Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stefan Molyneux's Mendacity in Denying the Diversity in Israel

Stuart K. Hayashi

This is a follow-up to the post "Stefan Molyneux Cites and Repeats Conspiracy Theories About Jews from a David Duke Acolyte."

Stefan Molyneux repeatedly pulls a dishonest trick.  He says that people should stop fretting about the burgeoning white nationalist movement in the United States and Western Europe, because it has a precedent in . . . Israel and Zionism.  He proclaims,
This is the basic fact [for] everybody who's shocked and appalled about the potential for white nationalism: OK, well, if you are opposed to white nationalism, then you must of course be enormously opposed to Israel, which is an ethno-state. If you are not opposed to, and criticizing, Israel for being an ethno-state, then shut up about white nationalism, because you are a racist, a coward, and a hypocrite.
To him, if alt-right leader Richard Spencer has his way and the United States becomes a "homeland" for white people that repels nonwhites from immigrating, that is no worse than what Israel already does.

Here is a 96-second video montage of Molyneux regurgitating Richard Spencer's propaganda.

Actually, the claims of Richard Spencer and Stefan Molyneux are false.  Israel is more diverse -- ethnically, racially, and religiously -- than Molyneux lets on.  According to the CIA World Factbook, no more than 77 percent of Israel's citizens are Jewish. Over 20 percent of Israel's citizens are non-Jewish; over 16 percent is Muslim.

In terms of ethnicity and race and religion, Israel is more diverse than Japan, Finland, and Norway.

And contrary to much propaganda from both the Left and the Right, the Israeli government's policy is that Arabs in Israel are to be treated as first-class citizens with the same rights as Jewish citizens. As the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise points out,
Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Arabs in 2011 held 14 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel’s ambassador to Finland and the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv. Oscar Abu Razaq was appointed Director General of the Ministry of Interior, the first Arab citizen to become chief executive of a key government ministry. Ariel Sharon’s original cabinet included the first Arab minister, Salah Tarif, a Druze who served as a minister without portfolio. An Arab is also a Supreme Court justice. . . .
Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel. More than 300,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel’s founding, there was one Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools.  
The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army. This is to spare Arab citizens the need to take up arms against their brethren. Nevertheless, Bedouins have served in paratroop units and other Arabs have volunteered for military duty.
This is not to deny the all too many instances of tensions between Jews and non-Jews within Israel. And there are many policies in all the aforementioned countries -- Israel, Japan, Finland, and Norway -- that I don't like. I don't approve of conscription in Israel or anywhere else.

 But the fact remains that if Stefan Molyneux got his way and the USA became a "homeland" exclusively for white gentiles, this would not be an emulation of Israel. Richard Spencer and supposed anarchist Stefan Molyneux would have it that statutory law in the United States discourage racial mingling; that Israel is intended to be a safe haven for Jews does not mean that Israel is all about statutory discrimination against Arabs.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Stefan Molyneux Cites and Repeats Conspiracy Theories About Jews from a David Duke Acolyte

Stuart K. Hayashi

Executive Summary
Here is a 46-minute video montage demonstrating that Stefan Molyneux parrots and cites the anti-Semite conspiracy theories of Kevin MacDonald, praised as an ally by David Duke himself.  The first 8 1/2 minutes allow Kevin MacDonald to explain his deranged conspiracy theories about Jews.  From the 8:34 mark onward, the video flips back and forth between MacDonald and Molyneux. First it lets MacDonald explain more of his conspiracy theories. Then it switches to Molyneux repeating those same talking points about Jews, in general, engaging in shadowy plots against "white Christians." At the 18 minute, 12 second mark, Molyneux cites MacDonald by name.

Molyneux: Spreading Bigotry Against Jews, Too
I have previously written about Stefan Molyneux's citation of the Pioneer Fund's antiquated eugenicist pseudoscience to provide a scientific veneer for his bigoted pronouncements about blacks, Latinos, and Arabs. While listening to some of his podcasts I got a whiff of anti-Semitism about Molyneux as well, but the anti-Semitism was not as overt as the out-and-out hostility toward the aforementioned ethnic categories. Yet looking further into this I have discovered that my suspicions about the anti-Semitism are confirmed . . . and more virulent than I had anticipated. Molyneux parrots conspiracy theories about Jews most infamously propagated by retired Californian psychology professor Kevin MacDonald, a proven anti-Semite and close associate of David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  As MacDonald wrote on his own website on July 1, 2016,
I have been appearing on the David Duke radio show as a regular guest, every two weeks or so, for quite a while. This was a difficult decision at first, but I am very comfortable with it. . . . After watching David Duke’s videos and reading his writings, I decided that I agree with the vast majority of what he is saying. 
And Molyneux cites MacDonald by name in disseminating this paranoid propaganda, as if MacDonald is a scrupulous academician and reliable source of information.

