Saturday, October 12, 2013

Socialism 101 (or, why our country is falling apart)

Socialism and capitalism are opposites. Socialism is an economic system in which
the government owns or directly controls the means of production. Socialism is based on force. Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated. Capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. Some say that a blend of these two economic systems is the solution to the world’s problems. They call for a “mixed economy.”  But mixing opposites is a recipe for disaster. Socialism (force) and capitalism (voluntary exchange) are like oil and water, they do not mix.

Capitalism is the economic system that has created more prosperity for more people than any economic system ever tried in the history of mankind. Socialism, even when expertly administered has never created prosperity. If you mix Capitalism (voluntary exchange) with Socialism (force) you get a dysfunctional, special interest favoring, poor people exploiting, unethical "third way" hybrid called Crony-Capitalism.

Broadly speaking there are two main types of socialism. Marxist Socialism and National Socialism (and there are countless variations of each). Marxism is the form of socialism in which the government assumes ownership of the means of production, i.e. nationalization. This is the model that the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), Cuba, North Korea, and many other nations have embraced. Marx and Engels wrote about socialism as a stage between capitalism and communism but in my opinion communism is simply a political name for full-blown Marx-Style socialism.

National Socialism is the form of socialism in which the government assumes control of the means of production without formally taking ownership (think Post Office, Fannie Mae before it was nationalized, The Student Loan Industry, the Federal Reserve, General Motors, and ObamaCare). This is the type of socialism that was employed by Mussolini in Italy and by Hitler in Germany. Mussolini didn’t want to call his system socialism. He used the terms Corporatism and Fascism. Hitler’s party was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party or NAZI Party for short. Hitler also used the term Fascism to describe his version of socialism.

“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” —Adolf Hitler, [144] 1927 speech.

On paper socialism looks great. It looks like utopia. You simply put a benevolent philosopher king into power and let him and his chosen few centrally plan all things toward the “the greater good.” Unfortunately for socialists everywhere socialism does not work in the real world, just ask the North Koreans. The greater the percentage of the means of production that is controlled by the government the lower the level of prosperity the people enjoy (see Index of Economic Freedom).

Those who argue for a “mixed economy” (a third way) are arguing for an inherently unstable and corrupt economic system because capitalism and socialism are like oil and water. Capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. Socialism is based on force. Liberty and force don't mix.

Capitalism (voluntary exchange under rule of law) is not perfect but capitalism, even when poorly administered, is the economic system that has created more prosperity for more people than any system ever tried in the history of mankind. Socialism, (force) even when expertly administered had never created prosperity. Socialism, whether Marxist or National has done more harm to more people than any system ever tried in the history of the world. Our country is suffering, some say falling apart, because it is rapidly sliding down the slippery slope of socialism.

Mark VanSchuyver

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tell It like it is Mr. Government-Man!

Ever notice how government programs deliver exactly the opposite thing than that for which they a
re named? Consider these three examples, The "Affordable" Health Care Act, The "Patriot" Act,
and Social "Security."

The "Affordable Health Care Act" (aka ObamaCare) is providing anything but affordable health care. Most of those few who were able to get into the Affordable Health Care "Market Places," i.e. government run insurance distribution sites got big-time sticker shock.  The Affordable Health Care Act is projected to run up trillions in debt over the next few years, create incentives that encourage established doctors to fold up their tents and would-be doctors to go into banking or something else that smart people can make money at.  Shortages, shortfalls, and long waiting lines are projected by experts from all sides.  In short the Affordable Health Care Act is anything but affordable.

The Patriot Act resulted in a massive increase in governmental intrusion. The government has admitted reading every email that every American writes, listening to every phone call, watching everyone do everything with visible and hidden cameras, grabbing US citizens in the dead of night and renditioning them off to black interrogation sites, and much, much more.  The Patriot Act violates the individual liberty of US Citizens in countless ways.  The Patriot Act is anything but patriotic.

Social Security was intended to provide retirement insurance for folks who were not able to save enough money to fund their own retirement, a "safety-net." But the Social Security "trust fund" was raided by the government long ago.  This massive, centrally planned program is now trillions of dollars in the hole.  Social Security in its current form is doomed. Unless major reforms are made soon it will collapse under the weight of massive unfunded liabilities.  Social Security does anything but make society more secure.

