Nikki Haley on Capitalism

A few days ago one of the commentators at Samizdata noted that the first female POTUS will be a Republican, just as the first two female British PMs have been Conservative. One superb and one not so much.

Could this be the female? I don’t see any real reason why not. She incenses all the right people and wins the resultant battle, and that is a need that won’t end on 20 January 2025.

So, Ambassador Nikki Haley at the Hudson Institute on the virtues of capitalism and the manifold vices of socialism.

Is it 1919 again?

This, from Chicagoboyz, is both long and quite unpleasant reading. For all that, I fear it may be an accurate forecast.

The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, testing, public health institutional credibility, some e-mails evaluating the CDC and our elites, and my personal analysis of same after the top line infection numbers and headlines.

The SARS-CoV2 virus and it’s COVID-19 virgin fields infection seems to have a top line R(0) of between three and 6.7 — that is one person infects near seven people on average — because there are repeated “super spreader” events where one person slimed an institution with a lot of close contact and then the fomite contamination of that institutional setting causes everyone present to get the disease. Examples thus far include the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, a pair of prisons in China, and multiple hospitals in China and now South Korea. The rate of growth of the COVID-19 pandemic is such that we will be fighting it on a very large scale in a few weeks (no more than 10) in every nation world wide with the public and private medical institutions, societal resources, and people we have right now, with all their flaws. And not what we wish they were, but will never have. There simply isn’t going to be time and energy for blame games when issues of daily survival break upon us all.

Top line, there are currently 78,986 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,468 fatalities as of 23 February 2020 at 11:52 a.m. ET on the BNO News corona virus traking site ( China, Taiwan Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, and Iran all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease. See multiple charts attached and headline summary.

Do check the charts and read the rest. He makes a pretty good case that the ‘Versailles Class’ who haven’t a damned clue what is happening in the country (and that is just as, and maybe more, true in Britain and Europe) have not the first clue what is happening. And yes, that does include the CDC. Read the article to see why. I think he makes an excellent case.

Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher adds to the gloom.

A reader sends this story from Yahoo! Finance:

Just how severely has the coronavirus curtailed cargo flows to and from China, the world’s most important trade engine? Chinese government data is both after-the-fact and suspect, but Boston-based big-data company CargoMetrics is now providing a real-time answer.

CargoMetrics has spent the past decade amassing and analyzing ship-movement data, discerning patterns and developing quantitative predictive algorithms. It’s now bringing its powers to bear on what’s happening in China.

The company has just publicly released data that sheds new light on what transpired in the weeks following Chinese New Year (CNY). To better understand what the numbers mean, FreightWaves interviewed CargoMetrics CEO Scott Borgerson and Dan Brutlag, head of trading signal and data products.

You should read the whole thing, but these two charts tells you the basic fact: the Chinese economy has all but shut down:

He notes that 90 percent of China’s imports and exports move by sea.

But wait, there’s more:

Now, look at that exports chart. You know what is not being exported? Medications and medical supplies. From Axios:

About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, according to two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Why it matters: China is a huge supplier of the ingredients used to make drugs that are sold in the U.S. If the virus decreases China’s production capability, Americans who rely on the drugs made from these ingredients could be in trouble.

What they’re saying: The FDA declined to comment on the list, but said in a statement that it’s “keenly aware that the outbreak could impact the medical product supply chain,” and has devoted additional resources toward identifying potential vulnerabilities to U.S. medical products stemming specifically from the outbreak.

The Doctor, who has been providing readers of this blog with his analysis, writes of the Axios report:

The word is finally getting out…..and soon the run on meds will begin in earnest.  All I can say is this is not a joke. We have had shortages before — and I have received these pharmacy committee memos before — actually this has become rather commonplace since we shipped our industry to China – and India.  All that being said, in my 30 years of being a physician, I have not one time ever received a memo with more than 40 drugs listed out by name.  Always previously, there had just been one problem drug that was being addressed.  The word “ration” was not used in my memo this week,  but it was certainly implied.  And now I see this online today.

