segunda-feira, 28 de Fevereiro de 2005

Re: Ideias para um programa de governo liberal

"2. Privatização de todas as empresas públicas e distribuição da receita por cada contribuinte."

Como alternativa proponho a distribuição das acções das várias empresas públicas pelos contribuintes.

Padrão Ouro

From 1800 to 1913, there was a 40% decrease in an index of consumer prices from 51 to 30, and a 23% decrease in a composite of wholesale prices from 133 to 102. [Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1975, p. 211. Also Warren and Pearson, Gold and Prices, Wiley & Sons, 1935, pp. 19-20.]

EM Gold's Future as Money - Q&A

Nota: Os preços descem e a economia cresce. Na verdade, os preços descem tanto mais quanto a economia cresce. Hoje, apenas nos apercebemos disso quando nos lembramos que à medida que o tempo passa, e em média, conseguimos consumir maior quantidade de bens e serviços (independentemente do nível de preços e salários).

Quando a economia cresce, um bem adicional é produzido usando recursos que deixaram de ser necessários noutras linhas de produção. Monetáriamente o que acontece é que determinado produto passou a ser mais barato (porque menos recursos foram necessários para produzir a mesma quantidade - inovação tecnológica/método de gestão/etc), libertando o meio monetário necessário para o consumo de um novo produto adicional (produzido a partir do tal recurso entretanto libertado). Ou seja: "Production creates its own demand".

Claro que Keynes criou a maior das confusões nas cabecinhas dos economistas ao defender a ilusão que a criação monetária (imprimir fotocópias de notas num Banco Central com o monopólio coercivo de definir o que é moeda com curso legal) para "financiar" o crédito comercial artificialmente barato (taxas manipulados administrativamente) e a despesa do Estado tem alguma espécie de impacto positivo. Uma boa parte dos economistas parece ainda acreditar em tal patranha se bem que afundados em tantas fórmulas matemáticas, regressões e estudos abstractos, não se perceba bem quais são as suas bases fundamentais.

Federalismo e Secessão (e a China versus "Taiwain")

No momento em que algumas vozes (os suspeitos do costume, embora o próprio Bush pareça ser mais cauteloso) se levantam para confrontar a China por causa da sua lei anti-secessão e que surge depois de em "Taiwain" exista quem ameaçe (e seja incentivado a ameçar...) a declarar unilateralmente a independência ( e ainda que a China tenha sempre mostrado aceitar pacificamente o actual Status Quo ), vamos recordar o primeiro precedente histórico anti-secessão (e uma referência necessária para a discussão sobre o Federalismo Europeu), pelas próprias palavras de Lincoln:

Lincoln's First Inaugural AddressMarch 4, 1861:

"(...)Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you.

I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

(...)

I now enter upon the same task for the brief Constitutional term of four years under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted.

I hold that, in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever--it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.

Again, if the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it--break it, so to speak; but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?"

Lincoln defende aqui que um acordo de União (suponho que Federal não?) entre Estados se transforma em perpétuo e que não pode ser quebrado por nenhuma das partes (promissor para a Europa...). E conseguiu defender a sua tese apesar da 10º emenda dizer explicitamente:

Amendment X - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

O que poderá ser facilmente interpretado como, não tendo sido delegada a capacidade de manter pela força a União, o direito de secessão é retido por cada um dos Estados.

Quanto a algumas afirmações de Lincoln sobre a questáo da escravatura:

"I am not in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office." (September 15, 1858, - campaign speech)

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery." (March 4, 1861, - First Inaugural Address)

"I am a little uneasy about the abolishment of slavery in this District of Columbia." ( March 24, 1862, - letter to Horace Greeley)

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it." (August 22, 1862, - letter to Horace Greeley, New York Tribune editor)

From the Lincoln Douglas Debates of 1858, "I will say, then, that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not nor ever been in favor of making voters of the free Negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people. I will say in addition, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which, I suppose, will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality, and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other white man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man."

domingo, 27 de Fevereiro de 2005

O Insurgente

Participo a partir de hoje, juntamente com os autores d'O Intermitente, do Super Flumina, d'O Observador, do Picuinhices e (naquele que é sem dúvida um marcante regresso à blogosfera) do Valete Fratres, num novo projecto: O Insurgente.

Aqui fica a sugestão para todos os interessados em acompanhar a insurgência...

House of Lords 'Will Defeat Terror Bill'

The Home Secretary has been warned that he faces defeat in the House of Lords next week over his plan to give himself the power to put British citizens under house arrest. (...)

