Archive for the 'Economics' Category

One-upping God

Ilíon has analyzed the pope’s recent kissing of a Muslim’s feet. He says that this action constituted an attempt to one-up the morality of God. That is, Jesus washed the feet of his own people, and commanded them to serve each other. The pope, in contrast, went out of his way to serve and honor an open enemy of Jesus. Ilíon is correct.

The fact is, most political wickedness and most false religion result from a similar attempt to do better than God. God outlined in the Bible, for example, the type of government and law that God actually supports. Completely apart from biblical advice, people today (including Christians) disregard the Bible. They feel that they can set up their own legal system that is superior.

You explain that God did not advocate a government that could enforce charity. Well, the leftists say, we are more evolved than that now, and therefore we should create a socialist government.

You explain that God would criminalize adultery and other serious errors. Well, the social liberals say, we are more evolved than that now, and therefore we should tolerate wickedness the same way Jesus would. (In point of fact, Jesus apparently did rather staunchly advocate the death penalty for wickedness, in Mark 7:10).

You explain that God set up a criminal justice system based, primarily, upon pure retribution. Well, the statists say, we are more evolved than that now, and therefore we should create chapters upon chapters of new crimes to punish people who have not committed actual harm, but who simply create a danger of some sort. (The entire traffic code, with all its associated fines and its innumerable excuses for police involvement in your life, constitutes just one example.) The statists thus contend that they can do better than God, by “deterring” dangerous activity with their superior laws.

You explain that God did not advocate the garrisoning of troops to supervise the actions of the citizens. Well, the cowardly citizen says, we are more evolved than that now, and therefore since the cowardly citizen is afraid of the world, he proposes putting a police officer on every block. In my city, indeed the police are everywhere.

One could go on. But the point is, when you try to do better than God, you are basically just insulting God’s plan. And the insult simply results in a diabolical artificial system. Back in the good old days, philosophers like John Locke would actually cite biblical passages to derive their political theories. Even if a person like that got something wrong once in a blue moon, you could at least recognize that his heart was in the right place. Nowadays, the majority of churches seem to teach that God does not care about politics at all. (Today, the preacher at the church I attended explicitly said that.) Well, I guess we may as well get our politics from Satan then. That is certainly what we have been doing lately.

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Regarding women and work

Maybe it is just my own fault for regularly reading a blog that is obsessed with the lifestyle of womanly housewifeyness, but the supposedly “traditional” idea that women should never work has really gotten on my nerves lately. In a recent post, the blog in question cites an old movie character approvingly:

IN THE the 1931 movie “Bad Girl,” a husband reacts to his wife’s suggestion that she get a job so they can have an apartment of their own. He explodes in anger (go to minute 09:09). “My idea of a husband is a guy that looks after a wife and takes care of her… If I can’t do that, I won’t be a husband.”

This movie character’s idea is contemptible. Seriously, what idiot first thought up the idea that women should never work? “Hey guys, I have a wonderful plan to spur economic growth — Let’s keep half the population at home to loaf around all day!” A man who considers his masculinity to be dependant on his spoiling of a woman is not a natural man. Rather, he has gone the way of matriarchy. He may think that he is simply loving his wife, but he is actually worshipping a goddess.

We see the results of this goddess-worship played out today on many of these recent Housewives of ________ shows on Bravo. Women without children stay at home and gossip and leach off the productivity of others. Anyway, the Thinking Housewife does suggest one emotional reason why women should not work:

Husbands of working wives felt less adequate as family breadwinners than did husbands of housewives, and this appeared to account for their lower levels of job and life satisfaction.

Yeah, but the manly solution is to earn more yourself. The solution is not to drag your wife down to make yourself feel better. And if you do expect that specific a girl can earn more than you (and if that matters to you, which it reasonable might), then DO NOT MARRY her. Simple.

Of course, I do understand how this extreme “traditional” idea derived that women should abstain from work. Natural women will tend to have children over time. While the women are pregnant, they will become at least partly and temporarily disabled from performing strenuous work. And then once the kids are born and still young, someone will need to raise them. Having to raise the children can obviously place some limitations on women’s ability to work. But these natural limitations on women’s ability to work are no reason to prohibit women from working altogether. The correct solution is simply to discourage careerism in women, not to discourage them from making sensible efforts to stay productive. Women should focus on their family in their hearts, and value it above the idea of a career. Then the right work moves will flow from that proper attitude. Obviously, this generalization does not apply to women who plan to stay single and not have children. But most women are not like that.

But this glorification of female idleness is wrong. It is basically a joke of a position.

Proverbs 31:10-31

Who can find a capable wife?
She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.

She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.

 She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away.

She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her servants.

She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.

She draws on her strength
and reveals that her arms are strong.

She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.