David Duke starts a Skype interview with MacDonald by introducing him as "my good friend and an incredible academic" -- no ironic pun intended with incredible. Unsurprisingly, MacDonald himself cites dubious sources, as in the case of MacDonald citing, as a credible source, J. Philippe Rushton, the known eugenicist and white supremacist who in his lifetime led the Pioneer Fund (one of the few remaining eugenics thinks-tanks in the USA).  As you can see here, as of this writing David Duke has interviewed MacDonald over twenty times. Why does David Duke cherish MacDonald so much? It is because of MacDonald writing pseudo-scholarly works to provide the illusion of academic credibility for his conspiracy theories about Jews. The main video where Molyneux cites and repeats MacDonald, "The Truth About Immigration: What They Won't Tell You!," had been uploaded onto YouTube seven months prior to MacDonald becoming a regular guest on David Duke's podcast. Still, by that time -- July 2014 -- MacDonald had already been well-known for his propaganda against Jews.

First I will describe MacDonald's conspiracy theories. Once done with that, I will go over how Molyneux largely repeats them -- again, citing MacDonald by name -- and modifies them only slightly.

 MacDonald insists both (a) communism and (b) the activist campaign for liberalizing immigration laws are conspiracies concocted by Jews. As of this writing, I haven't yet heard MacDonald say that the push for more open immigration is necessarily a communist conspiracy. Rather, MacDonald seems to be saying that initially Jews invented communism as a conspiracy but then, decades into it, lost interest in communism, despite remaining mostly on the political Left (he also derides the allegedly right-wing neo-conservatism of the Kristol family as a Jewish conspiracy). After having squeezed all they could get out of communism, MacDonald continues, Jews then cooked up a new conspiracy: lobbying for more open immigration into the United States and Western Europe.

MacDonald says that Jews advocating any ideological position is indeed a conspiracy because Jewish intellectuals who profess to believe sincerely in any political viewpoint are lying; they are masking their actual exploitative endgames. MacDonald says that a disproportionately large percentage of the early advocates of communism were Jewish, that a large portion of the advocates of open immigration are Jewish, and that the postwar advocates of neoconservatism are mostly Jewish. That evaluation is not very controversial.  The Jerusalem Post quotes Yaron  Brook making a similar observation about how various competing philosophic movements often have Jewish leaders. Indeed, Ayn Rand came from a Jewish family and so did many early students of the Objectivist philosophy. I won't be surprised if MacDonald says Objectivism is another Jewish conspiracy.

What is inflammatory is MacDonald's accusation concerning intent. MacDonald says that when a large number of Jewish intellectuals argue for any ideological viewpoint -- be it socialism, neo-conservatism, or libertarianism -- those Jewish intellectuals are, perforce, not sincere in agreeing with what they are saying. Rather, MacDonald continues, this is a ruse -- ruse is the exact word he employs -- to mask what Jews really want. Regardless of whether Jewish intellectuals are arguing for capitalism or socialism, says MacDonald, Jews are only trying to gain political and/or economic power for Jews at the expense of the gentiles around them, especially Christians of Western European descent. That is, if a Jewish intellectual argues for free trade, he does not genuinely believe that free trade will benefit gentiles; this is just a ploy whereby Jews can manipulate and exploit those gentiles. Likewise, MacDonald continues, if Jewish intellectuals argue that the U.S. federal government should liberalize immigration from Mexico, then the Jewish intellectuals are merely trying to manipulate Mexicans for their own ends, mostly to the material detriment of non-Hispanic gentiles.

3. MacDonald says Jews, communism, and the liberalization of immigration laws are all linked, since both communism and open immigration are Jewish conspiracies.
Again, I don't know of MacDonald saying that open immigration is a communist conspiracy. He sounds like he is saying that communism was an earlier Jewish conspiracy and then, as Jews were losing interest in communism, they eased into the newer conspiracy that is immigration liberalization. As MacDonald puts it on the white nationalist website VDare (cited on Stormfront),
In my research on Jewish involvement in shaping immigration policy, I found that the organized Jewish community has been the most important force favoring unrestricted immigration to the U.S. In doing so, the various entities involved have consistently acted to further their own perceived collective interests—interests that are arguably in conflict with those of the majority of Americans.