Read the rest, but there is not much more to say. It’s time to pay attention, the globalist birds are coming home to roost, and exporting our jobs, especially in critical sectors like health care, looks really stupid all of a sudden. I wonder how much more profitable it is to save a nickel on x quantity or have the demand shrink x+y. I don’t know, but I know where the death toll can be laid, and it isn’t on your local drug store.

In the meantime:

Forewarned is forearmed.

Adam Smith and American Property Rights

From The American Spectator:

As free trade and markets are increasingly vilified today by the political Left and Right alike, the ideas of Adam Smith, author of the famed Wealth of Nations and sometimes called the Father of Capitalism, are also tarnished.

It’s worth noting that many of the modern criticisms of markets — the most common being that they promote greed, inequality, and materialism — aren’t new. They are, in fact, criticisms that Smith himself anticipated and answered in his works. Looking especially to insights found in the book that made him famous in his lifetime, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS), we can learn much about Smith’s concern about the social, moral, and political dangers of the excesses of markets today and the importance of personal virtue in preventing them.

“The profit motive fogs the thinking of free-market advocates,” critics claim. In allowing for unchecked pursuit of personal gain, a free-market system necessarily feeds greed — at the expense of the society’s vulnerable and the collective good. But Smith cautioned anyone who thought that solely pursuing profit would bring happiness. In TMS, Smith recounts a parable of the “poor man’s son,” who observes the comfort of a rich man’s son and spends his whole life striving and longing to become wealthy. When he finally does, he realizes that he’s just as dissatisfied as he was when he was poor. Smith uses this story to illustrate the importance of contentment with one’s current status and wealth and to caution against the delusion that any amount of money can buy happiness.

“Inequality is an inevitable product of capitalist activity,” is another increasingly common refrain, as growing income inequality is one of the key national issues of our day. When we read about billionaires spending over a billion dollars on a superyacht or $5 billion on a collection of rare cars, while over one in 10 American households experienced food insecurity in 2018, it’s not difficult to see why many become so upset about inequality.

Smith was very aware of the inequality markets would produce. In Wealth of Nations, he wrote, “For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.” Smith also knew, however, that markets had great potential to lift entire cities and nations out of poverty — benefiting the wealthy, yes, but also the underprivileged. For Smith, inequality was worth the “universal opulence” that markets would produce, because the benefits of markets would “extend itself to the lowest ranks of the people.”

Keep reading, this is very good. Although I caution that trade is not free unless it is fair, which is a common misperception these days. Remember that Smith’s world ran on the gold standard, amongst other things, there was very little currency manipulation.

But the author’s point is, and must be, well taken, there is no proper understanding of Adam Smith without understanding The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which in fact, predates The Wealth of Nations.

But where did all this wealth we speak of (and it is an amazing story) come from? William Yeatman writing in The Federalist knows, and he shares it with us.

Within our constitutional framework, property rights have been relegated to second-class citizenship.

Take the Supreme Court’s double-standard on the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against the government “taking” private property unless it’s for “public use.” For alleged infringements of other guarantees in the Bill of Rights, the Court “strictly” scrutinizes government action. But with the Fifth Amendment’s property protections, the Court allows legislatures to interpret their own constitutional boundaries. If “only” property rights are at stake, then the fox may guard the henhouse.

And yet:

Erler is a professor of political philosophy, so it’s unsurprising this book’s foremost contribution is its discussion of the vital role property rights played in the Framers’ constitutional vision. Tracing an arc of political thought from Aristotle through Locke on to the Declaration of Independence, Erler argues that the Founding Fathers put an inherently American gloss on pre-existing conceptions of property – one that merged natural rights and moral obligation into a synthesis they called “the pursuit of happiness.”

For the Founders, the right to property was the “comprehensive right that included all other rights.” In this spirit, the Supreme Court in 1795 averred that “the right of acquiring and possessing property, and having it protected, is one of the natural, inherent and unalienable rights of man.”

Keep reading this one too. The founders were correct. The right to property includes all the others. Do you have the right to own a Bible? a Gun? a House to keep them (and yourself) in? This is the basic question of the right to property. It is the right to be whatever you are, and the more it is corroded, the more we are creatures not of God, but of the state.

