Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The ‘Alt-Right’: The New Left’s Chickens Homecoming

Is Donald Trump, wittingly or not, raising the profile and influence of the so-called alt-Right?

In Trump disavows Nazis, saves them a seat at the table, the New Jersey Star-Ledger chastised president-elect Donald Trump for not disavowing the so-called “alt-Right” movement strongly enough. Trump’s selection of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior advisor, the Star-Ledger believes, gives legitimacy to the alt-Right and its racist views.

I only recently heard about the alt-Right. From what I know about it, the alt-Right—which is not really on the Right, properly understood as standing for individualism—is racist, as well as nationalistic and collectivistic.

(I don’t yet know much about Bannon, so I can’t comment on his alleged ties to the alt-Right. I can, however, point the reader to an excellent column by PJ Media's Walter Hudson, who wrote,

The problem with Steve Bannon is not his personal views, for which there seems to be little evidence of anything egregious. The problem with Steve Bannon is the role he has played in proliferating the abhorrent views of others. While in charge of Breitbart News, Bannon transformed it into a haven for the alt-right.

Hudson believes that “Trump should go out of his way to condemn the alt-right,” and that “That declaration should be echoed by a repentant Bannon, or Bannon should be fired.”)

In any event, the alt-Right seems largely a reaction to the more subtle and more insidious racism of the Left—more insidious because the Left's racism is more highbrow, and being smuggled in under cover of “good intentions.” The Star-Ledger  writes;

Our president-elect seems vague about such approbation, as he is unaware that he has empowered white nationalists, emboldened neo-Nazis, and inspired the KKK to reemerge from beneath its rock: "I want to look into it and find out why," he said.

He can skip the inquiry. It's happening because his incendiary rhetoric still echoes. It's happening because he has conveyed his approval by appointing Steve Bannon as his chief strategist – the same Bannon who calls Breitbart "the platform for the alt-right." It's happening because they have tacit permission to express their retrograde impulses.

The Star-Ledger writes here that “It's happening because they have tacit permission to express their retrograde impulses.” But the fuller unabridged statement in the print edition reads “Its happening because diversity is a dirty word to these ‘patriots,’ and they have tacit permission to express their retrograde impulses.”

The Left’s concept of “diversity” is racial identity politics, not diversity in the only way it matters, in the content of individual character. In other words, race—not ideas, choices, values, moral character, and the like—is the defining characteristic.

When you identify people by race, and then divide people by that standard, what do you expect to happen—especially when you go out of your way to marginalize one of the races, white people? You encourage racism and other forms of group identity politics; e.g., the alt-Right’s white separatism. The alt-Right is the New Left’s chickens coming home to roost, and all decent people suffer for it.

For the rise of the alt-Right, we have the New Left and their “diversity” crusaders to thank. When you “set the table” for racist tribalism, you get racist tribalism. The alt-Right and the New Left are not opposites. They are two sides of the same coin. The New Left divides people by race, based on the premise that different races are genetically predisposed to their own unique ideas and perspectives. The alt-Right also divides people by race, based on things such as genetically informed average racial group intelligence, as measured by things like IQ testing. The two are blood brothers: Both are both collectivist and anti-individualist; both are hostile to free markets and capitalism; both in essence reject free will; both are hostile to American culture.

Racism is a specie of collectivism. The Left is fundamentally collectivist, an ideology that, not surprisingly, it also shares with the alt-Right. Collectivism holds the group as the standard of moral value and judgement—and the easiest group to identify the individual with is his racial group or heritage. The only alternative to racism, both Left and alt-Right, is individualism, the antipode of collectivism and the heart and soul of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Individualism is the defining characteristic of American culture—a culture that both the New Left and the alt-Right stand in fundamental opposition to.

Related Reading:

The Founding Fathers, Not ‘Diversity,’ is the Solution to ‘Our Racialized Society’

Monday, November 28, 2016

‘Public Option’ Health Plan: How Statism Begets Statism

New Jersey offers an unequivocal demonstration of the regressive, cancerous tendencies inherent in the regulatory welfare state.

With insurance companies in New Jersey fleeing the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker has introduced a bill to create a government-operated plan that he said will stabilize the volatile market.

