L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

In the contradiction-laden mind of welfare state politicians, there is an undifferentiated MASS called WE as in WE are a COUNTRY. This supposed fact is a distortion of the reality. It ignores people’s individual wills and minds, treating them as mere details that are easily effaced so as to produce the all-important WE. To the extent that there is a WE the country, it is the product of extensive conditioning, political indoctrination, and coercion. By contrast, the people who live in the country called America actually only unite themselves voluntarily with other people partially and on terms that they select.

— Michael S. Rozeff

thefreelioness:

The NYPD tried to start a hashtag outpouring of positive memories with their police force. 

If this were ever a bad idea, it was probably the worst idea for arguably the most corrupt police force in America. 

via Vice:

What the person running the Twitter account probably failed to realize is that most people’s interactions with the cops fall into a few categories:

1. You are talking to them to get help after you or someone you knew was robbed, beaten, murdered, or sexually assaulted.

2. You are getting arrested. 

3. You are getting beaten by the police.

In category 1, you are probably not going to be like, “Oh, let me take a selfie with you fine officers so I can remember this moment,” and the other two categories are not things that the NYPD would like people on social media talking about. Additionally, the people who use Twitter a lot (and who aren’t Sonic the Hedgehog roleplayers) are the type who love fucking with authority figures. In any case, #myNYPD quickly became a trending topic in the United States, largely because people were tweeting and retweeting horrific images of police brutality perpetrated by New York City cops.

oops.

With Government Roads, the Customer Is Always Wrong →

The state has no motivation to accommodate users’ needs, but to crack down on anyone who does not conform to its timeworn model of road usage. …

If deaths occurred to this degree, relatively speaking, on private roads in gated communities or in shopping mall parking lots, criminal lawsuits and bankruptcy filings would be rampant. At a minimum, insofar as blame is placed on individual drivers, it must be remembered from where they received their licenses to drive. Furthermore, by looking for new traffic laws as a preventative measure, there is at least implicit blame placed on state institutions because in that case they should have passed these laws decades ago (and more laws next year too).

The reality is that new traffic laws are enacted every single year, yet the tragedies continue, and the most obvious change such legislation has actually managed to effect is increased revenues for governments through increased fines and citations. For every ticket that is written, for every accident that occurs, and for every person who is injured or killed on the nation’s roadways, witness the failure of state bureaucrats to meet the consumption demands of the driving public.

To be more specific, people want to be allowed to drive faster; to not spend hours per day sitting in traffic; to make U-turns when necessary; to blow red lights and stop signs when safe; to drive on roads without gigantic pot holes; to be able to read street signs; to text or talk on the phone while driving; to be notified of road closures; to have construction projects on their preferred roads be completed as quickly as possible at times that are convenient; to be surrounded by competent motorists; to drive in cars that will not malfunction; to drive where extreme weather conditions are minimized as much as technologically possible; to assume the potential risks of driving after consuming alcohol; and perhaps most importantly, to not lose their lives in the process of moving from place A to place B.

For those accustomed to living with a real lack of alternatives, it’s difficult to envision how such seemingly contradictory demands are to be satisfied — but that’s the point entirely: a uniform approach by definition only serves one set of interests, typically those of the people administering and enforcing it. …

Where there is a monopolistic provider, as is the case regarding roads, bureaucrats are relatively comfortable in their privileged positions. Even when public protest reaches such levels that someone must take the fall and either resign or be let go, the institution itself faces no sizeable danger whatsoever. While private companies depend on the voluntary support of their patrons, the state extracts its continual revenue supply (taxes) and denies its victims alternatives (monopoly), both at the barrel of a gun.

Fear-mongers will claim that without such practices, the roads and thus society itself would fall into chaos and disarray. To such objectors, reference may be made to anything from hectic city and rush hour driving, delayed accident clean up and endless highway construction, to the common practice of cops blatantly disobeying their own traffic laws. Needless to say, such disorder is everywhere already.

Busy intersection in Ethiopia

Anarchy.

No lanes, no paint, no signs, no lights… hundreds of cars and pedestrians in seeming chaos all safely traversing a major intersection with no significant traffic jam or delay. Self-interested individuals all vying for position and yet non-verbally negotiating with each other for safe and efficient passage? Hmm…

-

EDIT: Some anecdotes on the safety or lack thereof of this intersection can be found in the discussion here - some claim “places like this” have lots of accidents but there are others still who claim to have been exposed to traffic in this city and never witnessed an accident. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find an actual breakdown to be able to compare. Ultimately, the big question is about liability and therefore whether private property rights are properly recognized.

[Incidentally, you can slow the video on youtube. Note pedestrians for what looks like “real” speed. To me, it’s mostly between 25% and 50%. Still, everyone seems to cross very quickly, and far more quickly than any intersection here in LA during rush hour.]

Everyone, including environmentalists, has needs more basic than a pristine environment. We don’t worry about the earth until our survival is secure. This is a natural ordering of needs. Yet environmentalists, after meeting their own basic needs, want to force the poor to reverse their preferences and put the earth before their own survival. I don’t think most environmentalists intend this, but it is the inevitable result of using the force of government to enact protection measures. This is neither desirable nor effective in the long run.

You may be able to do great harm to many of the world’s poor in exchange for some government attempt at environmental improvement (more likely to result in special-interest enrichment), but in the long run it is impossible to convince people to subjugate their survival to the perceived needs of their ecosystem. The real promise for environmental improvement is economic growth. Until people are wealthy enough to consider [voluntarily] paying the cost of a cleaner environment, the fight to force their choices is inhumane and ultimately ineffective.

