Sunday, April 27, 2014

Libertarianism and Republicans

From Howard Hyde's 'President's Address' to the Southern California Republican Women and Men, April 26 2014:

Today our meeting competes with the California State Convention of the Young Americans for Liberty at USC and coincidentally, my talk today is about Libertarianism and Republicans. I did not know about that event before I planned my presentation. I don't pretend to know anything in detail about that organization, but I do know something about Libertarianism from my own perspective, and with just enough serendipity today I hope to make a positive contribution to the discussion.

People sometimes ask me if I am a Liberarian, to which I reply, well, yes, I have some libertarian tendencies, but it's not like I have a meth lab in my Winnebago or anything. To clarify, I say that when I am elected President of the United States, Ron Paul will be my Czar in charge of the decommissioning of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, The Community Reinvestment Act, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, Section 1706 of the 1986 Tax Equity and Fairness Reform Act or TEFRA, and the Fed. On the other hand, as it pertains to foreign policy and geo-politics, my nominations for Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretaries of Defense and State are, in no particular order, John Bolton, John Bolton and John Bolton. In the unlikely event that Mr. Bolton is unequal to all three commissions simultaneously, my alternates are Allen West and Benjamin Netanyahu (it shouldn't be difficult to procure a credible birth certificate for Ben, considering precedent).

Almost half of the attendees of CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) were under the age of 26, and a plurality of these are libertarians or members of the liberty caucus. This is an international movement of youth who have opened their eyes and realized that as a generation they have been screwed by the collectivist members of their parent's generation, and are determined to do something about it. In libertarianism they see the solution.

Is this good or bad for Americans in general and Republicans in particular? In my opinion it is on balance very good, with the caveat that like anything else, the thing needs to understood by all at a greater than sophomoric level, or, like anything else again, it could just as easily lead to catastrophe.

So, what exactly is libertarianism? What do we need to understand about it?

The modern libertarian movement has its roots in the Austrian School of economics, which began in the late 19th century with Carl Menger and reached its apogee in the works of Friedrich Hayek (Nobel Laureate) and his mentor Ludwig Von Mises, whose 93-year lifespan overlapped with Menger's from 1881 until 1973, after Nixon had declared that "we're all Keynseyans now." (Come to think of it, that's probably what killed him.)

Like classical liberalism and modern American conservatism, libertarianism holds that the best model for political economy is that characterized by the most limited interference in the decisions of citizens, low taxes and light to no regulation beyond preventing and punishing murder, assault, robbery, theft, fraud, rape, persecution and conspiracy. Conservatives may call this being guided by the Ten Commandments; Libertarians might consider it plain common secular sense.

The Austrian school was the most radically minimalist in its view of the appropriate role of government, and that minimalism was taken to its radical extreme in the work of Mises' disciple Murray Rothbard, who posited that government wasn't even necessary for police and defense, as these services could be bought and sold on the free market just like bread and haircuts.

In 1963 Rothbard wrote a book on the Great Depression that I consider one of two absolutely required reading for anyone wanting to know just how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did NOT save the country from the Great Depression but rather worsened the crisis, and how Herbert Hoover was no free-market, laissez-faire pro-capitalist president; the other required reading being Jude Wanniski's (of Wall Street Journal fame) How the World Works. In the same book Rothbard also wrote the most clearly articulated presentation of Austrian business cycle theory (or the theory of booms, busts and crashes), a theory to which the financial crisis of 2008 fits like a textbook case.

The two dominant branches of Libertarianism in America today are represented by the Cato Institute on the one hand, based in Washington D.C. and focused on practical, policy-oriented research and lobbying, and the Mises Institute on the other, deliberately based away from the centers of power in Auburn Alabama in order to remain more purely focused on theory and academic freedom. While Murray Rothbard and the Mises Institute's president Lew Rockwell have carried Mises's theoretical torch forward in many ways admirably, in many other cases they have made assertions that Mises never did and probably never would have, and have done so dogmatically and intolerantly.
My infatuation with Rothbard ended abruptly when I read the op-Ed piece that he had written at the conclusion of the Reagan Administration. "Eight years, eight dreary, miserable, mind-numbing years of the Age of Reagan, are at long last coming to an end." he groaned in a piece titled 'Ronald Reagan, an Autopsy' -- fifteen years before the Gipper's actual passing. It was a littany of accusations worse than Thomas Jefferson's indictments of King George III in the Declaration of Independence. Nancy Pelosi could not have penned a more bitter diatribe. The only thing Rothbard gave credit to Reagan for was lifting the 55 mph federal highway speed limit.

