Fundamental Astuteness

The Essence of Astuteness: Non-Partisan Intellectual Honesty

Great Quotes: Ludwig Von Mises

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The aforementioned individual was a widely acclaimed economist and political philsopher of his time. Born in 1881 in what is now Liviv, Ukraine, he became a great leader in the classical liberal movement and in advancing the Austrian School of Economic though (libertarianism and extremely laissez faire economics, respectively). Justifying his opinion that government ought not to be in the business of protecting people from their own foolishness, he opined in his great book Human Action, as follows:
Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous and habit forming drugs. But once a principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government’s benevolent providence to the protection of the individual’s body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music?

The passage struck a chord with for the same reason it did for the great skeptic and libertarian Michael Shermer, who said of the passage that it  “…resonated with me because his analogue from the physical to the ideological is so effective in conveying the central message of freedom and liberty[.]“

“Essential” government handouts

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My advocacy of abolishing government charity like welfare and international food aid has been quietly growing over the last few years. Authors like John Stossel and Fredric Bastiet have caused me to criticize government action on such matteres, prefering instead that the government content itself to national defense and basic matters of public peace.

My reasoning here is multifacted, ranging from  philosophical meditations on government theory to practical cause and effect studies that issue a rebuke to those who have endless faith in government policy to fix problems that are better and traditionally left to the volunatary action of private individuals.

Following up on that note, its interesting to note that in spite of what action-hungary politicians are likely to tell you, it may be that foreign aid, whether cash or commodity (food, etc) is not all that “essential” or “critical” so solving whatever “crisis” happens to be at hand. An observation by the Council on Foreign Relations seems particularly provoking to those who subscribe to this view:

“With the plight of the hungry so acute, the calls for additional food aid have grown. So far this year, the World Food Program spent $650 million—compared with the $400 million spent during the same period in 2007 to buy roughly the same amount of food (BusinessWeek). But some experts point out that the aid system keeps people hungry in the long run even as it feeds them in the short term. Alec van Gelder and Caroline Boin of the International Policy Network, a development think tank based in London, argue that aid has actually depressed development (Business Daily) in Africa. They note “70 [percent] of Africans who live off the land have falling incomes and life expectancy, while Asian countries that got little or no aid have prospered.”

Interesting point. African countries recieve lots of aid and fail. Asian countries recieved little or none and succeed. But politicians argue that such programs are essential anyway.

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January 21, 2009 at 8:50 pm

The latest trends

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As mentioned previously, I had no idea how hard a senior year could be, but I”m enjoying every minute of it. That being said, I have also found out that it is not possible to devote equal amounts of brainpower to every interesting subject in a meaningful way. Therefore, three things of hard thought have been occupying my thoughts recently.

  1. Theological subejcts: God cannot create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it. This in no way contradicts the rationale for believing in God. More on this later
  2. Abortion: This is a subject I will write about more. The main thing here for the pro-life movement is that we haven’t been as effective as we could be in how we debate the issue. Of course we’re pro-life because we believe the unborn are living human persons. But we’re not good at taking on leftist rhetoric about “choice” and “rights,” and we do not effectively demonstrate why we believe the unborn are persons. This must change, and I hope to communicate what I have learned in this regard through this blog. Maybe someday I’ll get a chance to speak on it.
  3. The Drug Debate: I’m beginning to suspect that the war on drugs is over-rated. People like the libertarian ABC Anchor John Stossel have used their cynical writing skills to provoke me to re-think what most of my associates assume about the matter. Its a divisive issue, but research into the matter, and studies about the effectiveness of keeping them illegal seem to substantiate Stossel’s claim. In short, there’s a lot of evidence out there that needs plenty of thought and critique, and so I’m beginning to suspect that I will one day enter politics with a very libertarian position on the issue. I hope to develop some of those thoughts here in the mid to far future. Time right now is being spent collecting the evidence on both sides.