The "New Jersey Public Option Health Care Act" would require the state Health and Banking and Insurance departments to develop the plans, according to the legislation Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) introduced on Thursday and announced on Monday.

Any consumer could enroll in the plans, which would compete with those offered by private carriers, according to the bill (A4211).

"Health care should be a right for every New Jersey resident," said Gusciora (D–Mercer).  "I think the climate is finally right to make significant changes to our system that will enshrine that principle in our laws."

"The government has the benefit of representing a large population of people, and that gives them a lot of clout in cost and reimbursement negotiations," Gusciora said.

I left these comments, taking the above statements in turn.

With insurance companies in New Jersey fleeing the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker has introduced a bill to create a government-operated plan that he said will stabilize the volatile market.

This is classic statism.

First, the politicians cripple an industry with regulations, making it impossible for private companies to deliver their services. Then, these same politicians ride to the “rescue” with another coercive government program—another small step on the road to the progressive government takeover of healthcare.

Such is the method of these statist scoundrels. Such is the process by which the American people are succumbing to the creeping loss of their personal freedom to “big government.” Instead of demanding a repeal of the government policies that are causing insurers to “flee the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act,” too many Americans are as clueless as the population of Animal Farm that succumbed to the devious power-grab of the pig leadership.

Any consumer could enroll in the plans, which would compete with those offered by private carriers, according to the bill (A4211).

To believe the very idea that there can be “competition” among parties in which one “competitor has access to taxpayer funding while holding a gun to the heads of its supposed competitors, in the form of legal regulatory powers, is astoundingly naive. Market competition implies voluntary consent, agreement, and exchange on a level legal playing field. The very fact that the government, which is responsible for forcing so many companies off of the field, will now become a “competitor” is corruption more properly understood as legal organized crime rather than market competition.

"Health care should be a right for every New Jersey resident," said Gusciora (D–Mercer).  "I think the climate is finally right to make significant changes to our system that will enshrine that principle in our laws."

To believe that there can be a “right to healthcare” is to believe in slavery. Rights are guarantees to freedom of action to pursue personal goals, not an automatic claim on goods and services that others must be forced to provide. While slavery manifests in varying degrees of brutality, the idea of a right to material values other than what one has properly earned by his own effort in voluntary trade with others must by definition mean involuntary servitude for those forced to provide it—and a government that increasingly controls the economy on the way to a totalitarian state.

"The government has the benefit of representing a large population of people, and that gives them a lot of clout in cost and reimbursement negotiations," Gusciora said.

The term “negotiation” implies voluntary give and take, resulting to a voluntary agreement—or not. But when the government uses its lawmaking powers—the power of the gun—to “represent a large population of people,” it is essentially seizing a monopsony economic power. To claim that “negotiations” are possible between private economic parties and coercive government monopsony is another distortion of the language. If the government seizes a monopsony in some field, it can essentially impose its demands by arbitrary fiat, because its negotiating “partner” must either succumb to the government’s demands—the “clout” of the gun—or get out of the business (or at least abandon the part of the consumer market for which the government has seized a representative role). Some “negotiation!”

Regulatory tyranny. Individual rights denial. Language distortion. Such is the means by which statism begets statism.

Related Reading:

The Free Market Doesn’t ‘Do’: It Liberates You to Do

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Spreading Objectivism for a Free Society

In a Facebook posting, Thomas M Miovas Jr wrote "A brief note to the young Objectivists":

A brief note to the young Objectivists out there, many who tend to be very enthusiastic about spreading Objectivism for a few short years (less than ten), and then they grow wary of not getting many converts or not enough philosophical conversations, then they wane and go back to a more normal just posting what they want to post on FB and elsewhere.

While I acknowledge it can be easy to "get burned out" with tepid replies to a rational philosophical stance, it would actually be bad for your self-esteem to stop posting rational philosophical posts because rationality is man's motivator.

Just keep in mind that this is a long term project trying to convert a society to a certain philosophical view. And, as you already know, few are going to be as enthusiastic about reason as you are. So my recommendation is to keep at it, don't let your spark go out, as Ayn Rand put it.

We are up against a two hundred year change from The Enlightenment, and it is going to take a while to gain that attitude back into the culture.

