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Red Eye’s New York Times Correspondent

March 26, 2009 Leave a comment

On a lighter note than most of my posts, and since I’m too swamped with work to write anything of substance:

Red Eye’s New New York Slimes Correspondent:

Cheers

Categories: New York Times, Red Eye

The Conscience of a (Classical) Liberal

March 21, 2009 10 comments


Amidst the madness (March and otherwise), around America we have been seeing signs of outrage at all sorts of characters, from our elected officials to AIG execs to foreclosure auctioneers. Indeed worldwide, the signs of growing unrest amongst the populace are beginning to spread. But while people are angered by all sorts of errors, they are failing to see the causes of these errors. Indeed, in many cases they are pointing their fingers in the wrong places, blaming for example the unbridled free market or greedy profit-seekers for bringing us all down. The truth is that we are very far removed from true free market capitalism, and have been since well before the recent nationalizing of various sectors of the economy. Regarding greed, it is greed that has brought us the opulence and luxury that we take for granted. It is greed that leads us through voluntary trade to obtain products that we cannot produce in order to better our condition. It is greed that drives a company to produce a better product than its competitor at a lower price. It is greed that allows us to survive and thrive, instead of sacrificing our lives to others. But enough about greed.

More fundamentally, what we are lacking is morality. To this end, the title of this post mocking Paul Krugman is meant to signal that it is the liberal (little l, not big L) flavor of morality that is what is killing us. When we begin to examine things from a moral level, this will lead us to see the proper path to peace and prosperity.

One of the principle beliefs in liberalism is that it is the job of the government to better the conditions of its people. If this were limited to protecting individuals from the harm of other individuals, this would be a noble and just undertaking. But liberals would like to accomplish this goal by going far beyond the limited scope granted to the state by the Constitution, and instead seeking to impose their brand of morality through a host of programs that in the end amount to stripping the people of their most cherished liberties, often with chosen groups benefiting at the cost of society as a whole. If we examine our system of political economy under this scope, it becomes much clearer to see that what we are living under is an entirely immoral system, in which liberals through the academia and media have used their sophistry to serve their perversely unjust agenda.

First, let’s take a look at the central bank. The Federal Reserve, a government-granted monopoly, was instituted because it was felt that banking crises in the past were too painful, and a central bank could prevent against them. With the noble goals of price stability and full employment, it would appear that the central bank would be a boon to prosperity in America. However, the central bank in fact insures that neither of its dual mandates can be met. First, the Federal Reserve has the sole power to set interest rates for the entire financial system and through this process also control the money supply. It is through these powers enhanced by a fractional-reserve monetary system and legal tender laws in which no other banks can compete with their own currencies that the government crystallizes the boom-and-bust cycle (ensuring periods of mass unemployment), inflates (destroying the purchasing power of one’s store of wealth, causing price instability and helping banking institutions at the cost of other businesses) and moreover creates through the power of law an inherently insolvent financial system. Inflation decreases debts, and so public debtors like the government benefit in being able to pay for social programs with cheaper money at the expense of the taxpayer, while private debtors like individuals benefit at the expense of the creditor. The banking system as a whole of course is technically insolvent because were there to be runs on every single bank, since banks only hold around 10% of funds in reserves, they would be unable to pay their depositors their money back in full. The FDIC further could not cover all the funds needed (unless push comes to shove they decided to ask the Fed to print money, meaning massive inflation), and in itself represents a moral hazard, but that is not essential to our discussion. The principle stands that a cornerstone political entity which is supposed to help people hurts all of us (though bankers and other people with access to artificially cheap credit may benefit for a time at our sake). Further, it stands as a fraud in its ability to print infinite money out of thin air and its insolvence. In other words, it is immoral.

Let us take a look at some other recent examples of liberals trying to help Americans through regulations. In order to protect American unions, Congress voted to stop Mexican truckers from being allowed to travel through the US, violating NAFTA. In theory, it seems like it would hurt American truckers to allow competition from Mexico. Yet what is the end result of this seemingly well-intended policy? Mexico will now be slapping tariffs of between 10 and 45% on approximately 90 US industrial and agricultural products.  In addition, if others are able to ship products through our country more cheaply, than this means that our workers are wasting their time on less profitable ventures, when they should shift into other lines of work where we have a competitive advantage. Are the gains from the blocking of free trade to support a specific union greater than the losses to the American people in having to pay for more expensive goods? Ask yourself whether that rhetorical question seems moral.

