Saturday, August 11, 2012

The only pledge of allegiance that a free man should ever make

I've been watching some of the HBO series True Blood.
I think the first season was great, the second season was "Meh", and it's gone downhill from there. 

In the "reality" of the series, vampires have come out of hiding, and some of them are trying to live openly among the non-dead.  They also have a somewhat medieval political system, with their own kings and queens of different areas.  Louisiana has a queen and Mississippi has a king, I think. 

Some of the characters have renounced their loyalty to the queen of, say, North Dakota, and pledged their loyalty to the king of Mississippi.  In the reality of the series, its something taken very seriously.  The vampire who revokes his pledge becomes a non-person to his former comrades. 

Watching that series has gotten me thinking about the current silliness with pledges, loyalty oaths, "Under God", and all the rest.  We routinely say pledges to political systems and lines of latitude and longitude, vowing our unending loyalty and dedication, kinda like we check off the "I Agree" box on a new software license. 

Honor the Texas flag;
I pledge allegiance to thee,
Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.  

If you've pledged your allegiance to the Texas flag, does this mean you can never move to North Carolina without renouncing your loyalty to Rick Perry and Texas and the land between the Gulf Of Mexico and the Red River?   

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  

I've been to about a half-dozen Tea Party and 9-12 meetings that begin with the pledge to the U.S. flag.  A couple of the participants usually get downright misty-eyed while reciting their loyalty oath and vowing their undying devotion to our organization of states.    After the pledge, someone stands up and starts talking about whether Texas should secede.

Lord have mercy, it makes me insane.  People, let's continue to pledge our loyalty to Bush/Obama and all their unholy works, or let's decline to do so.    Here's what one of our founding fathers had to say about loyalty to governments, flags, kings and rulers:  

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  

It gets better:  

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Well said, Mr. Jefferson.  Well said. 

With that in mind, here's the only vow of loyalty that a non-sheep should ever make to his government. 

"I pledge that if you government clowns keep screwing up, I'm either going to leave this place, or do my best to seriously mess up your lives, with liberty and justice for all." 

It makes me crazy.  Go here for a similar rant with a different angle.    That's all I've got.  Just wanted to point out that we're all very, very strange. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Control THIS !!!!

Dear Whited,

Defense Distributed, a libertarian student partnership, is announcing a project they're calling the Wiki Weapon. This project's goal is to test and prove a design for a completely printable, one-use ABS plastic .22 handgun, and to take that design from CAD and port it to a .STL file that will then be freely shared across all major file-sharing platforms to the world. DefDist is anticipating a world where 3D printing becomes much more economical and ubiquitous, and the Wiki Weapon will be one step in providing political and personal leverage to the peoples of that world. The value of such a file's existence in the future cannot be overstated.

We ask that you please share the project or its video, located at and, with your readers and help spread the word that there are intellectual entrepreneurs dedicated to preserving Liberty in a time of almost unopposed statist planning.

Please find the attached press release for your convenience.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Greed

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Aconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce.

I’ve had this "money speech" from Atlas Shrugged on the bulletin board over my desk for about a year now.  It's great, and I hope you'll hit the link and read all of it. 

There are three ways to get money:

1) Steal it.
2) Win it/Inherit it/Find it.
3) Swap something of value for it.

On the other hand, there are three things you can do with money:

1) Have it stolen from you/Lose it to taxes.
2) Give it away.
3) Swap something of value for it.

When we say that someone is greedy, we usually mean that he hangs on to more of his money or more of his “stuff” than we think a normal person would. He doesn’t give away much of it or swap much of it for other stuff.

But if the greedy man came by his money honestly, through methods #2 or #3, that means he either swapped something of value for the money, or someone else did (probably a parent) who wanted him to have the proceeds.

Webster defines “Greed” as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed”. Whether the following people have that selfish and excessive desire isn’t really known, but they do have far more than is needed. They lead off the Fortune 400 list of richest Americans. Here are the Top Ten:

10. Alice Walton | Worth: $20.9 billion (Wal-Mart)
9. Jim Walton | Worth: $21.1 billion (Wal-Mart)
8. Sheldon Adelson | Worth: $21.5 billion (Casinos)
7. George Soros | Worth: 22 billion (Hedge Funds)
6. Christy Walton | $24.5 billion (Wal-Mart)
4. David Koch | Worth: $25 billion (diversified)
4. Charles Koch | Worth: $25 billion (diversified)
3. Larry Ellison | Worth: $33 billion (Oracle)
2. Warren Buffet | Worth: $39 billion (Berkshire Hathaway)
1. Bill Gates | Worth: $59 billion (Microsoft)

I’m writing this on a computer that uses Microsoft programs, I just finished shipping four truckloads of display equipment to Wal-Mart, the facility I’m working in has leased 30,000 square feet of space to TTI (owned by Warren Buffett), and I read websites partially sponsored by the Koch brothers every week. (The Agitator, Cato, etc.) I have no idea what Larry Ellison does, but I’m sure that this laptop is a better machine as a result. George Soros is the only outlier, in that I can’t quite determine how he’s made my life better, other than donating vast sums of money for drug policy reform in the U.S.

