TYT Doesn’t Get Libertarianism

 

 

Here are five examples of how TYT is wrong about libertarianism.

#1 The assertion that ‘small government’ is the core principle of libertarianism.

Libertariansim is first and foremost about individual liberty, not small government. A libertarian government would be small (relative to the one we have today) but only as an implication of libertarian principles. Libertarians reject education, medicine, and marriage as issues that require government involvement.

#2 In a libertarian society, there are no police.

This is simply a conflation of libertarianism with some type of anarchism. Libertarians are not anarchists.

#3 Free markets create wealth disparity…and that’s bad.

Wealth disparity is a fantastic indicator of economic progress.
To understand why this is true, think about where inequality comes from. Most people are poor, and then some of them get wealthier. That’s why India has such a “better” gini score than the United States. Everyone is equally poor! Marxists like to suggest that we live in a zero-sum world where it is only possible to get rich at the expense of others. Liberals know that this isn’t the case. Wealth can actually be created, not just redistributed!

#4 Employers could “force rules” in an unregulated economy

Not true. Libertarians object to the use of force in society. It violates our core principle; Liberty.

#5 Libertarianism is a rich man’s ideal

If this were true, it would be hard to explain why all the big banks are backing big-state political candidates. Unrestricted government that protects the interests of the highest bidder; that’s what they want.

A Rebuttal of Marxism 101: Part 2

The intellectually weak tricks continue with the suggestion that the appeal of an idea is somehow indicative of it’s merit. I first noticed this in the introduction, alongside a clip of some hip teens picketing for an issue they don’t understand. It’s done again at the 18 minute mark, in reference to the Bernie Sanders campaign. If we attempt to convert this into a logical argument, it’s easy to see the holes.

Premise 1: Idea X is popular.

Conclusion: Idea X will produce desired outcomes if implemented.

There is nothing about the popularity of an idea that guarantees it’s value. If anything, the approval of the reliably misguided masses should trigger doubt in our minds. As Mark Twain once said; “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

Eventually, Wolff acknowledges the criticism that the problems America is experiencing today are attributable to a perversion of capitalism. However, he quickly dismisses this view as driven by fear and a reluctance to accept the need for change. He says that, if we were to go back to ideal capitalism, history would repeat itself and we would wind up in this position once again. But what is this position that we find ourselves in? It’s socialism. This mess is the very system that Wolff and his ilk are advocating for. The United states has been on a centralized fiat currency for a century. This has lead to economic downturns and the squeezing of the working class. Enormous spending on social welfare has been the norm since the New Deal. The truth is; the history of America’s long decline is a socialist history. Furthermore, Wolff’s assertion that capitalists want to turn back time is a complete straw man. Sure, in  many respects capitalists see current policies as worse than some previous policies. This could be said of anyone’s position unless they are completely satisfied with the status quo. Complete straw man. Ridiculous.

Next, Wolff tells us that capitalism amounts to a tiny handful of bourgeois fat cats owning the means of production and therefore controlling society. It’s worth pointing out that productive enterprises do not have to be owned by a single person. Nike, for instance, is owned by countless millions of individuals through an innovative arrangement called sharing. In fact, Nike has more owners than laborers! Nike isn’t unique either. This arrangement is commonplace, with pricately held businesses like WaWa and New Balance being exceptional. However, for the sake of argument, lets imagine a factory which produces widgets and is entirely owned by a single individual. What power does that one man have over society?

Both laborers and employers must compete on a market. Laborers advertise their skills and effort to employers. Companies compete against one another with wages, working conditions, and other benefits. At the end of the day, a laborer goes to work only when the arrangement is fair.

full

A graphic from Wolff’s documentary misrepresents the relative gains between employer and employee. It would have you believe that businesses regularly pocket 90% of the wealth created by labor. In fact, the average US worker is paid closer to $25/hour and creates a mere $105 in wealth.But there is more to the equation. Businesses are also required to pay taxes, hire lawyers, obtain raw materials, cover energy costs, shipping, and more. At the end of the day, manufacturers like Nike have net profits of about 10%.

