San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, September 21, 2012

Politics Is Nothing But Hypocrisy And Lies

There is nothing genuine in politics.  There is nothing truthful in politics.  In order to participate in politics one must make the conscious decision to become a liar and a hypocrite.  Indeed, I believe it is fair to say that there is not one aspect of the political process that has any moral integrity whatsoever.  Are these just the thoughts of a person who is already sick and tired of the political ads on the television?  No.  These are more than just thoughts.  They are facts and I can prove it.  Allow me to explain.
I believe it is fair to say that most political advertisements make the case that each candidate's opponent would be "bad for jobs","bad for the economy" or, even worse, "bad for America".  The ads go to great lengths to present half-truths as whole truths, thereby telling multiple lies.  Still, it seems reasonable to me that the creators of these ads really believe what they say.  They really believe that their guy will save the world and that the other guy is evil, greedy, and intent upon destroying the country.  If that is true, several things necessarily follow.
First, political advertising should not end after the election.  If the candidate who loses the election really believes that his opponent is doing harm to the country, he has a patriotic and moral duty to continue his onslaught in the media after the election.  The mere fact that he lost the election does not change anything.  When somebody is doing something harmful to the nation, that person should be exposed.  It is a disgusting and cowardly act of hypocrisy when the loser of the election comes out with the tired old platitude that "the people have spoken and I will support their choice."  What stupidity!  If the man chosen by the "people" decided to surrender to Iran would the candidate acquiesce?  If the man chosen by the "people" decided to declare war on Canada, would the candidate support his position?  If the people have chosen a man who is leading the country to destruction then supporting that person is an act of abject idiocy.  The politician who lost has a patriotic and moral duty to continue to expose the harmful activities of his opponent, at his own cost if necessary.  He must not stop until that politician is deposed from office and the harm he is doing is stopped. 
Second, people who promised to "leave the country" if so-and-so is elected need to make good on their promises.  Just this past week I have had two different people tell me that they will be leaving the country if Obama is reelected.  I expect Obama to be reelected and I do not expect them to fulfill their promise to leave the country.  If you really believe that Obama's relection is sufficient cause to expatriate, then expatriate.  If you do not really believe that Obama's reelection is sufficient cause to expatriate, then stop threatening to do it.  Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.  Stop whining and follow through with your threat please.
Third, if victory by the opponent really means that the country is now on the wrong course then why am I repeatedly told that I have a moral duty to support my government after the election?  This is something I have never understood.  Why am I accused of being an anarchist when I criticize the government after the election?  Why is all criticism prohibited after the election?  Why are we expected to "pull together" after the election?  Why are we "all Americans" after the election?  Why am I accused of "hating America first" when all I am doing is agreeing with what you said prior to the election and that under this ruler what we, as a nation, are doing is wrong.  Why am I accused of being an "America hater" when all I am doing is agreeing with what you said about the candidate before he was elected?   Before the election I am praised for my insight.  After the election I am condemned as an American hater.   We can't have it both ways.  Those whose candidate was not selected need to have the moral integrity to continue to criticize their opponent's actions.  There is no such thing as "uniting behind our leader" if all of the things that were said about the leader prior to the election are true.  That is called hypocrisy and it is a serious moral failing.
Of course, the things I have mentioned above will happen after this election.  I will be told that I need to support my government, even though before the election I was told that the man now leading it was immoral.  I will be told that I need to rally behind my Commander in Chief in times of war, even though I was told he was not worthy of that position prior to the election.  I am forced to one inescapable conclusion.  Either those who are politically active do not believe what they say about their opponent and are liars, or they no longer behave consistently with their beliefs and are hypocrites.  Hence I am driven to the conclusion that all politicians and the politically active are either liars or hypocrites.  I will withdraw that charge the moment I see political ads after the election is over telling me how evil the person elected is.  I will withdraw that charge the moment I see political ads showing me that everything the newly elected politician does is harmful to America.  I will withdraw that charge the moment I hear non-stop calls for deposition of all immoral politicians.  Of course, I will not hear any of these things.  I conclude that all people associated with politics are people of low moral character and not worthy of my respect in any way.  I conclude that I cannot trust anything they say.  I conclude that this entire political process is one gigantic game that means absolutely nothing. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Romney Wants War With China

I was watching the television the other day when a commercial produced by the Romney camp came on.  I was shocked by what I witnessed in the minute that followed.  The spokeswoman for Romney announced that her candidate had a specific position on China that would lead the United States to prosperity.  What she said next almost caused me to fall out of my chair.