Since government programs tend to deliver exactly the opposite thing than that for which they are named I say why not cut to the chase? Why not give them names that represent the thing that they will actually do?  For starters, I propose renaming these three major government programs.  Instead of the Affordable Health Care act, call it what it is the Unaffordable Health Care Act, Instead of Patriot Act, call it what it is, the Unpatriotic Act, instead of Social Security, call it what it is Social Insecurity!

Mark VanSchuyver

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Moral Argument Against ObamaCare for Mr. Ed Schultz

Ed Schultz, host of the Ed Show on MSNBC, spoke with a minister who opposes the Affordable Health Care law (aka ObamaCare).  The minister argued that ObamaCare was costly and basically a bad deal for America.  Mr. Schultz told the minister that millions of Americans who are currently uninsured will be provided health insurance through ObamaCare.  He also pointed out that under ObamaCare no one can be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.  Then Mr. Schultz asked the minister to make the moral case for denying insurance to these currently uninsured people and to make the moral case against ObamaCare.  The minister's response was weak. He seemed unprepared for the question. Here's how I think the minister should have responded.

Mr. Schultz is it moral to steal things from other people? Is it moral to use force to make other people do what you want them to do against their will? Is it moral to lie? Is a law that causes people to suffer and die needlessly moral? ObamaCare is based on the immoral principles of force, theft, and dishonesty.

Health care is a limited resource.  Today we have the best quality and the greatest quantity of health care on Earth right here in the United States and it is available to everyone. Health care costs money and there is no way a person can know in advance just how expensive it might be. Insurance is a service that is available to those who want to insure their risk against these unknown future costs.  Some people choose to buy insurance to reduce their risk; some people do not wish to make this investment. Under ObamaCare the government will use force to make everyone purchase insurance whether they want to or not.  Mr. Schultz it is not right to make a person buy something that they do not want even if someone else believes that that something is good for that person.  Forcing another person to act against his or her will is immoral.

Under ObamaCare no one can be denied insurance for any reason including a pre-existing condition therefore the cost of insurance will increase exponentially.  ObamaCare empowers the government to impose new taxes to subsidize the insurance companies and other special interests to cover this cost gap. These are additional tax dollars that most Americans would rather keep and use to support their families.  Taking money that taxpayers have earned with their own labor and giving that money to government selected insurance companies and other special interests is nothing short of theft.  Mr. Schultz theft is immoral.

Under ObamaCare, unlimited amounts of health care will now be "free" to millions of people who would previously have been expected to pay for those limited resources.  But there are not enough doctors and other medical professionals to provide unlimited quantities of health care to millions of people for free and there never will be.  ObamaCare promises unlimited access to limited resources. This promise is a lie that will hurt everyone, the poorest among us most of all.  Mr. Schultz, Lying is immoral.

The Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) is a vast maze of government policies, procedures, rules, restrictive regulations, and micro-controls that will be anything but affordable.  ObamaCare will greatly increase the amount of waste and bureaucracy in all aspects of the health care and insurance industries. ObamaCare is based on the economic fantasy that a government bureaucrats can outperform a competitive market economy.  No way.

The ObamaCare bureaucracy will stifle innovation, drive costs up and reduce the quality, quantity, and availability of health care resources in the United States. ObamaCare is a bloated, costly, bureaucratic system designed to transform the world's best health care system into something that looks a lot like the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Under the bureaucratic morass that is ObamaCare millions will suffer and die as they wait for innovations that never emerge, and millions more, mostly poor people, will stand in line for years waiting for doctors that never became doctors because ObamaCare made it unprofitable for them to do so. Under the ObamaCare bureaucracy people will suffer and people will die who would not have suffered and would not have died had this law based in economic fantasy never been imposed upon the American people.

Mr. Schultz ObamaCare is immoral because it is based on the immoral principles of force, theft, and dishonesty. For the sake of our nation and especially for those less fortunate who will suffer the most, this immoral law must be de-funded and overturned.  Thank you for having me on your show.

Mark VanSchuyver

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Presidential Double Speak

I'm watching the President on TV as he gives his State of the Union address. The President is a master of double-speak. Just listen to what he says and translate the double speak back to reality.  Investments = Tax money spent on government boondoggles (e.g. the nearly one trillion dollar failed stimulus package).  Revenue = tax increases.  Level playing field = take from producers and give to takers and special interests.  Climate change = shutting down the private sector for the sake of special interests.  Gun control = termination of the second amendment (i.e. termination of the inalienable right of self-defense). Alternative energy investments = pouring taxpayer money into boondoggle technologies e.g. ethanol, windmills, electric cars, and solar panels.

