Saturday, December 31, 2005

What’s wrong with Socialism?

The following is partly fact and partly my opinion. I will leave it to the reader to determine which is which and if in doubt, please ask.

Our great Country used to have the free enterprise system as a basis for economic freedom, which many including myself believe, is one of the two cornerstones of Liberty. There is good reason that the words “Free Enterprise” have the word “Free” in it. Much to my chagrin, we currently have a combination of Socialism and the Free Enterprise system.

Social Freedom and Economic Freedom are both necessary for true freedom. Socialism, Communism and other Authoritarian forms of economic and political interaction, all deny the freedom for one to choose his vocation based upon his desires and abilities.

A Russian friend of mine back in the late 1970’s once told me, “You Americans don’t really understand freedom. You come to my Country and see us going about our daily lives, people standing on soapboxes, complaining about various things, going to the store to buy things, etc.”

“What you don’t realize is that those on the soapbox will find that tomorrow they have been reassigned to a different factory in a different town and a much worst apartment as a punishment for daring to speak out. Their shoe rations have been cut, and they are on a ‘watch list’ from that day on.”

“This happens in China as well. When we go to the store to by food, we find that we cannot always get what we want because of government interference in our businesses. The social and economic planners and their “5 year plans” can never react quickly enough to the market needs. This causes Black Markets and crime.”

The key to understanding Economics and their theories is the understanding of human nature and not the understanding of mathematical theories of “economic equilibrium and the static state.”

The main failure of Socialism is the elimination of the need for the entrepreneurial function. With Socialism the productive are punished and the non-productive are rewarded. This is the main reason why all Socialism and Communism systems will always fail. It is the worst form of discrimination, it is discrimination based upon productivity. When all are paid whether they work or not, too many will choose to not work. We see it everyday in our welfare system. Why work for ten dollars an hour, when you can stay at home and get by on the sweat of others brows?

The second reason socialism doesn’t work is because of the problem of establishing the value of goods. While the free market system establishes value by way of supply and demand, which can be dealt with using math, i.e., V = D/S, that is to say Value is equal to Demand over Supply. (In other words, we can say the bigger the demand relative to the supply, the more the value.) In Socialism there is no mathematical formula for value because the value of production is based upon some nebulous number based upon wants and needs that either produces shortages or excess of a given product. Ludwig Von Mises calls this “The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism.”

In the year 1620 William Bradford and other elders wrote an extraordinary charter called the “Mayflower Compact.” The original contract that the pilgrims who settled in New Plymouth, Virgina, had with their sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common storehouse.

This attempt to practice socialism had very poor results and Bradford wrote in his Journal why it failed, he said, “For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense ... that was thought injustice.”

Of course it was considered unjust! It is a form of economic slavery. Humans all naturally want to find the most pleasurable jobs, that is to say the ones with the most relaxed atmosphere. This means very few want to do the “difficult or more labor intensive” jobs. Who wouldn’t or who hasn’t wished for the job of the supervisor or manager. According to many, most people perceive manual labor as a form of pain. “No pain, no gain” is just as true in economic sense as it is in physical exercise.

So, Bradford assigned each family a plot of land to work and manage for their own benefit. He then wrote, “This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”

It is natural for people to hope to “get ahead” or to have a more “pleasurable” life, one of leisure if you will. They do this by working hard to save for their future. When under Socialism they find that any extra work goes to someone else, they tend to do just enough to get by.

The story of the “Little Red Hen” that I grew up with has great moral value and wisdom. It tells of human nature and the problems we as a nation are facing in the years ahead. For as soon as men get a little authority they immediately begin to unjustly dominate others.

Sometimes they believe that by doing what is called “Social Engineering” they can use this power to mold others into better people. This is a form of “forcing others to become what they perceive is best for society.” The problem lies in “who” gets to become the enlightened class or who gets to do the molding or forcing. At the moment that distinction belongs to those in Washington and in the Social Elite. No matter their motives, their methods involve “force.” Socialism can only exist if it is “forced” upon a society either by a tyrant or by a vote of the majority.

Socialized medicine is just around the corner. Our great country was built upon principals of freedom. We cannot really be free under Socialism. Socialism requires people to work for others without just compensation. Some day we will learn the lesson the pilgrims and Russia learned, but we will learn it by even a harder lesson, for we will have lost the most glorious system of government ever devised by human minds.

True freedom requires both social and economic freedom. Socialism is economic force. You are forced to work partly for your neighbor without just or fair compensation. Those that get ahead are punished with a fine or fee we sometimes call a “progressive tax.”

At the moment almost half of the Budget for the U.S.A. goes to three main categories, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. This percentage will only continue to grow as we move toward even more socialism. National Health Care will ruin our economy and our great founding principals of Freedom. (In my humble opinion.)