Now, Ron Paul is derived from Rothbard, and in many respects in a good way. It was Rothbard who first penned the academic The Case Against the Fed from which Paul's more populist End the Fed is derived. I am mostly in agreement with these positions on domestic economic issues, as is John Allison, current president of the Cato Institute, bank president for 25 years and author of The Financial Crisis and the Free-Market Cure.

So again, while I am wary of extremists of any stripe, my only quarrel with Libertarianism as such is the role and character of America’s diplomacy and armed forces in the world; on the latter I stand firmly with Ronald Reagan. Otherwise I look forward to the day when we’ll say that "We're all (conservative) libertarians now". That's much better than being all Keynseyans, or progressives, or all socialists. Maybe the young people can help us bring that about.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Campaign Finance Regulation Lightens

This article is re-'printed' from the April Newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and Men.
On April 2, in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to limit the total amount that citizens may donate to political entities, or to limit the total number of candidates anyone may donate to in any two-year election cycle. Per-candidate limits of $2600 in the primary and another $2600 in the general election remain, but instead of being limited to 9 candidates, a citizen may donate to any number of them. And the overall cap of $123,200 on combined candidate, party and PAC contributions is history.
Democrats and media pundits greeted the news publicly with all the serenity they might reserve for the second coming of Robert Bork. Nancy Pelosi characterized it as an 'existential threat' to the nation. But even if she is sincere, she must certainly be talking about someone else, not herself or her immediate power base, as she is no slouch when it comes to fundraising. Indeed, even the New York Times conceded that the ruling is not an unambiguous victory for any one party. In fact, the ruling favors national parties over more narrowly-focused PACs and 527s. Parties tend to be more broad-based, more transparent and accountable than PACs and 527s, and had been put at a relative disadvantage in the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which shot down limits on corporate and union money.
Republicans may be encouraged that of those donors who maxed out under the old rules, 60% contributed to Republicans, but there is no guarantee that unlimited contributions will maintain the same proportions. As for this ruling increasing the corruptibility of our politics, the Wall Street Journal points out that there were only 664 such maxed-out individuals in 2012 for a total of $93 million, which is a less-than 4% drop in the bucket compared to the $2.8 billion raised from the much larger number (1.2 million) of more ordinary tycoons like you and me. Moreover, that $2.8 billion number is only 64% of the total spent on 2012. David Brooks, the relatively conservative voice of the New York Times, reminds us that 'There will always be money in politics; it’s a pipe dream to think otherwise' and that the net effect of campaign finance restrictions in the past has been to protect incumbents.
The vote was 5-4 along the usual-suspect lines, with Justice Clarence Thomas commenting that the ruling didn't go far enough in lifting restrictions. With the per-candidate limits still in place, we have the possible moral hazard that wealthy individuals who may not personally be the best candidate for the job, are nevertheless obliged to run themselves instead of sponsoring a more qualified (by whatever criteria chosen) candidate. This tends to fill our public offices with rich dunces and people skilled at broad-spectrum fundraising at the expense of nonwealthy, less-sophisticated candidates whose experience, understanding of economics and constitutional principles nevertheless might make them the voter's choice if only a handful of donors could have gotten the word out to make the public aware of that choice.
The fact that the ruling has generated such a diversity of opinion as to what it really means and who wins is an argument in its favor. The free market is not any one institution; it is the option to choose among many institutions, or no institution at all. The market for political expression has become one increment freer. We citizens now have the blessing and the responsibility of that greater freedom.
There is yet hope for America.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Iron Firewall Descends on Ukraine

Ukraine, a nation of 45 million people, has for some time been the second greatest source of Internet traffic to this site; ahead of China, population 1.4 billion; ahead of Germany, Israel, France, Russia, Sweden, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands. Russia has a population three times that of Ukraine, yet Russia's traffic to has been only 20% that of Ukraine's. So Ukrainians visit here at a per capita rate 15 times greater than that of Russians.
In the past week, that traffic has gone dark. The daily hit count from Ukraine has dwindled to zero.
It is a safe bet that whatever authority controls Ukrainians' access to the World Wide Web has seen fit to filter out access to 'subversive' sites that might 'confuse' the people, i.e. expose them to philosophies contrary to Putin's Mother Russia.

