The Last Capitalist

A site dedicated to restoring individualism in the United States of America

Archive for May, 2008

A Sports Analogy

Posted by jemartynowski on May 28, 2008

In the modern United States, there are many issues that cause great debates:  War, economics, modern culture, etc.  Interestingly enough, I believe that the greatest arguments stem mostly from sports.  Sure, athletics may be less important than other topics, but look at how many fun topics there are to argue about.  We could go on all day about college players getting paid, steroids, and don’t even get me started about the DH.  Plus, I think the best part about these arguments is that they end with less bitterness (with some exceptions). 

This is why I decided to use a sports comparison that Dr. Walter Williams made about a decade ago to help describe what we Capitalists believe when it comes to how a free society should be governed.

Let’s start by taking an argument about how unfair it is in our society that there are some people who earn much more money than others.  It sounds awful that there is so much money to go around and yet there are some people living comfortably earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and others who are struggling to make $25,000 in a year.  That doesn’t sound fair, does it?

Well, let’s compare that to basketball.  Is it fair that the Chicago Bulls won six NBA Championships in the 1990s?  In 1998, should the commissioner not have allowed Michael Jordan to earn his sixth ring, simply because he was more talented, and someone else should win a championship? 

Of course not.  Knowing that every team played by the same rules, with the same clock and the same officiating, means that winning their sixth championship was a fair outcome.  If people who disagree with capitalist ideas were able to carry their ideas forward in the sports arena, championships would be decided not by talent or hard work, but by who they think “deserves” it.  Honestly, could you imagine if the NBA was run this way?  Rather than spend their time and money getting better, teams would spend it on creating committees and petitions to the commissioner to give them the title.  Perhaps the Cleveland Cavaliers could argue that they have never won a championship, so they deserve it this year.  Now they create a committee to petition to the league.  Now, the commissioner needs to create his own committee to determine each aspect of who deserves the championship.  Eventually, we wouldn’t even need to play the games because the game would be who could convince the league to give them the most. 

Starting to look like a familiar jumbled mess?  That’s because that is what our current government is starting to look like.  Millions of dollars and many, many hours are spent every year trying to convince government officials and the public to favor one group over others.  Suppose, instead, we focused on having fair rules that were evenly applied and in which people voluntarily partake.

In the NBA, since the rules are clear, evenly applied (hopefully), and everyone plays voluntarily, teams spend their resources on improving their team with better coaching, improving the players they currently have, and finding better talent.  If this were applied to the real world, of course we would have some people who completely mismanage their resources and end up toward the bottom of the “league,” and we could feel bad for them and offer them assistance.  At least, more often than not, we would have to admit that it wasn’t the rules that put them there.  Actually, if these ideas were applied, I would bet that we would have more winners than we do now. 

Also, the designated hitter is the worst thing to happen in baseball.


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My Generation: Democrats or Socialists?

Posted by jemartynowski on May 19, 2008

Did I miss something?  Was I not in school the day they taught this?  Or has it always been this way?  Have younger generations always felt so much hatred toward individualism?

My confusion is about what’s going on with my generation when we argue politics.  I am 25 years old, and my peers never cease to amaze me.  Despite the war and Christian right (arguments with legitimate points on both sides) being a large part of the debate previously, the new topic of discussion is the economy.  That we are in a period of slower growth, not a recession, and high oil prices makes this a relevant discussion to have.  What I am confused (disgusted) about is how people have no faith in the free markets.

I understand that many people think free markets are what got us to this “terrible” state we’re in, which is completely untrue.  The current situation is one of the best times, if not the best time, in history in terms of standard of living brought to you not by Clinton or Bush but by free markets.  But while the media generated myth about the separation of wealth is also probably at fault, we can’t be that brainwashed, can we?  In reality, the wealthy pay a higher percentage of taxes than before, even after Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich,”  which somehow helped the middle and lower classes the most.  But the informed of us know this, so why is it when I argue free markets versus socialism it always seems people lean toward government-run economy?

My generation is not the most informed when it comes to politics, but come on.  Why are we so willing to hand over our freedoms to the government to bail us out, even if we did believe all these problems are going on?  Many people, it appears, are even willing to admit they don’t mind some socialism, what with the outcry for socialized health care. 

The simple reason I can come up with is that we think the deck is stacked against us.  Perhaps we have, in fact, bought in to the fact that all the big executives can control us and that we don’t have the ability not to buy their product.  I think we’ve become so addicted to our luxurious lifestyle that we think it’s a travesty that we have to make choices, and we want it all.  We think that if flat panel TVs go up in price, it would be an injustice because we have to buy one.  Guess what?  We don’t.  It’s just like oil prices.  My friend thinks it’s a huge injustice that he has to make the choice whether or not to drive around to bars to party because of high oil prices.  Maybe if we just gave up a little bit of that type of driving oil demand wouldn’t be so high.  “Ha!  Like we’re giving up going to the bars!  I shouldn’t have to make that choice.”

So, am I right?  Is this why we are headed down the path of giving up our individuality?  We are allowing government to start controlling what we eat, drink, and smoke.  Where does it end?  Do we allow them to tell us when and where we can drive?  When we can turn our power on and off?  (Already happening in California)  Any other reasons besides entitlement that we think the government needs to control more than they are given power to do so?  I feel this a necessary discussion, or I fear we will continue to regress toward governement control of our lives.  It is possible that those very bars my friend wants to drive to won’t be allowed to serve beer any more, seeing how they already eliminated smoking.  But hey, at least he might be able to drive there with cheaper, government controlled gas prices.

