Friday, June 20, 2008

Money by Consent NOT Force

Here is a well done lecture on the purpose of money. Given that grounding it is clear that legal tender laws strip you of your power.

This lecture is by Mr. Paul McKeever. His many videos are on YouTube. His blog is

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Only Path To Tomorrow
Ayn Rand
Readers Digest, January 1944, pp. 88-90

The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.

Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ``the common good.´´

Throughout history, no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing ``the common good.´´ Napoleon ``served the common good´´ of France. Hitler is ``serving the common good´´ of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by ``altruists´´ who justify themselves by the common good.

No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.

This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man's right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man's right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man's happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can only be a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.

From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. His basic need is independence — in order to think and work. He neither needs nor seeks power over other men — nor can he be made to work under any form of compulsion. Every type of good work — from laying bricks to writing a symphony — is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man's independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.

The Passive Man is found on every level of society, in mansions and in slums, and his identification mark is his dread of independence. He is a parasite who expects to be taken care of by others, who wishes to be given directives, to obey, to submit, to be regulated, to be told. He welcomes collectivism, which eliminates any chance that he might have to think or act on his own initiative.

When a society is based on the needs of the Passive Man it destroys the Active; but when the Active is destroyed, the Passive can no longer be cared for. When a society is based on the needs of the Active Man, he carries the Passive ones along on his energy and raises them as he rises, as the whole society rises. This has been the pattern of all human progress.

Some humanitarians demand a collective state because of their pity for the incompetent or Passive Man. For his sake they wish to harness the Active. But the Active Man cannot function in harness. And once he is destroyed, the destruction of the Passive Man follows automatically. So if pity is the humanitarians' first consideration, then in the name of pity, if nothing else, they should leave the Active Man free to function, in order to help the Passive. There is no other way to help him in the long run.

The history of mankind is the history of the struggle between the Active Man and the Passive, between the individual and the collective. The countries which have produced the happiest men, the highest standards of living and the greatest cultural advances have been the countries where the power of the collective — of the government, of the state — was limited and the individual was given freedom of independent action. As examples: The rise of Rome, with its conception of law based on a citizen's rights, over the collectivist barbarism of its time. The rise of England, with a system of government based on the Magna Carta, over collectivist, totalitarian Spain. The rise of the United States to a degree of achievement unequaled in history — by grace of the individual freedom and independence which our Constitution gave each citizen against the collective.

While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action. Collectivism is the ancient principle of savagery. A savage's whole existence is ruled by the leaders of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

We are now facing a choice: to go forward or to go back.

Collectivism is not the ``New Order of Tomorrow.´´ It is the order of a very dark yesterday. But there is a New Order of Tomorrow. It belongs to Individual Man — the only creator of any tomorrows humanity has ever been granted.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama Boggles My Mind

Today McCain, in the wake of rapidly rising fuel prices and their myriad consequences, switched his position stating the United States needs to increase domestic oil production. This issue has hit a nerve. People are sending drill bits to Congress to make the point that we need to drill for oil. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial a week ago entitled Drill, Drill, Drill. This is a genuine grass roots movements to get the politicians off center and into action regarding our energy supply.

What did Obama say? "McCain is pandering to the big oil companies."

What? What an insult!!! An outrageous insult!!!

Who can be that oblivious to what people are saying? When the electorate has generally had it with politicians because they cannot hear us nor care a whit about us, (fighting more for their earmarks and expanding their control over us and charging us for it) Obama has the audacity to ignore this public outcry and interpret McCain's switch as pandering.

What in hell's name would cause him to say this?

I say this is the evidence that Obama is committed to his political agenda: Damn business. Undermine business. Get control over business. Ultimately, the government takeover of business. (Remember that slip by Maxine Waters, a fellow socialist? This is consistent with his oft-cited Marxist influences and given these ideas, appeasing big business would be a sellout - which is what he accuses McCain of doing. His candidacy is not about the American people nor our country. (I am even suspicious he has deep feeling for this country.) We are a means, not an end. Because he has changed his positions so many times depending on his audience, whatever he says that sounds like he cares IS pandering.

Pandering? For what?

Power, more power, ultimate power - the ultimate purpose of political rabble rousing he learned from his mentor, Saul Alinksky. Power not for a purpose we can all be included in, but power for its own sake. Obama is damned ambitious.

For these reasons, I think Obama is the worse. He and McCain expect us to sacrifice. Neither understands political liberty and both are moving away from freedom. McCain calls us to sacrifice for the country. Obama calls us to sacrifice for the underdog. Except Obama is NOT FOR the underdog. He is against success. Should an underdog become successful, he will undermine them as he does all of the successful. He uses the underdog, the weakest among us, as a reason to undermine, steal from and silence the successful. His ideas, and he as a purveyor of them, is viscious. He portrays the rich as evil exploiters even though he and Michelle made over a million dollars last year. At this point it gets too crazy for me to understand. There must be some massive divide in his mind.

