James Bovard on His Famous Libertarian Books, America's Failing Freedom and 'Why Life Is too Short to Drink Bad Beer'
The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with James Bovard (left).
Introduction: James Bovard is the author of nine books, including Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), The Bush Betrayal (2004), and Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994). He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, New Republic, Reader's Digest, and many other publications. His books have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and Korean. He is a contributing editor for American Conservative magazine and The Freeman and a regular contributor to Freedom Daily magazine. The Wall Street Journal called Bovard "the roving inspector general of the modern state," the New York Times tagged him "an anti-czar Czar," and Washington Post columnist George Will called him a "one-man truth squad." His writings have been publicly denounced by the chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Postmaster General, and the chiefs of the US International Trade Commission, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as by many congressmen and others of the highest rank and lowest common denominator.
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us. What is the state of freedom in the world today?
James Bovard: It is under siege in most places where it has not already been abolished.
Daily Bell: How about America?
James Bovard: There has been a long-term trend of trampling rights and liberties. After 9/11, the pernicious trend greatly accelerated.
Daily Bell: Have things gotten worse since you began writing?
James Bovard: Yes, but that is not solely because of my articles.
Daily Bell: Give us some background. Where did you grow up? How did you become a libertarian-oriented person and writer?
James Bovard: I was raised in the mountains of Virginia. When I was a teenager, I watched Nixon devastate the economy with wage and price controls at the same time he took the US off of the gold standard. Political perfidy permeated the 1970s, and I learned to expect very little from politicians. My own dealings with government agencies – such as the summer I spent goofing off while on the payroll of the Virginia Highway Department – also spurred my disdain.
Daily Bell: Give us some more background. School? College?
James Bovard: I attended Virginia Tech off-and-on for two years and then dropped out. I sold my first piece to the New York Times op-ed page when I was 22, and have been hitting newspapers and magazines ever since – sometimes often, sometimes less frequently. In fact, my first modest effort used a kind of Swiftian approach to ask whether conscription (as opposed to elections) would give us a better quality of congressmen. You can see it here: Satire.
Daily Bell: Impressive. Why did you decide to write libertarian-oriented books?
James Bovard: I wanted to wake folks up to the perils of Leviathan, and books provided far more opportunity to marshal evidence than did newspaper or magazine articles. Plus, I enjoy the hell out of writing.
Daily Bell: OK, give us a quick take on the impact of the Internet – the Internet Reformation, as we call it – on the libertarian dialogue. Is free-market thinking become more widespread? Have things changed since you started writing?
James Bovard: It is far easier for individuals to discover free-market thinking now than it was 20 years ago. On the other hand, people's reading ability seems to be declining. The habits that people develop while "reading" material on the web sometimes undercut the concentration necessary to grasp new ideas.
Daily Bell: When did you discover Austrian economics – Mises, Rothbard, et al? Is Keynesian/Fabian finance dying or dead?
James Bovard: I have great respect for the Austrian economics approach. I was gung-ho in favor of free markets from the time I was 15 or 16. A few years later, I heard a speech by William F. Buckley about Hayek's Road to Serfdom. I tracked down that book and then devoured most of Hayek's other books. Hayek's legal/philosophical framework was invaluable for understanding both economics and politics. Hayek also spurred me to do more reading of Scottish, British and French political theorists. His Mirage of Social Justice (Vol. 2 of Law, Legislation, and Liberty) inspired my 1991 book, The Fair Trade Fraud.
Unfortunately, the Keynesian approach is not dead because it will always be profitable to politicians. Keynes's "multipliers" give politicians a license to do stupid things (or to give tax dollars to their donors) and claim that they are saving the nation.
Daily Bell: What was your first book and how did you get it published?
James Bovard: Farm Fiasco (1989) was the first book. I wrote it after a California think tank contacted me and offered to pay me to write a book bashing farm subsidies.
Daily Bell: Why have your books been so successful? Because you decided to focus on government inefficiency?
James Bovard: I enjoyed throwing rocks at the government. It was fun to find the facts that would debunk some political or bureaucratic salvation scheme.
Daily Bell: Did you have trouble finding publishers in the beginning?
James Bovard: Some of the first book projects I carved out did not make it into print, but they were valuable training.
Daily Bell: Let's take some of your books and examine them. Give us some commentary.
Fair Trade Fraud: How Congress Pillages the Consumer and Decimates American Competitiveness ...
James Bovard: Here are some epigrams from that 1991 work:
• Government cannot make trade more fair by making it less free.
• "Fair trade" is a moral delusion that could be leading to an economic catastrophe.
