Archive for March, 2012

Did The Right Betray Us?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Regarding Rothbard’s Betrayal of the Old Right, David Gorden writes:

“Things weren’t always like this. In the years before World War II, American conservatives opposed global crusading. The Old Right opposed the New Deal and favored the traditional American policy of not getting involved in foreign wars.”

There was also a british empire that controlled the trade routes, currency, and laws of exchange. There were multiple powers preventing the spread of world communism. At the end of WWII none of those countries existed.

So, as much as I understand that the USA became less isolationist, it did so not out of conviction, but of fear.

And I am not, in retrospect, sure that they were wrong to do so.


William Tell: An Example Of The Virtue Of Violence

Monday, March 12th, 2012

William Tell, came from the town of Bürglen, and was known as a strong man and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking control of Uri.

Albrecht Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village’s central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.

On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and so was arrested.

Gessler — intrigued by Tell’s famed marksmanship, yet resentful of his defiance — devised a cruel punishment: Tell and his son would be executed, but he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son, Walter.

Tell shot, and in a single attempt, he split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow.

But Gessler noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver, not one. Before releasing Tell, he asked why. Tell replied that if he had killed his son, he would have used the second bolt on Gessler himself.

Gessler was angered, and had Tell bound. He was brought to Gessler’s ship to be taken to his castle at Küssnacht to spend his newly won life in a dungeon. But, as a storm broke on Lake Lucerne, the soldiers were afraid that their boat would founder, and unbound Tell to steer with all his famed strength. Tell made use of the opportunity to escape, leaping from the boat at the rocky site now known as the Tellsplatte (“Tell’s slab”).

Tell then ran cross-country to Küssnacht, and as Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him with the second crossbow bolt along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse.

Tell’s blow for liberty sparked a rebellion, in which he played a leading part. That fed the impetus for the nascent Swiss Confederation. He fought again against Austria in the 1315 Battle of Morgarten.

The Gingrich Plan for 2012

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

This is the best plan that any candidate has put forward. Of course I would love to see a purely libertarian platform. But if I can’t have that (and it’s pretty certain that I cant) a classical liberal platform that allows me to protect my liberty will have to do.

1. The Economy
2. Energy
3. The Military
4. Education
5. Immigration
6. Healthcare
7. Religious Liberty
8. Right To Bear Arms

“Creating jobs and getting back to 4% unemployment is the most important step to a balanced budget.” – Newt Gingrich

The Gingrich Jobs and Growth Plan

America only works when Americans are working. Newt has a pro-growth strategy similar to the proven policies used when he was Speaker to balance the budget, pay down the debt, and create jobs. The plan includes:

  1. Stop the 2013 tax increases to promote stability in the economy. Job creation improved after Congress extended tax relief for two years in December. We should make the rates permanent.
  2. Make the United States the most desirable location for new business investment through a bold series of tax cuts, including: Eliminating the capital gains tax to make American entrepreneurs more competitive against those in other countries; Dramatically reducing the corporate income tax (among highest in the world) to 12.5%; Allowing for 100% expensing of new equipment to spur innovation and American manufacturing; Ending the death tax permanently.
  3. Move toward an optional flat tax of 15% that would allow Americans the freedom to choose to file their taxes on a postcard, saving hundreds of billions in unnecessary costs each year. This optional flat tax system will preserve deductions on charitable giving and home ownership, and create a new personal deduction of $12,000 for every American. This deduction is well above the current poverty level, ensuring that this new system does not unfairly target the poor.

  4. Strengthen the dollar by returning to the Reagan-era monetary policies that stopped runaway inflation and reforming the Federal Reserve to promote transparency.
  5. Remove obstacles to job creation imposed by destructive and ineffective regulations, programs and bureaucracies. Steps include: Repealing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which did nothing to prevent the financial crisis and is holding companies back from making new investments in the U.S; Repealing the Community Reinvestment Act, the abuse of which helped cause the financial crisis; Repealing the Dodd-Frank Law which is killing small independent banks, crippling loans to small businesses and crippling home sales; Breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, moving their smaller successors off government guarantees and into the free market; Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with an Environmental Solutions Agency that works collaboratively with local government and industry to achieve better results; and Modernizing the Food and Drug Administration to get lifesaving medicines and technologies to patients faster.
  6. Implement an American energy policy that removes obstacles to responsible energy development and creates jobs in the United States.
    Balance the budget by growing the economy, controlling spending, implementing money saving reforms, and replacing destructive policies and regulatory agencies with new approaches.
  7. Repeal and replace Obamacare with a pro-jobs, pro-responsibility health plan that puts doctors and patients in charge of health decisions instead of bureaucrats.
  8. Fundamental reform of entitlement programs with the advice and help of the American people. Read an extended white paper on this here.


“We need an honest national dialogue and a determination to be candid about our opponents, honest about the problems, and passionately committed to the survival of America as a free country.” – Newt Gingrich

Keeping Americans safe is the most important duty of government. That is why the confusion and incoherence of the Obama Administration’s response to the threats facing America is so troubling. Newt advocates sound policies to keep Americans safe based on timeless American principles.
Sound policies to keep Americans safe

1. Understand our enemies and tell the truth about them. We are engaged in a long war against radical Islamism, a belief system adhered to by a small minority of Muslims but nonetheless a powerful and organized ideology within Islamic thought that is totally incompatible with the modern world.