Readers are encouraged to forward stories of Internet censorship in Ukraine to, or leave a comment to this post.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Health Care a Human Right?

Below is another excerpt from a special address by Howard Hyde to the Southern California Republican Women and Men, March 29, 2014

The morning after the end of the CPAC conference I received a polite email from a man who had given me $20 for a copy of my book even though I had only been asking for $8 and was in some cases giving them away, because that late in the conference I didn't want to have a surplus to carry home in my luggage. The email began with some pleasantries and then came this: "Mr. Hyde, Many of the errors of your book stem from your lack of knowledge of healthcare from the inside."
Oh. Wasn't quite expecting a comment like that from a CPAC attendee, but fine.

For the record, I know a little bit about medicine from the inside, being married to a physician in private practice who not only has to deal with the regulatory assault on her profession in general, but the bureaucratic blindness and prejudice against her specialty in particular. But we'll set that aside for now.

I read on. He detailed his impressive accomplishments as a doctor, researcher and fat grant recipient. Among other things he said, "I describe myself as:
1. A social liberal -- essentially a libertarian position
2. A fiscal conservative
3. A theological fundamentalist -- this trumps number one
My practice (see website) is among the most transformative in the USA."
And then the kicker: "I believe that healthcare is a human right."

I consider this important to address because we have someone here who is not a low-information voter but a very intelligent and successful Medical professional, who believes that healthcare is a 'human right'.

Health care a 'Right'
Rights mean freedom from violent or coercive power, especially government power; freedom from being told what to do and what not to do.
Nothing can be a right which cannot be perfectly reciprocal between and among any and all individuals. I have a right that you do not murder me. I have a right not to be robbed, defrauded, raped, persecuted or conspired against by you. And you have exactly the same rights with respect to me. There is no contradiction or conflict between us having the same rights at the same time.
But if one person is to have an absolute right to be given something, then someone else has to be forced to give it to that person whether he wants to or not. Everyone cannot have the same right at the same time. If I have a right to health care, then you have to give it to me. But then that is a violation of your right to to your own life and property, including healthcare. And if I am equally obligated to provide the means of healthcare or anything else to you, then that is either a cancellation or an irreconcilable contradiction. Your right not to be murdered by me in no way violates my liberty. But my right to the goods and services produced by others against their will is my right to rob, which is a violation of other's more fundamental rights. They cannot coexist.

To say that health care is a right is equivalent to saying that a Mercedes is a right and that every citizen must be given one. For one thing, What we call Healthcare in 2014 is very different and far more advanced than anything known as Healthcare a century ago, a generation ago or even 10 years ago. One day the most entry-level automobile within the means of an entry-level factory worker will be as good as an advanced Mercedes is today, just as today's standard features of power steering, automatic transmission, airbags and antilock brakes were once available only in luxury editions reserved for the rich. The poor in America do not drive Model T's. If healthcare had been declared a right in 1950 in America, then everyone today might have access to healthcare as the state of the art was in 1950, but nobody would ever have had 2010 medicine as America achieved it under the greater liberty and lesser government intervention that existed here relative to all other nations.

If I encounter a sick person in the street, or if I become aware of someone in my social circle, work, my family, or in the church who is sick or otherwise in need of Healthcare Services which he or she cannot afford, then you may say that I have a moral obligation to help that person if I am at all able. But that is wholly different from saying that we must construct a massive salaried, pensioned and unaccountable bureaucratic army in Washington DC, commanded by elite politically connected power-brokers, to administer a system that overrides and supersedes the knowledge, power and decisions of patients, families and doctors in private practice. Moral obligation, informed by ethical principles, moved by persuasion and ultimately arbitrated by God or Providence, is completely different and incompatible with governmental coercion via taxation and the threat of imprisonment at gunpoint.
To the contrary it is both futile and immoral to violate the liberty of citizens in the pursuit of a 'greater good', for there is no greater good. It is precisely that liberty which has produced the most effective healthcare system in the world. I remind you that people who have no insurance at all in America have a statistically much better chance as to their actual health outcomes that those covered by the federal program that has targeted the poor for almost a half century already: Mediaid. Why don't we get that one right, or put it out of its misery, before granting orders of magnitude more power to the federal government?
Liberals object that charity is inadequate. But charity is only inadequate to well-educated people who want a high-paid professional career doing 'good'. Americans are the most generous people on earth, voluntarily donating more of their time, talent and treasure (at all income levels) than any other nation on earth, especially conservative Americans, and especially religious Americans.
Charity then is not a failure; it is a priceless gift to be cherished and cultivated for which we make no apology.
So charity is a real and important part of the solution. And what are the other parts? Thank you for asking, because this is what we need to be talking about. Everyone including liberals and union workers know the nightmare stories by now. With 38 un-legal delays and counting, the Affordable Care Act is a dead letter. What we need to saturate the airwaves with now is a discussion of the ALTERNATIVES to socialized medicine and to the inevitable resurgent leftist push for Single Payer.

