Friday, September 10, 2010

Ideas cannot be killed, but some need to be nurtured more than others...

"You can't give the government the power to do good without also giving it the power to do bad – in fact, to do anything it wants." – Harry Browne

Beware the man selling simple solutions to complex problems... or something like that.

This axiom holds true in our recent debate on the upcoming elections in November and 2012. I do believe Libertarianism IS gaining a foothold, but it would not take much to knock that foot right out from under it. Further, simply electing a Libertarian leaning president for a term or 2 won't get it done, either. We need a revolution in thinking... and we need number of real-deal Libertarians in the House and Senate... people that, like Ron Paul, Eschew empire, militarism, and all uses of force to accomplish social and political goals, as well as addicting people to government support and handouts.

Things are going to change, one way or the other, in the very near future (I define near future for this purpose as less than 1 decade). The international bond market is simply not going to fund us at some point before 2020. Yes, our domestic savings could rise to meet the need for a couple of years... but 10% deficit to GDP years like last year and this and next.... well, they cannot continue and always end up badly.

I am encouraged in that the Blogsphere and the Web have indeed circumvented the strangle hold that the Main Stream Media had held on the population (even the thinking portion of the population). The drivel that passed for journalism in the past is being held up for examination, and most of it has failed the sniff test.

In my view, there is one glaring failure of the community of folks discussing Peak Oil and energy issues - and that is censorship. Too many of the Blogs and Wed sites, comes immediately to mind, censure anything they view as a challenge, rejection, or indictment to most Left leaning political philosophy by only publishing commentary that fits their world view. Intelligent and open co-examination of the facts is the beauty of the Blogsphere, and perhaps the saving force for the American and Western body politic.

Let the open debate continue.


Dextred1 said...

We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding -- we’re going to begin to act beginning today. The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

Ronald Reagan

bureaucrat said...

I like open debate. Only a fool thinks that one way is the only right way. Both Democrats and Republicans have lasted as long as they have because both sides have arguments that make sense. I just happen to think the Democrats make MORE sense. :)

But you can give up this pro-Libertarian stuff. The public (worldwide) have been (in their various forms) given Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment compensation, Food stamps, Veterans benefits, etc. They are reliable programs that EVERYONE loves.

I would be willing to buy the Libertarian side if the public thought these programs were shoddy, badly managed, unfair and filled with inequality. But they aren't. They pay every month, and allow people to live on their own, away from family members they don't like. :)

What do you think happens to Jim, his wife and children, when Jim's parents come live with them cause Jim's parents have run out of money and benefits? Jim's wife divorces Jim, for starters. Then his kids kill Jim cause their bedrooms get taken.

There is still PLENTY of Social Security money (and taxing capacity) available. While we were concerned the Chinese & Japanese would stop buying our bonds, we no longer care. Apparently, Americans have bought $4 trillion in Treasuries, and are continuing to buy. Thank you, corrupt Wall Street & stock market.

Ain't gonna happen, Jeffers, for a long, long time. Sorry.

bureaucrat said...

(Ronald Reagan was the starting point in this 30 year orgy of debt we now find ourselves in. 360% debt to GDP! Reagan was a whore.)

PioneerPreppy said...

American's have not been buying those bonds the FED has and that is a very bad sign.

Again Bur you wish to make a completely biased statement about everyone "loving" the social spending. If you think thats true I invite you to come take a stroll down my rural postage route. No really come on down. Don't make the typical social democrat mistake of thinking your fellow urban dwellers are "everyone".

Your false claim is based on social security and medicare and that is not social spending to the Americans who have paid into it. In fact I bet they would be happier to just have what they put in given back and be done with it.

And if you think Reagan was a whore then you must be overawed by the tricks Obamy is pulling in for his union pimps. So far that adds up to as much cash as all the pros from Washington to Reagan combined.

Dextred1 said...


I am so bored of you.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Me too. Really, really bored.

bureaucrat said...

I'm not here to be loved. Just provide a counterpoint with my facts and opinions.

You still haven't told me, Jeffers, what government programs you intend to successfully cut in your Libertarian Utopia. :)

bureaucrat said...

