Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on December 16, 2011

in Books, Current Affairs, Data, Economics, Immigration, Inequality, Myths and Fallacies, Trade, Video

It’s official: the poor will be with us always.

Georgetown’s Stephen Rose challenges the notion that America’s middle-class is disappearing.  (HT Don Rieck)

Cato’s David Boaz notes the passing of Christopher Hitchens.

Sallie James asks if we know the source of our honey.

My former GMU student Alex Nowrasteh offers more thoughts on immigration and the role of U.S. states.

My GMU Econ colleague Larry White discusses his forthcoming book with Universidad Francisco Marroquin’s Fritz Thomas.

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{ 182 comments }

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

RIP Christopher Hitchens. He was a truly fearless and independent thinker and maybe the best debater of his generation.

On a different day, and on a different issue, many here might call him a violent thug out to redistribute their property. I wouldn’t describe him that way, even though I disagree with his views on economics. This is the right day to remember him for his many gifts and pick a link that allows us all to do that.

Thank you for doing that Don.

kyle8 December 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

That is funny because, not to speak ill of the dead, but I thought he was particularly ineffective in debate.

He was too quick to pull the witty put down, and the “I am smarter than you” attitude. Although he was a witty writer, I don’t think he convinced many to his views.

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

k8

“He was too quick to pull the witty put down, and the ‘I am smarter than you” attitude.’ ”

Thanks for our daily dose of irony k8. This is exactly what you offer here, minus the wit of course.

kyle8 December 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

And I haven’t convinced you that I am right have I? So my point stands.

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

k8
We need a bigger sample than a survey of one. My son is a trial lawyer. He says that juries usually find for the side they find more likable. And people usually prefer wit to the lack of it.

brotio December 20, 2011 at 12:42 am

I have opened a xanga account and will forward our hosts postings there and allow comments there

http://cafe-hayek-comments.xanga.com/

I think that you will have to create a xanga account in order to comment. If this is true, it will prevent the name-hijacking that our Leftist, idiot trolls are so fond of. I do not intend to forbid comments because of name-calling, and will not forbid Yasafi, Gil, DK, GregG, or any of the other non-trolls from commenting. I will reserve the right to remove comments that violate the obscenity requirements our hosts have asked of us here.

Thanks all, and I hope this will allow us to continue our dialogues until our hosts decide how comments will be handled here.

vidyohs December 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm

“And then the day came when they said, “We’re taking that car off the train altogether.” And I thought, “Now we’ve crossed a small but important line.” It’s the difference between protecting nonsmokers and state-sponsored behavior modification for smokers.

And I thought there was insufficient alarm at the ease with which that was done. Because state behavior modification, no matter what its object, should be viewed skeptically at the very least. There’s serious danger in the imposition of uniformity—the suggestion that one size must fit all.”

Funny, the Arabs discovered long ago that if you allow the camel to get his nose under the tent, the camel was coming into the tent with you.

I Miss Nixon December 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Christopher Hitchens would have been a great cocktail hour and dinner. How often? Who knows?

The Cato piece is very interesting. The lesson will be completely lost on this blog and its libertarian followers. It has also been lost on some Demos.

The reason why the smoking car got dropped was that, during all those years when smokers had control they refused to compromise and do what was right. So, in the end, when the non-smokers gained control, one day the car at the end of the train was left at the station.

Libertarians will be left at the station as long as they organize their thinking around rights (freedoms), as opposed to injustice or moral propositions.

sdfsdf December 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

You are utterly confused.

kyle8 December 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

yes you are confused, your last sentence was meaningless. Although you have some truth to your second paragraph. I agree that the huge backlash against smokers was their own fault.

Every non-smoker I knew could recite a dozen or so examples of really shitty behavior by smokers. Of course, that does not make political oppression right.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

kyle8

I am not confused. Those of use skilled in persuasion know that one cannot easily define what is just or moral to the public but we can define what is unjust, amoral or immoral.

You see libertarians do a really poor job of this when they write stuff like taxes are stealing, the taking of money out of my pocket at gunpoint.

Since libertarians have no concern about injustice and their points only lead to amoral or immoral conduct (greed and selfishness of ugly human traits), they have little to use in any “war of words.”

For example, you attempt to make a smoking ban into “political oppression” The is nothing political about it. A smoking ban, like a motorcycle helmet law, applies to everyone, regardless of their political point of view.

The unhappy fact is that people, left to their own devices will engage in a lot of stupid behaviors.

What is especially ironic is when libertarians claim support from the Founding Fathers. They would laugh at libertarians. For example, the Founding Fathers mostly cared less what religion that one had than that one had a religion because of the controls of behavior by religion made the job of the state easier.

IOW religious freedom was a means or end to control of human conduct, making the state’s job easier.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

The unhappy fact is that people, left to their own devices will engage in a lot of stupid behaviors.

Especially in the voting booth, apparently.

For example, you attempt to make a smoking ban into “political oppression” The is nothing political about it. A smoking ban, like a motorcycle helmet law, applies to everyone, regardless of their political point of view.

The oppression occurs when the government tells private business owners that they must ban smoking on their own property.

For myself, I am quite happy to dine smoke free.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 11:55 am

Doh!

The oppression occurs when the government tells private business owners that they must ban smoking on their own property.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

“You see libertarians do a really poor job of this when they write stuff like taxes are stealing”

You have a problem with objective factual statements?

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Personally, I prefer the use of the word “extortion” to describe how the state commands resources.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

In as much as Hitchens was an avowed atheist, why attach “rest in peace” to him in death? The logical extension of his belief was that he believed he emerged from nothing, existed briefly and became nothing.

He remained a man of the left until the end, a man deluded into thinking his own sensibilities and being were solely his work, a cynic, a self-defined radical, still describing himself as a Marxist in 2006, who continued to admire Lenin and supported Obama. Boaz describes hm as a man of “great passion”, I concur-they were great-but disordered in that they were his guide. A memorial to him because he threw a few bones to Cato is pathetic.

Here was a man who produced nothing, who translated an acerbic tongue into millions. In short, he was exactly what OWS cllaims to despise-a parasitic 1 percenter.

So the proper notation to his life is simple. Christopher Hitchens is dead, without any sendoff. Its a simple fact of biology. Rest in Peace is an illogical statement for an atheist.

Randy December 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Actually, Rest in Peace is an illogical statement for anyone who has become dead. From all the available evidence, being dead has nothing to do with resting.

vidyohs December 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I don’t know, Randy, Warren Zevon claimed he could “Sleep when I am dead.”

I know, the song is better than the thought.

Fred December 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Rust in Peace is a great album.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm

That’s like saying WWII was an interesting historical event.

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 7:06 am

Yeah. Rust in Peace is a great album is an understatement.

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm

GAAP

I guess the RIP was indeed more of a statement of emotion than logic or theology. Hitchens himself made it clear he appreciated expressions of goodwill from believers and nonbelievers alike.

Perhaps it was a vestige of being raised Catholic even though that faith never took hold with me. The Catholics I know would not be moved by their faith to express hostility to the newly deceased but I am no authority on matters of theology so I plead guilty to a lapse in logic here. It was not my intention to offend you or anyone else.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I’m not offended. I just think if you are a consistent advocate for the thesis that there is no God (or in Hitchens case that God was construct for tyranny-in spite of the overwhelming evidence that (state) atheism produces far worse results) then respect that to its logical end and treat him in death as he desired the rest of the world to be in life.

I don’t fault anybody for lacking faith-I do fault them for ignoring a vast array of evidence with regard to statism, socialism and state atheism.

SmoledMan December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

State sponsored atheism doesn’t invalidate atheism. That is a logical fallacy.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I didn’t say it did.

It is philosophically invalid by the fact that it is illogical to assert there is no god, when it is impossible to prove nullity and irrational by virtue of Pascal’s wager, among other things.

On the other hand, Hitchen’s wasn’t a passive atheist-content to allow those damn fool theists to pursue their silly practices. He took the propagation and enforcement of his religion very seriously.

