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Islam and Terrorism

First, let me apologize for being absent for so long. I have been long overdue for another post, and MarxistMax’s post on Islam gave me the kick in the ass I needed to make one.

I maintain that the invasion of Afghanistan was and is justified. But the war to topple Saddam Hussein remains a token of destructive idiocy which achieved nothing. We set an entire nation against us, on the basis of self-preservation from WMDs that have still not been found. There have been 461,000 deaths in Iraq since we arrived in 2003, directly attributed to the violence.”

Actually, the War in Iraq accomplished quite a bit, depending on who you talk to. To you and myself, it didn’t accomplish anything, but to Dick Cheney and Halliburton, it was billions in government contracts to repair the damage caused by the war, and millions in oil reserves. The war was, primarily, an effort to keep American markets open in the Middle East. I am sorry to beat a dead horse, Max, but if the doctrines of protectionism rings true, that is, the idea that importation impoverishes a country and exportation enriches a country, then this kind of behavior is entirely justified.

Fortunately, the doctrines of Protectionism are false, and this behavior is some of the most repulsive known to man, despite how accepted it is.

The 9/11 attacks inspired a culture of fear, paranoia and intolerance. The terrorists attacks that have come since then have painted the Islamic community of Britain as a rotten apple, filled to the brim with murderers, extremists and child traffickers. I have never believed this to be the case. Owing to a multitude of factors, social, economic, historical and cultural, the Islamic community has perhaps found it the hardest of all to assimilate into British culture. Due to differences in wealth between adherent nations of Christianity and Islam, there is more reluctance to deviate from scripture.

Differences in wealth will not convince a Muslim to deviate from Scripture. Period. No Muslim will deviate from the Qur’an. The Qur’an explicitly condemns this kind of behavior.

Tommy Robinson and EDL represent a solid core of resentment and ignorance about Muslims, which is spreading through the British working class with dangerous speed. It developed after 9/11, and the twelve years of ‘The War on Terror’ have seen it grow into a cancer. Tommy’s recent decision to jump ship to Quilliam has left many puzzled, not least myself. That man continues to be an enigma to the world.

Tommy Robinson, not even his real name by the way, got his ass kicked well enough to where nothing he says or does should matter at this point. Here’s the video.

Tommy Robinson accuses the Qur’an itself of condoning sex-trafficking, FGM and the killing of infidels and homosexuals. But both the Bible and the Qur’an were written for a different age. The question remains one of dogmatism. Most Christians are taught to screen out pieces of scripture which condone awful things, and most Muslim do as well. The only difference between us is that dogmatism is slightly higher within Muslim ranks, that is all. And as I’ve said before, that small difference is owing to the fact that most Muslim countries are less developed than the West.

Tommy Robinson is full of it. The only time Homosexuals are mentioned in the Qur’an is to condemn the act as a sin, and to recite the story of Sodom. The Qur’an does not condone killing homosexuals, and the Qur’an doesn’t mention FGM (Female Genital Mutualization) at all. In fact, as Mustafa Akyol points out in his brilliant book, FGM is an African Tradition that predates Islam by no less than 1,000 years, and is still practiced today in Ethiopia, which is a Christian majority. Muslims do not screen out the “harsh” parts of the Qur’an, instead they interpret them differently. For example, Surah 9:5 says:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

While those in the EDL interpret this as an aggressive front against all non-Muslims, the Muslim interprets this as a commandment to be followed during a defensive war, and indeed the Muslim has the correct interpretation.


So I Guess I’m Back….

I had planned on not writing anything else on economics, but MarxistMax’s terrible arguments against supermarkets has been nagging me for quite a while yet. MarxistMax starts right off of the bat with an explicit moral condemnation of supermarkets.

Quote from MarxistMax: “It was 1964 when the first supermarket opened its doors in Britain. It signaled the end of the independent grocers, and the beginning of a five decades long parade of glutton and consumerism. Involving an erosion of social fabric and community values, a destruction of local centers of commerce and a concentration of wealth in the hands of a select few.