To the president, free market = government takeover of healthcare, the auto industry, the finance industry, and more.  In the President's double speak responsible business management = massive, crippling regulations that do nothing to keep us safer, healthier, or protect our environment while crushing innovation.  Initiatives = government spending on special interests when the government is broke.  To the president job creation = government jobs, i.e. jobs paid for by tax money.  Investment in education = money thrown down the failed rat-hole of government schools. Immigration reform = amnesty for illegal immigrants at the expense of legal immigrants. The president's paycheck "fairness act" = social engineering.  His recommended minimum wage increases = forcing employers to pay pay people more than they can afford to pay so that thousands of entry level workers don't get hired at all. Shared prosperity = forced equality of outcome and food stamps for all. Improving the voter experience = federal government take-over of the voting process. Violence where guns are used = "gun violence" as if guns are alive and cause violence so therefore guns and the right to self-defense must be banned. Due process for American suspects = drone strike.

I'm turning the TV off now.  The double speak is making me sick to my stomach.  We have a slick talking nanny-state collectivist in the Oval Office demanding bigger and bigger government and less and less personal liberty. I won't sleep well tonight. After that speech, if you care about America, you shouldn't either.

Mark VanSchuyver

Thursday, February 7, 2013


President Obama is pushing hard for gun control including the banning of sporting rifles and other firearms that he deems offensive.  Members of the Senate including the Honorable Dianne Feinstein are demanding gun control and gun bans. Many liberals are calling for an overturn of the Second Amendment. “The Second Amendment is out date they say.” This is all very confusing to me.  I thought the Second Amendment was there to protect the inalienable right to self-defense.  Unable to get good answers from the media I decided to take a retro-trip. I jumped into the Delorean and travelled back in time to interview the folks who know best the meaning of the Second Amendment. I managed a round-table interview with several of our Founding Fathers, Mr. Washington, Mr. George Mason, Mr. Lee, Mr. Henry, Mr. Madison, Mr. James Mason, Mr. Adams, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Jefferson. Here’s the transcript.
Liberty 301: Mr. President, what role do firearms play in American society?
George Washington: "Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence… from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable… the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference, they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
Liberty 301: Who should be armed?
George Washington: "A free people ought to be armed."
Liberty 301: Mr. Mason what would happen if our government bans firearms?
George Mason: "To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them."
Liberty 301: Mr. Mason, the Second Amendment says, A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  You are the co-author of the Second Amendment.  What did you mean by militia?
George Mason: "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people."
Liberty 301: Mr. Lee, do you agree or disagree with Mr. Mason?
Richard Henry Lee, "A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves."
Liberty 301: Mr. Henry, who should be armed in American Society.
Patrick Henry: "The great object is that every man be armed. And everyone who is able may have a gun."
Liberty 301: Mr. Madison In my time most countries have banned private ownership of firearms?  Why should the United States be any different?
James Mason: "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
Liberty 301: Mr. Adams, does the Constitution give elected leaders the authority to disarm some Americans?
Samuel Adams: "The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
Liberty 301: Mr. Pitt people in my time say that things are out of control and that it is necessary that we ban the ownership of firearms.
Mr. William Pitt: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom; it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
Liberty 301: Mr. Jefferson, many people in my time argue that the Second Amendment is about hunting.  What was the main reason for preserving the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment?
Thomas Jefferson: "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
Liberty 301: Mr. Jefferson will we have less crime if our government imposes more gun control and gun bans?
Thomas Jefferson:  "The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes."

Liberty 301: Mr. Jefferson will we be safer if our government bans guns and adds more gun control laws?

Thomas Jefferson: "Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Wow. The Founders were pretty clear on the purpose of the Second Amendment being the inalienable right to self-defense.  To get the other side of the argument I set the Delorean for jump into the recent past to talk to a famous, hard-core liberal, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.  Here’s the transcript.
Liberty 301: Mr. Vice President, should American citizens be allowed to keep and bear arms when the citizens of most other countries are not?
Hubert H. Humphrey: "The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
I’m back.  The Delorean is parked. It is clear to me that the President and the liberals in Congress are not on the same page with Mr. Washington, Mr. George Mason, Mr. Lee, Mr. Henry, Mr. Madison, Mr. James Mason, Mr. Adams, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Humphrey, or Yours Truly.  Mr. Obama, Mrs. Feinstein and dozens of other liberals in office and out are advocating for the termination of our inalienable right to self-defense. It’s up to us to stop them, or as Thomas Paine said, "Those who reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
Mark VanSchuyver

Left Vs. Right? No way!