• The US government has created a trade lynch law that can convict foreign companies almost regardless of how they operate.
• American trade negotiators have exerted far more effort to close the US market than to open foreign markets.
• It should not be a federal crime to charge low prices to American consumers.
• The myth of fair trade is that politicians and bureaucrats are fairer than markets – that government coercion and restriction can create a fairer result than voluntary agreement – and that prosperity is best achieved by arbitrary political manipulation, rather than allowing each individual and company to pursue their own interest.
• Our great grandchildren may look back at the trade wars of the twentieth century with the same contempt that many people today look at the religious wars of the seventeenth century – as a senseless conflict over issues that grown men should not fight about.
Daily Bell: Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994) ...
James Bovard: More epigrams ...
• America needs fewer laws, not more prisons.
• It is important to have a sounder distinction between democracy and thievery than simply counting votes.
• Beggaring the taxpayer is the main achievement of the welfare state. The federal tax system has turned individuals into sharecroppers of their own lives.
• The key to contemporary American political thinking is the neutering of the State – the idea that modern government has been defanged, domesticated, tamed.
• A law is simply a reflection of the momentary perception of self-interest by a majority of a legislative body.
• Politicians have sought to maximize social progress by maximizing the number of people labeled to be criminals.
• Without a realistic concept of government, political philosophy is only an exercise in moral aesthetics.
Daily Bell: Shakedown ...
James Bovard: In this short 1995 book, I sought to mix muckraking and mirth – to shock readers at the same time I provoked belly laughs. The book had volley after volley of bureaucratic rampages involving asset forfeiture, HUD, the Food and Drug Administration, money laundering, the Endangered Species Act and even breast-feeding (as far as it related to harebrained child abuse accusations). I sought to plant the seeds of skepticism in readers' minds by vivifying how, across the board, government was far more abusive, oppressive and deceptive than they suspected.
Daily Bell: Freedom in Chains: The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen (1999) ...
James Bovard: OK, more epigrams ...
• Paternalism is a desperate gamble that lying politicians will honestly care for those who fall under their power.
• The Night Watchman State has been replaced by Highway Robber States – governments in which no asset, no contract, no domain is safe from the fleeting whim of politicians.
• So much of political philosophy throughout history has consisted of concocting reasons why people have a duty to be tame animals in politicians' cages.
• The surest effect of exalting government is to make it easier for some people to drag others down.
• The growth of government is like the spread of a dense jungle, and the average citizen can hack through less of it every year.
• Trusting government nowadays means dividing humanity into two classes: those who can be trusted with power to run other people's lives, and those who cannot even be trusted to run their own lives.
Daily Bell: Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years (2001) ...
James Bovard: Some more ...
• Clinton exploited and expanded the dictatorial potential of the US presidency.
• The power a politician acquires for government will survive long after his photo opportunities have faded.
• Faith in the coercive power of the best and brightest permeated Clinton administration policymaking.
• The lies that Clinton got away with were far more important than the ones on which he was caught.
• The better that people understand what Clinton did in office, the greater the nation's chances for political recovery.
Daily Bell: Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice, and Peace to Rid the World of Evil (2003) ...
James Bovard: Others that come to mind ...
• Nothing happened on 9/11 that made the federal government more trustworthy.
• The Patriot Act treats every citizen like a suspected terrorist and every federal agent like a proven angel.
• The worse government fails, the less privacy citizens supposedly deserve.
• There is no technological magic bullet that will make the government as smart as it is powerful.
• Killing foreigners is no substitute for protecting Americans.
• It is impossible to destroy all alleged enemies of freedom everywhere without also destroying freedom in the United States.
• A lie that is accepted by a sufficient number of ignorant voters becomes a political truth.
• Citizens should distrust politicians who distrust freedom.
• In the long run, people have more to fear from governments than from terrorists. Terrorists come and go, but power-hungry politicians will always be with us.
• Habeas corpus is an insurance policy to prevent governments from going berserk.
Daily Bell: The Bush Betrayal (2005) ...
James Bovard: Here ...
• Truth is a lagging indicator in politics.
• The arrogance of power is the best hope for the survival of freedom.
• We need a constitutional amendment to make the federal government obey the Constitution.
• There are no harmless political lies about a war. The more such lies citizens tolerate, the more wars they will get.
• People have been taught to expect far more from government than from freedom.
• Neither Washington nor Jefferson ever intended for the President of the United States to become the Torturer-in-Chief.
Daily Bell: Attention Deficit Democracy (2006). ...
James Bovard: A final few ...
• In recent years, Americans have devoted far more effort to spreading democracy than to understanding it.