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“Intellectual Defense of Capitalism”

Posted by jemartynowski on May 12, 2008

In his many excellent publications, Dr. Walter Williams (professor at George Mason University, writer, part-time radio talk show substitute, and my hero) defends capitalism many different ways.  Most importantly, he uses logic.  Last October he wrote an article that I enjoyed moderately at the time, but I find it more important today in defending capitalism vs. socialist ideals currently taking over our country. 

Recently, it seems that every time I get into discussions about the value of capitalism vs. socialism, the other party often admits the obvious fact that free markets are more efficient in terms of resource allocation and hence lead to greater wealth than socialism and other forms of statism (credit to Dr. Williams for that wording).  They argue that even though that is the case, in capitalism the rich just get richer and the poor are stuck.  In socialism, the go on, the people who need the resources get them.  Besides some glaring problems with those two sentences, hat Dr. Williams points out in the linked article is that these people’s moral superiority is not warranted. 

There are two statements to make if you are ever in one of these arguments that cannot be denied:

1.  Capitalism is based on voluntary peaceable relationships rather than force and coercion.  This is important because in a socialist society, this is not the case.  All decisions must be made by someone who knows best for society.  The problem here is that most everybody who defends that type of government thinks that those decisions are obvious.  They never really are.  Sure, free health care sounds good, but is it really?  Haven’t we learned about the obvious pitfalls from other countries’ mistakes?  Are you imposing on my freedoms to give those benefits to others?  Who decides that I have to give up my freedoms?  You?  The president?  Congress?  That’s bull.  I should decide when I want to give up my freedoms, peaceably and voluntarily seeing as I have not violated anyone else’s rights.  Which leads us to…

2.  Capitalism respects the sanctity of the indi­vidual.  This is the best way to put into words what capitalism really means.  Individuals, not anyone else, should decide what’s best for themselves.  The individual rights of a person should not be impaired unless he has impeded on another’s rights.

So, next time you are discussing this topic with your socialist friend(s), don’t back down when they get morally righteous on you.  If they truly cared about diversity and respecting everyone’s individuality, they cannot help but agree with you.  Nobody has the right to impede on anybody else’s rights.

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2008 Presidential Platforms on the Economy

Posted by jemartynowski on May 2, 2008

Currently, citizens of the US are trying to decide which candidate running for POTUS will be the least intrusive on our rights in a capitalist society.  Let me give you good links to their platforms in their own words:

Barack Obama
Verdict:  More than a little concerning.  He has some good ideas, such as simplifying the tax prep procedure.  The scary part is the “Technology, Innovation, and Creating Jobs” portion.  First of all, as President, you should have no power to do such things.  Second, if you are going to disregard the Constitution, you probably shouldn’t do it two-fold.  Spending money on all of the things he wants to, such as “Barack Obama believes we need to double federal funding for basic research,” are just plain unconstitutional.  Who gets that money?  How about “Obama will also provide assistance to the domestic auto industry to ensure that new fuel-efficient vehicles are built by American workers?”  When government money is given, especially to large corporations like that, it creates more corruption and puts less money in the individual’s pockets.  Finally, he will raise minimum wage.  Seriously, aren’t we past this?  We all understand basic economics, right?  That just eliminates jobs.  It sounds good, but we all know how it’s going to end.

John McCain
Verdict:  Not bad, if true.  The gas tax holliday sounds great, but needs to be fixed permanently.  That’s kind of a lot of money that goes to the federal government every time a trucker fills up to deliver our food to grocery stores, and that needs to change.  His HOME loan idea is a little less scary than Obama’s whole “just re-write your loan if you don’t like it” idea.  Still, too much government intervention where it shouldn’t be allowed.  His tax policies, once a major concern, seem pretty solid.  Not the greatest, but the best of the three in terms of creating jobs and keeping American companies from getting hit hard.  The change of corporate tax rates would provide a huge boost to the economy.  We’ll see where his alternative and simpler tax system goes.  Oh, and his elimination of pork spending would be the greatest possible thing to happen to this country, but I doubt it’s potential to happen.  He’s still a wild card to me

HIllary Clinton
Verdict:  A mixed bag.  She does claim to want to keep the tax cuts already in place (which is odd, considering she keeps trashing the Bush administrations “policies” on this, which are the tax cuts), which is a good thing.  However, she claims that, to restore a balanced budget, we need “to fund new expenditures with new revenues or cuts in other areas.”  Sounds good, but she definately wants to spend more, so guess what that means?  That’s right, more taxes!!!  She, like Barack, thinks “Investments in alternative energy can create new jobs for the 21st century”  Again, sounds good to the people, but they don’t get what that means.  Please, leave these new innovations to private industries.  The government screws up everything it touches, do we really want them controlling this?  Finally, I will say that lines like this:  “Empower our workers and ensure that all Americans contribute their fair share,” appear all over her site.  There is a type of controlling attitude in some of these statements. 

Conclusions:  Remember, this is just based on what they each claim on their campaign sites.  Not what they will actually do.  Our we really even thinking of voting for people who actually come right out and say they will do something completely against the Constitution?  What say you?

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