Had he had his way, any thesism would have been eradicated. He was simply the latest in a long line in people who assume their viscera is a reservoir of truth.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

For most people, “RIP” is like saying “bless you” after you sneeze. It implies nothing about the belief system of the speaker or the object, yet it’s a polite thing to say.

DarrenM December 17, 2011 at 12:02 am

I thought it was a hope the person does not rise from the grave to terrorize the living. It’s more polite than a stake through the heart, but probably not as effective.

GiT December 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm

“He remained a man of the left until the end, a man deluded into thinking his own sensibilities and being were solely his work”

Funny, sounds like a libertarian individualist.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

There are in all political theories-adherents that fail to account for the fact that their political sensibilities are the selfless bequests of people known and forgotten. (how different would the South be without those that faced dogs and firehouses without fear).

To the extent a libertarian (I’ve been accused of being a libertarian and not being one-I’m more at home with Smith and Burke than Rand-you decide) believes that their philosophy arose ex nihilo and is merely the rational reading of facts-I would agree with you.

Usually though, its statists, socialists, collectivists, and adherents of other degenerate political viewpoints that think their thoughts are autonomous products that should be treated as unassailable facts.

GiT December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Hm, I didn’t mean to imply you were a libertarian.

I’d agree with your skepticism of those who believe their philosophy arose ex nihilo.

Statistis, socialists, and collectivists, in my experience, however, tend to think that their thoughts are products that should be subject to some form of democratic debate in order to be validated, not that they are unassailable.

Generally when I hear talk of facts that are generated autonomously and must be treated as unassailable, it’s coming from libertarians talking about their property rights.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

They believe in democratic debate as means to acquiring power. Once power is acquired, then its a property right of the state.

GiT December 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Power over others is expressed and enacted through many more things than the state. Things like, say, property.

And yes, they believe in democratic debate in order to acquire power. It tends to beat the alternative of assuming that people have rights to power over others ex nihilo.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I have yet to meet a socialist who thinks that socialist ideas should be subject to democratic debate. I’ve met lots of socialists who believe democratic debate should be had again and again and again until socialism wins, then socialism should be made an enduring, unassailable institution.

And a Marxist, of course, cannot subject his ideas to democracy. Marx already proved his theory was the only scientific one and the only ideology of the proletariat; contradiction is either treason or bourgeois attack, depending on who it comes from, and the opponent must be liquidated. Hence when Lenin’s Bolsheviks failed to win a majority in 1917, they used force of arms to take control.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Well, Josh, you know……..

You have to break a few eggs to make an omlette :)

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Josh

You say you have never met a socialist who thought that socialist ideas should be subject to democratic debate.

You never met Hitchens. Or Orwell for that matter. You should get out more.

And I am not endorsing their economic views – just their views on democracy and the free exchange of ideas.

GiT December 16, 2011 at 9:59 pm

“I have yet to meet a socialist who thinks that socialist ideas should be subject to democratic debate.”

I have yet to meet a libertarian who thinks libertarian ideas should be subject to democratic debate. I’ve met lots of libertarians who believe there should be no democratic debate and libertarian justifications of property rights and individual rights should be assumed from the start as an enduring, unassailable institution.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

That’s because libertarians aren’t democrats. They’re libertarians.

Mesa Econoguy December 17, 2011 at 1:12 am

Sniveling little rat-faced, private property is “exercise of power”?

Like the resident beetles and weevils and nasty little insects and flora and fauna?

You must have some interesting conversations, and delusions about your entitlement to others’ property.

GiT December 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

“That’s because libertarians aren’t democrats. They’re libertarians.”

Well if libertarians aren’t democratic (I have no idea what you mean by democrats, democratic does not mean having to do with the Democratic party. It does not even mean practicing majoritarian democracy as a form of government.), then they are quite simply authoritarians.

Happy to hear you’re comfortable in your contempt for democratic principles, you little fascist.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

So authoritarian vs democratic is a logical either-or to you. With each new post, you sink to less impressive depths.

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

So GiT has revealed himself to be one of those simple-minded types who believes there are only two possibilities, and he cannot conceive of a third, or fourth. There are actually more political systems than just “democracy” and “fascism.” Apparently, you assume that if you hate two things, the two things must be the same thing. This is not in fact the case. Just because you hate libertarianism, American constitutionalism, and pretend to hate fascism, does not mean they are all three the same political theory/system.

GiT December 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I believe that one can either appeal to a principle of authority or a principle of mutual, voluntary agreement in establishing claims.

Appealing to authority is, simpliciter, authoritarian.
Appealing to mutual agreement is, simpliciter, democratic.

In my desire to be au courant and follow the fashion of the site, I took the what is here the rather trivial step of going from the fact that someone defends authority in some instance to the insipid conclusion that they defend it in every instance, and hence authorizes the use of some polemical epithet completely out of keeping with what people have actually said.

If you don’t appreciate the irony of your own hypocrisy here, so be it. I don’t think you’re a fascist, I think you’re a libertarian. But everyone here seems to think I’m a ‘collectivist, a statist, a socialist, a loony leftist, a radical, a dependent of the state, a thief, &etc.’ on the basis of my tendency to disagree.

I almost always disagree with arguments, not conclusions. In fact I don’t see the point of expressing disagreement with just a conclusion, only with premises, deductions, and argumentative consistency. And I don’t see the point in expressing something other than disagreement, because that strikes me as nothing more than sycophancy.

Hence I have very rarely offered any conclusions on this site, until recently elaborating the (apparently controversial) position that rights are conventions and conventions are products of agreement, and hence one can disagree about the substance of our rights (one could also swap ‘rights’ with ‘property,’ ‘personhood,’ or ‘illegitimate violence/coercion’).

SmoledMan December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

What’s wrong with being a mountain man, self sufficient off the land and not needing anyone?

GiT December 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Quite simply, laying claim to the mountain and the land off of which you live to the exclusion of anyone else.

Not living in a Lockean world where you can hop on a boat to take unclaimed land as your own at no one else’s detriment (a fiction even in Locke’s times, where you simply took land from Native Americans or other indigenous people’s as if they did not exist through the pretense of the doctrine of terrus nullius) , such fantasies of autonomous self sufficiency achieved without actively obstructing the rights of others are a fiction (as Locke himself admits with his treatment of the invention of money.)

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Terra nullius clearly had to be a fact at some time, which is all Locke was referring to in his exposition about original appropriation. His aside about America notwithstanding, he made it clear that in his day, original appropriation was not a common means of legitimately acquiring property.

And although he considered waste to be a limiting factor in how much could be legitimately appropriated, his point was that money and commerce removed those limits, permitting an individual to legitimately acquire any amount of property, since through commerce it could all be put to productive use.

So this “Lockean world” you speak of was an extrapolation back to a time which Locke made no claim of direct experience with, but which merely explained the origins of legitimate property claims in his day.

Suffice it to say, your understanding of Locke is on par with your understanding of most of the things you drone on about.

GiT December 18, 2011 at 11:58 pm

My understanding of Locke is on par with most of the things I talk about, which is to say it is quite good.

Let’s trace the transformation in the foundation of the right to property

1. The principle of self-preservation, the principle of stewardship, the right by labor, and the right by use are mutually reinforcing and non-contradictory (by assertion, not demonstration), as Locke assumes that labor and use will not waste (principle of self preservation) the commons (principle of stewardship).

2. The right by use is superseded by the tacit agreement to the use of money. Right by labor remains legitimate because it is asserted (again, not demonstrated) that the right by labor and the right by use of money do not contradict the principle of self-preservation – i.e. do not lead to the wasting of the commons.

3. The right by labor and the use of money is replaced by the right by the law of the community. The principle of stewardship (which grants man superior right to nature in common) and the principle of self-preservation (which circumscribed and helped define the right of use, labor, and money) remain.

The principle of stewardship establishes only man’s common right to nature, and the principle of self-preservation only establishes that the legislative power must be non-arbitrary, i.e. that it must be oriented towards preservation, as Locke assumed use, labor, and money were. Neither principle ever establishes a grounding for generating property claims. That work is done by an evolving system of rights, as follows:

Stage 1. The principled right to property by labor and use.
Stage 2. The principled right to property by labor and money (durable preservation).
Stage 3. The principled right to property by labor and the law of the community.