According to this commercial, Romney wants to "bring American values" to China.  Normally when a politician makes a comment of this sort there is no follow up describing what he means.  In this case I would have preferred that the absurd notion of bringing "American values to China" would have been ignored.  Sadly, it was not.  The spokeswoman went on to describe precisely how Romney would bring American values to China.  In particular, Romney would "make sure that the United States sells more products to China than we buy from them".  In other words, under the guise of bringing "American values" (whatever they are) to China, Romney really wants to initiate a trade war with China.  That would be a very big mistake.  The very idea is ludicrous.  In fact, there is so much wrong with what Romney has said I scarcely know where to begin to critique it.  I will try, nevertheless. (You might want to read my 12/20/11 post for a basic understanding of the "Buy American" error.)
The economic basis for declaring a trade war against another country is the erroneous presupposition that trade deficits are a meaningful economic statistic.  A bureau (this one ended up in the Census Department, for some inexplicable reason) in the vast machine of the federal government attempts to keep track of how many goods and services are sold to overseas countries.  That bureau then compares the amount of goods that we sell to the amount of goods we import from any particular country.  After tabulating the numbers the bureau declares it to be either a good or bad thing depending upon the balance between the two.  Economically ignorant politicians and their minions have declared that a trade balance that has more imports than exports is "unfair".  When more is imported than is exported it is reported as a "deficit of trade".  The idea that there is a deficit of trade across a randomly drawn geo-political boundary is one of the dumbest ideas politicians have ever come up with.
There is no such thing as an "imbalance" in trade unless some sort of hegemonic force is in action.  As long as people are allowed to trade freely, there will never be an imbalance.  Everything that is purchased is paid for.  To make the random and arbitrary decision to measure trade between countries exclusively from the perspective of goods and services is idiotic.  For every good or service purchased there is some sort of payment.  Trade is never out of balance because there are equal amounts of currencies going back and forth between the countries to pay for the goods being purchased.
As you would expect, the government statisticians have made the decision to report an imbalance in trade in order to pander to unions representing labor and manufacturing as well as to economically ignorant voters.  Insane politicians believe that free trade between private parties is an act of economic war.  They tell us that in order for our guys to make more goods and have more jobs and earn more money than their guys, it is necessary for us to send more of our goods to them.  Politicians then mount the podium and pronounce other nations to be evil if they are selling more to us than they are buying from us.  Obama himself just made a speech this week in which he attacked the Chinese for "unfair trade practices" and in which he promised to "get tough on the cheaters".  I find it very interesting that the politicians do not tell us that we are evil for buying more goods from the Chinese than they buy from us.  That statement is the exact same statement as telling us that the Chinese are evil for selling more goods to us, but it will not buy votes from an ignorant electorate. If our buying more goods from the Chinese is really a moral problem, wouldn't the easiest solution to the problem be to make purchasing Chinese goods illegal?  Why blame the Chinese for producing goods?  That makes no sense at all.  Start jailing US citizens for buying Chinese goods and we will see what happens then.  Of course that will never happen because such activities would cost politicians votes at the ballot box. 
It makes absolutely no difference if we buy more from China than we sell to them.  The decision to draw an artificial boundary with China, rather than somewhere else, illustrates the stupidity of the trade war talk.  Why not draw the line in the sand at the Mason-Dixon line?  Then we in the north can accuse southerners of being unpatriotic and underhanded if they sell us more cotton than they buy cranberries.  Why not draw the line in the sand at the Mississippi river?  Then we in the west can accuse easterners of unfair trade practices when they sell us more lobsters than we sell pinon nuts to them.  The whole notion is utterly ridiculous and arbitrary.  Don't fall for this nonsense.  Like everything else politicians say and do, the idea of a trade war is maniacal nonsense and lies designed to procure your vote.
