Please Help the Artful Dilettante

Some scholar, whose name I cannot recall, did a seriously in-depth study to identify all of the government “success stories” throughout recorded history. He could not find a single, solitary example. Every action the government has taken throughout history has either resulted in a zero-sum outcome or an abject failure. An example of zero-sum outcomes would include income-redistribution schemes where you rob Peter to pay Paul. Abject failures would include Obamacare, the Iraq War, and public education.

If anyone can identify the author or has additional information which could assist me in this matter, please post it to this website.

Benjamin Franklin on the Welfare State

“I fear the giving mankind a dependence on anything for support in age or sickness, besides industry and frugality during youth and health, tends to flatter our natural indolence, to encourage idleness and prodigality, and thereby to promote and increase poverty, the very evil it was intended to cure.”

— Ben Franklin, quoted in Benjamin Franklin: An American Life  by Walter Isaacson


What Leftists Don’t Understand About Economics–a Reflection

My comments are in response to an article which appeared yesterday entitled, What Leftists Don’t Understand about Economics, by Daniel Carter, of Investment Watch.


Where do you want me to start?  Liberals and their philosophical/political brethren understand little if anything about economics, and even less about the principles of Natural Law and Natural Rights which underscore free-market capitalism.  Volumes have been written about Natural Rights beginning with Thales of Miletus in the 6th century B.C.  He and the Seven Sages of Miletus (a rather raucous group I’m told), rather than the later Greeks Plato and Aristotle, are credited with giving philosophical birth to the Western Tradition.  There is a straight philosophical line from Thales and his Sages, to Aristotle, to Cicero, Polybius, significantly to Aquinas who bridged Christian thought with Aristotelianism, to the Enlightenment philosophes and Founding Fathers, and finally the Objectivism of Ayn Rand.  Rand’s masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, has been rightly called Aristotle’s Eudaemonics (or flourishing) in novel form.  Having read both several times, I can confirm this comparison.  That’s pretty much what it is.

Reduced to its essence, Natural Rights includes freedom of life, liberty, and property.  In the Declaration, the pursuit of happiness was substituted for property.  The pursuit of happiness, or flourishing, is the subject of Aristotle’s Eudaemonics.  The closest English word for “eudaemonia” is “flourishing.” All agree that flourishing is pre-supposed by ordered liberty.  Man cannot rise to the occasion, or find meaning in his life, shoot for the stars, or soar on the wings of eagles without liberty, not anarchy, but ordered liberty.  The state exists for one purpose–to protect one’s life and property—not your right to hold a claim check to someone else’s money.

Also, the Ten Commandments have much to say about the primacy of Natural Rights and its place in our Judeo-Christian ethic.  Natural Rights were codified by the Ten Commandments.  Mosaic Law and Natural Law have much in common.  The Fifth Commandment (“Thou Shalt not Kill”) couldn’t make the right to life any clearer.  Likewise, The Seventh Commandment (“Thou Shalt not Steal”) could not have come down more firmly on behalf of private property rights.

Unfortunately, Natural Rights philosophy is no longer taught, or only in the darkened corner of the candlelit sanctuary of a hermit.  It is ignored or considered hate speech.  It was long ago thrown under the bus by the Progressive Movement of Marx and Woodrow Wilson and the Frankfurt School of Irrational Thought.

If you aren’t schooled or steeped in liberty or the principles of Natural Law, you can neither appreciate nor understand nor defend the offspring of Natural Rights—the free market.

Red Robin will offset minimum wage hikes by canning busboys | New York Post

The Red Robin article is a lesson in fundamental economics which the average politician nearly always fails to comprehend. If the cost of labor goes up due to a government-mandated increase in the minimum wage, one or two outcomes are certainties. One, employees will be laid off or fewer will be hired, as in the case of Red Robin. Hours are cut back on kitchen and counter staff and the manager removes the “Now Hiring” sign from the entrance door. Two, companies may have to raise prices for goods and services, or in the case of Red Robin raise prices and/or cut back on their portions. The once classic half-pound burger is reduced to seven ounces, maybe six . The once-mighty side of fries, enough to slake the appetite of a high-school linebacker, is discernably smaller. Or Red Robin decides to start buying a lower grade of ground beef. Or all of the above.

The average consumer, or citizen, or voter, thinks increases in the minimum wage are good, especially for low-income, low-skilled workers.  Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

The signing ceremony makes the headlines and the evening news. The politicians who sponsored the increase are hailed by the media and talking heads as champions of the disadvantaged, having triumphed over the tight-fisted, mean-spirited opposition financed by evil Big Business. Unfortunately, the consequences mentioned above never make the headlines. If Red Robin raises its prices, lays off employees, imposes a hiring freeze, or cuts back on their portion sizes in response to the minimum-wage increases, will the media hop right on it? Not bloody likely. Will the company hold a news conference explaining that the lay-offs, price increases, and smaller portions are directly attributable to the state-mandated increase in the minimum wage? Again, not bloody likely.