The alternatives are, in no particular order:
  • Promote competition across state lines.
  • Eliminate the mandates
  • Repeal the Obamacare taxes
  • Boost Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
  • Reform the tort liability casino (as Texas has done, very successfully).
    Allow all medical expenses and premiums to be 100% tax deductible for everyone, independent of any employment relationship.
  • Allow physicians to take a tax deduction or credit for services rendered pro bono.
  • Eliminate government subsidies for unhealthy products like sugar, corn syrup and tobacco (yes, we still subsidize tobacco).
  • Abolish the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a.k.a. The Death Panel.
  • Reform Medicaid to make it better than having no insurance at all, or pull the plug on it too.
  • Honor the medical license. Doctors know medicine and their patients; Washington bureaucrats do not."
While I would like to see all of these policies implemented immediately, the good news is there's no reason they can't each be considered separately in their own bills, because unlike the provisions of Obamacare, they don't contradict each other or create trouble that has to be made up for somewhere else in some massive take-it-or-leave-it omnibus bill. Nether do we have to wait until 2017. With our new majority in the Senate, let's put one of these bills on the president's desk every month and make him show the people what he's really about; thwarting the will of the people. Impossible, you say? Excuse me, we are Americans. Everything we have accomplished, from inventing the iPhone to putting Buzz Aldrin on the moon to emancipation the slaves to writing, debating and ratifying the Constitution, began as a vision of something considered impossible at the time. The only limiting factors are our courage and our perseverance. So please, have courage, and persevere. ---------------- Read the detailed health care policy reform proposal at

Friday, April 11, 2014

Takeaways from CPAC

Below is an excerpt from a special address to the members and guests of the Southern California Republican Women And Men by Howard Hyde, March 29, 2014

Once again thank you all for interrupting your Spring Break to come here today...If I have a theme to hold all of my disparate material together, I think it will be simply what Evan Sayet calls Adopt-a-Democrat. One of the most important things we do here is learn how to talk to our liberal brother-in-law, debate our progressive colleague and convert out Democrat friend. If I can impart to you just one insight or argument that you can use to that end, I will have succeeded.

It was our privilege to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC this past March 6-8 in National Harbor Maryland. As I wrote in my newsletter message, there was so much going on that there was no way to take all of it in, and if you get briefings from 10 people who attended, you might get the impression that they attended 11 different conferences. Even so, I hope my report does it some justice and that other attendees might concur with me.

Some people were disappointed with the conference, feeling that their greatest concerns received inadequate attention. To some it was a sham cover for establishment Republicans to pretend that they are conservative when they are not; to others there was insufficient emphasis on the sanctity of life and the abomination of abortion. Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal cautions us to sober up about a presidential candidate bench that resembles a casino roulette wheel -- spin it enough times are we're bound to land on a lucky number! Israel, the Middle East and radical Islam received comparatively minor attention in my perception now that Putin's Anschluss of Ukraine has upstaged the mullahs and bin Laden's heirs, at least for the time being. As for myself, I was satisfied that Obamacare and its horrors are finally receiving the attention that they deserve. The Obamacare fiasco was at or near the top of almost every prominent speaker's agenda, as it should have been...last year, the year before that and the year before that. If we had had this clarity of understanding and commitment of purpose four years ago, then we would not be suffering this massive slow-motion train wreck today.

