State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

Month: February, 2012

What Is Equality?

Sometimes the most difficult part of political understanding is that the same word means different things to people of different political backgrounds.  Effectively understanding the real decision is thus difficult.  In the upcoming election, it appears that equality is going to be a hotly debated point.  This being the case, we’ll attempt to stand back from politics and try to understand what is meant by different views of equality, so as to better understand the current discussion.  I’ve developed the following mathematical formula to generically illustrate the point (Please don’t have bad memories of math class and give up, I promise this is easy):

PE x MF x L = R

PE is Personal Effort.  MF is Market Forces.  L is Law.  R is Results.  By this formula, if I put an effort into a project, let’s say collecting apples, I am working toward a desired result.  My efforts will be effected by market forces.  These are forces which I may or may not be able to control.  If there are apples to collect and people desire apples, then the market forces may help amplify my efforts toward my desired result.  If there are no apples, then luck is against me in this pursuit.  The law also has an effect.  If it is illegal to take the apples, then my result may unlike what I wanted.  If it is legal, but I must give some to a governing power, then it will diminish my results to some extent.  The results are what I end up with after all else is done.

Now, for the $10 question.  Which part of this formula represents equality?  PE cannot be equal or diversity is ruined.  We all have different likes and dislikes.  One person may want to go to a university and become a doctor, where another may prefer trade school to be a plumber.  To try and make PE equal would be the ultimate tyranny and would miserably fail when we try to force people to do what they aren’t inclined to do.  President Barack Obama makes the case for controlling the market forces (MF) and the Law (L) portion of the equation to try for a more equal result (R).  This desire for more equal results is common of the collectivist ideal.  We’ll analyze a few of his comments from his economic speech in Osawatomie, Kansas (6 Dec 2011).

“Look at the statistics.  In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent to $1.2 million per year…. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6 percent.

“Now this kind of inequality–a level that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression–hurts us all.”

“This kind of gaping inequality gives lie to the promise that’s at the very heart of America:  that this is a place where you can make it if you try.”

The purpose here is not to argue or analyze statistics, but to show that in his view, inequality is represented by the (R) or results portion of the formula.

“I’m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we’re greater together than we are on our own. “

Again, not to argue, but to show the collectivist train of thought.  Pres. Obama brings up Teddy Roosevelt:

“Now, for this, Roosevelt was called a radical.  He was called a socialist–even a communist.  But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign:  an eight-hour work day and a minimum wage for women, insurance for the unemployed and for the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax.”

Pres. Obama praises Roosevelt for his control of Market Forces and Law to create more equal Results.  And what does Pres. Obama call for now?

“…we also need a world-class commitment to science and research, the next generation of high-tech manufacturing.”

“If we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values.”

“Or do we want to keep in place the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country?”

“Investing in things like education that give everybody a chance to succeed.  A tax code that makes sure everybody pays their fair share.  And laws that make sure everybody follows the rules.  That’s what will transform our economy.”

The government should intervene in the markets of education, science and research, and high tech manufacturing.  The tax code needs to be more progressive (fair share, again is a relative term, and he aims it at equality of results).  In short, we need a different set of rules or law for everyone in order to gain more equal results.

Now, for balance, from Mitt Romney:

“I’m not changing the progressive tax code.”

“We have a safety net there, if it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”

It seems the Republicans and Democrats are on basically the same page here.  We have a tax code that is thousands of pages long, set up by both parties to manipulate markets and apply different rules to different people to theoretically create more equal results.  History seems to show that it has accomplished somewhat the opposite.

The other idea of equality is that of individual liberty, equal law and free market.  This means that the government doesn’t interfere with any market and the law is applied equally to all people.  Carroll Quigley explains in Tragedy & Hope (Page 25):

“In its narrowest aspect, liberalism (19th century liberalism, which was the major idealism of our Founding Fathers) believed that the economic activities of man should be freed completely from “state interference.”  This latter belief, summed up in the battle-cry “No government in business,” was commonly called “laissez-faire.”  Liberalism, which included laissez-faire, was a wider term because it would have freed men from the coercive power of any church, army, or other institution, and would ahve left to society little power beyond that required to prevent the strong from physically opressing the weak.”

