“States Rights” Are Actually Delegated Powers

“States Rights” Are Actually Delegated Powers

There is no such thing as “states rights”, the proper term to use is state powers.

States have no rights but only powers delegated to them.

Amendment X:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

You cannot delegate individual rights as they are unalienable, as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

What governments have are powers. Observes Ayn Rand:

“[George Wallace] is not a defender of individual rights, but merely of states’ rights—which is far, far from being the same thing. When he denounces ‘Big Government,’ it is not the unlimited, arbitrary power of the state that he is denouncing, but merely its centralization—and he seeks to place the same unlimited, arbitrary power in the hands of many little governments. The break-up of a big gang into a number of warring small gangs is not a return to a constitutional system nor to individual rights nor to law and order.” [“The Presidential Candidates 1968,” The Objectivist, June 1968, 5]

I do agree, in principle, to limit the federal government to its explicitly stated powers enumerated in the U.S. constitution, as the federal government has far overreached its powers.

Decentralization (or centralization) in government is only good to the extent that it enables the protection of individual rights. What the right mix is of central vs decentralization in any given context is a practical matter.

***

What of the American civil war?

There’s no such thing as the right to fight a war for slavery, which is the “custom” that the South was fighting for in the American Civil War. Law is not an end in itself.

Objectively law does not exist in a vacuum, but has a purpose. Under Americanism, that purpose is stated in the Declaration of Independence: the protection of individual rights. So any state in the Union cannot legally fight a war that undermines the basis of law itself. Any republic which legally protects slavery is illegitimate to that extent. The civil war was the way this defect was remedied.

Prior to the 13th amendment the North was working to legally limit slavery and its expansion so that the non-slave states “free states” would eventually outnumber the slave states of the South. The South saw the writing on the wall. If the North was not gradually working against slavery, the South would have stayed in the Union.

Florida Law Banning Social Media For Minors Violates Parental Rights

Florida has passed a law, signed by Governor DeSantis,  that bans anyone under 14 owning a social media account as of from January 2025. The bill states children that are 14 -15 years of age must have parental consent to create an account on sites like X, Instagram, and Facebook”

“A social media platform shall prohibit a minor who is 14 or 15 years of age from entering into a contract with a social media platform to become an account holder, unless the minor’s parent or guardian provides consent for the minor to become an account holder…”

Apparently it will use “anonymous age verification.”

This bill should be overturned as it is a naked violation of parental rights.  It is up to parents to determine what their child have or do not have access to.

The state does have a role in going after child trafficking and exploitation which some claim is an issue on Instagram, but this bill is not the way to do it.

Musk on Immigration

Musk on Immigration

Here is what I found:

1. Musk did not say illegal immigrants vote. I took what he said to mean that they are likely to vote if naturalized. (He may be wrong or right on this).

2. As an immigrant himself, Musk is for greatly expanding legal immigration. He is against border anarchy.

3. Some make the argument that immigrants who enter illegally because of the Biden administration are more apt to vote for Democrats (based on interviews with them). I agree, that whether they do vote or not is an empirical matter.

4. Thanks to Biden’s executive order, illegals count toward the census which determines house seat counts in Federal elections:

“Accordingly, the executive branch has always determined the population of each State, for purposes of congressional representation, without regard to whether its residents are in lawful immigration status.”

Some estimates show that the net effect of placing them in Democratic strongholds is to give Democrats a lock on an additional 20 plus house seats.

5. Illegals in some states do end up voting in Federal elections due to the lax state ID standards for voting, etc. See this thread:

Musk may be wrong or right on some facts. I see that he is open to changing his views when presented with facts which he sees as facts. I think his errors are due to the noise out there.

Ultra-Millionaire Tax

When the 16th amendment was ratified, the federal income tax was to be no more than 2%. What will be the future rate increase and who will Warren’s confiscation of wealth tax be expanded to when the principle that she can steal people’s wealth is put into law?

According to the Tax Foundation, “The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 25.99 percent average rate, more than eight times higher than the 3.1 percent average rate paid by the bottom half of taxpayers.”

Socialist Senator Warren lies by omission in order to confiscate the wealth of billionaires. “Fair share” for Warren and her ilk is a euphemism for legalized theft.

Good Journalism

What makes a good news organization?