Keep it in mind, as we continue on.

Ascendant America

The word we used over the weekend to describe last week was “Winning”. It’s an appropriate term for a week where it seemed our guys could do no wrong and the opposition no right. But we have the view of a grunt peering over the edge of his foxhole, we need to see the photographs from the recon aircraft to completely understand what’s happening, which may be either much more important or meaningless. Ben Voth at American Thinker attempts to provide them.

The major political events of the first week of February portend an incredible seismic shift in American and ultimately global politics. These events include 1) Brexit, 2) Coronavirus in China, 3) the Senate impeachment trial and acquittal, 4) the Iowa caucus non-results, and 5) the president’s State of the Union address. All of these events point to an epistemological earthquake that portends a change in the intellectual political paradigm.

He’s right here, all these events matter, both in the world and in America.

The most important news is that these events point to a sharp and jarring reality: President Biden was impeached and removed from his forecasted presidency of 2021. The conventional paradigm that has dominated American politics since at least Watergate suggests that Republicans are morally suspect figures and all interpretive leaders should be on their guard against their sinister racist, sexist, corrupt agendas. Journalists, academics, Hollywood, and the federal agency personnel are on the lookout for these wicked figures that threaten all innocent human life. That paradigm rushed and guided the impeachment of President Trump in the House of Representatives.

Nancy Pelosi, who is viewed as a the prime minister of a blue-state parliament, was confident that she could both rush and delay the impeachment of the submissive Republican suspect occupying the White House. She believed she could dictate the terms of the Senate trial because, when dealing with a forum dominated by Republicans, America’s epistemological agents in journalism and punditry would scold the senators into allowing new evidence in the form of witnesses and documents.

And you know, there was a time, and it wasn’t long ago when she could have. I suspect I’m not the only one who remembers the pure arrogance of Nancy Pelosi and Obamacare. Those days are over, probably for a couple of generations. Just as the Civil War Republicans ran out of steam by Teddy Roosevelt’s day, leading to the Progressives, The Democrats, heirs to FDR and LBJ seem to be sinking under the weight of their own accumulating corruption.

House lead manager Adam Schiff overconfidently extolled the idea that Vice President Biden was inappropriately made the target of an investigation that would damage his rightful ascension to the presidency in 2020. He was as confident as the San Francisco 49ers posing for a selfie early in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Incredibly, his rhetorical gambit led to the annihilation of Biden’s campaign. Pam Bondi’s aggressive interrogation regarding Biden’s corrupt dealings in Ukraine on the floor of the Senate — and largely ignored by major media — appears to have obliterated Biden’s campaign in Iowa. The Des Moines Register had to cancel its pre-caucus poll to further protect Biden from the impending reality of his declining popularity. Ultimately, the DNC hid the results of the Iowa caucus, saying software prevented them from sharing the results. In reality, the DNC knows that Bernie Sanders won Iowa and upended the Democrats’ ability to field an actual member of their own party as its standard-bearer. All of this contradicted months of “truthful” polling telling us Biden had an insurmountable lead in Iowa and across America. Americans more than slightly suspect that media polling is deceptive.

All of this, and more, is true. And yet, as we peek over the glacis, it is impossible to note when the tide turns, and besides no victory is won while the opposition is running about loose on the field.

In short, Like the linked author (read his whole piece) I think we might be seeing the end of the beginning, but we need to “Keep up the skeer”, as always.

Not for nothing did Mathew Arnold write:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

A Turning Point?

In The Telegraph the other day, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote about the watershed that Brexit is for Britain.

None of Europe’s underlying pathologies have been tackled. It is a spectator as America and China battle for technological supremacy in the 21st Century. Not a single one of the world’s 20 most valuable tech companies is European.

The reasons lie in the EU’s legal ethos, in its slow, rigid, regulatory system, and in 190,000 pages of Acquis Communautaire that is nigh impossible to repeal – the very rules that Britain must supposedly accept in perpetuity to conduct routine trade.