The political establishment and their dutiful, fawning media just want you to hear the fun stuff.  Then they box it up, put a bow on it, and attach a cutesy jingle to it like “America’s Getting a Raise !!”  Then it’s repeated ad nauseum till the woefully ignorant electorate unconsciously swallows it hook, line, and sinker.   

The laws of economics are universal, transcendent, and immutable.  They always have the last word.  Unfortunately, they are seldom heard.



President Trump is quick to tout his intelligence, his wealth, and his accomplishments. Today, he called himself a “very stable genius.” At least half of America thinks he’s an obnoxious blowhard, even crazy. I think there is a method to his madness.

Millions of American kids have been brainwashed by the public education system and modern culture to believe that their intelligence and accomplishments, like those of their parents, are a function of “privilege.” Something to be ashamed of or feel guilty about.  Diligence and motivation have nothing at all to do with success. Students are now being tested across the country to determine their “privilege awareness.”

President Trump is taking on Political Correctness in subtle ways most social justice warriors are too blinded by hatred to consider. By openly and vocally expressing his pride in his own self-driven merits, President Trump is trying to send a strong message to today’s youth—Don’t be ashamed of your virtues. Virtue is the fruit of rational thought. Diligence and motivation are virtues. Do we want our kids to fail because some of their peers are failures? Are they to be ashamed of their accomplishments because others have none? Are they supposed to go through life with half their brains tied behind their backs because others are intellectually challenged?

Where would mankind be if it weren’t for the productive—the brain-i-acs, the hard-working, the creative, the entrepreneurs, the competent, who seek only an honest return for their efforts and the freedom to pursue their goals? In today’s America and elsewhere, competence is an unforgiveable offense subject to merciless derision by cultural marxists in our public schools, colleges and universities, and the media. If it weren’t for the competent, we’d all be hunter/gatherers living in stone-cold, fetid hovels.

There is work to be done, things to be invented, medical and scientific breakthroughs to be made. Are we to entrust our future to those who won’t get out of bed, crack a book, or fill out a job application? To be sure, there are millions of poor and destitute, through no fault of their own, deserving of our help and compassion. We must find a way to differentiate between those who cannot work and those who will not work. Our current welfare system has failed to do this.

That said, we must never criticize or subject to systemic condemnation the hardworking, the ambitious, and the intellectually gifted. After all, our future is in their hands. They must be encouraged to reach for the stars and play every game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series. Indeed, all of our children must be inspired to succeed to the extent of their abilities, and taught that failure is only a step away from their fondest dreams.

President Trump is right to take on this toxic mindset and warped value-system.

Obamacare Mandate: Contrary to Our Natural Rights

Indeed, the repeal of the Obamacare mandate is one of the great civil rights victories of our times. Obamacare violates our inalienable natural rights/property rights in critical ways. First, it compels you to purchase an insurance product you may not need or want in terms dictated by the government. In a free society, you would be free to negotiate the terms and coverages of the plans, deductables, prices, etc. For example, an elderly couple doesn’t need pregnancy benefits, infant annihilation coverage, or coverage for any minor children.

When I was working, we had two health insurance choices—Self, or Self and Family. This is hardly just. What about Self, Self and Spouse, Self and Spouse + one child, + two children, etc? Why should a couple with one child pay the same premium as a couple with five children? Obamacare compels one to pay for the insurance of others. This is the most unjust provision of Obamacare—compelling the few to support the many. This completely flies in the face of our Natural Rights.

(This is off-topic, but the same principle—school taxes—should be levied according to how many children you have enrolled in the system. A childless couple should pay no school taxes. Nor should families who choose to home school or send their children to private or parochial schools. Only families with children in the public school system should pay school taxes.)

Health insurance should rightly be one the most individualized products or services one will ever buy. One should be able to purchase health insurance “cafeteria style.” You would pick and choose from a menu of benefits and coverages best suited to your life’s circumstances, starting with the number of people in your family requiring coverage. But the government has pretty much eliminated choice and supplanted it with one-size-fits-all loaded with mandatory benefits many of us don’t need or want.

Our Judeo-Christian faith and value system commends the disadvantaged to our care.  But it must never be compelled, it must an act of free choice.  After all, virtue pre-supposes free will.  If we are compelled to help the disadvantage, there is no virtue.  If we freely choose to help the needy, the sick, the handicapped to the extent of our ability, we are blessed.

One of government’s primary functions is the defense of our country. Yet, we do it with an all-volunteer military, and the volunteer gets to pick from among our existing armed services. Why can’t we have an all-voluntary health insurance system?  A/D

Ben Carson: Role Model – Cal Thomas

Doctor Carson is not just a role model for the black community, but everyone, everywhere.  He is truly, as they say, a gentleman and a scholar.  His soft-spokenness belies a high-powered intellect, a necessity in the upcoming national debate about our inner cities and the never-ended cycle of poverty and spiritual destitution with which it is cursed.  His arrival on the political scene could not happen a minute too soon.  He is “just what the doctor ordered.”  All of our youth should aspire to emulate Doctor Carson—on every level—personally, scholastically, spiritually.  He is deserving of our prayers and steadfast support.