In each case the principle of stewardship grounds the right to property by granting common access of all men to nature. Self preservation qualifies this access as access which is useful by a criteria which evolves.
The definition of what counts as useful changes, from that which is individually deemed useful or wasteful, to that which is paid for, to that which the community decides. As such the foundation of the right to property, which is grounded, theologically, in the value of usefulness, moves from subjective opinion, to commerce, to legislative convention.

So, to sum up

1. Terra nullius is grounded on the stewardship principle, which is theological, and it is not true as a matter of fact, but only as a matter of principle that the right of man supervenes upon the rights of natural life.

2. Evolving criteria for what counts as useful and wasteful delimit the scope of the rights generated by labor. To elaborate, the use of money replaces the right to take what is not in use (a principle fully in conformity with a labor theory of property) with the right not to use what one has taken (a principle not in concordance with the right by use, or potentially, with a right by labor (if money can be gotten without laboring). The use of government replaces the right by use of money with right by concordance with the law.

3. For the right by use, right by use of money, and right by legal convention, it is always assumed that these principles are not in contradiction with the principle of self preservation – that my right of usufruct will not lead me to steal what others need, that my use of money will not lead me to hoard what others need in perpetuity, and that the use of legislative power by consent of the governed will not be deployed arbitrarily to the detriment of the people. In no case are any of these assumptions demonstrated. They are in every case assumed to be true.

Only in the case of legislative power are they assumed to be true by all affected. In the case of right by use it is assumed that hoarding is impossible. In the case of right by use of money it is assumed that everyone tacitly consents to hoarding, even though tacit consent is just a version of hypothetical consent, which is no consent at all.

Only with government does everyone actively and voluntarily assume that the convention limiting the right to property by labor is in concordance with their own interest in self-preservation.

4. The grounds of legitimate property claims in Locke’s day, according to Locke were positive law and positive constitutions, specifically the ‘law of the community’ with respect to property rights, as he himself writes. Which returns me back to the point that property, as a legal right, is conventional, not natural, and as such a matter of agreement.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Power over others is expressed and enacted through many more things than the state. Things like, say, property.

You can avoid my property. I can’t avoid your state.

Randy December 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Interesting that those who lecture us on the potential danger of restricting the state have no problem at all with the idea of restricting property rights – that is, an older and more useful human invention than the state.

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

“You can avoid my property. I can’t avoid your state.”

You can choose to emigrate.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Do you remember what I told you about how hard it is to immigrate from America, Greg G? I’m not entirely sure that will remain an option. Probably in our lifetime it will (and hopefully long after). The point is, the state can easily rob you of that option. Any state.

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I do remember Methinks and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that, regardless of how unfair those taxes are, throughout history people have made much greater sacrifices than that to emigrate to the countries of their choice.

It was not my intention to trivialize the difficulties in changing countries. It was my intention to point out that, when we choose which country to live in, we are constrained by the choice of countries available. But that’s often how it is in the economic marketplace as well. In most cases, we are constrained by the choices available.

The state can indeed rob you of your liberties. But it can also protect them. When I look around the world, and when I look back through history, it looks to me like reasonably strong states do not guarantee freedom, but are essential to having a chance for it.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Greg, you said you were in retail. What did you sell?

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Clothing and footwear.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Tough business. Men’s or women’s?

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Men’s. We were definitely a dinosaur by the end. My timing was very lucky. I sold the business and my commercial building (which was worth way more than the business by then) a couple months before the economy blew up. I was still sitting mostly in cash when the economy blew up due to that lucky timing.

GiT December 16, 2011 at 9:52 pm

“You can avoid my property. I can’t avoid your state.”

It would be impossible to survive in the modern world without interacting with other people’s property.

GiT December 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

“Interesting that those who lecture us on the potential danger of restricting the state have no problem at all with the idea of restricting property rights – that is, an older and more useful human invention than the state.”

There are no property rights without a legitimate right to use coercion. Whatever claims a legitimate right to use coercion is acting like, and essentially is, a state.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 3:29 am

GiT,

My property is what I create, and what I have traded for with others who create. That is, my property exists prior to political intervention. The only thing the politicians can do with property is to protect my right to keep it or not, and if they choose the latter then they will limit or end my desire to create more property. And they know this – which is why they so persistently attempt to rationalize their interventions. If it were possible for the politicians to truly own what I create then they would do so.

GiT December 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Randy – You can only create because you take what is not yours except by convention.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

GAAP: “You can avoid my property. I can’t avoid your state.”
GiT: It would be impossible to survive in the modern world without interacting with other people’s property.

Your statement only contradicts GAAP if you meant to write “with ALL other people’s property”.

But then making sense is something I’ve come to not expect from you.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm

“You can choose to emigrate.”

So, when a peaceful person is being violently run off his home, who’s side do you take?

Randy December 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Git,

Re; Convention.

So what, the convention (property) precedes the state. If the state does not protect my property, then it is not my state.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm

” Randy – You can only create because you take what is not yours except by convention.”

Yeah. The convention being that which is voluntarily given to you. This is akin to the convention that says offence isn’t defense, or voluntarily isn’t coerced, or force isn’t NOT force, or 2+2=4. All purely arbitrary stipulation.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

“There are no property rights without a legitimate right to use coercion. Whatever claims a legitimate right to use coercion is acting like, and essentially is, a state.”

No, there are property rights no matter what. Coercion is how those existing rights are violated. Whoever claims for himself a legitimate right to use coercion may not be an agent of the state, but may be any manner of sociopath.

If someone comes, against your will, to forcefully take your kidney, the shirt off your back, the food in your hands, or any other property in your possession, the word used to describe your resistance depends upon whether said property is rightfully yours. If it is rightfully yours, then “coercion” is not the word.

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

vikingvista

If someone chooses to emigrate because they prefer the tax regime or form of state somewhere else, I do not agree with your premise that that means they have necessarily been violently run off their home.

I would like to have this conversation though for several reasons. You are one of the few commentators here who I always read. Even though I usually disagree with you I almost always find you to be fair and making a good faith attempt to understand what the other person is saying. That is rare on both sides of these debates with most people.

The fact that you take a position further out there on the spectrum than almost anyone here is interesting to me. I also appreciate the fact that you are logical, consistent and well informed. Most of all I appreciate the fact that you have a sense of humor.

I think it make sense to start with first principles since it is clear to me we will soon run into the problem of defining some things differently. I do think we start with some common ground. In my opinion the reason we want have a state in the first place (or in your case, avoid having it in the first place) is that we seek to maximize freedom and reduce coercion, especially violent coercion.

Different people have different conceptions of freedom and I expect we may soon run into problems of that nature. I have to leave for a Christmas party now so we will have to pick this up later. Please let me know if we are on the same page so far.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm

“You can avoid my property. I can’t avoid your state.”

Exactly right!

“You can choose to emigrate.”

Why should a peaceable person choose to emigrate the country promised to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Wouldn’t it be better if those wanting to live in a big-government state chose to emigrate instead?

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm

GW

Regarding who should choose to emigrate:

Everyone should decide for themselves. That being the case, I would expect that those who feel this is the best place to live will choose to stay. I would expect that those who feel somewhere else is a better place to live will choose to leave. Sounds a lot like a marketplace of sorts, doesn’t it?

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:57 am

Nah, Greg Government, regressives, like you, changed the US government into just another big-government failure, and people in a market deserve choice. Let’s put this country back as your regressives found it then you and other big-government advocates can emigrate to Cuba to enjoy the free health care that you demand and so rightly deserve.

GiT December 18, 2011 at 8:42 am

Viking:

“Your statement only contradicts GAAP if you meant to write “with ALL other people’s property”.”

I did not mean to contradict GAAP. GAAP says I can avoid his property. My response is that I can’t avoid any property. Therefore I must, by necessity, put myself into relationships where others have power over what I can and can’t do. Whether I can avoid any one individual’s property is irrelevant.

GiT December 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

Randy: “So what, the convention (property) precedes the state. If the state does not protect my property, then it is not my state.”