4. MacDonald condemns the 1965 Hart-Celler Act as a left-wing elite Jewish globalist conspiracy. MacDonald talks first about the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 and then the 1965 Hart-Celler Act. The Johnson-Reed Act established national quotas for immigration on bases that were explicitly eugenicist and explicitly racist. By MacDonald's own admission, the argument for the bill was that southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans were genetically, racially, and culturally inferior to the native-born majority of Americans at the time, who mostly descended from people of western and northern Europe. Of course, many of those Eastern Europeans blocked from immigrating were Jews. MacDonald says that there wasn't much good reason for native-born Americans to fear gentiles from Eastern Europe, but that they were indeed right to want to keep Eastern European Jews out of the USA.

The national origin quotas favored immigrants from Western Europe over those from Eastern Europe, allowing for a larger number of people from Great Britain to enter the USA than, say, those from Poland. However, MacDonald bemoans, this system was undermined by efforts of left-wing elitist Jewish (globalist) activists (elite is exactly the word he uses) who lobbied for a more liberalized system of immigration. According to MacDonald, left-wing (globalist) Jews wanted more "Third World immigration" (that is, immigrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America) coming into the USA because it would do more to make Western-European-descended Christians a minority. Moreover, continues MacDonald, left-wing (globalist) Jews could form a political "coalition" with activists from these other ethnic groups and then it would be more difficult for Western-European-descended Christians to gang up on them.

Then MacDonald wails that the (globalist) Jewish activists succeeded with the passage of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, which Ted Kennedy championed. MacDonald says that Ted Kennedy assured (racist) doubters that the bill was OK because it would not change the demographics of the country (that is, WASPs would maintain a majority). Then MacDonald points out that over the past half-century the demographics have indeed changed. MacDonald therefore insists that Ted Kennedy very consciously chose to lie, as it was his conscious intention to alter the racial makeup of the country, and that it was the globalist Jewish lobby that very decidedly put him up to it.

We are to believe from MacDonald that by removing the explicitly racist national origin quotas, the Hart-Celler Act made it easy for dark-skinned people from poor countries to enter the USA, opening the floodgates for a barbarian horde. In reality, MacDonald's characterization of the Hart-Celler Act as near-anarchic deregulation is misleading. The Hart-Celler Act created the present system, which says that to immigrate to the USA for the long term, you may do so to seek higher education (student visas), work (H-1B visas), or reunite with family members (family reunification visas). While the explicit national origin quotas are gone, there remain caps on the number of visas that can be issued per country. Since Mexico adjoins the continental USA, it is not surprising that 30 percent of visa applications come from Mexico. Yet no more than 7 percent of all visas issued annually can go to Mexican nationals.

If you are a Mexican who is a spouse or minor child of a permanent U.S. resident, you will have to wait an average 6 years to obtain a family reunification visa -- and that's one of the categories with one of the shorter waiting periods. If, as a Mexican, you are the sibling of a U.S. citizen, the estimated waiting time for a visa is 16 years (see the first page of this PDF). Moreover, H-1B work visas are accessible almost exclusively to persons who hold university degrees (as Melania Trump's case reminds us, a rare exception is made for fashion models). Since impoverished people in impoverished countries still mostly have to farm for their food, they rarely ever scrimp together the resources needed to obtain university educations. For that reason, contrary to MacDonald's disingenuous claims, the present system created by the Hart-Celler Act still stacks the deck against (dark-skinned) penurious people from the "Third World." The 1965 law did not unleash any type of mass migration.

In any case, MacDonald's points here are (a) the national origins regime from 1924 to 1965 was wonderful, (b) everything went to hell from 1965 onward when the Hart-Celler Act allowed for a barbarian horde of non-white people to flood into the USA, (c) this is the result of a left-wing elite Jewish globalist plot, and (d) this happened because Ted Kennedy let himself be a pawn of this left-wing elite Jewish globalist plot.

5. MacDonald condemns Jews (not particular individuals who happen to be Jewish, but Jews in general) as hypocrites. This is a favorite talking point of Stefan Molyneux and other anti-Semites, such as Ann Coulter (see here and here), and these anti-Semites apparently adopted it from MacDonald. The talking point is as follows: most Jews in Western Europe and the English-speaking countries argue for more liberalized immigration into the countries of their present residence (MacDonald doesn't want to admit that the United States is the home country of a Jewish-American). MacDonald (and then Molyneux after him) particularly takes offense at Jewish intellectuals who stand up for the rights of Mexicans to enter the USA peaceably and who have expressed revulsion at Donald Trump's proposal to build an enormous wall to keep them out. MacDonald says that Jews who argue for liberalizing immigration are hypocrites, because the state of Israel itself has border walls to keep out enemy troops from Hamas, and Israel itself has restrictive immigration laws.

