Friday, January 31, 2014

Jack Hunter on Gay Marriage and Conservatism: My Thoughts

For those who don't know, Jack Hunter is a conservative libertarian commentator, editor of The Southern Avenger (which is offline as of now), and a supporter of Ron Paul and Rand Paul (to whom he was an aide). He has written much on neoconservatism, conservatism, Ron Paul and libertarianism, as well as other stuff. While I may share my disagreements with him (like his support for Rand Paul's endorsing of Mitt Romney), he is still an interesting commenter that I find worthwile. You can see his more recent columns at the archive I link here.

Now, let's get to the real meat of the issue.

Jack Hunter has just written an article entitled "How obsessing over gay marriage has grown government."  He argues that the conservative view toward government should include a support for government separation from the marriage issue, citing many conservatives who support the right of same-sex marriage (some by supporting government getting out of marriage and others advocating that gays share in the government benefits given to married couples).

I think that his article is overall worth reading and is excellent.

However, I would like to share some comments on his article which I think will make things clearer.

First things first, let's start.

First, he notes to many different conservatives that are now deviating from the standard right-wing opposition to same-sex marriage. And as to whether it is encouraging or discouraging, I am mixed on this; while I am in support of the freedom of two individuals to get together and "marry" (even if that includes gays and whoever), I am also not in favor of giving them tax benefits (though some libertarians make pretty strong arguments for allowing gays to recognized the same way the state recognizes heterosexual marriages until the State is abolished and the libertarian society is ushered). For example, I take the view that the State should not take any position on this, and that it should stay out of it.

Second, he notes that the Right's focus on the same-sex marriage issue is a hindrance to the alleged conservative goal of "small government." Then he shows how Bush and Karl Rove manipulated conservatives who would have stayed home otherwise into voting for Bush with the promise of a federal ban on gay marriage.

My perspective is that when a government leader gets unpopular with a certain voting bloc, then that leader will use a hot-button issue to manipulate the voting bloc into supporting the leader, and that issue may either be terrorism, drugs, same-sex marriage, low wages, foreign issues or almost any other matter. In this case, George W. Bush, who doubled the Department of Education and increased the size of government and the national debt, managed to get conservatives into supporting him because of the promise of government's fighting of same-sex marriage. But alas, Bush was still the same big-government person that was elected into office before; despite some tax "cuts" here and there, the spending and budget increased even more.

Then we go on with an analysis of the arch-conservative Senator Rick Santorum, who was famous for a while in conservative Christian and Catholic circles. He was known for his belief in the use of government to promote morality, especially with regard to abortion and sexual morality. But many libertarians and libertarian Christians called him out for his defense of the use of violence (that is what government action ultimately is) to stop vice, and Judge Andrew Napolitano and Tom Mullen, two famous libertarian writers and commentators, were among the forefront of libertarians who looked at Rick Santorum from the proper perspective (in my opinion).

For what Rick Santorum and conservatives seem to fail to recognize is that when a moral action cannot be chosen freely but rather compelled through the preventative intervention between an immoral but voluntary exchange, then a moral action cannot be truly free.

And we finally get to the issue of how same-sex marriage is used to distract from the real issues with our government. While it is true that sin is an issue and should be dealt with, I will note that sin should not be accepted and celebrated; but that does not mean that the force of government should be used to crack down on sin, for mere sins like illegitimate "marriages", sexual immorality, drug usage, alcoholism and other things should not be banned in the same way that murder, theft or fraud is banned; for they are not in the same league as aggression against the rights of others.

So then, how do we deal with such sins when the use of government force is forbidden from cracking down on them? We can do these things: spread the Gospel (Matthew 28:19), apply it to all walks of life (2 Timothy 3:16), use the power of persuasion instead of government to lead many to Christ, and reject the use of force to prevent such sins from occuring.

And we ought not to let the issue of same-sex marriage distract us from opposing the big-government welfare-warfare state that has been wrought upon us.

Letter of Liberty News Edition (1-31-2013)

Here is the Friday News Edition.

Dave Albin makes the case for a free market in food labeling.

