Saturday, January 31, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 12

An Ironic Lesson
Barack Obama's stimulus package includes about $120 billion for education. There is a certain irony in this.

As an advocate of privatizing the educational system, I believe that the consumer--the student and his parents--should pay the bill. Education is not a proper function of government. Forcing non-parents to pay for the education of children not their own is morally wrong. But in a strange way, Obama is getting around this.

The massive deficits being run up will be paid someday, either through higher taxes or inflation or both. Pundits are claiming that our children and grandchildren will get stuck with the bill. Which means, our children and grandchildren will get to pay for their own education.

Getting it Out There
Gus Van Horn has commented on the value of getting the right ideas out in the blogosphere. Often, old posts draw attention from unlikely sources.

It is interesting to observe the searches that draw visitors to Live Oaks. For example, search phrases such as "Dr. Phil", "David and Goliath", or "tortoise and the hare" have drawn visitors. While these visitors may not have been looking for intellectual arguments in favor of freedom and property rights, if they spend any time reading they do get exposed to ideas that may be new. Occasionally, some of those ideas might stick and/ or provoke further investigation.

Has He Been Paying Attention?
Steven Malanga wonders if free markets can survive in a secular world? The fact is, free markets cannot exist except in a secular world. The ethical base of religion is altruism--service to others. The ethical base of capitalism is egoism--the pursuit of one's self-interest. The failures of the Republicans are due, in large part, because of their attempt to defend capitalism on altruistic grounds.

Malanga laments Ponzi schemes, corporate hi-jinks, and other manifestations of "materialism".

The meltdown of the financial markets in the last few months has left us grappling with how we can keep markets free and principled at the same time. The only debate so far is between those who want more government regulation—who want to impose from the outside via the regulator’s eye the restraint that our institutions once tried to instill in us--and those who think that more government will only undermine our prosperity. Neither side seems to be winning the public debate because most Americans are probably equally as appalled by the shortcomings of the markets as they are by the prospect of more government control of them. [emphasis added]

The reason Republicans aren't winning is because they aren't really engaging in a debate. They accept the same altruist/ collectivist premises as the left, and all they can do is complain when things "go too far". If they want to win the debate, they must first take a counter-position, and that requires rejecting altruism. Only then can they offer a real alternative--egoism.

Is This a Start?
On Thursday I happened to catch a bit of Rush Limbaugh's show. One of his monologues was startling and refreshing--for nearly fifteen minutes he derided the economic stimulus package as immoral. He used the word "immoral" or the phrase "morally wrong" repeatedly during the tirade. While he did not attack the package as altruistic, he did say that it was taking from productive individuals and giving to the non-productive. It could have been better, but I regularly hear far worse.


Harold said...

"The meltdown of the financial markets in the last few months has left us grappling with how we can keep markets free and principled at the same time."(Bolded by me)

That's a very telling comment. Malanga should start at the beginning.

At least this guy seems to get it.

Brian Phillips said...

Conservatives just keep getting worse. Even the recent defeats at the polls isn't getting the message into their mysticism-soaked minds.