Another example of the fallacy that these types of regulations help would be the SEC. The Ponzi scheme of Mr. Madoff if anything should have shown that the SEC is an incompetent entity, and further one that creates moral hazard, hurting all consumers. They failed to pick up on the scheme despite repeated efforts by individuals to prove the firm to be a fraud, and in their incompetence took down investors who assumed that the operation was legitimate given the rubber stamp of the United States government. This same situation has been replayed in other fraudulent schemes as well only now being uncovered. But this is exactly what happens when you have a government entity given monopoly power over regulating companies. In a system in which private investors were responsible for their investing decisions, as opposed to having a government institution their to insure safety, these problems would be avoided. In fact, private firms have been all over these frauds in the past, but have lacked the power to stop the fraud because of the SEC’s complacence. Is it really so hard to envision a system in which firms competed against each other to provide the best oversight of companies for investors? Instead, again we see a situation in which a state agency ostensibly there to protect the public ends up hurting the public through its incompetence in stopping fraud, and in its lulling of the public into a false sense of security. Verdict? Immoral.

Another hallmark of leftists is the belief in the use of the state to promote “equality.” Take a goal the lefties have like shrinking the inequality gap in incomes. In order to do this, the government developed a system of progressive income taxation whereby those earning more would sacrifice greater percentages of their incomes in order to subsidize those who were worse off through various programs. This system of redistribution has led to a tax regime in which 60% of people pay income taxes, subsidizing the 40% of people who do not.

Yet leaving aside the grave injustice that such a large percentage of people get the benefits of programs paid for by others, progressive taxation ends up hurting the very people it purports to help. Since those earning more are taxed at a higher rate, this discourages productivity; businessmen will be disincentivized to generate better products at cheaper prices. This will mean fewer jobs, smaller profits, lower wages for employees, and for the consumers, worse and more expensive products. Thus, everyone loses as a result of progressive taxation.

Further, in principle, it seems immoral to my mind that people should be penalized for being more financially successful than others. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that people are punished for success and rewarded for failure in order to level the playing field? Should a dominant right-handed pitcher have to pitch lefty in order to make it more fair for opposing batters? Should a Nobel Prize winner have to incur a few concussions so as to knock his intellect down a few notches?

One can see that this principle pervades not just the tax structure, but also the way in which we have dealt with our entire financial crisis in that financial institutions that made poor decisions are being propped up by everyone, specifically at the cost of the financial institutions that were superior who deserved to gain market share as a result of the failures of their competitors, and who could use the assets being wasted by the poorer institutions productively. In addition, again all of us are paying through direct taxation, debts which will have to be paid in future taxes and/or inflation a more deceptive but equally odious tax for the failures of a given group. Forcing everyone to pay for private failure is immoral, especially when we are burdening yet-to-be-born generations of American citizens in doing so.

Another example of this perversion of morality is in affirmative action. By taking into account race and sex when it comes to college admissions or employment in businesses, we have institutionalized an inherently racist and sexist system. I find this to be degrading in that we are judging people not on their merit but on traits they are born with. I feel especially bad for someone like Clarence Thomas, a brilliant jurist who unfortunately has had his whole career doubted because of affirmative action. In other situations, an individual lacking in merit may be put in a position in which they are ill-equipped to thrive due to preferential treatment from affirmative action. In this case, the employer or school is left with an underperforming employee or student. In the case of business, the shareholder and/or consumer is left with a worse investment and/or product. And again, just thinking logically, imagine if you managed a baseball team where in evaluating a player you had to add 50 points to the batting average of anyone with red hair. Not a good way to succeed, and a pretty arbitrary way to pick a team if you ask me. This is akin to affirmative action. In sum, as a result of trying to break down social barriers, these barriers are erected and all bear the cost of falsely trying to help those seeking redress for prior injustices. Members of the “minority” and “majority” alike suffer.

Going back to the financial crisis, many people have spoken to the notion that housing is the key to fixing the crisis. Indeed, many of the assets crippling the financial institutions are those tied to non-performing mortgages. So the government, in an attempt to stem this problem has sought to keep people in their homes by allowing judges to alter contracts to lessen the debt burdens on those with mortgages they cannot afford. Again, this seems like a noble policy in which the state is trying to help out some of its people, just like the noble policy that the state pursued through the CRA and Fannie and Freddie in attempting to put every citizen into a home (note implied sarcasm here). It is this entitlement mindset however that hurts society as a whole.