So, don't get too frustrated that not much seems to happen for many, many years. Stick to your rationality and your rational values and continue to speak out when you can.

I have found that starting out with the thought of converting people will just lead to frustration. The best advocacy on any given issue is to just make your case as clear as you can. In other words, be Objectivist. Don’t preach Objectivism. In most cases, you don’t even have to mention Ayn Rand or Objectivism to advance Objectivism. Remember that Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas is said to have predicted that, though the American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened. Whether or not Thomas actually said that, it turned out to be largely true. How did the Left accomplish it? They relentlessly framed their arguments in terms of socialism's moral foundation, altruism/collectivism.

Our task is harder, as the socialists simply exploited the well-established cultural acceptance of altruism. We need to fuel a moral revolution. But we have American’s implicit sense of individualism, however weakened since the country’s Founding. If you really observe, you’ll find that most people already live largely like rationally selfish individualists, even though they’ve never heard the term, including Christians. By relentlessly promoting liberty on a foundation of rational selfishness, we can emulate the socialists’ strategy, in reverse. Americans may not knowingly adopt Objectivism. But they can still adopt every fundamental principle of Objectivism, leading to a fully free society without most Americans even knowing that it was Ayn Rand who led them there. One thing we have on our side that the socialists never did; history and rationality.

Just be good at applying Objectivist premises—being rational—to real life issues. Teach by demonstration. Show by doing how Objectivist principles work; how they apply to concrete issues. Each time you do, you may be planting a mental seed in someone’s mind. A tepid or non-response to your philosophical argument probably means the person has confronted something he hasn’t encountered before. Don’t worry about immediate results. And it’s more fun that way. One of the best rewards you can receive is to have someone say simply, “I never thought of it that way.”

For example, in answer to the common practice of blaming selfishness for someone’s bad behavior, explain that selfishness is not the problem. The real problem is the person’s choice of values and/or his means of pursuing or advancing his values. A lack of rational selfishness, not selfishness as commonly understood, is the underlying problem. Always tie abstract ideas to reality. E.G.: Don’t let people get away with floating abstractions, such as “the common good.” Make them explain in concrete terms what they mean (that can get interesting!).

Remember, the philosophical battle is a street fight. You likely never going to hear, “Thanks to you, I’m now an Objectivist.”  It’s mind-to-mind combat, and it requires an army, of which each of us must do our part to the extent of our ability and mastery of Objectivism. I recommend reading and rereading Ayn Rand’s essay “What Can One Do?” in Philosophy, Who Needs It? Victory can only come one mind at a time.

Related Reading:

Introduction to Objectivism—The Ayn Rand Institute

John David Lewis, New Intellectual

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Thanksgiving Message

[This year, I'm thankful for the heroic men and women of the fossil fuel industry. Reliable, economical, industrial scale energy is vital to our incredible, by historic standards, standard of living. Fossil fuels are the workhorse of our energy infrastructure, yet the industry has to work under the moral weight of demonization by energy enemies who claim that fossils are “dirty” and ruining the planet. So, a double thank you—for providing 87% of the world’s energy, and for continuing to do so despite the cruel demonization! Once again, THANK YOU!]

Reprinted below are two thanksgiving messages that I think captures the true essence of Thanksgiving, a holiday practiced only in America. Regardless of how one believes he came into existence (God or nature), the reality is that man is a being of self-generated wealth based on reason who requires certain social conditions for his survival. America was the first country founded explicitly on those conditions; i.e., a country where every individual owns his own life and possesses inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and to the pursuit of his own happiness, coupled inextricably with the obligation to accept the reality that all people are equally endowed with these rights and to treat them accordingly.

It is thus that America, born of the enlightenment ideas of individualism, reason, and republican government, achieved in the span of a mere two hundred-plus years (following centuries of stagnation) its spectacular standard of living. The ensuing excerpts are from two essays that I believe correctly recognize where the credit for America's material plenty belongs: to any man or woman, on whatever level of ability or accomplishment, who contributed in a great or small way to American greatness by doing an honest and productive day's work in pursuit of his or her own well-being.