Most of our Founding Fathers agreed on this, regarless of which side of their isle they were on.

“The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown.  [These ideas] are abitrary, despotic, and in our government, unconstitutional.” (Samuel Adams)

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” (Thomas Jefferson)

I believe there are more instances of abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations…This danger ought to be wisely guarded against.” (James Madison)

We see them speak out against the government controlling goods, redistributing wealth, or in any other way manipulating markets or laws to make equal results.  Equality in their eyes meant that the market with all its variables and luck was left alone.  People were left to decide their own efforts.  The law was meant to be the same for everyone.  This inevitably creates different results.

So what is equality?  I guess this is something we will be deciding over time, through debate and politics.  Should government manipulate markets or rules to try and get equal outcomes, or should government apply equal rules and accept the wide variety of outcomes?  I would suggest that we should simply remember that the eternal laws which decide whether a society thrives or falls are unable to be manipulated.  For more on this subject see: http://www.stateofmankind.com/other-essays/the-pursuit-of-happiness/

Finally, Quigley points out what the results of our decisions so far have created and what they are leading toward:

“Thus liberalism and laissez-faire are to be replaced, apparently, by social discipline and planning.  The community of interests which would appear if men were merely left to pursue their own desires has been replaced by the idea of the welfare community, which must be created by conscious organizing action.  The belief in progress has been replaced by the fear of social retrogression or even human annihilation.  The old march of democracy now yields to the insidious advance of authoritarianism, and the individual capitalism of the profit motive seems about to be replaced by the state capitalism of the welfare economy.” (Tragedy & Hope, Page 28)

The Personal Debt Bomb

Yesterday we looked at the staggering amount of the National Debt and the inevitable meltdown it will create.  There is one more dimension to the ‘debt bomb’ that needs to be understood.  This comes in the form of personal debt.  We will remember that with the admitted National Debt of $15.4 Trillion, we have a per capita debt of $49,204 (as of 28 Feb, according to usdebtclock.org).  However, Personal Debt in the United States is currently at $15.9 Trillion.  This comes in the form of $13.4 Trillion in mortgage debt and $2.5 Trillion in consumer debt, of which $793 Billion is credit card debt.  Personal Debt per capita is $50,820.  See the following article:

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpps/news/credit-card-debt-nears-toxic-levels-dpgonc-km-20120226_18232559

In offering my opinions, I often tend to quote what I accept as scripture.  I think the Lord’s advice is better than mine on this matter.  D&C 19:35 states:

Pay the debt thou hast contracted…Release thyself from bondage.”

So the Lord equates debt with bondage.  If we are to be a free people, I think it is important to follow his advice.  Our pride could be our downfall.  Do we really need the size of house (and corresponding mortgage) we tend to buy?  Could we pay off our vehicles and use them for a number of years debt free?  If we did this would there be any need at all for a credit card?  Can our Nation control its finances if the people are unwilling to control their own?

The Debt Bomb!

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/chart-america-s-capita-government-debt-worse-greece_631797.html

While reading through news stories the other day, I happened to see this graph (linked above) which suggests that our debt problem is worse than that of Greece.  It immediately caught my attention that this is a per capita measurement, which may be a little deceiving, as our per capita income is also higher than that of Greece.  A higher income would be able to withstand a higher debt.  So, I decided to look at the debt issue as a whole and give an update on the exact situation.  The following are CBO numbers, I’ll highlight a few important ones.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/#

Usdebtclock.org shows the National Debt at $49,190 per citizen (as of 27 Feb 2012).  This is $136,149 per taxpayer.  This does not include State and Local debts.  If you live in California, Illinois, New York, or some other near bankrupt state, you’ve got a double whammy.  That was the good news, now for the bad.  This is not the total US debt!  There is more debt in the form of retirement plans promised to Federal employees and Military persons, as well as promised benefits for Veterans.  These are not counted, because they don’t have to be paid immediately, but are promises we must keep.  These promises push the Total Debt up to 56.6 Trillion, and growing as does the Federal Government.  This is a total debt per citizen of $180,880 or $684,253 per family.  The average savings per family is $4,440.  Does your mortgage seem small?