Romney (and Obama) are trying to buy votes from people who are economically illiterate and quite possibly racist.  How can I play the race card?  Consider this.  So far this year we have imported over $20 billion more in goods from Canada than we have sold to them.  Why is Romney not initiating a trade war with Canada?  Why is Romney not trying to export "American values" to Canada?  Could it be that the Canadians are a lot more like us than the Chinese?  So far this year we have a trade imbalance with Germany of over $30 billion.  Why do we not initiate a trade war with Germany?  We have a trade imbalance with the French of over $6 billion.  We have trade imbalances with Finland, Denmark, Italy and Israel.  We even have a trade imbalance with tiny Fiji.  Could some racism be involved in the selection of our trade war opponents?  If racism is not a subtle rationale for the selection of our trade war opponents, what other possible reason could there be to single out the Chinese? 
So far this year we have imported over $40 billion more in goods from Mexico than we have sent to them.  Why are Romney and Obama not making a big deal out of this economic fact?  If a trade imbalance is always an act of war, then Canada and Mexico have declared a trade war on us.  Are we just going to sit here and take it?  Why aren't we fighting back?  Why aren't we declaring a trade war on Mexico and Canada just like the one Obama and Romney are declaring on China?  Could it be that these two shrewd politicians are aware that they can buy more votes from the electorate with harsh words against the Chinese rather than harsh words against our northern and southern neighbors?  It sure seems like it to me.
There are no winners in a trade war.  The citizens of both countries end up paying more for goods and services whenever a trade war breaks out.  Government interference in the free market by means of tariffs,  price supports and currency devaluations only serve to rob the wealth of citizens and increase the price of goods and services.  When the politicians stump for votes by promising to declare economic war on other countries you must understand that you will be the one who loses.  Politicians are either too stupid to understand that what they are doing will hurt us economically or they do understand that it will hurt us and they do not care.  Either way any political candidate for president who espouses a trade war with China should be thrown in jail rather than elected to the highest office in the land.  


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Is A Patriot?

I am often accused of being unpatriotic.  I am often accused of being in the camp of political infidels that "blame America first".  I am often instructed, generally with the use of unkind terminology, that I should leave the United States and move to a foreign land.  I am told that I need to "love it or leave it".  I am informed that I trample on the glorious deeds of those who have gone before me and defended my freedoms if I don't think daily of the sacrifices made by government employees on my behalf.  I am told that I need to serve my country, whatever that means.  I am told that I need to thank a vet, a fireman, or a policeman for their service to me on a daily basis.  I am told a lot of things.  Rarely am I told what it means to be a patriot.  Allow me to define what a patriot is.  Along the way I might also define what a patriot is not.
Presently there are two definitions of the word 'patriot'.  There is the historic definition, from our colonial period, and there is the modern definition, which is statist.  These two definitions of the word are diametrically opposed to one another.  They share nothing in common.  A person who was called a patriot during the colonial period would be called a traitor today.  Conversely, a person who calls himself a patriot today would have been called a traitor during the colonial period.  This means that there is one thing we know for sure. Either one or both of these time periods has the wrong definition of what it means to be a patriot.
We often define a patriot as one who loves his country.  That is a loaded definition.  The understanding of the definition is contingent upon the meaning of "love" and "country".  I believe most people today who say they love their country are really saying they take great pride in the military power of the government.  Patriots today can be defined, at least partially, as those folks who love war in all its forms.  They love the war on "terror", whatever that is.  They love war against foreigners who say nasty things about us.  They love war on anybody who would dare stand  up to us in a fight.  They glory in how efficiently the US war machine was able to subjugate Iraq.  They dream of a war with Iran in which those upstart Muslims will be put in their place for even thinking about building nuclear weapons.  In a word, the modern patriot in this country is usually a firm believer in American exceptionalism.  Exceptionalism is defined as our moral right and duty to exercise imperial power around the world.  When it comes to obeying the orders of our Commander in Chief, the US is never wrong.  When the President leads us to war, we are to set aside all of our differences, no matter how real and logical they are, and unite behind the troops who are fighting the war.  When war is the goal it is the patriotic duty of every American citizen to support it, right or wrong.   The modern patriot believes that we have never fought an unjust war.  He believes that we have always accomplished our objectives of bringing peace and democracy to a subjugated world.  We, or rather, our military, is morally perfect.  This is the world of the modern patriot.
