Capitalism

Go See Atlas Shrugged!

April 18, 2011

In Theaters, April 15, 2011
In Our Hands, November 6, 2012
– FreedomWorks Video on Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 based on Ayn Rand’s famous novel about freedom and the people who make the world work was released in a limited number of theaters on April 15. Most mainstream media reviews about the movie were negative. No surprise there. One can hardly expect a critic with a leftist outlook to embrace the ideas in this movie.

For a more informative article about the movie read Mark Skousen in Human Events:

The message of the film (and the novel) is clear: If the government intervenes too much in the economy, things can only get worse. As Ludwig von Mises stated, “Middle of the road policy leads to socialism.” In the movie, the action takes place in 2016, when the Dow has fallen below 4,000, gas prices exceed $37 a gallon, and the infrastructure is collapsing. Naturally, government officials and statist economists (Paul Krugman types) blame the troubles on greedy selfish capitalists.

Parallels to America under Obama’s reign are unmistakable. FreedomWorks created a mash-up of the movie and the Obama & Co. speeches that shows the connection between the movie and our predicament today:

I saw the movie last weekend and I found it a worthy effort. Whether the second and third parts of the movie will be made will depend largely on the success of the first part. So go to the movie’s website and find a theater near you to go see Atlas Shrugged!

{ 0 comments }

Today, President Obama demonstrated again that he is not serious about defending America against the biggest threat to our future: runaway government spending. He proposed a budget with a record $1.65 trillion deficit for 2012. No surprise there.

Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has offered an appropriate response about Obama “punting” on the budget crisis:

But let’s look a little deeper into the Republicans’ action on spending because we have been disappointed before. Last year, Republicans published a pledge to cut discretionary spending to 2008 levels, i.e. before the financial meltdown, TARP, the bailouts, etc. They promised that they would save at least $100 billion.

Over the past week, Republicans have stumbled in keeping that pledge when it comes to spending for the rest of the year. Rather than reducing discretionary spending to 2008 levels, they proposed initially to cut much less not from current spending, but from Obama’s proposed 2011 budget which was never passed. They have since increased the amount, but they still have failed to keep their promise to go back to 2008 levels. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has covered this issue extensively on his show and on his blog.

Some Republican like John Campbell of California are trying to fix this issue in amendments that will be voted on later this week. See Hugh Hewitt’s “The Pledge-Keepers”: Congressman John Campbell’s Two Budget Amendments.

We hope that the Republican representatives elected with Tea Party support will support Congressman Campbell’s amendments and reject the position of Republicans that have been compromised by Washington’s culture of spending and still don’t get why we sent eighty-seven new Republicans to Congress in November.

Beyond this current test of Republican resolve, Republican will need to take the lead in having what Paul Ryan calls an “adult conversation” with the American people about the long-term spending on so-called non-discretionary items including Social Security and Medicare. No one advocates any cuts for current recipients and those who are close to retirement. But why do we have to wait decades to raise the retirement age? People today live longer and healthier lives. For example, what’s wrong with raising the retirement age to 70 for everyone under the age of 50 today? Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future isn’t this aggressive on the retirement age, but it outlines a plan to return America to fiscal sanity avoiding the fate of Greece.

Opinion polls show that most Americans are still in denial about the need for spending cuts. A recent poll shows that most Americans have no idea that we cannot balance the budget without cutting more than foreign aid:

What Republicans need to realize is that the Tea Party movement recognizes the need for across-the-board spending cuts and Americans are more ready than ever for an adult conversation on this topic. The polls reflect a lack of understanding of what makes up our deficit. This is the time for Republicans to inform and educate the public about what needs to be done to achieve what the vast of Americans agrees is necessary in principle.

Americans who want us to return to constitutional limited government have a responsibility to understand that this is our last chance to avoid a financial catastrophe and that this will require not just cuts, but elimination of entire programs. Republicans have an unprecedented opportunity to lead, inform and educate people. If they fail to do so, they will lose support of the Tea Party movement in 2012 and we will most like be faced with a ruinous second term for President Obama.

In leading and being frank about the issue, Republicans take the risk that not enough people will understand the message and will reject them in favor of the Democrats’ fairy tales about a government that caters to everyone. That is a risk worth taking. If they succeed, they will be responsible for what Allen West recently called a “new dawn for America” and they will be the trusted majority party for a generation. If they honestly and effectively advocate limited constitutional government and a majority of Americans reject their message, then they will at least have offered American a final chance to keep the principles the United States was founded on.

If we do nothing to change the current state, a decline of America is inevitable. The American people today face a huge responsibility in prevent this decline. But America needs leaders that can show the way to a new dawn with confidence. Republican must not shrink from the task ahead when they face inevitable lies that they will “hurt the poor” or that they will “cut your Social Security.” Everyone benefits when individual initiative is valued and the government stays out of our lives except where it is absolutely needed. When America prospers, we can be generous with those in need. Will Republican leaders have the backbone to stand up to the demagogues of the Left or will they revert once again to caving to the demands of the Left in the media and the Democrat Party?

Watch what happens and contact your representatives and senators in the coming weeks and months and urge them to stand firm in support of constitutional effective and efficient government and in keeping American free.

{ 1 comment }

If we want to continue the movement towards limited government and increased freedom that has been re-energized by the Tea Party resisting Obama’s socialism, we need to continue educating Americans on how our economic system works.

Liberty Pen regularly posts great videos featuring leading voices on freedom like Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Sowell and others.

Here is a classic example, featuring Milton Friedman explaining how no individual could have created a seemingly simple product like a pencil. It took thousands of people across the world who don’t know of each other to create a pencil. With this simple example, Friedman demonstrates the folly of socialism and central government planning. No government has the knowledge to coordinate people to create something as simple as a pencil. Instead the mechanisms of free market capitalism create cooperation between people resulting in achievements that a central planner could never achieve.

To reverse President Obama’s attempt to interject the government in every facet of the economy, picking winners and losers, more Americans need to understand Milton Friedman’s message:

Friedman’s talk about a pencil is based on Leonard Read’s classic essay “I, Pencil” first published in 1958 by The Freeman. Here is an excerpt:

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive master-minding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”

{ 1 comment }

{ 1 comment }

Over the next two years, we will have to continue to educate more Americans on why freedom, capitalism and limited government work and government expanding into every sphere of our lives and spending more and more of our money will result in loss of freedom and wealth.

For some of these lessons we can reach back decades. Here is Milton Friedman, one of the greatest economists of all times, explaining how the wealth accumulated by successful people benefits everyone through investments that create jobs and produce more consumer goods:

You can find more short videos of Milton Friedman answering questions like this on Common Sense Capitalism’s Youtube channel and blog.

{ 1 comment }