2. Think big. America currently lacks a unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism. The result is that we currently view Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other danger spots of the globe as if they are isolated, independent situations. Only a grand strategy for marginalizing, isolating, and defeating radical Islamists across the world will lead to victory.

3. Know our values. America’s foreign policy must begin by understanding who we are as a country. We are, as Ronald Reagan said, the world’s “abiding alternative to tyranny.” Therefore, America’s foreign policy must be to ensure our own survival and protect those who share our values.

4. Military force must be used judiciously and with clear, obtainable objectives understood by Congress.

5. Implement an American Energy Plan to reduce the world’s dependence on oil from dangerous and unstable countries, especially in the Middle East.

6. Secure the border to prevent terrorist organizations from sneaking agents and weapons into the United States.

7. Incentivize math and science education in America to ensure the men and women of our Armed Forces always have the most advanced and powerful weapons in the world at their disposal.


“Contrary to popular belief, America has more energy than any nation on earth. All that’s keeping us from becoming energy independent is a lack of political will to do so.” – Newt Gingrich

Today’s high gas and energy prices are entirely a function of bad government policies. Newt has an American Energy Plan that would maximize energy production from all sources–oil, natural gas, wind, biofuels, nuclear, clean coal, and more–and would encourage clean energy innovation without discouraging overall energy production.
Newt’s American Energy Plan:

    1. Remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States, offshore and on land.

    2. End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount of oil as Saudi Arabia.

    3. Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.

    4. Reduce frivolous lawsuits that hold up energy production by enacting loser pays laws to force the losers in an environmental lawsuit to pay all legal costs for the other side.

    5. Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.

    6. Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.

10 Steps to a Legal Nation

America must be a nation of laws. Everyone in the United States should be here legally. America also is a land of immigrants, and our lives, economy, and history have been enriched by immigration. There has to be a robust and attractive program of legal immigration. There are major positive economic and social benefits to streamlining and simplifying our convoluted, broken visa process.

At the core of being American is a thorough understanding of American exceptionalism. We are a nation not defined by place or ethnic heritage, but by the collective understanding that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is precisely these rights, freedoms and opportunities that have drawn ambitious, risk-seeking immigrants to our shores for four centuries.

It is essential that every native-born American and every immigrant learn about this exceptional heritage and our exceptional history.

Three Principles

    1. No “comprehensive” plan can work. President Bush could not pass one during six years with a Republican Congress. President Obama could not pass one with a Democratic Congress. Immigration reform can be outlined as a complete proposal but has to be passed in a series of steps, with each one understood and passed on its own merits.

    2. Under no circumstance can a path to citizenship be created which would allow those who have broken the law to receive precedence over those who patiently waited to become residents and citizens via the legal process. Those who adhered to our immigration law cannot be usurped by those who violated it.

    3. We must reconcile the goal of legality with the reality that there are millions of immigrants currently here outside the law, some with a long set of family and community ties, and some with no ties. A system has to be established that establishes legality but no citizenship for those with deep ties, repatriates those with no family or community ties in a dignified way, and quickly sends home those who have committed criminal and other destructive acts.


    1. Control the border.
    The United States must control its border. It is a national security imperative.
    Every nation has the right to control its border. Historically, every country that has been determined to control their border has been able to do so.
    Controlling the border is a matter of resources and will.
    As Americans, we can accomplish unimaginable feats when we have the resources and the will. The United States won World War II in 3 years and 8 months. In the 44 months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States mobilized its resources to defeat Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan.
    Unfortunately, we haven’t brought any sense of urgency to controlling our border – even as a drug-fueled civil war now rages in Mexico.
    In October 1986, Ronald Reagan wrote in his diary that he was signing the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration reform bill because it was “high time we regained control of our borders & this bill will do this.”
    Today, a quarter century later, we still have not achieved President Reagan’s goal and expectation.
    This bill will waive every obstacle to controlling the border and would shift resources to achieve virtually 100% control by January 1, 2014. If necessary, we would move one-half of the 23,000 Washington-area Department of Homeland Security bureaucrats to the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona borders.
    A border control strategy must be responsive to the unique threats that exist at different parts of the frontier. This strategy must include round-the-clock drone flights to monitor activity, multi-layer, strategic fencing in urban areas, and vastly improved communication between state and federal authorities.

    2. Create a 21st Century Visa Program
    Our current visa program is inadequate, inefficient, and outdated. Americans and newcomers deserve a system that works.

    Americans will benefit from a fairer, more secure, more efficient system, which will ensure that foreign visitors, students, workers and job-creators alike provide as many positive benefits as possible to our economy and society.

    Future visitors and future legal residents will be drawn to the most efficient visa system in the world, whether one wants to come to the United States to travel, to study, or to work. – and especially to bring talent and capital to create American jobs.

    A huge element of this reform will be to dedicate the necessary resources to eliminate inefficiencies for all visa processing at our consular facilities.

    A Brazilian tourist who wants to visit Disney World and spend thousands to support American jobs should not have to wait four months to get an interview for a tourist visa.

    A foreign entrepreneur who wants to establish legal residency and immediately create American jobs should not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees first.

    A brilliant graduate of an American engineering program should not have to go all the way home to initiate the process of applying for a high-skilled work visa.

    An American farmer in California should have efficient, legal means to hire temporary, legal labor to support the American economy.
    Another key part of this reform will be standardizing the technology of identifying documents. Every single visa issued by the United States government, at home and abroad, should include a biometric, tamper-proof card.