Ah, Thanksgiving. To most of us, the word conjures up images of turkey dinner, pumpkin pie and watching football with family and friends. It kicks off the holiday season and is the biggest shopping weekend of the year. We're taught that Thanksgiving came about when pilgrims gave thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. We vaguely mumble thanks for the food on our table, the roof over our head and the loved ones around us. We casually think about how lucky we are and how much better our lives are than, say, those in Bangladesh. But surely there is something more to celebrate, something more sacred about this holiday.

What should we really be celebrating on Thanksgiving?

Ayn Rand described Thanksgiving as "a typically American holiday . . . its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production." She was right.

What is today's version of the "bountiful harvest"? It's the affluence and success we've gained. It's the cars, houses and vacations we enjoy. It's the life-saving medicines we rely on, the stock portfolios we build, the beautiful clothes we buy and the safe, clean streets we live on. It's the good life.

How did we get this "bountiful harvest"? Ask any hard-working American; it sure wasn't by the "grace of God." It didn't grow on a fabled "money tree." We created it by working hard, by desiring the best money can buy and by wanting excellence for ourselves and our loved ones. What we don't create ourselves, we trade value for value with those who have the goods and services we need, such as our stockbrokers, hairdressers and doctors. We alone are responsible for our wealth. We are the producers and Thanksgiving is our holiday.

So, on Thanksgiving, why don't we thank ourselves and those producers who make the good life possible?

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize what we are truly grateful for, to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships and material things--all the values we most selfishly cherish. We should thank researchers who have made certain cancers beatable, gourmet chefs at our favorite restaurants, authors whose books made us rethink our lives, financiers who developed revolutionary investment strategies and entrepreneurs who created fabulous online stores. We should thank ourselves and those individuals who make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable--those who help us live the much-coveted American dream.

As you sit down to your decadent Thanksgiving dinner served on your best china, think of all the talented individuals whose innovation and inventiveness made possible the products you are enjoying. As you look around at who you've chosen to spend your day with--those you've chosen to love--thank yourself for everything you have done to make this moment possible. It's a time to selfishly and proudly say: "I earned this."

Debi Ghate is associated with the Ayn Rand Institute.

The religious tradition of saying grace before meals becomes especially popular around the holidays, when we all are reminded of how fortunate we are to have an abundance of life-sustaining goods and services at our disposal. But there is a grave injustice involved in this tradition.

Where do the ideas, principles, constitutions, governments, and laws that protect our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness come from? What is the source of the meals, medicines, homes, automobiles, and fighter jets that keep us alive and enable us to flourish? Who is responsible for our freedom, prosperity, and well-being?

Since God is responsible for none of the goods on which human life and happiness depend, why thank him for any such goods? More to the point: Why not thank those who actually are responsible for them? What would a just man do?

Justice is the virtue of judging people rationally--according to what they say, do, and produce--and treating them accordingly, granting to each man that which he deserves.

To say grace is to give credit where none is due--and, worse, it is to withhold credit where it is due. To say grace is to commit an act of injustice.

Rational, productive people--whether philosophers, scientists, inventors, artists, businessmen, military strategists, friends, family, or yourself--are who deserve to be thanked for the goods on which your life, liberty, and happiness depend. ... Thank or acknowledge the people who actually provide the goods. Some of them may be sitting right there at the table with you. And if you find yourself at a table where people insist on saying grace, politely insist on saying justice when they're through. It's the right thing to do.

I couldn't have said it better myself. These truths are obvious. A simple rudimentary knowledge of history, coupled with basic observation and logic, are all that's required to realize it. Thank you Debi Ghate and Craig Biddle!

Have a joyous, and well earned, Thanksgiving.

Related Reading:

The Star-Ledger's Thanksgiving Tantrum

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Slave Basis of Consumption Economics

George Reisman has an excellent essay that has tremendous relevance today due to the resurgence of Keynesianism under Bush and Obama. Here are the opening lines of Production Versus Consumption:

There are two fundamental views of economic life. One dominated the economic philosophy of the nineteenth century, under the influence of the British Classical Economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The other dominated the economic philosophy of the seventeenth century, under the influence of Mercantilism, and has returned to dominate the economic philosophy of the twentieth century, largely under the influence of Lord Keynes. What distinguishes these two views is this: In the nineteenth century, economists identified the fundamental problem of economic life as how to expand production. . . .

