Monthly Archives: September, 2016

Remember When “Liberal” Used to Be a Good Thing?

One of our many, many problems is that the Left (Democrats, Progressives, Socialists, whatever you and I choose to call them) have appropriated the title “Liberal” for their political position. It’s a damned shame, because classically being a “liberal” would mean being in favor of that which is appropriate to a liberated human being – someone not a slave, whether to an external master or to the unrefined emotions of the undeveloped self.

I grew up generally hoping to be liberal in many ways, and became later a die-hard fan of liberal education, but the real thing – read widely, read everything, think about it carefully and discuss it with others to come to clarity and understanding. Try to overcome your own ignorance and sloth and habit. Liberate yourself from anything that controls you without your consent. It’s an unreachable ideal, but it’s the right goal.

I would not associate being a political Liberal (capital L to distinguish) with much, if any, of that.

Quotes

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. Carl Schurz

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.” — Moshe Ben-David

“The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been “liberated” to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it’s because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it’s because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.” — Sultan Knish

“My country, right or wrong”…uhhh…No

As things ramp up, as they will continue to do, I will ask everyone to put aside the abbreviated quote shown above, as it was unfortunately delivered in the 60s, and remember Carl Schurz’s actual entire quote, which would be this:

My country, right or wrong;
if right, to be kept right;
and if wrong, to be set right.

The former shuts down discussion and encourages mindlessness. The latter establishes commitment and opens the door to discussion. How shall we determine which things are right and which things are wrong without full discussion? If we intend to be a nation, rather than just a country, then that discussion must be full-throated, vigorous, repsectful and ongoing. No cheap slogan will accomplish that.

So – Shall we be a nation?

Minimum Wage? Why Not Maximum Wage? Or Just The Wage?

As you insist on higher wage for lower skilled workers, you contribute to eliminating their jobs. It’s a necessary implication of some simple observations presented in Economics 101. As the price of a thing increases, demand decreases. At some point there, automation becomes more economical, and the employer stops employing persons as labor and substitutes machinery. We’ve already seen that repeatedly.

Most advocates of increases in the Minimum Wage are actually talking about what should more properly be called The Theoretical Minimum Wage, or Preferred Minimum Wage. We should probably go along with them and let themĀ  set the Theoretical Minimum Wage wherever they please. They won’t affect the actual minimum wage, which never changes. It is zero. At that moment when you price the labor above what the owner can justify, automation replaces the worker and the worker’s wage becomes zero.

A better solution is to aim for a robust economy, so that you have significant growth again and labor demand increases. With a constant source, and increasing demand, wages go up automatically, as has happened throughout history. Unfortunately, you also have to be conscious of the source count. If you insist on letting folks into the country illegally, which many Minimum Wage increase advocates inexplicably do, you sabotage that wage pressure by increasing the supply of labor.

So, you have to be willing both to do economically sound things with your policies, and also control immigration. I am willing to bet that neither of those elements is acceptable to our most vocal supporters of Minimum Wage (actually Theoretical Minimum Wage) hikes. Am I wrong?

What I don’t understand is why we don’t address the top side of wages in these discussions. If we have a right to decide how much is too little, then don’t we have a right to decide how much is too much? Shouldn’t we be setting a Maximum Wage as well? Something on the order of $200,000 per year. No one could need more than $200,000 per year, surely. Actually, probably much less. They might want more, or be able to figure out how to spend more, but surely they don’t actually need more.

And it shouldn’t stop there. I don’t see how you avoid asking why some should be able to live better than others. If you ask that question, surely you come to say that since we’re all equal we should all live equally well, which would mean we don’t need a minimum wage and a maximum wage. We just need The Wage. Once we decided what is the proper wage for all of us, then shouldn’t we just set that as The Wage and eliminate the differences in the name of fairness?

Either the State has a right to decide what we make, or it doesn’t. Why should it only get to decide how little?

“Moderated” Debates? No! No More Moderators! None!

Put two chairs on the stage, at a table where they can have their notes and files, and let each one bring 3 staff to back them up on the fly. Let’s see a discussion, between the principals, and tell all of these moderators to take a flying leap.

NO MORE MODERATORS! If they’re not putting their thumb on the scale, they’re asking pointless questions, or asking the same question different ways in hopes of getting the answer they really wanted, or whatever. They add nothing of value. They often add distortion. Get rid of them.

Let the principals sit and have a meeting between themselves, and with a little bit of backup staff at hand, and just talk. Let’s see who can participate in a meeting and discussion like a grownup.