• Rather than a democracy, we increasingly have an elective dictatorship. People are merely permitted to choose who will violate the laws and the Constitution.
• Instead of revealing the "will of the people," election results are often only a one-day snapshot of transient mass delusions.
• A democratic government that respects no limits on its own power is a ticking time bomb, waiting to destroy the rights it was created to protect.
• Bogus fears can produce real servitude.
• As long as rulers are above the law, citizens have the same type of freedom that slaves had on days when their masters chose not to beat them.
• Democracy unleashes the State in the name of the people.
• The more that democracy is assumed to be inevitable, the more likely it will self-destruct.
• Attention Deficit Democracy produces the attitudes, ignorance and arrogance that pave the way to political collapse.
Daily Bell: Thanks. What is your latest book? You must be working on something. Tell us about it.
James Bovard: Attention Deficit Democracy was the most recent book (2006). I wrote it to disprove scurrilous rumors that I had become an idealist.
Daily Bell: But what are you working on now?
James Bovard: Whittling on some memoir essays on some of my adventures from teen years onwards. I hope that my Parole Officer gives permission to publish them.
Daily Bell: Do you think your books have made a difference? They are very inspirational and well researched in our view.
James Bovard: Thanks for your kind words. It is hard for me to gauge the impact of the books. They have given some people good laughs, and they have made me many enemies over the decades.
Daily Bell: Are you more optimistic or pessimistic these days?
James Bovard: I try to have a firewall inside my head – where my natural optimism on life is not tainted by my cynicism about government and politicians. I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic at this point - just jaded. Comedian Lily Tomlin best expressed the challenge of our times: "No matter how cynical you become, it is not enough to keep up."
Daily Bell: Do you believe there is a kind of power-elite cabal that is trying to set up one world government? We call it the Anglo-American power elite.
James Bovard: Don't forget the French. They were the ones who dragged NATO into the war in Libya. I hope that whatever Anglo-American power elite exists can be soon exiled to some isolated Colorado mountaintop where they hold gassy conferences in perpetuity that no one attends.
Daily Bell: What do you think about the wars in which the US is involved?
James Bovard: The US has not had a "good war" since long before I was born. I have been disappointed to see how both George W. Bush and Obama have gotten away with so many false statements regarding their foreign conflict. And I am appalled to see how the Obama team is using drones to kill people in more nations than we yet know.
Daily Bell: What is your opinion of 9/11? How did it happen?
James Bovard: US foreign policy sowed anger through much of the Middle East. Eventually, a cadre of Arabs decided it was worthwhile to kill themselves to try to strike back. US politicians exploited the attacks to seize far more power over Americans and much of the world.
Daily Bell: Is the US getting less free?
James Bovard: Perhaps not in the last 24 hours, but I would not want to wager heavily on that score. Politicians have been seizing and abusing more power with almost every passing year. I am still waiting for the "Liberty Rebound" – or at least a "dead cat bounce" for freedom.
Daily Bell: Should central banking be abolished?
James Bovard: Central banking has worked out great for the banks and the politicians. Practically everybody else has gotten shafted. I have been amazed how the mainstream American media kowtows to and glorifies the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul has done heroic work in putting the Federal Reserve on the national radar screen. Open their books and their prestige will collapse.
Daily Bell: Is the EU on the way out?
James Bovard: I hope so. Greek politicians will steal anything that is not nailed down. It was folly to add Greece (and several other countries) to the EU. The notion of a free trade zone covering all of Europe was a vast step forward after World War Two. Seeking to create a political union should have been recognized as a Pandora's Box even before it commenced. Simply because two nations drop trade barriers does not mean that politicians should put more people under their thumbs.
Daily Bell: Is the US headed for an endless depression? Is it in one?
James Bovard: No, it is a bad recession. At some point, the current gang of political rascals will be pushed out of power and American economic vitality could begin to revive.
Daily Bell: Is China an up and coming power?
James Bovard: At least for now. We will see if it blows up financially.
Daily Bell: Are we headed for more wars?
James Bovard: As long as politicians can profit from stampeding the citizenry, I fear that it is only a question of time until more conflicts are ignited.
Daily Bell: A world war?
James Bovard: Hopefully not. One benefit of John McCain's defeat in 2008 was that the US government became much less likely to fight Russia over Georgia.
Daily Bell: Any other points you want to make?
James Bovard: "Life is too short to drink bad beer," as a savvy commentator once said.
Daily Bell: Resources you want to draw to our readers' attention?
James Bovard: www.jimbovard.com
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us.