1. The requirements to call oneself a “new organization” should be set by private citizens in their capacity as consumers of the news, and not the government.

2. Journalism should be reporting “just the facts.”

3. Goodjournalism is reporting all the relevantfacts, so readers can form their own opinion.

4. News reporting should not replace the opinions of “experts” at the expense of the facts (experts can be called in to give their educated opinions on facts when necessary.)

The problem with the lack of trust in traditional media outlets is that verification is time-consuming in a division of labor society, where the amount of information is greater than the time available for a single individual to examine it.

When trust is lost it’s hard to get it back.

“Progressives” Against Free Speech

“Progressives” Against Free Speech

The free speech trifecta, therefore, covers the three areas of greatest concern for the free speech community: censorship, blacklisting and weaponization. The resulting opinions could curtail or magnify such abuses. For example, the social media case (Murthy) seemed to trouble the justices as to where to draw a line on coercion. If the court simply declines to draw such a line and rules for the government, it will likely fuel new censorship efforts by federal agencies.

What is disconcerting about the views expressed by Justices Kagan, Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor in two of the cases is not that they are outliers. The problem is that liberal justices long acted as the bulwark for free speech on the court. They are now viewed as the weakest link, often dismissive or hostile to free speech arguments.

When Justice Jackson defends the right of the government to coerce speech, she follows a long legacy of speech relativists on the court, including the earlier Justice Robert Jackson. He had warned that the court needed to approach speech prosecutions with “a little practical wisdom,” so as not to “convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”

The current Justice Jackson seemed to channel the same practicalities over principle in stressing that “you’ve got the First Amendment operating in an environment of threatening circumstances from the government’s perspective.”

The view of speech as harm or violence is all the rage on college campuses, and also in many Western countries where free speech is in a free fall. France, Canada and the United Kingdom now regularly arrest people for expressing hateful or controversial viewpoints. Those same anti-free speech arguments are now being heard in our own Congress and colleges in the U.S.

It is not clear how the court will decide these cases. One fear is that it could retreat to blurry lines that leave us all uncertain about what speech is protected. In an area that demands bright lines to prevent the chilling effect on speech, such vague outcomes could be lethal.

The government loves ambiguity when it comes to speech regulation. It now may have found new voices on the left side of the court to join in the ignoble effort of combating free speech. That renewed effort to introduce “a little practical wisdom” could mean a lot less freedom for Americans.

 

Free Book: Recovery A Guide to Reforming the U.S. Health Sector

recovery coverHealth care in the United States is not a free market.

  • U.S. residents are less free to make their own health decisions than residents of other nations.
  • Government controls a larger share of health spending in the United States than in Canada, the United Kingdom, and most other advanced nations.
  • State and federal governments subsidize low-quality medical care and penalize high-quality care. They block innovations that would otherwise reduce medical prices.

Recovery shows that making health care as universal as possible requires ending all barriers that government places in the way of better, more affordable, and more secure health care.”

Order the book on Amazon or download a free copy.

Amy Peikoff: Privacy is Not a Right

Amy Peikoff: Privacy is Not a Right

When it comes to privacy, Amy Peikoff is the gift that keeps on giving:

Examples like this are why it’s crucial to understand the true nature of #privacy.

Privacy is *not* a right. Rights, properly understood, cannot be “balanced” against one another anyway. But in this example, a thief’s “right” to privacy is held to potentially outweigh the package owner’s right to property. This is a complete inversion.

Privacy is a *state*–a state which human beings can create and maintain for themselves, using their fundamental rights to property and contract. …. If you understand privacy this way, you see how ludicrous it is to say that someone’s [right to] privacy can be violated by another’s legitimate assertion of his or her property right. Privacy, in reality, depends on having a right to property. Use privacy to undermine rights to property, and you end up undermining privacy itself. If you are on someone else’s porch, stealing a package that is not yours, you have zero right–call it privacy, or zingoflip or anything else you want to call it–to not be exposed.

Other gems:

As philosopher Ayn Rand observed, in her novel The Fountainhead, the progress of civilization has afforded human beings more privacy, which they have been able to use to think, to produce, to improve their health, and selectively share and enjoy their values. …

 

… Privacy–a crucial component of human flourishing–depends on govt respecting our rights to property & contract.

 

…We have the right to use our property—or to make contracts with others—to create states of privacy for ourselves and those we value.