Witness the collapse of Fannie and Freddie and the drain on taxpayers funding it, all of the homeowners now underwater who purchased houses they could not afford as a result of the easy credit fueled by the Federal Reserve and the inane policies that the government pushed upon lenders to put people into these homes. Then, perhaps even worse, remember that those who do not have mortgages or who can pay their mortgage are now being forced to subsidize those who can’t. This creates a moral hazard in signaling that it is okay for people to live in houses they cannot afford. This hurts renters who would otherwise be able to live in these vacant houses but who cannot because of the bailed out mortgage holders. This hurts the lenders who are being forced to take haircuts on properties that they will still probably not receive interest and principal on. This hurts people who have the desire and the means to be able to purchase these homes that should have been foreclosed. To blame the auctioneers of the homes, the ones who are helping stabilize the housing market by matching buyers with sellers makes me apoplectic.

At root and behind this by no means exhaustive and rather poorly organized list of various instances of government intervention with seemingly beneficial goals that end up having the direct opposite effects, plundering almost all citizens while benefiting small groups of others is the belief in democracy, immorality’s bedfellow. As Madison noted in Federalist #10, “…democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” In fact it was Karl Marx himself who said that “Democracy is the road to socialism.” Not once is the word democracy mentioned in our Constitution, and the founding father’s ardently defended against it throughout the Federalist Papers. Yet everywhere today, people speak of America as a democracy, and we know we have become one based upon the previous examples. The political system has become a free-for-all in which every single group has sought to gain power at the expense of every other group through government fiat. Our prescient old friend Frederic Bastiat describes the process by which we have ended up here:

Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws! Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.

In summation, all of our problems are a result of the inversion of morality by the sophistry of leftists, and a gullible public that deludes itself into believing that the government is working for fairness, equality, charity, security, peace and prosperity, the very things it undermines through its policies. The belief in the US as a progressive democracy has aided this cause. A simple dose of true morality however would provide the antidote for all that ails us.

It is this conception of morality in the tradition of classical Liberalism that was built into our Constitution, insuring that the state solely preserve our natural rights to life, liberty and property against the aggression of other individuals, and moreover against the tyranny of the majority. It was this system of government with limited powers, in which people could choose their own form of morality over that imposed by the force of the state. This choice of what was moral could be made at one’s own peril: people could choose to accumulate as much wealth as possible or sacrifice all of their wealth to charity; businessesmen could operate for consumers at a profit or for the “public good” at a loss; soul-searchers could choose to live good Christian lives or become pot-smoking hippies or dwell in hedonistic communes.

The point is that people had choice, and they were responsible for their choices and protected from harmful choices of others by the rule of law. Until we rekindle this system of limited government standing to protect free markets and free people — a system firmly grounded in morality — we will be doomed to mob rule and the perpetuation of the aforementioned immoral follies.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Emperor Has No Clothes

March 19, 2009 1 comment


What we are seeing right now are the kinds of last ditch efforts that reveal how truly inept and desperate our leaders are. First there is the AIG bonus fiasco, a case study in the bumbling incompetence of the representatives in charge of containing the financial fallout (ironically the very people that preempted it). Then there is the move to quantitative easing — a seemingly sophisticated way of getting around the fact that the state is effectively socializing the government debt market and literally printing a trillion dollars out of thin air (as is the government’s wont). The implications of these two bamboozles are very telling.

In the case of AIG, first let me go on record as saying that AIG was a poorly run company that strayed from its business of insuring, and became a large hedge fund. When times were good, the illusory value created for shareholders in churning out CDS contracts and getting involved with all sorts of other derivatives made it seem as if this company was rock solid. But once the laws of economics came into play as we have seen time and time again, the straw men were revealed; malinvestments were proved to be malinvestments.

As such, the fact that anybody in this company who was responsible for running it into the ground should receive any bonus money is appalling. Adding insult to injury however, once they made the deal with the devil and accepted a government bailout (really a bailout of their counterparties who would have been decimated were AIG to have gone under as they should have), the situation has turned into a political and ethical hellstorm for the American public. Taxpayers paying bonuses for employees that destroyed the company the taxpayers are backstopping; politicians who conveniently forgot that their bailout legislation insured that these bonuses would be paid, only to turn around now and work to pass bills to tax bonuses at 90%.