James Bovard: Thanks for the excellent questions!
James Bovard was born at the right time, possessing the proper talent – a combination of acute intelligence, skeptical humor and investigative discipline. But he is still lucky to be living when he is. It suits his peculiar genius.
One hundred years ago, those in government were not so obviously hypocritical. And government itself was generally much smaller, and thus had not fully exhibited the destructive tendencies of the modern era. The Age was, in a sense, one of naïve sincerity. Even socialism and communism seemed feasible (unfortunately so); applicable, too.
But today, government abuses (as a result of those "isms") are so obvious and manifold that Bovard's books might not have quite the impact that they did in the silence of the pre-Internet era. It's hard to be shocked by anything Western governments do these days, given the increasing wars and swelling economic dysfunction. More people are talking about it, thank goodness.
Bovard lived through the rankest hypocrisy at the very top of his talent. At the time when he was at his peak, (not to say he has diminished, only that he has for the most part turned to the essay form on his blog), he churned out brilliant, investigative book-length journalism on a variety of topics. In fact, for someone like Bovard, it was "easy pickings." Those who run Western governments, and especially America, were still trying to pretend, with increasing futility, that government was good and that American exceptionalism was in full flower.
Today, the Anglosphere power elite and its enablers continue to offer this meme, but it has withered considerably. Times are different. Technology has unraveled the matrix; reality has undone the lying. The Internet Reformation has made the intelligentsia far more sophisticated and even free-market oriented.
Pre-Internet, of course, there were only a few voices explaining what had gone wrong, and Bovard's was unique. He delighted in taking on hypocritical bureaucrats and their programs and then confronting them with discordant truths. The mass of contrary evidence he turned up could make your ears ring.
One thing that always struck us about his books was how rigorously researched they were, coming with copious numbers of footnotes. There was apparently no arguing with his fact-checking or his conclusions, which is why he was a secret pleasure for so many libertarians who rushed to buy his latest work as soon as it appeared.
We eagerly await his next book – a medley, no doubt, of indisputable logic, suppressed indignation and slyly humorous argumentation ... all Bovardian notes. Whatever he publishes, it will likely gather anew his grateful audience, one that respects his life work and remembers when he was a far lonelier voice, presenting truth to power.
In fact, we tend to believe, as the years go by, that the full measure of his efforts will gradually reveal themselves and his compositions will be increasingly admired.
Posted by Paul P. Wiggins II on 10/31/11 07:06 PM
The Daily Bell's narrative postulating an 'Anglo-American' elite running the show is precisely and resoundingly correct. Bravo!!! I would add only that it is important in this context to understand that one does not have to be White, or Anglo-Saxon, or Protestant to BE a white, anglo-saxon protestant (just as one does not have to be Caucasian to be white; just ask Condi, Colin, or Barack). The matter at hand is purely one of ethics, and never one of ethnicity - the jejeune assertion of the Poster Known Only as TheBigWedding notwithstanding!
And as regards Mr. Bovard's vapid analytics vis-a-vis the French having 'dragged' NATO into the conflict - puh-leeze! The France of Sarkozy (unlike the Gaul of DeGaulle) is an American marionette in good standing and, as such, is just another constituent cluster of photons emanating from the American DeathStar! America used the French as a stalking horse for tactical and strategic purposes; these being, respectively: 1) to convey and/or reinforce the diaphanous deceit that American global hegemony isn't the raison d'etre underwriting NATO's very existence; and 2) to evict the enterprising Chinese - who would rather build than bomb - so as to bring to a close their involvement in some 80-odd energy related projects within the Libyan borders.
Mr. Brovard goes on to regurgitate the Official Mythology that 19 Very Very Angry Arabs managed to outfox NORAD and pulverize two 110 story skyscrapers.
Here too, his take on things is wanting. Perhaps he should devote a little more of his time to reading and a tad less to writing.
Thank you, Paul P. Wiggins II
Reply from The Daily Bell
You write very well.
Posted by TheBigWedding on 10/31/11 11:48 AM
Yes, I agree. The Anglo-Saxon elite are responsible for the global banking cartel, the heart of the NWO conspiracy to enslave us to debt. I have it on good authority: Ben Bernanke, Timmy Geithner, Hank Paulson, Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubins that it was the Anglo-Saxons that were responsible for the banking fraud that has reduced us all to poverty!
Reply from The Daily Bell
O, the irony! Here follow the bread crumbs. We wrote this just for you ...
Click to view link
Posted by speedygonzales on 09/26/11 03:09 PM
"James Bovard: I enjoyed throwing rocks at the government. It was fun to find the facts that would debunk some political or bureaucratic salvation scheme."