Thomas DiLorenzo takes a look at the link between Lincoln's army and Hitler.

Scott Lazarowitz asks whether the people will wake up.

Robert Murphy gives his thoughts on Peter Schiff's talks on the minimum wage.

Joseph Salerno sets Krugman straight about Mises and the Great Depression.

Prof. Michael Chossudovsky exposes how America's government has warred on the world for so long.

Robert Higgs gives his thoughts on his connection with the late Governor Issac Stevens.

John Whitehead points to the greatest threats to the freedom of America.

Joe Alton takes a look at expiration dates and survival prepping

Egon von Greyerz talks about gold and the "lost century."

Dr. Helen Smith takes a look at the college hostility to manhood.

Anthony DeBlasi takes a look at the nameless hurt of military action.

Michael Rozeff takes a look at why the US has lost manufacturing jobs.

Chuck Baldwin shows how the virus of police statism has infected the world.

Justin Raimondo looks at the reluctant "realism" of Obama.

Ilana Mercer makes the case for secession instead of another convention.

John Odermatt takes a look at state protectionism and sports gambling interests.

Jacob Hornberger contrasts the two systems America has had.

Tori Richard exposes the link between IRS horrors and Obamacare.

James Miller warns of Ben Bernanke puff pieces.

Laurence Vance gives his solution to the problem of unemployment benefits.

Justin Raimondo exposes yet another neocon trick: using WWII to justify our modern wars.

Jason Harrington gives his confessions about his work at the TSA.

Louise Cooper talks on F. A. Hayek.

Jeremy Scahill exposes Obama's drone wars and his whitewashing of surveillance statism.

Javier Garay exposes the fallacies of the war against inequality.

Jeff Miron asks if the drug war is over.

Radley Balko looks at another evil of the drug war.

Peter Jenkins exposes yet another manufactured foreign crisis.

Jonathan Goodwin explains what is paranoia and what is not.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Letter of Liberty News Edition (1-28-2014)

Here is the Tuesday News Edition of Letter of Liberty:

C. Jay Engel gives his thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Yuri Maltsev explains the truth about the Tea Party.

James E. Miller exposes the fallacies of The New Republic.

Lew Rockwell gives his take on the New York Times's smear of libertarianism, Lew Rockwell, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Phil Girardi gives his take on Christian Zionism, Canada, and the lessons for us.

Ron Paul shows how the welfare-warfare state is disastrous for us.

Robert Higgs explains his experiences with Governer Stevens.

BK Markus shows the fundamental difference betweeen Batman and James Bond (both of whom I appreciate nonetheless).

Terence Kealey makes the case against "public" science.

Norman Solomon advises us to "strike the root" of the NSA.

Pat Buchanan asks whether John Kerry understands what he is doing.

Justin Raimondo explains the leftist backlash against the anti-NSA movement.

Will Grigg gives his take on the recent arrest of Justin Bieber.

Theodore Dalrymple gives some advice to those nostalgic for the State.

Laurence Vance takes a look at the hard questions of the drug war from a libertarian standpoint.

Robert Wenzel defends the Mises Institute against the smears from the New York Times and some libertarians.

Karen De Coster gives her take on the new Google Glasses phenomenon.

Walter Williams shows the problems of the hate-envy culture.

Harry Mount takes a lot on a delicious feud.

Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll & Michelle Gosney expose the fraud that is the public school teacher complex.

The Daily Mail reports on the backlash against LED lights.

Max Slowik celebrates the 159th birthday of John Moses Browning, creator of the M1911 pistol.

Robert Wenzel takes a look at whether Mises really was a cosmopolitan or not, as some libertarians make him out to be.

Patrice Lewis exposes the follies of feminism.

Richard Ebeling gives his perspective on the speech Obama should deliver.

Per Bylund explains why economics is not ridiculous.

Jacob Hornberger takes a look at the situation in Egypt.

Joseph Stromberg looks again at the revisionist historian Gabriel Kolko.

Richard Esposito reports on new revelations by Edward Snowden.

Art Carden explains why Bitcoin matters.

Marina Olson shows how healthy eating can be encouraged without government.

