May 29, 2010

Intellectual Property

I have been thinking a lot about intellectual property. No matter what your opinion is on the matter, or even if you have no opinion, I recommend a great piece by Stephan Kinsella. You can get an audio book version of it, as well as the pdf. There is no charge for this, since charging would almost be hypocritical, seeing as how the work is titled "Against Intellectual Property"

Here is a presentation given on IP as it relates to fashion. The conclusions she makes are very interesting.

May 23, 2010

Reductio Ad Absurdum: Immigration and Babies

They're Coming To America
by Gene Callahan

Many libertarians have been far too complacent in the face of a growing threat to our cultural cohesion, our way of life, and our liberty. I'm talking, of course, about the thousands of people who arrive in our country everyday, hoping to make it their new home.

Those arrivals present us with a myriad of social problems. For the most part, they do not speak our language. They are unfamiliar with our culture. It will take time to assimilate them all, and the government's effort to promote multi-culturalism through the public schools and other government institutions can only lengthen that assimilation time.

Few of these strangers arrive in America with job offers in hand. The odds are high that many of them will rely, at some point in their lives, on government handouts. And studies show that the longer new arrivals reside in the country, the more likely they are to receive welfare.

They will make use of public transportation, public roads, public utilities, public schools, and so on, further straining resources that are already stretched thin in many cases. Their arrival results in a "dumbing down" of the public education system, prompting politicians to throw even more money at it.

All of the above means an increased tax burden on the productive members of society, many of whom already work over half their day to pay their federal, state, and local income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, tariffs, and fees.

Because of the lure of government largesse dangled before them, the new arrivals represent a ready-made voting block for a bigger state. Unfamiliar with the American tradition of limited government, the arguments against expanded social programs seem remote and abstract to them, while the benefits appear immediate and tangible. The resultant swelling of the class of tax consumers portends an ominous increase in the scope of the welfare state.

As we have time to watch them adapting to our country, we find their customs strange. Whether it is their music, dress, dating, or manners, their distinct cultures present what appears to be an unbridgeable gulf between them and traditional American life. Americans find themselves longing, as Peter Brimelow put it, "for some degree of ethnic and cultural coherence."

It is true that many of them will become productive members of the workforce. But, so long as there are people already living in our country who are without work, or stuck in menial jobs, it ill-behooves us to bring in newcomers to grab the good jobs that the economy does create.

Libertarians are correctly suspicious of any increases in government power. In the case of these new Americans, however, it should be clear that the cause of liberty is advanced, not retarded, by limiting their influx. So great are their numbers, and so enormous is the difficulty in assimilating them, that the current situation amounts to little less than a foreign invasion of our shores. Libertarians should at least be able to agree that as long as we have any government, its most essential role is to protect the nation from foreign invasion!

Of course, in a purely libertarian society, it would be property owners who would have the right to accept or reject anyone wishing to live on or otherwise use their property. But we don't live in that society. Property owners today are limited by law from excluding individuals from their place of employment due to affirmative-action and anti-discrimination laws, and from their neighborhoods by civil-rights legislation.

Simply reducing the number of arrivals allowed in the country each year would be a step forward. But given the vast numbers who have already arrived in the past two decades, it would be wiser to place a several-year moratorium on all new…

What's that you say? Immigration?! You think I've been talking about immigrants?

I've been talking about babies. What we need is a several-year moratorium on births. Our battle cry should be, "Outlaw babies, for the sake of our liberty!"

May 18, 2010

A History of Iran

This is nearly ten minutes long, but definitely worth watching all the way through. Particularly watch for the part which imagines a reversal of American and Iranian situations and asks American viewers to consider what they would hope Iran would do in that scenario.

May 5, 2010

Lady Liberty

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-----Emma Lazarus

At the risk of insulting the intelligence of anyone who already understands the allusions made by this poem, I will share a few thoughts about it. This is an inscription on display inside the Statue of Liberty. It first makes reference to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the ancient wonders. The Colossus was built to celebrate military victory--in stark contrast to the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of peace. Thus, America was to be a land which didn't stretch its limbs to conquer other lands. The poem depicts a land which stands as a beacon and example to other nations. Of course this is a far cry from what modern foreign policy tells us about "making the world safe for democracy" through military conquest.

America does not care for the "pomp" of the old world. It does not care for the nationalism, the pride, and the arrogance that characterized the nations of that time. America does not seek the fame and glory of empires nor the grandeur of ancient kingdoms. It cares only to "breathe free". How different is this from statements of "no apology" or "the power of pride", or even the declaration "I'm proud to be an American!"?

What does America stand for? America stands ready to accept all who come to be free. All who are oppressed and worn down by tyranny are accepted here. They can be of any color, race, or creed. They can come from any nation and speak any language. They come here to experience liberty and to afford the same to their fellow man.

Is this the America we live in today? What are our responsibilities if we would reclaim it?