    3. “In-source” the best brains in the world

    From the time of the first settlers, America has always attracted the most entrepreneurial and innovative individuals from all corners of the globe. Drawn to our freedoms and mobile society, many of the world’s most talented individuals have left for America, and proved to be key pillars in American accomplishments ranging from the Manhattan Project to the rise of Silicon Valley.

    Highly-skilled workers from all corners of the globe still eagerly line up for the chance to bring their immense talents to American companies in the United States. Our policies that place inflexible limits on the number of talented individuals who are allowed to work in America are seriously eroding our global competitiveness and must be modified.

    Unfortunately, Congress still sets rigid caps on the number of highly-skilled foreigners who may come to work in the United States per year, and it is increasingly onerous for both employers and employees to obtain H1-B high-skilled work visas. This is wrong and economically misguided, and if America wants to continue to be a haven for the most talented people in the world, this program needs to be vastly expanded to meet our economic needs
    We have the best universities in the world, but many foreigners who come to study are turned away and sent back home as soon as they get their degree. It is foolish to educate someone well enough for them to start the next job-creating startup, only to force them to leave America and start their business overseas. We want the jobs here and that means we want the job creators here.

    This could be done by allowing easier transition from an F (student) visa to an H1-B (high-skill) visa. Currently foreign students who want to work in the United States must leave the country and begin their application process from scratch. We should remove this inefficiency and allow qualified foreign students to transition immediately into the American workforce.

    We can even consider a program that grants foreign graduates of our sophisticated math, science, engineering and business programs a work visa with their diploma.

    This strategy will maximize the amount of talented individuals who are building the next great American businesses, creating American jobs, and paying taxes in the United States.

    4. Allow foreigners who want to spend money, invest and create jobs in America to do so.

    There is no shortage of foreign nationals who want to come to America to sightsee, to invest, and to create jobs. It is up to us to implement policies that ensure that our economy is as enriched as possible by these individuals.

    If citizens of other nations want to invest and create jobs in America, then we should be making it easier for them to invest, work and potentially gain citizenship through an expanded EB-5 program. The EB-5 program grants permanent residency to overseas investors who create and maintain at least ten American jobs.

    The existing EB-5 program, which sets as high as a $1 million minimum investment to be considered for legal residency, is too restrictive and selective. We must expand this program to allow for foreign entrepreneurs who may not have the capital yet, but have the ability to come to the United States and raise enough American capital to form a business.

    America is the most visited country in the world, and the tourism industry supported over 7 million jobs in 2010. In fact, tourists from Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom alone spent nearly $50 billion in the United States last year.

    However, except for citizens of a handful of countries, prospective tourists must wait days, weeks, and sometimes months, to obtain a tourist visa. Visa interviews must occur in person, which often means a long trip to the nearest U.S. consulate. As other countries streamline their tourist visa programs, billions of potential dollars and thousands of potential American jobs in our tourism industry are lost due to our bureaucracy.

    A recent study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) found that the United States share of global travel fell 17 percent in 2000 to 12.4 percent in 2010. The vast new middle classes in countries such as China, India and Brazil are now taking a look at the onerous visa process and opting to travel and spend money elsewhere. According to the State Department, the wait time to receive an interview for a tourist visa in Brasilia is 110 days.

    The USTA study found that if better practices, such as more consular staff and a video interview program, are implemented, we could create 1.3 million new American tourism jobs by the end of this decade.

    Finally, many affluent foreign nationals would like to have the opportunity to spend their retirement years in the United States. Making it easier for these individuals to obtain legal residency would cost virtually nothing, while providing a steady flow of investment into the American housing and tourism markets.

    5. There has to be a legal guest worker program, but its management must be outsourced to a sophisticated manager of anti-fraud systems, such as American Express, Visa, or Mastercard.

    We want American businesses that need workers to be able to hire.

    Today, the visa program for unskilled workers is cumbersome for employers and workers, and completely inflexible to the labor demands of the American economy. The number of temporary work visas granted stays capped, regardless of how many workers American businesses needs at any point – this is why, when the demand for additional labor is high, many foreigners come here to work illegally.

    The solution to this problem is a well-regulated, robust guest worker program.

    There is no possibility that the federal government could run such a program without massive fraud and counterfeiting. On the other hand, American Express’s rate of fraud is less than one tenth of one percent.

    We can build on the universal system of biometric, tamper-proof visa documents that all visitors must have, and invite a private-sector firm with a proven track record to monitor the guest worker program.

    For guest workers, the new tamper-proof, biometric cards will replace the e-verify system, which has some promising elements, but is too error-prone. Employers will be able to swipe prospective employees biometric cards, and immediately be able to confirm that these workers are in the country legally.

    Once a legal guest worker system has been built with real-time, 24/7 verification, there will be no excuse for employers hiring people illegally. At that point the economic penalty on illegal employers should go up substantially.
    The new guest worker program should be designed using the proven principles oand it should be easy, convenient, inexpensive and practical for both workers and employers.

    6. Create a path to earned legality for some of the millions of people who are here outside the law.

    There are currently anywhere from 8 to 12 million people living in the United States who entered illegally.

    These people range from day laborers who arrived recently, to grandparents who have been paying taxes, supporting their families and obeying the law for decades.

    We need a system that enforces the rule of law, ensures that those who broke the law pay a stiff penalty, but also acknowledges that it is neither optimal nor feasible nor humane to deport every single illegal immigrant.