She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

Her hands reach out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.

She makes her own bed coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts to the merchants.

Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and loving instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the activities of her household
and is never idle.

Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
Her husband also praises her:

“Many women are capable,
but you surpass them all!”

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised.

Give her the reward of her labor,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Like I said, there are certainly some productive things that a woman can do at home. And raising children is indeed one of those productive things, which should be encouraged. And like I said, women should generally avoid careerism, because most women want to have children at some point. But I just do not like this idea that women should flatly avoid work. It is a stupid notion.

Leftist religion

Via Facebook, I just noticed a rather inane segment of the Colbert Report. In this segment, Stephen Colbert tried to persuade his audience that Jesus actually supported socialism and leftist politics. But while that sort of nonsense comes out fairly frequently, a more interesting development actually occurred when Colbert specifically admitted that God the Father did not approve of socialism.

I have said before that modern Leftism is basically a reincarnation of ancient Gnosticism. (Gnosticism, of course, was itself just a pseudo-Christian version of paganism.) The gnostics specifically argued that Jesus and the Old Testament God were separate, completely distinct entities who were actually antagonistic toward each other. That is, they believed that the Old Testament God was evil and mean, but that Jesus was superior and good. In particular, the gnostics had very little respect for the Old Testament. For example, one fairly moderate gnostic named Marcion actually created his own Bible for his followers — by excluding the entire Old Testament and numerous portions of the New Testament.

But anyway, I did appreciate Colbert’s measure of intellectual honesty here. Unlike many Leftist “Christians,” Colbert at least admitted that the bulk of the Bible is clearly anti-socialist. Despite this admission, however, he tried to argue that Jesus was a socialist because Jesus actually disagreed with the rest of the Bible. Colbert then alluded to various quotations of Jesus which advocate giving to charity, in order to bolster his argument that Jesus disagreed with God on economics and agreed with forcefully redistributing wealth from each according to his ability and to each according to his need. To Colbert, the Old Testament God was mean and evil, whereas Jesus was nice and socialist and good.

Overall, the argument was of course absurd, and it was intended to be funny. But then, it really was not much more absurd than Leftist Christianity in general.

As a sidenote, I have heard that Stephen Colbert is actually at least nominally Jewish — although that could be wrong.

Expensive lawyers

I had to go to criminal court earlier this week. My client and I waited around from around 9 a.m. when court started to around 4 p.m. Unfortunately, this criminal court was so heavily booked that when the end of the day rolled around, the judge realized that it would be unrealistic to expect to get through all the cases. As a result, he apologized to everyone and then postponed a number of the cases until a later date, including mine.

There are a few different lessons we could perhaps learn from this episode, but I think one of them is that the government arrests too many people. This situation I experienced is hardly the only time I have shown up in court and seen things extremely crowded. It is not uncommon to see a courtroom so crowded that people can barely even find anywhere to sit down. When society gets to the point where courts can barely even handle all the cases thrown at them by the police, we should question whether we are criminalizing too much of life itself.

I have heard that upwards of ninety percent of criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas and various plea bargains. So what this means is that, even when barely any of our cases actually involve real jury trials, the courts still are overloaded. To me, this situation indicates a problem.

Practically speaking, this ineffecient courtroom setup also hampers the economy by jacking up the price of legal fees. If a lawyer expects to have to spend five or more hours just coming to court for one case (even if he only argues in front of the judge for maybe twenty minutes), he will generally raise his prices to compensate for his loss of time. Lawyers have to study a long time, and are a valuable and expensive resource. Courts are a valuable resource as well. By arresting so many people and overcrowding the courts, we are forcing people to squander valuable resources and to waste money doing so.

Such are the costs of the government’s overregulation of life.

Happy Columbus Day!

 

Happy Columbus Day, everyone! This year, as usual, I have heard a bit of Leftist whining about Columbus Day (in my Facebook newsfeed). But I really get tired of hearing the people whine about Christopher Columbus’s supposed evil in bringing down the American Indian civilizations. If anyone laments the arrival of the Europeans to the New World, I think that person should go watch the movie Apocalypto by Mel Gibson. Granted, the movie was a bit over-the-top, and hard to watch, and not performed in English, and probably not one of Mel’s greatest hits. Nonetheless, it certainly gets a few points across:

Warning — The following video is somewhat disturbing.

I have said it once and I will say it again:  I am glad that the American Indian civilizations were conquered and destroyed. And I am glad that Columbus came and discovered them so that such conquest could eventually take place. Even at their best — i.e., when they weren’t offering human sacrifices — the Indians were still communistic drug-crazed tree worshippers who possessed essentially no inclinations toward science or progress. Good riddance to the American Indian societies.