What social fabric or community values could possibly be eroded by having cheap food readily available? Not only does he not define anywhere what he means by social fabric or community values, terms which in this context are so vague that they can literally be interpreted to mean anything, but he doesn’t even elaborate as to how large quantities of cheap food erode these social fabrics or community values away.

This attack on consumerism goes back to his idea that competition is bad; that it is inherently wasteful, that it gives rise to dog-eat-dog, that it encourages people to not care about social values (vague as hell), etc., etc.. It is from this that he draws his moral condemnation of consumerism, and it is because of this condemnation that he fails to understand the situation at hand. This is further re-enforced by a statement he makes later in the blog.

Quote from MarxistMax: “Spreading wealth more equally gives people power over their buying choices, and generally makes the economy much more democratic.

Just some technical details here; first of all, it is impossible to have more or less power over a given buying choice. To have more power over a buying choice would be to create theft, and to have less power over a buying choice is to eliminate it as a buying choice. But again, no new information about these supposed community values or social fabrics.

Actually, if anything, an abundant supply of cheap food strengthens community/social values. The reason is obvious; since people on the whole are having to spend less on food, they have more money in their pockets to pursue their cultural interests, i.e., music, art, literature, etc., etc..

MarxistMax’s arguments are, objectively, from every conceivable viewpoint, terrible.

By the way, a quick announcement here: I am now on Twitter. If you wish to follow me there, you can find me at @KennethPruitt5.

To Anger a Marxist…

My last post was an extremely scathing analysis of progressivism, and it has upset some people; namely MarxistMax. Let’s just jump right into this.

He first attempts to reprimand me for referring to himself and his contemporaries as cancer, saying that the best times of human civilization have been credited (by whom?) to progressivism, while the most horrid times have been credited (by whom?) to conservatism. This reprimand, coming from MarxistMax, is rather strange. He knows me well enough to know that I don’t care for the conservatives anymore than I care for the progressives, and in fact I have a post dealing with conservatism in the same way I dealt with progressivism in the works.

He then admits what I knew for a fact MarxistMax would admit; namely, that “For Profit” food and water production is exploitation. The reason I knew this is simple; MarxistMax, contrary to his progressive counterparts, is actually consistent. MarxistMax, because he is a Marxist, is more than prepared to make that statement, but progressive counterparts, who believe that we should have private ownership of the means of production, don’t believe this to be true at all. Not one progressive has denounced American food companies for exploiting people’s hunger or thirst; instead they have chosen to denounce Americans for their eating habits.

MarxistMax goes on to say that he will always view it as exploitation that, “For Profit companies control our subsistence. you shouldn’t be able to buy life.” And right after he says that, he says this:

His second point covers the living wage, with rambling intensity which makes it difficult to read and even more difficult to process. The first half of the argument regards the economic mechanics of the Living Wage, which I would be lying if I said I understood.

I would like everyone who’s reading this now to notice something about the two quotations above, and that something is this; the two quotations are imperishably linked to one another. MarxistMax does not understand economics (or else my economic treatment of the Living Wage wouldn’t have been difficult for him to process), and because he doesn’t understand economics, he insists on pursuing this idea of exploitation. My economic treatment of the Living Wage shouldn’t have been difficult to process at all. All I did was show how businessmen think when unexpected expenses are suddenly thrown onto him by the government.

This statement by MarxistMax compels me to remember a quote that I heard long ago, though I don’t know from where or who said it; “To not understand your opponent’s position is to not understand your own.”

But, there is a silver lining to this cloud; MarxistMax is on the edge. He may not realize it, but when he says that he will always consider “For Profit” production to be exploitation, he’s talking to himself far more than he’s talking to me. I of course know that since he is a Marxist, he will consider any sort of profit to be exploitation, and I don’t see any sort of real argument as to why For Profit production is exploitation anywhere in his post.

I have a challenge for you, MarxistMax, but before I challenge you, I want you to watch This video of President Obama making the very contradiction that you said no progressive has made.