(And yes, everyone loves the social spending. Any politician will be blasted out of existence for even getting near any of it. That is why it has endured for so long.)

Stephen B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen B. said...

Bur wrote: "What do you think happens to Jim, his wife and children, when Jim's parents come live with them cause Jim's parents have run out of money and benefits? Jim's wife divorces Jim, for starters. Then his kids kill Jim cause their bedrooms get taken."

Give me a break. That's about as lame a statement as I've read anywhere in a long time. It's but cheap drivel made up just for the sake of having something to post here.

The reality is multi-generational living has been the norm around the world in various societies for thousands of years. Then too, it's been fairly common at various times and places in the US, especially among immigrant populations and it hasn't resulting in killing, divorce, etc. Instead, what's happened is that families have banded together in order to get through tough times. Having government subsidize everybody so that people can all continue to live 1 or 2 people to a household in order to "get along" while a shrinking energy resource base tells us that something else, something more efficient, has to happen is just plain stupid.

If you're attempting to entertain us, you're going to have to come up with something better than what you've offered up lately.

Anonymous said...

The United States Government does not need to sell one bond to fund it's needs. That is being done as a favor to the financial community. As long as the government remains sovereign and the currency remains fiat, banks and everyone else have to and will take government checks.
Greece and the eurozone countries ceded their financial sovereignty to the European Central Bank and they definitely have a problem.
Dick Cheney understands this when he says "deficits don't matter" as he was in the Nixon administration when the US stopped exchanging gold for dollars from other central banks.
We live in a MMT world and some people need to catch up.

tweell said...

Folks are actually getting annoyed at the politicians bribing them with their own money. That's one of the main points of the Tea Party. At this time, net taxpayers still outnumber the taxgetters, while the cost of paying all these social programs is becoming more obvious and painful. If the taxpayers continue to wake up and organize, the 2H1P will have no choice but to acquiesce and start shrinking government.
Bureaucrat, I have 3 generations in my house, and it was almost 4 (still a possibility). No violence here, except to an overly friendly cat who decided to give my uncle a scalp massage at 2AM.

bureaucrat said...

Most people in my life (including my parents) didn't mind seeing the grandparents on weekends, but that was about it. There is little room for more people to live comfortably in a one-family household. Getting warm fuzzies thinking about "Walton's Mountain" and everyone under one roof is perhaps one way to handle multi-generational living, but few Americans would be wild about the idea. Dream on. :)

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Dear Monetarist:

I keep putting off my post on the insanity of the Monetarists and their Modern Monetary Theory...

And, BTW... You are taking the Cheney quote WAY out of context... Cheney was trying to say that the nominal size of the deficit does not matter... what matters is the SIZE of the deficit RELATIVE to GDP.

Economics is NOT a science... more a religion, and Keynesian and MMT supporters are akin to fundamentalist willing to fly airplanes into buildings.

Stephen B. said...

I wasn't talking about fiction such as The Waltons, but rather about reality, how many families the world over share a roof every day, and not just in the really poor countries either.

Come back to earth Bureaucrat.

Donal Lang said...

The one problem with any kind of democracy is that you have to accept that people are voting for what they want. Furthermore, if you have a two party system you can assume that each party will line up either side (politically) of the centreline of public opinion, and with a considerable overlap of views.

That centreline may vary between countries based on that societies philosophy, maturity and, of course, wealth. But isn't it interesting, no matter where they start from, how close they all end up!

However you may want it different, and whatever you may believe to be the 'right' way (if only everyone else could see the sense in it as you see it), Bur is right; it ain't going to change, except maybe temporarily. Like communism.

Or are you planning a right wing revolution and libertarian dictatorship? Or is that an oxymoron? Anarchy anyone??

PioneerPreppy said...

Sorry but the common factor in complex civilizations is not democracy it is energy.

Even societies which moved from republics or never really were democracies or whatever they called themselves at any given stage developed complex out of touch taxes, laws and rules. More complexity at each turn.

From Roman, Greek, Chinese to Aztec, Persian or what have you they all developed more complex societies until the energy available could no longer support them. Empires were formed on the stored solar energy of defeated neighbors.

