Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Battling With Anxiety and Depression as an Aspergian

So, I have Asperger's syndrome, which is a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours and interests. People with the condition are typically extremely shy and introverted, form obsessive habits and interests, and typically suffer from low emotional maturity. I also have dyspraxia, which is a chronic neurological disorder that negatively affects the planning of movement and coordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately sent to the body. Understandably, this makes life just a tad bit harder than everybody elses. Despite being particularly well understood conditions, being 'invisible disabilities' leaves them susceptible to what I like to call 'con artists', i.e. people who claim to have to it. This leads to people who think you're faking it. Then there are the well-meaning buffoons who think you can do everything non-Aspergians can do, etc. It's quite annoying.

One problem with having Asperger's is that it leaves you particularly vulnerable to depression and anxiety. Because of difficulties in nonverbal communication, people with Asperger's might not necessarily appear depressed, and so it is usually not until the condition is sufficiently well-developed that it starts to become more obvious, i.e. total withdrawal, refusal to leave the home, go to work, go to college, etc. Sometimes even aggression, paranoia, and alcoholism may manifest also. Depression is common in individuals with Asperger's, and tends to be frequently connected to feelings of isolation from the world around them, and also loneliness, bereavement, loss, extreme anxiety levels, a growing sense of failure, etc. Most individuals with Asperger's typically report feelings of depression when leaving home, going to college, etc. and refer to instances such as attempts to make friends. Childhood experiences such as bullying and abuse also lead to depression. I have battled with both depression and extreme anxiety for a long time now.

The symptoms of depression: poor concentration, poor memory, thoughts of death/suicide, physical tardiness, agitation, tiredness/lack of energy, sleep problems, disturbed appetite, low mood, loss of interest, loss of pleasure, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of helplessness, withdrawal, bizarre beliefs and periods of mania. Aside from depression, people with Asperger's are particularly prone to extreme anxiety, due to the social demands placed on them. In fact, 84.1% of children with developmental disorders (such as Asperger's) meet the full criteria for at least one anxiety disorder. Such feelings of intense anxiety don't go away either, with such feelings actually getting worse in adolescence and young adulthood.

According to the World Health Organisation, 50% of all mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, actually begin to manifest around age 14. This is relatively unsurprising me. Being continually forced to attend public (i.e. state) school was easily one of the worst experiences in my entire life. It really is hard to impress just what an abject, unrelenting cesspool of absolute and unremitting misery public school is. Obviously, as a means of actually educating children, such institutions fail spectacularly. The effects of placing education in the hands of the government is rising costs (which are paid through taxes and so are hidden costs), shortages, and lowering quality. Public schooling exists solely as a means to instill conformity into children; compulsory state education is the model of the totalitarian state.

Uniform teaching based on a set curriculum is a failure because it does not conform to the educational needs and requirements of every child. Those at the top will be held back by those at the bottom, those at the bottom will struggle to keep up with those further ahead. I remember being made to re-do certain essays and assignments for being 'too good'. One teacher said it literally wasn't fair on the other children. Being punished for success rather understandably did not send me very good messages. Another problem I had was that when it came time for GCSEs in high school, I was not allowed to use a computer for my exams despite having dyspraxia, which makes handwriting particularly difficult. So, yeah, needless to say I didn't too well in exams. Which makes the fact I did so well in college and university the more amusing. One delicious irony is that my BA and MA degrees are in history, when my Middle School history teacher was Satan incarnate.

Aside from all this, it was just the sheer constant bullying from my intellectual inferiors, but also the constant stream of psychological abuse from teachers. One teacher in particular, my middle school History Teacher to be exact, literally hated me. I'm not exaggerating, she specifically hated all children with special needs, particularly me. She was one of the ones who made me re-do essays all the time for being too good. Incidentally, she tended to get some basic facts about European history wrong too, like claiming that Henry VIII founded protestantism when he was only responsible for the creation of Anglicanism. As a side note, whilst the individual most directly responsible for the Protestant reformation was Martin Luther it's kind of silly to say it was founded by any one person. I hated public school so much, I frequently tried to escape. I ran away more times than I cared to remember. Other times I would fake illness to avoid specific classes, or so I could stay at home. I was ecstatic every time I got genuinely ill. I think the best two weeks of my time at school was the time I the muscles in my ribcage got infected following a bout of flu. Another occasion I was able to get out of an entire year of PE as I had an ingrown toenail, and had the sides of that nail removed. If all else failed, I just hid somewhere and hoped nobody found me.

Aside from the sheer unadulterated horrors of compulsory state education, there were other things that contributed to my ever deteriorating mental state. My mum and dad took it upon themselves to raise my cousin, whose behaviour was utterly atrocious during that time, and my parents later divorcing. Of course, the main thing that really set my depression off was when a close friend of mine brutally stabbed me in the back, by randomly and out of nowhere cutting me off completely. This was somebody I had been friend with for years, and all of sudden they had deleted me from all social media. I emailed them a few times asking if they were okay and if I had done something but got no reply. After sinking into a depression, I got a reply a year later basically accusing me of being a stalker. So, yeah, I learned the hard way that even trusted friends are capable of betrayal. When I left home to go to university, I became more acutely aware of how ill-equipped to handle adult life I was. I still can't cook, and despite having numerous people promise to me they would try and teach me, nobody has ever made good on their offer. I have tried cooking myself, but to call such efforts an abysmal failure would be an understatement. I still can't butter bread of make sandwiches properly without destroying the bread despite years of trying (that would be the dyspraxia).

Despite being disadvantaged and largely incapable of doing lots of things people take for granted, I think the worst part is people frequently claiming that I can do such things if only I practiced. Well, fuck you, I've tried and still can't so show me how to do it, do it for me, or shut your mouth. Another thing that pisses me off is how pretty much every lies to you claiming that going to college and university is enough to get you a good job. Well, I'm 27 and have an MA, and have managed to land: one job where I got made redundant after 6 weeks, a temporary 13 week contract at Tescos that was not renewed, a one month stint at McDonalds where I basically failed the probationary period, and a bunch of unpaid job placements and voluntary work. Of course, part of that does have to do with the fact that the Isle of Wight is an economic cesspit that has three times the unemployment figures as the UK national average.

Luckily, I am fortunate in that I escaping this festering offal pit of a country for San Antonio, Texas, where I can finally be with my wife despite having already been married for three years. Ah, good old government efficiency! I'm hoping my symptoms alleviate when I get to 'Murica, since I don't want to have to go back onto medication again. So, I'm going to try and brave it out until I get there. Ironically, it the stress of having to move to America and deal with literally everything myself that is causing my anxiety and depression to go into overdrive. That and the realisation that life would be infinitely more easy if it weren't for all the stupid shit government does. If government wasn't continually subverting market processes, I might actually be employed right now.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Post-Brexit Aftermath II: Electric Boogaloo

It's been a whole week since the British referendum regarding membership of the EU, and even though a clear majority voted to leave, the remain camp have nevertheless ratcheted up the hysteria, propaganda, and outright lies that lost them the campaign in the first place. So, without further ado, go team retard!*

(*It should go without saying, but this only applies to the morons, and not to the sensible and mature people. When I refer to 'remain', etc. I am referring to the small but vocal minority of turds who are causing all the fuss).

