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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

_One_ benefit of 'free trade'

Vox Day is on another of his protectionist anti-free-trade binges ... and, as always, he does so dishonestly: he misrepresents and outright lies.

But enough about someone who will not reason about certain things; I'd rather try to help Gentle Reader see for himself the public necessity of upholding free-trade.

Now, the thing about protectionism is that it is *always* advocated to advance the narrow interests of the organized few at the expense of the un-organized many. Protectionism is the siren-call to use the deadly force of The State to compel you and me, under threat of violent death, to pay more for the goods and services offered by some set of allegedly private actors than we'd willingly pay if we had more, and cheaper, options.

One benefit of free-trade -- I mean, aside from preserving your autonomy over how, and with whom, you will exchange the fruit of your own labor -- is that it compels domestic suppliers of goods and services to maintain or improve the quality of their offerings, or to go out of business. This is why 'big business' and 'big labor' are constantly in collusion against you and me in lobbying the Federal government to limit 'free-trade' -- which is to say, to limit your and my commercial options and to make the options available more expensive. That, and the fact that Federal politicians can buy the votes of those organized few by compelling we un-organized many to put more of our money into the pockets of those organized few than we would willingly do otherwise.

Consider this hypothetical --

There are two neighboring towns in some county in some US State: Smithstown and Jonesville. In each town is a company manufacturing widgets: the Smithstown Widget Company and Jonesville Widget Enterprises -- and everyone in both towns and for many miles around is mad for widgets. For years and years, these two companies been in a mostly (*) friendly competition: to the point that their products are comparable in quality and price; there isn't much to distinguish them except Brand Loyalty.

But, one day, the Smithstown Widget Company develops an improvement to their manufacturing processes, such that they can now manufacture widgets 10% more efficiently -- that is to say, more cheaply -- than with their old processes. And, caring more for making a profit than maintaining the centuries-old status quo with Jonesville Widget Enterprises, the Smithstown Widget Company begins to offer their widgets for 5% less than formerly, that is, for 5% less than Jonesville Widget Enterprises can possibly offer them and still turn a profit.

Now, as it happens, the town of Jonesville is where 90% of the widget-buying public lives. So, the politicans of Jonesville and the owners and union honchos of Jonesville Widget Enterprises get together and decide to counter this new threat posed by the Smithstown Widget Company by imposing a 10% tarrif (**) on all widgets sold within Jonesville which were manufactured outside Jonesville.

That is, they use the violent power of the state/city to compel those within the town of Jonesville who wish to buy widgets to pay more than is necessary. That is, they use the violent power of the state/city to take money out of the pockets of the un-organized many so as to put it into the pockets of the organized few.

Do we *really* need to extend this hypothetical? Can Gentle Reader *really* not consider human nature, and generalizing from real-world experience, realized where this will and must go?

(*) there was that One Time, back on '04 (that's 1804), but no one wants to bring that up these days.

(**) for the purpose of this hypothetical, we are ignoring that in the US, only Uncle Sam can impose tarrifs. But, if one's mind cannot stretch that far, make the two towns into neighboring countries.

Or, consider this real-world example --

Just a couple of weeks ago, I traded-in a 1999 Buick Park Ave I'd bought two years previous, on a 2001 GMC Sierra. The Buick had 190K miles when I bought it, and 220K when I sold it; the body and interior was showing some wear when I bought it, but the motor was, and still is, in great shape (and, the trade-in was 80% of what I'd initially paid). Likewise, the Sierra has about 150K miles, and is in excellent shape both in body and engine.

Now, if Gentle Reader's experience extends so far, think back to what American-built vehicles were like in the late 1960s and into the 1980s. Does Gentle Reader *really* think that a 1969 Buick Park Ave with 220K miles would still be drivable in 1982, absent massive expendatures to essentially rebuild it?

What is different between then and now? Why are American-built vehicles such better values now than then? Why were they trash then, but are pretty good now?

What happened is Reagan and his (partial) rolling-back of protectionist measures to designed to take unnecessarilty-extra money out of the pockets of the many Americans who wished to buy automobiles and put it into the pockets of the very few Americans who built automobiles.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

German Court: Just say No ...

via Laura Rosen Cohen

German Court: Just say No ... to the Mohel -- "A Cologne district court ruled on Tuesday that parents may not have their sons circumcised for religious reasons. The ruling has angered Muslims and Jews."

Riiight! Like the ban on circumcision -- which is harmless (and appears to be health-enhancing, especially amongst promiscuous persons) -- will really be enforced for the Muzzies, any more than the ban on 'female genital mutilation' currently is.

"The court now considers circumcision a crime of bodily harm.

The court decided that a legal guardian’s authority over a child does not allow them [sic] to subject the child to the procedure.

Yet, anyone who have been paying attention knows "that a legal guardian’s authority over a child *does* [] allow them [sic] to subject the child to the procedure" of having "doctors" intentionally amputate his dick so that everyone can pretend he is a she.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is what *real* 'white supremacism' looks like

Lawrence Auster: Pure anti-whiteness-and the racial conservatism that is needed to oppose it -- "... However, on an even deeper though unconscious level, what these quintessentially white-liberal, anti-white videos and billboards are saying is that whites really are superior-inherently superior-to other races, particularly to blacks, in intelligence, in looks, in the fineness of their vibrations, in every way; and since any inequality is unfair, it is unfair to be white. Therefore whites must in perpetuity impose unearned withering moral censure and material disadvantages on themselves, including allowing themselves to be terrorized and murdered by blacks, while bestowing unearned effusive moral approval and material advantages on nonwhites, particularly blacks, in an endless but never successful effort to cancel out the hideous unfairness of being white."

