The Niggardly Son: A Leftist Parable

Apparently, according to leftists and New Keynesians, being prodigal is a virtue. So if being prodigal is a virtue, what of its opposite? And if Jesus really were a socialist, how different would the parable had been?

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The Parable of the Niggardly Son.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had two sons. One day, he decided it was time to give each of his sons their share of the estate. So he divided all his property between them.

“While he’s been selfishly inhibiting circular flow, have I not been helping it along with my drinking and debauchery?”

The first son was prodigal, and immediately set about spending his newfound wealth. This greatly pleased his father, as it meant that the resulting increase in GDP would stimulate the economy. But the second son was niggardly. He selfishly liquidated his assets and placed them in sound interest-bearing investments, greedily hoarding his wealth and decreasing aggregate demand through the Paradox of Thrift.

He went out from his home and spent many years away, amassing a great fortune, placing himself in the hated 1%. Until finally, one day, he returned.

As he approached his boyhood home, his father saw him, and ran to him and put his arms around him. The first son, the prodigal son, who initially didn’t realize what was going on having been in the middle of a particularly raucous night of economic stimulus, saw his brother returning, and became angry.

“Father!” he shouted, with a prostitute on each arm. “All these years I have obeyed you! I have given up selfish greed and avoided recession and sticky prices by spending whatever money I could at the time. I have renounced Say’s Law. I have sacrificed greatly by going into debt to help keep enough inflation going to grow the economy. I have given token amounts to the poor so that they may eat for another day. I have obeyed you in all things! But now this son of yours comes home, and you just welcome him, despite the fact that he has forsaken all that you have taught us?” Continue reading

2014 Just Isn’t Realistic

Hi, um, it’s Ian, uh, Ian Kilhansel of Bogus Publishing Group, and, uh, I got your manuscript in for your futuristic novel, 2014, set 30 years in the future.

“I mean, you’d have to be pretty dumb to fall for that.”

And, don’t get me wrong, we are wanting to work with you and we think you would be a good novelist for us and we could make a lot of money publishing your novels, but this manuscript as you’ve sent it to us, well, frankly, it needs a lot of work.

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NC Board of Elections refuses to count constitutionally-valid votes

One would think that, even in a pretend democracy, they’d at least give the appearance of counting everybody’s votes. It can be frustrating when The Powers That Be cheat to ensure that they’ll be elected over their challengers; it’s even more frustrating that they cheat even when they don’t have to.

Ray Ubinger is a North Carolina activist for voter’s rights, especially the right of write-in votes to be counted. North Carolina law requires even write-in candidates to qualify to the Board of Elections; however, the North Carolina Constitution spells out in VI.6 who is eligible for election to office, and standing court precedent Spruill v. Bateman says that the legislature may not make additional qualifications to those in the Constitution.

Folks, this isn’t about the right of candidates to seek election; this is the right of the people to have their votes counted. The State of North Carolina is blatantly and unapologetically violating that right, as Ubinger’s email exchange with Don Wright, General Counsel for the NC Board of Elections, shows:

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Question for Stimulus-Believing Statists

We’ve heard over and over again that the state can stimulate the economy by creating money out of thin air. Doesn’t matter where it goes, they say (although it usually seems to go to their cronies), just create that money and you’ll be out of the recession in no time! Isn’t that what we’ve been told ever since the financial collapse? Well, I have a question about that, one I’d really like the statists to answer:

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Transcript below the fold.

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An HONEST State of the Union Address

Tonight, President Obama will give his fourth State of the Union address. As usual, we can expect platitudes, spin on how well the economy is doing when it isn’t, how well government programs have worked when they haven’t, and claiming credit for things the government had nothing to do with. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if the person in the White House were actually honest, and told the Congress and the people what we really need to know. So join me in this alternate universe for the REAL State of the Union Address. The transcript follows, or you can listen to the audio here:

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9/11 Follow-Up

Well, my 9/11 commentary sure drew a lot of negativity from listeners, but I guess that’s to be expected when you have an internet full of people who each want to blame their own personal boogeyman for these horrendous attacks. And it seems that if you proffer any different motivation for the attacks, no matter how reasoned, no matter how much the facts agree with it, no matter how many intelligence experts agree with the conclusion, then you’re a horrible person who loves the terrorists and wants to make excuses for them.

These people seem to fit into one of three categories. The first is the jingoistic “America First!” crowd. To these people, America is absolutely perfect and wonderful because we have freedom and the terrorists hate that, and that’s why they attack us, and no other reason. Point out that there are other countries that are freer than America in many respects, such as Switzerland and New Zealand, and they aren’t anywhere close to being the terrorist target that we are, and you’ll receive loud screeds about how you hate America.

The second category is the Alex Jones conspiritard “truther.” I think the less said about them the better.

The third is the one I want to talk about, because that’s where I’ve gotten most of my criticism. As an atheist skeptic, it stands to reason that I’ve attracted a lot of atheist and skeptical listeners and subscribers, and many of them took great issue with what I was saying. How could I not be shouting from the mountaintops that this was due to religion, how religion poisons the minds of otherwise-good people, and makes them commit these kinds of atrocities? It just had to be Muslim extremists who believed in 72 virgins because there’s just no other way you can get people to kill themselves and others by flying planes into buildings.