Some of these people give away vast sums of their money. Others don’t.  But they didn't have to give away their money to enrich my life. 

By Webster’s definition, though, all of them still have enough money to be considered “greedy”. They’ve wound up with far, far more than anyone needs.

How did they do this happen? Did they steal it? No. Did they find it? No. Did the government give it to them after taking it from someone else? No.

They, or someone in their family, provided goods and services that were worth more than money. You and I voluntarily gave the Waltons, Bill Gates, and the Koch brothers some vast sums of money in exchange for stuff they provided – garden hoses, underwear, or groceries (in the case of the Waltons) software (in the case of Gates) or oil (in the case of Charles and David Koch).

They Ellisons, Gateses, Waltons and Kochs don’t need or want all of the stuff that their money will now buy. And they don’t want to sell their companies.

Bill Gates wrote computer programs that I’ve purchased. Millions of other people have swapped their money for his computer software.  But dammit, I can’t think of a single thing I could create that Bill Gates would want to buy from me.

I want what he’s got, and I want it badly. Bill Gates doesn’t want anything that I have.

Which one of us is greedy?  And which one of us does the world need more of? 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Porkulus increases (roughly) equal GDP decreases

From The Wall Street Journal, on the general lack of effectiveness of Porkulus Packages.  If you say that stimuly spending saved us from a meltdown, you're looking at is as a theologian.  It's a matter of faith for you, nothing more.  Logic and evidence don't interfere with your worldview. 

Here's Art Laffer:

Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.

It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.

The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%).

Close..Still, the debate rages between those who espouse stimulus spending as a remedy for our weak economy and those who argue it is the cause of our current malaise. The numbers at stake aren't small. Federal government spending as a share of GDP rose to a high of 27.3% in 2009 from 21.4% in late 2007. This increase is virtually all stimulus spending, including add-ons to the agricultural and housing bills in 2007, the $600 per capita tax rebate in 2008, the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, "cash for clunkers," additional mortgage relief subsidies and, of course, President Obama's $860 billion stimulus plan that promised to deliver unemployment rates below 6% by now. Stimulus spending over the past five years totaled more than $4 trillion.

Hit the link at the top to read the whole thing before it disappears behind a pay wall. 
Hit a Statist upside the head with this chart next time he or she says the stimulus wasn't big enough. 

What would it take to change your mind?

Patrick Crozier over at Samizdata asks the great philosophical question "What would it take to change your mind?" 
In the link, Mr. Crozier uses the example of Global Warming.  He believes that Anthropogenic Global Warming isn't falsifiable, as there is no weather condition that isn't occasionally used as proof of AGW.  Therefore, it is a religious belief, rather than a rational one.  He begins his post as follows....   
In the Telegraph, Tom Chivers asks: what would it take to change your mind? It's a good question; I'm forever using it in imagined arguments with socialists. It's good because it helps distinguish beliefs that are rational from those that are religious. If you can answer it without being facetious or coming up with an impossible and improbable test then your beliefs are rational. If not, they're religious. It's a question I ask myself from time to time, as in: what would convince me that freedom is wrong?

So what would it take for me to change my mind about freedom and libertarianism?

Here's what would be required for me to change my mind.  See if this works, if it is falsifiable, if it is non-facetious, and if it is rational.

The Heritage Foundation has long published The Index Of Economic Freedom.  They rank every nation by a standard of Limitied Government (low government spending and high fiscal freedom), Rule Of Law (property rights and freedom from corruption), Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, and monetary freedom), and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom). 

No nation is perfect.  But the citizens of Hong Kong enjoy much more freedom than those of North Korea. 
Not every nation is starting from the same baseline.  The U.S. has enjoyed about four centuries of basic respect for British Common Law.  That helps.  Other places have a government and a citizenry who thumb their noses at any contracts or agreements, and the entire nation is run on bribery. 

China's airport have concession stands where helpful Sherpas will set up your new business in three days.  Try that in France.  You'll die waiting. 

Here's a link to see the ranking of all nations by their relative levels of freedom.  Write down the places that interest you.   

Now, check this out....

The Legatum Institute puts out a World Prosperity Index.  In addition to their overall prosperity rank, the nations are judged by their education systems, safety and security, health, and social capital. 