It is funny to watch how kings without clothes acts. Some people say: You can not change the world. Actually. Not long after invasion of Afghanistan Afgh became number 1 producer of opium. Not much was told from oficials about it until I started short campain. My campains goes like avalanche. Short but mass. I post breaking news information in short time on sa many pages as I can. And what happened? Few weeks latter there was news that officials seized opium in Afgh. Not seen before.My campain was succesfull and target was hit.
Posted by speedygonzales on 09/26/11 02:49 PM
If there is a thing which deserve Nobel Price it is beer. Not just for gr8 taste, firefighting thirst and as gr8 source of protein and vitamins, but it's contribution to open free market as well:
Wisconsin microbreweries and their loyal fans are furious over a budget provision approved on May 31 by that state's Joint Finance Committee.
The measure is intended to limit the ability of brewers to own wholesale distributorships and restaurants. As explained by Open Market, its primary backer is MillerCoors, which claims to be trying to ward off an attempt by their main competitor, AB/InBev (Anheuser-Busch), to buy up beer distributors and squeeze out other companies' products. But the state's microbreweries may be the real victims of the provision.
'Wisconsin's craft brewers are getting caught in some cross fire between MillerCoors and Anheuser Busch,' the Blue Cheddar Blog explains. If this thing goes forward, it will be much more difficult to start a new small beer brewing business with room to grow in one of the states that loves beer the most.'
'This motion was sold to the legislators by Miller/Coors and the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association on the premise that it would protect Wisconsin from a hostile AB/InBev take over of many current Wisconsin wholesalers,' the blog continues. 'This is simply a farce. Since InBev took over AB, they have had 16 opportunities to buy wholesalers and have passed 16 times. Here is the real truth….Miller/Coors and the WBDA are threatened by the growth that is happening in the craft beer industry.
Craft is the only segment of beer that is growing, and it is growing by double digits.'
Freemarket analysis: As soon as customers excercise their free market drinking program, evil of corrupted democracy immediately attack this excercise and try to return to corporate monopolism.
Free Trade' agreements contribute to financial and other crises
While the financial crisis and its consequences are spreading around the world and even the most erstwhile 'free market' governments are discussing how to re-regulate the financial sector, bilateral and regional 'free trade' agreements continue extreme deregulation of the financial industry. The terms of these agreements prohibit countries from reforming their financial sector so as to remedy the financial, economic, environmental, food and social crises now growing, and from ensuring that finance is directed towards the transformation to sustainable societies.
We are constantly told that we live in a 'Capitalist' society. But what does 'Capitalism' mean? The word comes from the Latin 'capitalis', meaning 'of the head', and the relation of this concept to the later financial connotation of the word 'capital' is unclear. Its first use in that sense was actually the word 'capitale', meaning 'stock or property.' The basic building unit of capitalism is the corporation, and these first started in the 1600s.
So there is not much space left for free market, human rights, liberty and justice for all...
Click to view link
To be honest with author, corporate beer tastes like RUDIS urina. Life is really short to drink it.
Some beer is better source of internal creatures than yogurt. Widmer Haffeweisen healed my months old troubles with stomach.
I had troubles with stomach and acid for months. Nothing helped. Acidophilus, antiacid pils. One day I went cycling with my friend. We ended in bar with Haffeweizen on tap. We had about 10 beers. Few days latter I realized that there is no more troubles with stomach at all.
Posted by rossbcan on 09/26/11 06:50 AM
... is a complementary liedeology to Machiavaillian manipulations:
... falsely framed, incomplete "arguments" positing "necessity" (no other option, assertion of "proof of a negative", logical fallacy) or, broadly false simplification of problems to present "solutions" that achieve what can be claimed to be "unintended consequences"
Posted by dotti on 09/25/11 09:07 PM
I had neighbors drop in before I had a chance to read. Now I know not to waste my time!!!
Glad you got a good laugh out of it!
Posted by Friend_of_John_Galt on 09/25/11 07:55 PM
This is why there is the principle of comparative advantage. While $2 per day labor in China is scary on the surface, there is actually much more to it than the pure labor cost.
I work in the publishing field. Book printers in the U.S. have invested capital to make more highly automated systems and eliminate labor cost (by investing capital). The result is that for black ink jobs, the U.S. is highly competitive with Chinese and other Asian printers. For color work, the Asians tend to cost somewhat less, especially when the press run is shorter. On a 3000 copy run, an Asian printer can print a full color book for about 1/2 the U.S. cost. (This includes shipping), but on a 20,000 copy press run, the difference is hardly noticeable. There is more labor in the set up of a full color job and the Asians have a cost advantage there.
