Philosophy


I thought Trump “won” the debate. He went on offense and rebutted criticisms. We finally heard some debate on issues such as Obamacare.

What we didn’t get from either debate was a discussion on effective management of the government as an enterprise. Seems the candidates are more interested in managing and controlling the lives of the American people and the global American Empire.

The government is still spying on us, spending way too much, not reining in an unaccountable bureaucracy, not reining in entitlement programs.

What we need is a debate on effective management of the sprawling government.

Gary Johnson is aiming to do that:

What the country needs now, he [Johnson] says, is a president who will cut spending, hold taxes down, be skeptical about foreign military interventions, and allow free markets and new businessess to flourish.

 

After all the hullabaloo from the GOP and Dem political conventions, I thought I’d remind everyone where the U.S. stands on global measures of economic freedom and human freedom.

Politics is toxic and deceptive. Rarely does the truth emerge from political conventions. So what was said at them, well, take with a grain of salt. Let’s look at the facts.

Economic freedom measures the level of voluntary exchange, property rights, regulations, and other indicators.

In 2013, the last year available, the US ranked 16 out of 197 countries and sinking. By contrast, in 2000 the US ranked 2 out of 123 countries, #3 in 2001, 5 or 6 from 2002 through 2008, then 10 in 2009, 12 in 2010, 16 in 2011, and 13 in 2012.

Here is an interactive map of the world.

Human freedom combines economic freedom with measures of social freedom such as freedom to exercise one’s religion, association, assembly, and expression. It measures a total of 76 indicators.

On this measure the US ranks 20 out of 152 in 2012, the latest year data are available.

Here.

Daniel Oliver says Hillary is more deserving of the authoritarianism label than Trump. Regardless of that argument, progressivism has other issues and should be avoided:

Running out of other people’s money is certainly one problem with socialism, but not the only one. Socialism is inherently authoritarian, which is why it is the younger brother of Communism and a first cousin of the authoritarian progressivism of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama. And Bernie and Hillary. After all, how do the socialists get other people’s money? They take it. That means people will hide their money, which means the state must employ spies and guys, and guys with guns. And crooked agents like Lois Lerner to run crooked agencies like the Internal Revenue Service.

Both parties practice progressivism. The Democrats embrace the label, Republicans shun it but using the government to force your choices on others is a hallmark.

An alternative philosophy has the government only protecting our constitutional and natural rights, preventing others from harming others, treating citizens equal before the law, protecting commons, but otherwise leaving us to our own pursuits.

Note how marriage equality, drug legalization, lower taxes, fewer war fit in.

Note also this philosophy lets people make most of the choices in their lives. After all, who is supposed to make those choices in your life if you are a functioning human; you or someone else?

It doesn’t demonize one group for exploitation which is what Democrats do with people who work in some industries, and Republicans do with people of other races. Democrats over the years have demonized people who work for health insurers, tobacco companies, banks, Uber and the sharing economy. They still do.

Here.

Don Boudreaux:

Leonard here describes American “Progressives” of the late-19th and early-20th centuries.  But this passage also perfectly describes, without changing a single word, American “Progressives” of the early 21st century.  Fancying themselves to be ‘scientific,’ “Progressives” now as then, have a wholly unscientific understanding of politics and of the state.  That understanding, because it is unscientific, is romantic in the worst way: it is dreamily, often stupidly, unrealistic.

Democrats fully embrace this type of politics, Republicans do sometimes. As such, Hillary sounds like the competent technocrat when discussing an issue. It gives her an air of credibility and people feel comforted.

But she suffers from the problem described in this post. Here. The bottom line is issues rarely get resolved in how she expects, then she, like other progressives, blames someone else.

That is the sub-headline of an article in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal about how the Clinton campaign is going to attack the Trump campaign. Notice the phrase “self-interest”.

The reality is that politicians, agency heads, and others in government (the political class) are just as self-interested as everyone else.

The conventional wisdom is that the political class acts in the interests of the country, state, locality, or on behalf of some group of victims. Right? Nope. They enjoy power, money, prestige, enhanced reputation, and loyalty as a result of their actions. So is that not acting in their own self-interest? Of course it is. They take credit for their actions by holding press conferences and issuing press statements. They want to be remembered in the history books. They attach their name to laws, i.e. Smoot–Hawley, Dodd–Frank, Obamacare. But all this gets lost in the partisan debate about the issue being acted upon.

What’s worse is that their actions can have long-lasting effects on thousands or millions of people. Don’t be fooled.

This post and links asks you questions to see if you agree with the political philosophy. Its an engaging exercise because it includes explanations.

DEIRDRE N. MCCLOSKEY:

Why are we so rich? . . .

Actually, the “we” of comparative enrichment includes most countries nowadays, with sad exceptions. . . .

What caused it? The usual explanations follow ideology. . . .

Deirdre has other ideas:

The capital became productive because of ideas for betterment—ideas enacted by a country carpenter or a boy telegrapher or a teenage Seattle computer whiz. As Matt Ridley put it in his book “The Rational Optimist” (2010), what happened over the past two centuries is that “ideas started having sex.” . . .

Why did ideas so suddenly start having sex, there and then? . . .

The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not.

Yes, liberty. Read the whole thing.

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