Thomas Lucente shows why Americans should read Frederic Bastiat's "The Law".

George Gilder gives his recommendations for reading.

John Walsh contrasts the imperialism of "free" America with the prosperity of "pinko" China.

Lloyd Billingsley comments on Obama's road to serfdom.

Kristin Tate takes a look at the talking points one will certainly hear from Obama's State of the Union today.

Brian McWilliams exposes yet another police-state scheme.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Letter of Liberty News Edition (1-17-2014)

Here is the Friday News Edition.

Michael Lotfi shows why Mark Levin is wrong on nullification.

Justin Raimondo asks if Mexico is coming undone.

T. Hunt Tooley shows how the interwar years created the modern world.

Nick Turse takes a look at America's secret war in 134 countries.

James E. Miller gives his solutions to fighting poverty.

Marc Clair interviews Professor Carlo Celli on the fascist economics of Mussolini.

Walter Block makes the case against minimum wage laws.

John Odermatt writes on the case of the D.C. cop charged with producing child porn.

Jacob Hornberger shows the immoral foundations of welfare statism.

Will Grigg makes the case that America's police statism may be worse than North Korea's.

Pat Buchanan looks at why the government is (rightly) held in contempt by Americans.

Julian Borger explains Israel's secret nuclear arsenal.

Frank Holmes takes a look at the risks of gold.

Would you like to know what the ten best countries for food are? The US isn't part of them.

Chris Eger makes the case for buying a home defense shotgun.

Liu Wei takes a look at another NSA whistleblower.

Dale Steinreich exposes a horrific way the medical cartel is going to treat sleep apnea.

Ann Marie Michaels exposes the dangers of flouride.

Sheldon Richman shows why violation of rights isn't the only bad thing.

Sheldon Richman argues against IP. Robert Wenzel responds.

Robert Murphy comments further on Krugman.

C. Jay Engel comments on conservatism and libertarianism.

Jordan Bruneau calls out the racist history of minimum wage laws.

David Sirota exposes yet another evil of the national-security state.

The Washington Post Editorial Board exposes yet another example of cronyism.

Ed Loomis explains the protections we really need.

Paul Rosenberg makes the case that the Scriptures are anti-government.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jeffrey Tucker on THE DISCOVERY OF FREEDOM

Jeffrey Tucker, editor of Laissez-Faire Books, gives an interesting and worthwhile exploration of Rose Wilder Lane's libertarian classic The Discovery of Freedom, a work that has inspired freedom lovers since its publications.

Says Tucker:

People schooled in the libertarian idea are prepared for the thesis that freedom is productive and protective of human rights, whereas despotism is neither. Many years ago, I first glanced through Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom and assumed that it was an eloquent statement of known truths, so surely there was nothing much to learn here. Maybe it was right for beginners. 
In my second reading, some ten years later, I was struck by the depth and sweep of her argument and how it goes far beyond conventions. The problem, as she sees it, is not just the state, but rather, the universal penchant for repressing the human spirit. The state is only the most egregious form of authority. 
Finally, on my third reading, I got it. This is a supremely radical and challenging work, one that essentially turns the world upside down. Nearly every expert on the topic of the history of civilization will tell you that the regime is what makes the difference between whether a nation rises or falls. 
Lane takes another view entirely. She says it is not the regime but the absence of the regime that sets the human spirit in flight and permits it to create and make beautiful things out of the uncivilized world of the state of nature. She pictures the whole history of humanity as a struggle to be free of authority — not just this or that authority but all authority.
I recommend this great article for reading and sharing, even though it is not explicitly Christian-oriented (though a Christian spirit is infused in it). I would also like to comment on the mention of Islam as a tool for freeing humanity and liberating civilization. While it is a false religion from a Christian perspective, God did use Islam in its initial stages to declare His glory through the liberation of civilization and the flourishing of arts, culture, math, science, and other things, before it turned into an authoritarian and militaristic religion. In some ways, God used Islam to help the Christian world and Christendom in many ways, even in leading Christendom to cast off its former bias against commercial dealings (which are not so much rooted in apostolic and biblical teaching as it is to post-apostolic doctrines later infused into the church).
Anyways, this article and the book will be of service for interesting discussions and thoughts in the ages to come.