UPDATE 01-01-06
Since I am very close to being a libertarian in many areas, (use taxes as the fairest tax, and free market), I thought I would add a new piece of infrormation from a site that I visit often called

Here is a link to a very good article on the evils of Socialism, specifically "African Socialism" and it's founder Julius Nyerere from Tanzania. Here is a qouote from the article about the dismal failure of all Socialism projects, "All these different forms of socialism not only implied huge economic waste, inefficiency and poverty but also great centralization of political power. As a consequence, African leaders gave themselves and their parties great influence. "

And finally he says, "To sum up, the rich world exported the ideas of Karl Marx instead of Adam Smith to Africa. The ideas of Marx haven’t worked anywhere and apparently they did not work in Africa either."

"Nyerere left Tanzania as one of the seven poorest countries on earth, despite receiving the highest per capita foreign aid."

Again Socialism brings "great centralization of political power" and it never works.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday Best Wishes - Libs and Conservatives

From Phil in Maine.....via Geoff Metcalf

To My More Liberal/Democratic Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms.

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

For My More Conservative/Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Strife and Contention

The following is my Opinion.

One of the reasons that we as a country find ourselves in such a divided nation is because of two actions that are an offshoot of competition. Those actions are “Strife and Contention.” While competition is good, it can have harmful by products.

The dictionary defines “strife” as: strife (strºf) n. 1. Heated, often violent dissension; bitter conflict. 2. A struggle, fight, or quarrel. 3. Contention or competition between rivals. 4. Archaic. Earnest endeavor or striving.

The dictionary defines “contention” as: con·ten·tion (k…n-tµn“sh…n) n. 1. The act or an instance of striving in controversy or debate. 2. A striving to win in competition; rivalry. 3. An assertion put forward in argument.

Lets see what the Bible tells us about “strife” and “contention.” Notice that a debate happens to fall into the definition of contention, and contention is used as a part of the definition of strife.

There are 38 references in the Bible about strife and 9 about contention. Most of them talk about how bad it is to participate in both.

In my opinion the reason that it is bad is that it can foster what is called “false pride.” Here is what my opinion of the difference between “pride” and “false pride” is:

Pride is being able to say to ones self or to someone else things that compare your results with what “you are capable of doing.” For instance one might say something like this, “I ran the mile in 4 minutes flat, and I never thought I could do that well.” There is nothing wrong with pride, only false pride.

False pride is comparing your self “with others.” For example, one might say something like this, “I ran the mile today and I beat all 17 participants. I was so much better than they were, it isn’t even funny.” False pride lifts us up at the expense of someone else. Winning awards where there is competition sometimes gets us in trouble because it can “lift us up” in others eyes and in our eyes to where we think we are better than others.

Now for some quotes:

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” – (Prov. 13:10)

“A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” - ( Prov 15:18 )

“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” – ( Prov 22:10 )

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” - ( 1 Cor. 3:3 )

This is why I prefer for people on the Blogosphere to post information that is their opinion and for others to disagree in a way that does not cause strife and contention. In other words not as a debate, and not in a way to “prove the other person wrong” as that can instill “false pride.”

Try things like, “I see your point, but I disagree with you and here is why.”

Or, something like this, “Well my opinion is a little different, it is this….”

I don’t think there is many people on the Blogosphere who do not exhibit rational thought and have some points that are worth consideration. We may disagree with them, but when we start to feel like they have no points worthy of merit, we are only fooling ourselves and beginning down the road of “false pride.”

Well anyway, I am guilty of sometimes breaking my own rules and each time I do, I find myself in deep remorse, and shameful of such actions.

So, I would like to ask all of you to help me remember this post and the message within.

It may even be good advise for all to ponder.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fun with Communication

Disclaimer – In any of my posts, I am stating my opinion, or others opinions, unless I specifically state that I am stating fact.

Update: Yolo Cowboy reminded me that there are actually 8 different meanings instead of the 6 I posted this morning, so I added the other two.

In my last two posts the subject of understanding of sentences in the Bible and what they really mean came up several times. A fellow blogger – “Three Score and Ten or More” commented about semantics and the ability and inability for humans to really understand “words and their meanings”, so I thought I would post on the subject.

Let us examine a single sentence and how many ways people could mean it when they said it, and how many ways others could take it.

“I never said that Robert was a thief.”

Can eight words produce eight different meanings?

1. - “I” never said that Robert was a thief. Somebody else may have said it, but “I” never said it.

2. - I “never” said that Robert was a thief. Not yet anyway. I might say it tomorrow.

3. - I never “said” that Robert was a thief. I might have “implied” it, but I never “said” it.

4. - I never said "that" Robert was a thief. I said the "other" Robert was a thief, not him.

5. - I never said that “Robert” was a thief. I said “Bob” was, not Robert.

6. - I never said that Robert “was” a thief. I said he “is” a thief.

