Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Bailout

Here we are after much disparaging of the government regarding the financial malfeasance that has occurred over the last 35 years. Given the attempts of the present administration to rush through an ill-conceived bailout of the financial industry, I find it fascinating that Germany would be the defender of free markets and capitalism but here we have it.

It's not a call for assistance; it's a scream for help. US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is asking other countries to help buy up bad US debt. The US government is putting up $700 billion in taxpayer money in the hopes that the measure might restore stability in the financial system. Some countries are planning to help. But the German government has answered this call quickly and clearly: no.

Accordingly, IWH's Dietrich suggests that the US government require all banks to issue stocks and that they be required to back up the issuance with a set amount of capital. Under these circumstances, Dietrich believes that investors would buy shares of the banks that they consider healthy and that the market would make it crystal clear which banks these were. And the institutions that are having a rough time because they can't find investors will go broke. "That step would send the right signal to the market," Dietrich says, adding that those who were performing the worst wouldn't be rewarded in such as situation -- as they are being now.

Maybe the idea of a trillion dollar bailout isn't such a good idea. America is truly the frog in a pan of boiling water and soon will be too cooked to jump out and save itself. "Hank" Paulson says "The crisis is embarrassing". Personally, I think "Hank" Paulson is embarrassing. He and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke didn't cause the problem rather ex-chairman, Alan Greenspan is probably responsible for most of it. However, they perpetuated it and are ultimately accountable for the mess we are faced with and now we find them at the trough of the government largess urgently imploring the people to bail out the very institutions they have mismanaged.

I'm reminded of the movie, Trading Places when Dan Aykroyd as Louis Winthorpe III approaches his friends at the country club asking for some financial help and Todd says something to the effect of "frankly, Winthorpe, I find this to be in extremely bad taste.".

Well, I have to say that we find the efforts of the buffoons in charge of the financial markets of the U.S. to be equally in "bad taste".

The honorable Ron Paul, Texas congressman is against the bailout:

The solution to the problem is to end government meddling in the market. Government intervention leads to distortions in the market, and government reacts to each distortion by enacting new laws and regulations, which create their own distortions, and so on ad infinitum.

It is time this process is put to an end. But the government cannot just sit back idly and let the bust occur. It must actively roll back stifling laws and regulations that allowed the boom to form in the first place.

The government must divorce itself of the albatross of Fannie and Freddie, balance and drastically decrease the size of the federal budget, and reduce onerous regulations on banks and credit unions that lead to structural rigidity in the financial sector.

I strongly urge our readers to take a moment and visit this website where you can express your opinion on this issue.

Heretics and Scientists

The Darwinian thought police have added another scalp to their belt. This time it was the Director of Education of the British Royal Society, Michael Reiss. Reiss, who is an Anglican priest as well as a professional biologist and evolutionist made the breathtaking observation that it might be good to teach creation along with evolution in British public school.

Here in his own words is proof of Reiss' heresy:

"I realised that simply banging on about evolution and natural selection didn't lead some pupils to change their minds at all. Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from the science lesson . . . There is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have - hardly a revolutionary idea in science teaching - and doing one's best to have a genuine discussion."

In other words, Reiss wasn't endorsing creationism, he was simply saying that many students believe it, and they should be allowed to debate it in their classes if they wish. This immediately set off the tocsin alerting the protectors of orthodoxy at the Royal Society to an unacceptable level of intellectual freedom for British students. Howls of protest were raised at the very thought that students might be permitted to question whether the Truth was indeed the truth. Letters were written and demands that Reiss be marched to the gallows were registered. Finally Reiss agreed to step down from his post, perhaps out of fear that the Royal Society would embarrass itself even further:

Reiss ... agreed to step down from his position with the national academy of science after its officers decided that his comments had damaged its reputation.

No doubt that was their reputation for narrow-minded intolerance they felt had been damaged.

Kidding aside, if anything has damaged the Society's reputation it's the prigs who are so fearful that their theory will be unable to withstand scrutiny that they insist it be protected and insulated from all examination.

