Economics, efficient war machines are bad things, and the non-aggression principle

A thank-you to “uldissprogis”, who provides some cogent and articulate points to ponder. He seems to be almost as wordy as me when he’s emotionally engaged with a topic, as I am. He has given us a lot to answer.

I understand this passion to help change the world, make it better, help the poor. Even though my father’s weekly sermons, full of all the compassion for the helpless and the needy that Jesus Christ showed in his life, ministry, death and resurrection, must have had something to do with this drive (in my case) to help others, I learned to apply this to Communist thinking. Spreading the wealth.
The following post is context for the article below:

Eventually though I learned that not everything we are told is believable, whether it be at schools, colleges, from media, and from the pulpits of the land, or from the political class.

I’ll just answer a few concerns.

He was basically in favor of uncontrolled capitalism in private and business lives. I disagree with him [Ludwig von Mises] and believe that the national government has a role to play in private charity.

Point one for this: There is a common misunderstanding about the two approaches to two different spheres of action that we know of as “Austrian economics” and “libertarians”.

Austrian economics is the study of economics. Some who don’t understand it call it “not rational”, whereas its foremost figures study it very rationally, intellectually, and most of all, logically. “Austrian economics” is the study of how economics actually works in the real world. von Mises is one of the best known of these scholars.

“Libertarianism” is the political philosophy most associated with Austrian economics. But its basis and philosophy is different, although I’ve noticed there is tremendous overlap among the followers of each.

The summary definition of libertarian thinking is the “non-aggression principle”. That’s an ethical principle, or moral principle, not a scholarly principle. It’s a guiding principle for human action, whereas Austrian economics is the study of it.

On the other issue, if the “national government” has a role in any “charity”, then by definition it is not a “private charity”, and that means the “hybrid” charities too, for example, the Bush-era government money for “faith-based programs”, which are now the Obama-era “faith-based programs”.

Payoffs from government to do “charity” work tend to subtly influence the “charity” to play nice with government, making them de facto advocates of those who continue and expand them, and against those who would stop them.

It’s interesting that after reading as much of von Mises you did, that you would still hold the idea that somehow government can solve the problems of the poor. I admit, depending on which of his writing you read, it is scholarly and it is a slow-walk.

The principles are clear enough, though, if one takes the time to think.

In my years as a missionary, in which we distributed food directly to the poor in the poorest barrios south of the border, visited with people, distributed clothing, ministered to people in hospitals, prisons, orphanages, I can guarantee you that each of our young 1970s era missionaries did much more good for many more people than the average federally funded social service worker.

Some of them had been heroin junkies themselves, healed going “cold turkey” after accepting Christ right on the beach and joining the work then and there. Another had been a diamond smuggler, another was a drug dealer who had cops on the payroll to keep his corner spot safe for his trade.

All government can do is to steal the resources from somebody’s fruits of his labor or investment to give it to someone else, but of course making sure the tax man (the one that tells you how much to pay, takes his cut. Got to have the enforcers on the take, too, after all.

The best results for the poor abound when the force of a gun (of the law) is removed from the equation. When each person can enjoy the fruits of his labor and invest it as he wishes, then everyone gets a win-win. That way each person gets more value for what he gets than what he gives, because otherwise he wouldn’t deal.

You mention the Internet. Up to now, the USG (government) has let it (kind of) roam free. So far anyway. That’s why we get the convenience of it.

Most monopolies are government-enforced. The AT&T phone monopoly lasted several decades, by federal mandate (dictate). The price was subsidies for local calling.

Phones dialed over land lines. Finally rivals were allowed to sell competing phones.

Then came cellular phones. The market was much more free in the US for cell phones, and we got an explosion of companies, distributors and innovation competing in the marketplace for your dollar, and the result is.. drumroll, please…

Now, you have a proliferation of cell phones in the poorest countries, driven there by the state-dictated phone monopolies over land lines.

And you mention the minimum wage. The dictator Manuel Zelaya ordered a doubling of the minimum wage in Honduras in his 2005-2009 reign, and 150,000 –that’s one hundred fifty thousand of the poorest in that country– lost their jobs overnight. Because the Mom and Pop stores could not afford to pay it as they were barely afloat themselves.

Labor unions push the minimum wage as a recruiting tool and to keep the labor market small. Actually, it’s not so much the unions as the union bosses lining their coffers.

Technological advances are good, and will help all people as long as the government keeps out. (Or gets out at least first).

Before there was government, there was trade.