But most peers are to opposed to giving the Home Secretary the power of house arrest over British subjects. A report last week by Lord Carlile of Berriew, appointed to oversee terrorism laws, warned: "The orders are likely to be available in relation to all forms of terrorism." The Home Office confirmed this. Lord Taylor of Gresham, a retired judge, said: "It's a basic principle of law that no minister can, by executive order, deprive you of your liberty. It has been enshrined in English law since 1765. Charles Clarke is trying to do in the UK ... what the US have done in Guantanamo."

Michael Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister, warned that the proposed legislation was in danger of handing the terrorists a victory by undermining liberty.

Chineses fazem greve e causam disturbios...

...pelo direito a serem explorados. Quais eram mesmo os argumentos morais pela defesa de barreira comerciais à China?

China: Workers riot for the right to work overtime

"Taiwanese factories in Dongguan [a city between Hong Kong and Guangzhou and a major centre of manufacturing] are facing a problem. According to a news report in the United Daily in Taiwan, over a thousand workers at a factory, which produces goods for big brand names such as Nike, demonstrated for two days and damaged equipment and factory cars. 500 armed police arrived and quashed the riot. Several leaders were arrested.

The main cause for the riot was the limitation on working hours at the factory. The shorter hours have been requested by US companies so as to avoid criticism from various groups on long working hours. However, the mainly migrant workforce want to work longer hours so they can earn more. Consensus had been reached by the US companies, the Taiwanese-invested factory and local government that the maximum working hours per week should be set at 60 hours [which is still a breach of Chinese Labour Law, but less than other manufacturing plants]. However, this reduction in hours was unsatisfactory for the workers and the resulting riot was serious."

A number of points worth noting:

This was a riot about not enough overtime, and has implications for any project aimed at reducing 100-hour plus weeks for manufacturing workers. On just about every occasion I've spoken publicly on Chinese working conditions, an audience member inevitably states that migrant workers want to work as much overtime as possible and thus reducing their working hours is - in effect - an infringement on their rights. All well and good, except that employers often require well in excess of 60 hours per week from workers for a minimum wage. What's the balance between wages and hours? This protest suggests that in this factory at least people are going to have to go back to the drawing board.

This was a riot. And a big one; it involved 1,000 workers and resulted in a serious response from authorities. The number of protests are rising (by the government's own admission) but they are rarely publicised. We can thank some Taiwanese journalists for this story, but mostly these events pass by unnoticed by the outside world.

Although Nike has attempted to improve conditions in its suppliers' factories, it may still rely too heavily on top-down programs to achieve its goals. The question that needs asking now is how much input workers have had in this process. The riot suggests to me that all parties (US companies, investors and the local government - note that workers weren't mentioned in this tripartite system) may need to spend some time assessing workers' needs and aspirations.
Why hasn't this story made it into the Western media? It raises important issues that are, I am sure, right at this very moment exercising more than a few minds at Nike. We need a debate on this issue that includes Chinese workers - the very party that hardly gets a hearing. Until they riot...


Source: "Dongguan taiqi qian gongren fengchan chaoche jiaban shouru jianshao rebuman 500 jing zhenya [1,000 workers in a Taiwanese enterprise in Dongguan dissastisfied with overtime reductions shut down factory and burn cars, 500 police put down demonstration]," Ming Pao, 07 June 2004.

sexta-feira, 25 de Fevereiro de 2005

Democracias e militarismo

(1) "[s]ometimes democracies behave more aggressively than oligarchies or dictatorships. For example, in Ancient Greece, after the Athenian fleet failed to take Syracuse, an oligarchic coup occurred in Athens. When democracy was finally restored, Athenian policy again became more bellicose. In fact, democratic Athens was more aggressive than oligarchic Sparta…. As the Athenians assembled a powerful force to conquer Melos, the Melians attempted to make a moral case for peace. The Athenians slaughtered all the men, sold the women and children into slavery, and colonized the island….

"[Since] war and democracies have both been rare… the importance of any wars among democracies – for example, the War of 1812, the U.S. Civil War, and World War I – should be magnified" (p. 40).

Some of the biggest troubles with the theory relate to questions of what constitutes a democracy. According to Eland, "democratic peace theorists frequently and unconvincingly try to tweak the definition of democracy to exclude those cases from the category of ‘wars within the democratic family.’ For example, [they] attempt to exclude Wilhelmine Germany" from the definition. In spite of pre-World War I Germany’s "broadest voting franchise on the continent," "constitutional checks on the executive, parliamentary government, and civil liberties" and its widely perceived status as a "progressive constitutional state," Americans began to see it as more "militaristic and authoritarian" once the war broke out. And "although Germany often gets too much blame for causing World War I… the reckless German behavior prior to the war was caused by Democratic pressures. The German government, threatened from gains by the Social Democratic Party, attempted to unify the country with overly competitive behavior overseas" (41). The Tyrannical State by Michael Gaddy

(2) WARS OF THE DEMOCRATIC POWERS

There are numerous theoretical and empirical problems with the superficially appealing theory of democratic peace. Power kills and democratic states are quite powerful. The most powerful democratic states have been quite bellicose. Naturally, they have killed many, both internally and externally. Many of the pacific elements of democracies are in fact accidents: not essential elements of democracy but rather hangovers from the more republican past. It is mistake to focus on inter-democratic state violence when what really plagues the world is:

violence between democracies and non-democracies that democracies often provoke
violence within democratic states
the symbiotic relationships between dictatorships and democracies
the instability of democracy.