This type of patriot can be found everywhere today.  The escalation of military worship is a direct result of this world view.  In an earlier post I mentioned that I attended a wedding in Wyoming a week ago.  A strange thing happened at the wedding reception.  The emcee of the event ordered (and I do mean to use the word 'ordered') all those who had been or were presently engaged in military service to stand.  The rest of us were instructed to "hold our applause".  They were then told to sit down and those of us who had not stood up were ordered to stand and applaud them for their service to our country and their protection of our freedoms.  I refused to comply with the order and was immediately labeled an "anarchist" by those sitting at my table (see my May 4th post for an answer to that question).  Besides the fact I did not appreciate being order what to do, I had a hard time understanding why worship of military personnel was an integral part of a private wedding reception.  Neither the bride nor the groom was in the military.  The emcee announced just prior to barking his orders that "this is the most popular part of all the things I do".
I like honoring people.  Just last night I gave a generous tip to the girl at the Pizza Hut because she agreed to go beyond the call of duty and give me a phone call when my pizzas were ready.  A month or so ago I gave a six pack of adult beverage to my neighbor because he installed a new fence post on a fence that we share.  I enjoyed honoring him.  I gave a standing ovation to a joint performance of Guster and the Denver Symphony Orchestra.  It was an outstanding performance and I honored the musicians with my standing ovation.  I enjoy honoring people who have, in my opinion, behaved honorably.  What I don't understand is why I should be called an anarchist simply because I refuse to obey the orders of a person I do not know telling me to blindly honor other people I do not know simply because at some point in their past they wore a military uniform. Receiving verbal abuse for refusing to blindly follow the orders of a stranger to honor people who could quite easily be dishonorable is a perfect example of how this country has come to worship all things military.  Something is dramatically wrong with us.
The difference between a modern patriot and a colonial patriot with respect to the doctrine of war is that the modern patriot loves waging war on others to show his superiority over them while the colonial patriot only waged war to obtain freedom for himself and his neighbors.  The modern patriot is incapable of leaving other nations alone.  The colonial patriot was pleased to leave other nations alone.  The modern patriot loves the way he feels when the United States "wins" a war against an "evil" enemy.  The colonial patriot hated war and considered it only as a last resort. The modern patriot sees the enemy all around the world.  The colonial patriot saw the enemy only when he showed up in his backyard.  The modern patriot loves being told what to do by the state and loves it when others comply as well.  The colonial patriot loved his freedom and loved to leave others alone.  There is a huge difference between the two types of patriots.
When the modern patriot says he "loves his country" he really means he loves his government, especially the military part of it.  When the colonial patriot said he loved his country he meant he loved his town, his farm, his friends, his neighbors, his church, his streams and lakes, his sunshine, his snow and rain, his mountains, and, most of all, his individual freedom.  To a man, the colonial era patriots either distrusted or hated civil government.  In fact, based upon our understanding of colonial history, a strong case can be made that the definition of a patriot is one who distrusts government and eschews government hegemony every time it appears.  It is logically impossible for a patriot of the colonial period to define his patriotism as his desire to force his will on other nations.  It is equally logically impossible for the colonial patriot to define his patriotism as his desire to use the coercive power of government to force his neighbor to bend to his will.  These attitudes are characteristic of the modern patriot.
Modern patriots get misty eyed when they sing the national anthem.  Modern patriots get choked up when the honor guard presents the flag.  Most folks today either do not know or refuse to recognize that the flag and the national anthem have been confiscated by the modern patriot and have become symbols of the United States government and military.  They are no longer symbols of the people of the United States of America.  Historically speaking, there can be no doubt that no signer of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution would stand and sing in honor of what the national anthem represents today.  The things that our anthem stand for today are the exact opposite of what the founding fathers of this land intended us to be.  Thomas Jefferson said, "The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits".  In 1799 he said, ""I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment."  Saying these things today will get one classified as an anarchist.  No modern patriot would be caught dead believing in what Jefferson pronounced to be the essential nature of his America.  My how things have changed.
John Quincy Adams said, "American does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.  She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all.  She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."  Adams would likely be imprisoned as a traitor for holding that position today.  At the very least he would be labeled a "hate America first" sort of person.  George Washington said, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."  How many people today, who call themselves patriots, believe what Washington said?  None that I know.  Benjamin Franklin said, "A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang."  Who, of today's self-proclaimed patriots, has ever taken the time to consider the morality of a single one of the myriad of US military conflicts?  A true patriot is not afraid to fight, but it must be a just war for the defense of his freedom and nothing else.  A blind government lover says that he supports his country in every war without exception.  "My country (read "government"), right or wrong", is his cry.  A modern patriot says that all citizens of the country must blindly support every war of the government or be guilty of treason.  Even asking the question if a war is moral will result in a gross verbal assault upon the questioner by the modern patriot.  Anyone who refuses to honor all things military is labeled an anarchist and subjected to verbal abuse.  What have we become?