    We need a path to legality, but not citizenship, for some of these individuals who have deep ties to America, including family, church and community ties. We also need a path to swift but dignified repatriation for those who are transient and have no roots in America.

    We need a process that can distinguish at the human level.

    Congress must charge the Department of Justice to establish a “citizens’ review” process for those here outside the law. It would establish committees to process these cases in individual communities and determine who will continue on this path to legality, and who will be sent home. Congress must define understandable, clear, objective legal standards that will be applied equally during this process. While this process is ongoing, those here outside the law will be granted Temporary Legal Status for a certain, limited period of time until all have had the opportunity to apply and appear in front of committees.

    Applicants must first pass a criminal background check, and then the local committees will assess applications based on family and community ties, and ability to support oneself via employment without the assistance of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs.

    The government will rigorously enforce a requirement that all individuals seeking this path to legality must be able to prove that they can independently pay for private health insurance. If an individual cannot prove this, they will lose the ability to stay in the United States.

    Furthermore, proficiency in English within a certain number of years, similar to the requirement for naturalization, will be required for anyone who seeks continued legal status in the United States.

    Once an applicant has been granted the right to obtain legal status, he or she will have to pay a penalty of at least $5,000.

    Moving forward, those who receive this status will have to prove on a regular basis that they can support themselves without entitlement programs and pay for health insurance or else risk the ability to stay in the United States.

    7. Deportation of criminals and gang members should be efficient and fast.

    We must end the practice of “catch and release,” under which dangerous criminals here illegally are caught by law enforcement, but then quickly returned to society.

    When someone is here illegally and is dangerous, there should be expedited procedures to remove them from the United States as rapidly as possible.

    The current system is so cumbersome and time-consuming that many arrested non-citizens are released back into society and simply break their word and disappear. This is wrong and dangerous.

    8. Ensure that every new citizen and every young American learn American history and the key principles of American Exceptionalism.

    America is a learned civilization built on ideas, and the relentless efforts to eliminate American history and American Exceptionalism from our schools has weakened the very fabric and vitality of our civilization.

    A key step in our future strength as a country must be to reinstate the importance of America in our citizenship process and our education process.

    9. English must be the official language of government.

    Teaching everyone English creates a common commercial and political culture.

    We want people to come to America to become Americans.

    For over 250 years there has been an emphasis on learning English as part of that process.

    10. Young non-citizens who came to the United States outside the law should have the same right to join the military and earn citizenship.
    Individuals who came to the United States as minors with their parents did not willingly break any laws. These individuals should have the opportunity to obtain legal residency/citizenship by serving their adopted country in the military.
    Only the children will be considered for legal residency, and, unlike the so-called DREAM Act, there will not be an option to petition for legal status and citizenship for their parents who entered illegally as adults.

    11. Once the new guest worker program is established and the “path to legality” system for those here illegally is in place, anyone breaking the law to get into the United States should face very severe penalties. Anyone facilitating illegal entry should face even more severe penalties. If these rules are enforced, the era of illegal immigration will be over.

If we embrace these ten steps, America will have created a truly efficient and fair system that embraces the rule of law, while acknowledging and celebrating the valuable economic, cultural and social contributions that both existing and future visitors and immigrants have to offer our country.

The Gingrich Education Plan:

The continued growth of American jobs and American prosperity in a knowledge-based, internet-connected, globally-competitive world will be determined by quality of America’s schools. If America is going to remain competitive with China and India in the 21st century, then we must commit to improving education, especially in math and science, and moving from a bureaucrat-dominated status quo to an innovative system that emphasizes accountability, transparency, and parental choice:

Empower parents to pick the right school for their child. Parents had the right to choose the school that is best for their child, and should never be trapped in a failing school against their will.

Institute a Pell Grant-style system for Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Per-pupil school district funding should go into each child’s backpack, and follow them to the school their parents wish to attend. Parents who home school their children should receive a tax credit or be allowed to keep the Pell Grant.

Require transparency and accountability about achievement. Each state must set a rigorous standard that allows every student everywhere to master the skills they will need to be competitive, and develop a process for grading the effectiveness of every school.

Implement a “no limits” charter system.

All of the money allocated for student education goes directly to the school.

The school manages its own staff, whereby it is exempt from laws regarding tenure, and need not unionize.

The school defines its own curriculum, in line with the state standards and assessments. Students in charters are not exempt from state assessments. The schools are not exempt from reporting requirements, nor should they be.

State law allows the school to “franchise” its model without limitation. That means they need not apply for a new school every time they can build a new one. If they have the demand, they must be able to serve it.

The state has NO CAPS on the number of charter schools that can be approved, and the process for approving charter schools is smooth and efficient.
Establish a pay for performance system. States and school governing boards should lift all existing prohibitions that prevent a principal from evaluating teachers based in part on student achievement.

Welcome business talent in our communities into the classroom. Every state should open their systems up to part-time teachers so that retired physicists, neighborhood pharmacists, or local accountants could teach one or two hours a day and bring knowledge to the classroom, and business-like adult expectations to the students. And programs like Teach For America should be encouraged and not limited.

Restore American history and values into the classroom. America is a learned civilization and every American, including immigrants, should learn American history and the principles of American self-government, productivity and prosperity. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1820: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Every student must learn to read and much of what they read should reinforce American civilization.

Protect the rights of home-schooled children by ensuring they have the same access to taxpayer funded, extra-curricular educational opportunities as any public school student.