The convention of property does not precede the state. Property, as a legal relationship which grants a legitimate right of coercion against those who violate your legal rights, cannot exist without a third party authority to legitimize the use of violence. That third party acts as the state.

Viking – “Yeah. The convention being that which is voluntarily given to you. This is akin to the convention that says offence isn’t defense, or voluntarily isn’t coerced, or force isn’t NOT force, or 2+2=4. All purely arbitrary stipulation.”

Exchange is not propriety. The convention which preserves ownership across the alienation and exchange of goods is not the convention which confers ownership simpliciter. The convention which confers a right to claim ownership (not exchange goods one already owns) is nothing like 2+2=4. It is like the axiom x=x (or, to start getting technical, the axiom of extensionality in ZMF).

“No, there are property rights no matter what…. etc”

First, if you define coercion as force used against property then you’re making it useless for the conversation that’s going on. Coercion is simply force. I see no compelling reason to divide force into coercion on the one hand and ‘justified force’ or some other term on the other hand. There is justified coercion and unjustified coercion.

Now, it is not the case that there are property rights no matter what. That’s just stupid. Nature does not give you a right to

Even if we grant you your god-given nonsensical ‘natural rights,’ what you have described as ‘property’ rights are, by your own examples, rights of physical possession, not rights of property. Abstractly possessed objects (i.e. objects which one ‘possesses’ purely by right, and not by actual physical force – i.e. by being physically attached to it) can only exist with conventions. Property is an abstract, legal relationship, not a physical one. There is no property separate from convention. And there is no possession separate from force (quite specifically, the force of one’s own body).

Gil December 17, 2011 at 1:05 am

It would be wrong if it was already the property of someone else.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

Here was a man who produced nothing—BS

I shall get to defending Hitchens in a moment, but first lets be clear why you hate him so. You are jealous because he “translated [his] … tongue into millions… making him a parasitic 1%”

Beyond that, you need to be sentenced to reading the Bard for 50 years.

Hitchens is all of us (only larger than life), deeply talented and flawed at the same time. IOW he was man. He had keen insights and at the same time could not see things that were as plain as day. Only his maker knows what he gave up, and what we lost, to alcohol.

His great accomplishment was his constant striving to protect Modernity.

After 9/11 he took on Noam Chomsky and a lot of others and supported the war against Iraq. Everyone should have listened to him, which would have changed the debate from whether to how.

He truly understood the challenges. Had we done so, Bush might not have conducted the two wars in the way that he did, without sufficient support to raise taxes to pay for them.

In sum, Hitchens was likely sent to us a reminder that we are human.

Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm

He truly understood the challenges.

In other words, in that regard you agreed with him or he with you. You can make no other provable claim about what he truly understood.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Play it again, Sam!

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Sam

I clicked through to your blog. You are certainly self-qualified when it comes to knowing a “man who produced nothing.” YOu also are highly skilled in making claims that are no “provable.”

It is apparent that you too are jealous of Hitchens and that you lack the mental capacity to understand why people would respect his effort, even if they might not agree with him.

You lack of depth makes you and GAAPrules both trolls

Goodbye

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I know very little about Hitchens, my comment was mostly about you. You made an indirect appeal to authority by claiming he truly understood something thereby suggesting that you have a similar true understanding.

I’m not judging you by Hitchens now, I’m judging Hitchens by you.

I’ve no idea whether he truly understood the matter you were discussing, but I rather doubt it given the limitations of human perception and our extensive reliance on third hand and further distance sources of information.

You also are highly skilled in making claims that are no “provable.”

Without citation, I cannot address your critique, but I suspect it is a matter of a difference of opinion about which you are highly reactive.

Randy December 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Re; The poor will be with us always.

But redistribution really is a zero sum game, and if I was one of the
currently poor I would be thinking that its time to start worrying about the competition.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm

But redistribution really is a zero sum game, and if I was one of the
currently poor I would be thinking that its time to start worrying about the competition.

Its negative-it has transfer and avoidance costs.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Redistribution isn’t a zero-sum game. It’s a negative-sum game because it makes people less productive. Men don’t work as hard or as cleverly when they know whatever they produce above and beyond what their “betters” decide they don’t need will be taken from them.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 3:33 am

True, its negative sum. Doesn’t change the point.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

No, but it does make attempts to eradicate poverty a fool’s game.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

When I saw the news report on the new “Low-Income” threshold, I couldn’t help but be taken aback. With the threshold close to median, that guarantees that nearly half of American households will fall into that category. That means I fall into that category and I am far from low-income.

Becky Hargrove December 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Maybe the campaign for American honey would make more sense if we weren’t having such a problem keeping our bees alive – for how many years now?

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm


Georgetown’s Stephen Rose challenges the notion that America’s middle-class is disappearing.

A classic case of them moving the chains such that they get to sweep one particular part of the middle class under the rug. Thus it gives those two folks an easy way to justify what the “new economy” is doing – the economic version of eternal damnation towards those considered “not skilled enough”.

Hal December 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

“A classic case of them moving the chains such that they get to sweep one particular part of the middle class under the rug.”

This is a false statement with regards to what Stephen Rose said. As for an actual example of “moving the chains”, check out the first link in this post. This article shows the Census Bureau redefining poverty levels to be anyone below the 33rd percentile in income. Meaning that no matter how rich American gets, people can claim that a third of te population is poor. The change to a relative measure is necessary for those who want to claim poverty is still a problem, since using absolute measures of poverty clearly show that poverty has pretty much disappeared from the US.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Unfortunately, you try to dismiss it without looking at the statement as given. The 33rd percentile change is a statistical response to keep up with the change while providing something that provides an up-to-date number that is absolute for the time that is given. It is a clarification, not a falsification.

You still haven’t answered the issue about how the “new economy” allows a justifiably permanent damnation of those that do not have an approved skill level.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

We already have a permanent damnation of those without an approved skill level. It’s called minimum-wage. All a minimum wage law does is guarantee that those with skills not worth $5/hr (or whatever it is nationally) cannot get a job. I fail to see how classifying one-third of the population poor will solve that issue.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm

$7.25 is Federal Min Wage…guess it’s been a while since I checked.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Ah, the familiar old saw about the minimum wage. Too bad it isn’t true.

Employers just don’t want to be competitive with workers, they want to have the workers pliant enough to be competitive to them. The “not worth x” is just an excuse to avoid hiring them and acknowledging upward wage pressures for a given skill level, when the employer has every ability to hire.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm

So, Sethstorm, you’d be totally okay if a hospital hired some guy for whom 8th grade was too difficult to finish to operate on you? The guy wouldn’t be worth what he’s paid because he’s too dumb to finish 8th grade, let alone operate on so much as french bread. But not hiring him because his skills don’t measure up is just an excuse to deny him what is rightfully his – a job where he gets to hack you up into little pieces.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

sethstorm–

I make a lot more than minimum wage. How is that possible?

Randy December 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Simple answer is that it doesn’t. The economy is not an entity with a will. It is an activity with a result. The activity is trade of value for value. The result is the creation of wealth. People with nothing to trade are to the economy what kudzu is to a healthy tree. If they are damned, then they are damned by their nature, not by the economy.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

So you try to devalue them to a point where it is acceptable to consign them to eternal damnation of the economic kind – since you consider them valueless for not being pliant enough to an employer?

Interesting.

Randy December 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I don’t assign a value to them at all. That is not my place. I think that nearly everyone has the potential to produce something of value to someone, but its up to them to prove it.

Seth December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Huh?

brotio December 20, 2011 at 12:43 am

I have opened a xanga account and will forward our hosts postings there and allow comments there

http://cafe-hayek-comments.xanga.com/

I think that you will have to create a xanga account in order to comment. If this is true, it will prevent the name-hijacking that our Leftist, idiot trolls are so fond of. I do not intend to forbid comments because of name-calling, and will not forbid Yasafi, Gil, DK, GregG, or any of the other non-trolls from commenting. I will reserve the right to remove comments that violate the obscenity requirements our hosts have asked of us here.

Thanks all, and I hope this will allow us to continue our dialogues until our hosts decide how comments will be handled here.