Rock Stars and Grownups
You've heard the stories of the rock stars of the conference, like the bookends Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, and the Straw Poll king Rand Paul. I won't add much to what you've heard other than that standing outside of the main hall during Paul's speech was like being outside of a football stadium during the Super Bowl, and that Sarah Palin really, really, REALLY annoys liberals, who seem unable to offer any substantive rebuttal to what she says but feel free to insult her, and by extension us, in every way imaginable. It is clear that this NOT what the feminists had in mind when they said 'diversity' or 'equal pay for equal work'.

Rick Perry came in 9th in the straw poll, but should not be written off by thoughtful conservatives and Republicans IMHO. Unlike Obama, who never achieved anything of substance in his life before becoming President, Perry has a very distinguished record as a grownup doing the very serious work of administering a large and thriving state, proving that it is possible to prosper even in Obama's America. 30% of the job growth for all 50 United States in the past few years has occurred in just one state: Texas. Texas is the model for how all states and the nation ought to be governed; low taxes, light and reasonable regulation, limited government, a responsible citizenry (are you listening California?). Perry's accomplishments go beyond the headline-grabbing topics of taxes and jobs to less-discussed but equally remarkable areas like prison reform. Texas in recent years has been able to accomplish what liberals have for decades claimed that they could do but have failed at every time: that is, simultaneously reduce both the prison population AND the general crime rate.
And by the way, Perry also got a standing O for his speech in the main hall.

Donald Trump fired a few verbal surface-to-surface missiles in the direction of China in his usual calm and understated style. But there were also other perspectives on China, and it had me wishing that the Southern California Republican Women and Men would one day command the resources to be able to sponsor a panel discussion between Trump, Don Huntsman, former presidential candidate, governor of Utah and United States ambassador to China; Daniel Griswold, fellow at the Cato Institute and author of the pro free-trade and pro let's-all-just-calm-down-a-bit-about-China book titled Mad About Trade; and Kai Chen, our own one-in-a-billion former Chinese national basketball team player who reminds us daily that China is still an authoritarian, communist regime that tolerates no political dissent or free speech in spite of polishing the world image of a civilized, dynamic capitalistic nation. Those four authorities would make for a most enlightening discussion.

Speaking of the Cato Institute, its president John Allison was there along with Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch on a panel titled 'After Obama Day 1: What are the Big Alternative Ideas Conservatives Should Present as Obama's Term Ends? Before he became chief of Cato, for a quarter century John Allison ran a North Carolina bank guided by conservative libertarian principles, grew it from single-digit billions to triple-digit billions and did NOT need a bailout when TARP arrived, but was obliged to take it essentially at gunpoint. His book, The Financial Crisis and the Free-Market Cure is a well-informed and insightful insiders view of the government-led corruption that led to the meltdown of 2008 and the ill-advised remedies like Dodd-Frank that will plague us for years to come. I highly recommend it.

A few of the women of distinction were Chrystal Wright, a.k.a. 'Conservative Black Chick'; Tammy Bruce, radio talk show host who used to be a liberal feminist lesbian, but who is now a staunch independent conservative feminist lesbian; and Phyllis Schlafly, who, for those of you too young to remember her, earned the modest distinction of having almost single-handedly defeated an ill-advised amendment to the United States Constitution at a time when its passage had seemed almost inevitable. She was there, sharp as a tack at the tender age of 89 1/2, and I got a chance to speak with her briefly outside the elevators. I told her that as a liberal growing up in Berkeley the only way I knew about her was from reading Doonesbury cartoons. Her face lit up and she said that when she had made the Doonesbury pages, her kid's respect for her had spiked.
One of the most impressive women there UNDER the age of 89 1/2 to me was Carly Fiorina, who participated in the panel with John Allison and Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch. Very articulate on a broad range of issues, I think she will be a major figure on our side of the aisle for many years. I'm thinking maybe Secretary of Commerce? Or better yet, why not President ...of the Southern California Republican Women and Men in 2016? Just a thought.
Disappointingly absent from the conference were any of the female Republican Governors, like Susanna Martinez of New Mexico, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma or Jan Brewer of Arizona.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The CPAC Experience