Encourage states to think outside outdated boundaries of education. States have developed very innovative models:

    Students who graduate early should get the cost of the years they skip as an automatic scholarship, following the model of Governor Daniels’s program in Indiana.

    Every state should have a work-study college that enables students to graduate debt free, following the model of the College of the Ozarks in Missouri.
    Individualized, 24/7 learning should be universally available online, with the Florida Virtual School (over 120,000 students for K-12) as a model.

Shrink the federal Department of Education and return power to states and communities. The Department’s only role will be to collect research and data, and help find new and innovative approaches to then be adopted voluntarily at the local level.


Newt’s plan to save lives and save money
1. Make health insurance more affordable and portable by giving Americans the choice of a generous tax credit or the ability to deduct the value of their health insurance up to a certain amount and by allowing Americans to purchase insurance across state lines, increasing price competition in the industry.

2. Create more choices in Medicare by giving seniors the option to choose, on a voluntary basis, a more personal system in the private sector with greater options for better care. This would create price competition to lower costs.

3. Reform Medicaid by giving states more freedom and flexibility to customize their programs to suit their needs with a block-grant program similar to the successful welfare reform of 1996. With that block grant, each state can focus on providing the assistance to low-income families that they each need to buy health insurance.

4. Cover the sickest with a High Risk Pool set up by each state to cover the uninsured who have become too sick to buy health insurance.

5. Protect consumers by reinforcing laws which prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging discriminatory rate increases to those who become sick while insured.

6. Extend Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) throughout the health care system. Everyone on Medicare and Medicaid should be free to choose an HSA for their coverage. All workers should be free to choose an HSA in place of their employer coverage if they desire.

7. Reward quality care by changing the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement models to take into account the quality of the care delivered and incentivizing beneficiaries to seek out facilities that deliver the best care at the lowest costs.

8. Reward health and wellness by giving health plans, employers, Medicare, and Medicaid more latitude to design benefits to encourage, incentivize, and reward healthy behaviors.

9. Stop health care fraud by moving from a paper-based system to an electronic one. Health care fraud accounts for as much as much as 10 percent of all health care spending, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. That’s more than $200 billion a year. Compare this to the 0.1% fraud rate in the credit card industry thanks to its high-tech information analysis systems.

10. Stop junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of medicine with medical malpractice reform.

11. Speed medical breakthroughs to patients by reforming the Food and Drug Administration.

12. Inform patients and consumers of price and quality so they can make informed choices about how to spend their money on care. Patients have the right to know this information, but finding it is virtually impossible.

13. Invest in research for health solutions that are urgent national priorities. Medical breakthroughs–ones that prevent or cure disease rather than treating its symptoms–are a critical part of the solution to long-term budget challenges. More brain science research, for example, could lead to Alzheimer’s Disease cures and treatments that could save the federal government over $20 trillion over the next forty years.
With these Patient Power reforms, healthcare can be transformed from an anchor on our economy to an engine. From a broken, fragmented system to a coordinated, innovative system that delivers more choices at lower cost for all Americans.
This comprehensive approach—cost, quality, competition, and coverage—can solve the problem of the uninsured with no individual mandate and no employer mandate. Everyone would be able to obtain essential health care and coverage when needed. For those who are too poor to buy health insurance, states will have more flexibility to provide them with the assistance they need to buy it. For those who nevertheless choose not to purchase coverage and then become too sick to do so, high risk pools will provide access to coverage. Once you have health insurance, you are assured you can keep it. By contrast, even Obamacare for all its trillions in taxes, spending, new entitlements, and new bureaucracy still does not achieve universal coverage.

The right to bear arms is a political right designed to safeguard freedom so that no government can take away from you the rights which God has given you. – Newt Gingrich, NRA’s Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum

We live in a time when international organizations and our own federal government are devoting significant efforts to eliminate the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. We must forcefully echo the Declaration of Independence and insist that the first duty of government is to provide for our safety. At the core of this is the Constitutional right of the people to provide for their own safety.

The revolutionary idea contained in the Declaration of Independence is that certain fundamental human rights, including the right to life, are gifts from God and cannot be given nor taken away by government. Yet, secular radicals are trying to remove “our Creator” – the source of our rights – from public life. Newt has an aggressive strategy to defend life and religious liberty in America.

Principles to protect life and religious liberty

Nominate conservative judges who are committed to upholding Constitutional limited government and understand that the role of the judges is to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench.

Combat judicial activism by utilizing checks on judicial power Constitutionally available to the elected branches of government. (Read an extended white paper on restoring the proper role of the judicial branch here.)

End taxpayer subsidies for abortion by repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, and reinstating the “Mexico City Policy” which banned funding to organizations that promote and/or perform abortions overseas.

Protect religious expression in the public square such as crosses, crèches and menorahs.

Protect healthcare workers right to conscience by making sure they are not forced to participate in or refer procedures such as abortion.

Protect the rights of home-schooled children by ensuring they have the same access to taxpayer funded, extra-curricular educational opportunities as any public school student.

Protect the rights of teachers to use historical examples involving religion in their classroom. Nor should they be discouraged from answering questions about religion or discussing it objectively in the classroom.

Protect the frail, infirm and the elderly from the state’s arbitrary decision to terminate life.