It is popular to describe the political divide in the USA as left vs. right.  I don’t think this is accurate at all.  For example the “left” traditionally advocates for bigger government, entitlement programs, and restrictions of personal liberties but try to find a “righty” who really wants a balanced budget amendment, privatized social security, or privatized schools.  Everyone in the Executive Branch and most members of Congress are big government guys and gals.  In other words they are all “left,” some are just a tad more “left” than others.
To me a more accurate way of describing the divide in politics is to contrast the two fundamentally different world views that underlie virtually all political arguments; Individualism and Collectivism.
Individualism regards man, every man (or woman) as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights—and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.
Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”

How can you determine whether you are an Individualist or a Collectivist at heart?  Here is a simple test.  Print the page.  Put a check next to the statement on each row that best describes your world view.

What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is yours
What’s yours is mine
I am responsible for me
You are responsible for me
What I earn is mine
What you earn is mine
I have value; others have value
Others have value; I have no value
I am accountable for my actions
You are accountable for my actions
The world does not owe me a living
The world owes me a living
Equality of opportunity
Equality of outcome
I own me
Others own me
My freedom ends where your nose begins
Both of our noses belong to the government

Now you know where you stand philosophically. It's not left or right that means much, It's Individualism Vs. Collectivism that matters.  As for me, I agree with this guy:

"There is only one kind of freedom and that's individual liberty."
Ron Paul

Mark VanSchuyver


Friday, January 25, 2013

Newspeak on Gun Control

The Orwellian name change for anything that has to do with firearms continued this week and last with the President and Vice President's rebranding of the term “gun control,” with newspeak, "I don't view it as gun control, I view it as gun safety," Vice President Biden said. The term gun control is now oldspeak. From now on watch for the word “gun safety” to come from the mouths of politicians and the media because gun control just became an unword.
In case you haven’t read George Orwell’s classic dystopia, “1984,” Orwell envisioned a totalitarian society in which the government sought absolute control in part by changing the language from English (i.e. oldspeak) to a new language (i.e. newspeak) that eliminates “any vocabulary that expresses such concepts as freedom, free enquiry, individualism, resistance to the authority of the state . . .” – Wikipedia. 
Here are just a few of the newspeak terms that the government and the media have created to control your thoughts on the gun debate:
  • Newspeak, gun safety. * Oldspeak, gun control and gun banning.
  • Newspeak, military assault rifles. * Oldspeak, sporting rifles and hunting rifles.
  • Newspeak, gun violence.  * Oldspeak, violence perpetrated with a gun.
  • Newspeak, automatic weapons, i.e. machine guns.  * Oldspeak, semi-automatic weapons.
  • Newspeak, high capacity clips.  * Oldspeak, standard magazines.
  • Newspeak, "preserve" the Second Amendment. * Oldspeak, overturn the Second Amendment, ban confiscate all firearms, ammunition, and accessories starting with 158 popular sporting and hunting rifles.
So now, using newspeak, the government (Big Brother) can “preserve the second Amendment” (i.e. ban and utlimately confiscate all firearms starting with 158 popular sporting rifles and hunting rifles), get “military guns and machine guns” off the street (i.e. ban popular sporting rifles and hunting rifles), and increase “gun safety” (i.e. implement draconian gun control laws starting with a ban on standard magazines and more than 158 popular civilian firearms), and eliminate "gun violence" (i.e. disarm Americans and eliminate the Second Amendment) without actually saying so.
Mark VanSchuyver

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mexican Coke!

Mexican Coke - Drink Coca Cola -12 Oz. (24 Pack)

I'm crazy about Mexican Coca-Cola. Mexican Coke is the real thing! This is because Mexican Coke is made with real sugar. Yum! As far as I can determine Mexican Coke follows the original Coke recipe. This is not true of "Coke Classic" because Coke Classic is made with corn syrup. Yuck!

How did this happen. Well, you may not be old enough to recall "New Coke." After getting trounced by Pepsi in the "Pepsi Challenge" (blind taste tests pitting Coca-Cola against Pepsi Cola) in the 1980s, Coca-Cola reformulated their product and conducted their own blind taste tests. New Coke won and management decided to dump their original formula for sweeter, New Coke.

