Words as Signals and Nothing Else

The old saying goes “A man is only as good as his word.” Wrong, the correct saying is “A man is only as good as his actions.”

Words are simply signals for action. If someone acted like your mortal enemy but said I love you, which side would you err on?

If someone said they were sorry and they did it to you all over again, which side would you err on?

Think of this in a different context: Man asks cute girl on a date. Cute girl says that she will be at coffee shop ‘A’ at 11 am. Man shows up and hours upon hours tick away. The man can see the whole store, so when the girl says later “Oh, I was there. Where were you?” It would’t hold.

Saying that you are somewhere doesn’t make you there and the same goes for love and apologies.

When thinking about politics the key is to say the right things. “Hope, Change, Political Correctness, etc.” But this is completely backwards compared to the rest of society. The whole problem with everything else in the world is getting people to live up to what they say. Or in other words, make people follow their words through with action.

Why is it that human society has based their politics based upon what people said and not what they do? And do not go off yet, it is on both sides.

If someone stated that Congressman Joe Wilson who shouted “you lie” when President Barack Obama stated that his health care plan wouldn’t cover illegal immigrants had in fact supported a previous bill that did, would many of Wilson’s supporters know the real answer?

And I understand that people are rational ignorant when it comes to politics. But why is the equlibrium at what they say? Why isn’t it at zero? Could it be possible that no listening to a politician at all would give people a better chance at guessing what policies they promote? For example, if you ran the experiment, two citizens in 2001. George W. Bush is elected and now we are in 2002. By the end of his administration, who has a better chance of predicting if George W. Bush will support Medicare expansions? The guy who watched the news and listened to the speeches or someone who paid no attention at all?

The obvious answer here is the person who paid no attention at all. Why? Well, Bush expanded Medicare with part D while claiming to be a fiscal conservative.

There you have it, I support rational absolutely ignorance over rational speech listening only ignorance.

I mean how else are we going to stop the Barack Obamas and the Nancy Pelosis of the world from talking about a bill that hasn’t been finalized… I mean you wouldn’t trust a car salesman who had never seen the car, would you?

~PCCapitalist

Should the GOP Run Toward the “Middle”? By Jack Hunter

Today’s article of the day comes from Campaign for Liberty:

When Republican Sen. Arlen Specter defected to the Democratic Party recently, politicians and pundits everywhere heralded the move as another sign that the GOP was “too conservative.” Said liberal Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, “If the Republican Party fully intends to become a majority party in the future, it must move from the far right back toward the middle.”

Presumably “the middle,” a pasture that so many Democrats, liberal Republicans, and others believe the GOP should now graze, is a place free of “reckless” government-slashing rhetoric. These critics believe Obama is president, the Democrats are in power, and Republicans who refuse to “change” with the rest of the country will face inevitable defeat for the foreseeable future. The Republican Party is simply “too conservative,” they say. Nothing could be more untrue.

What exactly did voters reject in 2008 that makes for such a dark future for conservatives? A government-slashing Congress? A president that cracked down on illegal immigration? A Christian right, gun zealot? No, they rejected George W. Bush, a big government, amnesty-proposing president, who was occasionally socially conservative in his rhetoric, but rarely in practice. Between the war and spending, America soured on Bush for reasons that had nothing to do with conservatism.

Does anyone really believe voters are now enamored with Barack Obama because they despise conservatism and love liberalism? Americans aren’t that ideological. After 100 days in office, Obama’s popularity remains high, with a significant majority in a recent Gallup poll saying he is doing a good job. But when the same poll asks “what is the worst thing Barack Obama has done since he became president?,” the number one answer is “stimulus spending,” the president’s most ambitious and most defining piece of legislation to date.

If the GOP must move to the middle to win elections, exactly what do Republicans gain by backing massive spending increases which even those who support Obama are uncomfortable with? Why is becoming more like the Democrats considered the path to GOP success? What’s the point of even having a Republican Party?

The GOP would do well to flee from the consensus middle and take a hard right on the top issues that continue to concern Americans across the political spectrum — out-of-control spending, outrageous debt, and our ever-expanding federal government. In other words, the Republican Party should actually become the party of small government it has always pretended to be.

But not everyone agrees, most notably Sen. Lindsey Graham. According to The New York Times, “Graham scoffed at the notion that the party was suffering because it was not conservative enough. ‘Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough? This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”

Graham is right. The Republican brand is tainted — by Bush Republicans like Graham.