Mike Renzulli Makes The The Libertarian Case For Gingrich

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

He frames the argument as pragmatic:

In Eastern and Western philosophy there are two forces usually at work against one another which (it is assumed) helps bring balance to the world. In Asian philosophy it is the conflict between Yin and Yang. In Christianity the conflict is between the ideas of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo while in secular philosophy the conflict is between the outlook of Aristotle and Plato.

In her book The Future and it’s Enemies, Virginia Postrel outlines the conflict between the dynamists and the statists. Dynamists embace a world of choice and competition which includes economic prosperity, technological progress and cultural innovation.

Statists, on the other hand, envision a society that upholds the status quo, while embracing the values of a simpler past and authoritarian rule.

The fact remains that Western civilization is embroiled in a struggle for it’s very survival against enemies (Islam and the left) openly hostile to secularism and capitalism along with the freedoms open societies embrace.

Israel, for example, is surrounded by theocratic dictatorships, and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and their leftists allies work diligently to undermine her in the court of public opinion. Their delegitimization campaign is only part of an effort that will result in a second Holocaust of the country’s Jewish population while obliterating the only country in the Middle East that is a prosperous, secular island of sanity which makes Islamist countries look bad. With Israel gone it will give Islamists will have less of a hurdle to convince their followers to join them in their quest to destroy Western infidels since by doing will have a far off faceless enemy to demonize.

via Libertarian Republican: The Libertarian case for Gingrich.

And because of these factors, he recommends Gingrich.

Sure I would love to see Ron Paul in office. But having disbanded much of his campaign yesterday, I don’t see it as possible. Even if he were elected, the president’s power to enact policy is severely limited by the bureaucracy, by process, by the courts, by lobbyists, and by the other two houses of government.

What I do believe, is that libertarian ideals are not achievable without the western tradition. And that tradition is under attack by the Left and by Islam. And that our chances of defending ourselves are decreasing by the day.

I don’t know if Gingrich is electable. But I would vote for Gingrich just to have him debate Obama and destroy him every time. I usually try to stay away from promoting candidates, and I stick with policy and strategy under the assumption that the marginal difference between them is limited.

But I am very afraid of another Obama presidency. And I’m afraid for my civilization. And I’m not afraid of maintaining libertarian ideals if we retain our civilization.

Philosophy Needs More Than Rebranding — It Needs A Reformation. (NYT Followup)

Saturday, March 10th, 2012


I suggested in my earlier essay that philosophy so conceived is best classified as a science, because of its rigor, technicality, universality, falsifiability, connection with other sciences, and concern with the nature of objective being (among other reasons). I did not claim, however, that it is an empirical science, like physics and chemistry; rather, it is an a priori science, like the “formal science” of mathematics.

As I understand it (and I am a practitioner, albiet a pragmatist, and I operate within the narrow field of political economy):

1) Philosophy is the process of creating, organizing, disassembling, and reorganizing categories according to their properties in order to expose causal relations which may be used by human beings for the purpose of improving their actions in the physical world — a world in which they possess fragmentary knowledge, experience pervasive material scarcity, limited time, are challenged by instincts and abilities unsuited to a complex society in an ever changing division of knowledge and labor, where those instincts must be sated and intentionally retrained by new ideas on a periodic basis in response to unanticipated change.

2) Philosophy as such is the study of norms: a) existing norms and theories of alternative norms (ethics) b) improvement of our process of reasoning itself by testing against the real world evidence of our norms (which must exist as a norm to function), c) improvement in public rhetoric, so that we may cooperate in large numbers toward shared ends whether by direct political or indirect market action. (which again must exist as an norm). So philosophy is the study of adapting and perpetuating norms, and the tools of constructing and deconstructing norms. Where norms are a tool of human cooperation.

3) Philosophy suffers from association with, and embracement of, mysticism, platonism and religion — in no small part because these allegorical systems are a means of establishing norms.. It suffers from a failure to incorporate empirical data as a means of testing expressions. It suffers from its distraction by the metaphysical program as practitioners attempted to legitimize their discipline as a hard science. It suffers from the desperate attempt of the entrenched institutional careerism by academics who are invested in these irrelevancies. And because of that, philosophy has lost its respect in society — a society that is suffering from the loss of its means of judging and propagating norms. A society that is suffering because of the failure of philosophy to fulfill its role at developing and justifying norms — in a vain attempt at becoming a science. A science is a process of discovery. Philosophy, as a vehicle for norms, is the process of invention. In effect, philosophy has sought to become a science by the process of introspection – which must naturally become recursive and meaningless — rather than the process of experimentation and analysis of the real world and our actions in it.

4) As a study of norms, economics is the means by which we can measure norms. (Albiet limited by our paucity of information collection, but evolving in response to our skill at information collection). Therefore philosophical concepts can be empirically tested. Behavioral psychology is the study of the human instinct and propensity for error. Politics is the means by which we define institutional mechanisms of cooperation.

5) Philosophers work too hard at either justifying existing norms, trying to find utopian norms, or trying to justify existing human instinctual preferences. Political scientists, Economists and behavioral psychologists, are in the process of replacing philosophy as a discipline. if they were to do nothing other than adopt the clarity of analytical philosophy’s language, or if philosophy would do nothing but export this skill to these disciplines, then they would succeed.

6) Philosophy has only one future, and that is to return itself to the study of norms, and a necessary feature of political action and to repudiate the metaphysical program as a series of catastrophic errors born out of the envy of the physical sciences, and the need of careerists and devotees to find relevance.