However, don't think that Chinese (or other Asian) print employees are getting just $2 per day -- and they are highly skilled workers who receive pay toward the top tier of their labor market -- just as printers in the U.S. tend to receive pay in line with other skilled workers.
When you look at the other cost factors: Printing presses are an international market -- therefore, no one has any particular advantage in acquiring that equipment (and the related bindery and other equipment) -- Paper, the other primary cost in printing -- is also an international market -- and there is no advantage to a Chinese, Italian, or U.S. printer, because paper of the same quality is competitive throughout the world. SInce the U.S. is able to substitute capital for labor (an automated book binding system runs 24/7 without breaks, etc.) then the labor component is lower in the U.S. -- while the Chinese printer may use more mid-level (lower cost) employees instead of spending the capital by using semi-automated machinery that requires more labor. In the end competition continues.
For other jobs -- such as those in the fabric and sewing industries, these require relatively low skilled workers, and are often the first jobs used to create wealth in poor economies. These jobs have almost entirely disappeared from the U.S. economy because they are simply able to be done at lower cost elsewhere. But that frees our workers to do MORE VALUABLE work... (This presumes that our workers are willing and will make the personal effort to be educated and trained to do jobs beyond "unskilled" work.)
Not all jobs are equal... and by moving low-paid, low-value work to places where it is cheap to perform, it (1) gives those overseas economies a chance to move up and become more productive (example: China is losing textile industry jobs to Sri Lanka.) and earn higher incomes. (2) international trade generates many very good, high-pay jobs in the U.S. in the transport industry. (I once worked for a railroad -- and railroad workers earn VERY good livings hauling all that "stuff" from China around the U.S. -- as do trucking companies and all the other transportation-related companies.
When a factory closes -- and the "work is moved overseas" -- you see the very visible "losers" who lost their jobs. What you don't see are the widely dispersed jobs that are created to handle the merchandise coming into the US. And our economy benefits from being able to buy "cheap stuff" so that we have more money left over to buy more stuff made here (or elsewhere) that creates many other jobs.
You won't find "slaves" producing much of any value. So that is a false argument. Your comments simply show a rather poor understanding of economics. I can suggest Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics as a good beginning text.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks for a cogent analysis.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/25/11 06:36 PM
The very first question out of the box when you click on 'choose your colors' reads to me sort of like, "Which one of your children should be saved and which one goes to the gas chamber?".
You get to choose what areas you want government to focus on running your life. And that's all you get to choose.
It's a snare for the unwary. And will be used to 'prove' that people want government to control their lives in whichever category they choose.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/25/11 06:28 PM
"To equalize the wage differential of different economies... "
Wage differentials are only meaningful if everything else is the same. I charge ten times what a mud hut dweller can charge because I can produce more than ten times what he can in a day. A large part of that productivity difference comes from the nature of the economy around me (capital-intensive industry and highly specialized experts available to make just about anything quickly, plus unlimited power, parts, quick shipping, water, etc.). A government that uses tariffs or any other taxing power along with regulation to effect social or economic goals destroys that productivity, every single time. When enough of this is done, the capital that used to finance our productivity tools and eventually the tools themselves move to where there is less predation and more freedom. Once the mud hut dweller can take advantage of the capital that is driven offshore, THEN the wage disparity matters. After the horse has fled the barn. More of the same will only make the situation worse. The bottom line is that the tax is wealth taken from producers and consumers alike. WE are the ones who get impoverished by it.
It's government picking winners and losers, especially if the goal is to counteract some subsidy we thing the mud hut dweller is getting. If our own government weren't cutting us off at the knees, they could never be a concern to us, because a government that subsidizes an industry will be killing the rest of their economy to do it.
The only way the case for funding government from tariffs can be made is if the tariffs are low and evenly applied. Our civil war shows that the temptation to do social engineering with tariffs is stronger than political will.
Posted by dotti on 09/25/11 06:25 PM
Just came across this website:
Click to view link
Thought some may find it interesting.
Disclosure: I haven't read there yet.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/25/11 06:02 PM
"intellectual mixing of independent problems to make the sum appear intractable"
Posted by kenn on 09/25/11 02:42 PM
The pith of the discussion is,,, do they or do they not work?
Let's compare Tariffs to Central Banking.
Tariffs do NOT set prices as often advertised but rather they ADJUST prices primarily for the following reasons:
To equalize the wage differential of different economies... works
Generate revenue for the government... works,,, Plus:
It's a tax you pay only when purchasing. If you choose not to purchase you pay no tax. Fair Tax proponents conveniently fail to mention this tidbit.
