Robert Tracinski: ‘The Party of Coercion Hasn’t Thought Much About Coercion’

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Government Force is the Left’s Entire Agenda

 writes:

The left is the side of the political debate that wants more government: more taxes, more spending, more regulations, more laws. So you would think they would have highly developed thoughts about what a law is and how laws are actually enforced. This is, after all, the stuff they want more of.

You would be wrong.

Sally Kohn recently argued, bizarrely, that law as such is not coercive.

This issue of government force is a funny one. You could also argue that the government is forcing you to drive below the speed limit or wear a seatbelt in your car. But it’s not. There isn’t a police officer holding a gun to your head literally forcing you to buckle up. In fact, you are 100 percent free to speed and not wear your seatbelt—and simply deal with the consequences if you’re pulled over. Is the threat of the fine for breaking the law amount to “forcing” you to follow the law? No.

Get that? Unless someone is literally holding a gun to your head at this very moment, you’re not being coerced. Don Corleone would be glad to hear it. After all, he didn’t coerce anyone. He just made a suggestion that you’ve got a nice place here, and it would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

[Read the full text here, at The Federalist]

I forgot to pay a speeding ticket once. I’m pretty sure if I had persisted, the “consequences” would have involved handcuffs and the inside of a jail cell. And the guys who put me there would have been armed with guns. So I paid it.

keystone-cops

 continues,

This is a pattern I’ve seen over and over again, everywhere, for as long as I can remember: the party of coercion hasn’t thought much about coercion.

Government force is the left’s entire agenda. They want to expand Social Security, seize more wealth from taxpayers, force traditional Christians to cooperate with gay weddings, license beauticians, and impose vast regulations on every aspect of the economy with the goal of controlling the weather 100 years from now.

It is a program of coercion on a vast scale, encompassing matters great and trivial. Yet if you quiz them about the nature and justification of government force, they profess confusion: “The issue of government force is a funny one.”

Many year ago, I was helping to run a college club for Objectivists—fans of the arch-capitalist author Ayn Rand—and we had the idea of co-sponsoring a capitalism-versus-socialism debate with the Democratic Socialists. In the middle of the event, one of the debaters we brought in on our side made a direct challenge to the socialists: aren’t you in favor of force? The socialist debaters just skittered away and evaded it, finally mumbling something about how, when a policy is decided democratically, it doesn’t really matter how it is implemented. And these weren’t just cranks brought in off the street. They were professors at well-regarded universities, and one of them has gone on to some prominence.

This is how it always seems to work. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: Reason Magazine’s 1983 Interview with William F. Buckley Jr.

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I came across this delightful interview with William F. Buckley Jr. the other night when searching and browsing Firing Line video archives (see the 1990 Christopher Hitchens Firing Line episode, from earlier today, here) started reading it, and ended up reading it multiple times. What a pleasure to discover this. It’s captured from the pre-digital era, so it’s stored as a PDF of a photocopy directly from the print magazine, you can access the whole thing here. Below is just one image file, which links to Reason. The March 1983 interview reveals Buckley’s characteristic thoughtfulness, charm, rich vocabulary, humor, and well-mannered social persona, his Roman Catholicism, the founding of the National Review, decades of work on Firing Line, his friction with figures like Ayn Rand, his literary and scholarly alliances, and opponents, his spy novels, his views on libertarianism, contemporary conservatism, and much, much more. The Reason interviewer’s questions are good, too, informed, and engaging.

