Tedenski izbor

Today the French celebrate the 226th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the date usually recognized as the beginning of the French Revolution. What should libertarians (or classical liberals) think of the French Revolution?

The Chinese premier Zhou Enlai is famously (but apparently inaccurately) quoted as saying, “It is too soon to tell.” I like to draw on the wisdom of another mid-20th-century thinker, Henny Youngman, who when asked “How’s your wife?” answered, “Compared to what?” Compared to the American Revolution, the French Revolution is very disappointing to libertarians. Compared to the Russian Revolution, it looks pretty good. And it also looks good, at least in the long view, compared to the ancien regime that preceded it.

The French Revolution and Modern Liberty – David Boaz, Cato at Liberty

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Če nam ekonomija ne more napovedati, kaj se bo zgodilo, zakaj pa je potem sploh dobra?
“Ekonomija je dobra za modrost, ampak modrost bolj grobe vrste. Ekonomija daje grobe nasvete. Denimo na ravni makroekonomije, da ni dobro ustvariti takšnega poslovnega okolja, kjer bo vse nepredvidljivo. Ali pa da ne sprejemajmo delovnih zakonov, zaradi katerih je za mlade nemogoče, da bi dobili službo neverjetno, koliko ljudem to še zmeraj ni jasno. Tako pa po vsej Evropi zakoni, ki ščitijo starejše, onemogočajo mlajše. A ne nazadnje so starejši tisti, ki hodijo na volitve, mladi pa ne. Francoski klasični ekonomist Frédéric Bastiat je govoril o vidnem in o nevidnem. Naloga nas ekonomistov je, da ljudi opozarjamo na nevidno. Žal pa obstaja veliko ekonomistov, ki ekonomije ne poznajo prav dobro.”

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We have evolved a political debate where essentially nationalistic concerns have been hiding behind the gentler cloak of egalitarianism. To clear up this confusion, one recommendation would be to preface all discussions of inequality with a reminder that global inequality has been falling and that, in this regard, the world is headed in a fundamentally better direction.

Income Inequality is Not Rising Globally, It’s Falling. – Tyler Cowen, The New York Times

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The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union.

Greece Today, America Tomorrow? – Ron Paul, The Ron Paul Institute

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V Atenah sem že peti dan in priznam, še zmeraj nisem našel ta trenutek najbolj razvpitega mitološkega bitja – “lenega Grka”.

Dnevnik iz Aten: Mitološko bitje – leni Grk – Jure Stojan, Večer

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Poverty-Porn is the tactic of media and charities that uses sympathy as a catalyst for monetary gain, exploiting the poor and uneducated, to showcase desperate conditions for an emotional response. And while the tactic may be effective at heightening profits—by misrepresenting an entire continent as slum—the fate of an entire continent is stamped with pity. What this means is that outside of Africa, Africans are expected to look up.

Africans are fighting media poverty-porn by tweeting beautiful images of their real lives – Tyler Fyfe, The Plaid Zebra

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Interest rates that once were high and promised stable, good future returns tumble down and stop very close to the zero mark. The rate of inflation, which is being used to show how much more expensive daily life will be in the future, is at the moment even higher than average bank account interest rates. In Germany in February 2015 the average inflation rate was 2,2 %, while interest rates were only a measly 0,8 %. This basically means that your bank money is not going generate enough returns to compensate for the rising costs of living.

How the EU punishes savers – Fabian Sauter, European Students for Liberty

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Those who love liberty and economic growth and opportunity have been for many years seeking private solutions to get around the abuses by government of its monopoly money. The most promising technology for the individual to free himself from the government monetary shackles has been the development of bitcoin, which allows largely anonymous transactions from peer to peer, without going through the banking system. Those in government hate the idea of bitcoin and its newer competitors because it largely destroys their global power to monitor and extract tribute from transfers of goods and services, and wealth.

Immutable money – Richard W. Rahn, The Washington Times

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Interestingly, Mussolini found much of John Maynard Keynes’seconomic theories consistent with fascism, writing: “Fascism entirely agrees with Mr. Maynard Keynes, despite the latter’s prominent position as a Liberal. In fact, Mr. Keynes’ excellent little book, The End of Laissez-Faire (l926) might, so far as it goes, serve as a useful introduction to fascist economics. There is scarcely anything to object to in it and there is much to applaud.”

The Socialist Economics of Italian Fascism – Lawrence K. Samuels, Library of Economics and Liberty

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Since the post-World War II era, movement conservatives have focused so much on an intrusive state that they have overlooked the other side of the coin. Early twentieth-century Catholic thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc clearly recognized the danger to mediating institutions such as the church and the family posed by the intrusions of both the state and vast impersonal corporations.