This article first appeared in the March 2014 newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and Men.
The good news is that the corresponding secretary and I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC this past March 6-8. The bad news is that we missed most of it. That is to say that there was so much going on for ten hours a day for three days straight that there was no way to see and experience everything that we wanted to. From rockstar speeches to social media workshops, breakout sessions, expert panels, radio interviews, film screenings, networking opportunities, job fairs and Elvis sightings, there were at all times at least two or three things going on simultaneously that one did not want to miss, but had to choose from.
The conference was not without its controversies and detractors, even on the right side of the aisle. Even so, for conservatives groaning under the leftist regime, economy and culture of California, it was a breath of fresh air and a shot of adrenaline. The opportunity to personally meet and shake hands with such luminaries as Mike Huckabee, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Ben Carson, John Allison, Phyllis Shlafly and Dinesh D'Souza, among others, was a special privilege. I even met a member of the Austrian parliament and Secretary General of the Austrian Freedom Party, who was there with a small entourage.
The bookends of the conference were speeches by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, with a high point being the announcement of the results of the Straw Poll. Rand Paul has a substantial lead above the rest of the pack with 31 percent, but it is early to write off anyone. A secondary aspect of the straw poll was the demographic information it revealed, including 46% of responding attendees being 25 years old or younger.
Tweets from CPAC
I will be presenting more detailed news from CPAC with special focus on Obamacare and taking questions at our March 29 meeting. Until then, here are some quotes from the conference which I had tweeted in real time:
@HowardHyde: #cpac2014 Ted Cruz: "You want to lose elections, stand for nothing."
#cpac2014 George Will: "How many Lois Lerners are there that we don't know about?"
#cpac2014 John Bolton: the biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama.
#cpac2014 John Bolton: We could not have ousted the Taliban if they had nuclear weapons... We must not permit Iran to get them.
#cpac2014 John Bolton: Hillary, we know what difference it makes even if you don't.
#cpac2014 Rick Perry praises conservative governors who trust the people over the machinery of government.
#cpac2014 Ken Blackwell: Unintended consequences of Obamacare may not be all Unintended.
#cpac2014 Evan Sayet, author of The Kindergarten of Eden: it is so much easier to promise Utopia than to explain principles to poorly educated people.
#cpac2014 Evan Sayet: Adopt-a-Democrat
#cpac2014 Steve Scalise: Reagan promoted American exceptionalism. Obama apologizes for it.
#cpac2014 Rich Lowry: even Democrats pay lip service to the work ethic and individual responsibility.
#cpac2014 Al Cardenas: Burger King workers in North Dakota earn $20+ per hour.
#cpac2014 Mike Lee: We need to Stop talking about Ronald Reagan and start acting like him.
New trailer for Dinesh D'Souza's 'America' Released at #cpac2014:
#cpac2014 Marco Rubio: "Don't take for granted what we have. What we have in America is the exception, not the rule in the world."
#cpac2014 Carly Fiorina: All issues are women's issues. Not just reproduction.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Nothing New Under the Sun

From Howard Hyde's 'President's Address' to the Southern California Republican Women and Men, February 22, 2014:
We are privileged to have at our meetings several candidates for public office and many concerned citizens promoting initiatives that they consider of great importance. Some of our campaigns are more effective than others, and I'd like to talk today about one aspect which might be helpful to our candidates and activists in helping them achieve greater success.

If your campaign or crusade is not getting gaining the traction you had hoped, it could be that the presentation lacks sparkle or excitement, or that you're not hitting all the emotional touch points. We have talked a lot here about the disadvantages that Republicans face against Madison Avenue- and social media-savvy democrats and their Hollywood friends.
Even so, conservatives have a decisive advantage in facts and logic and rational argumentation which explain the conservative dominance of the nonvisual medium of talk radio, for one, and I want to talk today about reinforcing that great advantage that we do have.