“We have a cultural problem in Europe: you cannot embrace new technology unless you accept risk, and the EU is afraid of risk,” I was told once by Emma Marcegaglia, then head of BusinessEurope.

How very true that is, as we all know, “No risk, no gain”. But in many ways that is the corporatist (and the EU is the most corporatist entity in the world) vision of heaven. Protected for all time by their lackeys in government from innovation and change, their future is assured. Or is it?

The precautionary principle was frozen into EU jurisprudence with the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997 – which is roughly when the EU started going into economic decline, though this is hard to separate from the parallel euro experiment.

The US cleaves instead to the ‘innovation principle’, the doctrine of cost-benefit analysis based on hard science. American tradition is trial-and-error, policed by lawsuits for abusers.

Behind this is the spirit of English Common Law: crudely, anything is allowed unless explicitly forbidden; so far removed from the Napoleonic Code that curtails all until explicitly authorised. Anglo-Saxon law is why the US ran away with the internet age while Europe never left the starting line.

The UK has been caught on the wrong side of the cultural divide within the EU. The risk-aversion culture has been a headwind for British biotech and its tech “unicorns” (private start-ups worth a $1bn), third in the world behind the US and China, with most of Europe straggling far behind.

And it has been getting nothing but worse for Britain, who we Americans should remember, invented many of the things that we developed into world-beating things and technologies, and that includes the computer and the internet. This, if Boris does it right is the promise of Brexit. For most of our history, Britain has been the great inventor, and we have been the great developer. It the partnership that has made the world modern.

So how did Britain come to join the EEC/EU? Conservative Home in an article by Joe Baron sheds some light.

During World War Two, the contradiction immanent in Britain’s fight for freedom against Nazi imperialism whilst presiding over the largest seaborne empire in history was necessarily ignored. After victory, however, this was no longer possible. It had to be confronted.

The British empire had become morally unjustifiable and consequently unsustainable, as well as, after the financial strain of the war, economically unviable to boot. In 1947, the jewel in Britain’s imperial crown was granted independence and violently partitioned into Pakistan and India; Ghana gained independence in 1957 and Nigeria in 1960; indeed, throughout the 1950s and 60s, Britain’s imperial possessions fell, like dominoes, into the hands of charismatic, indigenous leaders armed with the language of liberty devised by the British themselves.

Britain had become a shadow of its former glory. Britannia no longer bestraddled the world, mistress of the seas, trident in hand; instead, she sat passively, seeking handouts from her new creditor and master on the other side of the Atlantic – an ocean once dominated by the imposing guns of her navy. In 1956, in a final coup de grace, her master and patron chased her out of Suez with a swift, humiliating reproach. Britain’s hegemony was at an end.

We, in America, never realized how deeply Suez hurt our cousins, to have a President, who they thought their friend, so summarily to tell them to back off, rankled deeply, especially after all the other things that had been going bad.

This is the prelude to joining the EU and indeed one of the underlying causes of that which some of us, even here, remember as the British Disease. Truly could Dean Acheson say, “Britain has lost an empire and not yet found a role”. It was a very low period for the cousins, and just about everything seemed to be going to hell in a handcart for them. But things started changing in the 80s.

However, Thatcher changed everything. Her radical reforms, unapologetic patriotism, uncompromising will and remarkable character lifted the nation out of its post-war torpor and restored its self-confidence. The unions were tamed, fiscal profligacy was replaced by fiscal restraint, markets were liberalised, inefficient nationalised industries privatised, inflation was controlled and, consequently, annual growth exceeded four per cent during the late 1980s.

A British ‘economic miracle’ was being enviously mooted on the continent – a truly remarkable turnaround from the stagnation and misery afflicting the nation just 10 years earlier. Successive governments, even Labour ones, refused to reverse the Iron Lady’s reforms and, in 2015, Britain became the fifth largest economy in the world, largely thanks to her courageous endeavours – wisely left to bear fruit by her successors.

