Sunday, 28 April 2013

Welfare and Taxes

The subject of welfare and benefits is one that is particularly divisive in the field of the politics, and sadly one where polarised black and white thinking is preferred over nuanced debate. The fact of the matter is simple: forcing someone to hand over their money against their will is a violation of human rights. Human beings have a right to their own private property, and the right to the fruits of their own labour. Taking these things from another by force or threat of violence is theft. Given that such things are basic human rights, to deny these rights to individuals simply because they have more than others reflects nothing other than envy, and is immoral. If you sincerely wished to help the poor and needy, then you would do it yourself. As an act of charity has to be intentional and voluntary if it is to be meaningful. Furthermore, trusting a group of individuals to distribute your money effectively is the height of irrationality, when such individuals are just as fallible as everybody else. Either though incompetence, or dishonesty, it is not up to a group of officials to decide who does and does not get money. In today's Western societies, such money does not just help the poor, ill, and disabled, but has also become a lifeline for hardworking and able bodied individuals, since they can scarcely afford to survive due to government control, manipulation, intervention, and regulation of the market. Furthermore, there are those who commit fraud to obtain such money, as small as this group may be. There are those who wilfully do nothing to get out of their situation, and there are more still who wish to improve their situation but cannot due to government red tape. I have to ask proponents of welfare, is this a situation they really want? A system where government can manipulate markets in order to trap people on welfare in poverty?

I assume, of course, that such an opinion will prove to be unpopular amongst Guardianistas, and others who presume to know what is best for others, reason and logic be damned. I also assume that Daily Mail readers will be agreeing with me so far. I shall now give nuance to my previous statements, and this will be a test to see who read past the first paragraph, and to see who amongst my readers have good reading comprehension skills. Despite my previous statements, it would nonetheless be immoral to immediately dismantle the welfare state in its entirety. The reason for this is because there are many dependent on such a system, due to the machinations of an oppressive state. If the economy were not in such bad shape, many people would not need government assistance. However, Western economy is a government-directed centrally planned one, and so, for that reason, many people are trapped in poverty due to wage and price setting. If we are to help these people, we must reform the economy first. We must slowly scale back the size and scope of government, and undo the damage caused by the disastrous economic policies imposed upon us. Only then can we think about scaling back welfare. Welfare itself must also be gradually reformed too. We could start by taking out a lot of government red tape, reducing the levels of bureaucracy.

Ultimately, though, the end goal would be to reach a level where we could get rid of welfare, without dooming thousands of citizens to poverty and, in some cases, death. As with the concept of a stateless society, if this is not achievable, then the next best step would be a minimal welfare system only for the poor and needy. Limiting the size of government, of course, would also mean limiting funds for welfare. Many on the left would no doubt be furious over such a suggestion, but large government, aside from being antithetical to human freedom and economic stability, also means higher taxes. It is well known that those on the left feel as if those with more wealth and possessions should be forced to give a substantial amount away to the government, whilst exempting themselves (usually via tax dodging,) thus putting a larger burden on working class tax payers. I think it can generally be agreed that taxes are too high, and that all the government does is waste money. Why should it be up to a group of wealthy elites to decide what to do with YOUR money? Furthermore, why should they decide what to do with anybody's money? It is easy to be charitable with other people's money, not so much when it is your own. If you really cared for the poor and needy, you would much rather utilise your money in the way you want, rather than leaving up to fallible and corrupt politicians.