— Isaac M. Morehouse, “Environmental Protection Is a Consumption Good”

I am physically sick of feeding money to the state. I am tired to my bones of contributing to wars, entitlements, public servants, crony capitalists, and social programs like public schools. I am being forced to contribute to the destruction of everything I value

— Wendy McElroy  (via paleolibertarian)

World War I: American Legacy

One of the most disquieting features of the environmentalist movement is its evident abhorrence of modern technology and its Romanticist back-to-nature philosophy. Technology and civilization are responsible, they say, for crowding, pollution, despoliation of resources, so let us therefore return to unspoiled nature, to Walden Pond, to contemplation in a far-off glade. None of these critics of modern culture and civilization seem to realize that the back-to-nature path would not only mean shuffling off the benefits of civilization, but would also mean starvation and death for the vast bulk of mankind, who are dependent on the capital and the division of labor of the modern industrial market economy. Or are our modern Romantics operating on a death, as opposed to a life, premise? It very much looks that way.

— Murray N. Rothbard, Conservation and the Free Market (via eltigrechico)

Paul "Contrafactual" Krugman: The Laureate of Keynesian Babble →

If you are not Professor Paul Krugman you probably agree that Washington has left no stone unturned on the Keynesian stimulus front since the crisis of September 2008. The Fed’s balance sheet started that month at $900 billion–a figure it had accumulated mostly in dribs and drabs over the course of its first 94 years. Bubbles Ben then generated the next $900 billion in 7 weeks of mad money printing designed to keep the tottering gambling halls of Wall Street afloat. And by the time the “taper” is over later this year (?) the Fed’s balance sheet will exceed $4.7 trillion.

So $4 trillion in new central bank liabilities in six years. All conjured out of thin air. All monetary vaporware issued in exchange for treasury and GSE paper that had originally financed the consumption of real labor, material and capital resources.

And if $4 trillion of monetary magic was not enough, the action on the fiscal front was no less fulsome. At the time in March 2008 that Goldman’s plenipotentiary in Washington, Secretary Hank Paulson, joined hands with the People’s Tribune from Pacific Heights, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to revive Jimmy Carter’s infamous $50 per family tax rebate, hoping America’s flagging consumers would be induced to buy a flat-screen TV, dinner at Red Lobster or new pair of shoes, the public debt was $9 trillion. It will be $18 trillion by the time the current “un-ceiling” on the Federal debt completes its election year leave of absence next March.

Yet $9 trillion of added national debt in six years is not the half of it. Even our Washington betters do not claim to have outlawed the business cycle, and we are now in month 57 of this expansion. Given that the average expansion during the ten “recovery” cycles since 1950 has been 53 months, it might be argued that we are already on borrowed time fiscally. That is, we have already used up the forward area on Uncle Sam’s balance sheet that is supposed to be available to absorb the predictable eruption of red ink that will occur during the next recession or financial bubble collapse or China melt-down etc. …

Now comes Professor Krugman proposing to “do something”:

 …. we should aggressively reverse the fiscal austerity of the last few years, getting government at all levels spending several points of GDP more to boost demand…. let’s say for the sake of argument that the right policy is two years of fiscal expansion amounting to 3 percent of GDP each year, plus a permanent rise in the inflation target to 4 percent. These wouldn’t be radical moves in terms of Econ 101 — they are in fact pretty much what textbook models would suggest make sense given what we have learned about macroeconomic vulnerabilities…

In short, Krugman wants to double-down on the lunacy we have already accomplished. His 4% inflation target is just code for re-accelerating the Fed’s money printing machine, thereby keeping real interest in deeply negative terrain for even more years beyond the seven-year ZIRP target the Fed has already promised. …

At the end of the day, Professor Krugman and his Keynesian acolytes believe in a mysterious economic ether called “aggregate demand”.  And through the wonders of their DSGE models they can measure the precise shortfall between aggregate demand under the nirvana of  “full employment” and the actual level of aggregate demand (i.e “GDP or spending”) generated by 150 million workers and 300 million consumers struggling to make ends meet in today’s real world.  The whole point of fiscal and monetary “stimulus”, therefore, is to insure that America’s economic bathtub is filled right up to the brim with aggregate demand, thereby insuring maximum growth of jobs, GDP and societal bliss.

Except that “aggregate demand” is a Keynesian fairy-tale that has now been playing for more than a half-century. In fact, spending or GDP cannot be conjured by the fiscal and monetary tricks of the state. Spending can only come from current income, which is the reward for current production; or it can come from borrowing, which is a claim on future income that will reduce borrowing capacity tomorrow in order to have more spending today. 

I am a very amateur auto mechanic. On a good day, if it’s something simple, I can maybe diagnose and fix a problem with my car. I am a professional economist. But I understand how cars work better than I understand how economies work. I can diagnose and fix cars better than I can diagnose and fix economies.

— Nick Rowe

David Frum is terrible.

David Frum is terrible.

(Source: The Atlantic)

If we pay heed to the state-financed scientists who have been found to twist their science to support the political ambitions of their Malthusian pay masters, then we must agree that mankind is doomed in so many ways that the only way out is to reduce our population, our energy consumption, and our standards of living. However, the history of the past two hundred years has proven Malthus and his followers to be dead wrong. Man’s ingenuity combined with a free market consisting of competition, price signals and the motivation of profit will ensure that the peakers remain on the wrong side of history.

— Roger Toutant

A free, competitive market economy is always rewarding successful entrepreneurs with profits for having made new, better and less expensive goods to earn consumer business. Thus, the normal trend in a free, competitive market is a world of gently falling prices as innovative businessmen bring improved and less expensive goods to consumers.

A truly free market economy, therefore, is one that tends to have the “good deflation,” and we should look forward to it, if only government intervention and central banking would get out of the way.

— Richard Ebeling, “Don’t Fear ‘Deflation,’ Unless Caused by Government”

Um… Please disregard any photos you may or may not have seen.

[men in black mind wipe]

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