In the twentieth century, economists have returned to the directly opposite view; . . . In the twentieth century, economists have returned to the directly opposite view; . . . the problem is erroneously believed to be how to expand the desire to consume so that consumption may be adequate to production.

My favorite part of this excellent analysis is under the sub-heading “Consumptionism and Parasitism.” Here are a few excerpts:

The idea that by consuming his product, one benefits the producer, by giving him the work to do of making possible one’s consumption, is absurd. . . . Only the use of money lends it the least semblance of plausibility. If it were true, then every slave who ever lived should have cherished his master’s every whim, the satisfaction of which required of him more work. A slave should have been grateful if his master desired a larger house, an improved road, more food, more parties, and so on; for the provision of the means of satisfying these desires would have given him correspondingly more work to do.

The belief that the consumption of the government benefits and helps to support the economic system is on precisely the same footing . . . as the belief that the consumption of the master benefits and supports the slave. It is a belief the absurdity of which is matched only by the injustice it makes possible. It is the means by which parasitical pressure groups, employing the government as an agent of plunder, seek to delude their victims into imagining that they are benefitted and supported by those who take their products and give them nothing in return.

. . . [T]he consumptionist is highly adept at bringing forth totally imaginary causes of economic catastrophe. Invariably, the solution advanced is consumption by those who have not produced, for the sake of those who have. Always, the goal is to demonstrate the necessity and beneficial effect of parasitism—to present parasitism as a source of general prosperity.

The consumptionist’s advocacy of consumption by those who do not produce, to ensure the prosperity of those who do, is, the productionist argues, a pathological response to an economic world which the consumptionist imagines to be ruled by pathology. The consumptionist has always before him the pathology of the miser. His reasoning is dominated by the thought of cash hoarding. He believes that one part of mankind is driven by a purposeless passion for work without reward, which requires for its fulfillment the existence of another part of mankind eager to accept reward without work. This is the meaning of the belief that one set of men desire only to produce and sell, but not to buy and consume, and the inference that what is required is another set of men who will buy and consume, but who will not produce and sell. In the consumptionist’s world, the producers are imagined to produce merely for the sake of obtaining money. The consumptionist stands ready to supply them with money in exchange for their goods—he proposes either to take from them the money he believes they would not spend, and then have someone else spend it, or to print more money and allow them to accumulate paper as others acquire their goods.

Hoarding is not the only phenomenon upon which the consumptionist seizes. Where nothing in reality will serve, the consumptionist is highly adept at bringing forth totally imaginary causes of economic catastrophe. Invariably, the solution advanced is consumption by those who have not produced, for the sake of those who have. Always, the goal is to demonstrate the necessity and beneficial effect of parasitism—to present parasitism as a source of general prosperity.

—George Reisman on Consumptionism and Parasitism from his essay Production Versus Consumption. The whole essay is worth reading and rereading. It’ll provide much needed clarity on how you view the modern economic debates. I know it has for me.

Related Reading:

Why a Government Can't "Stimulate" an Economy

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christie on Vetoing $15 NJ Minimum Wage: “Sounds Great When You’re Spending Somebody Else’s Money”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoes $15 an hour minimum wage bill pushed by N.J. Democrats, reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger in a front page print article last summer. Titled “Tough Bananas”—a reference to the Pennington NJ supermarket where Christie announced his veto.

Christie argued forcefully against raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Refreshingly, Christie did not just restate the inexorable economic downside. He brought in the moral argument, saying that “the government doesn’t ‘have the right’ to impose increases on employers,” according to reporter Matt Arco. The Democrats had just one argument: People “need” the increase—never mind logic, morality, justice, or basic economic reality.

As the saying goes, these people aren't looking for handout, they're looking for a hand up. People who put in a full day should be able to afford food, a place to live, transportation and clothing without having to rely on public safety nets and charity.

I left these comments on Arco’s article, slightly altered for the editorial, edited for clarity:

In the Star-Ledger digital news article by Matt Arco, Christie is reported to have said “the government doesn’t ‘have the right’ to impose increases on employers.” He’s absolutely correct: Government has no right. The fact that he is inconsistent—he actually supports a lower minimum wage—doesn’t change that fact.