Corporate America: A Friend of the Family? – Gillis Harp, Crisis Magazine

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Until the Second World War, Russia had never really managed to dominate the area behind the Carpathian Mountains. Thus aside from the Cold War period it is difficult to find much in common among the Visegrad nations in their historical experience with Russia. Clearly the S4 format, with its common Habsburgian past, could serve as a potential integrating factor, especially taking into account that Austria has long ago ceased to be an imperial power.

What Makes the Visegrad Group so Geopolitically Fragile? – Adam Klus, New Eastern Europe

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Mnogi bi sicer trdili, da je Slovenija še premalo centralizirana, saj v njej deluje nepregledno število občin, ki upravljajo z denarjem in območjem brez kakršnekoli kontrole. To, da imajo občine v Sloveniji pri marsičem daleč prevelika pooblastila – predvsem na področju prostorske politike –, je jasno. Vendar je reševanje tega problema s še večjo državno centralizacijo popolnoma napačen pristop. Dejstvo je namreč, da sta trenutna oblika in funkcija občin ravno posledica centralizacije.

Živeti tam nekje – Miha Kosovel, Novi glas

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Danes vsako omenjanje razlik med posamezniki, narodi, rasami, kulturami velja za politično nekorektno. V bistvu gre za hinavščino, kamufliranje resničnosti, siromašenje jezika in s tem tudi misli. Zakaj beseda belec ni žaljiva, črnec pa je? Črnec, ki ga v ZDA imenujejo z menda politično nevtralno besedo Afroameričan, ni zato nič manj črn in segregiran. Da je paradoks še večji, ima za mnoge beseda Afroameričan isti pomen kot črnec.

Teror politične korektnosti – Jožica Grgič, Delo

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Es sind nicht viele Studenten, die den Mut aufbringen, das zu hinterfragen, was ihre Dozenten als herrschende Lehre vorsetzen, wo eigentlich Freiheit der Lehre herrschen soll. Nicht nur an der TU Berlin auch an anderen Universitäten wollen Lehrkräfte ihren Studenten Gendern als Doktrin verordnen.

Studenten dürfen nicht zum Gendern gezwungen werden – Die Freie Welt

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Ko mi danes kak anketar natrosi, da so študentje in izobraženci večinoma levo (beri: neo-marksistično) usmerjeni, ter namiguje, da je leva opcija tista prava, že zato, ker ima intelektualce na svoji strani, se kot kak balkanski čiča namrdnem in rečem: „Ima pametnih, ima glupih, a ima i intelektualaca.“

Marksizem ali razkošje, da me ni (več) zraven – Branko Cestnik, Časnik

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Professional race hustlers have no incentive to see our current civil war end. They see in this shooting only an opportunity to escalate their demands.

Now there are rumblings of demands that statues of Robert E. Lee and other Southern leaders be destroyed — and if that is done, it will only lead to new demands, perhaps to destroy the Jefferson Memorial because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. And if that is done, no doubt there will be demands that the city of Washington be renamed, for the same reason.

Is the Civil War Over? – Thomas Sowell, The New American

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Barks created a wealth of economic lessons through fables that are still enjoyed around the globe today.

(…)

Donald and the rest of the country quit their jobs and set off to “see the world.” Meanwhile, Scrooge and the boys continue to labor on their farm. With no one else working and nothing being produced, Donald and the rest of the world come straggling back. Scrooge is happy to feed them — at new market prices. Eggs are a million dollars apiece, cabbage is two million, and ham is a bargain at a cool trillion. With each purchase, the money from Scrooge’s corn crib trickles back and he becomes, yet again, the richest duck in the world.

With another “helicopter” scenario, we see the inflationary effects of a massive injection of money. We also get a glimpse into many aspects of wealth — how it is created, how it is maintained, and what happens when we redistribute in ways that are not related to market performance. Barks knew he was creating a morality tale of capitalism, admitting, “I’m sure the lesson I preached in this story of easy riches will get me in a cell in a Siberian gulag someday.”