Living in America in 2014 we have a tendency to flatter ourselves into believing that we are so much more sophisticated and intelligent than our forebears because we can download an app to our iPhone, but the truth is that most of our brilliant new original ideas are nothing more than a rehash of things that have been thought of and worked out many times over and in many nations throughout history. For example, preferential policies toward different ethnic groups, whether majorities or minorities, have been practiced around the world, with results ranging from disappointing to catastrophic, for centuries before President Lyndon Baines Johnson announced ‘goals’ and ‘timetables’ for what became known in this country as ‘Affirmative Action’.
So if you really want to be effective, it behooves you to first be sure that you can articulate the fundamental principles and assumptions underlying your program and for minimal credit read the author or philosopher that articulated those principles before you were born. For extra credit, read the author or philosopher who articulated those principles over 100 years ago; for double bonus points cite the person who either proposed them or already debunked them over 1000 years ago. Because trust me, the more or original you think you are, the more likely it is that some Greek or Roman or Midieval thinker already came up with it long ago.
Many of us are familiar with the Laffer Curve, named for our contemporary Arthur Laffer, an economic model that demonstrates that beyond a certain rate, taxes actually reduce revenue to the government, and that at that point tax cuts actually result in increased revenue and therefore don’t have to be ‘paid for’. (Incidentally Laffer has a book out in 2012 titled ‘Eureka! How to Fix California’ that is highly recommended.) But as Ronald Reagan pointed out in one of his radio addresses years before he was elected President, Andrew Mellon, Treasury Secretary to 3 presidents, presented the same concept 90 years ago in his book ‘Taxation: The People’s Business’. In fact, the chinese philosopher Confucius pointed out to his contemporaries that the government would enjoy greater income under lower tax rates because the people would be more productive…2500 years ago. So as the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun.

I have tried to acknowledge these principles in my own writing including my book ‘Pull the Plug on Obamacare’. Even though it is a short, pamphlet-like publication targeted at the lay reader and focused on contemporary events, I have tried to demonstrate transcendent principles which apply. Because the pretensions of Obamacare were demolished at least 94 years ago.
Ludwig von Mises published his masterwork demolishing the intellectual foundations of socialism in 1920. In summary:
If the state owns or otherwise controls all capital goods, land, natural resources, factories, machinery, services, and labor, then there is
•​no market for these goods
•​no buying and selling,
•​no bargaining and haggling,
•​no competition to compel lower prices, higher quality, better service or the division of labor.
•​no play of Supply and Demand.
•​and ultimately, no prices.
Prices constitute the indispensable information system for signaling the abundances, scarcities and alternatives in an economy. Socialism fails every time it is tried because economic calculation is impossible in the absence of a functioning price system.

As applied to the health care market, these same principles apply. The more the government commands and controls health care services, physicians, insurance, drugs and medical equipment, then … it is very easy to fill in the blanks from Mises’ template.

Beyond convincing my fellow Americans that Obamacare is a bad idea, I hope to get across something more fundamental, based on principles that have been examined very thoroughly well prior to our current political season. I hope this approach can help all of you in your campaigns as well.
Thank you.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Why be a Republican?

This message appeared in the February 2014 edition of the newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and Men.
Why Be a Republican?
Many people who see clearly the anti-constitutional and socialist path of destruction that our generation’s Democratic Party is taking us down, nonetheless are often reluctant to identify themselves as Republicans, much less get involved in Republican political organizations. There are many rationalizations. Politics is distasteful and divisive. The GOP is impotent in a one-party (D) state. Or, my favorite: “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.”
Riddle: What costs more than a dime and was brought to you by one party and one party alone? Answer: Obamacare.
Even so, many would-be allies feel that the Republican party is flawed, ineffectual and/or corrupt; too liberal, too conservative, too corrupted, too libertarian, or not libertarian enough. Whatever way it cuts for you, the bottom line is this:
1) The Democratic Party of today has moved galaxies away from John F. Kennedy’s tax cuts, economic growth and strong anti-communist stance; from Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s authority on family morality and welfare; and from Joe Lieberman’s position on the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. In a word, that party today is hopeless (take it from one who was one for two or three decades).
2) The Republican Party will remain less the way you would like it precisely to the degree that you withhold your participation. In other words, if the Republican Party isn’t strong enough on taxes, join a Republican organization and exercise your influence to strengthen the party on taxes. If the party doesn’t communicate its message effectively, volunteer your outstanding communication skills. If you think the party is full of mean, nasty people, then join it and invite your kind, gentle friends to join with you and purge the mean nasties and change the face of the Party. If your name is Bob, make the Republican party the party of Bob. There is no ‘them’. You, I, we, are it, with the accent on YOU.
I am an ex-Liberal Socialist Progressive Democrat from Berkeley. I changed my mind after experiencing living under socialism abroad for 4 years and studying classical political economy and re-examining all of the presumptions of my ‘default factory setting’ (hat tip Evan Sayet). Even so, I wasn’t terribly interested in becoming a partisan political type. But I went beyond intellectual dabbling to become an activist when I realized just how dangerous our country’s direction had become with the implementation of socialized medicine.
What will it take to get you off the bench and involved, proud of the ‘R’ next to your name? See you at our next meeting.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

College Republicans Speak to Southern California Republican Women and Men

This article appeared in the January 2014 edition of the newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and Men, introducing the featured panel that was to speak to the club on January 25 at the 94th Aerosquadron restaurant at the Vanuatu Nuys airport.