The nations of the world don't have an exact correlation between freedom (liberty) and prosperity.  But it's close.  Of the top 10 nations in the Freedom Index, there are 5 who make the top 10 in the Prosperity Index.  Find me a correlation like that on every pro football Sunday afternoon, and I'll be a rich man by December. 

Hong Kong, Singapore and Chile are all in the Top 10 of the Freedom Index, but not the Prosperity Index.  But these were all third world hellholes within my lifetime.  Then the great Milton Friedman visited them.  They're coming off a lower baseline than, say Norway, Denmark and Finland, but does anyone doubt that they're going to be more prosperous places than the Scandinavia within 20 years? 

I believe that the relationship I see between prosperity and freedom is rational, falsifiable, and non-religious (regardless of how many people accuse me of swapping extreme Baptist fanaticism with extreme libertarian fanaticism). 

I'll change my mind about libertarianism when the Heritage Freedom Index and the Legatum Prosperity Index no longer have a positive correlation. 

So....what would it take for you to change your mind about the benefits of Obama's Stimulus Package? 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Howard Roark's Trial Speech, Barack Obama's "You Didn't Build That", and Elizabeth Warren's "Roads" speech

I finished Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead this morning.  Good book. It's the story of an architect named Howard Roark who struggles to turn his vision into reality while being opposed by parasites, second-handers, and public opinion.  He agrees to design a housing project called The Cortland Homes as a favor for a friend, and for the joy of seeing the thing built.  He has one stipulation.  No one can change his design.  
Government parasites change his design, just for the hell of it, and to prove that they did something that day.  

Roark dynamites the housing project.  

Throughout the book, I couldn't help but think of the vast armies of regulators, busybodies, nannies, Family Values Republicans, Patronage Democrats, compassion democrats and their ilk who would be lined up for miles to keep Howard Roark from getting his buildings off the ground. 

Here's the speech from Roark's trial.  I've inserted quotes from a few contemporary politicians just to draw some contrasts.  See the italics. 

“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted dardness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden terrritory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.

“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.

“No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men.

There are a lot of wealthy succesful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. - Barack Obama
“His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man's spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.

“The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.

“And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.

“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.

“But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. - Barack Obama
“We inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival.

“Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.

“The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.

“The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.

“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.

“The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism.

“Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self.
"You built a factory out there? Good for you, But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did." - Elizabeth Warren
“No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of expoloitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.

“The man who attemps to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality—the man who lives to serve others—is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man and he degrades the conception of love. But this is the essence of altruism.

“Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution—or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.

“Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the sufferings of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer—in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man’s body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.

"Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." - Elizabeth Warren
“Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.

“Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are functions of the self.

“Here the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and man has been left no alternative—and no freedom. As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.

“This was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated as fundamentals of life.

“The choice is not self-sacrifice or domination. The choice is independence or dependence. The code of the creator or the code of the second-hander. This is the basic issue. It rests upon the alternative of life or death. The code of the creator is built on the needs of the reasoning mind which allows man to survive. The code of the second-hander is built on the needs of a mind incapable of survival. All that which proceeds from man’s independent ego is good. All that which proceeds from man’s dependence upon men is evil.

“The egotist is the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others. He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner. He does not function through them. He is not concerned with them in any primary matter. Not in his aim, not in his motive, not in his thinking, not in his desires, not in the source of his energy. He does not exist for any other man—and he asks no other man to exist for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men.

“Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence, initiative and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.

“In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone. An architect needs clients, but he does not subordinate his work to their wishes. They need him, but they do not order a house just to give him a commission. Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of slave to master, or victim to executioner.

“No work is ever done collectively, by a majority decision. Every creative job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought. An architect requires a great many men to erect his building. But he does not ask them to vote on his design. They work together by free agreement and each is free in his proper function. An architect uses steel, glass, concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men.

“The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty, his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the gangster, the altruist and the dictator.

“A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule—alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. They are the province of the second-hander.

“Rulers of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.

“But men were taught to regard second-handers—tyrants, emperors, dictators—as exponents of egotism. By this fraud they were made to destroy the ego, themselves and others. The purpose of the fraud was to destroy the creators. Or to harness them. Which is a synonym.

“From the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face: the creator and the second-hander. When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-hander responded. He invented altruism.

“The creator—denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited—went on, moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-hander contributed nothing to the process except the impediments. The contest has another name: the individual against the collective.

“The ‘common good’ of a collective—a race, a class, a state—was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing for themselves. But observe the results.

“The only good which men can do to one another and the only statement of their proper relationship is—Hands off!

“Now observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation or any precept of altruism. It was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else’s. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. Look into your own conscience.

