Posts Tagged ‘Principles’

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.

Continue Article Here



Posted: January 15, 2013 in Ethics, Politics
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The flu debate, like so many other debates this past century, is suffering from the lack of a principled approach. People speak of rights, of the greater good, of statistics, or of whatever concept in order to make their case.  These arguments lack a principled foundation and/or a principled structure.  What makes you say these rights are in fact rights?  Why is this for the greater good? What is considered the greater good in this case?  These are all questions begging to be asked but receive no acknowledgement.  I will provide the missing links and bring clarity to the debate.

 The initiation of force should be an illegal act, on principle.  This principle stems from the right to life, which is one’s right to live one’s life free from coercion and from initiated force.  It means you have a right to live for your own sake, and take actions that furthers your existence.  It does not mean you have a right to the life of others.  The initiation of force prevents or frustrates any number of those manifestations of a right to life, so if you or someone else initiates force, that is wrong.  A disease emanating from your body that physically affects others is a use of force whether it’s intentional or not, or if it can be controlled or not.  The government should have the right to quarantine you and others have the right to restrict your access on their property in order to counteract the use of force from your infection.  It’s not your fault, as the infected, but neither is it the fault of those who are uninfected.  As the uninfected, however, it would be an injustice for the government to quarantine you because it would be them initiating force on you.
As the uninfected and unvaccinated (or vaccinated with less than 100% effectiveness), you have the right to waive your right for the same reason the criminal can waive his right to remain silent and confess a crime.  You may visit known areas of contagious people, like hospitals, or work, or any other areas where contagious people may lurk.  If you are uninfected and vaccinated, however, then the infected or potentially infected cannot harm you so the initiation of force principle doesn’t apply; assuming of course that the vaccine strain is matching the infected strain and is 100% effective.  This year’s vaccine is only 62% effective according to some studies, which places the vaccinated under the category of unvaccinated in principle since they are still at risk of becoming infected.

As the infected, you have no right to be on the premises of another’s property without it first being cleared with the owners.  They have a right to refuse your admittance and the default assumption is that they are uninfected, unimmunized (vaccinated or not), and that they haven’t waived their right.  Your presence on their property would be a violation of their right if that is indeed the case.

Employers and property owners may set the terms of how they employ others or how others use their property.  They may restrict employment or customer access to those who are vaccinated or not, or from those who are infected or not.  If they choose to accept the infected on their premises, then they must warn those with whom they deal with so that the uninfected may choose to waive their right or not.  If the owners advertise an infection free zone, but knowingly permit the infected, then they become an accomplice.  If they only choose to accept the uninfected, then no warning should be legally obligatory even if they are unvaccinated.

Waiving one’s right and being exposed to the infected has some risks if you become infected yourself; however, vaccinations come with their own risks too.  Each individual should weigh the alternatives, judge their situation, and act accordingly.  It would be an injustice for the government to force either a vaccine on someone or to force someone to be exposed to the infected. In either case it’s the initiation of force, which is an injustice. To illustrate this idea a little better, both cases would be similar to forcing one to play one round of Russian Roulette. The risks involved with the flu are less than Russian Roulette, but the principle is the same. Does it really matter if the cylinder is chambered for 1,000,000 or so rounds instead of 6 rounds? In either case you are being forced — someone else is making the decision for you — to take a risk with your life, which makes such an act massively inappropriate and not to mention an injustice.I have listed the involved parties (infected, uninfected, property owners, employers and government) with regard to the flu, and their respective rights within a free society. These are the limits that each party should be able to freely act within in order to secure liberty and justice for all. These principles should guide one’s thinking when considering the flu debate (or any debate involving rights).

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.