Some will no doubt gripe that the wealthy elite can't be trusted to simply help people in need. Many forget that some of the richest people in the world are amongst the biggest givers to charity. Bill Gates is perhaps the best known example of this. Secondly, a large number of the wealthy elite got to where they were due to government policy being favourable to them, and disadvantageous to rivals. If a company that is incapable of competing with rivals in a free market system, then they can lobby politicians. They can pledge financial and political support, providing those in power pass in certain legislation that is favourable to them, and unfavourable to rivals. The rival companies fail, and their company succeeds. Said rivals can be free to be bought out by the company in the government's favour. Such parasites are permitting to thrive and succeed due to government-directed central planning. A free economy would not permit this. There might not necessarily be a connection between businesses opting to compete fairly and charitable giving, but we can be sure that the majority of those who do not give charitably belong to the parasitic political class. Furthermore, eliminating the control of such a cabal will allow for a better economy, namely that other companies and businesses won't be disadvantaged by the machinations of the state, and affording workers increased income.

My premise then, is that fixing the economy would eliminate the need for the benefits and taxes altogether, and that this can be achieved by gradually replacing the current economic model of government control to one of economic freedom. This therefore feeds in to what I have argued in other blog posts, namely that such things would be unnecessary in a free economy. Real social justice is achieved when people work together, not when people are forced against their will to fund a corrupt system. It is important to stress, however, that welfare consists a relatively small amount of total expenditure. Government military spending is massively high, due to several unnecessary wars being waged. Western governments also spend a lot of money providing funds and weapons for a variety of puppet leaders throughout the globe. For example, Western governments set up and funded: Bashar Al-Assad, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Osama bin Laden. Then there's government money wasted on subsidies and bail-outs for banks and corporations. Government spending has reached an all-time high, and absolutely no cuts are being made to these important areas at all. Indeed, the so-called "austerity" we are allegedly seeing now is nothing but spending redistribution. In fact, government spending has actually gone up! What needs to be done is to make massive cuts to government spending in areas that do not adversely affect the working population and the poor and needy. Then we can head to recovery, and then the things I have discussed can come to fruition.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

On Capitalism as a Logical Expression of Human Rights, Freedom, and Liberty

In my previous blog post, I talked about how human rights should be the basis of law and policy making. I stated, however, that capitalism, and not communism or socialism, is the desired economic state. This will no doubt cause confusion to myriads of those whom have been deceived from birth into believing that capitalism is the cause of our socio-economic woes. As I noted in said aforementioned blog post, the cause of our socio-economic woes is the total disregard for human rights, and thus, by extension, a total disregard for human freedom and liberty. A lot of people often throw around the term capitalism without understanding its proper meaning, and so it is understandable for them to be so confused. In this blog post, I shall explicate upon what precisely capitalism is, versus what it is perceived to be, and contrast it with alternate economic models, namely those of communism, socialism, and keynesiansim. As I have already mentioned, human rights should be the basis for law and policy making. Human beings, being autonomous, free agents, created in the image of God (I accept evolutionary theory, so please don't accuse me of me of being a 'creationist'), are thus endowed with certain objective, intrinsic rights. All human life has objective worth, and so it follows that all human beings have the same equal rights. Those who disagree, well, what can I say about them other than that such views are totally antithetical to human prosperity, and are an anathema that must be opposed by all and any means necessary (providing, of course, that human rights be upheld at ALL times.) Essentially, human rights are exclusive claims, that require no action on the part of others to be upheld. Chief amongst these rights is the right to freedom. We are free to do as we wish, providing, of course, we are not infringing upon the rights of others. We should be free, both socially, and economically.

I mentioned briefly in my previous blog post that capitalism is an economic system of economic freedom. What this essentially means is that the economy is market driven, NOT government driven. This is important to understand since government driven economies, which is the very definition of left-wing economics, have been the standard economic system for much of the 20th century, and the entirety of the 21st. Every time I hear someone complain about capitalism or right-wing economics, when pressed to give an example, they can only ever provide examples from nations with government-driven economies. For example, in an econically free market driven economy (i.e. capitalism), the government would not be permitted to bail out and subsidise large corporations. Such corporations would be subject to market forces, and would be forced to compete with other businesses fairly, instead of lobbying for the government to pass legislation favourable to themselves but disadvantageous to their rivals, small businesses, and working people. In an un-free government-direct economy, the government is free to impose its arbitrary standards as it sees fit, passing legislation favourable to the highest paying corporations. In a capitalist economy, businesses unable to compete fairly are left to fail, whereas in a government-directed economy, they can be saved from failure at the expense of the working tax payers, free to coninue making the same palpable errors that led to their being bailed out and subsidised in the first place. Such a vicious cycle, left to continue, will slowly drain away the national resources, until the only ones left with money are those in power, and their corporate pals who, because of government intervention and regulation, have been able to craft a hegemonic monopoly over the market.