7. - I never said that Robert was "a" thief. I said he was "the" thief.

8. - I never said that Robert was a “thief.” I said he “stole something.”

Have fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Posting Religious Beliefs.

Whenever someone, (anyone), posts about their beliefs and in particular what they believe that the Bible and other Scholars teach, there will be people who will say, “that is false” and “you are wrong.”

It is not possible to defend your position because so many people can pick and choose their favorite passages or they can find some passages that “seem” to conflict. Many will point to lots of passages in the Bible that “seem” to have very clear messages, but yet conflict. This is one of the reasons why we can’t “prove” any religious beliefs.

So it has been my hard lesson learned to not attack others beliefs because once you have them on the defensive, they are done and this is not being fair to their beliefs.

Well I posted on my understanding of the “Laws of Moses” where I thought some might find it interesting, and I got “attacked” as being “wrong” and teaching “false concepts.” Something I did when I was young and zealous.

I should have known better than to fall for this trap again. I was trying to use the Bible and other resources to show, (not prove), what “some” of the material that I thought supported the position that I had both studied on my own for decades and had some of my favorite scholars present as their findings.

For example suppose I was Catholic and I posted my beliefs about what I thought was interesting about my particular beliefs that agreed with my religion. No sooner would I post it and I would have lots of people posting at least six direct quotes from the Bible that people often use to “prove” that the Catholic religion wrong. My wife was Catholic when we married and she used to tell me about how others would “attack” her religion and how she was “sick of it.” Because of this, I realized how wrong it was to attack other religions or others beliefs by trying to "prove" them wrong and especially by using scripture to attack and making them defend by using scripture. The person on the offensive will always seemingly "win."

I won’t list those six seemingly black and white passages here because again I don’t believe in attacking anyone’s beliefs. It is the spirit of contention that Satan uses to bring down the love of our neighbors. I don’t believe that anyone should try to quote scripture to “prove” their position one way or another, which is why we have so much bickering between religions in the world today.

There are about 2 billion Christians in the world today and about 1.2 billion Muslims, but of those each belief system has many, many different sects because they each interpret the Bible and the Quran differently. They all believe they are “right”, but yet logic says that they “all” can’t be, so is there one true religion? That is up to us to figure out and if we think we have found it, then we should use gentle persuasion and just suggest ideas, and not attack others by trying to "prove" our belief, especially by trying to prove theirs wrong!

I had to write this post because I started finding myself getting frustrated and I am sure it showed in my responses, as I was not my normal composed self.

I love to discuss different religious positions but I do not love to “debate” them as debate evolves into contention and contention is wrong.

So, in closing, if any of you find me posting quotes from the Bible or any other religious scholar, please remind me that I am on the defensive and will never be able to “show” a different view to anyone who has a different religious view unless they are open to consider that they might not have the correct view in the first place.

This is because some people who belong to a religion are comfortable in that religion and don’t want their belief shaken by anyone with a different view. Their brain will not let them acknowledge any good points made. Everything presented will be seen as "wrong" no matter how good the points.

Here is to understanding others all have good points about their beliefs, as we all are capable of choosing the religion that "best fits" our beliefs, and thank God we are not all the same. What a boring world that would be.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Old Testament Justice

Update: 12-20-05 -----
The information below is my opinion based upon 40 years of Bible Study using such wonderful references as Dr. Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary and other great works. In no way is it intended to be stated as fact other than what others have said are fact, such as Dr. Clarke's findings about Jewish law and Customs.

- - - -

Since Capital Punishment has been a hot topic lately, I thought I would post on clearing up something in the Old Testament that has been getting a bad rap.

First a little background on Gods Laws.

The Gospel, (the good news that there would be a Messiah who would be sacrificed and enable anyone who would repent of their sins to be forgiven), was originally given to Adam and passed on down from generation to generation.

It was very lengthy and very detailed. It included some laws and also some rituals, which were to remind them of the sacrifice that God would make through his Son Jesus Christ. In fact the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri) was set aside by the Lord as the annual Day of Atonement. Modern Jews call this day “Yom Kippur.” While there are two significant things that occur on this day, one of the things was the ritual of oral confession of all of the sins of the whole people while the leader laid his hands on the head of a goat they called “the scape goat.” (See Leviticus 16:21) This was also a reminder that Jesus was going to be the scape goat for all mankind.

There were two basic sets of Laws in the Old Testament; The "Gospel Law", and “The Law of Moses”, in which a new set of Laws called the “Carnal Commandments”, or as the Apostle Paul called them "the carnal ordinances", were added.

The Book of Exodus begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the building of the Tabernacle. At the moment the Tabernacle was finished, the children of Israel started to receive the Carnal Commandments.