Outright lie number one: Brexit is 'fascism'. 
I still find it hilarious how the remain camp think that a democratic vote and acting on the result of that democratic vote is 'fascism', but simultaneously think that ignoring the result of that democratic vote and imposing the opposite via top-down authoritarianism is 'democratic'. This is simply how democracy works. The largest group wins. The remain camp are little more than closet fascists themselves, as there have been further calls to ignore the result of the referendum entirely because it isn't 'legally binding'. Of course, given that we live in a 'representational democracy' MPs have to vote according to the wishes of the constituency and a clear majority support Brexit. In reality, of course, our system of 'representational democracy' is essentially just an autocratic, kleptocratic, oligarchy. We merely get to pick our rulers. Now, I'm no big fan of democracy, as it is clearly immoral and obviously inferior when compared to voluntarism. I just find it hilarious how those who pay lip service to democracy are really just closet fascists. I also find it hilarious how the left preaches 'tolerance' but are so intolerant of other people's ideas that a group of deluded millennials decided to wait outside Boris Johnson's house so they could boo and harass him. Nicola Sturgeon is claiming Scotland did not vote out of the EU, and so Scottish MPs could veto Brexit. Unfortunately for Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland is not an independent sovereign nation. Scotland did not vote on EU membership. The UK as a whole did. If Scotland want to remain in the EU, then they need to leave the UK to do so.

Now, I absolutely support the breaking up of the UK. Secession and decentralisation of power are two of the best political acts that can happen. However, this would currently be a disaster for Scotland if they do this. If they leave the UK, then they'd have to give up the pound Sterling, etc. They would then have to join the EU, and this raises two problems: they have to be accepted by all EU member states, and they have to adopt the Euro if they are let in. Regarding the first issue, Spain is unlikely to be favourable towards an independent Scotland, since Scottish independence would likely encourage Catalonian independence movements within Spain. Regarding the second, the Eurozone is in utter turmoil. Greece is in utter economic ruin, and the rest of the Mediterranean are in abysmal shape. Of course, one other problem is that Scotland on its own would likely fail to meet several criteria required for EU membership anyway as Scotland has a bigger budget deficit than Greece. Northern Irish secession makes more sense since they wish to reunify with the Republic of Ireland. However, if the Scottish people want independence, they absolutely should have it. It might spell economic disaster for Scotland, but it would save the UK a lot of money. Interestingly, it seems as if the Scottish aren't too keen on Nicola Sturgeon, however, as a petition has been started to remove her as First Minister of Scotland, and had gained over 18,000 signatures. More recently, however, rich people are marching in favour of a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels in the hilarious named 'march for Europe'. I can't help but remember the last time a bunch of people marched against democracy and in favour of a Federal Europe...

Outright lie number two: Brexit is 'racist' and 'xenophobic'. 
Like most regressives and leftists, many in the remain camp have decided that simply shouting at people and calling them racists is a compelling argument. The simple reality is that there are not 17 million racists in this country. Much like how, in the same way, the 16 million people who voted remain aren't all massive crybabies kicking up a huge stink. Whether the actual racists have been emboldened by the Brexit vote is another matter. Maybe they have, maybe they haven't. Incidentally, I live on the Isle of Wight, one of the most pro-leave areas in the UK. There is an off-license nearby run by Tamils (from Sri Lanka) and they also have a Polish lady working there. Despite this, no acts of racial abuse have occurred. In fact, quite the opposite, with lots of the older patrons being especially warm and friendly. The only incident of racism I've ever witnessed was a case where two kids in the queue in front of me were giggling to each other, saying that the shop owners 'sound like monkeys'. However, if you wish to find the main source of hostility and conflict, then one needs to look no further than the left, whose insane rhetoric and steadfast refusal to even consider the point of views who disagree with them is the main reason so many people feel alienated, bitter, and resentful. When you continually brush off the concerns of the poor and working class, and shout 'racist!' at the top of your lungs in response, then people tend to get more than just a little bit pissed off. In fact, shouting 'racist!' is probably one of the big reasons the remain camp lost the vote. Because it simply isn't an argument. Brexit voters could very well be racist, but that fact alone would do nothing to answer their arguments.

However, is it xenophobia when a fear is entirely rational and well-grounded? Mass immigration clearly concerns a lot of people, primarily the people who live in the areas where mass amounts of migrants are arriving. In order to understand and dialogue with someone whose views do not align with yours, it helps if you seek to understand what their concerns are and on what basis they are made. The majority of people don't care that people of different colours and nationalities are coming to their country. What so concerns people is mass immigration of those from incompatible cultures. It has been revealed that over a period of 16 years, in excess of 1,400 girls were subjected to sexual abuse, which included forced prostitution and gang rape, at the hands of Muslim immigrants to the UK in Rotherham. As bad as that is, it was also revealed that the police knew about this, but failed to prosecute or do anything because they were worried about being branded 'racist'. More recently, numerous incidents of mass sexual assault were carried out by large gangs of Muslim migrants in Cologne, and elsewhere. Incidents of rape have also gone up in places such as Sweden that have seen mass influxes of immigrants from Islamic regions. When concerns such as these are ignored and brushed under the rug and those who bring up such concerns are branded as 'racists', is it any wonder that people become angry? Is it any wonder that extremist views rise in popularity and appeal?

Mass immigration, particular in nations with lavish and extravagant welfare states, such as the UK, prevents cultural assimilation and leads to segregated ghettos, and conflict. This is happening all around us. Children of immigrants are typically more radicalised than their parents, and it due to this lack of cultural assimilation. Natives who live in areas with such high number of these types of immigrants are rightly worried. Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Western civilisation and socio-cultural values: most importantly sharia law does not recognise the separation of Church and State. Aside from the cultural issue, there is the economic issue of the fact that mass immigration puts downward pressure on wages, and also puts an increased burden and strain on public services. I absolutely support the eventual abolition of the NHS in the UK and replacing it with a genuine free-market healthcare system. However, most if not all of the remain do not, and support 'our' NHS. One of the big problems with such vastly inefficient systems is that you eventually reach a point where more people are taking out than paying in, and the massive influx of unskilled migrants isn't helping. You simply cannot have a lavish and extravagant welfare state and uncontrolled migration simultaneously. Migration needs to be controlled, which is what the overwhelming majority of leave voters believe. Whilst there presumably is no shortage of actual racists who have an irrational hatred and/or fear of all migrants, to suggest that the leave campaign and Brexit is based on racism or xenophobia is an outright lie. The majority of people have no problem with controlled migration, particularly skilled migrants.

Outright lie number three: Brexit serves the establishment.
Unfortunately for the remain camp, the overwhelming majority of the political and globalist establishment, the overwhelming majority of multimillionaire celebrities, et al., and the overwhelming majority of wealthy bourgeoisie and pseudo-intelligentsia all supported remain. The overwhelming majority of MPs supported leave. 185 Tory MPs, 218 Labour MPs, 54 SNP MPs, 8 Lib Dem MPs, 4 Sinn Fein MPs, 3 SDLP MPs, 3 Plaid Cymru MPs, and 4 'other' MPs all supported remain. Only 138 Tory MPs, 10 Labour MPs, 8 DUP MPs, and 2 'other' MPs supporting leave. It's a curious thing that the Brexit result has essentially caused the Labour party to fall apart entirely. Jeremy Corbyn was elected not by the Labour MPs (most of whom did not support Corbyn), but by the Labour voters and constituents who paid for the £5 Labour membership so they could vote for who the leader of the Labour party would be. Now, all the evidence seems to suggest that Corbyn did not support the remain camp, and has been accused by his fellow Labour MPs of only half-heartedly supporting the remain camp. In the aftermath of Brexit, 172 Labour MPs have stabbed Corbyn in the back by signing a 'vote of no confidence' in his leadership as two-thirds of his cabinet have so far stepped down... even though he was voted as leader by the Labour voters and constituents.

