hubris is our own.

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