Lessons from the Richest Duck in the World – Robert Anthony Peters, the Freeman

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Tedenski izbor

1960s-ladies-reading

No, leta 1991, ko je Slovenija stopala na pot – žal le navidezne, ampak to je že druga tema –, demokracije, je bila sramotna sodba iz leta 1947, ki je uničila življenje Angele Vode in večine drugih udeležencev čarovniškega Nagodetovega procesa, končno uradno razveljavljena, Angela pa je bila posthumno oprana vseh krivd in sramote. A tudi to nikoli ne bo spremenilo dejstva, da je ta oseba morala celo življenje strahotno trpeti in na koncu ponižujoče umreti. Od lakote. Ja, od lakote. V Jugoslaviji, kjer ste vi imeli vse, kajne? Ah, verjamem, seveda ste imeli vse. Tam, čez mejo, ste res imeli vse. Tudi referenco … današnje združene levice. Ah da, ravno maja prihodnje leto bo minilo natanko 30 let, ko je Angela Vode umrla od lakote. Gospica sodnica Roblek, ki jo citiram na začetku tega sestavka, naj se malo zamisli, koliko je bilo pred 30 leti torej vredno zaupanje slovenskega sodstva!

V Jugoslaviji so ljudje umirali od lakote – Ana Jud, Časnik

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Short of reaching the Moon, today’s Russia does not have the option of new territories elsewhere. Striking back in its habitual sphere of domination only wastes resources that should go into starting afresh. Like pre-WWI Ottoman Empire (and the Austrian), Russia is stuck in the stage of half-hearted reforms alternating with retrenchment, all the while trying to recover past glory.

Like during the Ottoman decay, no external power wishes to promote a collapse of Russia – the result would be too messy and unpredictable.

Like during the Ottoman decay, no external power wishes to promote a collapse of Russia – the result would be too messy and unpredictable. Short of outside jolts, such empires can last. But external jolts do occur. Sometimes the decaying empire unintentionally triggers them by trying to strike back. Germany did not unleash the First World War; Austria did – technologically third class, poorly organized, inept but pugnacious Austria. This was akin to today’s Russia, apart from nuclear weapons, another feature Russia inherited from better days.

This is the broader framework for viewing Russia’s recent actions. We have here another case of a socio-economically decaying society, still mired in nostalgia, still waiting for its Atatürk or de Gaulle. This decaying structure is still capable of considerable mischief.

The Second Crimean War: When Decaying Empires Strike Back – Rein Taagepera, University of Tartu blog

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In sacred architecture, the building and the spaces within serve  to connect users to a deeper reality that transcends its walls. They function as a gateway from the material world to a spiritual realm–the focus is on the eternal, not the object that portends to represent it. In a secular context like Modernism, the object is the thing itself, and all meaning is tied directly to that object.

Art & Religion Need Each Other – Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

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Naj vas ne preseneti, če bo Evropa poizkuse Židana, Erjavca in vseh ostalih razumela na način, da je v dolini Šentflorjanski normalno, da revidiramo sezname, v kolikor niso iz njega izbrani kandidati, ki so po volji najmočnejšim političnim komolčarjem.

Nas moti, da se to tako dela, da je v tem najboljša ravno ona ali da nam odpira oči s pogledom v politično kloako? – Boris Meglič, Portalplus

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Ambiciozna vlada, ki bi želela delati v dobro ljudi, bi si za cilj postavila, da bo v štiriletnem mandatu davčno breme na delo zmanjšala z zdajšnjih 42,5 odstotka pod povprečje OECD (ki je 35,9 odstotka). To bi bilo najprej solidarno, saj bi vsaka odstotna točka davčne razbremenitve povprečnemu zaposlenemu prinesla 208 evrov več letnega dohodka, dobro pa bi bilo tudi za gospodarstvo, ki bi tako lažje motiviralo zaposlene in privabilo naložbe iz tujine, ki jih krvavo potrebujemo, saj razvojnega kapitala trenutno v Sloveniji pač ni dovolj. Politiki bi lahko nabirali celo javnomnenjske točke, sklepali dogovore s socialnimi partnerji o tem, koliko prihranka od sproščenih dajatev naj gre delavcem, koliko delodajalcem in kar je podobne maškarade (čeprav je trapasto, da eno in drugo sploh birokratsko delimo, saj gre tako oboje iz iste vreče tistega, kar zaposleni zasluži). Za priboljšek bi bil zadovoljen še Bruselj, ki bi opazil, da se je Slovenija končno odločila celo preseči kakšno od priporočil, ki izražajo zgolj najbolj nujno.

Državne finance: sodobnim tlačanom, 2. del – Rok Novak, Finance

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A far more serious person, the dissident Russian analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, has recently published an article arguing, along lines that echo Zhirinovsky’s threats, that Putin really is weighing the possibility of limited nuclear strikes — perhaps against one of the Baltic capitals, perhaps a Polish city — to prove that NATO is a hollow, meaningless entity that won’t dare strike back for fear of a greater catastrophe. Indeed, in military exercises in 2009 and 2013, the Russian army openly “practiced” a nuclear attack on Warsaw.

War in Europe is Not a Hysterical Idea – , The Washigton Post