 

…The third-party doctrine holds that, whenever you share information with a “third party” (bank, telephone co., social media, etc., etc.), you no longer have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in it and so there’s no 4th amendment warrant requirement.

Recommended Reading:

Javier Milei Speech at World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos

Javier Milei Speech at World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos

A transcript from the address by Javier Milei, President of Argentina, during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

Good afternoon. Thank you very much.

Today I’m here to tell you that the Western world is in danger. And it is in danger because those who are supposed to have to defend the values of the West are co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism and thereby to poverty.

Unfortunately, in recent decades, the main leaders of the Western world have abandoned the model of freedom for different versions of what we call collectivism. Some have been motivated by well-meaning individuals who are willing to help others, and others have been motivated by the wish to belong to a privileged caste.

We’re here to tell you that collectivist experiments are never the solution to the problems that afflict the citizens of the world. Rather, they are the root cause. Do believe me: no one is in better place than us, Argentines, to testify to these two points.

Thirty five years after we adopted the model of freedom, back in 1860, we became a leading world power. And when we embraced collectivism over the course of the last 100 years, we saw how our citizens started to become systematically impoverished, and we dropped to spot number 140 globally.

But before having the discussion, it would first be important for us to take a look at the data that demonstrate why free enterprise capitalism is not just the only possible system to end world poverty, but also that it’s the only morally desirable system to achieve this.

If we look at the history of economic progress, we can see how between the year zero and the year 1800 approximately, world per capita GDP practically remained constant throughout the whole reference period.

If you look at a graph of the evolution of economic growth throughout the history of humanity, you would see a hockey stick graph, an exponential function that remained constant for 90% of the time and which was exponentially triggered starting in the 19th century.

The only exception to this history of stagnation was in the late 15th century, with the discovery of the American continent, but for this exception, throughout the whole period between the year zero and the year 1800, global per capita GDP stagnated.

Now, it’s not just that capitalism brought about an explosion in wealth from the moment it was adopted as an economic system, but also, if you look at the data, what you will see is that growth continues to accelerate throughout the whole period.

And throughout the whole period between the year zero and the year 1800, the per capita GDP growth rate remains stable at around 0.02% annually. So almost no growth. Starting in the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution, the compound annual growth rate was 0.66%. And at that rate, in order to double per capita GDP, you would need some 107 years.

Now, if you look at the period between the year 1900 and the year 1950, the growth rate accelerated to 1.66% a year. So you no longer need 107 years to double per capita GDP – but 66. And if you take the period between 1950 and the year 2000, you will see that the growth rate was 2.1%, which would mean that in only 33 years we could double the world’s per capita GDP.

This trend, far from stopping, remains well alive today. If we take the period between the years 2000 and 2023, the growth rate again accelerated to 3% a year, which means that we could double world per capita GDP in just 23 years.

That said, when you look at per capita GDP since the year 1800 until today, what you will see is that after the Industrial Revolution, global per capita GDP multiplied by over 15 times, which meant a boom in growth that lifted 90% of the global population out of poverty.

We should remember that by the year 1800, about 95% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. And that figure dropped to 5% by the year 2020, prior to the pandemic. The conclusion is obvious.

Far from being the cause of our problems, free trade capitalism as an economic system is the only instrument we have to end hunger, poverty and extreme poverty across our planet. The empirical evidence is unquestionable.

Therefore since there is no doubt that free enterprise capitalism is superior in productive terms, the left-wing doxa has attacked capitalism, alleging matters of morality, saying – that’s what the detractors claim – that it’s unjust. They say that capitalism is evil because it’s individualistic and that collectivism is good because it’s altruistic. Of course, with the money of others.

So they therefore advocate for social justice. But this concept, which in the developed world became fashionable in recent times, in my country has been a constant in political discourse for over 80 years. The problem is that social justice is not just, and it doesn’t contribute to general well-being.

Quite on the contrary, it’s an intrinsically unfair idea because it’s violent. It’s unjust because the state is financed through tax and taxes are collected coercively. Or can any one of us say that we voluntarily pay taxes? This means that the state is financed through coercion and that the higher the tax burden, the higher the coercion and the lower the freedom.

Those who promote social justice start with the idea that the whole economy is a pie that can be shared differently. But that pie is not a given. It’s wealth that is generated in what Israel Kirzner, for instance, calls a market discovery process.