In simpler terms: scratch a "liberal" and you'll generally find a racist; scratch a "liberal" who routinely equates conservatism with racism and you'll nearly always find a virulent racist.

Auster doesn't bring it out here, but these white-"liberal" post-modernist leftists are asserting a set of self-refuting moral claims (never mind, for now, that their morality is really and totally screwed up). Among other things, they assert:
1) There is no real morality; there is no transcendant standard of rightness by which we may recognize wrong and/or injustice when we see it;
1a) All moral claims are but the arbitrary and groundless assertions by which "those with power" exploit "those without power";
2) You, being a white person (unless you are one of them), are ipso facto one of the oppressors; by the very fact of being white, you "have power" and exploit all non-white persons, who definitionally have no power;
3) Therefore, you are inherently immoral (unless you are a leftist);
4) Therefore, the only way you may even remotely become a moral person is to hate all white persons simply for being white, and do all you can to take from whites the unearned "power" they all have and give that power to the leftists (who are also white, but that's different!)

But, their foundational premise -- that there is no morality, that might makes "right" -- refutes their so-called conclusion. But, that's OK from their point of view, for this was never meant to be a rational argument; reasoning is the last thing leftists want people to do.

So, once one understands the core-and-foundational premise of leftism -- that there is no morality, that might makes "right" -- then one understands what they are up to: it is all about getting supreme power over the lives of everyone else, by whatever means they can. If they can use an emotive appeal to throw your rational faculties off balance, and then slip into your thinking an irrational-and-immoral claim tricked out in the clothing of a moral claim, they will do it so long as it seems to get them closer to the target of supreme power over the lives of everyone else.

And another thing about these periodic white-"liberal" crusades against "whiteness" -- their target is *never* their own privileged white asses, but is rather non- privileged white Americans, such as you and me. Their much self-vaunted concern for black Americans is just the cynical stick with which to keep us “po’ white trash” beat down.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mixing it up over Maistre

Jim Kalb: Mixing it up over Maistre

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I suppose that foolish is as foolish does

William Vallicella, exposing (once again) his foolishness (*): "Which is worse? To deny that there is truth or to suppose that one is in secure possession of it? Either way inquiry is at an end and the road to truth blocked."

The sentiment that Vallicella expresses above (for, I cannot bring myself to call it a rational thought) is of a piece with another wrong-headed and anti-rational belief which he is fond of asserting, namely that "[t]here are no compelling arguments one way or the other when it comes to God ..." (most recently here).

To paraphrase Chesterton, just as the whole point of opening one's mouth is to close it on something substantial with which to nourish the body, so too the whole point of 'opening one's mind' is to close it on something substantial with which to nourish the mind/spirit. The point of inquiry is not the "road", but the destination: the point of inquiry is not neverendingly to ask a question, but rather to put "inquiry [] at an end " by finding the truth. And, having found the truth of the matter, "one is [indeed] in secure possession of it", and thus to continue to ask the question is to play false to reason, it is to be unreasonable and irrational; it is, in fact, to be anti-rational.

Contrary to Vallicella's frequent assertion, there are multiple compelling arguments showing that the proposition "God is" is true, and that the proposition "God is not" is false. That human beings -- being agents, being free wills -- are free to deny the truth of these arguments without ever even attempting to show that they are flawed or erroneous does not make the arguments uncompelling. And, in fact, this freedom itself leads directly to a compelling argument against God-denial.

(*) and his hypocrisy ... but I repeat myself.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

'Above My Paygrade'

Victor Reppert: "... For me, loving people like that is, as Obama would say, "above my pay grade." It's tough enough for me to maintain an appropriate loving attitude toward people who behave rudely on Dangerous Idea (of all persuasions)."

I think I know what you mean (*) ... which, by the by, may just have something to do with a mild complaint aired in the penultimate paragraph of this post.

Victor Reppert: "... And to pretend that you have actually succeeded in loving people when you really haven't is worse than just hating their guts. Falwell makes a fool of himself, of course, when he pretends that he loves gay people."

Really? And you know this, how?

(*) In case the casual reader doesn't quite follow the point: I present reasons against the judicially-invented doctrine of 'judicial review'; left-wingers are against 'judicial review' only when they fear that for once it may not break in their desired direction. Mr Reppert pretends there is a moral equivalency between the two positions. I wonder, is there a succinct term by which one might denote such a pretense?

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This is why he's paid the big bucks

Mark Steyn: Dissent is the Highest Form of …no, wait -- "... I hate to bring up other “mid-century notions” but intellectual diversity on the left is increasingly indistinguishable from Tupperware night with the Stepford Wives."

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Monday, June 4, 2012

The General Electric ad you probably never saw

Brutally Honest: The General Electric ad you probably never saw

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