Such control over the market is NOT the government's responsibility. History has shown that when the government intervenes and regulates, it inevitably leads to poverty. Franklin Roosevelt's 'New Deal' extended the American Great Depression for decades, Hitler's economic policies, whilst achieving temporary success for Germany, inevitably led to Germany running massive deficits and, fortunately for us, losing the second world war. Stalin and Mao's economic policies were so disastrous that they led to mass famines, claiming the lives of untold millions. In the modern age, the last vestiges of communism are dying, but socialism nonethless remains, and we sit back and watch as our world leaders drive us into poverty, whilst they laugh and grow fat. Such government control over economy is no different from government control over social policy. Thus, to be consistent, we must embrace social and economic freedom. Think on this, our governments continue to print money from centralised national banks, greatly devaluing our currencies, and rapidly driving hyper-inflation. Our governments continue to bail out and subsidise not just banks, but big business and corporations. They pass legislation that allows for these festering halls of corruption to continue making the same bad decisions, which are many and considerable. If neither government nor corporations can be trusted, why give the government MORE power over the market system? Such government control is precisely what these corporations want, and such control is the polar opposite of capitalism.

Capitalism is solely an economic system, one of economic freedom. You are not required to embrace social authoritarianism, since the two are logically incompatible. Indeed, my argument for the embrace of economic freedom is based upon the very notion of social freedom, since both stem from human rights, specifically, the human right to freedom. You also don't have to believe in the Christian God, or, indeed, any god at all, in order for you to accept this. That is where my belief in freedom originates, as does my belief in objective morality, and objective human worth. Though it is my personal belief that such beliefs can only logically follow from the truth of theism, you do need to share that belief, nor do you need to share my other beliefs. Just as long as we agree on social and economic freedom, I would be content. It is my greatest wish that, even if only for a short while, and even if only limited to one specific region or area, that freedom be realised. Those who choose to work together can do so, and band together and unite under a common cause. Whereas those content to do ill can suffer the consequences of their actions. Alas, I fear that humanity will never realise such a state, and will instead sink into the hole it has dug for itself. Still, I continue to do my best to combat stupidity and ignorance, even if my best is to post long rants on the Internet.

On Human Rights and Their Basis for Civil Law

Politics can be divided into two spheres: economic policies and social policies. Economic policies refer to those that govern over trade, and, by extension, currency. Social policies refer to those that govern over human social affairs, etc. There are then subsequent sub-divisions, such as foreign policies, which govern interaction with other nations, and domestic policies, which govern affairs in one's own nation. There are, of course, many different approaches to these areas, and how each are to be handled. Any law or set of laws must be based upon human rights, and, by extension, human freedom. Human rights are exclusive claims that refer to an individual, namely a claim to having a right to do some action. Furthermore, respecting said rights does not require any additional action on the part of other individuals to be upheld. For example, in order for the right to free speech to be upheld, all that is required is for people to refrain from restricting the speech of others. Whereas something that requires additional action to be upheld is not a right, but rather an inclusive claim that refers to individuals outside of oneself. For example, in order for free healthcare to be upheld, it required that somebody else to provide that healthcare. Since nobody is required to provide healthcare to another, this is invalid. Another scenario might be where others are required to pay for the healthcare of those who cannot afford it, but since nobody is required to pay for the healthcare of another, this is again invalid, and not a right. Anything which is a violation of a human right should thus be against the law, whereas things that aren't human rights do not need to be enforced by law.