If the goods or services offered by a business are not wanted, the business will fail unless it adapts to what the market is demanding. They will do well and produce more if they make a good quality product at an attractive price. So the market is a discovery process in which the capitalists will find the right path as they move forward.

But if the state punishes capitalists when they’re successful and gets in the way of the discovery process, they will destroy their incentives, and the consequence is that they will produce less.

The pie will be smaller, and this will harm society as a whole. Collectivism, by inhibiting these discovery processes and hindering the appropriation of discoveries, ends up binding the hands of entrepreneurs and prevents them from offering better goods and services at a better price.

So how come academia, international organisations, economic theorists and politicians demonise an economic system that has not only lifted 90% of the world’s population out of extreme poverty but has continued to do this faster and faster?

Thanks to free trade capitalism, the world is now living its best moment. Never in all of mankind or humanity’s history has there been a time of more prosperity than today. This is true for all. The world of today has more freedom, is rich, more peaceful and prosperous. This is particularly true for countries that have more economic freedom and respect the property rights of individuals.

Countries that have more freedom are 12 times richer than those that are repressed. The lowest percentile in free countries is better off than 90% of the population in repressed countries. Poverty is 25 times lower and extreme poverty is 50 times lower. And citizens in free countries live 25% longer than citizens in repressed countries.

Now what is it that we mean when we talk about libertarianism? And let me quote the words of the greatest authority on freedom in Argentina, Professor Alberto Benegas Lynch Jr, who says that libertarianism is the unrestricted respect for the life project of others based on the principle of non-aggression, in defence of the right to life, liberty and property.

Its fundamental institutions are private property, markets free from state intervention, free competition, and the division of labour and social cooperation, in which success is achieved only by serving others with goods of better quality or at a better price.

In other words, capitalist successful business people are social benefactors who, far from appropriating the wealth of others, contribute to the general well-being. Ultimately, a successful entrepreneur is a hero.

And this is the model that we are advocating for the Argentina of the future. A model based on the fundamental principle of libertarianism. The defence of life, of freedom and of property.

Now, if the free enterprise, capitalism and economic freedom have proven to be extraordinary instruments to end poverty in the world, and we are now at the best time in the history of humanity, it is worth asking why I say that the West is in danger.

And I say this precisely because in countries that should defend the values of the free market, private property and the other institutions of libertarianism, sectors of the political and economic establishment are undermining the foundations of libertarianism, opening up the doors to socialism and potentially condemning us to poverty, misery and stagnation.

It should never be forgotten that socialism is always and everywhere an impoverishing phenomenon that has failed in all countries where it’s been tried out. It’s been a failure economically, socially, culturally and it also murdered over 100 million human beings.

The essential problem of the West today is not just that we need to come to grips with those who, even after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the overwhelming empirical evidence, continue to advocate for impoverishing socialism.

But there’s also our own leaders, thinkers and academics who are relying on a misguided theoretical framework to undermine the fundamentals of the system that has given us the greatest expansion of wealth and prosperity in our history.

The theoretical framework to which I refer is that of Neoclassical economic theory, which designs a set of instruments that, unwillingly or without meaning to, end up serving intervention by the state, socialism and social degradation.

The problem with Neoclassicals is that the model they fell in love with does not map reality, so they put down their mistakes to supposed market failures rather than reviewing the premises of the model.

Under the pretext of a supposed market failure, regulations are introduced. These regulations create distortions in the price system, prevent economic calculus, and therefore also prevent saving, investment and growth.

This problem lies mainly in the fact that not even supposed libertarian economists understand what the market is because if they did understand, it would quickly be seen that it’s impossible for there to be market failures.

The market is not a mere graph describing a curve of supply and demand. The market is a mechanism for social cooperation, where you voluntarily exchange ownership rights. Therefore based on this definition, talking about a market failure is an oxymoron. There are no market failures.

If transactions are voluntary, the only context in which there can be market failure is if there is coercion and the only one that is able to coerce generally is the state, which holds a monopoly on violence.

Consequently, if someone considers that there is a market failure, I would suggest that they check to see if there is state intervention involved. And if they find that that’s not the case, I would suggest that they check again, because obviously there’s a mistake. Market failures do not exist.