The idea that politicians represent the wishes of their constituents is simply demonstrably false, which this incident in particular demonstrates. I may despise Labour and everything the left stands for, but I really admire how Corbyn actually represents his constituents, and how he has handled himself in the wake of this cowardly attack from within his own party. A similar power struggle is ongoing in the Tory party, as David Cameron has decided to step down as PM... you know, rather than do his job and invoke Article 50.
Incidentally, it is likely that the establishment will do all in its power to stop Brexit from happening, or, at the least, try and sabotage it somehow. It's no coincidence that the state-owned BBC, as well as all the big media companies are pumping out anti-Brexit propaganda. The entire establishment was doing everything it could to lord over the leave voter base, insinuating that they are stupid, misinformed, voting against their own interests, etc. I just find it hysterical how people who have sided with David Cameron, the IMF, and Goldman Sachs against the poor and working classes can in any way consider themselves anti-establishment. By attacking actual anti-establishment individuals and defending the status quo of the establishment, they are clearly promoting antidisestablishmentarianism.

Outright lie number four: Brexit has caused/is going to cause an economic collapse/recession
Even though every economic prediction made by the remain camp has turned out completely false, they apparently haven't gained any perspective since they are still parroting the same doomsday prophesying. This is a classic case of the moving the goalposts fallacy, since they keep making ad hoc adjustments to their predictions and claims in order to save face, so they can keep saying 'look I was right' even as their claims and arguments are debunked right before their very eyes. The pound dropped and stocks took a plunge after Brexit, which is understandable when we consider that everyone was betting on the remain camp winning. They lost that bet, and that drop was an over correction to a market that had predicted the wrong result. The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 fluctuated up and then down, but have now risen considerably. Secondly, even during the dip, the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 were still way ahead of historic lows, such as 2002 and 2008, and were way ahead of February THIS year. However, one thing to note is that the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 took a dip on June 14th PRIOR to the Brexit result. Moreover, the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 still outperformed other economic indices abroad. Stocks and shares took a far worse turn overseas than here in the UK.

The fragility of the economy existed far before Brexit, and is the result of artificial credit expansion. Central banks pushing quantitative easing and artificially low interest rates have weakened the economy considerably, and lead to this periodic boom-bust cycles. The reason for this is because these policies stimulate artificial demand, which creates a period of unstable and unsustainable growth, colloquially referred to as a 'bubble'. When the policies can no longer be sustained, the boom ends, and a bust results. Moreover, the longer the period of artificial growth, the bigger the bust will be as the market has to correct itself. This is what a recession is. You'd still get recessions in a free-market banking and economic system, but they'd be much milder, and much shorter. These easy-credit policies cause these recessions to be much more frequent, to be much longer in duration, and to be much more savage and brutal than they otherwise would have been. The Great Depression would have been far less severe had it not been FDRs insane and reckless fiscal policies. The housing boom and bust in the US is no different. Banks were told by the government that they had to provide low interest loans and mortgages to people with bad credit ratings. This caused a boom in house prices. However, when the overwhelming majority of these people defaulted on their loans and mortgages, there was a massive bust.

Another feature of these policies is that it greatly reduces purchasing power, which hits the poor and working class the hardest. Pretty much all the countries in the world all have fiat currencies. What this means is that the money is just bits of paper and coins made out of basic metals. They are not tied to any physical commodity, such as gold or silver. This makes it very easy to mass produce. However, the more you have of something, the less value it has, and the same is true of money. The more dollars there are, the less each individual dollar is worth. As central banks print money ad infinitum, the value of currency goes down. Now, America has managed to stave off hyperinflation as there is currently a huge overseas demand for dollars as it the world reserve currency and is the currency used for trading in oil. If either or both of those were to change and all those overseas dollars came flooding back to the US, then hyperinflation would hit and America's economy would be wiped out. The idea that economic instability is the result of 'deregulation' is not just absolutely and unremittingly false, it is literally the exact opposite of the truth. The number of regulations in the US has only gone up and not down, and the net result is that GDP growth has slowed dramatically over the past decades, and that Americans are roughly 75% poorer. The artificial credit policies pursued by banks also represent a very specific form of regulation.

There is likely going to be a coming crash and recession, one that is likely going to make the 'great recession' of 2008 look like a picnic. However, it has nothing to do with Brexit. It has everything to do with the insane and fiscally reckless policies pursued across the globe. Incidentally, despite wailing about an economic collapse that just isn't happening, none of the remain camp seem to be aware of the Greek debt crisis, or the worsening economic conditions in the other Mediterranean nations (Italy, Spain, and Portugal). Both of these things are the direct result of the Eurozone. The interest rates at the European Central Bank are low due to economic powerhouses such as Germany. The poorer countries in the Eurozone are able to take out loans at rates that would otherwise have been unavailable to them. They borrow like crazy, but, obviously, cannot pay the loans back and so end up demanding more money. However, the wealthier countries can't keep bailing the poorer countries out ad infinitum, and so they have to stop the funding. This is just one of the ways in which the EU has provably made the European economy as a whole weaker.

Youth unemployment in EU member states is huge. The Common Fisheries Policy has decimated the British fishing industry. British fishing waters are being handed over to other EU member states, British fishers are being paid to destroy their boats, quotas are set on how much fish we can sell, etc. Among the largest pro-leave areas were areas up north where our fishing industry is based. Hilariously, I had a pro-remain person literally and unashamedly say ask why they should care about northern fisheries. The EU famously bought large quantities of crops from farmers and left it all to rot purely in order to drive prices up. The mandatory tariffs on non-EU imports have reduced the amount of trade and makes it harder for those in poorer countries to do trade with Europe, for instance, African farmers, or Brazilian sugar cane exporters. The EU has effectively created a huge barrier between Europe and the rest of the world. The policies of regulation, subsidisation, protectionism, etc. have all been tried before and have only ever produced the same results: worsening economic conditions.

Outright lie number five: virtually any claim made about MEP Nigel Farage
So many lies have been made against Nigel Farage that I could presumably have written an entire blog just about attacks made against him, but I thought I'd just save time and space by compressing the worst zingers here. Perhaps the biggest lie made about Farage is the obviously false claim that he has 'backtracked' on his position regarding the NHS. When Farage said that comments made by the leave camp regarding the NHS 'were a mistake', this was seized upon with hot lust by the remain camp, who were only too quick to accuse him of reneging a prior promise. However, had they bothered to do any research, the promises in question weren't made by Farage at all. They were made by the 'official' leave campaign which was run by Tory MPs Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. Farage can't possibly backtrack on a position he has never held. Essentially, the people accusing Farage of 'backtracking' are apparently trying to hold Farage accountable for the actions of others.

Another lie is made regarding Farage's brilliant speech made in the European Parliament following the Brexit result. The remain camp got particularly incensed over his remark that virtually none of the MEPs have done a  'real job', a reference to the fact that most politicians, particular those in the EU, are nothing but career politicians. There are actually people stupid enough to think that a handful of exceptions to this is enough to falsify Farage's claim. However, when you consider that there are 748 MEPs, and the remain camp can find ten or so examples to the contrary (which include UKIP MEPs), I fail to see how Farage has been proven wrong. At the very most, one could say, maybe his rhetoric was a bit exaggerated, but, realistically 10-20 people out of 748 having had real jobs isn't a damning contradiction. Of course, some of what remain considers 'real jobs' is particularly hilarious, but it should be already clear they are grasping at straws with this one.
One particularly hilarious lie is the claim that Nigel Farage is the British answer to Donald Trump. This might seem persuasive to the emotional children who think comparing everybody they don't like to Hitler is a valid means of political discourse, but, to those with more than half a brain, this is a claim that is very easy to disprove. Perhaps the most obvious fact is that Trump's views on government are diametrically opposed to Farage's. Farage has gone on record saying he believers in smaller, more local, and more limited government, whereas many of Trump's policies rely on big, large, and over expansive government. Perhaps the only thing they actually have in common is that they are both populist figures. The final and most egregious lie is that Farage and the remain camp have no plan. The obvious problem is that Farage and Daniel Hannan are both MEPs, and Johnson, Gove, et al. were all MPs. None of them were the Prime Minister, and none of them had the power to do anything. They only need a plan now because David Cameron has resigned (again, instead of doing his job). Not that any of this really matters, because attacking someone's personal characteristics in lieu of argument is the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem.