(copy)

Hal December 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

It is a clarification, not a falsification.

I never claimed the moving chains of a percentile was a “falsification”. I merely pointed out that this is the “classic” example of moving chains. Using a percentile base on an absolute measure that moves (since income increases and has increased for all deciles of Americans) is a relative measure.

What “new” economy are you talking about?

What approved skill level are you talking about? Are you talking about the one imposed by the government in the form of SS taxes and minimum wages? The combination of these two things in addition to a couple of other compliance taxes means that the cost to employers per employee is at least $10/hour. Is this what you are talking about?

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm

The “new economy” he’s talking about is Obama’s “green jobs” economy, where the only sort of company you’re allowed to create is a high-tech alternative energy firm. The “approved skill level” he’s talking about is anyone above the skill level of someone who might work on an oil rig or building a natural gas pipeline. Those skills are not approved by the Obama administration. He believes those people must be forbidden to work, lest their labor damage Mother Earth.

No word on whether he approves of the skills necessary to sell guns to Mexican drug cartels, though.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Josh S:
Wrong on both counts, but thanks for trying. I like my country, and would prefer to not have its government subjugated to serving businesses and other countries as a result of commerce.

The only thing that the US should be sending south to Mexico, to wage total war across the country like William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea. Not jobs, not guns, not factories, not medical tourists. When Mexico no longer has a cartel problem, then pull back.

Hal:

What “new” economy are you talking about?

The one that puts the First World at peril at the gain of the Third – through guest worker programs.


What approved skill level are you talking about? Are you talking about the one imposed by the government in the form of SS taxes and minimum wages?

No, the one initially imposed because someone sued Duke Power, the 4-year degree.

Your statements imply that businesses should be exempt from competing with the compensations from government programs, but not exempt from making demands of workers being competitive to businesses that receive their own government assistance – from governments that are not our own, but of those in the Third World.

Hal December 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

The one that puts the First World at peril at the gain of the Third – through guest worker programs.

How does this put the first world at peril? Immigration isn’t “new” to the US. Immigration built this country. In fact, in the 19th century, when anyone could come and go in and out of the US without any interference from the government, the US economy grew at an average of 4%. In the 20th century, when immigration was severely restricted the economy grew at an average of 3%. This has enormous implications over the course of 100 years. A growth rate of 4% results in a 50 fold increase in the size of the economy over 100 years. A growth rate of 3% results in only a 19 fold increase. Meaning that Americans would be over two and a half times as rich after 100 years with a 4% growth rate compared to a 3% growth rate.

Your statements imply that businesses should be exempt from competing with the compensations from government programs

I’m saying that the minimum wage laws and labor taxes slapped onto employment hurts employers and employees and potential employees. Employers can’t afford to higher the workers they want because the government has priced that labor out of the market; thus their business suffers because it can’t do as much business as it wants. Employees are hurt because they have to do more work due to the fact that their employer has fewer employees to do a job and maintain their workspace; thus employees are less productive because they are unable to focus on a single task. Potential employees are hurt, particularly low skilled and low experienced workers cannot find jobs because employers will not hire them at the inflated price dictated by the government; thus they have a much harder time finding a job and gaining experience.

If you don’t think this is true, start a business and hire all these people you claim these laws and taxes aren’t hurting, but due to what you probably believe to be simple greed on the part of employers. If it’s easy to sustain a business employing these people in the legal atmosphere set by government, set an example and start a business in whatever benevolent manner you like.

In other words, put up or shut up. Words mean nothing when compared against action.

but not exempt from making demands of workers being competitive to businesses that receive their own government assistance – from governments that are not our own, but of those in the Third World.

No business or worker should be exempt from having to compete with any other business or worker simply due to geographic happenstance. I have never claimed anyone should be exempt from competition from anyone, nor do you have any statement that supports your assertion that I’ve made such a claim.

In addition, the low wage workers you lament that have to compete against third world labor benefit immensely from that third world labor in the form of lower priced goods and services provided by that third world labor force. Businesses like Wal-Mart are responsible for providing more goods and services to poor people than all the programs provided by all levels of government in the US. Addtionally, no government program has provided as much benefit in the way of income and gaining valuable, marketable skill to low/no skilled/experience labor than all the government programs of all levels of government combined.

In addition to this benefit, that third world labor force is being brought into the first world by increased income and living standards. International trade is truly win-win.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

The only thing that the US should be sending south to Mexico, to wage total war across the country like William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Something missing here?

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm

“Something missing here?”

Sanity? Decency? Consistency? Intelligence?

sethstorm December 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Sam Grove:
Check up on your Civil War history on what that person did.

Mexico is not interested in solving the problem with the cartels enough to get rid of them all.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Sethstorm, I was talking about missing words; perhaps you meant to include “is an army” after “Mexico, “. As it is, your sentence appears to be incomplete.

The only thing that the US should be sending south to Mexico, to wage total war across the country like William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I am familiar with Sherman’s march you, fascist warmongering sociopath.

brotio December 18, 2011 at 1:26 am

Mexico is not interested in solving the problem with the cartels enough to get rid of them all.

Mexico could show all the interest in the world, and it wouldn’t matter. As long as there is demand for a product, someone will be willing to supply it.

Also, the Mexican government is ill-equipped to battle cartels whose weapons are provided by the Obama Administration.

sethstorm December 18, 2011 at 11:42 am


Mexico could show all the interest in the world, and it wouldn’t matter. As long as there is demand for a product, someone will be willing to supply it.

Kind of hard to fulfill the demand if the suppliers are wiped clean from the country – until people are afraid to supply it.

Instead of sending guns down to the cartels, we should be sending troops to secure that country – even if it means a total war that results in the end of those cartels, and a beginning of a cleaner Mexico.

sethstorm December 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm


In addition, the low wage workers you lament that have to compete against third world labor benefit immensely from that third world labor in the form of lower priced goods and services provided by that third world labor force

Only if you forget the detriment from reduced freedom continually sought by business. With the forms of slavery that businesses encounter in those Third World countries, it devalues and diminishes the freedoms of those that are not businesses in the First World.

Such inferior production and service to those people, only serves to make things worse off for everyone save for the intermediary.


Addtionally, no government program has provided as much benefit in the way of income and gaining valuable, marketable skill to low/no skilled/experience labor than all the government programs of all levels of government combined.

You make the incorrect presumption that treating people with absolute disrespect is the way to move up. If you worked in such a place, as opposed to reading script from Bentonville and friends, you would know what is meant by that.

What I suggest is that there is a healthy respect that is associated with a long-term investment towards US citizens; this is opposed to the contempt and cloak/dagger tactics that are directed towards the worker or potential worker.

Why is it that you openly support those that seek slavery and despotic countries while they disfavor freedom for regular, non-business-running people? Whether it be the South, Mexico, South America, China, Vietnam, or India – they have the constant of pliancy to business that is administered by a business-friendly & despotic government.

Hal December 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Only if you forget the detriment from reduced freedom continually sought by business.

Freedoms which are reduced by corrupt government. You can complain about businesses all you want with regards to businesses, but businesses cannot force you to work for them or purchase anything from them. Governments, on the other hand, can and do.

You make the incorrect presumption that treating people with absolute disrespect is the way to move up.

Have you ever seen the way government bureacrats treat those who use government programs? If you think the service you receive at the DMV is bad, try one of these agencies. Businesses have to respect their employees and customers, otherwise their employees will quit and their customer will go elsewhere.

The things you complain about are made much better in the private sector because of competition, while they are made worse by government because the government immunizes itself from competition.

What I suggest is that there is a healthy respect that is associated with a long-term investment towards US citizens

By supporting policies that actively reduce his freedome of choice and association?

Why is it that you openly support those that seek slavery and despotic countries while they disfavor freedom for regular, non-business-running people?

That’s a cute turn of phrase coming from someone who seeks to reduce the freedoms of individuals using government force. Can you name any country on earth that increased it’s material wealth by closing itself off from the rest of the world? You claim that I want to enslave people living in South, Mexico, South America, China, Vietnam, or India, but the reality is the only way these people’s lives can improve is through trade. In fact, the people you claim I want to enslave (a claim you cannot back up with any evidence whatsoever) have seen dramatically improved living standards because of trade and globalization.