First, contracts should be honored, and if a company wants to pay inane amounts for failure, then so be it; BUT that company should be allowed to fail for its disastrous business practices. Further, on principle, I am against this knee-jerk reaction to kill the greedy businessmen. On the other hand, the fact that we are all paying for private incompetence is an outrage. Again, we wouldn’t be talking about this if we had allowed the company to go belly up. Be outraged at the government for bailing AIG out, not AIG for being a garbage company.

Just think about the little game the politicians are playing — nationalize a failed company with taxpayer money, then tax bonuses to get taxpayers’ money back. Seems a bit screwy doesn’t it? Our dollars are sloshing around in all different directions. As you can see from this mess, the government isn’t exactly the most competent or honest steward. They are also capitalizing on the populist backlash against “corporate greed” to cover their own blunders for a measly $165 million, chump change compared to all the cash they have thrown around. Even if you hate Wall Street, when it comes to Barney Frank and Chris Dodd versus guys like Martin Sullivan and Angelo Mozilo (call him a derivative of his Wall Street brethren), it seems like a push to me. Then again, Mozilo was gracious enough to help Dodd get a good mortgage. Advantage incompetent/corrupt businessmen.

As I mentioned, the reason we keep dropping truckloads of money into AIG is because of AIG’s counterparties. This is the real game being played. For all of the populist backlash against the banks by politicians, Wall Street has been a part of Washington since the days of Alexander Hamilton. The whole financial system has been socialized since 1913. The Federal Reserve is the government’s bank that controls the fate of all of the other banks on the street. I don’t even know if I would really call its conduits private institutions because their policies are to a large extent determined by their lender, the Fed. But of course, the Fed is a private bank based on its charter too.

All in all through my incoherent rambling, what I am trying to get across is that we are witnessing the crack-up of this system, and the quantitative easing measures to buy a trillion dollars in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to bring down yields on all sorts of debt (and also to effectively screw my double-inverse short position in long treasuries temporarily, boy that’s a mouthful) reflect the utter panic at the prospect of the socialized financial system going under.

Basically, the government needs to keep yields low to service its own debt and to bail out other debtors, such as for example most Americans. Foreign countries no longer want to purchase more treasuries given the massive supply and the lack of yield (due to the previous flight to the “safety” of our nation’s debt). So after the Treasury creates all this debt to finance the deficits that we’ll never be able to pay back, the Federal Reserve comes in and buys the treasuries, effectively pumping in a trillion bones or clams or whatever you call them to the market. It is the highest stakes shell game ever played. And also the most dangerous.

Since all the government can do at this point besides letting the chips fall and the system collapse (which will happen anyway in this author’s humble opinion) is to inflate (in fact that’s all the Fed does anyway), they are inflating like crazy. They have never lost the battle to falling prices before, and I don’t see them losing the battle this time given the pertinacity of the Depression scholar, the eminent Mr. Bernanke. He will probably get his rising prices sooner or later. Markets certainly think so given the massive run-up in gold, oil and decline in the dollar relative to other currencies. And of course when inflation does hit, the yields on government debt will have to rise anyway. I wonder if Bernanke and Co. thought that through?


But more fundamental than all of this is just the sheer desperation that these actions show: government officials going in ad hoc to side-step contracts by taxing at 90% those receiving TARP money over 250K…or something like that, the minutiae pales in comparison to the principle; government officials going into the debt market and buying treasuries it creates with another one of its entities (flooding the world with dollars) since nobody else wants to hold our junk bonds as we are totally insolvent as a nation to begin with. And then just look at the simply embarrassing, amateur actions of the Obama administration: going after Rush Limbaugh and Jim Cramer (a pretty socialistic guy himself)…giving Gordon Brown a set of DVDs during his visit to the US…attacking the very businessmen who are the only ones that are going to be able to help our economy rebuild…focusing on NCAA picks, Twittering, Facebooking and Lenoing instead of doing his job. What exactly is President Obama thinking?