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Don't They Like Us?

In the wake of the attack on the US Embassy in Libya, I am hearing the same old question being asked over and over again.  Why don't they like us?  Don't those crazy Arabs realize that everything we do for them is good and in their best interest?  Why would they bite the hand that feeds them?  Some folks get so disgusted with these petulant nations that they throw up their hands and declare that "we should just leave and let them sort out their own problems".  Little do those folks realize that is precisely what the Arab nations want.  That is also why it will never happen.  Let's try to come up with some objective reasons why the Arab nations of the Middle East might have less than tremendous enthusiasm for the United States.
The United States has multiple military installations in Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  None of those countries have military installations in the United States.  Although I am aware that it is practically impossible for a patriotic American citizen to think this way, try for a moment to put yourself in the other man's shoes. How would you feel if the United States had multiple military bases on our soil that were owned and operated by the nations listed above?  I suspect most of us would be outraged!   We would scream out, what are they doing here?  We would demand their immediate removal.  We would insist that they stay out of our business and cease invading our sovereignty.  We would declare anyone who had the courage to stand up to the foreign invaders to be a patriotic hero.  That is what we would do here.  Yet, when the sovereign citizens of the nations listed above do the same thing, they are labeled as terrorists and insurrectionists.  That could be one reason why they do not like us, don't you think?
Now I am well aware of the response of the self-proclaimed patriotic citizen of the United States to what I just wrote.  I am told that the citizens in these Arab and Muslim lands are too stupid to know what is good for them.  Or I am told that the citizens of these lands all want to be just like America but their evil political leaders are oppressing them.  I am told that we need to get militarily involved in their day to days lives in order to save them from either themselves or their political leaders.  Our military establishments are there, so I am told, to make their lives better, whether they realize it or not.  I don't know about you but that sounds a bit arrogant to me. 

Imagine for a moment what the response would be in this country if Mexico declared war on us in order to bring about a regime change in Washington.  There are many good reasons why the "world community" might want to bring about an American regime change and liberate the citizens of the United States.  We are oppressively taxed.  We are oppressively regulated.  We subject to internal terrorism by the Department of Homeland Security.  We have no right to habeas corpus. We kill millions of unborn children.  Imagine what it would be like if Mexico got disgusted with our profligacy and decided that they know better what is good for us.  Imagine what it would be like if they invaded the United States, killed all the politicians except those favorable to their occupation, and then told us they were doing this for our own good.  I suspect most of us would not like them.  Yet, when we do that to another nation we wonder why they do not like us.  Are we really totally incapable of seeing anything in the world through the eyes of somebody else?
The United States government has spearheaded numerous economic wars against Arab nations in the past several decades.  We are presently involved in an economic war with Iran.  How long it will be before the shooting war breaks out is anybody's guess.  We engaged in an economic war with Iraq prior to our invasion there.  These economic wars are called "sanctions".  Under sanctions we coerce other sovereign nations around the world to refuse to engage in free trade with the allegedly evil country.  Sanctions are designed to cut off the supply of food, pharmaceuticals, and technology of various types.  The general theory behind sanctions is that we can get the citizens of a country to blame their own leaders for their hunger and then induce them to rise up and kill their political leaders. All we have to do is starve them long enough.  The fact that it has never worked does not keep us from continually doing it.  We conveniently ignore the fact that the only people who suffer from a sanctions war are the ones that we are theoretically trying to help.  Tens of thousands of Arab citizens have died as a result of US sanctions in the past twenty five years.  Did you know that?  Have you thought for even a second about what life might be like under US imposed sanctions?  I am using a very conservative number here.  Others list the numbers of dead in the millions. Nevertheless, is it not hard to imagine why an Arab father might not like us after he had witnessed the death of his children as a direct result of US sanctions.  Imagine the outrage in this country if a coalition of sovereign nations decided to impose economic sanctions on us.  Imagine what would happen if they were actually successful in reducing our imports to the point where US citizens were dying of starvation and disease.  There would be cries from all quarters to "nuke them back to the stone age" for daring to impose such barbaric conditions upon us.  Yet when we do that to another country, we expect them to thank us and praise us for our goodness.  Someone is detached from reality here.