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November 5, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

No posts in awhile

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Its been too long since I’ve posted. I didn’t know a senior year in high school could be so busy. A couple of quick thoughts:

  1. I hope to get back to writing regularly. I would like the theme of my next few posts to be about some theological issues, specifically addressing the problem of omnipotence (can God create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it?) and I’d also like to write about Abortion. Its a huge issue that should have been on the forefront of the presidential election. But, like most controversial issues, it gets put on the back burner by mutual consent, for no candidate wants to be appear to be too intractable and unreasonable by taking a monolithic stance on a moral issues; thus the business of politics sustains and deepens its tendency to disconnect the voters and disgust them with politics, especially on the Republican side.
  2. John McCain will lose big. I may be about to sacrifice my entire future political fortune by making a prediction, but I”ll go ahead and say that the Republicans are in for a bigger swatting than they anticipate. Everyone knows that they’ll get beat, but I predict they will get crushed beyond the most depressing expectations. So for the prediction: McCain will get 200 or few electoral votes. There it is. I might delete that in hopes of saving my future political credibility, but I doubt it. If my political potential dies by the inaccuracy of my prediction, so be it, and may I calmly kiss my political aspirations goodbye.
  3. I’m going to launch a campaign. I’m officially campaigning for politics. No official party yet. That will come later. For now, I’m going to espouse a few major policy issues, like abortion, taxes, and regulation. The rest of the time, I”ll be speaking out on hypocrisy in the Washington System in both parties, the senseless frills and privileges that accompany those who are unfortunate enough to be called “politicians” and so on.
  4. I think if Ron Paul were the candidate on the Republican ticket, the party wouldn’t be losing so badly.
  5. I think if Ron Paul were a little more polished as a speaker and communicator, then he would’ve have been on the ticket.
  6. I’ll develop more thoughts later.

Written by Astuteness

November 4, 2008 at 4:30 pm

On Obama and Taxes

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My good friend Will Simpson over at Will’s Perspective wrote a fantastic article on Obama’s tax plans (note the plural) this morning. The excerpt below will lead you to his post:

A preface on tax cuts:  Congress writes them, not the president.  Anyone want to take a  wager on how likely Democrats in Congress are to cut taxes for anyone?  Major Garrett of FoxNews is beginning to refer to potential problems for John McCain from an unlikely issue: taxes.  Apparently, the American people are beginning to believe the propoganda from the Obama campaign about taxes, while factcheck.org is criticizing McCain claims and the new, post-partisan, positive Obama campaign perpetually calls McCain the “sleaziest, most dishonest campaign in American history.”  Yes, those are the words repeatedly used.

Here’s the facts:

1) Obama’s on his third tax plan….(continue reading here)

Written by Astuteness

September 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

BornAliveTruth.org makes CNN and Hannity and Colmes!

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BornAliveTruth.org was noticed by the CNN Political Ticker yesterday, and generated 222 comments before commenting was disabled. Some of the comments really intrigued me. A lot of sad assumptions about the unborn:

“My Body, My Choice !!”

“I am not a woman, so I cannot partake in this thread.”

“Obama’s opponents just keep shooting blindly hoping that eventually, something’ll hit. It’s a pitiful strategy.”

“So, you want women to raise kids resulting from a rape or incest? Where are their rights? You love to see those women victimized the 2nd times??”

“Abortion is a fundamental right of liberty. What other rights will the Republicans take from us?”

So lets face it: There’s a lot of bunk.

You can read the article here.

Gianna Jesson also appeared on Hannity and Colmes two days ago. Of course, Sean Hannity was all for Jesson, and Colmes tried to put in a word about how Obama doesn’t support “infanticide”. Jesson and Hannity had some strong points in return. Check it out:

Written by Astuteness

September 17, 2008 at 7:25 am

BornAliveTruth.org…Check it out today

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Someday I should write an essay on an introduction to pro-life apologetics, or, how to defend the pro-life view using science, logic, and observation.

If I ever get into politics, abortion will become my number one issue. Millions of innocent lives are at stake. My passion against abortion really took off when I saw a lecture by pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf. In his 2 hour lecture, he outlines several cogent scientific and logical reasons to believe that life begins at conception, and his presentation totally blew his opponents argumennts out of the water.

Then I did some reading on my own, and was stunned to read the story of Gianna Jesson, an abortion survivor who goes around the country now speaking for the pro life cause. Abortion survivor? I didn’t know there was such a thing, but my discovery that there are motivates me all the more, and makes me wonder all the more how politicians can talk about a woman’s “right” to an abortion with a straight face.

I watched some videos of Gianna Jesson on youtube and was moved by what I saw. Hopefully someday someone will make a documentary of her story for the world to see on the screen, but until then, I was really pleased to find this TV ad that will be airing in a few states as the presidential campaigns head for the home stretch.

Be sure to check out the 527 website sponsoring the ad, BornAliveTruth.org

Written by Astuteness

September 16, 2008 at 1:25 pm

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