Eventually the complexity started destroying multi-generational family structures and individual rights. In most cases over taxing the actual production areas to supply the urban social structures.

The countryside of Iraq is still suffering from the misuse of over 1000 years ago as one example. The Roman Latifundia were almost abandoned and taxed by potential and not actual production to the point that the owners welcomed barbarian incursions.

Change has happened so many times in so many comparable situations that how anyone left or right can discount it is beyond me.

What we have today is the addition of two entities not really seen before in complex societies. FIAT money and oil. I believe that these are like adding a nuke to a TnT fight but we will see.

Interestingly enough Rome managed to reduce their complexity during some periods, which is why they lasted as long as they did.

Phil23 said...

Libertarianism is not likely to gain serious traction in the US because the aging baby boomers have paid into the system for decades and now want to receive the benefits due to them. They are also a powerful voting block. And in order to gain any real lasting power any political movement has to have the support of the majority of younger people in the population. Whether or not you support him the political genius of Obama is that his appeal is directed largely at younger people, and remains very popular with this demographic. You think that it is the pro choice pro gay marriage people who elected him but it is actually people under 40 who never bothered to vote before in their lives who turned out in force to vote for Obama. I don't see any libertarian candidates on the horizon with this type of appeal at the present time. IN order to have a libertarian revolution in the US you would have to convince the older people that they will receive whatever benfits they have already paid for, and convince younger people that this movement is the best way to save our country from eventual decline.
You have an uphill battle but it is possible the right candidate could do it. Highly unlikely in the near future however.

Anonymous said...

Dear Greg,
When Hank Paulson, George Bush's Treasury Secretary started the TARP program, he did not go to the Chinese or wealthy Americans and ask them to please buy bonds so we can bail out Wall Street.
He ordered the Federal Reserve, with their agreement, to simply go online and start putting new numbers in the accounts of the recipients at the Federal Reserve.
It was an accounting operation. When the recipients started paying that money back, it was another computer accounting operation.
Inflation can be an issue when full employment exists. We are a long way from inflation or full employment at this time.
Check out Warren Mosler or Marshall Auerback's work on this. They are not academics but money guys who explain this quite clearly.
I bet you are living in the pre 1971 gold backed dollar world.
I look forward to your take on MMT.
Chartalist is probably the more accurate description rather that Monetarist. This ain't Uncle Miltie's Monetarism.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Au contraire.... Libertarianism does not require one to reject that which is due him or her. A de facto default by the social programs will not help the Libertarian's cause whatsoever.

Please read the act. That money does not belong to the government... it belongs to the people that paid in.

How this gets done is the $64 question... unfortunately, I think I know how this gets resolved.... with a a de facto default by raising ages and lowering payments on SS, and something much worse on Social Security.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

MMT guy:

Please feel free to write an article on your position. I will be happy to post it and we can discuss the merits of your position.

Dan said...

Just saying…

Dan said...

MMT Guy,

Where that breaks down is at some level the accounting must relate to the real world in order to be useful, without that link it all breaks down. I’ll grant you that the Fed has done a bang up job diluting the value of the dollar over the last century. However, at present they are being watched closely and any bold (desperate?) moves could destroy their product. Once sufficient numbers of people stop trusting the dollar you can stick a fork in it.

Stephen B. said...

Phil23 is onto something with Obama's young supporters me thinks.

Question: What do Taylor Lautner, Justin Bieber, and Barrack Obama all have in common?

Answer: Those three guys all had life-sized, cardboard stand ups on display in the Newbury Comics music/video store I was in last night. There were no other people displayed, although Obama accounted for two displays, one with him dressed in a business suit, and another one where he was dressed in a Superman-type of uniform with a big, black "O" on his chest.

Like it or not, Obama is an icon for many young people, though the fact that the president is lumped in with two teen heart throbs in stores is troublesome to say the least I think.

bureaucrat said...

Not sure that that video had to do with me, but Thanks. :)

Dan said...

“When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joy within you dies
don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love”

Living alone amongst strangers isn’t the key to happiness and isn’t answer to our problems.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


I wrote a piece back before the election about the MTVization of American politics.

