Liberty, Politics, Uncategorized

Captain America vs. Capitalism?

In 2014, Steve Rogers had the Super Soldier Serum removed from his body. This caused him to return to his natural age (very old). Because of this, he passed on the title of Captain America to his longtime friend and partner, Sam Wilson (Falcon). In a world focused on identity politics, this was a big deal because Sam is black. Marvel often uses the Captain America series to tackle political topics and by switching Captains they were able to adjust the viewpoint of their Captain America.

For those of you who may not be a comic reader, many comics use storytelling that span many issues known as story arcs. The first arc in Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015) starts out with the immigration issue, but becomes a story of the evils of Big Business. Captain America finds out that the violence at the border is actually caused by a company called Serpent Solutions. Serpent Solutions is supposed to be a group of super villains attempt at “going legit.” Their business model seems to be create products by any means necessary (kidnapping, human experiments, and murder) and then sell the patents to big corporations.

Screenshot_20180203-110408

Now, I think most people would easily agree this is a bad practice. Captain America is right to put a stop to Serpent Solutions and the corporations who turn a blind eye to their practices and profit from using their “services.” My issue though is that while these are bad people, the buzz words and justifications used by the bad guys connect their philosophy with that of capitalism, free markets, and liberty. They even outright name Ayn Rand, as seen below.

Screenshot_20180203-114638

20180203_115114
Cap was experimented on earlier in the story. That is why he is a werewolf here. Don’t worry, it wears off.

Not once throughout the arc is this distortion of what capitalism is refuted for the perversion that it is. The reader is only presented with the villain’s philosophy being tied to Ayn Rand, corporations, and Donald Trump (“make America Marvelous again”). So, I am going to take this opportunity to enlighten people about what a Free Market is and is not.

There are many terms that all roughly describe the same thing. Free market, free enterprise, capitalism, laissez-faire are all examples of the basic idea of an economy grounded in private property and little government control. As an example of this idea, I will use an excerpt from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, since she was called out by Marvel in this story.

“I work for nothing but my own profit- which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs; I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage-and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner… I have made my money by my own effort, in free exchange and through the voluntary consent of every man I dealt with-the voluntary consent of those who employed me when I started, the voluntary consent of those who work for me now, the voluntary consent of those who buy my product… I could say to you that you do not serve the public good-that nobody’s good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices-that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all man, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction.”

At the beginning of this passage, you may think Marvel had the right idea. That is until the phrase, “mutual consent,” is used. It is that spirit that continues on through the rest of the passage. The idea of consent and voluntarism. That is the heart of the Free Market. The ability to decide for yourself what you want to do with your own property.

So, let’s look at what Serpent Solutions and the companies who hired them were doing. They were kidnapping people. That is, they took people by force without their consent. They experimented on them without their consent. They murdered people. That is, they forcefully ended the lives of others. All of this action is the violation of people’s rights. Clearly, these actions are not what Ayn Rand promoted.

But what about some of the other things Viper talks about when trying to justify his actions to Captain America? He brings up regulations and asks, “where in the Constitution is anyone promised clean air?” This is a common straw man when discussing over regulation. Why are people concerned with air pollution? Because it causes harm. It violates the rights of others and therefore is not in keeping with Free Market principles. There are valid policy questions about preventative measures (regulation) vs. reactive measures (prosecution/lawsuits), but those questions do not invalidate the Free Market as a whole. Viper, during a sales pitch, talks about how the people he is talking to are not bad guys and lists some of their activities like corporate bailouts, corruption, and corporate welfare. These too are not Free Market friendly practices. Corporate bailouts and welfare is money gained, not through the market, but rather taken from the government who gained possession of it by force. Corruption is a much broader term, but in the terms of government, corruption is using the government to get an advantage rather than competing in the market without force. Corruption in business also violates consent in cases like fraud. Changing the terms of a deal, removes consent until that knowledge is shared by all involved.

Now I want to take a step back to the bailouts and welfare. There are those who consider themselves capitalists who will take government money to prop up their business. This could be anyone from a major bank down to a farmer. This is known as Crony Capitalism or in extreme cases could be considered Corporatism. These are not in line with the Free Market. Even though they may seem like it because the people participating are acting in their own interests, the force of government must violate the rights of others in order to act this way. So before blaming the Free Market, ask yourself, “How is the government involved in this?” If you can find a path from the government to the problem, you don’t have a problem with Free Markets, you have a problem with government. A general rule of thumb is, “If the government is involved or violence or the threat of violence is being used, it is not the Free Market/Capitalism/Free Enterprise.”