Another discouraging thing I am hearing is that many people, black and white, think that electing Obama is an historic opportunity to show the world we have grown beyond our racist past. According to them, skin color at this point in history should determine our vote for President. Since Obama is motivated by the same ideas as were Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Castro, what is this going to do for any of us including those among us with black skins? If color is the essential characteristic that one should pay attention to, then what effect will that have for future blacks politicians? When due to his vicious ideas his presidency turns out a bust, will the bumper sticker be "Obama, the black mistake?"

Feelings are not a means of cognition nor a guide to action. Rationality is the first virtue.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Beacon from the Wilderness

A friend sent me this article from the Los Angeles Times. Such an inspiration. Enjoy it. Here is a man that has no space for the "victim mentality", the people who use it nor those who prey on people by means of it. (Principlex)

Leftist Thinking Left Off the Syllabus

By Marla Dickerson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 6, 2008

Guatemala City: Leftist ideology may be gaining ground in Latin America. But it will never set foot on the manicured lawns of Francisco Marroquin University.

For nearly 40 years, this private college has been a citadel of laissez-faire economics. Here, banners quoting "The Wealth of Nations" author Adam Smith -- he of the powdered wig and invisible hand -- flutter over the campus food court.Every undergraduate, regardless of major, must study market economics and the philosophy of individual rights embraced by the U.S. founding fathers, including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."A sculpture commemorating Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is affixed to the school of business. Students celebrated the novel's 50th anniversary last year with an essay contest. The $200 cash prize reinforced the book's message that society should reward capitalist go-getters who create wealth and jobs, not punish them with taxes and regulations."The poor are not poor just because others are rich," said Manuel Francisco Ayau Cordon, a feisty octogenarian businessman, staunch anti-communist and founder of the school. "It's not a zero-sum game."Welcome to Guatemala's Libertarian U. Ayau opened the college in 1972, fed up with what he viewed as the "socialist" instruction being imparted at San Carlos University of Guatemala, the nation's largest institution of higher learning. He named the new school for a colonial-era priest who worked to liberate native Guatemalans from exploitation by Spanish overlords.Ayau believed universities should stay out of politics and "place themselves beyond the conflicts of their time." Easier said than done, considering that at the time, Guatemala was under military rule and in the midst of a civil war.A CIA-backed coup in 1954 had toppled the country's democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. His proposal to redistribute unoccupied land to peasants infuriated the nation's largest landowner, U.S.-based United Fruit Co., and stoked fears in Washington that Guatemala would become a Soviet satellite. Arbenz's ouster unleashed a bloody internal conflict that lasted nearly four decades.Whereas San Carlos University actively aided leftist guerrillas, Francisco Marroquin preached the sanctity of private property rights and the rule of law. The cheeky Ayau chose red as the school's official color "on the theory that it had been expropriated by the communists and we shouldn't cede them exclusivity." He wore a bulletproof vest under his academic gown at the first graduation ceremony.Tensions have mellowed since peace accords were signed in 1996. The same cannot be said of Ayau, whose nicknames include "the curmudgeon" and "Muso," short for the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. His once-ragtag school now ranks among the finest in Central America. And he continues to irritate diverse factions of this impoverished nation with his unshakable faith in free markets, personal liberty, small government and his insistence on "no privileges for anybody."Some leftists deride him as a lackey of the ruling classes, dishing up neo-liberal dogma to rich kids in a nation where a few powerful families still call most of the shots. Conservative elites chafe at his op-ed harangues about their cozy oligopolies and government protections.Ayau delights at the potshots coming his way from both ends of the political spectrum: They signal that someone is listening."Ideas are powerful," he crowed recently, showing a visitor an auditorium named for the late American free-market economist Milton Friedman. "We're making progress."Ayau's unflagging passions have turned Guatemala into an unlikely whistle-stop for all manner of capitalist luminaries.Friedman, the University of Chicago economist, was one of four Nobel laureates in economics to have lectured at Francisco Marroquin. The school has bestowed honorary doctorates on billionaire publisher Steve Forbes and T.J. Rogers, the swashbuckling chief executive of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20," was honored this year on campus, as much for his ideology as his Emmy awards. An avowed libertarian, Stossel got a warm reception for his discourse against government regulation."We celebrate the message that this university teaches because economic freedom makes everybody's life better," Stossel said to rousing applause.No matter that Francisco Marroquin has made little headway in its own backyard.Today, more than half of Guatemala's population of 13 million lives in poverty. Namibia and Botswana rank higher than Guatemala on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom. Guatemala is one of the most corrupt nations in the hemisphere, according to Transparency International, a nongovernmental organization. Land ownership is concentrated in few hands. Key industries such as sugar are controlled by powerful oligopolies that saddle poor consumers with high prices.