 

A Rebuttal of Marxism 101 : Part 1

 

This video is high quality propaganda. Its a wonderful example of how the left uses the media to frame issues and push their agenda. From the very introduction, they introduce Marxist ideology as something that is popular DESPITE efforts to squash it. The video suggests that Marxist ideas are simply so clever that they persist on merit. No mention is made of the billions of dollars spent promoting these ideas.

The video claims that Marx’s work helped shed light on matters of philosophy, biology, economics, etc. This touches on one of the major contradictions in Marxist thinking. Marx encourages us to recognize that what we believe, or what is held as a social norm in our society, is actually socially constructed and not objectively true. However, after tearing down traditional constructs (which often have great utility), they offer replacement constructs as if they were somehow more objectively grounded. If we accept that we are unable to directly perceive the world as it is (this is the first step to tearing down constructs) then how can they offer valid alternatives? A good example is class consciousness. Working men unite! Communists of Marx’s day favored the idea that class was what REALLY united men. They encouraged the abandonment of nationalist identification, asserting that it only made the common man into a tool of his respective oligarchs. The effects of this arguably include the destruction of the French nation. The same people who fought some of the bloodiest battles in history to defend themselves from Germany in WW1 basically invited the Germans to conquer them just decades later. This allowed for the rise of the Third Reich.

From this introduction, which casts Marxists as the heroic underdogs (surely enticing thousands of angsty young people), the video goes on to assert that America is thrashing to survive a capitalist crisis.  This is absurd. Even Noam Chomsky admits that the system we have today is nothing like capitalism. The United States has become increasingly socialist for the past hundred years and has declined steadily as a result. This dope Wolff immediately goes off on the assumption that our society today is capitalist and we can therefore attribute its shortcomings to that system.

Socialists like him prey on the naivety of young audiences by attributing things like homelessness to problems in the system. This characterization suggests that every aspect of our lives is part of some grand design and that any problems we experience are merely design failures. In fact, human planning is extremely limited. Capitalists humbly recognize the unfathomable complexity of the world and therefore dismiss the possibility for a totally controlled system. Instead, we focus on ways to empower and protect each individual.

Wolff spend several minutes posturing as if capitalists offer one particular design for the economy and, after careful consideration, he has identified irreconcilable flaws in that design. He alludes to these design flaws but takes his sweet time in identifying any of them, letting the impression of his expertise sink in. He’s a bullshit artist. In fact, advocates of capitalism do not have a design to propose. That’s because, in capitalist literature, the market is an organic system. Markets are capable of growing and adapting naturally.

Wolff finally spits out a weak criticism of the ‘capitalist system’ (whatever that is). Producers, he says, will always seek to reduce their dependence on labor. This makes their enterprise more profitable in the short term but also deprives labor of wages and therefore dries up the pool of consumers who can afford the goods being produced. Wolff does not provide any evidence for this claim, and fails to explain why laborers who cease to be employed in one endeavor would not then be able to take up another occupation. He does not account for law of supply and demand which would compel producers to lower prices if demand for a particular good were to decline.

Next, he jumps to the rapid increase in debt and credit card use in the 1970s. This all leads up to the 2008 collapse, he suggest. But, again, this wasn’t Capitalism! Americans were fed bad signals by government policy makers. Instead of allowing for a natural interest rate, the state run banking system decided that suppressing interests rates would be a good idea. All kinds of legal protections were set up to protect wealthy investors from risk and so they proceeded recklessly. In a capitalist society, the costs of investment include risk. In 2008, the price of failure was appropriated from middle class Americans and redistributed to banks. This is not a free market.

mf regs

To get an idea of exactly how far we currently are from a laissez-faire world, consider the sheer volume of regulation that exists on business. This burden of regulation translates into a massive compliance work force. In 2014, Citigroup employed 30,000 people full time just to ensure compliance. That’s because putting a toe out of line could cost them billions. It’s hard to see how an enterprise in this position could be called free.

Wolf says that to fool yourself into believing that capitalism was working in the 1900s, you could look only at the developed nations like the US and Japan and ignore what was going on in the rest of the world. Then, he says, western capitalists got the bright idea of moving their factories to places where low labor costs were the product of their having been “savaged” by capitalism. Weird how he would characterize Mao’s Great Leap Forward as capitalist, considering that it was a centrally planned and mandatory effort aimed at a collectivist agricultural system. He’s right about one thing though; it was savage. Tens of millions died in the effort and it still managed to shrink the Chinese economy. That’s when the big bad capitalists showed up and ruthlessly exploited Chinese labor for 50 years. Poor China now has the world’s largest economy. Pretty heart wrenching tale.