Additionally, the way that you lead that question and many of the other comments I’ve seen you post, I can conclude that you argue in bad faith.
You aren’t interested in actual debate, but projecting your prejudices of defenders of liberty.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

No, it’s not an up-to-date number. It bases “poverty” on how much you have relative to others, not on how much you actually have. If the USA annexed Mexico tomorrow and nothing else changed, everyone below the new poverty line would suddenly find themselves to have moved up a class or two, despite zero change in standard of living.

If your definition of “poverty” depends on how big you draw your geographic boundary, you have a stupid definition.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm


My former GMU student Alex Nowrasteh offers more thought on immigration and the role of U.S. states.

The only valid action is deeper enforcement and more strictness against the illegals, and those who do anything except report them.

Utah has essentially sold out its sovereignty, and the fate of Utahns by allowing a guest worker program. All a guest worker program does is further place the US citizen in contempt by business such that fraud will render no citizen eligible. In the interest of ending such fraud and waste by employers, no guest worker program should even exist – or have any legal right to exist – for it puts more citizens out of work than it claims to put citizens in work.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Come, now, Seth. We cannot allow nationalism to rear its ugly head and deny ourselves the benefits of immigration. Nationalism and bigotry only lead to violence and hate, neither of which this country needs right now.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Those that are in guest worker programs aren’t assimilating and becoming US citizens. These people are not even immigrants in that respect, just people that happen to be of the appropriate level of pliance that employers cannot find in US citizens.

Those that come to the US and wish to take on the full responsibilities, as well as the rights, of becoming US citizens are the immigrants that you say are beneficial. They are willing to take on the burden of going through the immigration system, with the often-sought reward of legal US citizenship.

I am not going to deny that the paperwork for legal US citizenship is overwhelming, but the solution is not to make more guest workers. The answer is to get rid of the guest worker programs that do not bring in immigrants, but people that possess the skill of pliance towards even the worst of employers.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Come now, guest workers are but temporary workers. Migrant workers who are hired to work for a summer or two. They perform seasonable tasks. They bring us just as many benefits as immigrant workers. Perhaps more.

I fail to see, Seth, how making it illegal for these people to enter America will solve the problem of illegal immigration into America.

Likewise, I don’t see why the benefits these people give to Americans and American employers are any less valuable then those given by immigrants or American workers.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm

The same way that making more drugs illegal has solved the problem of illegal drug use.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Not a good enough excuse for people that are only sought because they are pliant. They provide no benefits that a citizen would be able to provide. Either hire citizens or mechanize the work with citizens at the helm.

The only thing that should be made legal/constitutional is for private citizens to be able to take them out at the border, along with anyone that attempts to assist them. Then follow up with a federal-level version of SB1070 and the Alabama bill that bars any guest worker program for any level of skill.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I, too, agree that poor people in other countries should not be allowed to seek better opportunities elsewhere. I agree because I fear what foreigners might do to my culture. Some of them speak a funny language and might pollute the purity of American English. Some of them celebrate strange holidays and pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Even worse, some of them don’t like the sacrament that defines every God-fearing American, the hamburger. I am not even sure that they qualify as human. Have you seen their brown skin and shifty eyes? Sub-humans for sure.

Gil December 17, 2011 at 1:17 am

Then again sethstorm it could be argued that the transaction is between an employer and the guest/immigrant and as such both parties are not obliged to create positive externalities to everyone else.

sethstorm December 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Gil:
Yet it does not account for the fact that they do not act in a vacuum. They create negative externalities that affect other people that have more freedom and choice than the captive and pliant guest workers. Making these people citizens, or giving illegals paths to citizenship, would only be amnesty.

Josh S:
Your appeal to humanity for those other countries only enables human traffickers to put on the mask of innocence while doing things that are not. As a guest worker, the only thing that happens is that a part of the hellhole follows the guest worker into the US. The businesses dont want them for anything but pliant, captive, unfree labor. Why else would they go to the large extents of fraud for even the higher skill levels?

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I didn’t know every foreigner who works in a country is a kidnapped slave. This is a rather shocking revelation, and I think you need to make your discovery public.

For example, my wife is from Mexico, and she was recently teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. But you say she was a slave? She was captive and unfree? This breaks my heart, because I love my wife. I am rather surprised that she told you about her captivity, but not me.

But nevertheless, I would appreciate it if you would forward to me the information you have on my wife’s kidnapping and slavery, so that I can contact the authorities and get on this. If UTA is really behind such egregious violations of the law and human rights, I can’t let this stand.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm

When my grandmother was a child, she lived in a town in Ohio where nearly everyone spoke German. Shop signs were in German.

Somehow, America survived that foreign menace.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Somehow, America survived that foreign menace.
Europe hasn’t.

Let me know when Germany reaches 2 billion people within its own country, and is used as leverage against other countries by its population alone.

Josh S December 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I was in Europe just a couple years ago. You say everyone there is dead now?

Gil December 17, 2011 at 1:15 am

Egads! Nazis infiltrated the U.S.!?!?!

sethstorm December 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm

As another Ohioan:
All the parts of my family assimilated whether they got off a misdirected boat landing in today’s Maryland, or the more modern Ellis Island. Some parts were German, others Protestant French, and others Irish. They were all legal, and unlike guest workers, there for the long term.

None of them ever needed a guest worker program. It would be a slap in the face to all the legal immigrants to allow guest workers, for such programs incentivize illegal immigration.

Bracero: More illegal immigrants.

20 CFR 655/20 CFR 656: More illegal immigrants and contempt for US citizens(Grigsby & Cohen’s “I know it’s funny, but that’s what we’re doing – trying not to find a US citizen” stunt)

Utah: Evidence points to illegal immigration.

Arizona SB1070, Alabama, Georgia: Losses are from people that cannot adapt to hiring citizens. Get rid of the guest worker portion, and they will have to adapt to a life beyond slavery. Let these laws, as originally written and passed, be the laws that get passed in other states – as opposed to a fraud&waste enhancing guest worker program.

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

No one “needs” a guest worker program. The only reason they even come up is because US immigration law makes it impossible to move here, because people like you think that if someone gets off a misdirected boat, or is an unskilled emigre just looking for a new life like the people who went through Ellis Island, he should be sent back home.

If we had the same immigration law your family used to come here, ‘guest workers’ wouldn’t even be a topic…they’d just move here and find work.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Quoting from Utah’s HB4066 PDF as linked here

(i) a Utah business hiring an alien through the pilot project shall demonstrate and
238 certify that there are not sufficient workers where that labor is to be performed who are able,
239 willing, qualified, and available at the time of application for a United States nonimmigrant
240 visa; and
241 (ii) the employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working
242 conditions of workers in Utah who are similarly employed
;

243 (b) require that the State of Nuevo Leon will provide Mexican migrant workers to Utah
244 businesses who meet certain requirements, including that each migrant worker:
245 (i) meets the legal requirements of federal law with regard to eligibility for a United
246 States nonimmigrant visa;
247 (ii) passes a criminal background check;

248 (iii) undergoes standardized testing to satisfy the hiring Utah business that the migrant
249 worker possesses the requisite level of education or skill required for the job to be filled
;

In bold, are the lines where contempt is established by employers towards Utah constitutents that are legal US citizens:

Lines 238-243:
The employer will just create something no Utahn could qualify for, but then change the requirements around so that the Mexican does. Another way it can be abused is that it says nothing about unemployed Utahns that, if strictly by the letter of the text, would be exempt from any protections “adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in Utah who are similarly employed”. Further abuse would happen with the “similarly employed” as to create categories that do not map to any single Utahn or US citizen, but map only to the Mexicans.

Lines 248-249:
The employer will declare a skill level that no US citizen has, but the Mexican will have. An English-language would somehow be absent, in favor of Spanish-only testing to limit any Utahns that are US citizens from demonstrating a requisite level of education/skill.