Letter of Liberty News Edition (1-14-2014)

Here is the Tuesday News Edition of Letter of Liberty.

Patrick Barron explains how reserves are a barrier to credit expansion.

Joseph Stromberg explores the Marxist historian Gabriel Kolko.

John R. Graham explains why individual health insurance will become the standard. 

Kirk Wiebe explains why the NSA prefers metadata

Patrick Buchanan gives further comments on war with Iran.

Philip Girardi explains why we should ditch the Empire.

Jacob Hornberger shows the failures of statism.

Gary North explores neoconservative rule.

Fernando Herrera-Gonzalez gives a free-market solution to the issue of insider trading.

John Whitehead exposes the oligarchy we have today.

Walter Williams gives the truth about income inequality.

Chris Rossini makes the case for understanding Hitler's economics.

James Altucher gives eleven tips to write for a living.

Jack Cashill takes a look at some phony Obama autobiographies.

Scott Lazarowitz shows how we can stand up for our rights.

Daisy Luther makes the case against the flu shot.

Jeffrey St. Clair looks at the problem of American-style eugenics.

Richard Ebeling makes the case that Shangai's history reveals the success of capitalism.

Winslow Wheeler shows that the death of many Iraqis is one of Robert Gates's real legacies.

Scott Lazarowitz gives some truthful information about the late Ariel Sharon.

Ivo Vegter smashes some myths about libertarians.




Charity and the State: A Christian Libertarian Perspective

Charity and the State: A Christian Libertarian Perspective
by
Anand Venigalla

Thanks to my dad and to C. Jay Engel for his helpful suggestions. I know this essay will not be able to cover in fullest detail a moral, Christian, and libertarian case against the welfare state. Many have went into further detail and there are things beyond the scope of this essay. And I may even go further in future essays, speeches, and even books if I could. But this essay is intended to give a rough case against welfare statism and for purely voluntary charity.

Introduction

Charity and the welfare state has been a controversial topic throughout the history of mankind. Since mankind is tainted (and as we Christians would say, sinful in nature), one is not always charitable towards others. So, as is commonly asserted and as we are all told, the State should step in and participate in the business of charity. It is also held that the State accomplishes this through taxation and legislation. Some even say that "charity begins with the government" rather than with individuals giving from their heart.

This essay is dedicated to debunking these false claims from the standpoint of true charity, particularly from the Christian standpoint, and of the politics of the libertarian (which I hold to be fundamentally compatible with Christianity). It does not reject charity at all; far from it, in rejecting state welfare, I am defending true and voluntary charity, which is both from the heart and is also productive, in contrast to the method of the welfare state that takes money from one group to give to another group which often times is exploited.

For Private Charity and Against Statism

Private charity, as opposed to welfare statism, is the best course to go for these reasons:

1. The system of private and voluntary charity is the most moral and non-coercive form of goodwill exercised by men; the state, as it is an involuntary and inherently coercive entity, cannot really give of its own in the same way a person can give from the heart; it must take from others to be charitable, and this is often done through legislation and taxation. The Scriptures commend charity from the heart, and with good conscience. The State cannot operate in the same way, no matter the claims that state rulers might make in the name of humanitarianism. Jesus, when he commanded the rich young ruler to sell all that he had (Matthew 19:16-22), did not advocate the state taking the man's funds and redistributing them to the poor. Neither did commands to help the poor and needy in any way involve coercive welfare by the State. This same truth can also be seen in the ministry of the early church; even the sharing of goods in the Church though it seems "communistic" (Acts 4:32-37) was purely voluntary and non-coercive. All this is to say that defenders of compulsory charity who seek to use Christianity to defend force cannot depend on early Christianity to do so, and that the Christians who reject force have a stronger basis in this area.

