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  1. #81
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    socialism leads to protectionism leads to communism leads to dictatorship leads to tyranny. the opposite of all these is liberty. And there only has been 2 forms of government in the history of humans, liberty and tyranny.

    The pivotal concept between liberty and tyranny is private property. Here, property is not about what you own, but the right to own the product of your labor. In tyrannies, the government owns the means to production and also the results of production. In liberty, the individual (sovereignty) owns the means to production (capital and investment) as well as the results of labor (products and services).

    In liberty, you own 100%. In tyranny, the government owns 100%. And it's been a cycle between these 2 poles since the beginning of recorded history. (tytler cycle).

    A more concrete measure of liberty vs tyranny is to see the amount of taxes the people must pay (and perhaps the consequences). Friedman found that if a society pays 10% of their income in taxes for the police, military and courts, it's a pretty darn free society. All the questions like "what if" or "what about xyz" are all taken care of by the free market, because there is incentive for someone to provide that product or service and profit by it.

    At a higher level, the production of a country is lower or stagnant under government forms closer to tyranny (GDP). compared to those with liberty whose GDP rises. If the right mix of valor, morality, principles and integrity are found through the land, it becomes a renaissance or a golden age.

    The US is no longer capitalist. It is much more socialist and rapidly turning into protectionism under obama (watch for increased union fights). But since people are 'greedy', the american people will elect their own tyrant because they simply will not refuse to give up all the 'free stuff' they get, like education, jobs, healthcare, transportation, energy and whatever departments the government has.

    Those who are enlightened as to what liberty and freedom really is, wouldn't care so much about the gov because a responsible individual would have already prepared for the worst. All the people who thinks that everything is ok or going to be ok, will be on the mile long bread line at some point in their lives in the 'freest country' in the world. Empires fall and will always fall.

    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. enlighten yourself.

    refs:
    de la boetie - politics of obedience
    bastiat - the law
    mises - human action
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

  2. #82
    Whisky Old & Women Young Speed Gavroche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by durentu View Post

    refs:
    de la boetie - politics of obedience
    bastiat - the law
    mises - human action

    Very good references!

    And very good post as well.
    EsTP 6w7 Sx/Sp

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    "I don't believe in guilt, I only believe in living on impulses"

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  3. #83
    . Blank's Avatar
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    @durentu Nice use of the slippery slope argument. Tell me, what do you think of the free market economy of the Gilded Age and the rise of the monopoly as a consequential business model.
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
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    Fe = 0

    -----------------
    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
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  4. #84
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    From The Atlantic:

    Democracy Is for Amateurs: Why We Need More Citizen Citizens

    This year I'll wrap up a decade as a trustee of the Seattle Public Library. Our board of five citizens has unusual authority. Appointed by the mayor, we are an independent operating body. The city council gives us a line in the budget, but how we spend those funds, on what programs, in what allocations across which neighborhoods, with what kinds of popular input, and under what policies -- all such decisions rest in the hands of our citizen board.

    There's something very American about such a volunteer body. We celebrate the "citizen scientist" or "citizen diplomat" or "citizen soldier" on the idea that while the job -- scientist, diplomat, soldier -- requires professional expertise, amateurs who care can also step in and contribute. Indeed, this is something of a golden age for amateurs. With big data and social media amplifying their wisdom, crowds of amateurs are remaking astronomy, finance, biochemistry and other fields.

    But not so much the field called democracy. The work of democratic life -- solving shared problems, shaping plans, pushing for change, making grievances heard -- has become ever more professionalized over the last generation. Money has gained outsize and self-compounding power in elections. A welter of lobbyists, regulators, consultants, bankrollers, wonks-for-hire, and "smart-ALECs" has crowded amateurs out of the daily work of self-government at every level. Bodies like the library board are the exception.

    What we need today are more citizen citizens. Both the left and the right are coming to see this. It is the thread that connects the anti-elite 99 percent movement with the anti-elite Tea Party. It also animates an emerging web of civic-minded techies who want to "hack" citizenship and government.

    Why is government in America so hack-worthy now? There is a giant literature on how interest groups have captured our politics, with touchstones texts by Mancur Olson, Jonathan Rauch, and Francis Fukuyama. The message of these studies is depressingly simple: democratic institutions tend toward what Rauch calls "demosclerosis" -- encrustation by a million little constituencies who clog the arteries of government and make it impossible for the state to move or adapt.

    This tendency operates in an accelerating feedback loop. When self-government is dominated by professionals representing various interests, a vicious cycle of citizen detachment ensues. Regular people come to treat civic problems as something outside themselves, something done to them, rather than something they have a hand in making and could have a hand in unmaking. They anticipate that engagement is futile, and their prediction fulfills itself.

    So how do we replace this vicious cycle with a virtuous one? What does it take to revive a spirit of citizenship as something undertaken by amateurs and volunteers with a stake in their own lives? There are four forces to activate, and they cut across the usual left-right lines.

    First, we have to develop what filmmaker Annie Leonard calls our "citizen muscle." As Americans we have hugely overdeveloped consumer muscles and atrophied citizen muscles. When we are consumers first, our elected leaders sell us exactly what we want: lower taxes, more spending, special rules for every subgroup.

    Having a citizen muscle means thinking about the future and not just immediate gratification. It means asking what helps the community thrive, not just oneself. It means observing social change like a naturalist, and responding to it like a gardener. It means learning and teaching a curriculum of power -- in schools, and in settings for all ages -- so that we can practice power, even as amateurs.

