"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

Welcome to Patriot's Lament. We strive here to educate ourselves on Liberty. We will not worry ourselves so much with the daily antics of American politics, and drown ourselves in the murky waters of the political right or left.
Instead, we will look to the Intellectuals and Champions of Liberty, and draw on their wisdom of what it is to be a truly free people. We will learn from where our Providential Liberties are derived, and put the proper perspective of a Free Individual and the State.
Please join us!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Patriot's Lament with Stephan Kinsella

The great Stephan Kinsella joins us to talk about one of my favorite topics, Law. What it is, what it isn't.

I personally think political law, or legislative law, is crap. But, you can make up your own mind.

Check out all of Stephan's work HERE . His site is full of great work for the Libertarian cause.

Thanks again Stephan

The Failure of Democracy/ Back to top

I've been working on piecing together some posts on institutional failures. These are not failures of particular individuals, but instead inherent structural failures of the institutions that are supposed to deliver us from the realities of life. Last week I posted on the failure of any war in the 20th century to "secure freedom" and the empirical fact that the nations that participated in the 20th century wars were less free after each war (this is true of "both" sides in each of these wars).

Today, we will explore democracy. Instead of looking at it from a moral standpoint by discussing the legitimacy of mob rule, I'd like to discuss it in a value free way. In other words, regardless of what you think about individual rights vs group rights (if they can even exist), let's simply ask the question: has it worked? Does the institution of democracy allow people to be more free or more prosperous relative to the alternatives?

In the video below, Hans Hoppe outlines the logical line of thought that answers this question with a resounding "no." He also notes that historians simply look at empirical data points and assume correlation is causation. 20th century rich, 19th century poor. 20th century democracy, 19th century monarchy. Monarchy bad. Democracy good. But of course, if we are intellectually honest we have to admit that correlation is not causation, we have to admit that by every economic metric taxation was lower in the 19th century than the 20th century, we have to admit that freedom of mobility was significantly greater in the 19th century (tho the means of travel were not as convenient), we have to admit that war was waged on a profoundly lesser scale in the 19th century ... continental Europe's first "peaceful century" since its emergence after the decline of Rome. And on and on and on.

Hoppe provides more insights here:

But, you might say, the American colonies were better off without the King! We waged a war for freedom (???) and this is why America was so prosperous! Could it be that America was prosperous only to the extent that colonists could head west into the "anarchy" of the wilderness and escape the new American State? Could it be that this is why this prosperity has been in decline since the last frontiers became absorbed by the Kingless tyranny of American Democracy (which retained all of the power of the king, but simply placed it in the hands of temporary caretakers)?

If you are interested in challenging the mythology of the American Revolution "freeing the colonies" read on here: Tricked on the Fourth of July, by Gary North

What about when Jesus, er, Ronald Reagan was President? Republicans praise him for his tax cuts (and ignore the fact that he raised the debt ceiling 18 times in 8 years). Democrats deride him for his tax cuts (and ignore the fact that he saved all their favorite social programs by raising the debt ceiling 18 times in 8 years). Harry Browne on the other hand was literate. Using this dangerous skill of reading and combining it with some simple analytics and critical thinking, he found that under Reagan, the national tax burden increased by 65%.
Reagan is known as a tax-cutter, and the term "Reaganomics" implies dramatic cuts in tax rates. But after pushing through a tax cut to be implemented over three years, he cooperated during the second year in the largest tax increase in American history up to that time. The nation's annual tax load increased by 65% during his time in office.

See also: Gary North's analysis of Reagan

So this would mean that Republican praise and Democrat derision are both misplaced. But I think paying attention to the man is a waste of time and energy. How about the institution itself? What if there are fundamental structural problems with the state itself and specifically the democratic state? If these problems are structural and/or institutional, what does this say about the ability to change outcomes simply by putting the "right people" in office?

Think about it. I will offer some of my thoughts on that tomorrow.