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I was particularly interested in Buckley’s use of the word “schematic”, to describe what he doesn’t have an appetite for, favoring instead an eclectic and evolving world view. This interview barely scratches the surface. To get a sense of the fresh appeal (and timelessness) of Buckley’s thinking, refer to National Review’s “Our Mission Statement“, which Buckley wrote in 1955. As one NR reader notes, “the edits on this for 2014 would be minimal.” Though 1980s references appear in the discussion, I’d say the same could be said about this interview.

buckley-reason-83

 


[BOOKS] Ayn Rand’s Early Novel ‘Ideal’ To Be Published After 80 Years

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Jennifer Maloney writes: Ayn Rand fans, here’s something to whet your appetites: New American Libraryhas released the cover image for “Ideal,” the first Ayn Rand novel to be published in more than 50 years.BN-FV694_ideal_HV_20141203122439

“I’ve heard wishful comments over many years from readers wondering if there were other novels in Ayn Rand’s papers.”

— Richard Ralston, publishing manager at the Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” invented the philosophy of Objectivism. More than 25 million copies of her novels have been sold around the world.

[Order Ayn Rand’s book Ideal from Amazon]

Ideal” tells the story of a screen actress who is accused of murder and visits six of her most devoted fans to ask for help. In 1934, when she was in her late 20s, Rand first wrote “Ideal” as a work of fiction.

But Rand was dissatisfied with it and set it aside. The same year, she rewrote it as a play. The play didn’t have its New York premiere until 2010 – 66 years after she wrote it. Read the rest of this entry »


Give Back? Yes, It’s Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife

Harry Binswanger writes: It’s time to gore another collectivist sacred cow. This time it’s the popular idea that the successful are obliged to “give back to the community.” That oft-heard claim assumes that the wealth of high-earners is taken away from “the community.” And beneath that lies the perverted Marxist notion that wealth is accumulated by “exploiting” people, not by creating value–as if Henry Ford was not necessary for Fords to roll off the (non-existent) assembly lines and Steve Jobs was not necessary for iPhones and iPads to spring into existence. Read the rest of this entry »


3 More Reasons to Fear the IRS

So the IRS has admitted to sitting on applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups for political reasons.

According to the government’s own investigation, applications containing terms such as Tea Party and Patriot were singled out for delays and holds even as groups with liberal-sounding names like “Bus for Progress” and “Progress Florida” sailed through the process.

President Obama said “the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable” and even fired the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service.

Regardless of how this particular scandal shakes out, there’s still going to be at least three good reasons to be scared as hell of the IRS.

1. It’s always been a political weapon.

John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all sicced the IRS on enemies and dissenters. And they were just following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt, whose son said his father was “the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”

2. Its rulings are super-complicated and capricious.

The federal tax code is longer than Atlas Shrugged, Ulysses, and the Old Testament put together. It’s so complicated that even former IRS commissioners need help preparing their returns.

3. It’s Obamacare’s enforcement mechanism.

Starting next year, the IRS will be the cop patrolling the Affordable Care Act’s mandates, with the agency overseeing some 47 tax provisions related to Obamacare. You won’t just be reporting income anymore. You’ll be explaining when, where, and how you bought health care as well.

 

via  Reason.com

 

 


Libertarians sure are mysterious

Interesting item from Emily Esfahani Smith – Washington Times:

If youve ever observed a group of libertarians at a bar — perhaps discussing objectivism, the Second Amendment, or marijuana, all with reverence — then you know that they are a species of political being unlike the rest of us.

But they are an important group to understand this election cycle, as topics such as the economy, the size of government and entitlements take center stage and “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” opens in movie theaters nationwide. According to Gallup, libertarians make up about 20 percent of the electorate — and they are a vocal and influential minority, as the tea party movement has shown.

The ascent of the “Atlas Shrugged”-loving Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket is another indication that the libertarian movement may be in the midst of its political moment.

But what exactly do libertarians believe?

Psychologists Ravi Iyer, Spassena Koleva, Jesse Graham, Peter Ditto and Jonathan Haidt set out to answer this very question in the largest study of libertarians to date, “Understanding Libertarian Morality,” published recently in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

After surveying nearly 12,000 self-identified libertarians, the researchers determined that libertarians have a set of moral values that are distinct from those held by ordinary conservatives and liberals…

>> More

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