P.S. Charity is voluntary and therefore aligns with and I would say is necessary for Free Markets.

Advertisements
Liberty, Uncategorized

Focus on the Horcruxes

Voldemort is the villain of the Harry Potter books and movies. At the beginning of the first book, Voldemort is thought to be dead. You then find out a part of him clung to life in Professor Quirrell. Then another part of him popped up in the Diary from Chamber of Secrets. Then he is full blown brought back to life in the Goblet of Fire. They just can’t seem to get rid of him until finally Dumbledore discovers the secret. Voldemort split his soul into 7 pieces stored in what is called Horcruxes. These vessels were then hidden and protected to keep Voldemort alive. The key to defeating Voldemort was to not attack Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters but to rather attack the source of the problem. Voldemort and the Death Eaters were the symptom of the greater problem of the Horcruxes.

The same applies to many of our real world problems today. So much of what people and the news are concerned about is only symptoms of often common sources. We can attack the symptoms for decades (as we have) and find ourselves either in the same situation or often in a worse situation. If we want to truly solve the problems of the United States, we need to take a step back as a nation and separate the symptoms from the core problems.

One very clear example of this is college tuition and debt. For decades, the cost of tuition has kept rising faster than most other costs in the U.S. (1. “The average annual increase in college tuition from 1980-2014 grew by nearly 260% compared to the nearly 120% increase in all consumer items.”) The government has tried to solve this problem by throwing more and more money at the problem (grants) and by making it easier for students to get loans to afford school (2. History of Financial Aid). As the ability for students to pay more rose, so did the cost of tuition. Instead of attacking the Horcrux (price inflation from government subsidies and bad loans) the U.S. keeps trying to fix symptoms without addressing the real problem.

Our out of control college tuition and debt is only 1 example of symptoms being mistaken for the problem. The rise of Donald Trump, overcrowded prison systems, much of the nations poverty, etc. are all symptoms of deeper less obvious problems. Until the American public demands that politicians destroy the Horcruxes plaguing our nation, rather than fighting skirmishes with the Death Eaters, our nation will not be great. As it is now, the illusion of doing something while the source persists is what gets politicians re-elected. Americans need to demand meaningful results for re-election, not political theater and pandering.

tuition cost 64-15 (3)

  1. http://www.businessinsider.com/this-chart-shows-how-quickly-college-tuition-has-skyrocketed-since-1980-2015-7
  2. http://www.finaid.org/educators/history.phtml
  3. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76
Liberty, Uncategorized

Deserve Victory

This past weekend I attended student activism training through the Leadership Institute. I learned a lot and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend, but underlying the training was the idea that we need to appeal to people’s emotions and/or in a minor way manipulate them into joining the cause for liberty. When I think of groups that appeal to emotion to win support, I don’t think of causes for liberty, but rather the enemies of liberty whether that be progressives trying to run the economy on feelings or conservatives inspiring fear in the nation to increase the police state and military intervention. Either way, the foundation of logic and reason are replaced with a shaky foundation of emotion that needs to be constantly fueled to keep its followers in line.

I have little interest in winning people to the cause of liberty on that kind of foundation. One of my favorite books of all time is called Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind. In this story Richard Rahl is leading an army against an invading force (the Imperial Order) who shoves socialism down the throats of the land they invade (after raping and pillaging the conquered territory). In the previous book, for tactical reasons the Imperial Order and Richard agreed to allow one of the kingdoms, Anderith, to vote to either join the Imperial Order or reject the Order and join Richard’s fight for freedom. Anderith voted to join the Order who appealed to their emotions. The Order raped and pillaged the city like any other once its defences were lowered. This event causes Richard to come to the realization that people need to be willing to fight for their own freedom, not out of devotion to a person. For this reason, he removes himself from the fight to see who is fighting for their freedom or who is fighting out of loyalty to Richard. He sums up the situation like this:

“Anderith helped teach me a lesson. I can’t press this war. Freedom requires effort if it is to be won and vigilance if it is to be maintained. People just don’t value freedom until it is taken away.” Faith of the Fallen, p. 16

“People can only be saved from the coming dark age of subjugation and servitude if they, too, come to understand and care about the value of their own lives, their freedom, and are willing to act in their own interest.” Faith of the Fallen, p. 17

Richard realizes that if liberty is going to win, the cause can’t hinge on it’s leader. He understands that the foundation of a movement like that is not solid. It will fail. This situation is very similar to what we see in today’s political climate. People on all sides have no idea what principles are, but rather follow around an “R” or a “D”. Liberty can’t survive in that environment. As Richard stated, freedom requires vigilance.

