The morality of free market capitalism

From Darwinian Conservatism, Larry Arnhart:

There is nothing inherent in market exchange that make markets morally corrupting.  Actually, one might argue, markets depend on morals.  Voluntary exchange in markets requires trust and a sense of fairness.  Before you deal with strangers, you have to trust that they won’t cheat you.  You have to trust that your property is secure.  You have to trust that social norms of fairness and the rule of law will enforce contracts, protect your property from confiscation, and keep banks sound.  You have to trust that the legal system will punish violence, fraud, and corruption.

The modern commercial society did not arise in the modern world until the development of the moral infrastructure of the bourgeois virtues.  When those bourgeois virtues are absent or weak, markets fail to work.

Socialism appeals to some, especially the young, because they think it’s on a higher moral plane. But expecting others to serve you leaves you helpless if they refuse, and they likely will because it is not realistic to believe you can always rely on the benevolence of others to meet your needs. Free market capitalism affords others an incentive to serve us not solely because of a benevolence for our wants and needs, which is likely to be nonexistent or ephemeral, but with regard to their own interest. When all exchange is voluntary everyone is encouraged to treat others respectfully, in order to keep their business. This becomes a habit which carries over to other situations where a profit motive may not even be involved. Thus, free market capitalism makes a society more moral. Socialism degrades morality wherever it is imposed. Imposed it must be. It does not come natural to the human animal.

There are few fundamentals of American politics

I’ve said it here many times. One of the fundamentals of American politics is to understand what is different about liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

It is this: Conservatives believe liberals are misguided and that their polices are destructive, but conservatives are usually willing to accept that liberals might also be good people who mean well. [I except myself from that, but I’m not representative of most conservatives].

Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, barely give conservative Republicans credit for being human.  They don’t just believe conservatives have it all wrong, they fervently believe conservatives are evil and want to wreck what is good. It’s not too extreme to say they have a visceral hatred of conservatives.  So much so that today’s Liberalism with a capital “L” boils down to organized hatred.

But just in case you find that hard to believe, read this: I Hate Republicans!

She’s not just a liberal kook spouting off.  Well, she’s a crank all right, but she’s also representative of a few million other liberals.  To understand where this woman is coming from check out this discussion of Psychological Projection.

I’d wish her a Merry Christmas, but that would really make her mad.

Just in case you’re still not convinced check out what Marquette University is trying to do to Professor John McAdams.  Start here and here.

Martha McSally wins U.S. House recount in Arizona

Liberal Democrat Ron Barber was an aid to Gabrielle Giffords and was also wounded in the Tucson shooting in January, 2011.  He won a special election to fill out Giffords’ term and then defeated former Air force combat pilot Martha McSally in 2012 by 2500 votes.  In the 2014 election McSally initially won by 161 votes, a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.

Barber did what Democrats always do in close elections with a recount. He pulled out all the stops to find enough votes to push himself over the top.  But, according to the AP,  all efforts to get country clerks to count previously disqualified provisional ballots failed, all possible court petitions were filed but failed, and apparently he couldn’t even find a box full of votes in the trunk of a car. So the final tally adds 6 more votes to McSally giving her the election by 167 votes.

Take note Donald Boudreaux, economics professor at George Mason University, who considers voting a fool’s errand because no one can rationally believe that his/her vote matters to the outcome of an election.

This McSally/Barber recount is an example of what usually happens when a close election is recounted.  The initial winner usually keeps most of the votes they got in the election and gains or losses only a very small number of votes in the recount.  In this case, McSally gained 6 votes.

Recounts like the one that made Al Franken a U.S. Senator from Minnesota in 2008 are the exception and to impartial observers, they suggest fraud in the recount.  Franken lost by 215 votes when the election was first counted.  In the recount he persuaded the officials to reverse their decision on invalid provisional ballots giving him 953 new votes to put him ahead of Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes.  It is widely believed that Franken stole the election on the recount.

McSally’s win gives the Republicans the largest majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 83 years, i.e., since the Herbert Hoover administration.  The House makeup in the 114th Congress will be 247 Republicans, 188 Democrats.