A stronger, no-guest-worker-at-all(even federal guest workers covered under 20 CFR 655/20 CFR 656) SB1070 and the Alabama bill would be a better way to go. No fraud, no employer-side way out that provides an end-run around US citizens.

There are so many flaws in this kind of bill, that the Grand Canyon looks narrow to the breadth and depth of the employer-favoring holes it has.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I’m sorry, but I really do not see at all where you are getting that conclusion. The opening text says that the hired alien must pass all these requirements. It makes no mention whatsoever of domestic workers.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Since my immediate reply is awaiting moderation (for quoting 20 CFR 655 and 20 CFR 656 titles verbatim), you’ll have to wait.

In short, it just leaves too many holes that have been established in comparable federal regulations, which in turn are used by businesses against US citizens.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I try to submit proof, but somehow it gets eaten by the filter.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm

What’s this pro-citizen bigotry of yours? What do you care what map lines a stranger had to cross to trade with you?

But if it makes you happy, I’m for making guest workers all citizens today. Then you can like them too.

sethstorm December 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm

How about no guest workers from this point forward? No more fraud on the part of employers, no more way for you to falsely appeal to humanity, no more waste by government in trying to uncover fraud.

You want to save some money, kill all the guest worker programs. Every single one from the federal level down to the state level. The job losses are from those who considered the US citizen not pliant enough – which is the only skill that differs between a US citizen and a guest worker.

SmoledMan December 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Look I hate being poor, never really experienced it but I’ve seen other people up close being poor and it’s hell!

rhhardin December 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Why do we always have the poor?

– So we are not damned. (Levinas, Difficult Freedom)

That’s a maxim that the progressive state has made meaningless.

“Things have changed: kindness is no longer something that belongs to people, only to lords or to societies…” (Vicki Hearne, Bandit)

Gil December 17, 2011 at 1:22 am

The real answer is that competition demands that the best rise to the top and the worst to the bottom. It doesn’t matter how good the worst may have been in previous generations. For example, Napolean would be considered slight taller than average in his day but he’d definitely be consider short by today’s standards. Similarly, a person is the U.S. has to have much more intelligence and work skills to compete than someone in a mediocre country or someone in the U.S. a few generations prior.

EG December 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm

You know I never understood the fascination with Hitchens. I’m an atheist, and even I thought his attacks on religion were pretty thin (in most occasions). I didn’t think he was particularly that great of a debater, other than slightly entertaining in his personal attacks. I can’t say much about his supposed skills in writing, since that’s hardly an area I can comment on. He was entertaining, but an intellectual? I just don’t see it.

Continuing on, his politics were atrocious. A Trotskyite in its purest sense, most of his arguments were drawn from his extreme leftist views, even if he may have claimed to have moved on. His arguments against religion, against “fascism” are copy-paste arguments from some pamphlet in 1936′s Spain. They were actually rather intellectually…boring.

And true to the Trotskyite tradition, a lot of his arguments were filled with overblown made-up facts. Case in point: his attack on Mother Teresa. Whatever you may think about her, his accusations were pretty weak. Did she..force…any of the people into her missions? No. Therefore, how can someone attack her for providing them with the spiritual service (or shelter) that those poor people went into her missions to get? But his weakest argument (and I only saw his video on this, never read the book), was when he showed the video of her going back to her native Albania and putting flowers on Enver Hoxha’s grave…as an example of her supposed hypocrisy.

Seriously? As if anyone going into communist Albania at that time had a …CHOICE…as to whether to place flowers on Hoxha’s grave or not. That’s hardly a compelling argument from a supposed master of debate.

Gil December 17, 2011 at 1:24 am

His attack on Mother Teresa was sound in that she had no intentions of helping the people out of poverty and suffering but wanting them to enjoy as per extreme fundamentalist Catholic teachings.

EG December 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm

She never claimed to take them out of poverty. And they went there on their own. She didn’t drag them in by force.

His attacks were ridiculous because they were based on premises which couldn’t be true. He was very intellectually muddy, not just on Mother Teresa but on most topics.

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

My erstwhile (very long ago) colleague Richard Miniter’s thoughts on Hitchens:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardminiter/2011/12/16/christopher-hitchens-as-i-knew-him/

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I more less grew up wearing out copies of Rush’s early vinyl. I still listen to them. “The Trees” is as stunning an indictment of the reality of egalitarianism as there is-sort of like Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature set to a pithy tone. Still listen to them – long for the days when a sunny summer day meant imposing “Tom Sawyer” on anybody in a three block radius.

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm

See below.

Don Boudreaux December 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thanks very much for this link.

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Anytime, sir.

muirgeo December 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Per the poor will be with us always;

Utilitarian economists, skeletons of schoolmasters, Commissioners of Fact, genteel and used up infidels, gabblers of many little dog’s eared creeds; the poor you will have always with you. Cultivate in them while there is yet time the utmost graces of the fancies and affections to adorn their lives so much in need of ornament or in the day of your triumph when romance is utterly driven out of their souls and they and a bare existence stand face to face Reality will take a wolfish turn and make an end of you.

Charles Dickens , Hard Times

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Conspicuous abstention from labour therefore becomes the conventional mark of superior pecuniary achievement and the conventional index of reputability; and conversely, since application to productive labour is a mark of poverty and subjection, it becomes inconsistent with a reputable standing in the community. Habits of industry and thrift, therefore, are not uniformly furthered by a prevailing pecuniary emulation. On the contrary, this kind of emulation indirectly discountenances participation in productive labour. Labour would unavoidably become dishonourable, as being an evidence indecorous under the ancient tradition handed down from an earlier cultural stage. The ancient tradition of the predatory culture is that productive effort is to be shunned as being unworthy of able-bodied men. and this tradition is reinforced rather than set aside in the passage from the predatory to the quasi-peaceable manner of life.

-Thorsten Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class, Ch. 3

muirgeo December 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mould a new reality
Closer to the Heart

….
Closer to the Heart ..YEA eeAHHH!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1545103/

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
“These oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light.”
Now there’s no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4amV7__XFA

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Well played. Nice to see everyone stepping up their game.

Mesa Econoguy December 16, 2011 at 11:49 pm
muirgeo December 17, 2011 at 9:18 am

That Rush were Randians is the only position they have that gives me pause. I just don’t get it….the Rock and Rollers are supposed to be on OUR side.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm

That Rush were Randians is the only position they have that gives me pause. I just don’t get it….the Rock and Rollers are supposed to be on OUR side.

Physician, heal thyself.

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

muirgeo

They crossed over to the 1% a long time ago. Neil Young however, who had a brief flirtation with the Republicans, was cured of that by Bush.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm

LOL! The great myth of the 1%. George Soros, Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, Steve Cohen, Barak Obama, etc. Yep, those Democrats are just part of the 99%.

muirge0 December 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm

No Greg they are part of the 1% that gets it.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm

We’re on the train to Bangkok
Aboard the Thailand Express
We’ll hit the stops along the way
We only stop for the best

That’s the one I remember… well, sort of remember…

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

GW

I was just kidding around there, not that I would expect you to be able to tell. I do not normally expect that what a person’s income is, or whether or not they are a musician, will predict their politics.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 1:04 am

Greg Government, I am impressed. You actually got one right. How much money one makes and whether they are a musician does not determine their political views. Though the more insecure one is the more likely they are to be big-government advocates like you.

Greg G December 18, 2011 at 7:27 am

GW

Now it is my turn to be impressed. The abilities you claim include long distance psychoanalysis and more insight into the Constitution than many decades worth of Supreme Court justices.

And you are an impressive multi-tasker, who will soon again be lecturing us against the practice of pretetnding at knowledge.

Greg Webb December 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Greg Government, I know I always go to my haberdasher when I want to understand the Constitution, economics, or psychology. It looks like I was right in in saying that you were pretending at knowledge.

Greg G December 20, 2011 at 7:25 am

And I always go to a federal former regulator, now working for the industry he used to regulate when I want a lecture on the evils of crony capitalism.

Greg Webb December 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

Greg Government, who better to understand that the regulatory structure does not work than someone who saw it from the inside? My clients are not the TBTF cronies. Thus, my clients need protection from corrupt politicians, their TBTF cronies, and useful idiots like former haberdashers pretending at knowledge of economics, finance, and government.