"They are insatiable," Ayau said.Still, Ayau points to a few small victories. Francisco Marroquin graduates were among the key architects of the 1996 deregulation of Guatemala's telecommunications industry. The country now boasts a competitive sector with some of the lowest rates in Latin America. About three-quarters of the population have mobile phones.

Francisco Marroquin "is like this little gem in the middle of this region," said Donald Boudreaux, a George Mason University economist who has lectured at the university. "It has a sterling reputation." How a small Guatemalan college became the darling of free-market circles has everything to do with Ayau, a charmingly abrasive dynamo who looks nowhere near his 82 years of age. Born into a middle-class family in Guatemala, Ayau spent much of his youth in the United States, where his mother moved for a time after his father's death. He attended Catholic high school in Belmont, Calif., then headed to the University of Toronto, where he studied chemical engineering. He dropped out after reading Rand's "Fountainhead." The novel's protagonist, Howard Roark, is expelled from architecture school after refusing to conform to its tired standards. "I realized when I read Rand . . . that I was starting out my life all wrong," Ayau said. He said he concluded that "I have to study something that I like, otherwise I'll never be any good." Ayau eventually earned a mechanical engineering degree at Louisiana State University and returned to Guatemala to work in the family's industrial gas firm. He joined a business council that lobbied the government on various issues. But favors granted to specific people and industries didn't make Guatemala grow any faster. Ayau wondered what role the state should play to ensure that everyone had a crack at prosperity. So he set out to teach himself economics. One of the first books on his list was "The Affluent Society," a 1958 bestseller by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith. A longtime Democratic Party advisor, Galbraith believed that government spending on healthcare, education, infrastructure and anti-poverty programs was essential to society's well-being. Galbraith wrote that "wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding." Ayau wasn't persuaded. "I read the first two pages and I said, 'This guy is nuts!'" he recalled. He later picked up a pamphlet by Ludwig von Mises, a member of the so-called Austrian School of economics. Considered one of the fathers of modern libertarianism, Mises abhorred state intervention in the economy. He believed that open markets, individual choice, private property and the rule of law were the means to a prosperous society. Something clicked. Ayau read everything he could find by Mises, Friedrich Hayek and other Austrian School economists. He started a small discussion group among some Guatemalan friends and eventually traveled to New York to attend lectures at the Foundation for Economic Education, a free-market think tank. Through contacts there he met Mises and others whose works he'd been reading. At Ayau's urging, several traveled to Guatemala to speak to his tiny band of free marketeers, who by now were calling themselves the Center for Economic and Social Studies. The center published pamphlets, wrote newspaper op-ed pieces and held seminars. But the group concluded that young people were the key to change. They would start a private university teaching natural law and free-market economics. They founded Francisco Marroquin in 1971 and began classes a year later with 40 students in a rented house. Enrollment is now at 2,700, and the university offers 18 degree programs, including journalism, architecture and medicine, on a beautiful, modern campus. All students speak English. Entrance requirements are stiff. So is tuition. At $8,000 a year for some programs (more than three times the annual gross national per capita income), it's the priciest university in Guatemala. University President Giancarlo Ibarguen said the sum was justified by the good job offers graduates receive. There are no sports teams and no affirmative action in hiring or admissions. Instructors can forget about tenure; there is none. Ditto for the protests and sit-ins that are common in public universities in Latin America. If Francisco Marroquin students are unhappy with the product they're getting, they're free to take their business elsewhere. "If you don't like Macy's, you go to Gimbels," Ayau said. Critics scoff at the so-called House of Freedom, as Francisco Marroquin likes to refer to itself. "What they sell is discipline . . . a uniformity of thought that easily translates into dogma so that students graduate from campus believing that they are unique possessors of truth," said Mario Roberto Morales, a respected Guatemalan writer and intellectual. "The truth is that the university exists to indoctrinate the children of the oligarchs." Andrea Gandara, a 24-year-old political science major, begs to differ. The daughter of middle-class parents, she said her instructors had been consistent in their criticism of both mercantilism and socialism.Gandara said she wanted to take what she has learned at Francisco Marroquin and communicate it to a wider audience, particularly the millions of low-income Guatemalans that she said elites had written off as ignorant and easily manipulated by socialist rhetoric. Her career goal: president of Guatemala. "People aren't dumb. They want to make more money. They want to have more opportunities," she said. "Here we criticize capitalism, but we don't even know what it is. . . . I want to be part of a movement to change their minds."
Times staff writer Alex Renderos contributed to this report.

For article on the LA Times website which includes photos, go here:,0,5560223.story