These Carnal Commandments were meant to be temporary and to be a “schoolmaster” to bring Israel to Christ, or “The Messiah.” Once the Messiah came, they would be fulfilled. Paul makes this clear. He points out that they were “added because of transgression” (Galatians 3:19), and that they included the laws which “stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformat
ion.” - (Hebrews 9:10 )

In other words, until the Messiah came.

The Carnal Commandments can be grouped into three categories; The Laws of Purification, The Dietary Laws, and The Elaborate System of Sacrifices and Offerings.

The Laws of Purification contained the following; The Sin Offering, The Burnt Offering, The Peace Offering, The Wave Offering, The Trespass Offering, The Meat Offering, and The Drink Offering.

The permanent part of the Gospel Covenant could be grouped into four categories; The Ten Commandments, The Simple Sacrifice, (to be replaced with the Sacrament), The Laws of Preparation and The Policies of Justice, Generosity, Liberty and Equality for All.

This Gospel Covenant, which existed from the time of Adam, was to be just the “floor” of the Gospel, not the ceiling. Jesus wanted his disciples to use it as a minimum and then add to it things which are of a higher plane.

While people have a right of “justice”, God will reward us more if we resist the urge to retaliate. Jesus was teaching that people should rise to the highest possible capacity for tolerance, love and forgiveness.

While it was clear that a group such as the Jewish government or leaders was not to provide charity for the poor, love one’s neighbor; be honest in business dealings, etc. It was to be done by individuals by obeying principles of the Gospel.

Update: 12-20-05 ------

Of course the jewish leaders were also individuals and were suppose to be bound by the same standards. The Jews took these responsibilities upon themselves and did not pawn them off to their government as far as I know. Perhaps someone can show me where the Jews collected taxes to help the poor?


The part of the Law of Moses, often called the Law of the Covenant by some, had a genius for achieving justice and equality that is unmatched by any other ancient code. Hammurabi’s Code for instance incorporated special privileges for certain classes and the application of the law depended upon the class to which a person belonged. Other codes such as Confucius, Menu and Zoroaster also had many great weaknesses.

Let’s now examine how the Law of Moses was generally misunderstood as being very harsh, when in reality it wasn’t.

First the old saying “an eye for an eye.” If some one deliberately put out someone’s eye, it was necessary for the guilty party to provide “satisfaction” to the victim, or lose his own eye. In other words it was the threat of losing his own eye that was the reason that the offender would desperately extend himself to the victim to make things right. It was also a way of showing that the punishment should fit the crime.

In most cases this “satisfaction” was in the form of money. If the person didn’t have any money, he could sell his services for up to six years to pay off the debt. Today we do the wrong thing by sending people to prison where they are separated from their family and instead of the injured party being compensated; either the city, county or state is paid money and/or society must do the “paying” by supporting the offender in prison.

The purpose of the Law of Moses was to balance the scales of justice with the victim, not the state. In modern justice we penalize the guilty, but we do nothing for the victim, which robs justice. In fact we are penalizing those who are not guilty with taxes to pay for the care of those who are. The Law of Moses was much more fair and there was no prison. I don't know of any references in the Bible for a Penal System.

The “satisfaction” was not only to restore, but also to give back more to make up for any inconvenience or fear to which he had subjected his victim. For example, the penalty for theft was to return twice as much as had been stolen. (Exodus 22:4)

Now for the main subject, Capital Punishment under the Law of Moses.

While a great many crimes carried the death penalty, only one carried a compulsory death sentence, and that was first-degree murder. (Numbers 35:31)

On all other offenses, where the maximum penalty was death, the person had two alternatives. One was to “be cut off from among his people” and the other was to “make satisfaction.” A person could be cut off from among his people by self-exile. From “his people” did not mean “all people.” You either made up for your bad behavior to preserve a wholesome society or you went to a society that had lower standards.

This shows that the Law of Moses was not a “Lex Talionis” (Law of Retaliation), but a Law of reparation. The object was equity and justice, not revenge. The object was to restore the victim, not to destroy the offender, by making the offender do the restoring.

With respect to the death sentence, the accusers had to “throw the first stone.” Then the leaders of the community could carry out the sentence. If the accusers refused then it was assumed that there was something wrong with their testimony.

Next, the idea that there were many other “death sentences” for seemly much less serious crimes will be addressed. For example, take the dealings with a dissolute, disobedient and obstreperous son. While it would seem backward to say the least to impose the death penalty because a son was out of control, remember the offending person had the option of self-exile.

First, the sons of Israel were very obedient because they knew that the parents had the backing of society with legal authority over their very lives if they became too rebellious. Next, the parents were required to exhibit the utmost patience with him to try to work out their bad behavior before they could declare him anathema.