That young people would vote for a guy that is willing to destroy them financially for the price of the a thrown bone (gay marriage/abortion) is PERHAPS a testament to to the lack of real world experience that my generation has inflicted upon their progeny.

Or not... but worth considering

bureaucrat said...

People who live alone and have lots of friends ain't hurting. :) Matter of fact, as I understand it, the problem usually is TOO MANY people in one's life gets darn exhausting. You can't have 500 close friends and family members.

I don't want my parents living here. They don't want to live here. I'm thankful for the Social Security system that helps them to live in the suburbs. I'll bet 90% of people feel the same way. Real life confirms that.

And I DONT wanna live on a farm with Jeffers and his piggies and goats, and mongooses, and elks, and rhinos, and orangutans and ... :)

Stephen B. said...

Exactly Bur.! After all, who needs other people to get under foot when one can buy a cardboard, life-sized standup of Bieber, Lautner, or Obama instead?

Dan said...

One thing that always puzzles me is the wide gulf between what people want, or at least think they want, and what actually makes people happy.

Phil23 said...

Obama ran a superior campaign. And the country had been destroyed long before he came into office. Reagan started deficit financing in the United States, and since 1980 the trouble with the increasing foreign ownership of US debt has been increasing. George W Bush made it worse by starting a trillion dollar war.
Maybe a lot of young people voted for Obama because they saw their friends in the service coming back in body bags or with their arms and legs blown off for no reason other than the fraudulent lie that Saddam had weapons and was a threat to the US.
But the point is the Republicans and libertarians are not really appealing much to younger Americans right now. To someone in his or her twenties or thirties the Republicans come across as fat old white dudes only interested in corporate tax cuts. And right now libertarians are seen as an wierd fringe group which does not really communicate its message properly to the public.
I must say, you are not advancing your cause very much by labeling yourself as "extreme". That scares people. To win a mass audience, you have to try to be as white bread bland as possible while still getting your point across.

Dan said...

Obama ran a know nothing campaign, and succeeded brilliantly. Moreover, the country was already in terrible shape when he took office. A large part of that is deficit spending, AKA currency dilution, enabled by Nixon taking us off the gold standard, and fully employed by Regan. Granted, you are on the right track there. However, moving forward:
What has Obama done different than Bush? Where is the change we were promised?

What do the Democrats plan to do going forward? Slinging mud is all fine and dandy, but what now?

Without a clearly defined plan, why should anyone think they have anything to offer besides more of the same: e.g. transfer schemes for their supporters?

N.b. I define their supporters as the top tenth of a percent who now apparently own Washington and have seized the wealth of the nation unto themselves via bailouts and stimulus; along with skid row bums at the bottom, who are thrown a bone, to bulk up their numbers and distract the masses that are expected to pay for all this. …and a few useful idiots whom are/were middle class.

From where I’m sitting it appears the DNC has made their bed, and then shat in it for good measure.

Donal Lang said...

Greg, re: "That young people would vote for a guy that is willing to destroy them financially for the price of the a thrown bone"

Add 'surrogate' in front of 'guy' and you could be talking about Sarah Palin here!

Donal Lang said...

Here's Kunstler:
"We can't speak clearly anymore; we can only beat drums. All across the land self-appointed saviors are stepping up to heroically rescue the squandered entitlements of the bygone day: Rand Paul, the Kentucky physician who (like his dad) subscribes to the idea that the earth is only about 4000 years old; Dan Maes, the Colorado Tea Party candidate for governor who believes that bicycling is a "gateway drug" to communism; Sharron Angle, the Nevada polymoron running John Birch Society scripts to the psychologically-spavined blackjack dealers crowding the unemployment lines. ("The Trilateral Commission and the Bilderburgers did this to you!"); and lonely Joe Miller, the hermit-attorney of Fairbanks, stalking out of his survivalist cave to drive a silver lance through the flaming heart of the ravening liberal windigo."

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Come on... you make a few reasonable points and then blow yourself up by stating that Reagan caused the deficit train...

Taxes, as a percentage of GDP, have not moved more than 1% IN ANY DIRECTION under any president from 1980 to 2008. Do you understand what that means?

The people discussing issues here are extremely well informed. BY all means, we would very much like to have someone who can ADD to the debate. So please, do add.

