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By Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein

It has been nearly five years since September 11, 2001—the day that Islamic terrorists incinerated thousands of innocent individuals in the freest, wealthiest, happiest, and most powerful nation on earth.

On that day and in the weeks after, we all felt the same things. We felt grief, that we had lost so many who had been so good. We felt anger, at whoever could commit or support such an evil act. We felt disbelief, that the world’s only superpower could let this happen. And we felt fear, from the newfound realization that such evil could rain on any of us. But above all, we felt the desire for overwhelming retaliationagainst whoever was responsible for these atrocities, directly or indirectly, so that no one would dare launch or support such an attack on America ever again.

To conjure up the emotions we felt on 9/11, many intellectuals claim, is dangerous, because it promotes the “simplistic” desire for revenge and casts aside the “complexity” of the factors that led to the 9/11 attacks. But, in fact, the desire for overwhelming retaliation most Americans felt after 9/11—and feel rarely, if ever, now—was the result of an objective conviction: that a truly monstrous evil had been perpetrated, and that if the enemies responsible for the 9/11 attacks were not dealt with decisively, we would suffer the same fate (or worse) again.

After 9/11, our leaders—seemingly sharing our conviction in the necessity of decisive retaliation—promised to do everything possible to make America safe from terrorist attack. In an almost universally applauded speech, President Bush pledged to eradicate the enemy by waging a war that was to begin with Al Qaeda and the Taliban but that would “not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been . . . defeated.” In the same speech, Bush vowed: “I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.”1

To fulfill the promise to defeat the terrorist enemy that struck on 9/11, our leaders would first have to identify who exactly that enemy is and then be willing to do whatever is necessary to defeat him. Let us examine what this would entail, and compare it with the actions that our leaders actually took.

Who is the enemy that attacked on 9/11? It is not “terrorism”—just as our enemy in World War II was not kamikaze strikes or U-boat attacks. Terrorism is a tactic employed by a certain group for a certain cause. That group and, above all, the cause they fight for are our enemy.

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With Gun Control, Cost Benefit Analysis Is Amoral

The most complete answer to the lefts appeal to statistics against guns.

Guns… Lots of guns.

Let’s rise above the fog of the Gun Debate and bring clarity to the discussion. Have you ever considered what the essential players and principles involved in the Gun Debate are? As far as players, you have the federal government, the state and local government, and the conglomeration of individuals making up the people of this great nation. The principles involved are highlighted in one of our nation’s oldest documents — The Declaration of Independence; it has outlined the proper relationship the people are to have with their government. Essentially, if men are to coexist peacefully (i.e., without tyranny) rights will need to be secured and the government is the institution charged with securing them.

Government secures rights and prohibits tyranny by making laws against the initiation of force, and utilizes the police, military and courts to enforce said laws. Government violates rights by instituting laws that initiate force and institutionalize tyranny. Today people seem to form interest groups to not only prevent their group from being taken advantage of, but also to seek special favors (via laws) that may initiate force against others. The right answer is not to form or join the most influential group, but to abolish the entire practice and not to initiate force against anybody.

Now, if the government is to secure your rights those rights must have solid roots; the connection must be proved without contradiction. Have you ever considered what our right to keep and bear arms is rooted in? Assuming you agree with me that rights are short for a right to action, needing no permission from any authority; and assuming you agree that the basic right of individuals is a right to act in their self-interest, and to take actions that sustain their life — also known as the right to life — then you might be able to make the connection between a right to life and a right to bear arms.

Your right to life means your life is an end in itself and needs no justification to exist; the fact that you’re alive, that you’re the only one in conscious control of your life, and that you’re able to sustain it by your own effort is sufficient to establish your existence as a right. Your right to life does not guarantee that you live without risk or without threats. By deduction this means if anything threatens your life, which can only exist in physical form via force, then you have a right to take actions to neutralize the threat (meaning to stop it) in order to secure your life — also know as the right to self-defense. By deduction this means if you are to have a right to take actions to neutralize threats, then you require a right to the means (or tools) to neutralize them — also known as a right to bear arms (a means of offense or defense). Your right to life is the root of your right to (acquire) keep and bear arms, and your right to life precedes the Constitution, which means your right to bear arms precedes the Constitution.

Let’s work this problem in reverse by reduction instead of deduction. Let’s assume for a moment that you don’t have a right to acquire, keep, and bear arms. By reduction this means if you have no right to arms, then you have no right to a means of offense or defense — the tools needed to neutralize threats. By reduction this means if you have no right to the means of neutralizing threats, then you have no right to neutralize threats. By reduction this means if you have no right to neutralize threats to your life, then you have no right to secure your life. By reduction this means if you have no right to secure your life, then you have no right to life. If you have no right to life, then you can only secure your life by permission, which is exactly the situation in which we find ourselves as Americans in the land of the “free” when we seek permits (tools signifying permission of the State) to purchase the tools of our self-defense.

Since governments are instituted among men to secure their rights, for men to seek the permission from their government to act on their rights is completely foreign to me. When did the roles reverse? The government needed permission from the people to take certain actions as granted by the US Constitution; and now the people need permission from their government. Given this backward relationship, and regardless of what professors may tell you, who do you think works for whom in this case?

Question: Why does anyone need a philosophy?

Answer:  “You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract ideas, i.e., into principles. Your only choice is whether these principles are true or false, whether they represent your conscious, rational convictions—or a grab-bag of notions snatched at random, whose sources, validity, and consequences you do not know, notions which, more often than not, you would drop like a hot potato if you knew.” (Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It, p. 5)

Everyone has a philosophy, even if we cannot express it in words.