2. Private charity, because it is done by individual human beings, is personal and oftentimes from the heart. It is true that sometimes the charity giver might have selfish and non-altruistic means. But even with this consideration, as opposed to state charity, private charity has the component of a personal and voluntary exchange that the statist variety does not have. Thus, it is mutually beneficial for one another, with the giver receiving the contentment of giving, and the receiver of the charity having a grateful heart for the goodwill offered to him. Not to mention the above process involves evaluating one's true need and extent of it, so there is little or no exploitation of the giver, resulting in a process of relationship building and setting an example to the others to follow. State charity, on the other hand, often involves the taking of goods and services from one individual to redistribute it to other individual. Oftentimes, this is based on a "Santa Claus" principle where the State takes from those who are "better off" to give to those who are "underprivileged." However, this is false and wrong, and as the economist Ludwig von Mises showed when he refuted this principle, "[f]rom day to day it becomes more obvious that large-scale additions to the amount of public expenditure cannot be financed by “soaking the rich,” but that the burden must be carried by the masses. The traditional tax policy of the age of interventionism, its glorified devices of progressive taxation and lavish spending, have been carried to a point at which their absurdity can no longer be concealed. The notorious principle that, whereas private expenditures depend on the size of income available, public revenues must be regulated according to expenditures, refutes itself."

Arguments In Favor Of Welfare Statism

Having defended my case against compulsory charity, I will lay down some arguments that will be used for defending it. These proponents do not necessarily reject the need for non-coercive charity, but rather they hold that the State is necessary in charity work. I will deal with some (but not all) of their arguments and lay them out as accurately as possible.

1. Without compulsory legislation requiring people to be charitable, people will become too selfish and greedy to care for the helpless in society. This argument is common among many groups, including some conservatives. The basis is that since libertarianism allegedly holds that men are living "islands," they obviously are going to reject compulsory charity in the name of individualism. Then they might concede that libertarians may not be atomistic, but then they argue that if libertarians really cared about the poor and helpless in society, then they would support laws that would tax people in the name of welfare, progressive taxation, forcing the rich to "give back to society," all of which are but a few examples of the welfare state's manifestation.

2. Even if private charity were more efficient, it can get too self-centered and can turn into a thing of greed. If a defender of the welfare state does concede that private charity is more efficient than the welfare state, he might later say that private charity can get too self-centered and that it will turn into some business thing, which is not good at all, according to these people. They hold that the state's performing of charity usually prevents this. They argue that the poor and needy might become "pawns" within the "evil" free market, which is (as we are all told falsely and through exaggeration) allegedly the "cause of our economic and social woes."

3. Without a welfare state, people would be dying on the streets. This is common amongst left-wing social democrats, right-wing welfare Statists, Catholics, and socially-democratic evangelicals. They hold that, since people will become too selfish without state compulsion, then they will not help the poor and needy,- nod thus people will be dying while the affluent live and prosper. And thus they support the welfare state based on this argumentation.

Responses to These Arguments For The Welfare State

1.  People have more incentive to be charitable under a free order than under the order of statism. In response to the first argument that says that without government welfare people would become uncharitable, I would say this: There is much more incentive to be truly charitable under the order of the free society rather than in the statist society. Why is this? With voluntary charity rather than coerced charity, people would not feel like they were forced to provide for a person. Also, in a free society, ways would be found with which to provide better care and charity, and charities would prop up and fill the needs and demands that are common in a free society. A historical example would be the charitable institutions that rose up in the nineteenth century, the century of classical liberalism. Groups such as The Salvation Army and many other Christian groups came up during this era, the era of liberalization of economic laws and laissez-faire markets. Philanthropy became popular among such wealthy persons as Andrew Carnegie, John Ruskin, Henry Dunant and many others. And finally, may I add, private charity often lifts poor people out of their state and helps them to get on their feet so that they will no longer need the charitable assistance, for because of the help, they are now able to get back on their feet.

2. Even if people were greedy and self-centered (meaning that people did charity for selfish purposes), that may be superior to a welfare state system that neglects some and helps some. Let's say that indeed rich people and the well-to-do in a free society are indeed performing charitable deeds for selfish and profit-based motives. But given that fact, poor people and the needy are being provided for, and in fact they are now able to return to the productive sector and help themselves through producing and creating goods and services that please customers and help others. Thus, while the poor and needy may be "pawns" in this system, at least we grant that they are being helped by these selfish people, whereas in the welfare system they might either be neglected, receive inferior care, might become permanently attached to it, or might be deceived into thinking that the State, not the free market, is the harborer of all that is good and that the market is always (or at least mostly) wrong and selfish, and that without the State they wouldn't survive. 