“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place: and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn, and rebellious, he will not obey our voice…” (Deuteronomy 21: 18-20 )

At this point the parents had to pick up and cast the first stone. It is no wonder we don’t have any record of this ever happening. Parents, no matter how provoked would not likely do this to their children. They would probably suggest self-exile if the son was not willing to obey, but the psychological value of having the ultimate consequence of not obeying ones parents, of either getting killed or imposing self-exile made children very obedient.

This may be where the Muslims get the concept of “Honor Killings.” Remember they obeyed the Laws of Moses at one point also. They probably just forgot that the offending party should have the choice of self-exile of where they would have to leave the Muslim society.

And finally, the offenses against society where there is no need to “make satisfaction” to the victim. These offenses were dealt with by “public whippings.” The maximum amount was to be forty lashes.

“And it shall be, if the wicked man be worth to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his [the judge’s] face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not to exceed: lest, if he should exceed and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.” (Deuteronomy 25: 2-3)

Under the Law of Moses, once the offender was whipped he was released. They could not put him in a dungeon, starve, mutilate, or torture him, as was custom in the non-Jewish societies in those days.

So, there you have it. God is a loving God and there are very few recorded instances, (they maybe translated incorrectly), of the death penalty being carried out for some of the offenses that carried the death penalty other than murder in the first degree under the Law of Moses. There was to be an alternative of self-exile for all the other crimes. (Update: 12-20-05 - This paragraph has been edited to accomodate possible exceptions to this rule. Thanks to Kt4JC for pointing out what might be at least one exception.)

Maybe we should consider the victim as much as the Law of Moses did instead of the “state” getting the “satisfaction” and the taxpayers paying to have a person be separated from his family for things like theft that could be handled by the focus being on victims and justice instead of jails and fines for the state treasury.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Are Conservatives "Statists?"

A very interesting article on the support for our Country has some serious flaws, but again is a very interesting read for other reasons.

First a preface on the proper priorities that people should have in their lives. I will state them in two ways, first for the non-theist and then for the theist because that includes everybody.

The first priority for a non-theist should be “His standards of humane treatment of others.” Next should be his family and then his loyalty to his country.

For the Theist it should be almost identical, it should be God, Family, and Country in that order. I also believe if you gave those three items to most Americans and asked them to prioritize them, they would do it in the order I believe is prevalant in this country which is the one of God, Family and then Country.

Now, with that preface, lets analyze the article.

The author starts off with a fallacy in his statement that “If our average conservative happened to be an Iraqi, he would be a cheerleader for Saddam Hussein.”

People always get into trouble when they paint with a broad brush, but lets talk about those he is defaming.

This statement overlooks entirely the order of priorities in most Conservatives, Libertarians, or Liberals that I know. An person who has his priorities straight, as most Americans I know, would not support Saddam just because he was born there, because he would be agreeing with Saddam’s practices of Murder, torture, and rape of his citizens.

No Conservative I know thinks for a moment that those actions are what God would want us to do. And since over 95% of Conservatives believe in God, I think that is a fair statement.

His premise that many people in general would support their Country blindly is probably a true statement, but I don’t believe that even an American Socialist would support Saddam’s actions if he just happened to be born in Iraq. Or as the author puts it “an accident of birth.”

I happen to believe that there is no "accident of birth." We are born where we were supposed to be born, as God put us where our personalities dictate we should be born for proper progress toward our spiritual goals. But then lets examine his article without my beliefs that babies already have individual personalities when they are born and people are not born with "blank slates" for personalities.

The notion of “My Country right or wrong” is ridiculous and ignores the priority of principals over blind obedience. Not all people in Iraq supported Suddam, and I contend the people who had principals didn't support Saddam, and those are the very people who if born in this country would be fine Americans with principals above patriotism. People who supported Saddam, either were too scared to speak out or had no moral compass.

I don’t know anyone who believes “My Country right or wrong.” Or stated more explicitly, "My Country is ALWAYS right." Do you? Ask anybody if they believe that "Their Country is always right." If they do then they have a warped sense of right and wrong and a warped sense of priorities.

Most Americans, let alone Conservatives, believe in principals before patriotism, which makes his assertion incorrect.

Next he thinks that imposing freedom in Iraq is/will be a disaster. Since I am an Isolationist I happen to agree with some of his points about being in Iraq. It is true in my view that “nation building” is in general a bad idea.

However, if you look at Japan, and South Korea, you find that changing them into democracies had positive results and both of those cultures were not normally inclined to democracy and the Administration’s view that having Iraq a Democracy will have lasting benefits may turn out to be correct, but I just happen to think we are on shaky ground to dispose of Saddam the way we did.

A small Commando team may have done it much easier if regime change was the goal. Now that we are there, I don’t want to leave until the job is done, but I was against going to war initially and I respect others for their views prior to the war. Now that we are there we should be united in support of our troops mission so as not to bolden the enemy.

So are Americans Statists? No. Are Conservatives Statists? No. We as a Nation have principals we place before party or Country.