We either act as if our eternal salvation depends on following the mandates of scripture, or we don’t. We feel the need to believe in something and search for understanding, or we adopt the cynical view that the search is useless. We all have some sense of what is right, and what is wrong. We can see ourselves as noble beings worthy of happiness or as guilty transgressors against the environment, social justice, or God. We will all decide often what it is that constitutes our duty. We think we know art when we see it. And we adopt political principles and support politicians and parties.
All of these are philosophical issues.
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In response to The above video advocating consumerism, specifically as it applies to job creation:

I will begin by saying that propagating false principles and ideas that cater to the fashions of the time is easy in that it can be brief; it takes length to root out the error(s) by catering to people’s reason.  The initial advantage goes to the fashionable, but in the end reason is what “sticks” if people are willing to make the effort to discover what is true and why.

Life is a process of self-generating and self-sustaining actions — look at anything that is alive today and you will see this to be a true principle.  This action translates into human action as production — the self-generated action of man to the production of goods that he requires for sustaining his life.  It is self-sustaining if he produces more than what it costs to produce — i.e., his actions are profitable.

If left alone, man must produce for himself, but once he has a neighbor there can be a division of labor and trade — there “CAN be”, meaning it’s an option.  Both traders can now neglect a certain action that they will trade for; they can now focus on producing more of what they will use to exchange for what the other will make.  This is the formation of the most basic job — of neglecting one thing and creating more of another, in order to exchange at a net gain (or profit) than otherwise would be possible.  Both traders increase their activities in one area — creating the option of a certain action in exchange for wages.  This principle applies throughout a free economy: division of labor and production reorganizes as a trade to the profit of all.

It is true that demand creates an incentive for production, and demand creates an incentive for creating jobs to support production, but without rich entrepreneurs and the super rich, most of those demands would go unfulfilled.  Neither a sea of tears nor an army of guns will create any value that is demanded.

When the rich are starting a business, he creates the option of work that wouldn’t otherwise exist in exchange for wages; and he creates an option to buy a product that wouldn’t otherwise exist in exchange for payment.  It is also true that without others to make use those options, then those options would go unfilled or unbought.  It is safely assumed that people choose, to the best of their ability, the best options for themselves; and if they take a job or buy a product, then it is the best option for them according to them.

If entrepreneurs lack the capital to start a company, they CAN look to others who have capital (the super rich) and create an exchange to the profit of both.  The super rich lending their money is providing a service.  They worked or their relative worked and saved — i.e., withheld their consumption — to acquire that capital.  They earned it, and that is their property by right.

Where entrepreneurs and the super rich get the credit for creation is creating the production and job opportunities that would otherwise not exist, and on top of that they do it in a fashion that is consistent with life — in a self-generating and self-sustaining fashion — i.e., at a profit.  Consumers filling the created job opportunity or consuming the resulting production is not and can never be a function of creation; it can only be the consumption of something that has been created.

It is also said that people create the value that is demanded by demanding that value — demand creates value.  True, things are of value because of demand; however, assuming that individuals want to live, then there will always be demand and a need to produce — the nature of reality and life requires this.

To give credit to people for creating demand where the nature of reality and life is responsible is worse than a contradiction; it’s an evasion of reality.  It amounts to saying that consumers created demand where it would otherwise not exist, and they alone hold power over demand and can turn their demand on or off, instead of realizing that the nature of reality and life is the true source of demand.  The former leads to the fallacy of consumerism and the primacy of consumers, and the later leads to a correct framework for analyzing economics and the primacy of reality.  

Prove me wrong consumers by stop demanding, and with your ceasing of demand goes your ceasing of consumption — do it, stop consuming if you can!  Alas!  A false principle never fails to betray itself.

With a false principle, sprouts false and destructive ideas — like the video suggests.  If consumerism is assumed to be a correct framework, then I agree with the video that it logically leads to taxing the rich and giving it to the middle class and those who consume.  They would be the true source of the value given to production after all.

What would taking from the rich and “investing” in consumers do (analyzing it through a correct framework)?  It violates our first principle that life is a process self-generating and self-sustaining action.  Taxing the rich is a forced acquiring of their profit (remember that profit is the result of their self-generating and self-sustaining action), and giving it to consumers will simply allow consumers to consume in exchange for that money.  The result is the feeding off of self-sustaining and self-generating action to support a “sink hole.”  The ratio/percentage of this siphoning has it’s limit before the entire system cannot be self-sustaining!  Why, in the name of life, would we ever want to move in that direction!

The last objection I have of consumerism is the argument that the rich getting richer will result in a lack of consumers because people will have less money to buy things.  What a tragedy that existence has in store for man when he harms himself buy producing and selling more of what other people want!  We are doomed!  We are doomed to do little for our fellow man or to harm them, and we are doomed to harm ourselves in both cases!

Fortunately existence doesn’t have it out for man and has provided a mechanism to avoid destruction.  The solution is simple — the price mechanism.  The nature of pricing dictates that if the production of goods are up and the amount of money in circulation is down, then the prices of products will necessarily drop provided that trade is left alone by the government or those who would like to initiate the use of force.

Do not get fixated on money — it is deceitful when analyzing economics because it is easy to confuse money for wealth.  Money is a medium of exchange only.  An exchange involving trading a product/service for money is incomplete until that money is in turn exchanged for a product/service.  It is products and services that are the ends and it is production and money that is the means to self-generating and self-sustaining processes — i.e., to life.

Answering the question as to why Capitalism works and is still losing ground against socialism, which doesn’t work.