3. The welfare state is corrupt and more so than a free society; it is often (not always) based on the desire for legalized theft and reception of welfare without production and labor. I will make a statement that will be controversial among many people, including many Christians: the welfare state is legalized theft, an embodiment of legitimized corruption and exploitative usage of materials to provide money for the poor and needy (and make money for itself in the process). How dare I say this! Surely we must endure some form of legalized theft (assuming that welfare statism is precisely that) or else society will descend into chaos! This sounds oh-so reasonable on the surface; after all, do we not want order and for the poor to be taken care of? But let me give this example to prove the Statists wrong: suppose Robin Hood and his merry men become concerned about the poor in society, and they see that they are without proper care and food and shelter. But there is no one bothering to help them, for there are many who are concerned with their own affairs in life more than they are for the poor. So they go to Prince John and ask him to take money (through taxation) from the rich people who make money through the market process but don't give to the poor. Then Prince John puts the requests of the band into action, and the band becomes his agents of taxation. So they start to take money from the rich men through taxation, at times through threats of death if it is resisted. It seems that the poor and needy are getting alone fine in this system; they seem to be provided for and they are nowhere near the level they suffered. But then the taxation mandate extends beyond the rich and goes to everyone; so while it seems to benefit the poor in the short run, in the long run it is a failure. The poor and needy do not go off of welfare, the citizens are increasingly taxed to support the system and the entrepreneurial and charitable spirits suffer as a result. 

This illustration is designed to show the failure of a welfare-state system as opposed to a free society.

Conclusion: Private Charity Is The Only Christian Charity.

All these facts are ultimately hogwash to the Christian unless he is convinced of the truth that the private-charity system I am proposing is the only one compatible with the Scriptures and the New Testament, as well as the only one compatible with the free society. The use of compulsory force to collect donations for the poor and needy is immoral, for it not only forces a person to do something against his will in the name of positive law, but it removes the mutual benefits of charity that are common (and should be) in private charity. A trust is built between the giver and the receiver(s), and the welfare system removes this trust by taking from a productive member of society and giving to a non-productive member, thus deceiving the receiver from entering into the productive sector. And the New Testament command to be charitable is not a command for the State to come in and take money to give to the poor but rather a command to individuals and Christians to give from their hearts (2 Corinthians 9:7) and follow Christ in this way. And the charity practiced by the early Christians is in stark contrast to the welfare statism of modern-day America and much of the Western world today. They gave of themselves and did not think of themselves first of all, but they considered others better than themselves and looked out for their interests (Philippians 2:3-4), in stark contrast to the ambivalence of paganism. These men and women did not seek to use coercion and force to perform their deeds, but rather they did it voluntarily from their heart. This charity is truly Christian, not the compulsory welfare-state's corruption of charity.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Some Resources on the War on Poverty

Yesterday, on January 8, 2014, we reached the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. The war divided many; on one side, many supported it as a cure (if not THE cure) to poverty, while many have shown that a government war on poverty is not only futile in stopping poverty but also an immoral means in combatting poverty.

So I have decided to do a compilation of resources that deal with this issue, resources that I hope you will find valuable. They are from both the past and the present, so forgive me if some of the resources don't date back more recently.