Outright lie number six: we get more from the EU than we pay in
I have to wonder at how so many people can believe this obvious falsehood. This claim is often made in response to the claim that we pay £13 billion a year. Now, it is true that we pay roughly £13 billion a year to the EU. However, the remain camp point out that the 'rebate' we receive, and the subsidies we receive from the EU. When we subtract those from the amount we pay in, we are left with £5 billion. There are people who are apparently stupid enough to believe that being returned £8 billion of the £13 billion we have spent means we receive more than we give. The obvious problem is that we aren't paying £5 billion and getting £8 billion in return. We are paying £13 billion and getting £8 billion in return. We haven't gained any additional funds, since it's all taken from money we've paid in. If I pay somebody £13, and they later give £8 back, I'm not suddenly better off. I'm still £5 less well off. However, the bigger fallacy lies in assuming that £8 billion would not have been spent on things had the UK first not paid £13 billion to the EU. This is simply the fallacy of the broken window in that it focuses on that which is seen whilst ignoring that which is not seen. If I break somebody's widow and they pay the glazier to repair it, that money would have been spent elsewhere had I not broken the window.

Moreover, simply pumping money into businesses that can't survive on a commercial basis does nothing to stimulate real economic growth. It stimulates artificial demand, which leads to higher prices and shortages. Moreover, if a company is guaranteed income, then there no pressure to innovate or compete. Unfortunately, it is impossible to reason with these kinds of people, because they never argue in good faith. All of their beliefs are assumed and held without evidence. Whilst the logic of an argument might be impeccable, and the soundness of a critique might be beyond question, it is sadly not enough to convince the intelligence deprived true believers. If any on the right had committed any such acts of malfeasance, the left would be up in arms. The sheer volume of lies is just truly staggering. The leave campaign spearheaded by the renegade Tories headed up by Gove and Johnson told some porkies, but they absolutely pale in comparison to the unadulterated falsehoods put forward by the remain campaign. One final hilarity that deserves mention is the claim that crybaby millennials in the remain camp were claiming that 'old' people had 'stolen their future' from them. Aside from the obvious fact that old people lived before the EU and so remember what it was like before, one hilarity is that only around 30% of millennials actually turned out to vote. They couldn't be bothered to vote, but they could be bothered to virtue signal on social media.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Post-Brexit Vote Aftermath

So, the British referendum happened and the voting public voted 51.9% in favour of exiting the festering dungheap that is the European Union. Immediately, those in the remain camp leapt into hysterics claiming that the pound was facing an imminent collapse because it took a dip. However, this, as with almost everything the remain camp have said, turned out to be nothing but pure scare mongering and outright lies. It is true that the pound took a dip, however, the British economy was still doing much better than previous months this year, as well as previous years.

Moreover, the pound was already beginning to recover the same time as all this doomsday prophesying was taking off. All this shows is an over correction to a market that predicted the wrong results. However, the more worrying thing was that the result of the referendum brought out the authoritarianism of all the liberals who voted to remain. I have read comments by incensed leftists who literally argued that we should have no say over matters such as this. They are literally arguing that the elites know what is best for us, and that certain categories of people should not even be allowed to vote in diatribes eerily similar to the speeches of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

In other words, liberals who pay lip service to things such as democracy have basically revealed themselves to be closet fascists. We effectively have a generation of privileged adults who are terrified of not being ruled over. I always find it amazing how so many people who extol the virtues of democracy suddenly turn into authoritarians when they don't like the results. Of course, we do not live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchic kleptocracy where we merely pick who rules over us and robs us blind. I'm truly amazed and horrified at the amount of people who think that authoritarianism and centralised economic planning are good things. Have so many people truly never studied history? Have they not read of the horrors that resulted from the dark years of communism, socialism, and fascism? Are people so truly ignorant of history and the basic laws of economics? Have people seriously not read a single history book in their entire lives?

The elites absolutely do not know what is best for you. They absolutely care nothing whatsoever about you. They have nothing but pure and unadulterated contempt for you and everything you represent. You are nothing to them. You exist solely as an abstraction. A number on a spreadsheet. A variable in their equations. The only person who should get to decide how to run your life is YOU. Why do you think the elites are squirming? It's because they thrive on authoritarianism and centralised economic planning. Political power is a drug more addictive than cocaine, and these are the two things that keep the parasites in power. Institutions such as the EU serve nobody but the elite at the expense of the common man. There is no single example that goes against this. There is not one. Every single time in history authoritarianism and centralised economic planning have been tried, every single time they have led to utter disaster. The only difference between the EU and more totalitarian forms of authoritarianism is the amount of time it takes to bankrupt and destroy society.

To quote Rod Serling: “You walk into this room at your own risk, because it leads to the future. Not the future that will be, but one that might be. This is not a new world; it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace… This is Mr Romney Wordsworth in his last 48 hour on earth. He’s a citizen of the state but will soon have to be eliminated. Because he’s built out of flesh and because he has a mind… Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognise the worth and dignity and rights of man; that state is obsolete.
Instead of authoritarianism and centralised economic planning, we need devolution of power, and the freedom to engage in whatever voluntary interactions we like. There are only two laws that we need: (1) do not initiate force/violence against non-aggressors, and (2) keep your word when you make a voluntary arrangement with somebody. Nobody should have a say over how your run your life unless you consent.

Leaving the EU won't magically fix all the problems we are facing, but it is absolutely and at every level a step in the right direction. Already, there are talks of referendums in the Netherlands, France, and Italy. The Brexit vote is also likely to strengthen the position of the Swiss, who have voted against the 'free movement of peoples' that the EU wishes to impose on them. This is a massive crimp in the plans of the globalist elites. We need to keep hacking away at the remaining bureaucracy. Whilst the motivations for doing so aren't good, nevertheless, Northern Ireland and Scotland are talking of holding referendums about leaving the UK. However, more work is needed. Power needs to be devolved to more local governments. The house of lords should be replaced with a wholly elected body, and we should abolish the monarchy.

We also need to get rid of central banking. Central banks are the agents of special interests, whose job is to rob the population blind in order to prevent the bankruptcy of those who should, in fact, go bankrupt. They are responsible for artifical credit-induced bubbles that keep regularly tanking the economy. They keep printing tons of money and giving it to the banks, et al. which devalues the currency. (They don't describe it like that, of course, because printing money is the last resort of failing economic empires and banana republics). They keep setting interest rates artificially low, which distorts market signals and leads to malinvestment. We instead need to allow competition between banks and to resort to sound currency, i.e. gold and silver.

We also need to hack away at the massive amounts of regulations that exist in our country. Leftists insist we need regulations to protect us from 'greedy' corporations. However, it is big businesses, corporations, and other special interest groups who lobby government to pass these regulations, because they are the ones who stand to benefit the most. Why do you think they exclusively back politicians who support regulation? The idea that recessions are the result of de-regulation is provably false. The number of regulations have only increased. Secondly, recessions are caused by very specific government regulation, i.e. artificial credit-induced bubbles caused by money printing and artificially low interest rates. Moreover, the government makes far more in taxes than businesses do in profits.