If his assertion were true, then when a liberal was President, all Conservatives would go along with whatever direction he took us because we all blindly follow our Country/leader, even when we disagree with his policies. What nonsense!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Is “Free Enterprise” Fair? Part 2.

There appears to be some people with the position that “Free Enterprise” is unfair. One or those in particular is a blogger known as “Stalin the Shark”.

We got in this discussion by me implying that transfer payments were the same as “legal theft.” Well, since that phrase is an oxymoron I agreed that it may be legal and therefore it can only be immoral, and not really stealing per se.

But, taking from one group or class of citizens based upon income, and transferring that to another group or class of citizens may not be theft, but it is without a doubt immoral or unjust because it is unjust discrimination.

He cannot say that discrimination based upon income is somehow moral. He will not be able to go there. Liberals love to say that discrimination is unjust and unfair, so his brain will not let him admit that fact because it will make him inconsistent.

Now, back to his position that owners “steal” from their employees.

The fallacy goes like this…”The workers in a company produce all of the value, but they only get paid a part of that value, therefore it is unfair or the owner(s) are really stealing from the workers.”

The fallacy lies in the first part of the statement that “assumes” that only those who actually do the production produce “all”, or the “only” value.

Let’s examine the silliness of that position.

Leave the workers completely alone without any tools and without any capital what so ever and see if they can truly produce what they were producing by themselves.

Help Mr. Owner, I need some supplies. Well, go buy them. Help, Mr. Owner, I need a new spray gun, the one I was using broke. Well, go by one. Help Mr. Owner, we don’t have any customers to sell this product to. Well, go advertise. Help Mr. Owner, we need to pay ourselves and we lost money on the last job, so we don’t have enough to pay ourselves. Well, go borrow some money. Help, Mr. Owner, we keep loosing money on all of our jobs, we need to have someone who can figure out what we are doing wrong. Well, hire someone who manages full time to do the sales and the figuring out why you are always loosing money.

You see, the problem with the thought that a business can operate at all with only producers is incredible shallow thinking and says to all business owners, they should fire all of the managers and support help that are needed to make a business run. Also what if the owner is doing most of the management and support help? Does he deserve some of the value for his contribution? How about his capital contribution? How about value for his risk for even starting a company that 90% of the time fails in the first year?

So, the fact is the following: “The company produces more value that just what the non-owners produce.” That appears to me to be indisputable.

I really think sts knows that as he seems intelligent and he just likes to be challenging.

Where the real battle is between Freedom and Force, and he has admitted, and I have admitted, that this is were the real battle is, so since there are 16 different definitions of “Force” in my dictionary based upon it’s use, I will correctly define Force and Freedom where they apply to our discussion.

Freedom in a government setting should be defined as…”The unrestricted ability to make choices so long as those choices don’t affect others ability to do the same.”

Force in a government setting is therefore the opposite and should be defined as…”The coercion by someone or some group to restrict choices that would otherwise NOT harm someone else or society.”

Now, having said that let me make sure that we understand that having consequences for our actions is not using force by others. If someone robs a store they are choosing prison. They are making a choice that results in consequences so “they” are limiting their ability to make future choices by their own actions.

Workers can choose to start their own business or to find another job if they think the job offered is unfair, they still have the same choices as before, whereas transfer payments are not part of individual choice.

In the case of welfare, we choose to have our government protect us from unjust taxation, meaning we as a country don’t like socialism, where the government gets to enrich one class of citizen and punish another class of citizen in doing so.

When the majority vote to have “socialism” programs, they are restricting the choices by way of majority rule, i.e., might makes right. And everyone knows that might does not always make right.

Transfer payments may be legal, but there is no doubt that they are discriminatory and therefore unjust.

So, whenever you vote, make sure you are asking the question, “Am I supporting an action that is “forcing” the will of the majority unjustly.”

Am I favoring Freedom or Force? Socialism by its very discriminatory nature is Force.

Am I in favor of eliminating all forms of subsidies or transfer payments? Yes, corporate welfare is just as bad. Am I in favor of someone being able to do other stupid things like smoke weed? Yes, as long as those choices don’t limit the choices of others, then they should be allowed and they should be a States Rights question not a Federal Question or decision.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

But is it Fair?

A blogger I have been discussing fair taxation with, appears to have a position that the Capitalistic system is unfair. Since True Capitalism is based upon the oldest form of enterprise known to man, called the “Barter System”, I thought it worthwhile to discuss it in a post.

When you go to the store and buy a can of beans for $2.10, is the price that you paid “fair?” Yes, it must be, because you paid it.

Lets examine the transaction. You voted with your dollars that you would rather have the can of beans than the $2.10. That is what establishes the value of the can of beans. If enough people don’t buy the can of beans, the price will be lowered until enough people vote for that price.