The switch was made in record time. Almost overnight the original Coke left the shelves and New Coke took its place. But the people, including yours truly, rebelled. New Coke was universally rejected. Coca-Cola management was forced to pull New Coke off the shelves. Rather than return to the original formula, however, they reformulated Coca-Cola again removing the real sugar and replacing it with corn syrup. The new/old Coke was rebranded as Coca-Cola Classic. I've never forgiven them for this.

For years I wondered why they didn't just put the original Coke back on the market. Then I discovered what I believe to be the root cause, import restrictions on sugar. You see our government wants us to buy American made sugar. To see that we do they imposed import restrictions on sugar including those in the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981. I believe that this is why Coke Classic and lots of other sweet drinks are made with corn syrup rather than sugar in the USA.

The big losers from federal sugar programs are U.S. consumers. The Government Accountability Office estimates that U.S. sugar policies cost American consumers about $1.9 billion annually. At the same time, sugar policies have allowed a small group of sugar growers to become wealthy because supply restrictions have given them monopoly power. The GAO found that 42 percent of all sugar subsidies go to just 1 percent of sugar growers. To protect their monopolies, many sugar growers, such as the Fanjul family of Florida, have become influential campaign supporters of many key members of Congress. - Agricultural Regulations and Trade Barriers, Chris Edwards

Score! By accident I discovered Mexican Coke at my local grocery store's Hispanic section. Lo and behold Mexican Coke is made with real sugar, yum! No import restrictions on sugar in Mexico I suppose? Long story short I now have access to real Coke and so I now officially forgive Coca-Cola for changing its formula to include corn syrup (yuck) instead of real sugar (yum) in the USA. It wasn't their fault really; it was bad governmental policy that killed the original Coke.

Mark VanSchuyver

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gun Violence?

Since the President started his efforts to impose gun control and gun bans on us I've been paying close attention to the way the media talk about the issue.  One of the most interesting things is how the media refer to violent acts using firearms as "gun violence."  Gun violence sounds like newspeak to me.  Guns don't do violent things.  People do violent things.  What if the media used this rhetoric when talking about violence perpetrated with other tools?  Here's how the headlines might look.
  • Two killed in car violence today.  A crazed driver purposefully crashed his car into a crowd at the corner market . . .
  • Fifty-nine murdered in bomb violence. Fifty-nine died and dozens more were injured when a suicide bomber wrapped himself in dynamite and blew up a wedding party . . . .
  • One killed in paper weight violence. Woman kills abusive husband with single whack on the head with a paper weight . . .
  • One killed in water violence.  Police say a crazed swimmer killed his swimming coach by holding him under water for four minutes . . .
  • Two killed in stapler violence.  A man killed two people today with a metal stapler . . .
  • Three killed in bat violence.  A man used a baseball bat to bludgeon three pedestrians to death . . .
  • One killed in knife violence.  A woman stabbed her boyfriend to death after an argument . . .
  • One killed in fist violence.  Former boxer bashes buddy to death in fisticuffs frenzy . . .
  • Seventeen killed in fire violence.  An arsonist killed seventeen people by setting fire to their apartment complex . . .
Why do the media use different language when speaking about violence done with firearms than violence done with anything else?  I suspect it is because most folks in the media are opposed to the right of self-defense and the Second Amendment that protects that right. Using newspeak helps the media frame the debate in the negative.