Anonymous said...


There are as many whackos on the left as on the right. Putting the left's whackos on the evening news does not suit the Media's agenda. Hyperbole and exaggeration of the right's foibles does. We've heard all of that before.

We're misinformed.
We're stupid
We're "fringe."
We're racist
We're haters. (Now that the race card is becoming tattered.)

This adds nothing to the debate.


Coal Guy

Donal Lang said...

Coal Guy; If you guys take Sarah P seriously, you can't expect the RotW to take YOU seriously!

Phil23 said...

If you want to have a website with a bunch of guys, most of whom agree with each other, bantering back and forth about issues that's fine. But if you want to advance your cause of libertarianism in the US you might want to remember something: You need to convince people who think your ideas have some validity but are not completely convinced that this is the best way to solve the long term problems in America and show them how you are right without insulting people. So far from what I can see on your forum anyone who disagrees with you is labeled either boring, stupid or misinformed. Not a very good way to make friends in influence people. If you and the other libs keep it up then your cause will disappear along with all the other radical fringe agendas in the US (and there have been hundreds) which died out due to lack of support.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Spare me.

I challenged you on your Reagan tax/deficit claim. You dug it straight out of some bias media report or some lefty prof. If you examine the data, from JFK on, the total tax collected by the Treasury is about 18.5% of GDP, give or take 1 %.

Don't let that happen to you! Whoever whispered in your ear had an agenda... they wanted you to spread the diaspora of their misinformation at YOUR expense. In the age of Google and Bing, this need not happen. And don't let this offend you. We have all been duped in that regard.

The Left MUST demonize Reagan. They have no accomplishments to point to.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Were I in their shoes, I would do the exact same thing.

Phil23 said...

To quote your hero Mr. Ronnie Reagan "There you go again" . Assuming that you have all the answers without explaining what they are. The problems in the US economy are far more complex than just our tax structure. We have been losing manufacturing jobs for decades, a trend which seems unlikely to abate. At the same time there has been an increase in population density, so there are more people competing for fewer jobs. This was partly negated by the incredible technological boom of the 1990s and the implementation of the internet and PC, and temporarily masked by the real estate and financial services bubbles of the 2000 to 2010 period. So what is the solution now? How would you create jobs in this country? Young people are disillusioned because unless the are engineers or scientists or have parents who have the money to finance a graduate degree in medicine, architecture or law they are not going to get jobs. Middle class Americans who thought they were going to be able to retire someday have lost most of their savings and will now have to work until they drop dead. what do you do to explain to these people that there is still some hope for this country, and what libertarian policies would you implement to make the situation better?

Anonymous said...


Sarah Palin is less than I would have hoped for. She will probably not win office at the national level, but she does stir people up and raises important issues. Good. She's at least as credible as Barney Frank. Look where he is!

The powers that be have put us so far in the hole we have to look up to see bottom. Still, they keep on spending as if things will get better. They believe that spending money that they don't have on things that give no return is beneficial. They cannot possibly make good on their present promises, let alone make more. You expect me to take them more seriously than Sarah.

If it weren't for the affirmative droning of the media, you would probably have a serious case of cognitive dissonance by now. How are the people that brought us the $200,000,000,000,000 unfunded liability to be taken seriously, while those who think there is a problem are discredited?

If BHO and GWB stand opposite each other on the thin line between the parties, and we have to live between them, there is no hope. If there is no room for ideas apart from those that they represent, there is no hope. There is, then, no question about the certainty of complete collapse, only the timing.

The real question is what kind of government is there after the collapse and how do we survive in the new environment.


Coal Guy

PioneerPreppy said...

As long as you can back up your claims with links or quote your source I have never noticed Greg to discount any poster here. Even ones he doesn't agree with nor insult them in anything other than a tongue in cheek manner.

As for kooks in office or running for office we have...

Botox Pelosi
Action Figure Greene
2 Reps who specialize in scholarships for relatives only
Barney "Male prostitute" Frank
Joe I'ma Mangina Biden
Green Jobs Jones

No point in going on really. The only way out of this mess is to reduce the complexity and that will never happen with Progressives.