GiT December 19, 2011 at 3:19 am

One wonders if you read the rest of the book.

Greg G December 20, 2011 at 9:40 am

GW

Actually I was not a haberdasher (not that there’s anything wrong with that). We sold outdoor clothing (mostly work clothing) and boots. But keep on imagining up the details of my life as you warn of the dangers of pretending at knowledge.

Your notion that TBTF firms are the only ones that practice crony capitalism is laugh out loud funny. After bidding on a few local government clothing contracts, we mostly stayed away from them because they depended so much on who you knew.

Unlike you, I was never employed by government. I ran my own business for my entire career. But do keep on telling yourself you are not practicing crony capitalism by using the knowledge you gained at tax payer expense to work against the regulations you used to enforce.

Greg Webb December 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

Greg Government, that’s too bad. Haberdashery is a profession and haberdashers have valuable skills. You were a clerk in a retail men’s clothing store. Now, I understand your seething hatred of Walmart.

TBTF firms got bailed out, as big-government advocates such as yourself wanted, with taxpayer money. My clients are angry that you advocated for an unfair advantage for their competitors. So much for your rethoric about helping the little guy and opposing corporatism.

I’m happy that you experienced unfair local government cronyism. Logic dictates that you would oppose all government cronyism. It’s illogical to advocate otherwise. Oh wait, I arguing logic with a clerk. Never mind.

Read the definition of cronyism. It does not include people who earn the benefits received in return for their work. So, the men’s clothing clerk at Walmart is not a political crony just because he goes out on his own and teaches other retail stores how to effectively compete against Walmart. And, neither is the prosecutor who leaves the government to defend the people that he might have prosecuted had he chosen to remain with the government.

Greg G December 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

GW

We did not compete with Walmart and I have never complained about Walmart. In fact I have defended them here in a discussion about free trade.

I have no doubt you win many arguments in your imaginary worlds. I especially enjoyed the time you told us about how polite you would be in an imaginary comment on an imaginary visit to Krugman’s blog.

Greg Webb December 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Greg Government, I am pleased that you defend Walmart. That is unusual because Walmart put mom and pop retail clothing and other stores out of business because they simply could not compete with the prices or the quality of the clothing and other goods offered. I commend you for advocating for free trade despite its ill effects on your chosen employment.

I have read Paul Krugman’s column for awhile. Yet, I have never commented, especially to be rude to Krugman on his own blog. And, that is very much unlike what you have done here. Polite, old boy, sometimes means not making snarky, misleading comments to, or about, the blog owners or, indirectly, to those who agree with their point of view.

OWS December 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm

You are insane, dude. God forbid if you are ever issued a gun permit. Thanks for destroying the comments section for all. It takes just one nutcase. You’re another neo-nazi skinhead monster like Jared Lautner.

Greg Webb December 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

OWS, you’re stupid, dude. I already have a concealed carry permit for my Sig Sauer P226 40 caliber pistol.

The following is from Wikipedia and explains Jared Loughner’s views: “Records show that Loughner was registered as an independent voter and voted in 2006 and 2008, but not in 2010. Classmates also recalled Loughner as having espoused atheistic and nihilistic views. Zane Gutierrez, a friend, later told the New York Times that Loughner’s anger would also ‘well up at the sight of President George W. Bush.’ Loughner espoused such controversial ideas as: the United States Government was responsible for the September 11 attacks; a New World Order would bring about a one world currency; there would be a 2012 apocalypse; NASA had faked spaceflights; and that the government was using mind control and grammar to brainwash people (who are unaware that ‘nothing is real’).”

Sounds familiar to all you looney leftists with your obsession with George W. Bush, atheism, nihilism, 911 was an inside job, etc. BTW, the comment section is supposed to be reopened at some point. Sans morons like you.

sethstorm December 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm


One person– at the Aspen Ideas Festival a few years ago, you know, said, “If I relocate work– from the U.S. to China, and as a result of that– you know, two Chinese– move up from poverty into the middle class and one American falls out of the middle class, well, maybe that’s not such a bad trade.”

So that’s the kind of, out-of-touch, anti-American thought that happens in such thin Colorado air. If anything, they should be relocated to the most unfriendly part of China and then to every single other hellhole. If they survive, drop them in worst no-go part of Los Angeles and wish them the best.

Shame that this person is too cowardly to identify themselves, even if Aspen, Colorado is quite insulated from normal people.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 3:45 am

People don’t fall out of the middle class because the factory closes. They fall out because they haven’t advanced their skills beyond what is necessary to work at a factory bench. The demand that simple work must pay a high salary is political behavior.

And so it seems that there is justice for politicians too… an encouraging thought…

sethstorm December 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm


People don’t fall out of the middle class because the factory closes. They fall out because they haven’t advanced their skills beyond what is necessary to work at a factory bench. The demand that simple work must pay a high salary is political behavior.

Your contempt for the US citizen is as bad as theirs, since you want to blame the worker, not the business that performed the action.

You want to frame it in the terms of skillset such that it is OK to sweep these people under the rug, to condemn them to economic perdition, to otherwise write them off since the business can do no wrong and the person that works for them can do no right – if unapproved by business.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm

And again, if they are condemned it is their nature that condemns them. The economy is not an entity that cares.

And if you are serious about solving a problem you must first understand it. Your repetition of political propaganda helps no one but the politicians.

sethstorm December 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

Since it can be said no other way, you are just trying to blame the proverbial victim and cleansing it with the idea that the economy has apathy.

That person must be breathing some very thin air for having the thought of putting the citizen in contempt. It is a shame that you defend such an indefensible action – the contempt of our own free citizens, in favor of more pliant slaves.

Randy December 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

It is you who have contemp. I believe that human beings are capable of strength and character – that there is no need for victims. It is you and your kind who would make victims of us all – for our own good, of course.

sethstorm December 20, 2011 at 3:53 am


It is you who have contempt. I believe that human beings are capable of strength and character

Yet they do not show it. I do not have contempt in the way you suggest – as you wish to frame it as a “attacking your own kind” and thus try to place a wedge.

You’re overplaying the word victim, anyway.

Arceb Ulned December 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I just wish he lived long enough to write Kim Jung Il’s obituary.

As for what I think of Hitch… I don’t think it matters. He was funny, indeed he could put together a sentence and he had a strong case of being right. In the end he may have gotten so wrapped up in being understood as some political alignment that he only ever once in a while saw himself in an obvious light: he was pro-humanity; the guy couldn’t bring himself to support a nihilistic idea so far as the evidence and his mind could understand them.

I didn’t have any time to disagree with Hitchens on much but that’s because it didn’t matter, I always knew that whatever he wrote or spoke was against nihilism, totalitarianism, despotism, fascism or to put it all together in one ball and then some; religion.

My hat’s doff to the guy

Greg Webb December 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

“I always knew that whatever he wrote or spoke was against nihilism, totalitarianism, despotism, fascism or to put it all together in one ball and then some; religion.

I read only a few things by Hitchens, and I agree with your statement, which is why I liked him.

brotio December 20, 2011 at 12:43 am

I have opened a xanga account and will forward our hosts postings there and allow comments there

http://cafe-hayek-comments.xanga.com/

I think that you will have to create a xanga account in order to comment. If this is true, it will prevent the name-hijacking that our Leftist, idiot trolls are so fond of. I do not intend to forbid comments because of name-calling, and will not forbid Yasafi, Gil, DK, GregG, or any of the other non-trolls from commenting. I will reserve the right to remove comments that violate the obscenity requirements our hosts have asked of us here.

Thanks all, and I hope this will allow us to continue our dialogues until our hosts decide how comments will be handled here.

(second copy)

muirgeo December 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

Wow great. I look forward to our highly intellectual discussions on your web.

Greg Webb December 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

George, I’m sorry that you want be participating in those discussions.

Hal December 20, 2011 at 11:17 am

muirgeo, we all know that you are not highly intellectual, so no one expects you to take part of any “highly intellectual discussion”.

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