Branding is not the problem. Content is. And any decent marketer will tell you that the best brand is quality that is self evident to the observer. The discipline of philosophy is anything but materially relevant today. It is a profession lost. Gilding a lilly is unnecessary and gilding a dustbin doesn’t help.

Did Sowell Not Conceive Of The Left Right Conflict As The Masculine And Feminine?

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

I’ll have to ask him if I get the chance.

Republicans attack ObamaContent as “socialized meaning” « fauxphilnews

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

In a rare break from party infighting, Monday’s Republican primary debate saw the candidates unite in their derision of “ObamaContent,” the president’s newly unveiled theory of linguistic meaning.  The theory, which relies upon the practice of a speaker’s linguistic community to fix the semantic content of many words, was attacked as “socialized meaning” by the debate participants.

via Republicans attack ObamaContent as “socialized meaning” « fauxphilnews.

This is just the right making use of the left’s strategy (from Chomsky etc.).

Just as they have adopted every other strategy after some frustrating internal hand wringing about their feelings about the ethics of it.

And so we continue the cycle of degenerative discourse.

The underlying issue remains the same. We either use the caretaker strategy, which is a synonym for subsidizing the birth rates of the lower classes, or we use the aristocratic strategy which is a synonym for constraining the birth rates of the lower classes.

The ‘framing’ in political discourse consists of using every possible distraction to avoid the underlying issue: that norms are dependent upon the behavioral ability of the majority and therefore the right’s concept of freedom requires individual accountability and the suppression of the birth rates of the lower classes in order to achieve improvements in the body politic. The left’s concept of freedom requires redistribution, tolerance for impulsivity over discipline, and an authoritarian government to perform administration of it.

It is possible to create a compromise between these two worlds, but not while the ‘framing’ is conducted by either the right or the left as a means of avoiding the underlying problem.

The Financial Sector And Related White Collar Jobs Will Never Recover

Friday, March 9th, 2012

That’s for sure. Never. Because it was a boom.

We will finally get back to making things. :)

The Conservative Strategy

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

“The conservative strategy is to starve the beast as the only hope of preserving their freedom and their culture. In that context, their approach is entirely rational: in the battle between the public intellectual who would undermine their culture, and the entrepreneur who would preserve it, they are funding the entrepreneur. It is an entirely rational strategy. It is absolutely straightforward. Just as it is rational that Schumpeterian public intellectuals seek to fund the state.”


1) Bankrupt the state before it can bankrupt us, versus bankrupt the entrepreneurs so that we have all political power.

2) Society as a collection of competing groups with different interests where the government is a referee and property rights the rules, versus society as an extension of the family wherein interests are assumed to be homogenous.

3) The constrained vision of human ability where society is fragile, everything is scarce, and change should be organic because of inescapable human hubris, versus the unconstrained vision of human ability where society i stable, everything is plentiful, and change should be directed and consensual, and problems are always solvable.

4) The feminine social order where the purpose of society is to produce as many children as possible, consume as much as possible, and provide the safest most nurturing world for all, versus the masculine social order where the purpose of society is to constrain the worst, concentrate resources in the best, and produce individual excellences.

These are simply facts. Sowell was correct in stating the difference between the constrained vision and the unconstrained vision. He was insufficient in that the purpose of the social orders is secured by masculine and feminine biological preferences writ large. Nor was he, or anyone else, clear that the source of western innovation was the manorial system’s evolutionary ability to suppress the birth rates of the lower classes and in doing so create a more intelligent society capable of greater progress.

Ten Curious Questions About Canadian Social Signaling

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

So the answer is pretty obvious. Canadians act like happy people, because they are. They live privileged lives in a privileged country. How else should they act?

It’s odd. I can walk around Moscow, Paris, Istanbul, or rural Hungary and understand the cultural signals people are using. Why is it that Canadian signaling is so strange to me when it’s right next door and they speak the same language?

(I’ve collected an interesting set of observations that foreign visitors make of the states. I’m trying to do the same for canada. The easiest country to understand is France. They have a fascinating signaling structure. But canada is hard to take apart for some reason — probably because I don’t know enough canadian economic history.)

Most of this behavior is kind of charming. But the fact that it’s charming simply doesn’t explain WHY people develop these signals in the first place.

1) Q: Why does every conversation about anything political end up using the Nazis as a counter example? It seems sort of ‘antique’. Or quaint. The world has moved on. Extremes are a way of actually avoiding complex issues. So I instinctually see it as a means of political self deception.
A: I found an answer to this one: Canadians have an international sensibility and the only people one can criticize without fear of offense is the Nazis. (Of course they don’t realize that radical Islam is using the Nazi propaganda playbook and the communist social and economic strategy.)

2) Q: Why is atheism worn like a badge of honor? Religion isn’t talked about in the states as much as it is here in eastern canada. It’s like canadians are more religious about not being religious than evangelicals are about themselves. Again, instinctually I see it as putting something down as an effort to raise one’s self up. But I suspect there is more of a reason for it. In Quebec I understand, because the church was so dominant in society. But I don’t understand the rest of canadian’s obsession with anti-religious statements. Is it a reaction to perceived american religiosity? (I don’t think canadians understand the economic value of american puritanism. It’s why we don’t have so much petty theft.)

3) Q: Why do people wear their injuries like an affliction is a war wound, and the cast a medal? Is it to promote the virtue of their medical system? That seems to be the canadian ethos. Very strange to me. Is it part of the victims-as-heros meme?

