Daily Caller – We Are All Greeks Now. Does Totalitarianism Lie Ahead?

2 Jul

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We Are All Greeks Now. Does Totalitarianism Lie Ahead?

July 2, 2015

The Greek drama has entered its final act, after lingering on far too long. There was never any doubt Greece couldn’t repay its sovereign debts. Debts that, until now, were counted as assets on the books of its lenders. Living by the motto, In Central Planners We Trust, the Greeks forgot to ask, “What could go wrong?” They—and the world—are about to find out.

Calls for debt relief that began in Greece are arising across Europe—a debt jubilee, if you will. (Here in the U.S., similar calls are being made by powerful Democratic politicians, starting with a trillion dollars of student loan debt to finance expensive college educations of dubious value.) Since debtors always outnumber creditors, debt jubilees can become overwhelmingly popular when times get tough.

But debt relief is always and everywhere matched by asset destruction. One can argue the assets were already destroyed, so debt relief merely forces lenders to acknowledge reality. Cry them no tears. In a just world creditors who insist on lending to dubious borrowers deserve to taste the discipline of loss. But when governments use toxic bonds on bank balance sheets to magically manufacture money, the evaporation of those underlying assets has secondary consequences.

When default or debt relief strikes—it makes no difference which—the pyramid of manufactured money must either shrink or the impaired assets must be replaced. (For example, if you write off all Greek debt, the European Central Bank has negative equity.) If panicked fear of deflation causes these impaired assets to be replaced with freshly minted fiat money via an orgy of quantitative easing, a vicious circle arises that eventually causes money to lose its value.

We call this hyperinflation, a process that is well underway even if it’s not yet reflected in consumer inflation indices. But in time it must be, and many who thought they were saving for the future will ultimately learn that their money was funneled to deadbeats. The freshly impoverished will then be forced to join the growing line of said deadbeats seeking handouts. This can only exacerbate the demographic time bomb that would be threatening aging democracies anyway, even if central planners hadn’t embarked on a fit of monetary madness.

This is where totalitarianism enters the picture.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

Daily Caller – How Ideas of the Family Evolve Alongside Culture, Politics, and Law

30 Jun

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How Ideas of the Family Evolve Alongside Culture, Politics, and Law

Ever since widespread access to birth control and abortion made biological motherhood optional, and the welfare state severely eroded the economic responsibilities of fatherhood, Western Civilization has been struggling to redefine the family. In that context, the recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage should be seen as a milestone on the way to a yet unknown destination, rather than a terminal event.

The nuclear family arose from Darwinian reproductive strategies long before anything we would call civilization emerged. It persisted through thousands of years of recognized history largely because it worked. Every culture that tried to supplant the nuclear family failed. So far.

When trying to formulate a modern theory of the family compatible with the expanded role of government, people have sought guidance from the Bible, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Ayn Rand, and others. I’d like to suggest another sage we might learn from. The late science fiction author Robert Heinlein.

Although Heinlein’s book Stranger in a Strange Land, with its depictions of free love and radical individualism, is more celebrated, many consider The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to be his most profound work. On the surface, the 1966 novel is about a revolt on a lunar colony. Heinlein deftly uses this rollicking space opera as a canvas to explore numerous themes, including just governance, the art of diplomacy, the power of mass media, the rise of artificial intelligence, the nature of humor, and most interestingly the evolution of the family.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Powerhouse Economics

29 Jun

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June 27, 2015

The Crash That Cured Itself

James Grant, founder and editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and author of The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself, discusses how the last “governmentally un-medicated” depression was resolved by natural market processes.

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LISTEN (full-length interview)
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WATCH (on YouTube)

Father of Experimental Economics

Vernon Smith, professor of law and economics at Chapman University and the 2015 winner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Julian L. Simon Memorial Award takes us through his humble beginnings to how he developed and practiced experimental economics, which led to his winning the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Father’s Day Friedmans

24 Jun

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Legacy of Liberty with David Friedman

JUN 20, 2015

David Friedman, Professor at Santa Clara Law and author of the recently updated The Machinery of Freedom, talks of his father, Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman, whose classical liberal philosophy was the seed inspiration for his own anarcho-capitalist research teachings, and beliefs.

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LISTEN (full-length interview)
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Legacy of Liberty with Patri Friedman

JUN 20, 2015

Patri Friedman, Chairman of the Seasteading Institute and software engineer at Google, discusses his approach to promoting competitive governance and how his grandfather’s and father’s philosophical paths inspired his own.

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Daily Caller – Cancer: The War That Haunts Us All

17 Jun

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June 16, 2015

Cancer: The War That Haunts Us All

For the third time in my life I had to stand at the deathbed of a man I loved and say goodbye. My father, at age 90, after a long full life. My best friend and college roommate, taken from us before his 30th birthday. And now the dearest friend I made in adulthood, so brimming with vitality and poised at the cusp of retirement that I cannot accept the fact that we won’t be spending our golden years together.

The cause in all three cases was cancer. Cancer, with which we’ve been at war for over four decades. Cancer, a disease we fight in the trenches, with progress measured in inches, not miles, amassing casualties into the millions. Cancer, fighting for the same ground, over and over. Cancer, a war still waged with medicine’s most barbarous weapons: Poison. Radiation. Amputations.

Yes, progress has been made. Survival times inch ever upward. Hope is served to patients desperate to believe. But our battle plans are trapped in a failed paradigm. The science is stalled. Massive investment continues to flow, but much into the wrong places. Try as we might to poison the metastatic agents of death faster than we poison the people we love, the chameleon character of living cells are imbued with a power so great it once turned pond scum into us humans. But by its nature, such awesome power includes a tremendous capacity for evasion.

So how do we defeat biology at its own game?

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Beepocalypse Hype

16 Jun

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June 13, 2015

Beepocalyspe Hype

Angela Logomasini, Senior Fellow in Environmental Risk, Regulation, and Consumer Freedom at Competitive Enterprise Institute, tempers the current honeybee colony collapse hysteria with facts about the commercial bee industry and pesticide improvements.

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LISTEN (full-length interview)
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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Analyzing the Recent UK Election

15 Jun

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British Devolution

JUN 13, 2015

Matthew Sinclair, Senior Consultant at Europe Economics, analyzes the recent UK election results and the prospects of devolution within Great Britain and the forecasts for the UK leaving the European Union.

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LISTEN (full-length interview)
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WATCH (on YouTube)

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