An example of the so-called market failures described by the Neoclassicals is the concentrated structure of the economy. From the year 1800 onwards, with the population multiplying by 8 or 9 times, per capita GDP grew by over 15 times, so there were growing returns which took extreme poverty from 95% to 5%.

However, the presence of growing returns involves concentrated structures, what we would call a monopoly. How come, then, something that has generated so much well-being for the Neoclassical theory is a market failure?

Neoclassical economists think outside of the box. When the model fails, you shouldn’t get angry with reality but rather with a model and change it. The dilemma faced by the Neoclassical model is that they say they wish to perfect the function of the market by attacking what they consider to be failures. But in so doing, they don’t just open up the doors to socialism but also go against economic growth.

For example, regulating monopolies, destroying their profits and destroying growing returns would automatically destroy economic growth.

However, faced with the theoretical demonstration that state intervention is harmful – and the empirical evidence that it has failed couldn’t have been otherwise – the solution proposed by collectivists is not greater freedom but rather greater regulation, which creates a downward spiral of regulations until we are all poorer and our lives depend on a bureaucrat sitting in a luxury office.

Given the dismal failure of collectivist models and the undeniable advances in the free world, socialists were forced to change their agenda: they left behind the class struggle based on the economic system and replaced this with other supposed social conflicts, which are just as harmful to life and to economic growth.

The first of these new battles was the ridiculous and unnatural fight between man and woman. Libertarianism already provides for equality of the sexes. The cornerstone of our creed is that all humans are created equal and that we all have the same inalienable rights granted by the Creator, including life, freedom and ownership.

All that the radical feminism agenda has led to is greater state intervention to hinder economic process, giving jobs to bureaucrats who have not contributed anything to society. Examples are ministries of women or international organisations devoted to promoting this agenda.

Another conflict presented by socialists is that of humans against nature, claiming that we human beings damage a planet which should be protected at all costs, even going as far as advocating for population control mechanisms or the abortion agenda.

Unfortunately, these harmful ideas have taken a stronghold in our society. Neo-Marxists have managed to co-opt the common sense of the Western world, and this they have achieved by appropriating the media, culture, universities and also international organisations.

The latter case is the most serious one, probably because these are institutions that have enormous influence on the political and economic decisions of their member states.

Fortunately there’s more and more of us who are daring to make our voices heard, because we see that if we don’t truly and decisively fight against these ideas, the only possible fate is for us to have increasing levels of state regulation, socialism, poverty and less freedom, and therefore, worse standards of living.

The West has unfortunately already started to go along this path. I know, to many it may sound ridiculous to suggest that the West has turned to socialism, but it’s only ridiculous if you only limit yourself to the traditional economic definition of socialism, which says that it’s an economic system where the state owns the means of production. This definition in my view, should be updated in the light of current circumstances.

Today, states don’t need to directly control the means of production to control every aspect of the lives of individuals. With tools such as printing money, debt, subsidies, controlling the interest rate, price controls, and regulations to correct so-called market failures, they can control the lives and fates of millions of individuals.

This is how we come to the point where, by using different names or guises, a good deal of the generally accepted ideologies in most Western countries are collectivist variants, whether they proclaim to be openly communist, fascist, socialist, social democrats, national socialists, Christian democrats, neo-Keynesians, progressives, populists, nationalists or globalists.

Ultimately, there are no major differences. They all say that the state should steer all aspects of the lives of individuals. They all defend a model contrary to the one that led humanity to the most spectacular progress in its history.

We have come here today to invite the Western world to get back on the path to prosperity. Economic freedom, limited government and unlimited respect for private property are essential elements for economic growth. The impoverishment produced by collectivism is not a fantasy, nor is it an inescapable fate. It’s a reality that we Argentines know very well.

We have lived through this. We have been through this because, as I said earlier, ever since we decided to abandon the model of freedom that had made us rich, we have been caught up in a downward spiral – a spiral by which we are poorer and poorer, day by day.

This is something we have lived through and we are here to warn you about what can happen if countries in the Western world, that became rich through the model of freedom, stay on this path of servitude.

The case of Argentina is an empirical demonstration that no matter how rich you may be, how much you may have in terms of natural resources, how skilled your population may be, how educated, or how many bars of gold you may have in the central bank – if measures are adopted that hinder the free functioning of markets, competition, price systems, trade and ownership of private property, the only possible fate is poverty.