Our Academic Panel for the the January Meeting
We have a very special panel of speakers for our January 2014 meeting, consisting of student presidents of Republican clubs at our universities. These courageous young people are taking the fight to perhaps the most hostile territory for conservative and Republican ideas that there is in our society today: the university campus. They deserve our admiration and support.
With the exception of a few institutions like Hillsdale College and George Mason University, the progressive socialist education cartel has a diabolical lock on the minds of our students and by extension our future citizens and voters. Through the union-controlled elementary and secondary schools and like-minded professoriat, they ensure that young people get a steady, life-long diet of leftist socialist progressive thought that puts conservative, libertarian and even constitutional principles beyond the pale.
What should be an environment of open inquiry, free thinking and diversity of viewpoints – a liberal arts education – has become instead a closed club of political correctness and speech codes. By limiting the supply of students even exposed to conservative ideas, the future supply of conservative professors is effectively suppressed.
Not all students fed the liberal socialist diet remain that way forever; many young people, once they get mugged by the reality of work and production, business and family, freedom and responsibility, have a significant change of outlook and philosophy. But unless they act quickly while they are yet young, there will be little opportunity to pursue academic careers and counter the leftist bias on campus. Thus the club is insulated from effective feedback or correction. The most critical element of the scientific method is falsifiability; this element is completely suppressed in the the social sciences at our universities.
The Leadership Institute, Prager University, Ron Paul's education project, David Horrowitz’s Freedom Center,,, the Tea Party Patriots,, the Cato Institute and other conservative, Tea Party and libertarian organizations are putting in a noble effort. But it is most definitely an uphill battle for the minds of the next generation.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

President of Southern California Republican Women and Men

Last November I was elected President of the Southern California Republican Women and Men, an independent club established 1935, for 2014. Below is what I wrote for our January 2014 newsletter:
President’s Message
The 2014 election cycle is upon us, and the stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. From Benghazi to Teheran and from Washington to Cedar Rapids, the Obama-Reid-Pelosi administration has been an unmitigated disaster for America and the free world. We will be living with the consequences for years, perhaps generations.
Obamacare (and/or whatever single-payer or other system the leftists manage to put in place after the collapse) poses a singular threat to our survival as a nation of free and prosperous people living under the Constitution and rule of law.
Socialized medicine cuts to the core of who we are as a people, our national character. When a supermajority of the American citizenry becomes slave-wards to the state, having surrendered all control of the most intimate details of our lives, dependent upon Washington for every band-aid and condom, then there is no way we will be able to lead in a dangerous world requiring sacrificial initiative, creative courage and independent thinking. We will, in the words of Ronald Reagan, be “telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
For these reasons, Republican retention of the House of Representatives and capture of the Senate is critical. We Californians do not have a senator up for re-election, but we can support challengers against vulnerable Democrats in other states. As a matter of strategy, we can identifiy the senators whose constitutuents are polling most opposed to Obamacare, and go on offense in those races. Tea partiers need to get out in front of moderate Republicans and established power brokers who would dilute the campaigns. Above all, complacency is not an option.
In spite of the manifest daily disasters of Obamacare, there will remain many citizens who are not as alarmed as you and I are. On such people we may work three words: Jobs, jobs and jobs. Because of the Obama administration’s open hostility to free markets, capitalism, entrepreneurs, constitutional principles and liberty itself, we have the worst employment environment in over 30 years, with the labor force participation rate the lowest in 35 years, giving the lie to the ‘official’ unemployment rate. Black youth unemployment in particular is, in an ultimate irony, at catastrophic levels. People who are losing their jobs, being cut to part-time or seeing their friends and family suffer the same, are opening up to alternative explanations of what’s going on and why.
We can expect little help from big donors or top-down power brokers. The fate of our country is in the hands of us, the grassroots, talking to our neighbors. Let’s start by showing up!