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- Open Societies and Spontaneous Orders by Richard M. Ebeling December 14, 2011
I frequent the Hannity forums. It constitutes near the entirety of my experience in discussing current events, political philosophy and economic theory. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the forum. Unfortunately, the forum seems to me to mostly be populated by two main groups of people that have positions that I regard as, well, horrifying. Both of them are just so bad.
Those that call themselves “conservatives” and who tend to be Republicans sometimes say they want to help poor and oppressed foreigners defend themselves against the states over them, especially ones they regard as communist or terrorist supporting. Unfortunately, they seem to tend to support immigration restrictions which deny these very people an opportunity to escape these situations and an opportunity to earn funds to help those back home. Instead, they at times advocate assistance be provided by slapping economic sanctions on these states and/or going to war against them. Confusing enough, some of them say they’re free traders.
As far as I can tell it tends to result in grave crimes being committed against hundreds of thousands if not millions of the very people they claim they wish to help, as has happened with the Gulf War up to the current War on Terror. These include damaging the transportation and health infrastructure these people use, and their own property, and unjustly preventing them from engaging in voluntary exchanges in the global market and so relatively impoverishing them and making them suffer, perhaps to the point of death. It also includes displacing, maiming and murdering them as “collateral damage” with bombs, or perhaps solders occupying their neighborhoods. In the past two decades this has happened with, among others, the Gulf War, Iraq sanctions, Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the War on Terror.
Some of them also advocate “free trade only with free countries,” and so confusing state for society and suspiciously ignoring great crimes of the American state. Uncle Sam is definitely covered in the blood and treasure of both Americans and foreigners, such as hundreds of thousands of civilians in war from the firebombing of Tokyo and Dresden, and the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and he also sure gets his hands on a lot of loot from the annual confiscation of trillions of other people’s money and from borrowing trillions by pledging repayment with other people’s money to finance such crimes among other things.
One of these crimes includes the War on Drugs, which many “conservatives” fiercely support. It has cost much blood and treasure, such as in the last five years over 30,000 Mexican deaths or more than ten times the causalities of 9/11. It has been a disaster in America as well, resulting in at least hundreds of thousands of Americans being sent to prison and a cost of at least near a trillion dollars, and arguably other damage, such as by flipping the social order with the glamorization of drugs and gangs. The burden of such in America has perhaps especially fallen on poor minorities. All because the state criminalized what would otherwise likely tend to be peaceful exchanges.
Though, there are others who simply say they want to protect America against those that they see as fundamentally evil and who want to harm or end America. Many of them can’t seem to comprehend that their obsession with a large military and interventionist foreign policy involves rights violations and economic and social consequences for innocent foreigners who may turn their attention to retaliation and even murder. Disturbingly, some of them say that those who tell the truth about the state in this area are “blaming America” and accuse them of being “America haters”.
Those that call themselves “liberals” and who tend to be Democrats often say they just want to help the poor and want to reduce income inequality so much that it is almost as if it is their fetish. They ignorantly see free trade as impoverishing, especially with poorer peoples. Of course, the free trade they oppose simply respects the right to participate in the global division of labor and social cooperation, which is simply engaging in voluntary exchanges and associations on a global scale. By opposing free trade, they are supporting barriers that make it harder for foreigners to use the human cloud and their comparative advantages to improve their conditions and so likely fuel international tensions, and raise prices at home by shielding corporations from competitors abroad. Surely this brings into question just how much they care about strangers who are poor if they are willing to commit massive rights violations against them and do grave harm to them because of some political line in the ground.
While “liberals” seem to tend to be less openly hostile to poor immigrants, they aren’t exactly open to opportunities that would be available to them on the market. They tend to support labor market restrictions such as minimum wage laws, other compensation mandates, licensing, permits, anti-discrimination laws, unionism, and so on. These things are rights violations, but they also raise the cost of hiring and erect other barriers to employment, and so discourage, and perhaps worse, the hiring of certain Americans, such as minorities, the poor, the unskilled and inexperienced, the unemployed, the young and the old. This happens because some people aren’t able to produce enough for an employer to justify their position with costs so inflated by state interventionism. These interventions also hurt people even more because the political costs and discouraged production raise prices, and the other political barriers do so as well by discouraging competition between firms.
“Liberals” are also fans of among other related things the welfare and entitlement state, both of which hit poor people hard. The payroll tax to fund such programs discourages employment even more, and the mentioned government programs subsidize poverty, nonemployment and unemployment, sickness and so on and so encourage the existence of such circumstances, and encourage dependency and special interests. Again, people are hurt even more because the subsidized demand and discouraged competition and production means higher prices. As well, they support government involvement in education and especially government schools, which involves a destructive version of socializing, high costs, stagnant quality at best, propaganda, and so on.
Some of the “liberals” also defend the bombing of civilians and infrastructure that cause war-related deaths, especially if it short and cheap compared to other interventions and involves no troops on the ground. Yet prominent government officials that are part of their movement defend the killing of potentially hundreds of thousands of children.
They also make crazy accusations somewhat similar to the “conservatives,” such as fingering as perhaps racist, agents of the wealthy and big corporations, and so on, those who oppose things such as minimum wage laws, or rather wealthy white people in Washington and other capitols telling, say, minority youths the minimum cash compensation that they may offer or accept for their labor. It is also a bit amusing that they say such things about those against state interventionism. After all, established and big, capital-intensive businesses have the status and resources to make connections in government and have economies of scale in compliance with the state. They can benefit from the power and interventionism of the state at the expense of consumers, competitors and taxpayers.
Basically, whenever I read such posts, I can’t help but think of them, in the name of the poor and oppressed, as actually calling for those very people to have their rights violated, for their unfortunate circumstances to be exacerbated and even for such to be extended to others, as well as maligning those who point this out. Perhaps they aren’t so different.
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