Finally, this is not all!  We still have to look at what are called “unfunded liabilities”.  These are promises made by the Federal Government to each citizen in the form of Social Security, Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare part D), and Medicare.  These, too, are not added because they will be paid over a number of years, not immediately.  However, they are not funded, so they will be part of the debt as they come due, or the government will simply refuse to pay (which technically they could).  Social Security has an unfunded liability of $15.5 Trillion, Prescription Drugs are at $20.5 Trillion, Medicare at $81.7 Trillion.  This makes total “Unfunded Liabilities” $117.7 Trillion.  If we add the $56.6 Trillion total National Debt with the $117.7 Trillion unfunded liabilities, we get a Grand Total of $174.3 Trillion dollars of promises with no way to cover them, except taxing you and me to the nth degree, or having the government run the entire economy. See: http://www.stateofmankind.com/tragedy-and-hope-review/x-the-economy/.

Those who support greater government debts always seem to say that we have always had seemingly high unfunded liabilities and it hasn’t yet collapsed.  I would say that in the past, we have had population and corresponding economic growth that cannot be the case forever.  Those who think this won’t collapse just need to do a little math, or talk to someone who lives in Greece!

Climate Alarmism Resorts To Crime

http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/9966-breaking-eminent-scientist-may-be-jailed-for-faking-climate-emails

Really interesting what people will stoop to when their train is coming off the tracks.

 

The UN Agenda For Your Children

We have spent the last few days looking at the Green Agenda that is being aimed at children.  Much of this comes from the United Nations, so it’s worth looking at what the UN really wants to accomplish.  It is apparant that the UN would like to be the controller of the world’s religious beliefs, healthcare, population, economy, and environment, and it seems to find that sex and sex education are in the middle of these things.  So, of course, we have the International Guidelines on Sexuality Education, from the United Nations (June 2009).  The following is recommended to be taught to children ages 5-8:

“-Difference between consensual sexual activity and forced sex.” (Pg. 42)

“-Concepts of body rights and sexual abuse.” (Pg. 42)

“-Girls and boys have private body parts that can feel pleasurable when touched by oneself.” (Pg. 43)

“-Touching and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbation.” (Pg. 48)

“-Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in private.” (Pg. 48)

So, not only should we teach 5 year olds how to masturbate and enjoy sexual pleasure, but they need to come to an understanding of the difference between consensual sexual activity and forced sex.  Call me pessimistic about the UN running our moral culture, but this sounds like a child abuser’s dream.  I can hear the defense, in the international court that just condemned a man to death for cutting down a tree (see Green Hell, two postings back), saying “the child knew what s/he was doing.”  The guidelines continue, no less controversial as the ages get older.  From the 12-15 range:

“-People do not choose their sexual orientation or gender identity.” (Pg. 48)

“-Masturbation is a safe and valid expression of sexuality.” (Pg. 48)

“-Definition, reasons for, and legality of abortion.” (Pg. 44)

There are many more, but the idea is clear.  The first statement here is a scientifically unknown statement to be taught as fact.  The second, I think, is in case the kid was absent in kindergarten.  The third is absolutely unacceptable because of the age they are teaching it to, and there is no counter argument or idea anywhere in these guidelines.  If a child is taught why to have an abortion, but not why not having one is also a valid (possibly preferable) choice, it would be called indoctrination, especially at this young age.  What if parents object, or a certain culture doesn’t agree with this agenda?  The report responded to these concerns early on:

At the same time, respect for culture and values has to be balanced with the needs of young people, especially girls and young women.”  (Pg. 8 )

(We don’t have much need to coerce boys into abortions)

“Opposition to sexuality education is not inevitable.  Should opposition occur, it is by no means insurmountable.” (Pg. 9)

In other words, if they get their way, they will teach your children their moral standard, regardless of what you may think or do about it.  So much for freedom of conscience or parental rights or freedom at all for that matter.  Many states and school districts have already proposed these sorts of programs.  The healthcare law in the United States has made these issues national in nature.  Federal funding of education allows them to control what is taught in our schools.  There is a slow change of responsibility from parents to school districts to states to the federal government and finally the United Nations.

Now is the time for parents to take back their rights to teach their children their own morals.  Now is the time for states to reject federal money and control of schools.  Now is the time for everyone to wake up and see where our world elitist planners are going to take us if we don’t fight back!