Therefore, in conclusion, I would like to leave a message for all business people here and those who are not here in person but are following from around the world.

Do not be intimidated by the political caste or by parasites who live off the state. Do not surrender to a political class that only wants to stay in power and retain its privileges. You are social benefactors. You are heroes. You are the creators of the most extraordinary period of prosperity we’ve ever seen.

Let no one tell you that your ambition is immoral. If you make money, it’s because you offer a better product at a better price, thereby contributing to general wellbeing.

Do not surrender to the advance of the state. The state is not the solution. The state is the problem itself. You are the true protagonists of this story and rest assured that as from today, Argentina is your staunch and unconditional ally.

Thank you very much and long live freedom dammit!

Capitalism Q&A: Are all illegal immigrants criminals?

Capitalism Q&A: Are all illegal immigrants criminals?

Q. Are all illegal immigrants criminals?

A. Legally yes, and morally no.

The issue is complicated because a government can criminalize moral and just behavior.

In a just society, a criminal is defined as one who violates the rights of other individuals. The objective purpose of laws under laissez-faire capitalism is to explicitly delineate (in writing) what actions are violations of the unalienable individual rights, and how to deal with such violations. The operative word here is unalienable. Unalienable means that political rights are inherent in one’s nature as a rational being. The government is a means to protect those rights; it neither creates nor destroys those rights, though it can violate them, (See Ayn Rand’s essay “The Nature of Government.”) As such, it is the principle of individual rights that limits the scope of what government may properly criminalize. In sum, laws, government, and the very “rule of law,” are not ends in themselves, but are means to the protection of individual rights.

We are all criminals when the law makes living a crime (for a vivid illustration of this principle in great literature read Ayn Rand’s novel “We The Living.”) Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, and the signers of the Declaration of Independence were all “criminals” too. Good company to keep. A law that criminalizes actions that do not violate the rights of others is unjust and should be repealed.

Forcing productive people who are pro-American in spirit, to waste years of their lives and a good part of their fortune, to jump through a nearly impenetrable, subjective, and irrational maze of bureaucratic hoops, to migrate into a country to freely associate with other Americans who wish to deal with them, speaks volumes about the unjust nature of the present immigration regulations. Such is the state that represents America’s immigration and border controls. It makes it near impossible for productive, peace-loving immigrants to legally enter the country, while dismantling border security to make it easy for individuals who are objectively criminals (those who violate individual rights) to enter, both make a mockery of the rule of law. It punishes the good; and rewards the evil.

The essence of America is that it is a country born on a philosophy that recognizes the supreme political importance of individual rights (for details see her Declaration of Independence). Anti-border security is anti-American as it enables those who wish to violate the rights of others to enter the country; anti-immigration is anti-American as it prohibits individuals, whom Americans desire to live and associate with, from entering the country.

What is the solution? Secure the borders and shut down the gates to those who will violate the rights of others; while opening the immigration gates to productive, America-loving foreigners. The two are part and parcel of the same freedom-loving-American coin.

Let me close with a quote from the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It is time to restore that golden door to protect those who live in America and to fully open it to those who are yearning to breathe free.

Agustina Vergara Cid’s Message To Javier Milei: Freedom Isn’t Compatible with Anarchy

Agustina Vergara Cid’s Message To Javier Milei: Freedom Isn’t Compatible with Anarchy

Argentinian Agustina Vergara Cid, an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, has penned an excellent op-ed on Javier Milei’s reformation of the Argentinian government, observing that:

Milei seems to understand that eliminating government’s control over the economy is a must for human flourishing and prosperity – that government must get out of the way of individuals who want to produce and live freely (for instance, he’s eliminated the price controls that plagued the Argentinian economy for years). But as a self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” he holds a mistaken view of government: as recently as September, he’s stated that government is inherently evil and that true freedom can be only achieved through anarchism.

Not so, says Vergara Cid, “… government is not an unnecessary evil, but a necessary good,” writing that “Argentina’s anarcho-capitalist president Javier Milei must build, not just tear down”:

A civilized society should ban force from social relations, and to enforce this ban there needs to be an institution that holds a monopoly on force. Government is needed to guarantee freedom from physical force by protecting individual rights. To do this it must use force in retaliation against those who initiate it.