The Dumbest Idea

I recently listened to a youtuber called Computing Forever read accounts of social justice madness which had been sent to him by his viewers. I have already written a few articles on my experience in what I call the State Church but hearing these accounts reminded me of another experience which I will detail here and invite Computing Forever to feature on his channel.

When I was in my second year at a public college, I was asked to become a tutor for the math department. The job was pretty strait forward; help explain concepts and methods to students who are struggling to complete their homework. I thought that it would be rewarding and I needed the extra income so I agreed.

I then found out that any person employed by the school to interact with students must attend a 3 session CRLA seminar. I was told that it would amount to ‘sensitivity training’. Two of the three training sessions focused on various approaches to teaching people based on their learning styles and were at worst a waste of time. It was the same stuff we have all heard about since grade school; someone who struggles to understand a verbal explanation might benefit more from text or pictures and vice versa. However, the third training was nothing short of disturbing, especially when you consider that this training was mandatory for every other tutor and teacher in the school system.

The official CRLA course guide asserts that embracing multiculturalism and cultural relativism can make a tutor more effective. To ensure that we’ve gotten the massage, the CRLA guide suggests that course facilitators administer some tests. Recommended means of assessment include:

  • The Advanced Tutor writes a well-thought-out essay explaining the differences among the following ‘isms’: ethnocentrism, sexism, ageism, ableism, racism, classism, and anti-Semitism.
  • The Advanced Tutor cites three specific examples of cultural norms from her/his own background that may influence tutoring (such as eye contact, specific clothing, mixed-gender tutoring pairs, and family expectations) and discusses how these examples may impact a tutoring relationship.
  • The Advanced Tutor is observed using culturally-appropriate language that encourages the tutee to express culturally defined preferences and needs and allows for diverse viewpoints and practices in the tutoring session.

All of this seems  designed to inject political correctness into classrooms far removed from the gender studies hall. The desired effect, in my view, must be to encourage hypersensitivity. Why should I be concerning myself with anyone’s income level or whether or not they are semitic while trying to explain fractions? It’s beyond me.

If you’ve taken the time to have a glance at the document from which I excerpted those assessments, you might object “Cultural diversity and pluralism and all of those things are contained in just one of fourteen topics listed on the CRLA guide.” That would be a fair observation and it may be that in other instances of the training I received there is less emphasis on that topic. However, in this instance, it was given about three hours of our time. The course facilitator also took the liberty of going beyond what was talked about in the CRLA guide and introducing us to additional social justice theory.

I particularly remember one exercise where we were asked to make assumptions about hypothetical characters based on very little information. I was asked to tell what I could assume about a person who has a low income. I objected that this was very little information and I wouldn’t feel comfortable speculating about why a person may be receiving a low income. The facilitator suggested to me that inequality of outcome is an indicator of inequality of opportunity. Therefore, it was safe to assume that this person had not received the opportunities enjoyed by those at higher levels of income. I was also shown a hypothetical list of members in an office which was roughly 80% male. I was told it was safe to conclude that discrimination was responsible for this ratio. I thought my head might explode.

This is what Thomas Sowell refers to as ‘the most stupid idea’ and it’s being pushed down the throats of every teacher in the system. The notion that a meritocracy would, in the absence of foul play, produce perfectly representative groups of people in every office, every classroom, and every work site is absurd. I would go further and suggest that any divison of a population which is proportionally representative of the religious and ethnic demographics of the larger society should send up red flags. These strike me as the mostly likely places to find superficial qualities prioritized over merit. How else could such a thing be achieved?

I walked away from this training thinking “the indoctrination is real”. This was one of the first times, but certainly not the last time, that I witnessed regressive logic being aggressively pushed at my college. This is why I’ve adopted the term ‘State Church’ to describe it. This practice of using public funds to propagate an ideology is a clear violation of the freedom of conscience which protects itself by conflating science and religion.