Saturday, October 3, 2015

Inalienable Rights on Saturday Morning

We human beings have qualities that derive from our very nature. There is good in our very nature and there is evil in our very nature.  I believe that these qualities of our very nature are self-evident and that the better qualities of our very nature form the basis for what is just, right, and moral.

And so I believe in natural law. Natural law in the sense that some things, based on our very nature, are and always will be right and some things are and always will be wrong. The founders of our country discussed these better qualities of our very nature. From this they identified self-evident inalienable rights.  Inalienable rights are “negative” rights.  This means that inalienable rights are not a right to get something at someone else’s expense such as a “right” to a house, healthcare, food, education, or anything else that someone else is being forced to provide. Inalienable rights have to do with the right to be left alone and the obligation to leave others alone, e.g. my freedom ends where your nose begins.

In my view the right to life is the foundational inalienable right and the foundational principle for moral action.  Your life is yours.  My life is mine.  It is wrong, unjust, and immoral for me to take your life or to harm you in any way and vice versa.  By extension, your property, if gained by doing no harm to others, is yours and it is immoral for me to take if from you by force.  You are free to say and do, and make and trade, and build anything that you want as long as you do not harm anyone else or anyone else's property. By extension you have the right to defend yourself and your property. You also have the right to defend the life and property of others.

Following this principle it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for one person to hurt or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for two persons to hurt you or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 10 persons to hurt you or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 100 persons to hurt you or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 1,000 persons to hurt you or to steal from you, and it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 300 million people to to hurt you or steal from you even if they take a vote on it.

For me the better qualities of our very nature and the the self-evident inalienable rights which ensue clarify the principles for what is just, right, and moral.  Life is complex and there are many grey areas, but to the best of my ability I use these principles to guide my own behaviors and to evaluate the words and actions of individuals, politicians, preachers, governments, constitutions, laws, regulations, tax codes, wars, and everything else.

Mark Van Schuyver

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Cost of Bernie Sander's Socialistic Plan - $18 Trillion

By Laura Meckler.  WSJ. An excerpt . . .

WASHINGTON—Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history. 
In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class. 
His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges. 
To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.  
A campaign aide said additional tax proposals would be offered to offset the cost of some, and possibly all, of his health program. A Democratic proposal for such a “single-payer” health plan, now in Congress, would be funded in part through a new payroll tax on employers and workers . . .

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If Only the Fed Would Get Out of the Way

WSJ by Rand Paul and Mark Spitznagel. An excerpt

Friday, September 11, 2015

21st Century Socialism . . .

An opposition leader gets nearly 14 years in prison. WSJ. An excerpt . . 

Congressional elections are scheduled for December and polls say that in a fair contest Mr. López and the opposition would thump Mr. Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela. With growing food shortages, increasing violent crime and hyperinflation, Mr. Maduro might still have to cancel or rig the election to avoid losing control of the unicameral legislature. But that could spark widespread social unrest—which is why Mr. López remains in prison.
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California’s Climate Change Revolt

WSJ.  An excerpt . . .
The environmental lobby has tried to turn climate change into a "social justice" issue even though its anticarbon policies disproportionately harm the poor. Honest Democrats are starting to admit this, as we saw in this week’s stunning revolt in the California legislature. . . 
The Governor hailed California as a model of green virtue at the Vatican this summer and had hoped to flaunt sweeping new anticarbon regulations at the U.N’s climate-change summit in Paris this year. 
The chief beneficiaries of the Golden State’s green government have been the well-to-do, while low- and middle-income Californians have borne most of the regulatory costs. . . 
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Minimum-Wage Hangover

Minimum wage increases in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle have cost thousands of jobs. Andy Puzder. WSJ, an excerpt . . .

Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute, Adam Ozimek of Moody’s Analytics and Stephen Bronars of Edgewood Economics reported last month that the restaurant and hotel industries have lost jobs in all three numbers and discovered that the “first wave of minimum wage increases appears to have led to the loss of over 1,100 food service jobs in the Seattle metro division and over 2,500 restaurant jobs in the San Francisco metro division.” That is a conservative estimate, he notes, as the data include areas outside city limits, where the minimum wage didn’t increase.  
This comes as no surprise. In 2014 the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would result in employment falling by 500,000 jobs nationally. By the way, less than 20% of the earning benefits would flow to people living below the poverty line, as University of California-Irvine economist David Neumark has pointed out. . .  
If government makes something more expensive, businesses will use less of it. Hourly wage mandates continue to drift higher than what consumers can absorb through increased prices. Entry-level jobs will become increasingly scarce as businesses use labor more efficiently and, in some cases, turn to automation.
In particular distress is the youth population. In July, labor-force participation for those ages 16 to 19 stood at 33.5%, the fifth-lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began compiling the data in 1948. Four of these lows have occurred in the past 18 months. 
So what’s the solution? The first step is realizing that income inequality is a symptom of a larger problem. Raising the minimum wage to reduce inequality is like giving an aspirin to someone who has a brain tumor. It may appear sympathetic and for a moment alleviate the headache, but it won’t cure what is ailing the patient.
The real problem is that more than six years of progressive economic policies—higher taxes, more regulation, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and more—have eliminated opportunities. The poverty rate remains at levels generally observed during recessions. Child poverty is at its highest point in 20 years. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time since it began compiling the data, business closures each year have been exceeding new business startups. . .  
There is only one thing that will decrease poverty and increase opportunity: economic growth. And history has clearly shown that there is only one system that can produce economic growth sufficient to meaningfully reduce poverty and increase opportunity: free enterprise. The best development for workers would be a thriving economy in which growing companies have to compete for their services. 
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Friday, September 4, 2015

Obama’s Half-Baked Alaska

By Patrick Moore a co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace - WSJ  an excerpt . . .

When President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry visited Alaska this week, they pointed to the receding glaciers as evidence that humans are the cause of “dangerous,” even “catastrophic,” climate change. Messrs. Obama and Kerry have been seriously misinformed by their advisers, including chief science adviser John Holdren, who is a leading alarmist on the subject. 
If only the president had consulted the history of Glacier Bay, where the Huna Tlingit people have lived for more than 4,000 years, he would have found a different story. 
It is a historical fact that the glacier in Glacier Bay began its retreat around 1750. By the time Capt. George Vancouver arrived there in 1794 the glacier still filled most of the bay but had already retreated some miles. 
When John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, visited in 1879, he found that the glacier had retreated more than 30 miles from the mouth of the bay, according to the National Park Service, and by 1900 Glacier Bay was mostly ice-free. 
All of this happened long before human emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, could have had any impact. . .  
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