That is whacking at a tremendous straw man. First, Israel remains officially at war against Hamas, Syria, and other adjoining states. A legitimate purpose of national borders is to repel military threats. By contrast, the United States is not in a state of war against Mexico, and undocumented Mexicans who enter the USA for work are not military threats. Even if a Mexican acted in consistency with the bigoted stereotypes -- even if that Mexican came to the USA fully intending to benefit from welfare and to put his children into taxpayer-funded government schools, that still would not be an act of war against the United States. The comparison between Israel's border walls against Hamas and Trump's proposed border wall against Mexico therefore fails. 

Secondly, the Israel-policy-makes-Jews-all-hypocrites assertion fails to make a distinction between Jews and the Israeli government. It's sad that something so obvious has to be explicated: a Jew doesn't have to agree with every policy of the Israeli government. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute, originally from Israel, for instance, has mentioned that he is not happy about Israel's border walls.

I am not Jewish but, for what it's worth, should there come a day when military hostilities cease -- and that would be very good -- there won't be any worthwhile reason for Israel to maintain the border walls.

Anyhow, Stefan Molyneux "adapts" these same talking points from MacDonald, citing him by name, and the differences between Molyneux's version and MacDonald's are merely superficial.

1.-2. Molyneux agrees that communism is a conspiracy concocted by Jews. Says Molyneux,
 Communism doesn't particularly come from the Greek, Roman, Western, Enlightenment tradition [true --S.H.]; it generally comes from Jewish tradition [highly misleading claim; communism, as with other forms of collectivism, is a systematized codification of collectivist traditions that go back to the days of hunter-gatherer clans, predating all these other cultures --S.H.]. Certainly, of course, the founders of communism were Jews [misleading; Karl Marx came from a Jewish family but denounced Jews as selfish capitalists --S.H.]. Jews were less than 2 percent of the Russian population but were more than 50 percent of the leaders of the Communist Party, and, of course, a lot of them were in charge of concentration camps and so on, later on under the Soviet regime [note Molyneux's conspicuous insistence on using the term "concentration camps" and saying that Jews ran them --S.H.]. 
Whereas an important part of MacDonald's conspiracy theories is that he says that Jews are seldom sincere in expressing any political convictions, I have yet to hear Molyneux say that explicitly.  Nonetheless, MacDonald's other accusations -- particularly about Jews obsessing over domination of gentiles -- remain crucial to Molyneux's accusations in the "Truth About Immigration" video. When you look at Molyneux's typed-up source notes, the reference for Molyneux's announcement that Jews ran concentration camps in the Soviet Union is none other than an essay by Kevin MacDonald called "Stalin's Willing Executioners: Jews As a Hostile Elite in the USSR," which is a review of a book by Yuri Slezkine titled The Jewish Century.

Molyneux cites Kevin MacDonald by name in his "Truth About Immigration: What They Won't Tell You" video when he says the Communist Party of the USA was all Jewish. He cites MacDonald twice in the typed-up source notes online, the links going to MacDonald here and here. No mention is made of MacDonald's well-earned reputation as a propagandist for anti-Semitism.

3. Molyneux, like MacDonald, says that Jews, communism, and immigration liberalization are all connected, though he does not phrase this exactly in the same way that MacDonald does. Molyneux is more roundabout in trying to put these together. We remember that Molyneux said that communism is predominantly Jewish. Then he says that immigration restriction from 1924 to 1965 was indeed wise and well-justified because Eastern Europeans were communist agents, and when such communist agents entered the USA, they would commit terrorism, espionage,and other acts of violence. Hence, says Molyneux, it was good for the U.S. federal government to ban from the United States any immigrant who might potentially be a communist agent. Since Molyneux said previously in the same video that communist agents were predominantly Jewish, the deductive conclusion the audience is to draw from this is that Molyneux believes that the U.S. federal government was right to block Jewish immigrants in particular.

 This, he insists, "was a justified fear, given how rapidly communism had spread throughout the world." Unfortunately, he adds, there was "Jewish opposition" to legislation that very reasonably tried to ban Eastern European Jews who might turn out to be communist agents. But, Molynuex goes on, U.S. Congressman John Rankin laudably pushed back against these Jews.