Speaking of nuclear weapons, we all know that the United States was the first country to develop a nuclear bomb.  The United States was the first and only country to actually use a nuclear bomb.  The United States is the only country that has regularly used the threat of dropping a nuclear bomb as a part of its foreign policy.   Imagine for a moment, if you can, what it would be like to live in a country outside of the United States.  Would you not think it could be a good idea to develop a nuclear bomb yourself?  Would you not think that a little balance of power could keep you from being the next nation targeted for a regime change?  Would you not be outraged when the "world community", led by Hillary Clinton and the United States, told you that you will be invaded if you make any attempt to construct a nuclear bomb?  Would you not hate those who threaten to invade your land to keep you from developing the military weapons you deem crucial for your self-defense?  Why can't Americans see this?  I suspect it is because we believe that we are always good and everybody else in the world is always evil.  I suspect it is because everything we do is always good, and everything everybody else does, unless it is by our expressed permission, is evil.  And we wonder why they don't like us.
Arabs lived in Palestine for many hundreds of years.  Then, in 1948, the United Nations (read United States) decided to create the nation of Israel.  It was decided that the best solution to the "Jewish problem" would be to give them a land of their own.  The problem was lots of people were already living there.  No matter, said the US.  Those Palestinians were torn from their homeland and settled elsewhere in order to make a place for the incoming Jews.  Now imagine, just for a moment, what you would feel like if Canada suddenly decided that some wandering Frenchmen (maybe they were descended from the Huguenots) needed a native land where they could live unmolested.  The Canadians convince the Mexicans that it would be a good idea if New Hampshire was given to the French.  So, we have a coalition of the "world community" in agreement that the citizens of New Hampshire need to be dispossessed and the French need to be settled into their homes.  How would that make you feel as a prior citizen of New Hampshire?  How would that make you feel as a citizen of Vermont?  How would you react to this as a citizen of the United States?  Wouldn't you be just a little bit mad at the Canadians and Mexicans?  Would you not be amazed at their blind ignorance if the Canadians and Mexicans then exclaimed that they just can't understand why US citizens are mad at them?
Because America is the biggest and baddest bully on the block we have become incapable of seeing world events through the eyes of anybody but ourselves.  Also because we are the biggest and baddest bully on the block, we have convinced ourselves that everything we do is always morally right and in the best interest of those we do it to.  Much of the rest of the world does not share our view of ourselves.  Much of the rest of the world sees us as the biggest and baddest bully on the block.  Those who are afraid of us will kowtow to our whims.  Those who are not afraid of us will rise up in rebellion.  But nobody will like us.  Why should that be a surprise?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Voters Suffer From Battered Wife Syndrome

Last week I dedicated the five postings in this blog to a discussion about the topic of government intervention in the marketplace.  I argued that one is either entirely committed to the free market or one is committed to some sort of government intervention in the free market.  Presently, no political party in this country is entirely committed to the free market.  All political parties (Republicans, Democrats, Independents) believe in some form of interventionism, despite the fact that it never has and never will work.  On Tuesday I asserted that government is not necessary to construct national infrastructure. On Wednesday I argued that educational services do not require the intervention of government.  On the issue of monopoly I proved that only government creates monopolies and, in stark contrast, the free market allows unfettered access to all competitors in business activities.  On Friday I concluded the week by taking on the controversial issue of essential government services. There I declared that we do not need taxpayer financed firemen or police officers and that the free market could do their job much more effectively and cost efficiently.  
Today, in my last post on the issue, I tackle what is probably the most egregious act of government intervention in the economy.  This act of government intervention has destroyed more of your wealth than any other governmental intrusion.  You will recall that every time the government intervenes in the economy it does so on the basis of some alleged market failure.  We are told that in the absence of government intervention something would go wrong and the economy would suffer.  Government officials never come straight out and say that they are going to intervene in the economy even though they know that it will do economic harm.  They never admit that their interventions are designed to purchase future votes from envy filled voters.  They always try and make it sound like they are doing  good deeds.  When it comes to the issue of aggregate demand however, the tune changes.  Up until now government officials have been pleased to blame evil, profit seeking businessmen for all cases of market failure.  Although they still assert that what they are doing is good, they now blame all the citizens of the land for the this particular example of market failure.