It reminds me of a passage written by that great British advocate of freedom of thought, John Stuart Mill, who said in his masterful essay On Liberty that:

There is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend only to one that errors harden into prejudices, and truth itself ceases to have the effect of truth....

And here's another:

All attempts by the State to bias the conclusions of its citizens on disputed subjects are evil.

There's an amusing irony in this. If the Catholic church, say, were to expel from it's clergy those who disagreed with Church doctrine on the Trinity, or if the Church were to excommunicate politicians who endorsed a right to abortion, civil libertarians everywhere would be execrating the Church for its ossified and archaic intolerance. But let a society of Darwinians do the same thing and there's scarcely a peep. Well, of course, scientists have an obligation to keep their science free from the taint of heresy, we're told, but Churches should be much more broad-minded than to stifle and punish dissent. Pretty funny, I think.

For more on this unfortunate episode see here.

I close with another excerpt from Mill who wrote in 1859 (the same year Darwin published Origin of Species) but whose essay is must reading for every intelligent, educated person today:

But when it [e.g. Darwinism, ed.] has come to be an hereditary creed, and to be received passively, not actively - when the mind is no longer compelled...to exercise its vital powers on the questions which its belief presents to it - there is a progressive tendency to forget all of the belief except the formularies, or to give it a dull and torpid assent, as if accepting it on trust dispensed with the necessity of realizing it in consciousness, or testing it by personal experience, until it almost ceases to connect itself at all with the inner life of the human being.... The creed remains, as it were, outside the mind, incrusting and petrifying it against all other influences addressed to the higher parts of our nature; manifesting its power by not suffering any fresh and living conviction to get in, but itself doing nothing for the mind or heart, except standing sentinel over them to keep them vacant.


Tough Choices in Waziristan

Bill Roggio talks about the cross-border attacks in Pakistan's northwestern province of Waziristan carried out over the last several weeks by American forces.

The problem is that al Qaeda is using training facilities and safe houses in western Pakistan to train and prepare for further attacks on American soil which leaves us with two options. We can do nothing and hope that the Pakistanis will, counter to all experience, purge the Taliban and al Qaeda from these territories themselves, or we can try to disrupt their planning and training by attacking these facilities ourselves and killing the terrorists. This last carries with it substantial costs since it threatens to undermine the Pakistani government and thus our relationship with it. Unfortunately the risks associated with doing nothing are even greater.

Roggio's analysis is a good read.


Bad Mommy

Lest anyone be influenced by Sarah Palin's decision to have a retarded child Nicholas Provenzo feels it important to affirm that it is indeed moral, even obligatory, to kill such children. Provenzo writes:

Like many, I am troubled by the implications of Alaska governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's decision to knowingly give birth to a child disabled with Down syndrome. Given that Palin's decision is being celebrated in some quarters, it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome (or by extension, any unborn fetus)-a freedom that anti-abortion advocates seek to deny.

A parent has a moral obligation to provide for his or her children until these children are equipped to provide for themselves. Because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision, unless a parent enjoys the wealth to provide for the lifetime of assistance that their child will require, they are essentially stranding the cost of their child's life upon others.

In other words, Provenzo seems to be saying, if a parent cannot provide adequately for a Down's syndrome child throughout its life the parent has a moral obligation to terminate the pregnancy.

This from someone who titles his blog The Rule of Reason. Rule of Reason is an Objectivist blog based on Ayn Rand's philosophy and presumably embraces Rand's atheism, which causes me to wonder. How does reason lead us to moral obligation? Why are we obligated to care for our children, and why do they think it appropriate to affirm the morality of aborting a child? Why, if one is an atheist, think that abortion is a moral matter at all, or that anything is?

But the irony of atheists talking about moral obligation aside, the implication running through all this is that Sarah Palin was irresponsible in having her Down's syndrome child because she set a bad example for other women and is therefore a bad mother.

See here for more of this kind of purge-the-race-of-all-defectives thinking. Upon visiting these blogs one can almost hear the jackboots marching in the background and smell the crematories of Auschwitz.