To protect an economy from another governments unfair subsidies... works
Tariffs are still widely used. Difference being the WTO has to give it's blessing which infers the sovereign are no longer sovereign.
Central Banking: Actually sets the price of money.
Overtly sets the price of money... works short term, then fails
Used by governments to generate revenue... works short term, then fails
Debases the currency by whatever amount is wanted.
Used by governments to create a borrowing scheme to propagate its ambitions, wars and social meddling... works for rogue governments initially.
Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan,Libya,Somalia,Iran,Egypt, ad infinitum... then fails.
IMHO putting tariffs and central banking in the same basket does not compute. They have completely different purposes.
The Tariff Act of 1930 is often used as an argument for no tariffs. This AFTER the central bank had already crashed the economy by printing excessive money paying for WWI and supporting Britain. This is like blaming the flu for the death of an aids patient.
Tariffs, Militias and other 'bad, bad' ideas are in the constitution,,, central banks are not. And even though some advocated their use they waited until after the signing to sneak it in.
Where central banks are concerned DB,,, we are on the same page.
enjoyed the discourse...
Posted by rossbcan on 09/25/11 01:26 PM
"I believe they meant that what matters more than anything else is the ugly possibility that our own government, or rogue factions within it, might have planned and executed the whole thing."
Yes, and I fully concur and, have never disagreed. The perps must be brought to account and, the "collateral damage" to civilization as they blame shift and chase imaginary foes all over the planet as a pretext for predatory imperialism and planetary servitude MUST END. And, to give credit where credit is due, Islam and Muslims have stepped up to the plate, at great honor (and cost) to themselves in dealing with what is, in essence OUR PROBLEM.
... but, the fact is that the attack was enabled by "us, over there". Had we not been, no 9/11 either by pretext or "ignorant wogs in caves" - real howler.
I was attempting to separate the independent variables, to point out that "us over there" is an independent problem that can be solved by "leaving - being driven out, declaring victory" WITHOUT and independent of getting to the real facts of 9/11.
I am highly sensitive to the intellectual mixing of independent problems to make the sum appear intractable.
I have similar issues with equating "natural selection", evolution and the real meaning thereof, especially in the areas of social / economic organization (civilization) as having any bearing or pertinence to the god / origin of life question.
Posted by kenn on 09/25/11 01:09 PM
And who places the tariffs on foreign goods? Ozma of Oz? Dorothy? Toto? How about government "civil servants" and "representatives?" ... Your faith in government and its efficacy is touching. DB
Perhaps DB could elaborate more the issue of tariffs than my 'faith' in government?
As an aside,
I do believe the 'constitutional government' did (for the most part) what was good for the people and the nation before transitioning to the dark side. I do "proudly" believe the constitution and the especially declaration to be (to this American) the most profound and enlightened effort in history to provide a fair and just government of the people, by the people and for the people.
In this light,,, I admit you are correct. If this is bad... I accept that.
The constitution hasn't failed the people ... the people have failed the constitution.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Ha, sorry Kenn. All epigrams are not created equal. And you usually make good, free-market comments, we recall, but not on this subject.
Tariffs are nothing more than a price fix, and price fixes always redistribute costs and wealth. Why do you approve of politicians and lobbying groups deciding whom to steal from?
See Danforth below ...
Posted by John Danforth on 09/25/11 01:04 PM
I can't presume to speak for the Elves, but I believe they meant that what matters more than anything else is the ugly possibility that our own government, or rogue factions within it, might have planned and executed the whole thing.
It was used as an excuse to invade and occupy a country that wasn't even accused of being involved in it! (With lies to justify it, followed by "So what, they needed killing anyway.") A race/religious war, if there ever was one.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/25/11 12:59 PM
Thanks DB, these are the best one-liners I've seen for a long time.
It's no surprise that yet another of the old guard hasn't noticed the blatant contradictions in the official story on 9/11. One can only hope that it is because insufficient attention was paid to the details.
On tariffs, a few things are noteworthy;
1) Government collects them. They enrich government at the expense of the consumer, and the government uses the money to consolidate power over the serfs.
2) They typically cause more problems than they fix. As with almost every government goal, the outcome is almost always the exact opposite of the (pretended) intended effect. A tax like this can only impoverish the people, not make them richer. Perhaps a favored few, for awhile, but only at the expense of everyone else, exactly like any other wealth transfer program. Protectionist tariffs against Japanese auto manufacturers for instance resulted in decades of crap cars, solidified union benefits, and ultimately the bankruptcy and government takeover. Protected corporate management displays all the delicious features of unaccountable bureaucrats.