More specifically, minimum wage laws are immoral because they violate the rights of employers and job seekers to set their own terms of employment by mutually beneficial voluntary agreement. The proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights equally and at all times. This is the most fundamental principle of American government. Rights are guarantees to freedom of action, not an automatic claim on material benefits, including some pre-set minimum wage, that others must be forced to provide. Individual rights include the right to voluntary contract—an outgrowth of the right to freedom of association. Therefor, the government’s job is to protect contractual rights for all, not favor one economic faction at the expense of another, so long as the terms of the contract do not involve the intended or actual violation of anyone’s rights. A voluntary compensation agreement between an employer and a job seeker, whatever the hourly rate agreed upon, does not violate anyone’s rights, so the government has nothing to say about it until and unless one side or the other commits fraud or breach of contract.

Minimum wage laws are fundamentally immoral for several other reasons:

  • They are biased in their enforcement. If a minimum wage is violated, there are two law-breakers—the employer and the employee. Yet, only the employer is punished—and worse, the employee is usually rewarded for his law-breaking with back wages and the like, even though he voluntarily agreed to accept the sub-minimum wage and took the job willingly. Minimum wage laws violate equal protection of the law.
  • They are a handout to bigger, more established businesses that can afford the higher cost or can afford to automate. By forcing smaller, marginal, struggling businesses out, minimum wage laws suppress competition. This is cronyism.
  • They kick out the lower rungs of the economic ladder of advancement by killing  job opportunities for lower-skilled, mostly young people. Outlawing lower-paying jobs is a terrible injustice against the ambitious poor seeking a path to upward mobility.

The S-L claims that “these people”—workers demanding a higher mandatory minimum wage—“aren't looking for handout, they're looking for a hand up.” In fact, they’re looking for neither. Both a handout and a hand up imply voluntary charity or voluntary help. Minimum wage laws are not voluntary. They are force. That someone “needs” a higher wage is beside the point. What matters is the employee’s contribution to the productive mission of the business, as determined by voluntary employer/employee agreements in a free competitive labor market. Just as the businessman’s profit depends on creating value for the consumer, the worker’s compensation depends on creating value for the employer. Those who disconnect their compensation from their productiveness—by, say, claiming an entitlement to a “livable wage” just for showing up for work—are parasites. Need is not a license to steal—and those who get higher wages because the government forces the employer to pay are basically stealing the additional money, with the government as the hired gun. It’s legal organized crime. The only just wage is a wage voluntarily paid by the employer and agreed to by the employee. The only honorable way to “get a raise” is to make oneself more valuable to an employer by gaining experience and increasing work skills, or look for another job. Don’t tell me about “social justice.” Justice is getting what you deserve, and no one deserves to get by force what he cannot earn by voluntary consent.

And for those who will still have a job at the higher rate, that extra money is blood money, coming at the expense of the forced unemployment of other job seekers. As everyone knows, minimum wage laws are economically destructive. Employers are just like everyone else, including consumers—they consider cost before spending. If the price goes up, for labor as for goods, he is less likely to pay. The end result is fewer jobs, fewer businesses or less business expansion, and less worker opportunity for economic advancement and self-sufficiency, forcing more people onto the taxpayer-funded dole.

Supporters fancy themselves “compassionate” for wanting to help others by raising the minimum wage. They want to “give New Jersey workers a raise,” as the “liberal” New Jersey Policy Perspective put it. That’s really big of them. But as Christie pointed out, "All of this sounds great, raising the minimum wage, when you're spending someone else's money." But forcing others to pay for the luxury of their counterfeit compassion exposes them as phonies. Supporters of this bill are spiritual parasites, claiming credit for compassion without having to actually do anything. Minimum wage laws are gangster economics. They are immoral and economically destructive. Not only is Christie right to veto this bill. Existing minimum wage laws should be repealed.


The Democrats are now saying they will but a NJ constitutional amendment for a $15 minimum wage before the voters in 2017. Anticipating this move, Christie “urged business leaders to ‘speak up.’”:

“There’s going to be a large and, I hope, loud public discussion about this,” he said. “Those who choose to stay under the radar will lose. We need to educate the public on this issue.”

