The Free Market
“The great virtue of a free market is that it enables people who hate each other, or who are from vastly different religious or ethnic backgrounds, to cooperate economically. Government intervention can’t do that. Politics exacerbates and magnifies differences.”
I suspect that Freidman and his followers such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would disagree with me about what constitutes a genuinely free market -- but maybe not. As an anarchist I believe in a totally free and unambiguous free market of exchange. The real difference I have with the Libertarians, of course, is that I give zero weight to capital and thus have no sympathy for the concept of private property beyond one's basic personal possessions and individual production.
Tree and Coaster
Tolerating the Intolerant
Malene Arpe of the Toronto Star has written a most marvelous piece about the intolerance shown by fanatics -- most recently by Muslims complaining about cartoons. She makes some wonderful points throughout, but I'll just quote her close:
"I work hard, as an atheist, at not being angered by the increasing inclusion of this, that or whatever god in areas of life that should be secular. I succeed because I tell myself it's none of my business what people believe, although every time they pray on Survivor or I hear another one-hit wonder thanking God for His direct hand in securing a People's Choice Award, I do feel the need to say a dirty word. Just to counteract.I happen to think religion is destructive, oppressive and overburdened by silly hats.
I also think the only reason Christianity has more adherents and respectability than, say, the Raelians or the Scientologists, is that the Christians came along first. Don't let that keep you from looking heavenwards. Do what you will in the comfort of your own home or place of worship and rest assured that when I visit I will behave politely, cover up whatever vile parts of my body offend your particular god, and refrain from eating ham sandwiches while you pray.
If being offended is such a necessity to your enjoyment of life or your sense of self, think about the censorship you implicitly advocate. Consider that you may not be the one who gets to decide what is offensive and should be banned. Maybe it will be me. I guarantee you wouldn't like it."
Definitely couldn't have said it better myself.
Industrial Sculpture I
Bravo To Pat Buchanan
My political relationship with Pat Buchanan is the perfect exemplar of my relationship with the entire far-right constellation of which he is a bright star. There are, I am certain, a long list of things about which Pat Buchanan and I would never agree. However, there is also a vast range of territory within which we walk hald-in-hand. Buchanan's latest diatribe against American foreign policy is a perfect example of the latter.
"Having plunged us into an unnecessary war, Bush now confronts the real possibility of strategic defeat and a failed presidency. His victory in Iraq, like the wars of Wilson and FDR, has turned to ashes in our mouths. And like Truman's war in Korea and Kennedy's war in Vietnam, Bush's war has left America divided and her people regretting he ever led us in. But unlike the world wars, Korea and Vietnam, Bush cannot claim the enemy attacked us and we had no choice. Iraq is Bush's war. Isolationists had nothing to do with it. To a man and woman, they opposed it."
Quoting Bush in his latest State of the Union speech ("Abroad, our nation is committed to a historic long-term goal. We seek the end of tyranny in our world," said Bush. "Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends upon it."), Buchanan goes on:
"Intending no disrespect, this is noble-sounding nonsense. Our security rests on U.S. power and will, and not on whether Zimbabwe, Sudan, Syria, Cuba or even China is ruled by tyrants. Our forefathers lived secure in a world of tyrannies by staying out of wars that were none of America's business."
While Bush says America cannot stand by and watch a rampant fundamentalist Islam trash the world, Buchanan notes:
"But what has done more to radicalize Islam than our invasion of Iraq? Who has done more to empower Islamic radicals than Bush with his clamor for elections across a region radicalized by our own policies? It is one thing to believe in ideals, another to be the prisoner of some democratist ideology ... Given the franchise, Arab and Islamic peoples from Pakistan to Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and Egypt have now voted for candidates with two credentials. They seemed to be devout Muslims, and they appeared dedicated to tossing America out of the region and the Israelis into the sea."
Buchanan then goes on to complain about free trade (which is another whole story) and ends:
"If America is angry over what interventionism and free trade have wrought, George Bush cannot credibly blame isolationists or protectionists. These fellows have an alibi. They were nowhere near the scene of the crime. It is George W. Bush who is running out of alibis."
Good stuff, Pat! And a darned sight better than anything the Democrats have managed to put up so far.
Leave My Money Alone!
I'm sure I have written before about my loathing for the spending of taxpayers' money on the arts and sports and similar hobbies. Almost every day my opinions on this are hardened with new evidence.
This morning I listened to a locally-based nationally-known stage actress tell a CBC radio interviewer that, with the reduction of Federal (i.e. taxpayer) subsidies, Canadian theatres are being forced to rely on box office receipts. She said this with shock and horror, and with that professional certainty that the vast majority of her white middle-class audience would agree with her disgust at this wanton neglect. She claimed that this would stiffle creativity because theatres would be obliged to put on old shows with a guaranteed clientele. The unspoken corollary is that the ticket-buying public is too stupid or too stuck in its ways to pay for new and inventive works and so they have to be forced to pay for them through their taxes.
Such arrogance! It is no wonder that such "liberals" or "left wingers" (for they would certainly describe themselves in such terms) are detested by anyone who actually cares to listen and think about what they are saying. Their solution to every damned thing is to put their hands in my pockets and to do it while telling me how much better they know what I need than I do myself! Social conservatives and corporate marketers are no less grasping and omniscient.
Liberals, left-wingers, corporatist fascists, Trotskyites, fundamentalists -- they are all the goddam same! Leave me and my money alone!