In attempt to maintain some plausible deniability about whether he agrees fully with this opinion, Molyneux conspicuously employs the "passive voice" in proclaiming:
So there is this concern -- and the degree to which this is valid is certainly arguable -- there is this concern in the minds of a lot of Christian Americans, and this was of course the case in Germany[!!] as well, there was this concern that communism equals Judaism and when communists, a.k.a. Jews, get in power, then a lot of Christians are not long[-lived] for this world, so this is sort of what he [John Rankin] is talking about, and this is all vanished from history [bowdlerized and scrubbed by a politically-correct globalist cabal] and not because it's entirely false. Again, the degree of [Jewish] influence is arguable; we'll talk about more facts [sic] here, but I guess Christians aren't quite as good at telling stories [as allegedly conspiring Jews are]. 
In this particular video, Molyneux does not repeat MacDonald precisely in proclaiming that Jews lobbied for the Hart-Celler Act primarily to undermine white gentile culture. However, like MacDonald, Molyneux does say that Jews favoring the Hart-Celler Act wanted to get more Jews in particular into the USA. Moreover, Molyneux does repeatedly state that a left-wing globalist conspiracy is pushing for liberalization of immigration in order to undermine white Christian culture in the West (not using the word Jew in that isolated context). And since Molyneux also says that left-wing people who argue for liberalizing immigration are predominantly Jewish, one is to deduce that Molyneux is intimating that this supposed left-wing elite globalist conspiracy to maintain power through "importing"dark-skinned immigrants from "the Third World" is indeed a conspiracy orchestrated by Jews.  After conveying that he considers multiculturalism to be synonymous with immigration liberalization, Molyneux says, "Jews, through communism, promote multiculturalism -- and, of course, multiculturalism is promoted by non-Jews, of course [sic; the repetition of of course is Molyneux's] as well -- and this causes problems within the host countries," that is, countries receiving dark-skinned immigrants.

4. Starting here, Molyneux repeats all of MacDonald's favorite talking points about the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act's eugenicist quotas, the 1965 Hart-Celler Act supposedly opening up the USA to "Third World immigration," and of Ted Kennedy lying about demographic change on behalf of a globalist (Jewish) cabal.

5. Here Molyneux repeats the talking point about how any Jew who stands up for Mexican immigrants and against Donald Trump's proposed border wall is a hypocrite on account of Israeli policies.

Final Notes
Molyneux's denunciations of Jews go back more than a decade. On April 9, 2005, he said that
mental health has always been defined in social terms – a combination of sustained relationships and productive work. In other words, a popular Auschwitz guard with a long marriage is the very definition of mental health. Moral considerations do not form the basis of mental heath – a compliant Nazi is considered more ‘healthy’ than an outcast one. This form of ‘social ethics’ is largely due to the Jewish influence over psychology. It would be hard for a Jew to say that individual morality is more important than social acceptance, since to be ‘Jewish’ is to automatically place the authority of the group over the conscience of the individual – just as Christians, socialists, Muslims and soldiers do. 
MacDonald says "major anti-Jewish movements throughout history have been the result of real conflicts of interest. . . . I wrote a book called The Separation and Its Discontents. It deals with various anti-Semitic movements, anti-Jewish movements. All of them were deeply involved with Jewish domination [over non-Jews] of one kind or another."

Molyneux agrees that Israel is all about Jewish domination over Palestinians and Arabs of neighboring states:
What is often described as a civil war between Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine was, in fact, little more than an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by Zionists. ...if the horrors committed by the Nazis continue to live on in the minds of the Jews, how can we expect the Palestinians to forget what was done to them? I'm not equating the Jews with the Nazis [obvious lie] but, from the standpoint of the victims, there are obvious similarities.
It is not a mere suspicion that Molyneux is interested in disseminating anti-Semite propaganda. He repeats conspiracy theories about Jews, conspiracy theories transmitted by David Duke acolyte Kevin MacDonald, and Molyneux cites this same Kevin MacDonald repeatedly.

Again, here is the 46-minute montage where you can hear Stefan Molyneux and his anti-Semite conspiracy-theorist source speak for themselves.

UPDATE from Tuesday, November 22, 2016:  Stefan Molyneux repeatedly makes the disingenuous claim that Richard Spencer's explicitly eugenicist white nationalism is no worse than Zionism. He says Israel is an "ethno-state" for excluding gentiles. What renders the claim so mendacious is that Israeli statutes are not about exiling gentiles, such as Arab Muslims, and Israel is more diverse than Stefan Molyneux and Richard Spencer would have people believe.  See the follow-up posting refuting Molyneux over here.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Principled Free-Marketers Vs. Fiscal Tightwads: Assumed to Be the Same Because They Want 'Cuts in Tax Funding' But They're Fundamentally Different

Stuart K. Hayashi

There are two types of people generally considered to be part of the political Right -- especially in the United States -- who are thought of as being in the same category. This is due to a superficial similarity. Yet they are fundamentally different in philosophy. This is not a mere difference in degree that many on the Left assume it to be. It is a difference in kind.