Then came chiefs controlling their people, then came raids on other tribes and either looting or demands for tribute (another form of looting). Then came empires, built on the force of their own hegemony enforced at the point of a sword. Bread and circuses for the Romans, crumbs and gladiator service and other tribute for the conquered.

As for moral teaching, if you supposedly “realize” (with some reason) that the “new world will be controlled by international banks, international businesses etc. down to the control exercised by the individual who will have little chance of challenging the big corrupt inefficient boys”, then understand that the forced teaching in state-run schools of any moral code at all, whether it’s my Bible-based one or your “secular” one, in reality is going to work against you.

It’s something I realized while I was still a Communist, and it turned me at that time into a “syndicalist-anarchist”. Dictators that rule in a dictatorship, no matter who they are, are not going to give up power “just like that” like a finger snap. I realized at that time: If you can’t trust people to govern themselves, how can you ever trust them to govern somebody else? Forget it. Criminals that do their work by force don’t “live by the rules”, and neither will governments that rule by force “live by the rules”.

When the Israelites finally demanded a government of Samuel the prophet, he warned them. God told Samuel they had rejected God, not Samuel, because now they wanted to be ruled by a man, a king, instead of being governed by the rules laid down for them by God. God had Samuel warn them: A king will put unbearable burdens of taxation on you, he will take your sons to war, and generally ride roughshod over your lives.

That’s exactly what they got. Solomon’s tax burdens were the grievance that split the kingdom and led the northern tribes to idolatry and ruin and captivity, and almost all the kings were abusive.

You probably are already familiar with it, but here’s a thinking man’s source on climate science and a place to find what real climate scientists are saying about it:

Note that biodiversity also provides an example of what I’m saying on government and laws and good intentions.

Never mind all the evidence that it’s a sham cause invented to divert attention from the real poverty-making problems like crony capitalism and the marriage of the biggest corporations (i.e., of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce with left-fascism, in their multimillionaire tirade against “tea party” candidates. They will back “pro-business” candidates they say, by which they mean supporters of crony capitalism.

Why are the foundations established by the very richest tycoons always supporting socialist causes, at the same time they support political forces that produce propaganda in favor of more “social justice” and command-and-control government?

In the first half of the 20th century, wood ducks were in danger of extinction in the United States. Long before environmentally oriented laws.

Farmers across the country heard about it and started setting up crooks in the rivers and lakes on their land and leaving them be to attract the ducks and make them welcome. The population exploded and now they are prolific, and have been for decades.

Today, however, a farmer that has no such ducks on his land would be stupid to do such a thing, because if an “endangered” species makes a home on his land then it becomes de facto property under the control of the same government that does everything it can to strengthen Big Agriculture in its struggle against more efficient single family farms, who are struggling against Big Brother dictates like this one.

Farmers in California had to watch their houses burn in wildfires, because they were prohibited from preparing their property to protect the houses, because it would make like more difficult for one particular wild breed of a kind of rat. How loco can this get? You can’t make this stuff up!

And the guy in Louisiana who created a watering pond for his animals, then filled it in when he didn’t need it anymore and was fined thousands of dollars for destroying a watershed. Crazier and crazier.

One more thing. Too many people have had the new rulers’ indoctrination in state-run centers, on history. They left out a lot.

For example. St. Patrick’s effective crusade against slavery than began the cultural shift that made it taboo until later, and something the slavers in more recent centuries had to keep out of sight of Europe.

Patrick’s legacy of literacy in Ireland spawned a voracious literary appetite in Ireland that found its cultural way back the British side of the water and saved the classic literature of Greece and Rome away from the book-hating hordes ransacking the continent.

The practice of Christians during the earliest days led to the saving of many infants from the practice of infanticide of those days. Some of them even waited under bridges where babies were thrown and they would catch them or rescue them, and mothers began leaving them on the doorsteps of a couple they knew were Christians.

Christian monks shamed the Roman public into slinking away from gladiator battles, in at least one documented instance one gave his life, Telemachus.

Again, an inefficient process with libertarian freedom is way much better than an efficient war machine. Technology can be used for evil or for good, although some technologies lend themselves more to one than the other. Cars are generally dangerous, computers and electronic communications are generally benign and beneficial in their applications.

What’s wrong with respecting the non-aggression principle as the working rule for everyone? Nobody is compelled to do anything by force or the threat of force or by fraud (which is a force-by-stealth). Let them do business as they will within that principle.

This is not even as strong an ethic as the Golden Rule.



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