This begs the question of, will the Republicans actually do something with this large majority? Or will they do what seems to be the harbinger of the current lame duck session and squander it?

Supposedly, elections have consequences.  But we’re beginning to see that is only true when Democrats win elections.  When Republicans win elections it doesn’t ever seem to have any consequences. Democrats act as if they won even when the lose, and Republicans act like they lost when they win, even when they win big.

Maybe professor Boudreaux is on to something after all.  I’m still voting though.  It’s not too difficult or time consuming.

Federal court eviscerates executive amnesty

A Federal judge, Arthur J. Schwab,  in the Western District of Pennsylvania rules that Obama’s “executive action” on amnesty for illegal aliens is legislative and not executive action and therefor unconstitutional as a violation of the separation of powers. The judge essentially laughed out of court Obama’s claimed justification as “prosecutorial discretion.” The 38-page memorandum opinion is here.

Judge Arthur J.Schwab relied on the Youngstown Steel case in which President Harry Truman’s attempt to take over the steel industry was rebuked by the Supreme Court:

“In the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker. The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad.”

The issue was whether Obama’s order was executive in nature, or legislative.  It would have to be the former to valid.  The judge found it to be legislative in nature and therefore beyond the powers of the president.

Since this is a Federal District Court it’s opinion only applies to the particular case before it.  It’s authority in other cases is persuasive only.


John Cleese with Bill Maher on Political Incorrectness

And stupidity, humor, political correctness, fundamentalism, literal mindedness, cranky old guys, people you can make jokes about, people who will kill you if you make jokes about them…

We’re Never Going to Run Out of Oil and Gas

Consider this a further comment to the post immediately below on the sky-high energy bills North-easterners will be seeing this winter. What if everything the renewable energy cranks are saying and have been saying for many years is completely wrong? No more “what if?” is necessary. They are wrong, wrong, wrong.

David Harsanyi:

…the Institute for Energy Research estimates that we have enough natural gas in the U.S. to meet electricity needs for around 575 years at current fuel demand and to fuel homes heated by natural gas for 857 years or so – because we have more gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia combined.

With prices returning to ordinary levels and a few centuries’ worth of fossil fuels on tap, this is a good time to remind ourselves that nearly every warning the Left has peddled about an impending energy crisis over the past 30 to 40 years has turned out to be wrong. And none of them are more wrong than the Malthusian idea that says we’re running out of oil.

If cooler heads can prevail for once, there is no need to keep all those stupid policies that have been making our lives so miserably expensive.

What’s up with the sky high energy bills in New England?

Winter WeatherEven Before Long Winter Begins, Energy Bills Send Shivers in New England

Long article in the New York Times on how some energy bills have doubled over last winter. In some cases, people in the NE are getting electricity bills double what they were for the same period last year. The problem is lack of pipeline infrastructure to enable the Northeast to partake of the benefits in America’s natural gas boom. This is caused by, you guessed it…climate change.

This time it really is climate change that is the source of the increase in energy prices. Well, not real climate change. That’s not even occurring on enough of a scale to be the problem. It’s the idiotic notion that climate change is a huge problem that must be stopped before we all die that is causing all the trouble, in the form of something called “RGGI,” or “Reggie” for short. That stands for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative whereby the Northeast states are trying to suppress fossil fuels to promote solar and wind generated electricity.

The New York Times fails to mention RGGI, but Steven Hayward suggests it might be the culprit at his post on Powerline Blog. I wonder why the “Newspaper of Record” didn’t mention RGGI?

It’s bad enough that people believe climate change is caused by human activity and therefore humans can stop it, but this sort of magical thinking is itself causing problems much worse than any natural climate change would ever cause. It’s the crazy notion that we must not enjoy the benefits of cheap energy or we’ll destroy the planet that is making people destroy their own happiness and prosperity.

Like almost all print media stories, if you are ever to be told something actually important it will come near the end of the story. I guess they want to be able to say they told us so without telling us so because they don’t think we have the attention span to read all the way to the end.