The two types are thought to be in the category of: mean-spirited right-winger who wants to cut tax funding to government programs.

Here, there are two wholly different groups of people who are slapped together into this package deal: principled free-marketers versus fiscal tightwads.

The Free Market Is Necessarily Ideological -- And That’s Good
A genuine free-marketer is a principled ideologist -- what normally gets denigrated as an ideologue. In fact, Napoleon Bonaparte coined the term ideologue to disparage free-marketers who opposed him, namely the Enlightenment philosophe Antoine-Louis-Claude Destutt de Tracy. Tracy described his own philosophic approach as ideology, and there was nothing pejorative about it. It meant “the science of ideas.” Napoleon was the first to say that if you had a philosophy based on consistently applicable principles, it meant you were just some fanatic applying dogma deduced from arbitrary premises. The next big historical figure to attach derisive connotations to ideology was Karl Marx, of all people.

Principled Free-Marketers
Anyhow, the principled free-marketer has a specific endgame in mind: he wants a government limited only to retaliating to the initiation of the use of physical force, which means that the government’s duties are limited mostly to the police, military, and the courts. There might also be some government functions limited to helping people define private property rights as new technologies are developed. Rather than Herbert Hoover’s approach with the FCC, for instance, a principled free-market government would have helped define private property rights with respect to which party owned which part of the electromagnetic spectrum at which to broadcast. A free-market government would also help define intellectual property rights clearly, such as in the case of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizing intellectual property in sexually produced plants with Plant Variety Protections. (And no, abolishing intellectual property rights is not the true freedom position, but that’s a topic I have tackled elsewhere.)

The principled free-marketer’s endgame is the sort of constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State that Auberon Herbert championed. Principled free-marketers care staunchly about this because they comprehend that “taxation is theft” is not mere political rhetoric or hyperbole; it is literally true, and therefore they want to do what it takes to minimize such violent threats. In the end, to achieve this minimization requires a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman State.

Principled free-marketers understand, though, that there is no way to achieve this overnight. Contrary to what some people might fantasize about, there will be no disaster that allows us to wipe the slate clean and start over with a constitutional liberal republican Night Watchman utopia (the notion that principled free-marketers would rejoice at this prospect is one of Naomi Klein’s many delusions). But though we cannot obtain this dream overnight, we use this end goal as a standard by which we measure our progress. We know that we cannot privatize Social Security in the course of a day, but, because we have a good idea of what perfection looks like, we know that legislation that expands Social Security is bad, whereas legislation is good if it respects the liabilities owed to elderly people who already paid into the system while the legislation simultaneously allowing young workers to opt out and seek private retirement accounts.

Principled free-marketers do make moral judgments but they recognize that, in peacetime, there is no good reason for the law to discriminate against people based on arbitrary distinctions. They understand that if it is wrong to pay tax money to the foreign-born for their health care, then it is no better to pay tax money to the native-born for their health care.

Principled free-marketers very much want to cut government funding for many services that people now believe, mistakenly, can only be provided by the government. For instance, principled free-marketers say that there should not be tax-funded municipal libraries. At this, many people react in horror; their assumption is that if the municipal government does not use tax money to maintain libraries, there will be no public libraries. To this, principled free-marketers point out that public libraries were actually invented by private entrepreneurs like Benjamin Franklin. What happened was that a group of people pooled their money together to purchase many books and store the books in one location. If you paid a periodic fee, you could check out books when you wished.

Principled free-marketers also point out how private entrepreneurs invented firefighting departments, and of how it was not due to the inadequacy of privatization, but of changes in liability laws that misunderstood property rights, that eventually misled officials to conclude that firefighting could be done adequately only by municipal governments. In any case, whereas the straw-man depiction of principled free-marketers is of those trying to leave you in the jungle, bereft of libraries and roads and schools, the principled free-marketers simply point out that any enterprise that can succeed in the absence of threatening violence can succeed in the absence of direct government involvement. Principled free-marketers thus explain that private individuals, peaceably cooperating on their own accord, can provide public goods that are falsely assumed to be the rightful exclusive province of the State.

That is a very different approach to that of the fiscal tightwads with which the principled free-marketers are lumped.

Fiscal Tightwads
Whatever lip service fiscal tightwads might give to the rhetoric of principled free-marketers like Ayn Rand and Auberon Herbert, the fiscal tightwads agree with welfare-state leftists, at least on an implicit level, that all assets that exist actually rightfully belong to “Society as a Whole,” and that the objects you believe to be your absolute private property are merely objects you are borrowing from  "society." They therefore hold no qualms about the welfare state in principle. They have other reasons for wanting to reduce tax funding for various government services.

