Friday, January 31, 2014

Another Slipshod Prediction from Peter Schiff



If rates of consumer price increase actually start rising enough to move the official CPI gauges, as Peter Schiff has long been predicting, then the Fed will not only have to continue tapering but also start raising rates. Major inflationary episodes are associated with rising rates. In the late 1970s, the Fed repeatedly raised its benchmark lending rate until Paul Volcker finally got ahead of rising consumer-price inflation by jacking up the effective Federal Funds rate to 20% by 1981. 

Implicit in Peter's call for more monetary loosening is an expectation that the CPI won't rise above the Fed's target of 2%-2.5%.

The Fed began tapering in spite of Peter's prediction (November 18, 2013) that it wouldn't. If the Fed continues to taper this year and doesn't reverse course as he's now predicting, then I'd suggest it's time for Peter to get out of the prognostication industry. And if he doesn't, then everyone reading this should just stop paying attention to his predictions.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Martin Luther King Day Conformity



Martin Luther King is ritualistically held up by the schools, media, and political establishment as the icon of the New America they've worked to create and are still working to create.  To be a non-conformist today is to question MLK propaganda and challenge the egalitarian agenda that it represents.

If you are an advocate of a smaller, less powerful federal government and full freedom of association, which entails the right to discriminate on any grounds, then it is obvious that MLK was not an advocate of freedom -- not in the negative sense of freedom to which libertarians are supposed to adhere.  But if you feign belief in the socially reinforced view that MLK's political program was one of liberation, that's social conformity.


Now if you happen to believe in King's socialist political agenda on principle, that's different.  If you would be championing King and his ideas even if they were widely regarded as socially deviant, then you aren't necessarily conforming by celebrating MLK day.  MLK represents your actual political convictions.  

Thomas E. Woods, 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask

On the other hand, if you are a libertarian or a conservative who believes in free markets and rejects forced association and rejects government programs aimed at engineering equal outcomes, then you are betraying your own values by celebrating MLK.
 
As the Cato Institute does.




Friday, January 17, 2014

Real Freedom

Over the past few months, I've had a few brief exchanges with left-libertarian writer Sheldon Richman and his colleague Jacob Hornberger.  Richman opposes a libertarian immigration policy that selects for a libertarian-compatible population.  He believes that libertarians' rational self-interest in wanting to deny statist politicians more Third World-derived voters cannot “justify violating the freedoms of foreigners,” as he put it in his most recent email to me.

My response apparently left him speechless, as I have not heard back from him in the several days since.  



Sheldon,

I'd like to make sure I understand what you mean by "freedom" when you claim that foreigners' freedoms are violated whenever they are denied residency by any country.   What you assert seems to entail a trump card for anyone in the world to thwart full, sovereign ownership of any land area.  Your  conception of freedom implies that all land is ultimately communally owned by all people in the world (with limited rights of private land ownership permitted only under the jurisdictions of states that maintain open borders).

If I misunderstand you, then please clarify by answering the following questions: 

Under your conception of freedom, would it be morally acceptable for the peaceful owner(s) of a private island to break away from the state that claims jurisdiction over it and exercise full sovereignty over their island?  

Obviously, owning a private island would be meaningless if ownership didn't entail the right to exclude people from coming onto it.  By becoming sovereign, must the fundamental rights of property ownership be surrendered to a global community whose members possess a positive right to migrate anywhere?

Under a propertarian framework of liberty, a private island isn't violating the freedom of uninvited people by refusing them entry.  You seem to want to appeal to propertarian freedom by calling yourself a free-market libertarian...while siding substantively with communitarian conceptions of freedom and championing a positive right of all people to violate any sovereign property boundaries.  Which is it?



Libertarians who argue against immigration selectivity on the basis that barriers to the movements of foreigners violate the freedom of foreigners implicitly cling to a definition of "freedom" that renders private property, secession, and non-state sovereignty illegitimate.  These anti-propertian libertarians don't want to admit that they find the full exercise of private property rights and the assertion of sovereignty to be morally abhorrent.  That's why they won't answer the questions that reveal the contradictions in what they espouse.

I note, in conclusion, that my private island example isn't merely hypothetical.  Some libertarians are working to create private communities.  And the private town of Orania, while not established on libertarian ideology per se, is nevertheless a bastion of freedom and prosperity within the violent and socialistic nation of South Africa.  Libertarians who claim that Orania violates rights because it restricts who can live there encourage and embolden the thuggish, statist enemies of Oranians' propertarian freedom.