Now then, my challenge to you MarxistMax is simple. I believe you are in self-doubt regarding your own philosophy of economics, but I’ll give you a chance to prove me wrong. All you have to do to prove me wrong is to read this book cover to cover, and once you have read that book cover to cover, come back to me and tell me that you still see the world in the same light that you do.

My Last Rebuttal (for now) to MarxistMax

It never ceases to amaze me how the average person argues when he talks about economics. His personal “presentation”, as it were, on economics almost always leads him to argue in favor of Republicanism or the Democratic Party. It is as if he can’t present his own personal position without mentioning a political party, and thus, we now have the groundwork for the first point that I absolutely must make in response to MarxistMax.

Quote from MarxistMax: “For a right-winger, this is hugely hypocritical.

This is going to come as a massive shock to both MarxistMax and other readers alike, but I am not a right-winger. Far from it. I am a staunch Liberal, and by Liberal I mean the old (true) definition of the word Liberal (some refer to it as “Classical Liberalism”, but I despise the adjective CLASSICAL). So far as politics goes, the closest that any politician has come to representing me is Ron Paul, but his Jeffersonianism displaces me as a supporter.

The point of this is simple enough; I don’t argue from the perspective of politics, I argue from the perspective of economics, and I don’t, as you charge, reject common sense.

Quote from MarxistMax: This guy, who from now on I’ll call ‘ken’, is staunchly capitalist, and favours market forces over common sense.

On the contrary, it is on the basis of common sense that I make my arguments.

Quote from MarxistMax: It’s perfectly reasonable for normal people to demand that the government they elected improve their living conditions by whatever way possible, and if that includes job creation then you free marketeers are just going to have to grin and bear it, because government is responsible for all that happens within it borders, economically or otherwise.

It is apparent from this that you don’t understand the very reason(s) people vote in the first place. As Lysander Spooner keenly pointed out, people only vote for one of two reasons; either they vote because they want the government to take money from someone else in order to meet their personal demands (education, healthcare, food stamps, subsidies, etc.), or they vote in order to keep the government from taking their money. If not for these two reasons, then the vast majority of people wouldn’t vote at all, and if you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you vote (if at all). What makes you think that a system like this isn’t going to collapse into civil war at some point, I don’t know.

Now, with regards to people demanding better living conditions, let me put it to you this way; suppose you (MarxistMax) were to just get up and go to a casino with nothing more than the money that’s in your pocket right now. How much of your money (if any) would you spend in gambling? Compare that number to the amount that you would be willing to spend if you had a super-rich friend who said to you, “Don’t worry about it, man! I’ll cover all of your losses.”

When you have a 3rd party subsidizing your expectations, your expectations are going to be far higher than they otherwise would’ve been. This one of the main reasons (the Socialist Calculation Problem is yet another reason) that socialism wastes so much in resources. Aside from the fact that the socialist government can’t calculate the cost of production (I’ll have a link for you on that at the end of this post), the democratic socialist government (which you support, and which happens to be an oxymoron) has to subsidize outrageous expectations with regards to the standard of living.  

The most interesting part about your post is that you say you don’t use violence.

Quote from MarxistMax: “A VERY large difference between me and Stalin, Hitler or any mass-murdering dictator you care to mention is that I DON’T USE VIOLENCE. I can’t believe this even needs to be said! If people don’t like my opinions then they can simply stop reading. I’m not trying to ‘instill all-around regimentation’.

This is the most interesting because your are, contrary to your claims, arguing for all around regimentation. The problem is that you don’t realize it. In your past post, you argued that the government should completely nationalize (people with guns should come in and take private property) the energy industry, and oversee the production and consumption of energy. But people aren’t going to simply go along with this new direction simply because the government passed some law, and the second that there is resistance to the new law, your (MarxistMax) energy policy will become thus:

“The government is going to produce energy from now on; no one else can produce energy but the government. We’re going to produce energy whether you like it or not. If you try to produce your own energy, we’re going to fine, arrest, or kill you (coercion). You will consume energy in the exact amount and manner we tell you; if you stray from our statutes, we will fine, arrest, or kill you (more coercion). If you try to sell the energy we give you to someone else, we will fine, arrest, or kill you (even more coercion).”

