The Theory and Practice of Freedom

Today would have been Milton Friedman’s 102d birthday. He was perhaps the least dismal practitioner of the dismal science. Why? because he believed in freedom, not slavery or dependence on anything but yourself.

Watching him over the years, in his erudite and good-humored presentations has shaped much of my economic world view. And so to celebrate a great man’s birthday, let’s share some of that.

I suspect you will be surprised how germane to today it seems. Enjoy!

On the rights of workers

On Energy

On Money and Inflation

And finally, and maybe most importantly

What is America?

 

 

Sheep, Shepherds, and Wolves

nazareneMuch has been said this week, some of it here, about ISIS and the Christians of Mosul. It is right for us to weep, and gnash our teeth over the fate that is overtaking our brothers and sisters. Many of us lay much of the blame at the feet of our politicians, I think that also correct. But understand this, we, especially in Britain and America, elected them, they are our representatives, and they act, or don’t act, in our names.

We have other leadership though, and that is the leadership of our churches. And where are they? These are our brothers and sisters, literally in Christ at risk. We are taught, all of us, to turn the other cheek, yes. But they self identify as the shepherds of the flock. I grew up around, not so much shepherds, per se, but around cattlemen, who are not very different. One thing I know, is that cattlemen detest wolves, there is a reason why it is nearly always an open season on wolves and coyotes in our societies. they are destructive of our herds and flocks. And so, they must be destroyed.

That is part of the role of the shepherd. usually and ably assisted by the sheepdog, and I think nearly all of my readers will know who self-identifies in that role. They are there, and they are ready, but it is not their decision to make, that is for the shepherd, and if they vacillate, and prevaricate, and attempt to placate and live with the wolves, the flock shall suffer the losses.

Usually, I find Judge Jeanine Pirro, a bit strident for my taste, which is why I don’t usually run her videos here, and also I like to lighten-up a bit on the weekends when her videos become available. But this week she is correct. She is Catholic, and faults the Pope, I don’t disagree but her net is too narrow, where is the Church of England, where are the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Evangelicals, the Fundamentalists, and yes, the Orthodox as well, all the rest who comprise what was once called Christendom, and was the force that made men not only Holy, but free?

We can speak of The Church of the East, that never believed in earthly power, it was a glorious church, spreading from Nineveh (close to Mosul) all the way through China and India, as well as Eastern Russia. But it is gone, lost nearly even to history, and now we in our time, are perhaps witnessing its final destruction. In many ways, it is comparable to the fall of Constantinople, except that the Orthodox faith was able to continue.

And so, as you watch Judge Jeanine, ask yourself if this is what our faith teaches, or if our shepherds, and yes, our sheepdogs, are meant to protect the flock, or merely to lie down with wolves, and coyotes. I know my answer. What is yours?

 

As my co-author, Jessica, so eloquently reminds us this morning on her blog. We are not condemning all of Islam here. Like any large group of people, Islam has its bad actors, wolves and coyotes if you will. The problem seems to be that the predators have taken over their sheepfold and are attempting to take over ours as well.

 

This is from the old version of the Lutheran Service Book, as printed in the old Lutheran Hymnal, from General Prayer I

All who are in trouble, want, sickness, anguish of labor, peril of death, or any other adversity, especially those who are suffering for Thy name’s and for Thy truth’s sake, comfort, O God, with Thy Holy Spirit, that they may receive and acknowledge their afflictions as the manifestation of Thy fatherly will.

Audacity

The audacity to aim for a new apogee

The audacity of a civilized people to defend themselves.

Make no mistake, the IDF is on the front line, in defense of all civilized people, for truly

There are barbarians at the gates.

I have been told that the friend of a friend, a young woman who, in college, married a Muslim, is very distressed that she has received bad comments on the street. As I said last night, her distress distresses me, but these are becoming hard times, when western civilization has little leadership, and so the barbarians are restless. I recognize that in years past, the chasm between Christian and Jew on the one hand, and Islam and the secular humanist on the other, did not seem so wide. But I am afraid, unless she can find a way to recant her choice, she will have to live with the consequences of choosing darkness. May God have mercy on her, for it may not be possible for man to.

It bothers me to say that because I think many, likely including her, made this choice lightly, thinking that joining Islam was a cultural choice, like going to the Methodist church instead of the Lutheran, that in many ways it was the same. In truth, the leadership of the Christian churches have encouraged this, all the while knowing, or at least they should have known, that Christianity, like Judaism, is a religion of life, while Islam is a religion of death. We are now starting to see that decisions have consequences, even when we didn’t think so when we made them. God help us all.

On a lighter note, for it is indeed Saturday

The audacity of proper English

 

The audacity of silver linings at perigee.

 

This week has felt a good bit like this hasn’t it?