“It is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

“Now, in our age, collectivism, the rule of the second-hander and second-rater, the ancient monster, has broken loose and is running amuck. It has brought men to a level of intellectual indecency never equaled on earth. It has reached a scale of horror without precedent. It has poisoned every mind. It has swallowed most of Europe. It is engulfing our country.

“I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live.

“Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt.

“I designed Cortlandt. I gave it to you. I destroyed it.

“I destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal. They were permitted to do it by the general implication that the altruistic purpose of the building superseded all rights and that I had no claim to stand against it.

“I agreed to design Cortlandt for the purpose of seeing it erected as I dedigned it and for no other reason. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid.

“I do not blame Peter Keating. He was helpless. He had a contract with his employers. It was ignored. He had a promise that the structure he offered would be built as designed. The promise was broken. The love of a man for the integrity of his work and his right to preserve it are now considered a vague intangible and an inessential. You have heard the prosecutor say that. Why was the building disfigured? For no reason. Such acts never have any reason, unless it’s the vanity of some second-handers who feel they have a right to anyone’s property, spiritual or material. Who permitted them to do it? No particular man among the dozens in authority. No one cared to permit it or to stop it. No one was responsible. No one can be held to account. Such is the nature of all collective action.

“I did not receive the payment I asked. But the owners of Cortlandt got what they needed from me. They wanted a scheme devised to build a structure as cheaply as possible. They found no one else who could do it to their satisfaction. I could and did. They took the benefit of my work and made me contribute it as a gift. But I am not an altruist. I do not contribute gifts of this nature.

“It is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home. Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that the poverty of the future tenants gave them the right to my work. That their need constituted a claim on my life. That it was my duty to contribute anything demanded of me. This is the second-hander’s credo now swallowing the world.

“I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.

“I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others.

“It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.

“I wished to come here and say that the integrity of a man’s creative work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor. Those of you who do not understand this are the men who’re destroying the world.

“I wished to come here and state my terms. I do not care to exist on any others.

“I recognize no obligations toward men except one: to respect their freedom and to take no part in a slave society. To my country, I wish to give the ten years which I will spend in jail if my country exists no longer. I will spend them in memory and in gratitude for what my country has been. It will be my act of loyalty, my refusal to live or work in what has taken its place.

“My act of loyalty to every creator who ever lived and was made to suffer by the force responsible for the Cortlandt I dynamited. To every tortured hour of loneliness, denial, frustration, abuse he was made to spend—and to the battles he won. To every creator whose name is known—and to every creator who lived, struggled and perished unrecognized before he could achieve. To every creator who was destroyed in body or in spirit. To Henry Cameron. To Steven Mallory. To a man who doesn’t want to be named, but who is sitting in this courtroom and knows that I am speaking of him.”

"You didn't build that" - Barack Obama 

John Jay Myers on government regulation

My buddy John Jay Myers posted this gem on Facebook yesterday.  He's running for Senate, and here's where you can go to send him some money.
Here's a beautiful John Jay rant on the general uselessness of government regulation:
When the SEC wanted someone to give lectures, who did they hire?
Bernie Madoff. The biggest crook they could find.
Nasdaq made him its chairman; the SEC appointed him to industry panels; Congress invited him to testify.

Unfortunately the more power to regulate you give to government, the more they regulate in favor of their cronies, crippling the real competition, this is why the only real answer is to limit what government can do.
I'm trying, and failing, to think of any scams that the SEC prevented before they became full-blown disasters.  There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that regulators knew that Madoff was running a house of cards, but no one had the cajones to say anything. 
Is it possible that the best regulation for Wall Street would be 1) requirements that everyone will do what they say they'll do, and 2) hanging a sign at each end of the thoroughfare that says "Let The Buyer Beware"?  In the present system, players generally believe that the government has their back.  They don't. 

For those against "the big banks" the easiest way to bring them down would be to deregulate them. Why? Because who would invest in a bank 2000 miles away if you didn't think the government had your back?

You would look for a safer place to put your money, like a local bank where you knew the people running it. A bank where you could verify that they had private insurance to cover their loans. Private insurers would do a much better job of regulating banks than the government because they have a strong financial incentive to do so.

Knowing the government is not giving these companies a pass you might consider investing your money in your local economy as opposed to investing it in the stock market. Isn't that what most people would really like to see? Money going right back into their community?

If the government was out of banking then you would get a fair interest rate for your money because they would finally need your money. Right now they can borrow from the Fed at 0%, why do they need your money?

Lastly regulation means that somehow we, the American people taking responsibility for the banking industry, that Americans are ALL on the hook. I don't want to be on the hook for what a private business does.

It means they make the profits and we take the losses.
Willingness to say things like that is why John Jay would make a great senator.