Paul Hsieh on Free Speech

25 06 2010

I’ve been meaning to put up a link to this article for some time now. 

It’s a very good article in my opinion.  Best thing I’ve read on the web for some time:

Free Speech: Use it or Lose it” by Paul Hsieh


Political ignorance in our society

23 06 2010

A friend of mine emailed the article below to myself and a group of his colleagues.  I’m the only capitalist amongst this group. 

June 18 (Bloomberg) – Sophia Constantinidou works as a teacher in a private school in Athens. She also has a more lucrative job: remaining unmarried.

The 52-year-old gets 400 euros ($496) a month from the Greek government, part of her late mother’s state pension. Under the current system, Constantinidou qualifies to receive the payment for life as the only surviving child of a deceased civil servant, provided she doesn’t tie the knot.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to get married,” Constantinidou, whose mother died 20 years ago, said in an interview. “But after I turned 40, I realized I wouldn’t be getting married and that thankfully I had this.”

However I was disheartened by some of the comments that got emailed around on this article.  For example:

“Just like all those teenagers on the dole getting themselves pregnant just to get the baby bonus so they can buy a plasma tele” – Liberal voter 

I have had discussions before with the guy who wrote this.  So I know he’s being sarcastic, he’s very leftwing and is attempting to have a go at right wing types.  This comment is particularly annoying considering the Liberal party are quite happy with welfare being the biggest burden on the Australian tax payer.  The Liberals introduced the baby bonus and are currently proposing a mandatory maternity leave scheme. 

Here was another reply:

“Vote 1 Greens and preference whoever u feel like”

Oh no. 

The Greens are the most socialist of all parties.  They also preach nihilistic environmentalist ideology.  Lately they have been gaining votes due to the current Labor government’s incompetence and election promise breaking.  I almost feel sorry for Labor voters who are now turning Green.  In their minds, the Greens must actually appear to be the best option now!  I think Greens supporters just can’t or won’t stop and think what enacting their environmentalist (ie: disguised socialist) dreams would actually mean in reality for human life in this country.  In the words of Alex Epstein, “Which hospitals will you shut down?”   Either that, or they don’t care about loss of human life at the hands of government. 

The final “reply to all” was simply someone saying “+1” to the former commenter supporting the Greens. 

I assume these people are reasonably productive normal people.  But when it comes to politics and most likely their deeper ideological beliefs, they’re lacking. 

I wrote this quick reply but then decided not to send it.  What’s the point?  I have previously had conversations with these people leading me to believe they will cling to their egalitarian dream land come hell or high water.  So I decided to take out my frustration here instead. 

Under the last federal Liberal party the welfare system was expanded in terms of cost to tax payers despite Howard’s pretences otherwise.  The Liberal party introduced the baby bonus.  So presumably Liberal voters are happy with this, and more generally are quite supportive of welfare and other forced wealth redistribution.  Most people are.  After all this is the biggest expense to tax payers in this country and our society puts up with this.  

Presumably people are considered too stupid or incompetent or heartless to care about the poor, or to donate to charity or to take steps to reduce poverty related crime where it exists (NB/ poverty does not correlate very well with crime rates, there are many other influencing factors here too).  So in our modern world we are forced to hand over our money to parasitic bureaucrats who continue to fail on tackling these problems while they simultaneously aid their own job security as the problems get worse and call for more of the same over and over. 

Personally I have a much more benevolent view of humanity, I don’t believe people are inherently heartless or incompetent.  People do care about the poor and can be trusted to help the poor especially genuinely unfortunate people.  I’m appalled at the blind faith people have in destructive governments who wish to increase taxes and increase their powers.  Any sane, honest person should be able to look at history and realize the dangers of improper government power.  Eg/ The unprecedented scale of human death and misery from the overly violent 20th century and the experiments into socialism/ fascism/ nationalism/ and other collectivist ideologies.  

In Australia, with our roughly half capitalist/half socialist mixed economy system the harm governments inflicts is less than the disaster zone of say Zimbabwe, but it’s still real.  A mess of mal-investments and lost capital growth have and will continue to occur but this is not obvious to the general populace (see Bastiat). 
Unfortunately the trend towards increasing levels of government power especially over the last decade is undeniable, eg/ increasing levels of business regulations, increasing taxation revenue and wealth redistribution, increasing censorship powers, etc etc.  

It is well known amongst door-to-door salesman that it is easier to sell products in poorer neighborhoods.  I’m certain most lower class people in Australia have better TVs than I do.  Most poor people are not good with taking responsibility of their finances.  Welfare makes this problem worse by further taking their finances out of their control.  Why should they learn financial responsibility?

When I went off the rails in my late teens after some personal tragedies in my life, I knew many homeless people, I was good friends with a few for several years in my early uni days, I spent hours hanging out in government housing estates, and mixed with many dodgy people.  I have a lot of regrets from that time but my experiences were an eye opener.  I was able to see common traits amongst many poor people.  And I’m convinced that most lefties (SRC where are they now?) who like to think they care about the poor are actually highly ignorant of reality, human nature and the causes of poverty.  Most of what they propose is highly destructive to the poor in particular.  Eg/ Minimum wage laws, government housing, welfare expansion.  Instead of examining empirical data, they follow their emotions and cling to bad ideology just like religious conservatives motivated by the bible.” 