Hopefully, that education will include not just the economics of the issue, but also the morality of it. Business leaders need to loudly speak up for their moral right to run their businesses as they judge best, without coercive political interference. By doing so, they’ll also be speaking up for their customers and for job-seekers’ moral right to seek their own terms of employment and exert control of their own path to economic self-sufficiency.

Related Reading:

Some Fallacies Behind the Drive for the NJ Minimum Wage Increase Amendment

Friday, November 18, 2016

SEC’s Boardroom ‘Diversity’ Rule Is Racist, Unnatural, and Politically Motivated

In The Diversity Police Raid the Boardroom, the Wall Street Journal reported in August 2016:

[Securities and Exchange Commission] Chairman Mary Jo White . . . suggested the SEC would propose a new rule requiring companies “to include in their proxy statements more meaningful board diversity disclosures on their board members and nominees.” She also left the door open to having the rule specifically define what diversity means. These developments should trouble businesses that simply want to hire the best people.

Activists such as Aaron Dhir, a professor at York University’s Osgood Hall Law School in Toronto, have urged that companies be compelled to consider “the socio-demographic composition of their boards”—that is, directors’ sex and ethnicities, not their diversity of experience. At the very least, firms could be forced to explain why they refuse to enforce quotas in the boardroom. These aren’t only the ideas of an obscure professor. Rep.Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) has been pressuring the SEC to force companies to identify “each board nominee’s gender, race, and ethnicity.”

Rep. Maloney, using her position as ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, had the Government Accountability Office draw up a report on corporate boards. The report, which appeared last year, cited research showing that “the broader range of perspectives represented in diverse groups require individuals to work harder to come to a consensus, which can lead to better decisions.”

But “the broader range of perspectives represented in diverse groups” is a racist statement. As Peter Schwartz observes in The Racism of “Diversity”:

Unlike the valid policy of racial integration, “diversity” propagates all the evils inherent in racism. According to its proponents, we need “diversity” in order to be exposed to new perspectives on life. . . . They imply that people have worthwhile views to express because of their ethnicity, and that 'diversity' enables us to encounter “black ideas,” “Hispanic ideas,” etc. What could be more repulsively racist than that? This is exactly the premise held by the South’s slave-owners and by the Nazis’ Storm Troopers. They too believed that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by his racial heritage.

There is no doubt in my mind that many champions of “diversity” are well-meaning. But it is equally without doubt to me that Leftist intellectual leaders invented the diversity movement as part of the drive to replace America’s individualist foundation with collectivism, as a precondition to their authoritarian designs. It’s a moral travesty that, half a century after Martin Luther King urged us to judge each other on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin, the "diversity" movement is openly propagating the primacy of ethnicity as the standard by which to judge people.

I believe that behind the “diversity” crusade is the Left’s goal of a socialist dictatorship. To achieve full socialism, you first have to destroy the American ideal of individualism—the idea that the individual’s life belongs to him, to be lived as he sees fit—and orient Americans around collectivism—the idea that the individual is subordinate to the group. The easiest way to instill collectivism is to condition Americans to classify people according to irrelevant and uncontrollable genetic groupings like gender or race.

Note that meaningful human diversity—the rich diversity of uniquely individual attributes—is brushed off as irrelevant. Yet in a free society it is these individual attributes—attributes like intelligence, ability, ambition, moral character, values, goals, experience, and personal circumstances—that allows each individual to flourish as much as those attributes will carry him. The natural result is a wide disparity of individual outcomes, not equality. If the diversity crusaders really valued diversity, they’d be crusaders for the economic and political freedom that allows the rich individual human diversity to flourish. Instead, they trivialize individual achievement and wage war on income and economic inequality, the natural result of diversity in a free society.

The Left has defined diversity around a racial narrative for a reason. It’s goes deeper than racism. A society that values individual diversity will never go for socialism. A society that values the group or collective over the individual as the standard of moral value is primed for socialist authoritarianism in one form or another.

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From 'Diversity Maps' to Forced Integration: Obama's Racist Housing Policy Masks the Real Problem—Lack of Free Markets