We'd also need to massively cut back on government spending. Foreign wars and massive corporate welfare programs are an expense that the general public cannot afford. MP salaries and expenses could also stand to be massively reduced. If we do all this, we can then start to do other things, like lower taxes. Contrary to the political myth, the poor DO pay taxes, and they pay into a system that robs them of consent on how that money is spent and punishes their economic success. Once we did all that and economic conditions improved, people would no longer be so dependant on public welfare programs. We could scale back benefits and turn the NHS into a free market healthcare system similar to Switzerland's fairly easily. But hey, what do I know. I've only spent most of my life studying history and economics.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Government Makes Me Want to Kill Myself

Even in an ideal society, i.e. one characterised by purely voluntary interactions, free from coercion, and free from the institutionalised initiation of force/violence against non-aggressors, life would not be easy or free from difficulty. However, many of the things that make life so difficult would either be much diminished or made non-existent. Government regulation and intervention in our economic and social lives provably makes our lives so much more worse, especially for those at the bottom of society, i.e. the poor and disabled, et al. As someone who is both poor and disabled, I feel the effects of statism every day. I have Asperger's Syndrome and Dyspraxia, and so am at a slight disadvantage. In a free society, I could feasibly overcome my disadvantages through hard work and dedication. However, the sheer devastation government has wrought on the economy essentially means that this is near impossible for those on the bottom rung of society.

To paraphrase Jorg Guido Hulsmann, central banks are the agents of special interests whose job is to rob the general population to prevent the bankruptcy of those who should go bankrupt. They devalue the currency, meaning it costs more to buy goods (since you now need more money, since it has become worth less than it used to). They also set interest rates artificially low, which distorts the signals entrepreneurs rely upon. The net result is malinvestment that artificially stimulates demands, causing a bubble. These frequent economic busts are the result of fiscal policy. If we had a free banking system and a gold standard instead of a central banking system and a fiat currency, currency would not be constantly being devalued, and many of the risky practices engaged in, such as fractional reserve banking, would either not take place, or would be much less widespread.

Aside from distorting money and the business signals investors rely upon, government also love to regulate. Whilst liberals insist that we need regulations in order to 'protect' us from 'greedy' companies, the reality is that corporations and big business are the ones who stand to benefit from government regulation. Whilst we are supposed to live in a system of 'representational democracy', where politicians make policy decisions on our behalf, the reality is that their sole concern is their own political power and how to maintain it. To quote Stefan Molyneux, "political power is a drug more addictive than cocaine". The sole goal of a politician is re-election, and the chief way to get re-elected is to go on the campaign trail (as the Americans put it). However, campaigning costs money and, despite having their lavish, decadent, and extravagant lifestyles paid for and funded entirely by the taxpayers, they're not going to spend any of their own money. Oh no, they have to rely on donations.

This is where the corporations, big businesses, and other special interest groups come in. These special interest groups fund politicians and, in exchange, the politicians will pass legislation favourable to those special interest groups. It is no coincidence that no special interest groups lobby libertarian politicians. Because lobbying cannot take place in a market free from government coercion. When buying and selling becomes regulated, the first things to be bought and sold are the regulators. Far from 'protecting' us from 'greedy' corporations, all regulations do is stifle competition, which in turn stifles innovation. The idea that companies succeed at the expense of everybody else and the resulting financial crises are due to 'deregulation' is provably false. For the number of regulations has only ever grown, and the cost of compliance has essentially made US citizens 75% poorer. The government also tends to provide massive subsidies to various failing businesses, which enables them to continue making the same palpable and egregious errors over and over again without cost to themselves.

The idea that things are expensive because companies are 'greedy' is simply borne from the utterly infantile and completely facile belief that we're only poor because other people are rich. As much as the economically illiterate think that profits are evil, the reality is that companies need profits in order to survive commercially. One industry that constantly gets flak is the fuel and energy sector, particular those that utilise oil. However, the government makes far more per gallon of oil sold than the oil companies do. Consider the price of a gallon of 'gasoline' in Los Angeles California. When fuel is $4.00 per gallon in Los Angeles, that includes all the taxes. Immediately, you have to pay $0.86 in taxes, as you have to pay the California state gasoline excise tax, the Federal gasoline excise tax, and the California state and Los Angeles country sales tax. So, $3.14 actually go to Exxon. We then apply the pre-tax corporate profit margin to this amount, and we are left with $0.53 in profits. However, Exxon have to pay taxes on their corporate profit, leaving Exxon with just $0.32 per gallon of gasoline sold, and the US government at a staggering $1.07 per gallon of gasoline sold. This is just the effects taxation have on price. This does not even take into account the devaluing of currency, or the effect of regulation upon operating costs.

Liberals and other economically illiterate buffoons will claim we 'need' welfare programs and minimum wage laws to 'help' the poor. However, private charity has done far more for me than welfare programs ever have. The only reason I have a roof over my head, have food, etc. is because I live with my mother. Had I to rely solely on benefits I'd most likely be dead. Welfare and benefits do absolutely nothing to combat rising prices and lower wages at all, since the causes of these things still exist. Minimum wage laws are even worse, since they essentially outlaw low paying jobs. It is essentially a form of price fixing, as wages are the price for your labour. Whenever the government sets prices above market level, it results in two things: increased costs, and shortages of goods. This is what we see happen when the government sets wages above market level: it becomes more expensive for companies to operate and so they put up prices, pay workers less, give workers less hours, or even lay workers off. Competition for the remaining jobs becomes much more fierce, and it becomes harder for people to enter the job market.

As economic conditions deteriorate and the government heaps cost after cost on the beleaguered companies, employers have to raise their standards. Where previously a degree would have sufficed, you now need a higher degree and/or x years of experience to even be considered. I have never managed to land a permanent job, and the longest temporary job I had was 13 weeks. Since then I was unemployed for a whole year until I got employed at McDonalds. However, I was incapable of passing the probationary period (based on their feedback, this was presumably down to the nature of my disabilities). I might have escaped the horrors of mandatory public schooling 11 years ago, but the nightmare of the current economic cesspool still remains. It is extremely depressing, and I constantly feel like killing myself because of it (don't worry, I never act on it). My only hope right now is to escape to Texas, however the emigration process is purposefully made difficult, and my application has been delayed a few more weeks due to government incompetence. You see, despite being told by the NVC that she had filed the right form and met all the requirements, the US Embassy told me something completely different, meaning we have to file the same form all over again. A classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Right, I'm off to the kitchen to go eat some glass.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Truth About Guns and Gun Control

If you have been paying attention to recent events, then you will know that there has been yet another mass shooting, this time at a college campus in Oregon. President Barrack Obama has used this tragedy to once again push for increased gun control, and apparently plans on enacting increased gun control via executive order (so much for "representational democracy" and due process, I guess.) Meanwhile, anti-gun nuts are demanding guns to be banned, and claim that such measures were successfully undertaken in Australia, etc. The problem is that gun control does NOTHING to deter gun crime, and there is no link between high gun ownership and high murder rates. Let's look at guns per 100 citizens, and compare them to intentional homicides per 100,000.

The US tops the guns per 100 citizens list at 88.8 guns per 100 citizens. If the anti-gun nuts are right, then the US presumably must have the highest murder rate, right? Well, the US has an intentional homicide rate of 4.5 per 100,000 citizens. The country with the highest murder rate is Honduras, at a staggering 90.2 per 100,000 citizens, but only 6.2 guns per 100 citizens. Now, some anti-gun nuts will at this point claim that they are only referring to "developed nations." The problem, of course, is that the term "developed nation" is not a well-defined term at all. Secondly, the majority of developed nations have substantially higher gun ownership figures than Australia and the UK (two of the most oft-appealed to nations.) 

Switzerland has 45.7 guns per 100 citizens, which is almost 7 times the gun figures of the UK and just over three times the gun figures of Australia. Switzerland has a murder rate of 0.6 per 100,000 citizens... which is lower than both the UK and Australia. Other nations are as follows:
Finland: 45.3 guns per 100 citizen, 1.6 intentional homicides per 100,000
Sweden: 31.6 guns per 100 citizens, 0.7 intentional homicides per 100,000
Norway: 31.3 guns per 100 citizens, 2.2 intentional homicides per 100,000*
France: 31.2 guns per 100 citizens, 1 intentional homicide per 100,000
Canada: 30.8 guns per 100 citizens, 1.6 intentional homicides per 100,000
Austria: 30.4 guns per 100 citizens, 0.9 intentional homicides per 100,000
Iceland: 30.3 guns per 100 citizens, 0.3 intentional homicides per 100,000
Germany: 30.3 guns per 100 citizens, 0.8 intentional homicides per 100,000

(*Norway seems unusually higher than others, but this is most likely due to the recent mass shooting a few years ago.)