Unlike many of their more radical, more explicitly left-wing counterparts, the fiscal tightwads recognize that there is necessarily a limit to how much wealth the government can spend. The fiscal tightwads, unlike those farther to the political Left, understand that government coffers can run out. Therefore, when the government is heading toward bankruptcy, the fiscal tightwads sound the alarm and say, “Yes, as painful as it is to admit, we have to make cuts.” Mind you that the fiscal tightwads do not acknowledge that this tax spending is wrong in principle -- they do not cohere, deep down, that taxation is theft. Instead, they believe that the government has merely gone overboard in spending tax money on the welfare state, and therefore the government should exercise more restraint in the spending -- so that there will still be some units of tax money left over to spend in the long-term future. That is, they do not disapprove morally of tax spending on supposedly peaceful enterprises -- they merely think that the government should be more conservative in how it disperses the tax money, another reason why the word conservative is associated with cuts in tax spending. They believe that being conservative with tax spending is the way to be a responsible steward of what is the collective heritage rightfully collectively belonging to society.

Moreover, fiscal tightwads are similar to the radical Left in wanting to apply the altruistic ethic, but they have a different interpretation of how this should be applied. Fiscal tightwads believe in the Puritans’ application of altruism.

How the Far Left and the Fiscal Tightwads Try to Impose Altruism Differently
Suppose that you are wealthy and I am not; I am needy. The radical Left says that morality requires that the State takes that money from you by force and then gives it to me. Then the radical Left tells you that you, as a rich person, ought to accept that. Your accepting that would be a most unselfish and therefore moral gesture; your acceptance of this policy would help you be honorable by practicing the virtue of self-sacrifice. If you, as a rich person, balk at this, you commit the sin of selfishness.

By contrast, the fiscal tightwads flip this around, accusing the other side of being too selfish. In a more Puritanical sort of tradition, the fiscal tightwads believe that virtue is found in suffering from privation. They believe that if I go through a period of material want and get through it, learning to scrimp by on scraps, that builds character. Therefore, if I ask the State to take money from a rich person like you and give it to me, I am the one being selfish.

As an example, Lawrence W. Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) told John Stossel that in the Bible, Luke 12: 13–15, Jesus reproached a man for desiring coercive wealth redistribution for being selfish: "And one of the company said unto him, Master [Jesus], speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And He [Jesus] said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And He [Jesus] said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Jesus even goes as far as declaring to anyone desirous of wealth redistribution, "And He [Jesus] said unto His disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. [ . . . ] And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind" (Luke 12: 22–29).

Indeed, say the fiscal tightwads, if the government provides for everyone in poverty so that people are no longer in poverty, that makes them decadent and spoiled and soft and lazy -- all these material comforts are manifestations of the selfishness of the persons receiving these benefits. If I receive these amenities from the State, the State is depriving me of the opportunity to practice the virtue of . . . austerity.  This idea is the reason why, when European governments finally began to cut funding for services that never should have received tax funding in the first place, these measures were given the misleading label of austerity -- the assumption being that you will necessarily be poor and Spartan simply if you don’t have the State giving you stuff.

Why Fiscal Tightwads Are Nonobjective About What Needs Cutting
Thus, we find that one major reason why the fiscal tightwads want to reduce funding for various government programs is that they think “too much money” in general is spent by the State. They also object that the State spends tax money on particular enterprises rather than others. For example, when he was mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani expressed outrage that tax money was spent on such a hideous and offensive and sacrilegious artwork as “Holy Virgin Mary.” However, he had no objection to the idea of tax money being spent on what he deemed genuinely tasteful and inoffensive (maybe even beautiful) art, such as, say, a more Grecian-style depiction of idealized naked human bodies. Fiscal tightwads will often wail that too much tax money is dispersed to highly unionized government schools and not enough to charter schools that have more autonomy from the unions.

Thus, the fiscal tightwads say (1) that “too much tax money is spent” in general and (2) that “too much tax money is spent” on unworthy social services instead of on worthy social services. They do not give a lot of thought to the considerations (A) the very institution of compulsory taxation is at least as morally problematic as any other form of extortion, or (B) that the institution of private property should be recognized as consistent, an absolute, which means that when it comes to anything other than defense against violence, there is no “common good” that justifies pooling everyone’s money together and deeming it public property. Note that because they do not have a well-thought-out principle in mind, they have no objective definition for what constitutes “too much spending.”