Here’s a sampling of some of the comments: “Terrorist want to rule the world so the resistance to this regime and its religion is inevitable.” “We need a world free of religions once and for all.” “Religious prophecy has predicted the end of the world, and work very hard to make sure that prophecy comes true.” “Such reactions are not only fueled by religious dogma, they are a direct result of it.” “Even if we stopped meddling there’s not much can be done against a religion that hates us.” “Sorry, it is Islamic ideology, first and foremost, that drives people like Bin Laden to commit such pernicious suicide attacks.”

Well, there’s a very good reason why I didn’t say that, and that is, quite simply, it just isn’t true. Continue reading

9/11 Commentary

We have just passed the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This should be a good time to go back and reflect on that great tragedy, what it means, and where we should go from here. Unfortunately, so many people are using it as a platform for their opinion on separation of church and state—on both sides. Of course, the real lessons of 9/11 once more go unlearned.

The lessons of 9/11 go to the unintended consequences of our foreign policy, as every intelligence expert has concluded but politicians continue to ignore and deny. They just don’t want to admit that our meddling in foreign affairs, our sending the military to police the world and topple governments and kill thousands of foreigners just might not be welcomed with open arms by some.

What’s worse is there seems to be a feedback loop. Supposedly we have to go over there to teach those terrorists a lesson. Reagan bombed Libya to teach Qadaffi a lesson. Shortly afterwards, Libyan terrorists destroyed a TWA plane over Lockerbee, Scotland. It seems that the lesson just doesn’t get learned—instead, it results in even more violence, which causes us to go over there again and try and teach another lesson…with similar results.

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Who I’m Voting For 2010

Well, it’s time once again to place our marks onto ballots and pretend that it actually makes a difference. The most important point to remember is that sometimes not making any mark at all makes the biggest difference.

Let’s get the easy one out of the way first:

US Senate: Mike Beitler. The only other choices are Richard Burr, who’s less fiscally conservative than Bill Clinton, and Elaine Marshall, who seems to think that printing more money will somehow work all of a sudden. Beitler, on the other hand, is truly for smaller government, including bringing our troops home and ending senseless, expensive, and failed policies like the War on Drugs. No contest.

US House: None. Let’s face it, it’s between Patrick McHenry–another pesudoconservative–and Jeff Gregory, who thinks that we can solve everything with magical tax cuts and not have to worry about cutting spending to match (also, worst website ever!).

Constitutional Amendment: Is it just me, or does anyone else think they should publish the exact text of the amendment on the ballot? Anyway, here it is. This is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • First, North Carolina has a lot of dumb laws on the books, making it illegal to do things like give someone an alcoholic beverage in a room where people are pretending to gamble (NCGS § 14-293) or stealing pine needles (NCGS § 14-79.1).

  • Second, a lot of people commit felonies when they’re young and make mistakes. Many of them develop into good, honorable people despite–and in some cases even because of–these mistakes.

  • The very concept of a system of individual liberty means that someone should have their full rights restored upon completion of their sentence. All of them. Including the right to seek public office, even sheriff.

  • A candidate’s background–including his criminal record–comes into play when running for office. The voters can certainly decide to reject a candidate because of his criminal record. (And if their choice is diminished in this, it can only be because of North Carolina’s hideously restrictive ballot access and election system.)

  • It’s also interesting that this is confined to the office of sheriff, and not (say) to County Commissioners or state legislators. How many legislators would we no longer have if this were the case? (I’ll refrain from making a crack about Commissioner candidate Loy Dellinger. His case was most likely a bad rap–which actually supports my points here, anyway.)

What it all boils down to is, I’m voting against the Constitutional amendment.

State and local offices below the fold.

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Opposing more speech suppression in the name of copyrights

I just sent the following letter to my Senators:

I am writing to oppose S.3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. I believe that the real purpose of this act—like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act before it—has a more sinister hidden purpose.

It has never been found that file-sharing sites harm the profits of content makers. In fact, studies show just the opposite: by increasing awareness of their intellectual property, they have sold far more content than they otherwise would have. The results of these studies are so consistent, and so easily accessible, that it is laughable to think that the media corporations are unaware of them. All of their lobbying to protect themselves from these “pirates” is disingenuous.

The internet is free. On the internet, we have true liberty where all are equal. A rock band recording in a living room, an independent filmmaker with a home studio, and an amateur journalist all are on the same equal footing with the manufactured and controlled output of big media corporations. This is what they are really seeking to suppress, since file sharing allows these smaller, independent players to gain attention for their product.

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World’s Smallest Political Quiz (Randomized)

If you’ve been paying any sort of attention to this site, you’ve seen the link to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz in the sidebar. One criticism some people have levied against the quiz is that the use of “Yes” to refer solely to the Libertarian position introduces a bias; another is that the user knowing which questions are in the Personal category and which are Economic could bias their answers as well, even unconsciously.

I’ve written a script to appeal to those critics. I’ve taken each of the questions and written a negative counterpart. My script randomizes both the order of the questions and which form of the question is presented; sometimes a Yes will mean more liberty, other times it will mean more government.

So if you’ve taken the quiz before and thought it was biased, try this form–and see if it gives you the same result.

And if it does, consider that it just might be accurate.