Consider now the countries which anti-gun activists want the US to emulate:
Australia: 15 guns per 100 citizens, 1.1 intentional homicides per 100,000
United Kingdom: 6.5 guns per 100 citizens, 1 intentional homicide per 100,000**
Japan: 0.6 guns per 100 citizens, 0.3 intentional homicides per 100,000

(**The Small Arms Survey lists the gun ownership rates and figures for England & Wales as a single entry, with Scotland and Northern Ireland as separate entries. I added together the number of guns and the population for each to arrive at 6.5 for the whole UK).

Japan has an equal murder rate to Iceland, despite having roughly 2% of the guns Iceland has. Both Australia and the UK have higher murder rates than five of the countries in the prior list. There simply is no correlation between high gun ownership and high murder rates. Whilst some try to appeal to 'developed nations' there are nations that such individuals would not classify as "developed" but nevertheless have higher gun ownership and low murder rates. Consider Serbia, which has 37.8 guns per 100 citizens. Serbia has a murder rate of 1.2 intentional homicides per 100,000 citizens. So, less guns does not magically make murder disappear. (You can find the stats for international murder rates here, and the stats for international gun ownership here.) Moreover, there is no evidence that gun control has done anything to stop incidences of mass shootings. A paper published in the Justice Policy Journal specifically examining the question of whether or not gun control reduced mass shootings in Australia states the following:
The current paper examines the incidence of mass shootings in Australia and New Zealand (a country that is socioeconomically similar to Australia, but with a different approach to firearms regulation) over a 30 year period. It does not find support for the hypothesis that Australia’s prohibition of certain types of firearms has prevented mass shootings, with New Zealand not experiencing a mass shooting since 1997 despite the availability in that country of firearms banned in Australia.

For those interested, New Zealand has a gun ownership rate of 22.6 guns per 100 citizens, and a murder rate of 0.9 intentional homicides per 100,000 citizens.

Moreover, it seems as if banning guns in the UK has actually led to an increase in crime:

The anomalies referred to in the first image are the murders of Harold Shipman, which were all added to the data together in the year 2003 (he didn't use guns, by the way.) 

Going back to the US, gun murders are down 49% since 1993. Whereas, 92% of all mass shootings in the US since 2009 have occurred in either "gun-free zones", such as schools, or in areas where it is prohibitively difficult for law-abiding citizens to legally own guns, such as L.A. County. Indeed, this recent mass shooting took place on a campus college in a school. Because criminals prefer victims who are unarmed and unable to in any way defend themselves. Meanwhile, in pro-gun states and areas where it is not difficult for law-abiding to obtain firearms for defensive purposes, guns are used to stop would be crimes and would be mass shootings before they even happen, sometimes without even having to fire a shot. Lastly, research shows that criminals in the US by and large buy guns, not from firearms stores, but friends and family and their preferred firearm type was pistols, not "assault weapons." For the love of God, stop making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. There are plenty of ways to prevent further incidents of mass shootings: heavily penalise those who allow their firearms, whether willingly or through negligence, fall into the hands of criminals or the mentally ill, make concealed carry licenses easier to obtain in states where they are prohibitively difficult to obtain, promote gun safety, better mental health care and, by extension, better healthcare in general (this means getting the government out of healthcare and instituting a genuinely free-market healthcare system.)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Insanity of Authoritarianism versus the Rationality of Libertarianism

It never ceases to amaze me at just how economically illiterate people really are. Of course, professional ‘economists’ are little better, as they are simply individuals who are paid to guess wrong about the economy. The answer to the question: ‘what is the cause of our economic woes?’ is easily answered by anybody who has spent any amount of time studying history and the relevant aspects of economic theory. The problem is excessive government meddling in market forces. We often hear the odious whines of Guardianistas who are only too quick to blame ‘unfettered free-market capitalism’ as they sip their overpriced Starbucks coffee, spewing forth bile from their MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones. Yet, if we had generally free-market capitalism, how then do we have a centrally planned complex regulatory economic system that includes things such as VAT, duty taxes, government licensing, etc.? A protectionist system is inherently the exact opposite of a genuinely free-market system. Indeed, not just in the UK, but in the US, and much of the world, we have an inherently protectionist, centrally planned economy. Not to the extent of the few remaining socialists states, such as Venezuela, but such a regulatory apparatus nevertheless exists and is a continuous economic drain. The most insidious form of government regulation exists in the form of central banking. The UK, the US, and the EU all have a central bank. The Bank of England, the Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank.

A central bank is the bank that manages a state’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. The central bank issues the national currency to commercial banks. This is inherently problematic, since interest rates are meant to reflect the state of the market. Yet, this cannot be done if it is being artificially set by a central bank. Indeed, the government response to economic crisis is to set interest rates low, but this distorts market forces since the signals that could be used to tell investors the health of the economy have been altered, subverting the market process. Having a state-issued currency is also problematic, which might surprise some. Since only the central bank is allowed to create new money, people other than the central bank who try to make their own money are considered ‘counterfeiters.’ One of the functions of the central bank is to print money, a policy called ‘quantitative easing.’ However, the more bank notes there are, the less the currency is worth. This is because we have what is called a fiat currency, which means our currency is just paper not backed by any kind of physical commodity, such as gold or silver. If our money were backed by a physical commodity, then new bank notes could only be created through the acquisition of new physical commodity. Whereas, on a fiat currency, money can be printed endlessly, which causes the value of each bank note to decrease. This is called inflation, and one of the effects of this is to decrease the real value of wages and increase the real value of prices. You will still be being paid the same wage, but you will notice that, after a few years, you can’t afford as much as you used to be able to. This is price inflation, a direct result of monetary inflation.

If other banks were allowed to print their own money, then the central bank would go out business if it kept printing its own money ad infinitum, as its currency would become worthless. Moreover, if we had a currency or currencies backed by physical commodities, such as gold, silver, then price inflation would not take place. Prices would only go up and down in relation to supply and demand. Since we do not have these systems, prices do not necessarily reflect supply and demand, as they can be inflated via bubbles. For instance, the US housing market crash. The US government under the administration of Bill Clinton, told banks that they had to provide mortgages to low income families who previously would have been unable to afford a mortgage. The effect of this was to cause house prices to skyrocket (which government officials and ‘economists’ think is a good thing) and resulted in a crash as, surprise, surprise, the low income families who could not afford mortgages could not afford to pay the mortgages the government told the banks to provide them with. Free banking and sound money would also put an end to the practice of fractional reserve banking, which is where banks loan out roughly 90% of their reserves, rather than 10%. With free banking and sound money, such risky practices would either not be engaged in at all, or only engaged in very rarely.

Now, whilst the Guardianistas complain about the ‘evil’ and ‘greedy’ corporations, their proposed solution of more government intervention and regulation to stop corporations from being evil and greedy is particularly hair-brained and nonsensical when we consider the fact that the only reason corporations are allowed to exist and engage in anti-competition behaviour is because they are propped up and maintained due to government intervention. Wealthy backers of politicians lobby their pals in government to pass certain legislation that is beneficial for their company but not their competitors. These politicians then subsidies these corporations and give them lucrative government contracts, allowing them to engage in anti-competition practices without suffering the economic losses that would occur in a free market system. Because, in a genuinely free market, businesses must live and die on their own merits. Whereas in our economy, corrupt businesses and corporations can succeed despite their many palpable and egregious practices. In the US, Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren claims that ending regulation led to the financial crisis, yet people ith a memory span of more than five years will be able to point out that the reason that the commercial banks in the US got bigger is because they were combined by the regulators.