The theory of aggregate demand was advanced by John Maynard Keynes.  Keynes was the founder of Keynesianism, an enormously popular school of economic thought based upon his erroneous teachings.  Among other things, Keynes was trying to describe why recessions occur.  Rather than admitting that recessions are the creation of government central banks as they continually inflate the money supply, he decided to put the blame for recessions upon the general population.  According to Keynes, an economy goes into a recession because the great majority of the citizens of a particular geo-political zone make the sudden, irrational decision to start saving rather than spending.  Keynes described this process as "animal spirits" taking over the minds and emotions of the citizenry.  Because the animal spirits are unpredictable there is no way to know when they might jump up and create a recession.  Keynes argued that when the great majority of people decide to reduce spending on goods and services it is inevitable that a recession will take place since less goods and services will be purchased.  At this point the government must intervene and spend money in order to increase aggregate demand and stave off recession. 
At first glance his theory seems to make common sense.  A second glance is required.  Keynes entirely ignored the supply side of the equation.  Where do capital goods come from?  Where do finished goods come from?  He completely ignored the structure of production.  He seemed to have no knowledge whatsoever of the impact of time upon the production process.  In a word, Keynes was grossly ignorant of how an economy really works.  Keynes theory of aggregate demand is akin to what I have called the theory of "pushing on a string" to fix a recession.  Keynes believed that having more money to spend would somehow magically result in more capital goods being produced.  Capital is not mystically created because somebody might have more money to spend.  Capital is created because people made the decision to save and invest some of their income.  Wealth is created by savings, not by spending.  Although this economic principle is well known to every member of every family in the universe, it was lost on Keynes and his cheerleaders in government.
Keynes' solution to the problem of a recession allegedly created by a reduction in aggregate demand was to have the government come in and spend, spend, spend.  His theories were immediately popular with everyone in politics because they provided a pseudo-intellectual basis for unlimited government spending.  Keynes followers soon were heard reciting the familiar chant that deficit spending and huge government debts no longer mattered because "we owe it all to ourselves"!  Under his theories, politicians could promise the moon, spend like the devil and be eternally reelected.  The problem is, Keynes is wrong.  It is not possible to spend our way to prosperity, as every grade school child is fully aware.  Spending creates debt, not capital.  Spending more than we produce makes us poorer, not richer. 
Not surprisingly, the implementation of Keynes' theories resulted in immediate increases in government spending, government deficits, and inflation all around the world. Federal Reserve banks were created by various governments in order to produce all of the new money needed by the government to increase aggregate demand when the consumers, under the influence of animal spirits, became too dumb to go out and spend their way to prosperity.  As a result, the business cycle was created.  That seemingly never-ending cycle of boom and bust is a direct result of Keynes' beliefs being put into practice.  Every expansion and contraction (recession) is the direct result of government intervention in the marketplace.  Government monetary intervention in the market place is the one and only reason we have recessions.  Recessions would end if the government would simply stop inflating the money supply.   Now, here is where it becomes insulting.
Government officials and career politicians are quick to assign blame when a recession breaks out.  Finger pointing starts with the other political party.  After blaming the other political party for a while it comes time to put the blame where they really believe it belongs.  Despite the fact that the politicians and government officials are the ones who have created the recession, they have the audacity to blame the citizens of the land for it.  You are blamed for the recession that they caused!  If you would only spend more the recession would go away, or so they say.  They say that because of your intransigence in refusing to spend more (as everything around you is getting economically worse), we all have to suffer through an economic recession.  The fact that they do not take responsibility for what they have done and, instead, transfer the blame to you should make you very angry.  Do you understand what they are doing?  They are insulting you.  Those politicians that you campaigned and voted for blame you for the recession.  Those politicians you contributed money to and believed in blame you the moment the inevitable negative results of their actions come to pass.  Why do you let them get away with it?  Why do you participate in that system at all?  I guess it is like "abused wife syndrome" or "beat the dog syndrome" where people and dogs keep going back to an abusive situation because it is all they know. I may not be the smartest guy in the world but I know enough to not take the blame for something I have not done.  I also know enough to know that those who would try and make me the fall guy for their immoral activity are not men of high moral character that I need to support.  There is nothing I can do to stop them, but I sure don't have to help them. Neither should you.