Minimum Wage Laws: State Intervention Leads to Individual Degradation

The following article from the Objective Standard Blog explains how minimum wage laws hurt individuals.  In addition, it highlights how the issue has become mischaracterized, cloaked in the shrouds of altruism.  This ideology is perhaps the most dangerous of all, for it legitimizes the State in almost every aspect of life.  Regarding the minimum wage, altruism supplants the individual’s ability to earn a living, with the State’s authority to forcefully redistribute wealth.

Minimum Wage Laws: Immoral, Crippling, and Nevertheless Supported by Many.

Advertisements

Honors Night Canceled for ‘Fairness’

via The Jawa Report

via The Jawa Report

Coddling our youth is Principal David Fabrizio’s primary objective. Whether he realizes it or not, the principal of Ipswich Middle School in Massachusetts is teaching a very dangerous idea to all of his students.  It is better to safeguard the feelings of those who did not come out on top than to recognize the achievements of the successful.

This, from the Jawa Report:

Middle School Principal Cancels ‘Honors Night’ Because It Might Upset Students Who Didn’t Make The Grades

A Massachusetts principal has been criticized for canceling his school’s Honors Night, saying it could be ‘devastating’ to the students who worked hard, but fell short of the grades….

But, apparently, it’s okay to devastate the kids who worked hard and achieved academic honors…

The entire article, along with the principal’s contact information can be found here.

Principal Fabrizio’s response that the honors night was not canceled, but merely changed from a private ceremony to a more inclusive gathering of all students throughout the day may offer some comfort for those students and parents not included in the honors spotlight. However, this still diminishes the hard work and dedication those at the top must exhibit to attain such a station in relation to their peers.  What Principal Fabrizio has done here is to effectively water down the achievements of those at the top to safeguard the rest of the students from the very real feelings that all of us must deal with on a daily basis.

Nobody wins every time, and the spirit of competition demands a solid line of delineation between winners and losers.   Without this, competition becomes just another issue of fairness.

Obamacare Exchanges Falsely Called ‘Marketplaces’

via Google Images

It seems the new propaganda coming out of Washington attempts to disguise Obamacare’s state-run health care exchanges as “marketplace” exchanges. The deceit is of course that Americans will retain their freedom of choice when purchasing health care, or for making the decision to purchase any care at all for that matter. Most of us realize the deception in this, but the following piece from the Daily Caller’s Twila Brase, President of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, indicates the smoke-and-mirrors approach often taken by governments to pass and garner support for unpopular legislation.

The left-leaning Herndon Alliance reported on research that determined the best words to use to sell exchanges to the American public. The research found that the term “marketplace” was the best option, particularly with members of the public opposed to Obamacare or opposed to big government. Adoption of the word “marketplace” in place of “exchange” is now being promoted at both the state and federal level. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently changed its exchange terminology. In an effort to build support for the exchanges, the HHS eliminated the term “health insurance exchange” and replaced it with “health insurance marketplace.” These efforts to dupe the public are disingenuous.

The reality is that on state insurance exchanges available health insurance plans will be limited by a host of federal regulations; personal privacy will be violated, because the exchanges will be connected to various state agencies and a wide variety of federal agencies — including the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the IRS, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services — that will share citizens’ data without consent; the federal government will use an individual’s income, tax, employment, medical, family and citizenship data to determine eligibility for coverage and premium subsidies; and it will be impossible to purchase health insurance without federal approval.

You can read the whole article here.

Apathy in America, The Answer is Philosophy

20130228-174934.jpgThe degree of political ignorance among the American populace is difficult to surmise. On one hand, college enrollment has steadily increased over the past four decades, indicating a much larger educated segment of the population. In addition, the advantages of the internet in information dissemination is so great, it literally furnishes the potential for a truly informed democratic republic. On the other hand, the apathy of the American people in the face of our government’s oppression of individual rights in the name of the public welfare is equally astounding. Our lack of opposition, or of any useful degree of organized opposition, is symptomatic of apathy.

Yet in lieu of the information revolution, room for a more hopeful interpretation exist. Perhaps the lack of response stems not from apathy fueled by a largely distracted populace, but rather from a different kind of apathy, one that too often results from information overload. Too much information too quickly thrown into the homes of America, perhaps turns people away from the important issues of the day, i.e. the economy, government spending, privacy versus national security. Over the last decade, legislation such as the Patriot Act, Obamacare, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) have passed into law often unread by the very legislators voting yay or nay. Less likely is that the average American is familiar with these laws or how they affect individual rights. Nor is the bureaucratic language that often weaves these unintelligible bills together typically accessible to anyone without a law degree.

So the riddle is this. What does a person require in order to filter massive amounts of information often representing opposing viewpoints? What is required of people to be informed short of a genuine desire to maintain one’s general awareness of current events? While people will disagree on the specifics, the simple answer is philosophy. For philosophy is a framework by which information can be analyzed, compartmentalized, and analyzed again for future use. It allows one to establish a system of beliefs that coincide with one’s life choices. More importantly, philosophy furnishes a backdrop by which one can analyze choices and cause and effect, so that if the perceived outcome of a choice is not what was expected, one still has a means of looking back to see what caused the outcome.  Given America’s ongoing economic turmoil, I believe the following words from philosopher Ayn Rand are particularly relevant.

The power that determines the establishment, the changes, the evolution, and the destruction f social systems is philosophy.  The role of chance, accident, or tradition, in this context, is the same as their role in the life of an individual; their power stands in inverse ratio to the power of a culture’s (or an individual’s) philosophical equipment, and grows as philosophy collapses.  It is, therefore, by reference to philosophy that the character of a social system has to be defined and evaluated.

Passage from The Ayn Rand Lexicon, s.v. “Philosophy.”

In short, a good philosophy sheds ambivalence. It allows its user to see essentials without the gray that often accompanies political and social debate. And it also acts as a how-to guide amidst information overload.

When thinking of philosophy, we typically associate it with a time long passed, yet never before has the need for a solidly based system of thinking been so prescient.  As technology advances, the amount of information available will increase as well as its rate of circulation throughout society.  In this sense, philosophy acts as a how-to guide to living with and evaluating massive amounts of information.  Consequently, the times ahead will require that we all embrace philosophy more than ever before.

Liberty Links: “You Didn’t Build That”

The following are a few links I find of particular value to our political and moral dialogue.

  • There has been much controversy of President Obama’s notion of “collective” success rather than individual effort.  His comments are quite frightening.  Here is an excerptfrom his speech in Roanoke, Virginia.

    via Google Images

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

  • Few statements will induce more fear than this: “If you want to get involved in business,” Sen. Orrin Hatch warned technology companies at a conference in 2000, “you should get involved in politics.”  This of course begs the question: If successful businessmen answer to Washington, who does Washington answer to?
  • The Ayn Rand Institute’s Don Watkins on how to combat statism: “Explain that all productive individuals—whatever their income—have the same basic interest in common: freedom. Explain that anyone who takes responsibility for his own life, prosperity, and happiness requires freedom from government interference—not handouts or handcuffs.”
  • Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, comments on calls to break up large banks that pose systemic risk to the economy.  “It is largely the moral hazard created by various government guarantees protecting “Too-Big-To-Fail” banks that caused the most recent crisis….Ultimately, Too-Big-To-Fail is a political problem, not an economic one. The solution is to be found in limiting government, not the banks.”
%d bloggers like this: