Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What if 'Free Trade!' Undermines a Free Market and Liberty itself? - Economic Politics vs Political Economy pt1

Of the hot topics making the rounds at the moment, bringing up the Hong Kong protests, or economic Tariffs, or both, is sure to get you peppered with opinions from all perspectives, each more confidently given than the last (glances at mirror, winks), many of which are sure to be delivered with a rousing round of 'Principles!'. Funny thing though, many of those 'Principles!' folk who are upset about LeBron James and some in the NBA & Hollywood caving in to Communist China to keep the $$$ flowing despite China's lawless abuses of 'human rights', are often the very same Libertarian-ish folks who are advocating for 'free trade!' with Communist China to keep the $$$ flowing despite China's lawless abuses of 'human rights'.... because... uhhh...hmmm.

Why... it's almost as if some people's 'Principles!' are more rooted in ideological positions, than in a principled view of reality.

What do I mean? Well, if you've read any of my posts, I probably don't need to explain why I support of the Hong Kong protesters against the actions of Communist China. But maybe you question how 'Free Trade!'rs opposition to 'Tariffs' against Communist China, somehow conflicts with fundamental principles of Liberty?

I'm so glad you asked!
What if it's thinking that "It's all about the Economy, stupid!",
that's stupid?

We'll eventually need to clarify what is meant by 'Free Trade!' of course, but starting with first things first, let's look closer at those "Principles!" folks, who're so adamantly insisting that their economic "Principles!" should be consulted first in anything and everything that's even remotely related to economic matters. There are several questions which, if they take their 'Principles!' seriously (most do not, hence my annoying italics) they should have carefully considered and worked their way through in the process of arriving at their "Principles!", which if you ask them questions like these the next time they raise their 'Principles!', the blank stares that will follow from most, will help separate the principled from the posers. For instance:
  1. From what basis does the core of those principles of yours come from?
  2. ... and what sort of principles, if any, do those 'Principles!' of yours displace...?
  3. Did you derive and develop your 'Principles!' through those fundamental first principles that are rooted in the beginnings of Western Civilization?
  4. Or... maybe you feel those that (somehow) 'sprang up' from the 18th & 19th century political economists such as Richard Cantillon (if you don't recognize that name,Hayek did), Adam Smith, Jean Baptist Say, Frédéric Bastiat & Richard Cobden are plenty good enough all on their own, so... why ask why?
  5. Or do you trace your "Principles!", as most today do, to those who built the appearances of them into our lives in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as Pro-Regressive 'Progressives' actively pursued political power and influence in their take over of America's systems of higher education... and beyond?
Did you realize that there may be some conflicts between what are taken as 'principles', between one or more of those groups? How do you evaluate and decide between them (or do you bother to)? Of those groups, how much do you want to bet, that the latter one's "Principles!", have more to do with exerting political power, than with what is right and true - economically or otherwise?

If you're not sure what I mean by that, I've got an outstanding book that'd be well worth your while to read, from, of all people, a Professor at Princeton, Thomas C. Leonard, "Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era ". Each page is an eye-opener, and to this particular point, on page 19. he notes how the original vehicle of the Free Market, under 'Political Economy', began to be progressively transformed into a more statist friendly system of ideological

Monday, October 14, 2019

Happy Columbus Day!

I do think it's time to re-post this, from Columbus Day, 2015 - Why? Because after years of being bombarded with unsubstantiated charges and hysterical outrage from the most outrageous folks imaginable, I think it's time, even with as small a nod as this is, to explicitly disregard the rantings of the failed and the botched, and to lift a glass of cheer and celebrate the heroic adventures of those who actually dared to do what others feared; deeds which, even though tinged with a great deal of error, led to the greatest advances for mankind in all of our nations known histories. Celebrate this day, even moreso because everything it represents is loathed and feared today by those who oppose celebrating this day (as the 'Sultan of Knish' said so well) of commemorating the voyage that Christopher Columbus undertook to take in 1492.


  Happy Columbus Day!
"In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue..."

If you don't know the rest, or refuse to repeat it, your ignorance is too deep for me to fix in so little time and space. I won't bother a protest, qualification, any hint of apology or take any other sort of a defensive stand on what is and should be recognized and celebrated on this day.

What we like to think of Captain Kirk doing, Christopher Columbus actually did, and he did it without electronic wizardry, without science officers or communication specialists or even replaceable extras in red shirts, but with only wooden boats, a compass and a number of guesses about how the extent of the world might be shaped.

He and some ninety crew, set out on an uncharted ocean with the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and it was incredibly brave and bold, and resulted in Western Civilization expanding westward around the globe, and even entertaining the notion that we today need to defend or justify that, is not only stupidity on stilts, but a repudiation of all that is good.

In fourteen hundred ninety-twoColumbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain; He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day; He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know How to find the way to go....
If what Christopher Columbus ventured and accomplished isn't laudable and self-evident bad-assery to you, begone and darken my door no more, but do so with my Happy Columbus Day! ringing in your ears.