[…]Building strong government institutions is necessary to protect the rights of Argentinians. Argentina desperately needs a better police force and court system to implement better rule of law. Criminals run rampant, making safety a top concern leading up to the presidential election. Those criminals who are apprehended are routinely freed by judges. Judicial procedures take a long time, often rendering obsolete verdicts. Judges and other justice system workers often see their independence compromised, especially in cases involving challenges to the political power of corrupt officials.

While most of Milei’s proposed reforms have been about tearing down improper government controls, the new president is also making moves to actively protect the rights of Argentinians by specifying proper governmental actions. For instance, Milei’s government has empowered the police force to prevent and break up the massive pickets and public street blockades that for decades have been restricting Argentinians right to move and causing untold damage.

While the new reforms are overall good signs, the question of Milei’s anarcho-capitalism remains. Freedom isn’t compatible with anarchy. Freedom requires a good government limited to protecting the rights of individuals. Government should leave people free –  by guaranteeing their rights. Milei, who’s shown signs of intellectual growth, will hopefully continue to help build the necessary governmental institutions to do just that and to be persuaded of the need to rebuild the good, not just tear down the bad

Learn more about the importance of good government by reading Ayn Rand’s essay The Nature of Government.

Mark Cuban in a DEI Bubble

Mark Cuban in a DEI Bubble

In a post on X, defending DEI, Mark Cuban writes:

Let me help you out Mr. Cuban (as a fan of your cost-plus drugs business) because when it comes to DEI you seem well-meaning, but live in a bubble.

When advocates of DEI say “diversity, equity, and inclusion” what they mean is the opposite of those words’ common meaning.

DEI is pure doublespeak for racism/tribalism, egalitarian wealth redistribution, and exclusion.

It has both a physical tribalist/collectivist element and an intellectual anti-reason/anti-individualism/anti-capitalism element.

  • “Diversity” does not mean diversity of people with a plurality of ideas, but means not hiring people of all colors based on merit, but hiring physically on racial/tribal preferences (not Asian, not white), and intellectually by their obeisance to their ideology (thus Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and the like, are seen as race traitors who are “not black.”). “Diversity” through the “progressive” lens of “social justice” is unvarnished racism. It means to hire someone over a more qualified candidate because the less qualified candidate is from an “oppressed” tribe. It is injustice. (Hiring a POC that others miss, because they benefit your company, and not because of their race (MLK’s principle of “color blindness”) is called the profit-motive, think of the case of Jackie Robinson in baseball.)
  • “Equity”, does not mean treating people equally, but means redistributing the wealth, not to those who have earned it, but to those who cannot earn it, and don’t deserve it, such as Claudine Gay, who despite her complete lack of academic integrity, will keep her $900,000 paycheck.
  • “Inclusion” means to only include the preferred physical people of color (“POC”) and other alphabet classes. It means to especially exclude those who think differently (those who support liberal values instead of “progressive” ones). Observe that the overwhelming number of college professor hires lean to the “far left.” DEI advocates say they are “fighting oppression,” when they are the oppressors.

Investor Bill Ackman once thought as you did, until he visited Harvard:

“I ultimately concluded that antisemitism was not the core of the problem, it was simply a troubling warning sign – it was the “canary in the coal mine” – despite how destructive it was in impacting student life and learning on campus. I came to learn that the root cause of antisemitism at Harvard was an ideology that had been promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests, helping to generate anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech and harassment. Then I did more research. The more I learned, the more concerned I became, and the more ignorant I realized I had been about DEI, a powerful movement that has not only pervaded Harvard, but the educational system at large. I came to understand that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Property Rights: The Discovery That Built the World

Property Rights: The Discovery That Built the World

A recently published book by Rowan Moore, Property: The Myth That Built the World, argues that, while private property might benefit individuals, it is ultimately harmful to society. The book’s description on Amazon states that the book “offers hope for how things could be better, with reform that might enable the social wealth of property to be returned to society.”

Because I have not read the book and have no intention of doing so, I do not know what “evidence” Moore offers for his thesis. However, it is clear from the book’s description that the author’s concept of property is flawed.

Property is created when the resources provided by nature are transformed into human values. While many people may be involved in that transformation, it is individuals—and specifically individual minds—that discover how to make that transformation possible. Through thought and physical effort, individuals, not society, create property.