Regulation is the best friend of big business and crony corporations. Regulation and licensing make it more costly to do business, which causes prices to rise. High levels of taxation also make it more costly and difficult to do business, which, again, causes prices to rise. With the government in their pocket handing them contracts and subsidies and effectively handing them a monopoly, these big businesses and corporations don’t have to play by the rules they would be subject to in a free-market system. Some people think the solution is to raise the minimum wage, but anybody with more than half a brain can see that this would only raise nominal wages, and not real wages. On paper, it will say you have more, but raising wages artificially will, in turn, make it more costly to do business, and so prices will rise, unemployment will rise also, and the real value of wages will DECREASE. You do not fix low wages and unemployment in order to fix the economy. You fix the economy in order to fix wages and unemployment. All minimum wage laws accomplish is the outlawing of low paying jobs, which makes it harder for unskilled workers to get work, and eliminates entry level jobs. Lots of business nowadays are replacing workers with automated machines, such as self-service checkouts. As minimum wage laws make it more costly to do business, business will have no choice but to lay off workers and replace them with automated machines.

Labour unions are no better, as they engage in the same nefarious anti-competition behaviour that hurts workers. For example, the spread of services such as Uber and Lyft, whilst economically beneficial, are opposed by Taxi labour unions who are trying to get these services shut down rather than compete fairly. They also tend to negatively affect non-union members. Despite the common myth that ‘labour unions’ have made conditions better for workers, this is largely untrue. Technological innovation and competition have made conditions better for workers. Trade unions, like big business and crony corporatism, do nothing but hurt workers. They are opposite sides of exactly the same coin. They stifle competition, which, in turns, stifles innovation. Innovation is the source of technological advancement, and the betterment of working conditions. The only people who oppose technological advancement are backwards-thinking Neanderthals and Luddites. After all, when the motorcar was first invented, it was opposed by horse and carriage drivers. Yet the invention of the motorcar has vastly improved conditions for humanity. Some might gripe about pollution from fossils fuels, but the solution for this is, once again, competition and innovation, which only comes from free-market capitalism. It is no coincidence that high oil prices and high energy prices are due, not to the ‘greediness’ of the oil and energy companies, but because of the excessive amounts of regulations and taxation that they face.

Whilst the Guardianistas blame lack of regulation, the Daily Mailers, of course, blame it all on immigrants and those on benefits. Usually with the typical phrase: ‘they stole our jobs.’ Yet, immigration has ZERO effect on any of the economically suicidal policies mentioned. The only reason immigrants might be a drain on the economy is because the economy is already doing badly. The solution, then, is not to ban immigration, but to fix the economy. The UK and US in particular are nations built on immigration. First the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes, and the Vikings. More recently, people from India, Jamaica, and various African nations. Now that it is people from the Middle East and Eastern Europe there is suddenly a problem? Of course, opposition to immigration is also justified by claiming terrorists are coming into our country, but, we have to remember, the whole reason there are a lot of terrorist groups operating in the Middle East is because they were either funded and set-up by the West, or arisen due to a power vacuum left in the wake of a foreign incursion by Western nations. The current Iranian regime was the result of a revolution in the 1970s that was a response to the US backing a corrupt Shah. The current conflict in Ukraine is a direct result of Western meddling. Western agents helped instigate and provoke the protests that ousted the pro-Russian president, and his replacements were backed by the US and EU. Incidentally, a number of the new Ukrainian leaders turned out to have neo-Nazi sympathies.

Constant meddling in the affairs of foreign regions causes instability and power imbalances, which allows radicals to gain power and influence. Today’s freedom fighters usually turn out to be tomorrow’s terrorists. The US, after all, funded Bin Laden, et al. during the 1980s to fight the Soviets. The Syrian rebels funded by the West became ISIS. Prior to the modern Iraq war, Saddam Hussein was funded in the 70s by the West, and, using that funding, was able to acquire and then use chemical and biological weapons not just on the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war, but also on the Kurds living in Iraq. Saddam Hussein then went on to invade Kuwait using the funding and weapons supplied to him by the west. Former Libyan leader, Muammar Gadaffi, was also funded by the West. Moreover, constant military intervention overseas combined with constant foreign aid spending is a huge drain on the economy. Instead of punishing the poor by cutting benefits spending, we could cut military intervention overseas and foreign aid spending instead. Whereas today, a lot of immigrants are coming from nations WE have bombed. So, if we do not want immigrants coming from war-torn nations, we should probably stop bombing them.

When it comes to benefits, if we want people to come off of benefits, we need to first fix the economy. A lot of working people are reliant on benefits such as child tax credit and housing benefit just to survive. Whereas, benefit fraud is actually largely negligible, especially in comparison to fraudulent MP expense claims and tax evasion. As a side note, I don’t mind people dodging taxes, as taxes are too high. I do mind it, however, when the people doing the tax dodging are ones who are responsible for the high levels of taxation in the first place whilst insisting that we are all ‘in this together.’ Taxation is insanely high: VAT is 20%, our top income tax rate is 50%, corporation tax is 35%. This is insane and completely unjustifiable to anybody who isn’t an ideological stooge. Contrary to what those on the left say, the poor do indeed pay taxes, and pay into a system that robs them of their choices. We have to pay a TV license regardless of whether we watch the state funded BBC. We have to pay special duty taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Yet, government spending continues to climb. How about, instead of punishing the populace through taxation, we cut government spending? Again, if we withdrew from foreign conflicts, and ended all foreign aid we would save a lot of money. Withdrawal from the authoritarian EU is a must, and we should cut ties with organisations such as the IMF, etc.

Aside from simple economics, most people are functionally illiterate when it comes to social issues also, as evidenced by the stance of certain individuals when it comes to immigration. Healthcare is another issue where common sense is nowhere to be found in the minds of the populace. We are told that the NHS is the ‘envy of the world,’ yet the quality of NHS hospitals is generally quite poor and the waiting lists are atrocious. However, people erroneously claim that the opposite of this is the American system. Yet, the American healthcare system is not one of free-markets at all, but is subject to a similar complex regulatory system. Healthcare is NOT a right, since we are not entitled to the goods, services, and/or labour of another. Since healthcare requires the goods, services, and/or labour of others, it cannot be a right by definition. The same applies to benefits, actually. If we want to help poor people, then we need to fix the economy. Benefits should only be a short-term solution. It is no coincidence that those on the left are some of the least charitable people on the planet. They assume everybody is as uncharitable as themselves, and so think it is up to the government to force people to give money to the poor. (Never mind, either, that this is a MASSIVE fundamental human rights violation, since we are not entitled to the property of others.)

People say we need the NHS because the price of healthcare is high, and not all can afford basic healthcare. Except the reason prices are high is because of government regulation and meddling in the healthcare system. Needless bureaucracy is one particular problem we face in the UK. If all Hospitals were privately run, and we ended the complex regulation that governs prices of healthcare, healthcare would be affordable. One reason healthcare is expensive in the US is not because Hospitals are privately run, but because of the hoops pharmaceutical companies have to jump through, the rise of ‘big pharma’ due to government favouritism. The regulation governing medical schools has made the number of healthcare providers in the US more scarce. Moreover, the health insurance system in the US is totally broken. It is not like car insurance where you pay premiums and, in the event you occur a cost you cannot immediately cover, the insurance company covers it. Health insurance in the US is not like this. It also does not help that Barrack Obama passed an act requiring US citizens to purchase health insurance by law or face fines and penalties. This is exactly like the sub-prime mortgage crisis/housing bubble under the Clinton administration.