While the 18-to-34-year-olds came out in force for Obama, the most conservative Republican presidential candidate in the last election ran a campaign defined in large part by its youth support. As usual, the old, white, Christian Republican base dutifully gravitated to conventional, Bush Republicans like McCain, but the government-slashing radical Ron Paul drew support from young and old; Republicans, Democrats, and independents; whites, blacks and Hispanics; Christians and non-believers. The much discussed, increasingly shrinking GOP is the party of lukewarm, establishment men like Graham, McCain, and Bush — not fiery conservatives like Ron Paul.

But those who believe the GOP must move to the middle are right about one thing: Thundering on and on about abortion, gay marriage, and family values at the national level is political suicide, precisely because too many Americans who might be attracted to a limited government message would be repulsed by any politician they perceive as wanting to dictate their personal lives.

Once again, Paul’s example is the best solution. This pro-life, conservative Christian believes states should decide social issues free of federal interference. Gay newlyweds in Vermont would have nothing to fear from a staunchly libertarian GOP. And neither would conservative Christians in South Carolina, who would gain more from a smaller, less intrusive government than the type of pro-Christian, big government the religious right typically supports. In any move to the middle, Republicans are more likely to find a graveyard instead of salvation. The GOP will never out-Obama, Obama.

However, it is not clear that voters are prepared to accept big government as the long-term American way. If a majority ever decides to reject it, they will require a GOP far removed from the current, middle-of-the-road consensus of both parties. And only a Republican Party that eventually opposes big government — and is not a part of it — will stand fit to put it out of its misery.

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How Public Choice Economists are different…

This is somewhat of a following up from my previous post “How are Libertarians different?” Like libertarianism people often throwaway the explanations of Public Choice Economics when it is offered to them. Public Choice Economics is often offered to people as “looking at politicians as rational self-interest people.” The next phase is that people look at you and kind of go “duh.” It is much deeper in that. They also study institutions and the incentives politicians face.

Often times when you talk to Conservatives and Liberal (even some libertarians) the most important thing is getting the right person elected to office. What they end up doing is getting new people elected and fighting the fake Liberals and Conservatives who are already in place. Since they are usually unsuccessful with dethroning the fake Liberals and Conservatives, they often do this over a long time horizon and it becomes a neverending cycle.

What the Public Choice challenge is, is how can you arrange the incentives so that any President good or bad will not completely disrupt the system. Other Public Choice Economists come to the conclusion is that you can in fact never get the incentive structures changed. Further more there are other Public Choice Economists believe that a competitive system which prevents an identity from becoming a monopoly on force.

This may be hard to imagine without an example. If you think about the current political system we are faced with. The politicians that get elected are going to be the people who find the best ways to spread the costs and concentrate the benefits. This means pleasing special interests. They will also be the best at making political deals and saying things without saying anything at all. We all know this because we see it every election cycle. What we want is the straight talking, dudley do the right thing politician. The problem is that the incentive structure favors those who do the opposite.

Electing saints is what most regular people do, while Public Choice is more concerned with having institutions that protect us even if we elect a devil.

~PCCapitalist

How are Libertarians different?

Many people never even hear of Libertarianism. I came from a small town in central Virginia, where when someone told me that Fairfax has a large libertarian movement I said that I do not know what that is but I am a conservative. Yes, I am a recovering conservative. The purpose of this post is what is the differences between a conservative or a liberal versus a libertarian? Most people would say that a libertarian is someone who agrees with liberals on social issues and conservatives on fiscal issues, even with outline the blurred lines we see today. This though is too simple of a throwaway definition.

The different between libertarians and other ideologies (including liberal, conservative, and socialist) is much wider than first thought. A libertarian is someone who does not have any desire to exert any control over you unless you mess with their stuff without permission. A libertarian is someone who when they derive what they think their rights are, it does not include messing with yours. Conservatives mess with your lifestyle and liberals mess with you money. Of course, the lines have blurred and the very difference between libertarian and the other ideologies should shine a light upon this problem.

The reason why the lines can become blurred is because whether you are controlling someone’s lifestyle or their money, you are still giving yourself the right to control something. This is why it does not take much for a conservative to wear the coat of a liberal. If a libertarian attempted to wear a coat of a liberal or conservative they would be thrown out faster than Arlen Specter could say “I’m a Democrat now.” This is because the opposite of libertarian is socialist, not liberal or conservative. Socialists are just people who believe it is not only their right, but their duty to control you.