Americans really need to understand the dire nature of the situation. These guys (and gals) in power on the whole are simply second-rate actors. They are in Washington for self-interested reasons, not with the longterm well-being of their constituents at heart. Companies lobby (basically bribing) politicians to get ahead through patents, monopolies, regulations and other ways to insure that they can win because of a playing field that is not level. The politicians are more than happy to oblige because they will be rewarded upon leaving office with lavish jobs or other support from their business friends. So long as the nation doesn’t implode in their faces, or if it does, so long as they can deflect their failures on others and act sympathetic, they can stay in power forever (see Barney Frank). It is all one big joke. The sooner we accept that these people are not to be taken seriously — that they are a bunch of crooks and frauds who work in the public sector to gain advantages because they couldn’t make it in private life, the sooner we can get the government off our back and out of our lives.

When I imagine the founding father’s thinking about who they wanted to represent the people, I see a group of largely retired folk who had been fairly successful in life and thus had no reason to govern to benefit themselves; they were to serve as competent and honest stewards and largely maintain the status quo (i.e. the Constitution) because they felt it was their duty and valued the sacrifices made to build a country guided by the rule of law and the belief in preserving the life, liberty and property of the people. The government was never intended to be the intrusive, insolvent ignoramous of an institution that it is today. America, wake up and take this country back from these pathetic excuses for representatives!

10 American Principles to Ponder

March 3, 2009 3 comments


1. The duty of the government is to protect the rights of the people, not the other way around.

2. The people have the right but not the obligation to dispense of their property as they see fit.

3. Borrowing from the 10th Amendment of the Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

4. America was built on profit and loss, not profligacy and largess.

5. True laissez-faire capitalism is the surest way to prosperity; the middle path will always lead to socialism.

6. Entrepreneurs and competent business managers make our economy grow, not politicians.

7. For a man or a nation, the responsible fiscal path is to produce more than one consumes, and to spend less than one earns.

8. Every public dollar spent is a private dollar stolen. If a politician tells you that spending is “investment,” ask yourself if you would undertake that same investment with your own money.

9. Equality of condition is not the same as equality of opportunity; our laws are meant to preserve the latter.

10. The safety of American citizens is the single most important priority of the American government.

What is Our Nation Coming To?

March 2, 2009 2 comments


When I started Mellon’s Musings, I did not anticipate how quickly things would unravel in the US and abroad. Perhaps it is because despite my best judgment, I did not want to believe it. Unfortunately, my worst nightmares are being realized. This time, things are different. When Rahm Emanuel said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” he meant business, like Ari Gold negotiating on the High Holidays.

Glancing over the headlines of the week, it is clear that a creeping sense of socialism in this country is no longer creeping — it is a very real threat that no future administration may come close to being able to stop. If I am reading this situation correctly, we are at a true turning point in world history. The forces of freedom and liberty are fast being swept aside. We are heading into a Rousseaun era in which the United States and indeed all other states will degenerate in a large collectivist cesspool. Ayn Rand said, “We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.” How right she was.

As I forewarned, other states, besides just New York are beginning to come up with creative ways to tax their citizens. One policy analyst says, “The most common phrase you hear from the states is, everything is on the table.” A California legislator says “We’re all jonesing now for money.” States are weighing “solutions” to their shortfalls like making marijuana legal so as to tax it, or allowing gay civil unions in order to boost tourism.

But think this through for a second. If people are struggling to make ends meet, why should taxation to support government be the number one priority? Why does a state have a right to our property to support itself before we do? Why in the hell do they have these big budgets to support in the first place? If we are having trouble paying our own bills, then forget about the state’s bills. Let it wither away! If I sound angry, it’s because I am.

Meanwhile, on a national scale, things are no better. We continue to throw money down the bottomless pits that are AIG and Citi. If what we are doing is not nationalization, then I don’t know what is. We are nationalizing everything: banks, insurance companies, automobile manufacturers and the housing market. We are burdening future generations with insolvent and bankrupt institutions that should have been allowed to go under months ago. I thought this was America, but alas, we have car czars (call it the Presidential Task Force on Autos, same thing) and urban czars too. Lenin is blushing in his grave right now.

Then we have this whole green issue. I largely ignore reading what environmentalists have to say because it generally enrages me. Being at Columbia, everywhere I go everything is green anyway. It’s not that I have anything against nature…I like clean air and clean parks just like everyone else. But this stuff is not about a clean world. This is about politics. Al Gore has made a fortune selling global warming to idiots across the world. Scientists have made their careers off of pandering about this stuff. But the bottom line is, as I understand it, there is no consensus at all as to whether or not what we do on Earth even makes so much as a dent in the overall climate patterns that occur over thousands of years.