The above is, admit it or not, the system that you are advocating; this is what it looks like, and while you may not personally use violence to achieve your ends, you appoint others (the bureaucrats in government) to use violence in your stead. It is no coincidence that in the history of mankind, the most blood was spilled, and the most poverty was caused, by people who had good intentions. In their speeches before they got into power, they talked about helping others, caring for the needy, they denounced the greed of a few, etc., and yet the most horrendous social atrocities were committed by “humanitarian” regimes. Now you might respond that the likes of Hitler, Mao, or Stalin weren’t actually humanitarian, and if that is indeed your response, my response to that is this, “The humanitarian in theory is the terrorist in action.”

The last point I will respond to is this.

Quote from MarxistMax:  That taxpayers money will make much more of an impact when rolled into one than if spent on sweeties and magazines by a thousand separate civilians. It is important to get civilians spending, but the government can do more with that money than civilians can.

The very big fallacious assumption built into this quote is the existence of objective value, and that government, who’s bureaucrats and politicians (assuming democracy) are picked by the same people who’re supposedly too stupid to know what’s good for them (yet another assumption built into the above quote), somehow know which direction that humanity need to invest its resources. Forgive me if I believe that this is hopelessly absurd.

On that note, here is that video I promised you. And since you believe in Objective Value, I’ll throw in one more video for you.

The Economics of Mass Manipulation

It is not unusual that we hear cries in the media about there not being enough jobs. A standard jobs rant runs something like this; “The government’s plan isn’t creating jobs, it’s destroying jobs! We need a new policy towards creating jobs and stimulating employment!”

This complaint is flawed in that it uses the very general term, “jobs.” What kind of jobs in what sectors? Should they be full-time jobs or part-time jobs? When you say that “We need jobs!” you’re actually creating far more questions than you’re answering.

MarxistMax responded to my piece here, and it is apparent that he entirely missed the point of my last post.

Quote from MarxistMax: “The Conservative Party is funded by the rich, staffed by the rich, and works in the interests of the rich. It was in the interests of the rich to slash the heavy industry of the north, and unleash the monster of the London financial markets. That’s why Thatcher did it.

The Conservative Party destroyed many northern communities in the 80s, and it will take more than a few environmentally destructive, ground shaking, water-supply meddling Fracking wells to revive those communities again.

This is what he started with, and I must confess that I am wholly ignorant to the Thatcher administration. But, I will say this; all of this completely misses the point. The point of my last point was to point out that all of the so-called green jobs, like those jobs such as fracking, have environmental trade-offs. I mentioned the wind-farms upsetting the ecosystem by killing thousands of birds, for instance. So the point is this; the government taking over the energy industry and investing in so-called “green technology” isn’t going to make us safer or healthier, since all of the “green technology” so heavily touted by environmentalists each have their own environmental trade-offs.

Now with regards to it being within the interests of the rich to keep us dependent on fossil fuels, let me ask you this MarxistMax; aren’t there rich people in the “green energy” business who have a massive interest in government funding of “green technology?” You are subsidizing the interests of the “rich” no matter what you do. If you say the government should nationalize the energy industry, then it can only do so in one of two ways; either it must, using public funds, buy the businesses from those businessmen who own said industries, or it must seize them forcefully from those said businessmen. But even if you nationalize the entire energy industry, the government will still have to do business with those parties outside of the energy industry, and the extortionist, backroom deals that will ensue from this will know no bounds and no ends. The interests of the “rich” are once again subsidized.

MarxistMax, right about here, changes direction; he says that the green sector is more “job intensive” than the carbon-based sector (which may or may not be true, I don’t know), and that we need the government to invest in the green sector in order to create jobs.