They have no objective criterion for saying that, say, federal welfare spending as 14 percent of GDP is too much whereas federal welfare spending as 0.014 percent of GDP is ideal. Nor they do have objective criteria for judging which nonviolent enterprises are deserving of tax funding and which are not. Fiscal tightwads have no qualms about how Dick Cheney’s wife had a job at the National Endowment for the Humanities transferring funds to relatively inoffensive art; they only squawk at sacrilegious material. The idea that everyone should be free to keep her own money or spend it on whatever art she likes -- beautiful or ugly, sacrilegious or not -- is hardly a consideration; that is more a concern of ideologues in the principled free-marketer camp. It is also the fiscal tightwads who keep saying that immigration should be curbed because immigrants getting taxpayer funding deprives citizens who are native-born -- and somehow therefore necessarily more deserving -- of that same tax funding. Such people are not objecting to the taxpayer funding on principle, and the New York Times is right to refer to this rather arbitrary distinction as “welfare chauvinism.”

Principled free-marketers and fiscal tightwads both talk about how they want tax expenditures reduced, and therefore the Left assumes they are all the same, and that differences between these people are differences merely in degree. They think of Ayn Rand as simply a more extreme version of Robert Taft. Indeed, almost every famous politician of the twentieth century who has been denounced as a laissez-faireist ideologue was merely a fiscal tightwad who finagled with the left-wing radicals over how national tax spending should be increased only by 7 percent and not 30 percent. Definitely we principled free-marketers consider a spending increase of 7 percent to be less severe than that of 30 percent, but it does not follow that we are actually in fundamental philosophic agreement with the fiscal tightwads. Probably the twentieth-century president who was most consistent in reducing spending was Calvin Coolidge, but he, too, was a fiscal tightwad who simply was more effective at being tight-waddish than all other U.S. Presidents of the twentieth century, especially Ronald Reagan; he was actually a Progressive who voiced mitigated support for the regulatory-entitlement state policies that Theodore Roosevelt championed.

Ever since Ayn Rand became well-known, some people have seemed to overlap in the two categories. Some people call themselves libertarians for natural rights and yet they fall back on saying the State should curb immigration so that tax money will focus on native-born citizens instead of on immigrants. What category a person is in is determined more by his actions than by any vague lip service he gives to natural rights. If someone claims to agree with Ayn Rand and Auberon Herbert but then falls back on “welfare chauvinist” talking points about native-born citizens deserving the tax spending that would otherwise go to grubby immigrants, that person is not being a principled free-marketer in this capacity.

Of special note are the "libertarians"(?) who say that a universal guaranteed [sic] minimum income, paid for through tax money, should "replace [sic] the welfare state." To say that a guaranteed income "replaces" welfare is disingenuous; a taxpayer-funded guaranteed income is welfare. What these libertarians mean, though, is that they would favor having a guaranteed income instituted if it meant that the other presently existing welfare programs, such as Social Security, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), be repealed.  They proclaim that the advantage of this is that it would result in a net reduction in taxation and government spending.

A net reduction in spending, by itself, would not be objectionable, but principled free-marketers are far from impressed by these libertarians' (?) concession to the Left's assumption that everyone's money is ultimately public property and that every possession in your custody is merely a gift from the social collective.  Those who say that the guaranteed income is somehow fiscally responsible simply because it would waste less money than do other welfare programs, are definitely not principled free-marketers.  That position is, at best, more in line with that of the fiscal tightwads (and even to put such advocates in that classification is to be generous).

They All Just Want to Cut Tax Funding? The Difference
Here is the difference. Fiscal tightwads want a cut in taxpayer spending for the following reasons:
  • Taxes are annoying
  • Taxes disincentivize economic productivity, which will result in a net loss in economic productivity for society as a whole
  • Taxpayer funding makes you decadent and lazy and therefore selfish, depriving you of the opportunity to undergo some humbling privation and learn the virtues of unselfish austerity
  • Too much spending will drain the coffers and there will be no tax money left to spend in the long run
  • This tax money is going to something morally debased when it should go to a loftier state-sponsored enterprise

This is the principled free-marketer’s concern:

  • Morality requires that you be free to live peaceably without other people threatening violence to control you. Government spending involves compulsory taxation, and compulsory taxation is a form of extortion and violent control over you, as violence on the part of the State is the recrimination against you if you do not hand over your wealth. Compulsory taxation therefore ought to be driven to the minimum. Period.

On January 17, 2017, I added to this post the mention of Lawrence Reed's citation of verses from Luke 12 in the Bible.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

8 November 2016

Stuart K. Hayashi

"Election Day"? O_O

More like . . . "Judgment Day."  -_-