Thus, when it comes to policy and law making, the fundamental issue should be that of human rights. A government, if one is to exist at all, must therefore be concerned with upholding these human rights. The problem with the governments of today is that they do not do this, but rather force control onto us, in direct violation of many human rights. Governments steal from their citizens via taxation, governments censor the speech of their citizens, governments do not allow citizens to defend themselves by banning firearms, etc., governments do not allow citizens to eat and drink what they like by banning various substances and imposing restrictions on the consumption of other substances, governments inflict police brutality on their own citizens whilst simultaneously funding wars in other nations, governments insist on economic and social control. However, not only do such laws and policies violate human rights at every level, evidence and experience has time and time again shown that all such principles do is to prevent human flourishing, and actively engender human suffering. In short, modern governments are a cancer to this world, a cancer that must be excised in toto if we are to flourish and survive as a species.

The ultimate end-goal for any civilised society interested in promoting and upholding human freedom and flourishing is thus a stateless society. The problem is how to arrive at such a state, given how steeped we are in statism in this modern age. Indeed, so many people have been so hopelessly intoxicated in the myths of statism that they cannot even envisage an alternate scenario. We are not yet ready for such a state of freedom, since many are still so throughly deluded, brainwashed, and inculcated that they would simply be unable to function without the state telling them what to do, say, and think. Thus, we must head to such a state slowly, and incrementally. We must slowly undo the damage of the disease that is statism, one step at a time, until all trace of the virile infection is gone. The first step would definitely be the removal of the current system of government in its entirety, in Australasia, Britain, Europe, and North America. The current political class are nothing but a caste of parasitic organisms, slowly draining away at their nations' resources, driving working citizens further into poverty as they gorge themselves at the expense of the general public. We need politicians who are actual civil servants, instead of being self-serving oligarchs. We need politicians who are accountable to the people they are meant to represent.

Whether through reform or revolution, the current political class must be ousted. Our very freedom depends upon it. We cannot allow this rot to fester any longer, as the power of the enemies of freedom grows as time goes on. Contrary to popular belief, however, such political corruption does not result from capitalism, but from socialism and the left. Many people blame capitalism without thinking, but those who do so are simply ignorant of what capitalism is. Capitalism is free market system, where people are free to trade as they like with who they like. Whereas modern trade is tightly controlled and regulated by the state. The term 'privatisation' is often used as a kind of dirty word by leftists, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with private ownership. Indeed, the people who complain about privatisation seem completely ignorant of the fact that the government is still picking winners and losers. Corporatism is thus very much left-wing, since a powerful state that cripples small competition with regulations and bestows bailouts and subsidies upon them is exactly what these big corporations want. After all, Benito Mussolini famously remarked that such marriage of state and business, i.e. corporatism, is the very definition of fascism. It was also a centre-piece of Hitler's National Socialist economy, which ultimately led to Germany running huge deficits and losing the second world war.

Indeed, it is amusing to me that the Nazis are considered 'far-right,' given that their economic policies were the same as those enacted by Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression, and are the same as the economic policies employed by governments the world over. The policies of Barrack Obama, and George Bush, the policies of David Cameron, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown. Though they may differ superficially, they are at heart cut from the same cloth. They are inherently authoritarian, and inherently left-wing. They may not be as far left as the likes of communism, but they are still left-wing all the same. The problem is that people do not understand the meaning of such terminology, so much so that, lamentably, the meanings of such term have deviated substantially from their original meaning in popular usage. Whilst it one day might prove necessary to utilise new terminology, I see no reason in using such terms in their original sense. I shall then simply explain what I mean when I use such terminology, given that the general public seemingly have no clue as to the original meanings, as aforementioned.