3) The (pretended) unintended consequences can overwhelm everything else. Look at the U.S. civil war for an example of this.
Posted by rossbcan on 09/25/11 12:23 PM
DB: "Unfortunately, it does matter. It matters more than anything else."
guess I was being unclear. I was speaking solely to the absolute veracity of the statement:
"they attacked us because we are over there"
which is TRUE, regardless of "whodunit" (they)
... but, I did make an error with: "fire, aim, ready"
people, US citizens included will never be ready because as they (reality based constituency) are "studying matters", before and as a direct consequence of "approaching consensus", "history's actors" will "act again", providing them with a "new game" to study by some other instance of "crap happens". Thus, by being reactive, those who attempt to be "ready" will always be undone by the sociopathic pro-active, who, by holding control of the apparatus of state and law, can never be held to account:
Click to view link
Why, exactly, would those who opine "never let a good crisis go to waste", do other than create crisis and problems to "pretend to solve", to rationalize their sorry existences?
Posted by kenn on 09/25/11 11:57 AM
Slave: [One who is abjectly subservient to a specified person or influence]
Example: "We are slaves to manufactured group thought", comes to mind... ... .
Tariffs are much a reality like guns. Most everyone says they're not needed but most everyone wants one when attacked. Free trade in the land of OZ might work BUT
In REALITY free trade is a euphemism for wage arbitrage which itself is a euphemism for slave which only compensates business and its enablers to the detriment of those (Put on your I care look) "we are trying to help by providing employment".
Tariffs work by making it unprofitable exploiting those less capable of defending themselves. Contrary to popular belief, tariffs worked... a fact our our great leaders have toiled so hard to hide. Proof?
99% of politicians agree tariffs are bad. Soooo... you have to wonder when all the politicians agree with you. Yes? See definition of "Slave" in beginning.
Finally, I have to agree with TimorTheLame's summation. WTC 7 is the elephant in the room that most ignore... See definition of "Slave" in beginning.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Tariffs work by making it unprofitable exploiting those less capable of defending themselves.
And who places the tariffs on foreign goods? Ozma of Oz? Dorothy? Toto? How about government "civil servants" and "representatives?" ... Your faith in government and its efficacy is touching.
Posted by rossbcan on 09/25/11 11:44 AM
"they attacked us because we are over there" syndrome."
whether "they" were or are Muslims is irrelevant to the veracity of this statement.
Fact: Muslims ARE (and rightly so) incensed by western predations, interference in their affairs (ideally, tyranny is a matter to be discussed between tyrants and THEIR people), but, what are they to do when their "tyrants" are, in actual fact "our agents". And, in actual fact, our "tyrants" are somebody else's agents.
So, whether, righteous Muslim anger was used as a scapegoat for 9/11 by treasonous statist insiders, consolidating a MIC coup, or actual Muslims IS IRRELEVANT.
The FACT is: US, over there is what enabled and caused 9/11.
"Do not participate in international entanglements. Trade fairly with ALL, mind your own business." was the founder's vision, encoded in the Constitution (war power to Congress, accountable to the people), and, majority US public opinion UNTIL:
The Lustinia was secretly loaded with munitions for Britian, making it a legitimate target of war for Germany, who legitimately sunk it. Media did the tired old "poor, innocent, peaceful us, attacked without provocation" whine, and "righteous" US public bought it, hook, line and sinker: Entered WW1.
The historical FACTS also prove that Pearl Harbor was provoked by trade hegemony against Japan and, the fact of the impending attack was known for at least a week prior and, it was no warning, "stand down".
Exactly like the circumstantial evidence of 9/11, rapidly closing to irrefutable: "Stand Down", allow, cause, help and perhaps make it to happen.
The Yanks are so predictable and gullible. Pavlov's citizens. Push a hot button and, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow: "fire, aim, ready".
Reply from The Daily Bell
"So, whether, righteous Muslim anger was used as a scapegoat for 9/11 by treasonous statist insiders, consolidating a MIC coup, or actual Muslims IS IRRELEVANT. The FACT is: US, over there is what enabled and caused 9/11."
Unfortunately, it does matter. It matters more than anything else.
Posted by scousekraut on 09/25/11 10:57 AM
Sad to see yet another interview spoiled by the interviewee going through the "they attacked us because we are over there" syndrome. This indicates a lack of substance for, as you well know, the evidence is overwhelmingly that Muslims had nothing to do with it.