As Ayn Rand correctly noted,

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.

Like all collectivists, Moore regards society as some kind of super-organism that is superior to the individuals comprising society. According to collectivists, individuals do not exist for their own personal happiness but only to serve the group. According to this view, accomplishments—including the creation of human values—are not the result of individual thought and effort, but of the collective.

In all of its variants, such as socialism, communism, and fascism, collectivism seeks the elimination of private property. It subordinates individuals and their achievements to the group.

If we reject collectivism, we see society as merely a number of individuals who live and trade together. We see individuals are independent beings with a moral right to pursue their own happiness. And we see property, not as something harmful to society, but essential to enabling individuals to live happy, flourishing lives. – Brian Phillips

Musk on Immigration

Straight out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: Attacks on Business Atlas Elon Musk

From a list courtesy of End Wokeness, comments by Brownstone’s Jeffrey Tucker writing on The Multifront Attack on Business Hero Elon Musk:

The SEC has sued Musk over the purchase of the platform. According to the New York Times, “his takeover has been the subject of several lawsuits and investigations by the federal authorities. The Federal Trade Commission has probed whether X had the resources to protect users’ privacy after he laid off much of its staff and several senior executives responsible for privacy and security resigned. The agency has also sought to depose Mr. Musk. Former Twitter shareholders have also sued Mr. Musk for fraud in a case related to his belated disclosure of his stake in the company.”

The FTC has demanded internal X documents. Says The Hill: “the FTC has sent more than a dozen letters to Twitter since Musk completed his acquisition in October. It states that the agency has demanded Twitter provide internal communications “relating to Elon Musk” from any Twitter employee, information about the platform’s Twitter Blue verification subscription service and the names of journalists who were granted access to Twitter records.”

The Biden Department of Justice has sued SpaceX…get this…for not hiring refugees for secret rocket technology. CNN says: “The suit claims that ‘from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX routinely discouraged asylees and refugees from applying and refused to hire or consider them, because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),’ according to an August 24 DOJ news release.”

The Biden Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commision have sued Tesla over improper perks. Forbes says: “The widened investigation comes after federal prosecutors and the SEC began probing a secret Tesla project known as Project 42 that employees described as a glass house for Musk in the Austin, Texas, area near Tesla’s factory, the Journal reported in August.”

The Biden Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation against Tesla over self-driving cars. Reuters reports: “The U.S. Department of Justice launched the previously undisclosed probe last year following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s driver assistance system Autopilot, which was activated during the accidents, the people said.” The presumption here is preposterous: that Elon doesn’t care if his product is flawed and doesn’t desire improvement.

There is a federal investigation of Neuralink. Reuters again: “Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a medical device company, is under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations amid internal staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths, according to documents reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the investigation and company operations.”

Then there is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation over harassment at Tesla. The EEOC says: “Since at least 2015 to the present, Black employees at Tesla’s Fremont, California manufacturing facilities have routinely endured racial abuse, pervasive stereotyping, and hostility as well as epithets… Slurs were used casually and openly in high-traffic areas and at worker hubs. Black employees regularly encountered graffiti, including variations of the N-word, swastikas, threats, and nooses, on desks and other equipment, in bathroom stalls, within elevators, and even on new vehicles rolling off the production line.”

Finally, we have the aggressive advertising boycott on the part of major corporations, including Disney, CNBC, Comcast, Warner Bros, IBM, and the Financial Times, among many others. Musk has refused to be intimidated by these people. He has said that he refuses to be blackmailed by money and instead told the companies to “Go f*** yourself.” Which is rather remarkable and really does speak to a major problem in social media today, which is the extent to which so many platforms are willing to do the bidding of the corporatist system in order to serve the bottom line.

Read the rest.

Capitalism Q&A: Modern China, Material Progress & Communism

Capitalism Q&A: Modern China, Material Progress & Communism

Q. Why haven’t other countries adopted communism given China’s material improvement?

A. China’s material improvement is a result of moving away from communism (socialist economy) towards a freer market and property rights (which even Cuba has done partially).

Q. Will we see more communist countries?

A. Yes, as anti-capitalism is preached by the intellectuals (professors, teachers, journalists) in other countries. See Ayn Rand’s For The New Intellectual.

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