Traditionally, political parties have been assessed according to a left-ring spectrum. However, this left-right spectrum only covers economic policy. There is another scale, one which we may call 'up-down,' which covers social policy. Those on the left favour government control over economy, whereas those on the right favour economic freedom. Those who are 'up' favour government control over our social lives, whereas those 'down' favour social freedom, or liberty, if you will. Capitalism, being right-wing, is thus simply an economic system characterised by economic freedom, free from the machinations of an oppressive state. Communism, being left-wing, favours total government control over the economy, which, as history has shown, is an untenable idea that leads to nothing but poverty. Socialism is a far more insidious brand of leftism, however. Indeed, the West has been mired in socialism since the mid-20th century, yet armies of naive and deluded angst-ridden teenagers claim we live in an age of capitalist oppression. Whilst there are those who certainly presume themselves knowledgable enough to pontificate upon these issues, so much so that they feel the need to proclaim, in their official capacity and just some blokes on the internet, that economic freedom leads to poverty, this is palpably untrue. Every example of 'capitalism' put forward by these enemies of freedom are nothing but examples of economic control, NOT economic freedom.

It is possible, however, for one to be right, but also 'up,' that is to say an authoritarian capitalist. One who maintains social control and economic freedom. Just as it is possible for one to be left and 'down,' that is to say a libertarian socialist. Whilst such possibilities exist, and indeed are positions that have been held to, such mixtures are inherently contradictory. It is either freedom, or no freedom. Thus, I see no reason whatsoever for one to embrace economic freedom whilst denying social freedom. Just as I see no logical connection between social freedom and economic control and oppression. Given that human rights are paramount for any civilised society, we must embrace both social and economic freedom if we are to prevail against sky touching castles and dark palaces where evil never dies. Whereas, if we wish to return to the morbid reich, then all we need do is simply to remain compliant to the powers that be and their black velvet and skulls of steel.

In a free society, socially we would be free to do as we please (providing that the rights of others are respected and not infringed), whereas economically we would be far better off. We would be free to do trade as we please (again, providing that no rights are infringed) and we would no longer be suffering an economic crisis. Rather, our economy would soar, as we would no longer be bound by the oppressive strictures of a belligerent, malevolent state. Every economic crisis has been engineered by government decree. I am not suggesting any wilful conspiracy, however. Rather, I put down such a state of affairs purely to human stupidity. It is no coincidence that politicians are economically illiterate morons, however, they are at least intelligent enough to maintain their current status quo. Will you continue to suffer under their status quo, or will you say that enough is enough and that we, the people, decide our own fate? Many of you already know how ill these times are, yet you do nothing because of fear, asking 'but what can we do?' We can rise up and confront such a blatant disregard for human wellbeing and force it out. I for one am not willing to consign myself to a fate of being lorded over by those who presume to be above us. I for one have stared into the abyss of oblivion unblinking, and I'll be damned if I don't do my best to avoid it.

A form of minimal government might be necessary for a time to ensure that such laws are upheld, and I certainly recognise that a stateless society might never be achieved, but I'm willing to at least give freedom a chance. Again, I am not suggesting a radical upheaval, but rather a gradual move to such a state. Although I am suggesting we take action to ensure that our freedom is protected. We must unite as one, and rise up in protest. A people should not be afraid of their government, but, rather, a government should be afraid of its people. We must demand our freedom be respected, and if our authoritarian governments are not willing, then we must overthrow them and imprison those responsible for miring us in the current economic crisis. Whether or not people will heed such a call is another matter. I expect many who read this would rather remain intoxicated in their myths, shackled to the delusions fed to them by the state they claim to oppose. Others still readily embrace the terror of tyranny and oppression, a folk as wicked and foul as those currently in power. It is for this reason that I care not to argue my case in depth. Indeed, it does not matter how much evidence I present, the faithful believers in the providence of the state will reject it all. Those interested can do their own research, although I would be more than happy to explicate upon the evidence for my position should those enquire. This is mostly just an impassioned rant against the current system.