Buried a few short paragraphs from the end of the New York Times story we finally get the most important information we need to understand what is going on with the sudden increase in energy prices:

A year ago, the governors of the six New England states agreed to pursue a coordinated regional strategy, including more pipelines and at least one major transmission line for hydropower. The plan called for electricity customers in all six states to subsidize the projects, on the theory that they would make up that money in lower utility bills.

But in August, the Massachusetts Legislature rejected the plan, saying in part that cheap energy would flood the market and thwart attempts to advance wind and solar projects. That halted the whole effort.

Northeastern liberals are only getting what they routinely vote for, good and hard. Trouble is, the rest of country didn’t vote for it but will likely get it too.

Read also, Steven Hayward, Powerline Blog

A smart woman sets straight a man with a weak mind and a crooked tongue

At a diplomatic conference in Jerusalem hosted by the Jerusalem Post Danish ambassador Jesper Vahr spews nonsense in an attempt to justify the double standard the European states apply to Israel and Islamic terrorists. Jerusalem Post writer Caroline Glick is having none of it.

If you detect a twinge of anger and resentment in Glick’s voice consider how you would address your neighbor if he was encouraging teenage goons to break into your house. Consider how you would be incensed if your neighbor was giving them money for food but knew they were spending the money on guns and knives with which to attack you in your yard. Then consider how you would take it if your neighbor gave a speech in the town square telling everyone that it was just and right that he support the goon squad because you are rich and you have many nice things the goons don’t have. Imagine the backdrop to this is that your neighbor and his ancestors had been carrying on a hateful feud with your ancestors for decades, and that many of your ancestors had been killed by his ancestors. Finally, imagine that there is no evidence that anyone has ever brought forth to suggest that your ancestors were the aggressors in any of those ancient feuds.

NOTE: I am aware of the Danish rescue of Denmark’s Jews during WW II which relocated 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews to neutral Sweden. As a result most of Denmark’s Jews survived the holocaust. The rescue was carried out by the Danish resistance movement with help from the Danish people, not the Danish government. Jesper Vahr is speaking for the European attitude toward Jews and Israel today, and against the backdrop of centuries of European anti-semitism. It is that to which Caroline Glick is responding, quite appropriately in my view.

Gustave Flaubert was born this day in 1821

If you’ve never read Madame Bovary (1857) you owe it to yourself to read it because it’s pretty good.  Flaubert was prosecuted for “immorality” for writing it.  Now, I bet you’ll want to read it.

A Simple Heart is one of the best short stories ever written.  It stays with you and it’s available in the Penguin Classics edition of Three Tales. I like the Oxford World’s Classics edition also.  Both are cheap. You can get almost everything Flaubert ever wrote on Kindle for two bucks.

All the good stuff you can get on Kindle at very low cost, sometimes free, is nothing short of wonderful.

Flaubert said “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”  If he lived today I think he’d have a blog, and I’d read it.

On the passing of the Cromnibus by 219-206 in the House

“Cromnibus” is the love child of a “continuing resolution” (CR) and “omnibus” spending bill, two inside-the-Beltway terms for measures Congress has approved to keep the government funded without actually passing a budget, something that hasn’t been done for years now.

Tired of getting screwed by Obama, Americans handed the Republicans huge election victories across the land, only to have the Republicans waste no time showing Americans that they’re going to be screwed no matter who they elect.

There were a few Republicans who still stand with the American people. Here is a list of the 67 House Republicans who voted against the Cromnibus:

Click to ENLARGE:

Republicans who voted against Cromnibus

Republicans who voted against Cromnibus

On John Boehner’s chances of keeping his speaker post in the next Congress, Louie Gohmert says he ought to be able to pick up some Democrat votes.

Boehner got a lot of help from Democrats to pass this monstrous sellout of Republican voters.

For the cynics who believe that politics is a dirty rotten business filled with scoundrels, that nothing ever changes no matter who wins elections, that America’s two-party system has given us one party that is stupid and one that is downright dangerous, and who accept that the best definition of politics is organized hatred, John Boehner’s intrigues to pass the Cromnibus pretty well validates that philosophy.

A lot of people might be asking themselves why they continue to support the GOP and why they thought it would be any different this time.  I’ll be one of ‘em.