When you show up to ask for a job, you listen to the work required and then usually you are told that the job either pays “x” amount or you are told it is based upon experience.

Now, you can either just accept their offer, if one is made, or you can ask for more. The trick is to know how to ask for more without it sounding like a demand. Usually I say something like this, “I was hoping for a little more…say “x” amount?” It never hurts to ask, but most people feel too intimidated. Only ask if the job is offered, but don’t hesitate to ask. The two most advantageous times a person is in a good barter position for their wages is “going in, and going out.”

There are two components of a “free market” society. Capital, (money), and Labor, (Workers.) One of these two components is more valuable than the other, and the one that is more valuable is Capital. So, why is Capital more valuable than Labor?

Let’s suppose you want to go into business for your self. You usually need a few things to get started. First, you need something to sell, as every business sells something, be it service or a product.

The next thing you need is usually “seed” money. This is money to invest in your “sunk costs” or “float costs.” Sunk Costs are those that you have to make in order to have a business. They are things such as Office Furniture, phones, etc.

Float Costs are the amount of money you need to have as a “cushion” or “emergency” funds, such as when you don’t have enough sales yet to pay all of your bills, because the “fixed costs”, things like house payment, car payment, etc. that are always there, need to be paid even when you are loosing money. And most new businesses fail, so the owner gets to loose all or most of his investment. That fact also makes the Capital side more valuable.

So, now how do you get this initial money to start your business? You save up, borrow, or seek additional investors.

If you saved up so that you can have 100% of the business, then you have deprived yourself of current gratification for future gratification. Since this is a difficult task for most people, it is the main reason that people get ahead in life. They learn the value of saving and the multitudes of benefits it brings.

In any case, funding is the difficult part. There are always people who will volunteer to work for you at whatever they feel is a fair wage. Will a President of a Company work for $10.00 per hour? No. Will a Finance Officer work for $10.00 per hour? No. Each position has an established “market value” based upon the single most important item in a Laborers toolbox, and it is called his “skill set.”

This is the most important part of this post for all to understand, and that is this, “The only Job Security anyone has that works for others, is his “skill set.”

A person should be trying to figure out what he or she can learn or what inherent skill he or she has that will always be valuable to an employer. Also becoming more versatile also makes you more valuable.

What makes a persons “wage” fair is the amount of effort that the person applying for the job has spent in improving his or her skill set. That perceived skill set is what the business is bartering for. The more effort put into your skill set, the more you can ask for during the bartering session.

Back in the 1980’s I was offered a Job as a “C” Programmer for $25,000.00 and I said that I was hoping for $40,000.00 and they said, “O.K.” In my mind I said to myself, wow, I should have said $50,000.00, but needless to say, I was very, very, happy.

My goal was to eventually make a six-figure income. I asked around how could I do that and was told in my profession, A Software Engineer, I needed to go into consulting. It would need to be as an owner or work for a consulting company.

I eventually felt I was skilled enough that I applied to many consulting firms and eventually was offered a job. I told my boss that I didn’t want to work there unless I was guaranteed the ability to earn six-figures was available. He said that he had two other Software Engineers working there with that income. I asked him for the criteria, and he told me. Initially I turned down the job because it was only $35.00 per hour, and he kept upping the offer $5.00 per hour at a time, until I could no longer refuse. This was in the early 1990’s.

So, there you have it. A socialist will say that the Capitalist is living off the fruits of others, but in reality, a business is made up of a team and each has something to offer to reach the goal of the team. Some contributors offer more to the enterprise and therefore they rightfully get more in return. The ones that have more invested also have more to loose.

Is the Capitalist society a zero sum principal? No. If people produce goods with their labor, then sell it; they have increased the wealth of the nation. That is why the GNP goes up most years. In a zero sum society, a person only gets richer by making someone else poorer and the GNP will always be the same. It is easy to prove that it doesn’t happen in a Capitalist Society, but I will leave that to another post.

My philosophy is to have a really great profit sharing plan so that the employees can do well when the company does well, and when the company doesn’t do well, then it doesn’t pay any bonuses. This gets the employees to do their best to help contribute to the bottom line as it directly benefits them.

So, what is a “fair” wage? It is whatever two consenting adults decide is fair, which is usually somewhere around market value for the given skill set.

Want more money? Make your skill set more valuable to your employer. Simple.

Is Capitalism fair? You bet it is. See Matt 20: 1-13 as an example of Christ saying essentially this very fact! When the laborers found out that some were paid more for less work, he basically says, "Your deal is your deal, and someone else’s deal is their deal. You were happy when you made the deal, or else you would not have made it, so be happy now."

Monday, December 05, 2005

The State of The Nation

As a country we are indeed at a crossroads. We have people on the Left who actually believe that those on the right are “forcing” their brand of morality on them, when in reality they are “forcing” their brand of morality on the right.