Even if we did, how could anyone honestly feel that their livelihood should be sacrificed to nature. If people want to reduce themselves to foraging for berries then they can go right ahead, but they should bear in mind that they wouldn’t be able to survive without that food taken from nature. I for one will continue eating what I want, driving cars, using my computer, television, lights and paper because I want to live my life. It is not the government’s job to tell me what I can and can’t consume.

If we followed this kind of philosophy from the start, we would still be cavemen. There would have been no Industrial Revolution. A million of the things that we take for granted today would have never come to be. If we didn’t use the fruits of nature, we would not be able to live. But I suppose the Democrats might prefer this.

Their cap-and-trade bill looks to me like Smoot-Hawley’s little grandson in terms of its disastrous implications and terrible timing. For a little taste of what we might be looking at, listen to what Obama himself had to say about it: “You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.” But forget about specifics. What this represents is a commitment to the environment over the people. It seems like a great idea to me to raise the price of all types of energies, while putting hundreds if not thousands of people out of business by imposing these costs on our economy in the midst of a depression.

There is also talk of funding roads with a tax based on how many miles we drive. The government would be able to implant some kind of chip in our cars to keep tabs on us. I mean is there any way possible that this could be considered Constitutional? What justification is there for this based upon the limited powers we are supposed to grant our government? This stuff is sickening. They are literally looking to make robbery legal.

More sickening are Gordon Brown’s musings on a “global New Deal,” led largely by President Obama and himself. This sounds like another brilliant idea — what better way to shepherd in socialism then to subject everyone in the civilized world to it. What is so ironic about it all is that Brown calls for a world “where we defeat not only global terrorism but global poverty, hunger and disease.” Yet socializing one’s nation creates these very things. It brings civil unrest and leads to poverty, hunger and disease for the masses. This also factors into the discussion of having a world government. We see the problems that have befallen the EU now that some states aren’t quite carrying their weight, yet with the world putting their blind faith in Barack Obama, there is more and more talk of global solutions to problems, and perhaps even a global regime. When all the paper currencies collapse, I won’t be too surprised if at the least we move to a global currency, so we can all enjoy the hyperinflation together.

It is dizzying how fast this is all unfolding before us. Dizzying and also sobering. I for one do not want to live in a world in which I have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. I don’t want to live in a world in which the government has a claim on my property before I do. I don’t want to live in a world in which the government determines that the environment takes precedence over my life. I don’t want to live in a world in which free speech is protected, yet I have to be afraid that everything I say is “politically correct.” Most of all, I don’t want to live in a world in which the rights of the smallest and most important minority, THE INDIVIDUAL, are sacrificed to the mob for the public good.

One of the reasons I look to Rousseau in all of this is that his love of the state of nature is reflected in the socialism of the day. Rousseau said of leaving the state of nature that “most of our ills are of our own making…we could have avoided nearly all of them by preserving the simple, regular and solitary lifestyle prescribed to us by nature.” Of imagination he says, “Imagination, which wreaks so much havoc among us, does not speak to savage hearts.” Rousseau marvels at the barbarian whose, “desires do not go beyond his physical needs. The only goods he knows in the universe are nourishment, a woman and rest; the only evils he fears are pain and hunger.” Of private property he said, “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.” Clearly ’tis better to be a savage than a civilized human being.

This is the philosophy that is waging its war on whatever shreds of Lockeanism are left in this once great place. We need to fight this. People should be in the streets rioting over the ridiculous usurpations of power that the state is making right now, yet most seem to go on with their lives in many ways completely unaffected and ignorant of the terrors surrounding them.

But these ignorantly blissful folk are getting the government they deserve to be sure. This is the ultimate result of a democracy in which every man seeks to gain at the sake of every other man through the instrument of legal plunder that is the state.

Turning back to Rand, she said that “It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.” Barack Obama is the man collecting the sacrificial offerings and being served. I don’t want to sacrifice my life to him though. Deep down, I don’t think most Americans desire to either. But if the people do not awake shortly, they may find that one day soon they may not recognize the land they once called home, nor will they much appreciate the masters of the house.