If Liberty is going to return to the Land of the Free, then we must expect more from the citizenry than the authoritarians and better equip those who join the fight to stand on personal principle rather than following wishes and whims of a crowd.

Individual Liberty can only be achieved and maintained through Individual Principles. 

Liberty, Uncategorized

Response to For all of you who aren’t sure…

Hope speech

  • For all of you who aren’t sure, it is possible to be gay and Christian.

While it is possible to be gay and a christian, it is not possible to be a follower of Christ while engaging in a homosexual lifestyle. (I can discuss further with anyone who has questions about this)

  • It’s also possible to believe in God and science.

Agreed.

  • It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.

It is still advocating for the ability to legally kill another human even if you yourself wouldn’t pull the trigger.

  • It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men.

Totally, the problem is the movement has been hijacked by people who want to put men down. That is the problem with movements that focus on rights for a certain group. If you have a human rights movement, it is inclusive and no one gets put above another under the guise of equality.

  • It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against, to be poor and have a rich life, to not have a job and still have money.

Agreed, so don’t make assumptions about another persons history.

  • It is possible to believe in sensible gun control legislation and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property, it’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military.

Sensible” is the problem. The system we have now is sensible. Most proposals beyond what we have now would not stop the attacks people are reacting to. People just want “something” done. The war/military part I agree with. There is just an overcompensation after people realized how terrible Vietnam vets were treated.

  • It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions.

Totally agree.

  • It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police.

Once again, this is an issue of a push for equal rights being hijacked by the extremes. It is also a prime example of a symptom being addressed instead of the root, the Drug War.

  • It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant.

Academia is a scam that has the world fooled.

  • It is possible to be Muslim and also suffer at the hands of terrorists.

Pretty sure the majority of victims of terrorism are Muslim.

  • It is possible to be a non-American fighting for the American dream.

While I agree, it should be pointed out that the American dream should be simply to be free. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with being in the borders of America other than historically America was the test for freedom. I want to see people fight for freedom all around the globe and I will fight to bring it back to America, better than before (I recognize it was never perfect).

  • It is possible to be different and the same.

We are all humans with the same rights regardless of any group we may belong to. That is why I don’t like separating the fight for rights into interest groups.

We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like. Let humanity and love win.

Liberty

The Government is not Goku

In the popular anime series, Dragonball Z, the hero Goku is often all that stands between super powered aliens and the Earth. He is a pure hearted hero who has dedicated his life to the study of martial arts and in doing so became arguably the strongest man alive. One of his more powerful fighting techniques is called the Spirit Bomb. To use this technique, he siphons a portion of the life force from the planet and all the living things on it creating a giant ball of energy he then pummels his foe with.

In the real world, there are many people who will try to scare you into compliance on any number of issues. From militant Islam to Carbon Dioxide in the air, ask anyone and they have a theory about how everything you value is about to be destroyed. Of course this can be avoided by simply sacrificing some of your life force to the hero, the State. If everyone sacrifices some privacy, the State will keep us safe. If everyone sacrifices some of their income, the State can abolish poverty. If everyone sacrifices burning fossil fuels, the State can stop the climate from changing. Just give and give and give to the hero and everything will be fine. The problem is we think we are giving our life force to Goku, the altruistic hero, but in reality we are often only contributing to the problem or creating a new one.

There is no one hero to solve our problems. By trying to create one, we create a worse enemy than the one we started out against. Prohibition created Al Capone. Intervention in the Middle East created ISIS. The War on Drugs empowers the Drug Cartels. The minimum wage negatively affects minorities, the very people it was supposed to help.

We do need to share our energy in order to battle all of these monsters. But not with one all powerful State. The solution is in individuals working together through voluntary interactions. In the show, Goku asks for the energies he collects for his Spirit Bomb. It is time we stop looking to the State to save us by forcefully taking our money and rights. We need to take back our energies and use it to work together for good.