4) Q: Why is do Canadians grant each other the right to be oblivious? In most other germanic-language countries, you’re expected to be aware of those around you. In canada, waiting for someone to get out of the way is considered a sort of charity we should all be proud of. I mean, we all laugh at the Hindus and Asians for making shopping impossible. But what’s the deal with Canadians?

5) Q: Decisiveness. Canadians need far more information in order to decide something than most other westerners. This surprises me. I’ll figure out where it comes from eventually. Actually, it’s more like they’ve taken British lower class skepticism and distributed it across the entire spectrum. There is really no upper class here. It’s strange. In the states we have at least two layers of them. In Russia (Did I say I loved Russia yet?) they do. Or at least they still have aristocratic sentiments somewhat like the Germans.

6) Q: Customer Service. This is what people from other countries don’t understand about the states: the culture is the MARKETPLACE. That’s all we have in common. When you’re at your job, it’s ‘Game On’. When you go home you can relax. But we have high expectations of people who are ‘in the market’. Good customer service is a civic duty. It’s like french manners, or canadian deference, or german duty. In canada, people at work and home are little different. That’s why customer service is bad here, despite how nice people are. And really. They’re very, very nice. But why? Why didn’t they get the commercial social sentiment? I’m sure I can figure it out but I haven’t yet.

7) Q: Product Selection: Why, if we’re just across the border, is everything more expensive, with less selection? I swear, it’s like the USA in the 1970’s. Outside of Toronto you can’t even buy nice furniture very easily. There has to be a reason for it. But selection here is terrible by contrast. Like the UK in the 80’s.

8) Q: Health Movement. I know the health movement is a west coast thing that radiated outward, and as an Ecotopian (northwesterner) I have perhaps a odd expectation. But you literally cannot find food that isn’t saturated with every preservative and chemical on the planet. (Which for me is horrid.)

9) Q: The Quaintness of Political Problems. Really. To travel around the world, read newspapers and journals, and blogs from around the world, and the read canadian newspapers and the MUNDANE content of most political discourse is just amazing. It’s like kids arguing over whether Darth Maul or Boba Fett is cooler. I mean, is it so peaceful, spacious, gentle and comfortable here that the locals have to make something to talk about? I went through a week’s worth of newspapers circling the factual stories. You could reduce the entire content to half a page. Such is the lot of being a resource-rich english speaking country bordered by a friendly superpower. But the question is WHY is this noisy discourse so important to Canadians. They all seem to participate and care about it… but is that because the outcomes are so indifferent? Is it all they have to build community about given that there are no external threats? I have to figure this one out. All I end up with is that canada is the most privileged country on earth right now.

10) Q; Why less venomous racism? Living in Ottawa makes it very visible that the race problem is bigger in the states than I had thought. I understood that it was impossible to resolve in the states for historical reasons. But I didn’t realize how bad the problem was and how pervasive until I spent time here. Like the UK, the integration of blacks into society seems to be more successful than the states. I suspect this is largely an artifact of the power struggles in the states. But its painful. I still think affirmative action only exacerbates the problem.

A couple of other things in perspective:
0) Canada has roughly the same population as California. The population is centered along to the us-canadian border. the toronto-ottawa corridor is part of the “foundry’ culture, along with chicago, detroit, Cincinnati, new york, philadelphia. The Vancouver area is part of ecotopian culture along with san francisco, portland, and seattle. The plains provinces are indistinguishable from the US plains states, and they are culturally part of the “empty quarter” culture. Quebec is arguably its own civilization — and why english speaking canadians don’t support a quebec independence doesn’t make sense to me. Like their continental french peers, they are a blocking culture that is a hostile partner.

1) Power and Weakness. Canada is next door to a gorilla. They don’t have to pay for military, especially per square mile — so it’s amazingly cheap to be canada. The Weak generally treat pacifism as a virtue. (see the USA vs Europe prior to 1860). I can understand this influence on canadian culture. They are very proud of their little military. It’s a symbolic force. But they treat it with dignity. I find it very appealing.

2) Canada is unable to create innovative productivity because it is culturally too risk averse for widespread scale entrepreneurship. (Is it a cultural memory of being poor? A self concept of relative poverty that isn’t borne out by the facts? A class heritage?) And secondly, because they have a resource economy that makes high productivity unnecessary. But to pay for their social programs given the size of the country and the low population, they’ve been selling off land to immigrants like the USA did post civil war. This has not yet had the social impact in canada that it did in the 1930’s in the states. And they seem, like the english, to do a better job of integrating people than we do in the states, save for muslims, which don’t integrate anywhere in the english speaking world, even after three generations. This is probably what I see in the public discourse. I think the spatial stuff is just a remnant of ‘little england’. I know that Quebec was populated largely by members of the lower classes. Is the same true of english speaking canada? Was land that much cheaper here?

3) Consumer banking in canada is like consumer banking in the states before 1980. It’s much better for consumers here. Business banking is … (Amateurish?) by contrast. But I’d venture that either switzerland or canada has the best consumer banking system. I mean, I could write a book about it.

4) While there is a lot more petty crime in canada than the states (yes there is), the police are also a lot better here. Like the bankers they are here to help you. Cops in the states are there to punish and fine you. Bankers are there to soak you with fees. And that is the one thing about the USA that I have found simply intolerable. The militarization of the police force is more socially destructive than I would have predicted.

Anyway, that’s my list of curious questions.