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

 
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats

 

 

The Bear is Loose

I suppose you’ve heard, the President has taken to Twitting, uh sorry, Tweeting, “The Bear is Loose” when he supposedly sneaks out on the Secret Service to go have a burger with his prepositioned worshipers. It’s not only pretty sophomoric but also pretty transparent but, I suppose it’s more fun than presidentin’, especially after you’ve messed up every thing you’ve looked at. Kind of reminds me of Boo Boo and the Pick-a-nick baskets. But maybe Jellystone Park is not really the Yellowstone Caldera after all.

On a slightly more serious note. there is another bear loose in the woods, the Russian one. Contrary to what the TV wants you to think, this one isn’t exactly the Grizzly of the old Soviet Union, either. It’s more like a half-tamed brown bear that escaped from the Moscow Zoo. A quick chart will make my point here, I think.

140519_GlobalGDPFixed (1)

Huh, look at that! Just a tad bigger than Germany, the last time I looked the UK was a little bit bigger than Germany, and some sources say Germany is bigger than Russia. The thing is Russia is badly unbalanced. It lives and/or dies based on its gas and oil sales to Europe. It’s about as diversified as Saudi Arabia.

So if you really think about it, while Europe is terrified of losing Russia’s gas, Russia has to be just as terrified of it. OK, Europe is also paying a lot for that gas, like three times what we pay in the States. In my opinion, that while LNG is expensive to transport, it may well be feasible to replace Russian Gas with American, although a pipeline or 3 would be helpful.

If this was the “Rompin’, Stompin, Red Army” of the old cold war days, do you really think those Ukrainian rebels would be half-trained proxy fighter, dumb enough to shoot down an airliner? No in the old days this would be the real Red Army, just like it was in Germany in 45, Hungary in 56, and Czechoslovakia in 68. And in truth, even in those days, Ivan wasn’t ten feet tall, but he was pretty numerous. These clowns are pretenders to the czarist throne.

The problem is that the leadership in the west is even worse. President Bear, running away from his duty, Frau Merkel thinking that the World Cup is equivalent to the Kursk Salient. Russia isn’t winning, we’re just trying harder to lose.

The real problem here is that while Putin is a thug, he has an idea of what he wants and a plan to get it, which looks fairly realistic, and the guts to execute it. When you have no plan other than to perhaps react to someone else, if the media yells loud enough to be heard on the golf course, inevitably you are reacting, and slowly at that, and so Putin is getting what he wants, not because he has the power, but because the west is asleep at the wheel. They’re so far behind the curve that the OODA  Loop has crashed.

Same story in Iraq. Same story on the southern border, Same story in Israel, and soon, same story in the Pacific, and the same story in Washington.

Here, have a peanut butter sandwich.

Gaza, Israel, and Respect for Life

Israel-Flag-Flying2-2009So we are starting to see a few Palestinians die. Without being overly hard about it, why are you surprised? I did a little checking yesterday on just how big Israel is. It’s almost the same size an Maryland. That’s pretty damned small, hard to understand why anyone thinks they should cower forever in their shelters while 2000+ artillery rockets go off on the civilization they built.

Here you go.

Name Area in square Miles
Nebraska 77,358
Maryland 10,455
England 50,346
Israel 10,425
United States 3,140,000

Seems to me the British tried that one time in Maryland, some lawyer wrote a song about it, it starts, “O, say can you see…”. And the thing is the British, honorable people that they are, were attacking Fort McHenry, not Baltimore. Nor did the Americans pack the population of Baltimore into the fort, and leave them sitting on the powder magazines.

And just how long should the Israelis sit in their shelters with the economy more or less stopped, trading $60K anti-missile missiles for $1000 artillery rockets?

The closest comparison I can come up with is the German’s V weapons campaign in 1944 against the south of England. What was the response? United States 8th Air Force, and 9th Air Force, and RAF Bomber Command all diverted much effort from the air war to hunting the launch sites, and there was no attempt to limit civilian casualties. It was marginally effective at best, the problem was solved by infantry on the ground, and the complete suppression of Nazi Germany.

For me this cartoon summarizes the whole thing:

Juice2

It is admittedly difficult to root out combatants who attempt to hide behind women and children. At least without harming aforesaid women and children.

The Israelis, member of western civilization, that they are, are risking their soldiery, by going far out of their way to protect so-called civilians in Gaza, even as they know they will simply be damned for it.

Under any moral system, they would be completely justified going in behind a wall of fire not seen since Russia took Berlin, or the Allies bombed Dresden. I’m not sure that any solution short of that will solve the problem of living next door to a state whose very constitution calls for the destruction of your country, and the extermination of your population. An American general, fighting the Indian wars in Colorado during the Civil war once remarked, “Nits grow into lice,” it strikes me as appropriate.