Besides, it was mostly germs that killed off the Indians. So if we want to say that any person eliminated the Indians, it would probably be God himself. The Leftists should go whine to him, and not to me.

Copyright nation

Although I support copyrights in theory, we seem to have gone off the deep end with them in today’s world. Apparently about sixty websites owned by various newspapers and professional blogs have sent a law office called Righthaven, LLC to sue any blogger who takes snippets from their articles and re-posts them, even if the blogger provides attribution with a link to the original material.

Another copyright troll is looking to sue you for the offense of quoting from and linking to their websites. . . . Righthaven, LLC is suing bloggers who are clearly using material within the bounds of Fair Use.  It’s a bullying tactic – sue for a huge amount, and settle for a few thousand, because that’s cheaper than going to court even if you win. 

And lest you think, Well, Drew, perhaps they are being obnoxious about asserting their right, but they still have the right to assert, I am not sure that they do have such a right. Specifically, although I unfortunately never got to take a class in copyright law, as far as I understand it you are generally supposed to nicely ask the offenders to take down your material before you sue them. Apparently, some of the defendants are at least making that argument (among others) and giving Righthaven a run for its money.

The defense attorneys and some defendants without attorneys are making complex legal arguments about whether the Nevada court has jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendants, whether Righthaven itself has standing to sue and whether Righthaven failed to follow the law in filing no-warning lawsuits rather than first sending requests or takedown orders to the infringing websites.

Jackasses in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones. Bullying tactics deserve bullying penalties. I think some Rule 11 sanctions against that prosecuting attorney may be in order.

At least one of the lawsuits is about a website that posted four paragraphs (out of an article with thirty-four paragraphs). I have written previously about some idiot who sued over a chord progression, and you actually hear about “artists” making these mockable arguments fairly frequently these days. More recently, some of my friends on Facebook were discussing a proposed law that would prohibit people from “stealing” dress designs (The topic came up because evidently some producers had chosen to mimic Chelsea Clinton’s wedding dress). You can’t steal an idea; you can only commit fraud in pretending that the idea is in fact yours, or you can undermine the system we have established for incentivizing creativity — but neither of those is the same as stealing. I even get annoyed when I hear Mark Levin whine on the radio about how lesser talkshow hosts copy his ideas after he broadcasts them; I just think to myself, You should get over yourself and be happy that you are so influential!

But anyway, garbage like I have described above is what causes the nuttier posters at Mises.org to argue for abolishing copyrights. I don’t agree with them that we should abolish copyrights, but something probably does need to be done about the matter — particularly with our attitudes. I understand that we need to offer incentives to producers, but this idea that we are all out producing truly original brilliant thoughts is itself a bit narcissistic, and the idea that we need the government to stop anyone else from benefiting from our thought processes is absurd.

One commenter (“minamitek”) on a separate article summed up my thoughts about the matter fairly adequately:

Remember the good old days when capitalism was all about making stuff and selling it to buyers, instead of just using protectionist laws to sue non-buyers?

Another destructive aspect of promiscuity

There is an interesting discussion at The Thinking Housewife regarding the economics of promiscuity and marriage. Specifically, a man has commented that although he used to be socially conservative, he eventually became disillusioned with his principles after seeing the sexual immorality of others — and the implications of that immorality on his own marital prospects:

As I’ve intimated before I grew up in very conservative Christian environs, and was fully invested in that life until my mid-twenties. Over the course of time I saw church-going girls from solid, middle-class familes having children by young males from outside that environment. Of course these men, to stretch the term, were entirely unsuitable for either fatherhood or husbandry, so the girls ended up raising their children in their parents’ homes, often with no child support. I realized, as would any man with an IQ above room temperature, that each instance of this occurrance meant that one man out there in society would not get married, unless he consented to raise a stranger’s child.

Men clearly have an aversion to this.

When I have addressed this problem to older conservative Christians I have meet met with complete indifference, if not ridicule. Basically, “buck up, soldier, now fight the culture war”.

I find his point about single moms’ impact on the mating market rather interesting. Whereas you would normally expect social immorality to corrupt both sexes about equally — such that the balance of the marriagible individuals remained relatively undisturbed, even if the virtuous people were fewer in number — here this man is pointing out that women are actually taking themselves out of the market altogether. He is, of course, correct that most men will stay away from single mothers. Thus, what we basically have is a situation similar to China, where there are no longer enough women to go around!

Obviously, this problem does not excuse any individual man for failing to find some babe to marry through his individual efforts. But as a sociological phenomenon, the trend will surely be destructive.

What we can also see from this analysis is the classic truth that men have a significant interest in helping safeguard the moral purity of women. And when we see men getting excited about the possibility of promiscuity, we can automatically know that they are fools. Marriage is a remnant of the patriarchal system, and one that men are foolish to undermine merely for short-term pleasure.


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