Quote from MarxistMax: “The fact is that the green sector is more jobs-intensive than the carbon sector. We are in a time of economic crisis. Jobs are needed more than anything. Opening up the fracking wells will introduce some jobs, but not nearly so much as pursuing our carbon targets by investing in green energy.

The argument is often put forward that prices will be lowered due to market competition, because don’t we all want to help the little grannies in the winter time? There is a shed-load of evidence that the economic conditions of the US are not compatible with the UK. If we were to get started on green infrastructure and jobs now we will be in a much better position for the future.

Notice here the massive shift-in-direction that MarxistMax just pulled. In his last post, he was saying that it is imperative to get away from fossil fuels on the basis of environmental concerns. Now he’s saying that we need to invest in the green sector on the basis of job creation.

First and foremost, there is what is seen and what is not seen. What is seen is that, yes, government spends money creating jobs. What is not seen is that when the government takes it’s revenue, it by necessity destroys an employment opportunity for someone else, so the actual net balance of jobs created is zero, if not less than zero.

Let’s say for example that the government imposes an extremely punitive tax of 50% on the consumption of fossil fuels in order to invest in the green sector. If a person on average consumes ~$500 per month in fossil fuels, he will have to pay an additional ~$250 per month as a result of the tax. The result is that he will have to pay a total of ~$750 per month in energy costs. Assuming everyone pays this incredibly punitive tax willingly, the government will use this added revenue to invest in green technology. You will look at this and say, “We’re creating jobs!” but what you don’t see is what the consumer would’ve done with the ~$250 taken away from him through taxation. The ~$250 taken away would’ve created employment for another business at a later date.

The same benefits of “job creation” are present even without the tax. Ah, but you might interject, “We actually don’t want them to pay that punitive fossil fuel tax, we want people to invest in alternative energy on their own and avoid the tax altogether. The tax is just a failsafe to see to it that investments into green technology are made.”

But even in this instance, you’re still not actually creating jobs. If the demand for fossil fuels shifts to alternative energies as a result of the tax, then jobs will disappear in the fossil fuel industry (creating unemployment) as jobs in the new green sector begin to boom. You’re merely transferring jobs from one sector to another sector, and this creates its own set of problems.

When it comes to employment, there is always one extremely important aspect of the economy that is left in the lurch; the structure of production. It is absolutely essential that the structure of production is resting on a sound foundation. If the structure of production is upset through out-right consumer manipulation (the attempt at making consumers invest in green technology so as to not pay an extremely punitive fossil fuel tax for instance), artificial credit expansion via fractional reserve banking, etc., then whatever jobs are “created” will be nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan. They have no substantial future; in a given number of years, those jobs will disappear from the economy altogether and the same people screaming that we need jobs will be back in the media once again screaming the same mantra, “We need jobs!”

There is one final issue to address with the sort of manipulative policies addressed earlier; people are not pawns on a chessboard that you can move at your whim. You’re looking at society as if it were a chessboard and saying, “if only we could get a smarter player to move the pieces. Then we could achieve results X, Y, and Z.” Before you interject and say that this is a strawman, let me remind you of what you wrote.

Quote from MarxistMax: “The energy industry should be nationalized so that the government can take an active hand in guiding the industry from carbon-intensive means of production towards green energy. Only by fully owning and controlling the industry can this be achieved. Only then can we invest properly in wind farms, offshore and onshore, in solar panels, and in geothermal energy.” (my italics)

Since it is not a strawman to say that you hold this view (when you blatantly do), let me now ask you this; how many men throughout history have looked at the whole of mankind with grand visions of regimentation and guided production, and how many people died because those same men tried to implement these grand visions? They believed that they could instill all-around regimentation within the life of man, and the result has always been mass poverty, mass murder, and mass political corruption. They manipulated the world around them as though they were God, they instituted their vision because they thought they were the ones who would save civilization from inevitable collapse, and the people at large are the ones who paid the price.

The last point to be covered with regard to MarxistMax’s post comes to us in the form of a rant about competition.

Quote from MarxistMax: “We must stop this obsession with competitiveness! The US is our economic superior (why?), and will be for the foreseeable future, we simply mustn’t let some childish international race to environmental destruction force our hand in this matter.