    Second, we need to radically refocus on the local. When the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson launched the Binghamton Neighborhood Project, he broke down that city's many paralyzing problems into human-scale chunks of action -- turning an empty lot into a park, say, or organizing faith communities -- and then linked up the people active in each chunk. Localism gives citizens autonomy to solve problems; networked localism enables them to spread and scale those solutions.

    Third, think in terms of challenges rather than orders. One of the best ways to tap collective smarts is to set great goals and let diverse solutions emerge -- to be big on the what and small on the how. This is a lesson ecologist Rafe Sagarin emphasizes in his work: challenge grants like the X Prize motivate people to participate and innovate far more than top-down directives do. How can government behave more this way?

    Fourth, create platforms where citizen citizens can actively serve. Code for America plugs software developers into city halls for a year so they can help government work better and spark decentralized citizen problem-solving. It's a great program -- and a template for other kinds of talent-tapping for the common good. How about Write for America, or Design, or Build?

    So what are the obstacles to the cultivation of "citizen citizenship"? One is the assumption that only the privileged can afford the time to participate. There's of course truth to that. But the rising immigrant rights movement and the emergence of domestic workers as a civic force, to name but two recent examples, suggest that where there is will to make time there's a way.

    A cynic might also say that the well educated and well connected will always have an edge in the game of civic participation. Maybe. This is the benefit of a robust ecosystem of nonprofit citizen organizations that can circulate that expertise and the power of those contacts to people with fewer advantages. Think of it as progressive taxation of social capital: the more connected you are, the more obligated to pay that social wealth forward.

    A final fear is that when amateurs get organized they can get coopted by the powers of the status quo. But if so, reconstitute: Mark Meckler, who co-founded the Tea Party Patriots as a political amateur and an independent, found that his original network was hardening into a rigid GOP interest group. So he left and started Citizens for Self-Governance, which has a conservative bent but is dedicated to getting people from left and right to address issues like criminal justice in more creative, orthogonal ways than our politics typically allows.

    Recently I came upon a billboard by a congested highway. "You're not stuck in traffic," it said. You are traffic." We aren't stuck in sclerotic government and extractive politics. We are these things. Our actions and omissions contribute to the conditions we decry. Or, to put it in positive terms: if we make the little shifts in mindset and habit to reclaim civic life, they will compound into contagion. We are the renewal of self-government we yearn for. That may sound like Obama '08 -- but it's also Reagan '80.

    Citizenship, in the end, is too important to be left to professionals. It's time for us all to be trustees, of our libraries and every other part of public life. It's time to democratize democracy again.

  5. #85
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    @durentu Nice use of the slippery slope argument. Tell me, what do you think of the free market economy of the Gilded Age and the rise of the monopoly as a consequential business model.
    Thanks for the comment !

    The gilded age was an increase of total productivity by 400% in about 50 years. This huge increase happened because there was the right balance between freedom and taxes. Milton Friedman has found that if the total tax burden on the citizen is about 10%, the country experience the most freedom and security.

    In a free market economy, it is impossible for a monopoly to exist. Because the free market boils down essentially to free entry. If you ever wondered why you don't see little girls have lemonade stands anymore, you start to see that we do not have a free market economy anymore because of all these hoops and red tapes one has to go through. Because of these free entry barriers, the ones under the barrier cannot get off the ground, but the ones above the barrier are free to impose their monopoly. Therefore, the only way a monopoly can exist is with the help of the referee. (john stossel actually tried to sell lemonade on the street and determined what it would actually take to do so. it was really surprising)

    The root cause of monopolies is not free markets and capitalism, but it's the combination of government and economics. The sales pitch for this has always been "for the general welfare and safety of the people, we the government propose new laws that will limit these horrors and injustices by the greedy business man." blah blah blah. And nobody asks how much it's going to cost them. It's a nice trick, worked for thousands of years. Still works today.

    (As an aside I'm reminded of the quote "if one gives up liberty for a little security, will deserve neither and loose both". The reason why this is so is because diversity is both the fruit and defense of freedom)

    There is also the question of "what about natural monopolies? If the entire earth's supply of a single resource was in a single place, that would create a natural monopoly such that they can bring the entire world to their knees by charging huge prices"

    There are 2 fallacies with natural monopolies, given that there is completely separation between government and economics. The first fallacy is that a single resource is never concentrated in a single location on earth. The second fallacy is that it makes it seem that an alternative is impossible. If someone has a great business being the only one with a certain product, an entrepreneur can always find it profitable to find alternatives. Like with cars, there's gas, diesel, propane, steam, electric, solar. There is freedom of enterprise, freedom of thought, freedom of invention, freedom of capital.

    When it comes to the study of monopolies, I think of milton friedman, ayn rand, bastiat, von mises, bohm bawerk and a few others. And of special mention, Israel Kirzner for studying entrepreneurship in great detail in the austrian school style.

    Capitalism is perhaps one of the best inventions of the human mind. But it is fragile when placed on improper footing. I hear people complain about the rich vs the poor, but as to this date, there is no other system of economics which holds the most promise for a single person to improve their own lot considerably. But since the US is now a socialist democracy, more people will think that they get to spend someone else's money, forgetting the fact that they are spending theirs. Valor disappears and the most productive of us gives up and goes away (see atlas shrugged). When freedom is gone, the best of us are punished the most, or put to death (orwell '1984')

    I see the following more often these days.
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/righ...just-quitting/

    “Nearly every day without fail…men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just…you know…what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I see these guys—I see them with tears in their eyes—looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So…basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.”
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

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