Monday, April 08, 2013

The Moral Foundations of Society

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Thatcher.

I can think of no better tribute than the email I received today from Hillsdale College.
A Message from Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn:

Lady Thatcher, born Margaret Roberts in 1925, was one of the most important and beneficial statesmen of the twentieth century. When she came to power in 1979, her nation was held in the grip of unions that had command of the largest political party in the state. They used that power to shut down industries and even sections of the country at will to make employment demands. Rather than resist, the government would collude in crippling strikes. Margaret Thatcher was elected with a promise to stop these practices, and in a series of dramatic confrontations in her first year she was successful. She did not seek, she said, to adjust the power from labor to capital, but rather to return the government to serving the whole people and the public interest.

In 1982, she sent British forces to war against the junta in Argentina, which had invaded the Falkland Islands, a British protectorate. Britain won that war with the help of the United States and its president, her friend, Ronald Reagan. The Falklands are in dispute between Britain and Argentina today, and the current administration in Washington is less friendly to Britain. The people of the Falklands, whenever they are asked, still indicate in overwhelming numbers that they wish to remain as they are.

The only statue of Lady Thatcher in North America stands on the Hillsdale College campus. She visited the campus in 1994 and spoke at college events on several occasions. We are proud to have known her. At our spring convocation on Thursday we will say prayers of thanksgiving for her life and service.
Here is the text of a speech Mrs. Thatcher gave at Hilsdale, and from which this post takes its title.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Fueling fascism

Why would any organization continue to pursue practices and policies which have exactly the opposite effects of their stated goals? Why would they double down on an obvious failure??

Ethanol as fuel provides a case study:
Ethanol Fraud and Why You Pay More at the Pump

It starts as mere cronyism, and ends up as Fascism - the ultimate public-private partnership. The partners will beggar consumers (and tax them for the privilege), pollute the air and water, install protectionist tariffs and stifle innovation and competition with arcane and draconian regulation.

When this is rolling along nicely, they create an unnecessary and inefficient market to place rigged bets on trade in the ruination. All the while they whine about the evils of free markets, castigating "greedy people" who are too venal and stupid to behave according to the central plan. The solutions always require more money and more regulation.

Conservatives (who used to be called liberals) believe all people are imperfect and subject to the temptations of power. Therefore, they seek to limit the application of power.

Progressives (who are now called liberals) believe all people, except those in power, are imperfect, and that the temptations of power are trumped by good intentions. They seek to maximize the application of their intentions - no matter the results.


Note: The article linked above repeats itself, so when you reach the part you've already read, you can stop.