You will notice from the question of WHY that I injected into the above quote that he never actually questions the reason the US is economically superior to the UK. Competitiveness makes things better, and cheaper. If you do not have competition, you only have monopoly, and getting rid of competition would only make the super rich even wealthier.

Nationalize the Energy Industry?

Energy is a hot political topic for both the Left and the Right, but like most political topics, sound economics is replaced by political/emotional rhetoric. So it is with the case of energy. MarxistMax, a blogger I’ve sparred with before, is now calling for the energy industry to be completely nationalized by the government. This comes after a big long rant on fracking, a new process to gather oil (which he kindly details in the linked post far better than I can).

He makes the case that fracking is just another way of “violating and exploiting our natural environment” and that “we know and we have known for a very long time that renewables must be developed soon.”

Let me first say that I don’t know the first thing about fracking; I am not an environmental scientist (and neither is MarxistMax, to my knowledge), so the best that either one of us could do with regards to climate change is to regurgitate old talking points that various intellectuals have spoon-fed us. Bearing that fact in mind, you can understand my total lack of interest in the climate change debate.

But, I will say this much; if there is absolutely anything to the climate change claims, i.e., that CO2 is getting into the atmosphere and creating this “greenhouse” effect that is making our planet warmer and warmer, then the only entity that can be blamed for this is the government itself. If you don’t believe me, consider this: who created the excess demand for oil by creating such infrastructure as the massive inter-American highway system, the interstate highway system, more roads on the basis of job creation, etc.?

The answer of course is the government. They created almost (with a few notable exceptions) all of the transportation infrastructure, which increases the demand for cars, and increases the demand for oil. Climate change, if the stories the environmentalists tell us are all true as stated, is merely the unintended consequence of government action.

Now the government has taken to investing in such things as wind farms, solar energy, etc., in an effort to create alternative, renewable energy sources. Unfortunately, all of these have their own environmental trade-offs. Wind-farms, thought to be environmentally harmless and highly touted by the environmentalists, are upsetting the ecosystem by killing thousands upon thousands of birds each year. Solar energy, also highly touted by environmentalists, has proven itself to not be as harmless as they thought. To make the solar energy situation even worse, consumers of solar energy panels are being told that they can’t even buy what brand of solar energy panels they want, unless they’re willing to pay a punitive tariff (considering that Obama is politically invested in American solar companies through the stimulus package, it is safe to say that there is some backroom shenanigans going on here).

Geothermal power, yet another highly-touted clean energy alternative, you guessed it, its own set of environmental consequences. And of course this goes without saying anything regarding nuclear power.

This idea that somehow government investment into alternative energy sources are going to have hardly any environmental consequences of their own has been empirically proven wrong.

Now, let’s get into the real problem I have with MarxistMax’s post; namely, his call for the energy industry to be completely nationalized.

Quote from MarxistMax: “Proponents of the introduction of Fracking to the UK tend to rely on the argument that it will drive prices down, and that it will give the UK energy security for the forseeable future.

They are frightened of renewables. They think of them as the pet project of hippies, vastly inefficient, costly and against market principles. They think that introducing fracking will drop prices due to market mechanisms, creating a better country for all.

To them I say this: energy production and consumption will always be problems until the government nationalises the industry, and when it does, it should spend its time investing in our future, and not wasting valuable years on fracking.

And thus, according to MarxistMax, the same government that is subsidizing alternative energy should instead nationalize the entire industry, and oversee the entire process of energy production and consumption. Of course, using the exact same logic, I could put forth the following case:

Americans consume far too many calories. The junk foods that we consume, usually in massive excess, range from twinkies to ding-dongs, and this says nothing about American fast food. These companies have proven that they don’t care about the long-term health of the people at large. Therefore, in the interest of society as a whole, the government should nationalize the entire food industry, and directly oversee the production and consumption of food.

MarxistMax is operating on a very slippery slope, and I pray he realizes it soon.