For some facts on Australia’s out of control welfare system, this comes from the John Humphrey’s proposed 30/30 tax system paper:

“Our top marginal tax rate is higher than the rate in communist (sic) China, our income tax burden is one of the highest in the developed world and Australians are currently suffering from the highest level of tax in our history. An estimated 80,000 people are employed to avoid or enforce taxes, and those taxes result in about $30 billion of lost efficiency every year. The current system of welfare payments is complex, expensive, inefficient and ineffective.  If we distributed the current federal welfare budget directly to the poorest 25% of Australians, each family of four would receive $72,000 per year.11 And welfare spending continues to increase quickly. In three years, we will reach $100 billion federal spending on welfare ($80,000 for each of our poorest 25% of families). And yet, despite this massive level of expenditure, poverty remains and is even entrenched.” 

And finally a pie chart of federal tax expenditure in Australia for 2009-2010:

Article Recommendation: How to Determine Your Cardiovascular Health

17 06 2010

I found this article very good advice:

“How to determine your cardiovascular health”

Note, I do not endorse the web site hosting this article or the doctor who wrote this article in any way.  I simply came across this particular article and thought it to be very good advice for the lay person. 

Normal and ideal levels of many indicators are listed (much more than just meaningless total cholesterol here)  

And I like the way the article includes some easy-to-do home tests you can perform eg/ the heart rate recovery test.

Bolt confronts Flannery

11 06 2010

I recommend this highly satisfying interview between Andrew Bolt and global warming alarmist and (more worryingly) ETS supporter, Tim Flannery.

“Flannery can’t take heat”

Cool movie links I just discovered.

10 06 2010

I’m enjoying the Senses of Cinema website’s articles on various renown movie directors.   The articles are quite comprehensive and well written introductions into the lives and motivations of these artists.

Additionally, I didn’t realise the “1001 before you die” lists are all available on the web from the official website.

I love watching and analysing movies so I’ll be checking out the “1001 movies you must see before you die” list.

Article Recommendations

4 06 2010

Blogging will most likely be quite light for me over the next few weeks (it’s already pretty light I know).  I’m involved with some fairly time intensive projects outside of my usual job.

Here’s a couple of interesting articles I’ve noticed over the last few days:

This article discusses the recent news that Pacific Islands are not about to disappear under water (contrary to claims made by environmentalist Chicken Littles).  H/T to Andrew Bolt for discovering this interesting blog. 

For those who can handle more frustration than me, the Labor Party are still playing childish games and being blatantly dishonest while trying to push their harmful super profits tax.  I noticed Rudd has joined in today, accusing the mining companies of lying when they say their investments are going offshore:  This arrogance is unbelievable.  I’ve witnessed Tanner doing the same thing on the 7:30 report.  Labor party politicians should show some respect to decent hard working productive people, such as miners.   Who do they think is responsible for the relative prosperity in this country – them?!  Actually it would be a great idea to send some big mining CEOs a copy of Atlas Shrugged because the politicians in this country are preaching dangerous egalitarianism and are largely getting away with it. 

Speaking of arrogance and dishonesty, Andrew Bolt and others have covered the Labor government’s latest expensive advertising campaign.  If there’s one thing I hate it’s having a nice evening interupted by some parasite using my money to shove political propaganda down my throat.  For starters this puts my TV at risk as I look around the room for something to punch hard!  The Labor party have broken an election promise over this issue, they are pushing thinly disguised political propaganda and they are wasing a lot of money in the process.  See “Government lies about its lying ads” 

Actually I think the ridiculous level of TV advertising done by the Federal government, a problem that really took off under the Howard’s Liberal party, is a good issue for everyday political activism.  I suspect most people would hate these ads (surely).  So if you’re in company and one of these ads comes on, you may be able to say something that will get people’s synapses firing, encouraging them to think about some political fundamentals eg/ You could mention you don’t believe the government has a right to take my money by force and then use this money to advertise to me how great they are.     

And I’ll end with some brighter news.  While I generally dislike the Australian newspaper due to the generally highly pragmatist epistemology of the editors and opinion writers, the focus on non-essentials and the willingless to accept the way politicians frame issues in their press releases without thinking deeper about the issue, today I noticed a rare article that I can view favourably.  I was pleased to notice this on the front page, written by an author I regard as being very hit and miss, Stutchbury.  See article discussing the increase of minimum wages in this country beginning July 1.

Why did I like this article?  Because it makes the point that raising minimum wages (beyond the effective minimum wage) will put people out of work.  I hope people get the message.  It’s a very simple concept but it needs to be made because many people in this country vehemently support destructive minimum wage laws. 

If minimum wage laws worked, we could set the wage to be 1 million dollars, I think I’d like being a millionaire.  🙂