In a genuine free-market healthcare system, we would simply not have the problems that the US system face. Since the US system is not a free-market system, but a hybrid of private ownership and government regulation. Another way we could save money is by ending bans on certain classes of voluntary interactions. For instance, drugs, guns, etc. The only reason such things are banned are due to the hysterical, irrational shrieking of the uninformed, vapid, supercilious, condescending, preening twits who think they know what is best for us better than we do. Human beings have a right to self-defence, self-determination, freedom of association, liberty, etc. Any mutual exchange and voluntary exchange should be legal. This would have a drastic effect on prison populations, as ending victimless crimes would mean a decrease in prisoners. Gun ownership by law abiding citizens would deter crime, lowering the number of criminals, and thus prisoners, which would save a lot of money. This is essence of the non-aggression principle. Acts of initiatory violence and aggression are always immoral, and the only legitimate use of violence is in self-defence against an aggressor (as long as it bears a reasonable relation to the level of threat presented.) Thus, if people want to take certain drugs, they are free to. I can warn them about the consequences, and, if I really care about them, I can do my best to dissuade them, but, ultimately, it is their choice. If someone wants to kill themselves, or wants to die via assisted suicide, then that is their choice. If someone wants to enter into a relationship with a member of the same gender as themselves, then that is their choice.

Of course, some try to smuggle in abortion under this rubric, but it is clear that this is not the case since abortion is an act that negatively affects the unborn child without their consent. Human rights apply to all human beings, apply even to unborn humans. Unless we are to imagine that a human is made only when a clump of cells infused with mother’s intent makes contact with delivery room air. It is also apparent that businesses are free to discriminate however they like, contrary to those baying for the blood of the Christian bakers who dared refuse bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. The thought police social justice warriors will claim that, in supporting such a right, we are somehow opposed to equality. This is once again evidence of a maxim once spoken by the esteemed intellectual Frederic Bastiat. Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

Simply put, why can’t we give freedom and liberty a try? We have tried central planning, and complex government regulation. Whether it is in the form of pure socialism or the half-private/half-public mixed economy we have now, the result is always the same. Economic ruin and stagnation. Sure, policy makers can stave off such disaster temporary, but they can only ever postpone the inevitable. Government regulation feeds boom-bust cycles, which simply would not occur in a free-market system. The only people who say otherwise are dyed-in-the-wool faith heads who place their hope in the almighty government to save the day. For authoritarianism and statism is a religion, and government is like any idol or graven image to which men and women ascribe supernatural and divine powers. What can the government not do if only we have faith in it? Whereas, those with more than only half a brain; those who base their beliefs on evidence, logic, and reason; will know that the reverse is true. Opposition to government meddling is based on the level headed realisation that thousands of years of government intervention has only ever retarded economic growth and led to nothing but stagnation, death, and misery. The mayhem of free-market capitalism is wholly conjectural and without the slightest shred of corroborating evidence. The mayhem of government is wholly undeniable, wholly factual, and wholly horrendous.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Immigrants, Open Borders, and Free Trade, Oh My!

With the upcoming 2016 presidential election on the horizon and the various EU crises, we have, of course, seen a slew of anti and pro immigration propaganda being spewed forth by a variety of buffoons. We have also seen the same types of know-nothing ivory tower politicians decry, of all things, free trade. That's right, these people don't just support preventing the free movement of people, they also support protectionism and central economic planning. Not that this comes as a surprise to me. The mainstream politicians of the left and centre "right" are, of course, nothing but authoritarians who hate freedom. All they are interested in is the maintenance of power, and, for that, they need to keep in place the complex regulatory framework that keeps them at the top. Even though liberty and freedom, both economically and socially, is the cure for the economic stagnation centuries of statism have inflicted upon us, they eschew both things since to allow such things would be to rob themselves of power.

Immigration is not the driving factor behind economic instability, although it can add onto it if the conditions aren't right. For instance, allowing uncontrolled waves of migrants from incompatible cultures is a particularly bad idea, because it prevents migrants from settling to the new culture, and puts strain on the economy. Whereas controlled migration can greatly benefit a culture. Some have objected to controlled migration on the basis of libertarian philosophy, however, this is misguided. 

In a libertarian society, there is no commons or public space. There are property lines, not borders. When it comes to real property and physical movement across such real property, there are owners, guests, licensees, business invitees, and trespassers – not legal and illegal immigrants.” – Jeff Deist

Of course, some insist that the free movement of peoples is a good thing, however, uncontrolled migration is a provably disaster. Of course, one charge made against opponents of uncontrolled migration is that they are racists and xenophobes. Whilst some opponents of migration might oppose all forms of immigration, and might genuinely be racist and or xenophobic, this does nothing to undermine the case for controlled migration. Uncontrolled migration is a palpable disaster, and this is very easy to show.

Now, whilst racists and xenophobes have seized on this to push for their agenda, it does not undermine the case for controlled migration. To argue otherwise would to be to commit a guilt by association fallacy. Moreover, trying to silence people and labelling everybody who disagrees with you as racists does nothing to combat the views of actual racists, et al. It just breeds resentment and allows extremist views to take further hold amongst those who otherwise might not have considered such views. The reason Donald Trump is so popular is because of the sheer devastation the political elites have wrought and the sheer contempt they have for poor and working class people. People are pissed off about being spat on and treated with contempt. Political correctness, etc. made Donald Trump possible.

Free trade is also a bedrock of economic prosperity. Voluntary and exchange and interaction is simply what trade is. Whenever the government gets in the way, certain interactions are prohibited, others are forced, and money is lost on bureaucracy and waste. And since the government is inherently corrupt to its very core and only interested in maintaining power, it bends to the will of those who back them financially, and end up passing legislation favourable to said parties. This results in artificial monopolies, and mega-corporations who no longer to have to compete fairly. Prices go up, and smaller businesses have to close. Jobs are lost as a result. 

Now, what arguments are there against these positions? The most popular anti-immigration argument is that immigrants 'steal jobs.' This is, of course, false. Unless you have been fired and had your job replaced by an immigrant, then, no, nobody is 'stealing' your jobs. Immigrants come to a country and get hired. This is somehow considered problematic. Of course, unemployment is rising, and there aren't enough jobs to go around. Except the reason for low jobs and high unemployment is because of government intervention, not immigration. 

The obvious solution is to end the economically suicidal policies that lead to high unemployment, etc. and you don't fix the economy by "creating" jobs, you create jobs by fixing the economy. It really is that simple. Moreover, if there are no jobs, then there are no jobs for immigrants to steal. As a side note, some of the staunchest anti-immigration pundits in the US are sons of immigrants, some of whom entered the US in a not entirely legal way. It also worth noting that the biggest anti-immigration voices have never worked the kind of jobs that immigrants typically work. 

Opening the borders and doing away with all regulations immediately without making any changes to the disastrous and economically suicidal policies currently being employed might be irresponsible. Refusing to change those disastrous and economically suicidal policies and maintaining closed/regulated borders is far worse, however. Now, the correct approach to 'fixing the problems' is not clear, since it depends on how one views things. Either, we do away with everything in well fell swoop, which would cause a massive restructuring of society, or we implement fixes incrementally, to reduce the upheaval caused by fixing the hideously broken system we have. In other words, the difference between ripping off a plaster, or peeling it off slowly. Yet, it is certain, clear, and obvious what the correct stances and policies should be.

Essentially, focusing on immigration is a red herring, since the cause of economic stagnation has nothing to do with immigrants. Opposing free trade, on the other hand, is to oppose economic stability, recovery, and growth. It is no coincidence that some of the biggest anti-immigration voices are staunchly opposed to free trade, and support higher taxes. This is simply backwards thinking that will make our economic woes worse. For more, see: http://reason.com/archives/2015/08/24/the-trump-recession