6a00d8341c60bf53ef017744d4c663970d-300wi

 

You know, the opponents of Israel like to compare her to the United States by referring to her as ‘Little Satan’ even as they refer to the United States as ‘Great Satan’. They think it pejorative, I think it a great compliment. And our commitment to protecting life is once again being demonstrated in Gaza, as once again Israel expends blood and treasure to protect those who would harm her.

iStock 20492165 MD - American and Israeli flags

 

One Man or Woman and Leadership

forn984hYesterday, my friend, Juwannadoright, wrote on the power of the individual. She wrote in the context of the environment, and how if we picked up after ourselves rather than littering, it would make a major improvement. She also extended her point in her reply to the comment she had made, to note that our leftist/statist opponents tend to use the collective to avoid personal responsibility, much like five year olds do. I expect that most of us have scores, if not hundreds, of examples of this. Anyway, here is a piece of her article.

Recently I commented on a piece regarding “global warming/climate change” that appeared in The Huffington Post.  My response was very simple.  I offered the opinion that I didn’t know whether “climate change” was a reality or a fabrication, but I agreed that mankind does make an impact on our environment – the most obvious being in the form of litter and pollution.  I went on to explain that if one accepted that and disliked either litter on our streets or in our air, he or she should take whatever steps possible to reduce or eliminate taking actions which would result in those conditions.  Personally, I think that is a pretty non-controversial statement.  I went on to offer a simple list of ten things which each of us could do now to work to reduce both litter and pollution – until we wait for science to discover the “ultimate solution.”

Although several people checked the “Like” button, the only written response I received was from someone who apparently had a different world view.  He excoriated my naiveté, thinking that “one person could make a difference.”  Of course, he failed to recognize that I do realize that if only one person out of six billion does something positive, that will indeed be meaningless.  His statement was, of course, an expression of his belief that only through the power of government “enlightenment” would we be able to ameliorate “climate change.”  But he overlooked something far more fundamental which I pointed out in my response.

via CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? | juwannadoright.

As is nearly always true, I completely agree with her but, it also made me think about some other things.

I, and those like me, which means traditional Americans in this context, are the culmination of a very long line. Jess said this in her article Saturday

 It is redolent of American virtues: self-reliance; a sense of personal responsibility; but a willingness to do the right thing to help others, even at personal cost. You might say these are human virtues, and I would agree; but they are exemplified by the America which, at great cost, sustained the free world during the Cold War Years, ensuring that the gains from the defeat of Fascism were not lost.

OK, she was speaking of me, and it is not for me to claim those words are true of me, that’s for others to decide. But I surely aspire for them to be, and I do believe them to be a fair assessment of what American exceptionalism is all about. That paragraph ended this way, “Other countries are countries – America is a dream.” and that is completely true.

But it didn’t start here did it.

  1. What if Martin Luther, fully expecting to be burned at the stake, had not said, “Hier ich stände, ich kann nicht anders“? Would the church still be selling indulgences to the peasantry of Europe?
  2. What about Stephan Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who led and unified the barons of England, to force King John to sign Magna Charta? The basic guarantee of individual freedom wherever the common-law runs.
  3. And maybe more to the point these days, what about King John himself, a king so bad, that for nearly 800 years there has never been (and likely will never be) another? Surely an example of a negative great man.
  4. What about, Henry VIII who wanted a successor so badly, that he took England out of the Catholic Church, thus paving the way for the First British Empire?
  5. What about Oliver Cromwell, who in the name of Parliament overthrew and executed, by law, an English King?
  6. What about William of Orange, who supplanted James II, and assumed the crown under conditions that made him expressly subservient to Parliament, and committed to the rights of English freemen?
  7. How about Thomas Jefferson who wrote those rights into the heritage of Americans, or James Madison who wrote them into the law?
  8. And finally how about an obscure staff major in the American Army, nearly due for retirement in 1940, who four years later would both lead the greatest allied army of freedom ever seen, and mount the largest amphibious landing in history, and would end up the fourth ranking general in American history, after Washington, the one man who could have lost the Revolution, behind Pershing, whose insistence on keeping American forces together as American forces, has as good a claim as any for winning World War I, and behind his own boss, General Marshall, who managed to build and supply the greatest American army in history, while arming and feeding America and our allies. In 13 years that staff major would be president of the United States, and would set many of the policies that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, and so this man, more than any other, is who Europe, from Brest to the Urals, owes their chance to be free. Well done, President Eisenhower.
  9. How about Ronald Reagan, or Maggie Thatcher, or Pope John Paul II, would the Soviet bear still stare balefully at the free part of Europe without them?

The left likes to denigrate the importance of the individual. Why? I think it is because they are afraid to think for themselves, and so they hide behind other’s skirts. I know they are afraid to be responsible for themselves or anything else. But if you look through history you will always find, from Alexander the Great on, a man (or a woman) who believes so much in something that they will bet their life, and their eternal soul on it, and those are the people who have made our world, and everything in it.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

But in truth you will be more, you will be qualified to be a leader of men,

not merely children to the free candy store

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