Notice I am not saying Democrats or Republicans, as there are left and right in both parties. Once we get into the foolish notion of saying, “all Dems are bad, and all Reps are good", or vice versa, we have lost sight of the real battle for the soul of this nation. The real battle is in the notion of “freedom” versus “force.” Or “Individualism” versus “Collectivism.”

Two views when looking at the same things.

Points in comparison:

1. Abortion.
- While the right believes there are circumstances where abortion should be legal, i.e., when the mothers life is threatened, as in self-defense, the left refuses to acknowledge that their might be a real person in the womb at some point and wants abortion as a form of after the fact birth control.
- In reality abortion on demand is the ultimate act of selfishness. The notion that it is “My Body” refuses to acknowledge that it is at some point in the process, a matter of “three people” involved, not just one.
- Notice that "My Body" is about as selfish as one can get. They are saying..."It's MY body and my baby can just suffer pain and death, as I could care less." What a wonderful concern for the Golden Rule and fairness. Sure was a good thing their mother didn't have that same selfish attitude.
- To be so selfish as to not even acknowledge that the baby might just be alive at some point prior to birth is beyond rational belief.

2. Socialism.
- While the right believes that the individual has the moral responsibility to care for the poor, the left believes the government does. Or, in some cases, the left believes that both do. Since we are the government, they want to “force” their idea of “forced philanthropy” on all of us. They are in essence saying, “We are more enlightened than you, and therefore we feel that you will not care for your neighbor as you should, so we will force you to.”

- First it was "free" education. Next it will be "Free Health Care." Then next it will be "Free House" and "Free Car." Why not, they are all "necessary", aren't they? When do we stop, when everyone is poor/Equal?
- Either you believe in the idea of the "Bell shaped Curve", (Upper, Middle, and Lower Class), when it comes to enjoying the fruits of your labor, or you believe in everyone living off the fruits of everyone else's labor.

3. Government.
- While the left believes that government can solve everything by just using their enlightened wisdom, the right sees the fact that bureaucracies are the problem, not the solution. The fact that governments more often than not spends other peoples money unjustly, inefficiently, and unwisely, just escapes them.

4. Religion.
- While the left sees the Christian right forcing their brand of religion on others, the right sees just the opposite.
- While the left fails to realize that the Christian right does not want to force any particular brand of religion on the nation, the right wants the nation to acknowledge that everyone must answer the single most important moral and ethical question of all time, and that is The Question of God. There is no possible neutral ground on this question. Either you believe in God or you don’t. Those at work trying to remove God from our heritage and our nation are “forcing” their Atheism on the rest of us, all in the name of “neutrality.” Either you are a Theist or you are an Atheist, there is no in between.
- While the left is feverishly pushing for tolerance , they are all the while being intolerant. Take for example the news of the little girl in Washington State who was asked by the teacher to place their foot on a sheet of paper, trace around it and then label it or write what you think about it. The little girl wrote below her foot, “Jesus loves me.” Was the teacher tolerant? No, she scolded the little girl and told her she must not write about Christianity in public schools. But yet when the parents investigated why their little girl ran home crying, they found the teacher would not have been “offended” by the “Star of David” or the “Crescent” of Islam. So, who is intolerant? Is Christianity under attack or is the left’s version of “freedom of expression” the only one that counts?

5. War against Wahabism.
- While the left hasn’t got a clue as to how to fight against an enemy that has no nation, the right is doing their best to at least not just stand around and do nothing like the left did for eight years before. Clinton had numerous chances to get rid of Ben Laden, but was too worried about how popular it would be to do something. So, he choose to do nothing instead.
- The left criticizes the war, but then has no plan other than “cut and run.” Some plan.

- The left looks at 5 pieces of paper that all say the same things. One from France, one from Britian, one from Spain, one from Russia, and one from the U.S.A., or Bush. At the time the left said, "we believe in what all these papers on intelligence say and we vote to do something about it." Then when there are actual casualties, the left says, "All of the other papers were right, but the one that Bush gave us was all lies." And the real problem is that the MSM says "Bush Lied", but the others didn't, and the ignorant and closed minded belive it! Even when all of the intelligence reports said the same thing! Incrediable blind hatred!

We need to quit saying that the Republicans are all corrupt and the Democrats are not, and vice-versa. There are good and bad people in every walk of life, including government. It is just so naïve to think that one party or the other is all good or bad. The party in power is always on the defensive. It is a fact of nature that the opposition will always demonize the party in power, because it will always be about power, where it should always be about what is good for the country.

Lets talk about ways to improve our contry, instead of always finger pointing, because you know what they always say, "When you point your finger, there are four more pointing back at you."

The problem is that "They" even get the old saying wrong. It should be, "When you point your finger, there are THREE more pointing back at you.", because your thumb is not a finger, and is usually not pointing either way anyway.