Mark VanSchuyver


Monday, January 7, 2013

Zero Sum Thinking

Monopoly pack logo.pngEconomic fundamentals are not taught in our public schools. Therefore many of us learned everything we know about economics from playing Monopoly. Don’t get me wrong. I love the game of Monopoly. But Monopoly is not a game based on economic reality. The game of Monopoly is based on zero sum game theory. Someone wins and everyone else loses. The game of Monopoly teaches us to use zero sum thinking as if it were true in the real economy. It is not.
A zero sum game describes a “situation or interaction in which one participant's gains result only from another's equivalent losses.” Unfortunately it seems that most of our elected officials think that our economy operates like a zero sum game.  Even worse it seems that most voters believe that the economy operates, as Karl Marx would have us believe, as a zero sum game. But the economy is not a zero sum game. When unburdened by the zero sum thinking policies of excessive regulation, excessive taxation, trade barriers, and re-distribution a free society’s economy will grow, expand, and amplify prosperity.
Consider the example of Henry Ford.  When Henry Ford made the Model T he effectively destroyed the horse and buggy industry. A horse industry worker living in that time might have foreseen the imminent loss of hundreds of horse and buggy industry jobs. If such a person applied zero sum thinking he or she would have marched on Washington DC seeking a ban on horseless carriages to save jobs in the horse and buggy industry. Chanting, “Too big to fail! Too big to fail! Too big to fail!” If the politicians of the time agreed they might have employed zero sum thinking and passed laws protecting the horse and buggy industry from the intrusion of horseless carriages. It is true that hundreds of horse and buggy industry jobs were destroyed in the short-term but thousands and thousands of new jobs emerged in the new automobile industry. The automobile industry increase mobility opening the door for thousands and thousands of new jobs in hundreds of new and/or expanding industries. The economy is not a zero sum game.
Here’s another example, the typewriter industry.  The typewriter was a wonderful technology made possible by the ever expanding (not zero sum) economy.  Business was great until personal computers came along. Seeing the looming threat typists who applied zero sum thinking would likely have marched on Washington, DC demanding a ban on personal computers in order to save jobs in the typewriter industry less they be stolen by new technology. Chanting, “Too big to fail! Too big to fail! Too big to fail!” Yes it is true that thousands of jobs were destroyed in the typewriting industry in the short-term but millions of new ones were created with the rise of the personal computer industry. And the new personal computer industry opened the door for countless other new businesses thus greatly expanding economic opportunity for millions of Americans. The economy is not a zero sum game.
When our leaders taxed and/or borrowed trillions of dollars from the private sector and redistributed it to special interests they were applying zero sum thinking. When the government passed the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill institutionalizing bailouts and establishing a policy of too-big-to-fail they were applying zero sum thinking. When our government raised income tax rates on our society’s top producers on New Year’s Day seeking “fairness,” they were employing zero sum thinking. These zero sum governmental policies are destroying innovation, crushing opportunity, and preventing jobs from being created.  It is time for our leaders to stop institutionalizing failure and robbing the private sector to support government waste. The economy is not, as Karl Marx would have us believe, a zero sum game.  It is time for our leaders in Washington to stop playing Monopoly with the economy.
Mark VanSchuyver

Friday, January 4, 2013

Manchurian Gun Control Candidate

I grew up in the country.  Like most everyone in the country I learned to shoot and handle firearms safely when I was very young.  To us country folk guns are tools just like any other tool.  Their uses are many, hunting, target shooting, collecting, and in the gravest extreme self-defense.  So I was surprised when one of my relatives from the country said this to me just last week.  "I hate guns, especially automatic handguns and automatic assault rifles. The only guns I like are shotguns and hunting rifles.  We should ban those ugly automatic military guns that are not made for hunting."

Her comment concerned me because she is very active in politics and has been considering a run for office.

"Have you ever fired a gun?"  I asked.

"No," She replied. (amazing for a country born woman!)

"Why are shotguns and hunting rifles okay?"  I asked.

"Because they are not dangerous automatic assault weapons."  She said.

"What is an assault weapon?"  I asked.  I showed her a page full of pictures of rifles on Google. She pointed to the AR15 and the AK47.

"Show me a hunting rifle," I said.  She pointed to the Marlin Model 336W .30-30 rifle.

"Which rifle is more powerful?"  I asked.

"The automatic assault weapon," she said.

When I explained that the .30-30 was much, much more powerful than the AR15 and the AK47 she was shocked.  No kidding? she said.

"Why do you call the less powerful rifles 'assault' rifles?"  I asked.

"That's what they say on TV," she sad.

"Did you know," I asked, "that your son, your grandson and thousands of other hunters use AR15s and AK47s to hunt wild hogs and other game?"

"No way," she said.  "Really?"

I pointed to the AR15 and the .30-30 again. "Which one is an automatic?"  I asked.

She pointed to the AR15.  "Nope," I said.  "Neither gun is an automatic."

"What is the most lethal close-range civilian firearm?" I asked.  "Do you know?"


"Most people say the shotgun," I replied.

"The shotgun?  Your kidding!"

"Think about it.  Every police force in the US and most in the world use the shotgun for close quarter battles with bad guys.  Shotguns are super-lethal."

"Well at least the government should ban automatic weapons," she said.

"Automatic weapons are illegal now, accept to persons with very expensive federal licenses," I said.

"Really?" she said.

"Yes," I said.  "The narrative about firearms has been totally politicized by the media and by anti-gun politicians. People that don't know anything about guns are being brainwashed."

"Maybe so," she said.  "But I still don't like those ugly guns!"

Mark VanSchuyver