"The War on Poverty Kept Poor People Poor" by Steve Horwitz, MarketWatch
"50th Anniversary of Federal Government's Failed War on Poverty" by Hunter Lewis, The Circle Bastiat
"A Retrospective on Johnson's Poverty War" by Adam Young, Ludwig von Mises Institute
"How to Conquer Poverty" by John Chamberlain, The Freeman
"The Great Society: A Libertarian Critique" by Murray Rothbard, LewRockwell.com (not exactly related to the War on Poverty, but still important)
"The Great Society's War on Poverty" by Robert Higgs, The Independent Institute

This is not the most exhaustive list of resources on this touchy issue, but I do hope that it helps address some of the issues regarding the War on Poverty.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why Government Shouldn't Be "Run Like A Business"

A common refrain from some conservatives is that "government should be run like a business." That means that government should attempt to emulate the free-market system to make itself more efficient. But they fail to understand this truth: government and markets are two different things; the former depends on the use of force while the latter depends on the use of voluntary exchange. The twain shall never meet, and the best system is one where the government exists only in a very limited state (or not at all) and never interferes in the voluntary exchanges that occur in an economy. The only interventions allowed are to prevent fraud and aggressive violence.

C. Jay Engel at The Reformed Libertarian has written an insightful piece on this entitled "Must We Pursue Efficiency?", which I think is helpful in addressing some of these common myths.

Says Engel:

All that said, we often hear, correctly, that the establishment in Washington wants to keep spending, borrowing, wasting money, growing its size and influence, and become more and more involved in every aspect of the global marketplace.  Against this trend come some well-meaning and self-described conservatives who have as their aim to make “government more efficient.”  That is, we are told, the “leaders” ought to run DC like a business!  ”No more wasting money!”
If you ever hear someone, usually coming from businessmen like Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, claiming that the way to “fix” this broken government is to run it like a business, realize one thing: their entire goal is to perfect government operations and “save” the government which has in the past been mismanaged.  Now, we must tread carefully here.  The problems with this sentiment is not that business is bad, that capitalism is problematic, or that rich people ought to be ostracized.  The problem with the Cains and the Romneys of the world is not that they are free-market oriented.  The problem is that they are too socialistic.  For if government is the problem in our modern economy –and society –then our goal should never, ever, be to make it stronger and to “fix” it.
What we must realize is that for all the talk of “fixing” Washington, there are much fewer objections stating that Washington is a parasite which leaches, and sucks the blood from, the true economy of productivity and growth.  In other words, by “fixing” the government to make it run better, the continual down spiral of the American economy would be inevitable.  We should aim to fix the economy, not the government.  And how should we fix the economy?  By making government smaller, not by making it better!
And Robert P. Murphy, a free-market economist, has pointed out that government can't be run like a business based on sound economic reasoning.
Says Murphy:
According to a common but na├»ve worldview, there are objective, well-known techniques for producing various goods and services, and the consumer preferences regarding these outputs are also common knowledge. In such a worldview—which even many professional economists, in discussing policy, seem to hold—it seems only natural to conclude that government officials could improve upon the decentralized market outcome. After all, the government has access to the same "production function" as private firms, and if it decides to be the monopoly producer of a good or service, it can avoid wasteful advertising expenses and other redundancies. Such arguments were behind the proposals for outright "market socialism" in the era between World Wars I and II, and, to this day, they guide recommendations for heavy government regulation of "natural monopolies" such as utilities. 1
However, more-practical economists recognize the limits of their textbook diagrams with elegant marginal revenue and marginal cost curves. In reality, we operate in a world of uncertainty. The "least cost" method of producing a good or service is never obvious, nor is what consumers will be willing to pay for various items. In a famous lecture, "Competition as a Discovery Procedure," Friedrich Hayek explained how markets in the real world stumble upon this hidden knowledge.2 Various people with access to different information make piecemeal discoveries and constantly modify their operations accordingly; they receive feedback from market prices in the form of profit or loss. Firms mimic particularly profitable innovations, and if a firm does not adapt quickly enough, it will go out of business. Hayek thus viewed competition as a process rather than a condition or end-state. The state of "perfect competition" described in the textbooks—which includes the property that all firms in an industry use the identical "least-cost" method of production—is actually something that would emerge over time only because of the competitive rivalry between the firms, and only if the conditions in the real world remained static long enough for all firms to fully adapt. 
From this Hayekian perspective, we have little reason to expect government provision of a good or service to reduce costs, if only because such an institutional arrangement limits the number of minds brainstorming on how to cut costs. Under competitive free entry into an industry, and even into a "natural monopoly," an outsider always has the freedom to supplant the established firms if he or she comes up with a new, cost-saving idea. Thus, in principle, the entire society contributes to solving the problem of minimizing costs in the particular industry. 
In contrast, with government provision (or government anointment of one firm as a regulated monopolist), there may be only a few people who can contribute to cost-saving innovations. This insight provides a strong reason to expect government-managed enterprises to have higher costs of operation than a private-sector firm would have—out of sheer ignorance. In this view, government officials waste money and offer shoddy output relative to private managers, simply because they don't know any better. 
Beyond these subtle problems of knowledge is the stark issue of incentives. If a government enterprise is funded through tax dollars, it does not face the same market test as a genuinely private business. The problem is all the more severe if the government grants an outright monopoly to the enterprise. The bureaucrats running it have little reason to cut costs or to please their "customers" if they receive a guaranteed level of funding regardless of their outcomes. In an extra twist of perversion, when a government agency botches its job, it often receives more funding. In this view, government officials waste money and offer shoddy output simply because they can.
These two truths prove that no matter what one tries to do, one cannot make the government to be like a free market. They are two very different spheres, and they will never meet, nor should they