Most important, though, was the national pride restored by Thatcher’s indomitable spirit and sense of moral purpose. Along with Ronald Reagan, she led the free world’s fight against the inhumanity of Soviet communism; in 1982, she ignored her doubters and successfully dispatched a task force to wrestle back the Falkland Islands from Argentina’s military junta; and in 1990, just before her downfall, she encouraged George Bush senior, then American president, to dispense with the wobbling and stand firm against Saddam Hussein after his unprovoked attack on Kuwait. Like Britannia, Thatcher bestrode the global stage, handbag in hand, and gave Britain back its pride and self-confidence.

That this national revival led to rising public disaffection with the EU cannot be gainsaid. Why should a wealthy, self-confident country like Britain sacrifice its sovereignty to a sclerotic, unresponsive, undemocratic, supranational and meddlesome bureaucracy like the European Union? On 23rd June 2016, the answer was clear: it shouldn’t – a decision that, after three and  a half years, was reaffirmed by Johnson’s election victory.

If Britain joined what was to become the EU in a moment of disorientation and self-doubt, it voted out as a confident, self-assured, optimistic, outward-looking and independent nation state. For this, we have Thatcher to thank. And as a delicious accompaniment, she posthumously drove a stake through the heart of her vampiric nemesis, Michael Heseltine. Victory has never been sweeter.

And like here in America, it was done not by the elites and what we call Wall Street. It was done by the people themselves, what in America is Main Steet and in Britain is High Street. It amounts to a counter-revolution on both sides of the Atlantic, in which we are feeding off of and celebrating each other’s victories. The special relationship hasn’t been this strong since World War II, and as then it is a bond between our peoples, both sets of which Hillary would call thick Deplorables. For her class, she was correct, but not for our peoples

Do read the links, there’s lots of very good information there.

DC Whispers has a very thinly sourced story up that President Trump and Queen Elizabeth are now working together to defeat the swamp which is deep in both countries.

And helping in that particular endeavor is none other than the Queen who is said to have taken a keen interest in pushing for a more full disclosure of the part some high-ranking British officials played in the before and after manipulations that ran rampant around America’s 2016 presidential election.

Great Britain, with the full consent of the Queen, now prepares to save Western Civilization on the European continent while President Trump works to do the same here in the United States. Neither battle will be easy. The enemies of both the Queen and President Trump are more volatile / agitated than ever.

Is it true? I have no idea. But it would be a most formidable team. But it is not impossible, HMQ is, of course, the very last world leader who learned directly from that great Anglo-American, Sir Winston Churchill. One hopes it is true. Reminds me of a bit of lesser-known Kipling.

“This is the State above the Law.
    The State exists for the State alone.”
[This is a gland at the back of the jaw,
    And an answering lump by the collar-bone.]
Some die shouting in gas or fire;
    Some die silent, by shell and shot.
Some die desperate, caught on the wire;
    Some die suddenly. This will not.
“Regis suprema voluntas Lex”
    [It will follow the regular course of—throats.]
Some die pinned by the broken decks,
    Some die sobbing between the boats.
Some die eloquent, pressed to death
    By the sliding trench as their friends can hear.
Some die wholly in half a breath.
    Some—give trouble for half a year.
“There is neither Evil nor Good in life.
    Except as the needs of the State ordain.”
[Since it is rather too late for the knife,
    All we can do is mask the pain.]
From A Death Bed.

Things That Grabbed My Attention Yesterday

We’re going to pull back from the daily nonsense today, the Brits are voting and there’s not much new in the Washington nonsense. Let’s take a look at some background on various things. Some days there is just so much good material out there that I can’t decide. It’s a pleasant problem.

Ben Domenech at The Federalist disagrees with Time Magazine’s choice of Greta Thunberg as person of the year, as do I. He says in relation to her…

[…] a teenager who skipped school to travel around the world telling people that they are horrible and the planet is doomed. It’s a living. Perhaps her Malthusian visions will be fulfilled by future experience. But it’s not very likely.

Heh! I wish I’d written that! His choice I also agree with…

In defiance of the most powerful authoritarian regime in the modern world, the protester in Hong Kong has stood against the authority of Red China with courage and dedication. […]

There is no bigger fight. And so, the Hong Kong protester is the Person of the Year.