This brings up the next term “nanny-state.” When someone is told that they support a nanny-state that implies that they themselves are not apt to make a decision for themselves. This is what conservatives, liberals, and socialists all think. Libertarians do not care if you can make a decision for yourself as long as that decision is not infringing upon me. They lay upon the foundation of Adam Smith and how every person who acts in their own self-interest will generate positive results for the entire populous. Liberals want no one to be self-interest and conservatives want to fight that.

The point is that libertarianism is a completely new mind set. When I was a conservative who was finding myself sliding into the libertarian boat, I tried hard to cast it off. To cast off the tool of control changes your life forever. When I was conservative, I truly thought we were just playing a game of what we should control and it never popped in my mind nothing. The status quo is always something and therefore it becomes ingrained in our minds.

Many times we do not do things because we think to ourselves how horrible it would be if a person did that to us. Liberals and conservatives should think about control in this same way. If one side wants to win and prevent themselves from being controlled at all then the better way to do that is to stop legitimizing any kind of control.

~PCCapitalist

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Hell with Our Constitution by Walter Williams

The Article of the Day is from Walter Williams’ Website:

Dr. Robert Higgs, senior fellow at the Oakland-based Independent Institute, penned an article in The Christian Science Monitor (2/9/2009) that suggests the most intelligent recommendation that I’ve read to fix our current economic mess. The title of his article gives his recommendation away: “Instead of stimulus, do nothing — seriously.”

Stimulus package debate is over how much money should be spent, whether some should given to the National Endowment for the Arts, research sexually transmitted diseases or bail out Amtrak, our failing railroad system. Dr. Higgs says, “Hardly anyone, however, is asking the most important question: Should the federal government be doing any of this?” He adds, “Until the 1930s, the Constitution served as a major constraint on federal economic interventionism. The government’s powers were understood to be just as the framers intended: few and explicitly enumerated in our founding document and its amendments. Search the Constitution as long as you like, and you will find no specific authority conveyed for the government to spend money on global-warming research, urban mass transit, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or countless other items in the stimulus package and, even without it, in the regular federal budget.”

By bringing up the idea of constitutional restraints on Washington, I’d say Dr. Higgs is whistling Dixie. Americans have long ago abandoned respect for the constitutional limitations placed on the federal government. Our elected representatives represent that disrespect. After all I’d ask Higgs: Isn’t it unreasonable to expect a politician to do what he considers to be political suicide, namely conduct himself according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution?

While Americans, through ignorance or purpose, show contempt for our Constitution, I doubt whether they are indifferent between a growing or stagnating economy. Dr. Higgs tells us some of the economic history of the U.S. In 1893, there was a depression; we got out of it without a stimulus package. There was a major recession of 1920-21; though sharp, it quickly reversed itself into what has been call the “Roaring Twenties.” In 1929, there was an economic downturn, most notably featured by the stock market collapse, after which came massive government intervention — you might call it the nation’s first stimulus package. President Hoover and Congress responded to what might have been a two- or three-year sharp downturn with many of the policies President Obama and Congress are urging today. They raised tariffs, propped up wage rates, bailed out farmers, banks and other businesses, and financed state relief efforts. When Roosevelt came to office, he became even more interventionist than Hoover and presided over protracted depression where the economy didn’t fully recover until 1946.

Roosevelt didn’t have an easy time with his agenda; he had to first emasculate the U.S. Supreme Court. Higgs points out that federal courts had respect for the Constitution as late as the 1930s. They issued some 1,600 injunctions to restrain officials from carrying out acts of Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned as unconstitutional the New Deal’s centerpieces such as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act and other parts of Roosevelt’s “stimulus package.” An outraged Roosevelt threatened to pack the Court, and the Court capitulated to where it is today giving Congress virtually unlimited powers to tax, spend and regulate. My question to my fellow Americans is: Do we want a repeat of measures that failed dismally during the 1930s?

A more fundamental question is: Should Washington be guided by the Constitution? In explaining the Constitution, James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist Paper 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Has the Constitution been amended to permit Congress to tax, spend and regulate as it pleases or have Americans said, “To hell with the Constitution”?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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