Letter of Liberty News Edition (1-07-2014)

Here is the Tuesday News Edition of my news round-up.

Michael Tontchev makes the case for free immigration against its opponents. 

Glenn H. Reynolds makes the case for alternative education. 

Gary North shows why Obamacare failed. 

Kelly Vlahos gives her commentary on the War in Afghanistan. 

Robert Scheer shows why exposing government wickedness is truly patriotic. 

Doug Bandow exposes the problem of government waste. 

Jacob Hornberger on Egypt's crisis

Will Grigg exposes yet another horror of police brutality.

John Goodman smashes the five biggest myths about inequality. 

Butler Shaffer shows how intellectual property is bad for business, science, and creativity. 

Walter Williams exposes the dirty business behind minimum wage laws.

Daniel McAdams writes on what Ron Paul and Stephen Kinzer have to teach us about American foreign policy. 

Sheldon Richman shows how American foreign policy is in shambles. 

Jacob Hornberger asks a vital question about coups. 

John Glaser speaks out against American intervention in Iraq.

John Whitehead exposes the ways in which you are being watched by your government. 

Pino Arlaachi looks at the West's mistakes.

Peter Schiff talks about the bubbles that could blow up the world.

Jonathan Goodwin gives the reasons to keep a revolution non-violent. 

Sarah Knapton shows how great novels can change your life and brain.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Letter of Liberty News Edition (1-03-2014)

To celebrate this New Year, I decided to compile the first News Edition of the year.

Michael Alford comments on edifying.

Marc Abela talks about Austrian economics and interventionism in Japan.

Giovanni Birindelli gives some advice on clearing the public debt.

Greg Simon comments on the potential of Nicaragua. 

Tom Mullen debunks Obamacare.

William Norman Grigg comments on yet another case of police brutality.

Sheldon Richman makes the case against the contraception mandate. 

Jacob Hornberger condemns coercion unto goodness.

Ilana Mercer attacks Obama's assault on the Constitution.

Justin Raimondo demands an unconditional pardon for Edward Snowden. 

Duck Dynasty launches it own range of guns. 

Peter Schiff talks about gold investing.

Laurence Vance reviews Fr. Robert Sirico's Defending the Free Market.

Andy Sirkis visits a Japanese memorial to war and militarism. 

Wendy McElroy writes today on cultural imperialism.

Scott Lazarowitz shows that secession and decentralization will eventually win.

Charles Goyette comments on the mystery of gold.

Chris Rossini gives some tips for the advancement of liberty.

Benjamin Wiegold shows how the war on (some) drugs makes people less safe in the long run.

Paul Joseph Watson reports on the United States government's purchasing of potassium iodine.

It seems that America was voted 2013's biggest threat to world peace.

It seems that cities may become smarter and games might become bigger in the year of 2014.

James Smith shows that it's not only our phone calls that our government is listening.

Thieves are using "mystery gadgets" to hijack cars. Michael Snyder writes on this phenomenon.