He’s right. That is the person/people that free people should be honoring.

There’s a remarkable (and remarkably long) essay by George Callaghan at The Duran on the problems (and possible solutions) in British education. Some are specific to Britain and/or England, but many apply to America, as well. My curation software says 45 minutes, it’s well worth it.

I don’t see anything short enough to give you a taste, so if it is an interest of yours, go read it. I agree with all of it that I think applies to the US, I simply don’t know enough about British education to have a valid opinion.

Unintended Consequences has made Britain a frustrating laughingstock for the last three years. Why? Abram N. Shulsky at Law and Liberty has figured out some of the reasons why the British government has gotten so pear-shaped. It’s a danger we face as well, as so many (especially on the left) want to tinker with our constitution.

The recent chaos resulted from two innovations that weren’t entirely consistent with the underlying principles of the British regime: the Fixed-term Parliament Act of 2011 (FTPA) and the Brexit referendum of 2015.  Both were introduced to solve short-term political problems.

It’s an excellent explanation of how the (primarily) Conservative Party has failed to conserve the things that made the Westminster System work.

Walter E. Williams at The Daily Signal tells us that Richard Ebeling, professor of economics at The Citadel, has an essay in the American Institute for Economic Research that clarifies how Capitalism is a morally superior system.

In a key section of his article, Ebeling lays out what he calls the ethical principles of free markets. He says:

The hallmark of a truly free market is that all associations and relationships are based on voluntary agreement and mutual consent. Another way of saying this is that in the free market society, people are morally and legally viewed as sovereign individuals possessing rights to their life, liberty, and honestly acquired property, who may not be coerced into any transaction that they do not consider being to their personal betterment and advantage.

Ebeling says that the rules of a free market are simple and easy to understand:

You don’t kill, you don’t steal, and you don’t cheat through fraud or misrepresentation. You can only improve your own position by improving the circumstances of others. Your talents, abilities, and efforts must all be focused on one thing: What will others take in trade from you for the revenues you want to earn as the source of your own income and profits?

They are both spot on.

Dylan Pahman at Law and Liberty has an essay on why economic nationalism fails.

However, at present economic liberty has fallen out of favor with some who see a sea change in recent events—from the election of President Trump in the United States to Great Britain’s “Brexit” referendum—moving away from a perceived elitist, globalist liberalism and back toward the old order of nation states, not only politically but also economically.

He does an excellent job of laying out the underpinning, and I mostly agree with him, completely in theory in fact. This is the Libertarian/Conservative rationale for free trade, and mostly it is true.


Curtis Ellis at American Greatness lays out why Globalism and Progressivism make such a toxic stew.

The reformers of the Progressive era championed safety standards for food, drugs, and labor.

The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 gave birth to the Food and Drug Administration. The chief chemist at the Department of Agriculture had mobilized a coalition of women’s clubs, physicians, and pharmacists to lobby for uniform national standards for patent medicines.

It worked, mostly, although it was and is very expensive. Now add Globalism

Communist China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of “active pharmaceutical ingredients,” the base components drug companies use to manufacture most of the medications found on store shelves across America. Today, 80 percent of prescription drugs consumed in the United States originate in India and China.

Drug companies are not required to disclose the country of origin of the active ingredients in their products. That means consumers are unknowingly exposed to the risks associated with drugs made in China.

What are those risks? Well, in 2008, 100 Americans died after taking the anticoagulant heparin that was made in China. Some of the heparin was fraudulently replaced with chondroitin, a dietary supplement for joint aches.

Now what? The free traders say the Chicoms are the low-cost producer and it makes economic sense for our drug hoses to buy their product. The families of a hundred dead Americans are likely to disagree. And if we are going to use uninspected raw material, what exactly is the point of the FDA?

That’s the kind of real-world problem that always screws up those lovely theoretical solutions. The answer? We don’t really have one yet.

That should be enough to keep you out of trouble for a while! 🙂

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