Friday, August 6, 2010

News from the Network, Vol. 3, No. 31

Ordinarily we'd say a few pithy things about the volatility of the stock market in the intro to the Friday News from the Network (now in its third extremely popular year), but that's about the level of dog bites man/old hat/your-point-being these days. Yes, the stock market is up and down like a yo-yo, yes, the similarities between both pre-1929 Crash and pre-1937 Decline are too obvious to ignore (so of course they're ignored), blah, blah.

Also ordinarily we read the op-ed page in the Washington Post and toss it away after shaking our collective heads and wondering how such seemingly intelligent people can keep on saying the same silly things. (Did you know that the "op" in "op-ed" doesn't mean "opinion," but "opposing" or "opposite"? File that under "Interesting Facts to Dish Out at Cocktail Parties When the Weenies Run Out.")

Surprise, surprise. Today's Post had two, count 'em, two, editorials that echo what we've been saying on this blog for almost two and a half extremely popular years (supra). Michael Gerson ("Democrats Under Stress," Washington Post, 08/06/10, A19) pointed out that the Democrats appear to be trying to make up for the lack of a viable political and economic agenda by working as hard as they can to make a bad situation worse.

It sounds a little like the old joke about Stalin and the two envelopes. "Uncle Joe" allegedly handed his successor two envelopes, the first to be opened when things got bad, and the second when things got really bad. The first contained a brief note that read, "Blame everything on me." The second contained a note that read, "Prepare two envelopes." According to Mr. Gerson's analysis, President Obama seems to have been following the advice in the first note, and should think about preparing two of his own — unless he takes a serious look at the potential of a Capital Homesteading program.

What we found particularly intriguing, however, was Charles Krauthammer's column, "Who Makes the Laws, Anyway?" (Ibid.) As a Certified Public Accountant who reads between the lines as well as the bottom line, this writer immediately zeroed in on Mr. Krauthammer's comment about proper separation of function among the branches of government.

As a matter of sound internal control, every auditor — every accountant, for that matter, as well as every CEO or Chairman of the Board — should know that you never, never, never assign incompatible functions to the same office or person. The person who authorizes a disbursement must never be the same person who signs the check.

Thus, a government, business, financial system, or anything else must be structured to avoid, say, people who enforce the laws or evaluate the laws also creating them. If, for example, the executive or the courts can make law, there is nothing to stop them from making laws to advance their own agendas, regardless of the will of the people or some objective standard of right or wrong, that which Mortimer Adler referred to as the natural moral law. The will of the executive or the courts becomes paramount, the basis of the law shifting from the natural moral law discerned by reason (lex ratio), to the will of the strongest (lex voluntas) — Kallikles the Sophist's "might makes right."

Ultimately, as the great German jurist Heinrich Rommen pointed out, getting away from the objective standard of the natural moral law that necessarily provides the foundation for all human positive law, and claiming that the executive or the courts can create law bases everything on the will, ending with complete moral relativism and (as Adler concluded) totalitarian government.

In the economic sphere, of course, we've seen the dramatic results of adopting an economic paradigm — Keynesian economics — that holds as a basic principle that the State has the power to "re-edit the dictionary," as Keynes put it (John Maynard Keynes, A Treatise on Money, Volume I: The Pure Theory of Money. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1930, 4.) or, in other words, change reality.

Again, until and unless the United States (and, as soon as possible, the world) adopts a Capital Homesteading program, we can only expect things to get worse. To ensure as far as humanly possible that day never comes, we need to accelerate our efforts to spread the word to prime movers and shakers. Here's what we've been doing this week:
• Big News: we sold the first copy of Supporting Life: The Case for a Pro-Life Economic Agenda. Well . . . we must have sold a lot more than one copy, because the Amazon sales rating jumped rather dramatically, but the first is always the most encouraging. Be sure to buy your own copy and leave reviews.

• We got the problems with Harold Moulton's The Formation of Capital straightened out, and ordered a case to begin infiltrating the think tanks. The goal is to let them know that there is a viable alternative to the non-viable Keynesian economics that have plagued the world's economy since the New Deal. As everyone knows (or will soon know, as soon as The Formation of Capital begins to have an effect), The Formation of Capital is the third volume in a four-part series that the Brookings Institution put together to present an alternative program for recovery from the Great Depression. Unfortunately, while it was in preparation, Lord Keynes nipped in and got his policies adopted . . . although he complained when they started to fail that FDR hadn't gone far enough. We won't be republishing the other three volumes, as the first two present the state of the economy in 1934/35, and the fourth gives general prescriptions for recovery that were superceded by Kelso and Adler in The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961).

• CESJ's president, Norman Kurland, has started making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Admittedly, we haven't gotten into the post-scarcity Kelsonian paradigm when it comes to our current resources (especially time and the number of people willing to wear out shoe leather), but we've targeted a select few legislators who, more than most, might be both open to Capital Homesteading AND be in a position to do something. There aren't too many of the caliber and position of a Russell Long wandering about these days. Opportunities for a "Dinner at the Madison" don't come over the transom. They only come after a great deal of legwork.

• We mentioned a couple weeks ago that we came across a Pro-Life, Military Science Fiction (now there's a sub-genre for you) novel by Tom Kratman, State of Disobedience (2003), and intended to review it "in a few days." Right. We still intend to do so . . . just like we intend to write the next thirty-six articles in our on-going series on Irish coinage from a Just Third Way perspective for a popular hobby magazine. We always get it done, but sometimes it just takes a little longer than anticipated. We've yet to miss a deadline, except in-house. We're shooting for next week — and that very weak pun was not intended.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 43 different countries and 41 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Brazil, India, and Canada. People in France, Venezuela, the United States, Brazil, and the Philipines spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular posting is the posting on "the Right Way to Raise Wages," followed by "The Rich, Who Needs 'Em?" two of the "Interest-Free Money series postings, and Geoff Gneuh's piece on "Money and Morals after the Crash."
Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.

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