Democracies are implicated in the three main threats to world peace today: terrorism, nuclear war and ethnic/religious conflict. Democratic pacifism truly is a myth. Not only does it fail to explain how we can achieve world peace, but the theory itself has caused and, as explained in Part IV, continues to cause war! It is literally an intellectual dead end.

Year State War

1899 France Chad-France
1899 U.S. Philippine Insurrection
1914-18 U.S., France, U.K. World War I
1916-21 U.K. Anglo-Irish (civil war)
1919 U.K. Afghanistan-British War
1939-45 U.S., France, U.K. World War II
1945 U.S. Chinese Civil War
1946 U.K. Indo-China War
1948 Israel Arab-Israel War
1952 France Algerian revolution
1950-53 U.S. Korean War
1956 Israel Suez or Sinai War
1956-1964 France Vietnam
1962 India China-India
1965-1973 U.S. Vietnam
1965 India India-Pakistan
1967 Israel Six-Day War
1971 India India-Pakistan
1973 Israel Yom Kippur War
1975-1984 U.K. Britain-Ireland
1982 Israel Israel-Lebanon
1982 U.K. The Falkland War
1983 U.S. Grenada
1991 U.S. Gulf War
1999 U.S. Yugoslavia
2001-02 U.S. Afghanistan

Em The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century by James Ostrowski

Long Live Sir Thatcher! II

Despot will testify on Thatcher coup attempt in a British court

"(...)"Sir Mark Thatcher, now living in London with his mother, has paid a £265,000 fine to avoid jail in South Africa after admitting that he helped to buy a helicopter that would have been used to fly opposition leaders into Equatorial Guinea after Mr Obiang was toppled.

Details of Mr Obiang’s plans emerged during a court hearing in which lawyers for Equatorial Guinea are attempting to gain access to bank accounts held by Mann, the alleged coup leader. They believe the documents will reveal the identities of British businessmen and companies said to have funded the coup attempt last March. (...)"

PS: Como já disse, é uma injustiça...

Sucessão na maior e mais antiga instituição humana

Ontem à noite a CNN entrevistava um especialista sobre os assuntos do Vaticano, e a jornalista, com insistência perguntava porque é que o processo não é mais previsivel e etc e tal (como quem diz, porque não é assim mais como os modernos processos politicos e abandona esses processos medievais).

O entrevistado com calma respondeu:

Sejam qual for os defeitos de tal processo, tem garantido a estabilidade da mais antiga instituição humana. (eu acrescentaria: e que não sobrevive à custa de impostos cobrados com a ameaça de arresto e prisão).

E ainda contou a história:

Quando Napoleão se decidiu a prender o Papa disse-lhe directamente que ia destruir a Igreja Católica. O Papa respondeu perguntando como iria ele fazer isso se os Padres não o tinham conseguido.

quinta-feira, 24 de Fevereiro de 2005

Re: Ambientalista Liberal II

Em Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution, By Murray N. RothbardOriginally published in the Cato Journal 2, No. 1 (Spring 1982): pp. 55-99. Reprinted in The Logic of Action Two, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. (1997) pp. 121-170.

"(...) A Theory of Just Property: Homesteading

There are two fundamental principles upon which the libertarian theory of just property rests:

(a) Everyone has absolute property right over his or her own body; and

(b) everyone has an absolute property right over previously unowned natural resources (land) which he first occupies and brings into use (in the Lockean phrase, “Mixing his labor with the land”).

The “first ownership to first use” principle for natural resources is also popularly called the “homesteading principle.” If each man owns the land that he “mixes his labor with,” then he owns the product of that mixture, and he has the right to exchange property titles with other, similar producers. This establishes the right of free contract in the sense of transfer of property titles. It also establishes the right to give away such titles, either as a gift or bequest.

Most of us think of homesteading unused resources in the oldfashioned sense of clearing a piece of unowned land and farming the soil. There are, however, more sophisticated and modern forms of homesteading, which should establish a property right. Suppose, for example, that an airport is established with a great deal of empty land around it. The airport exudes a noise level of, say, X decibels, with the sound waves traveling over the empty land. A housing development then buys land near the airport. Some time later, the homeowners sue the airport for excessive noise interfering with the use and quiet enjoyment of the houses.

Excessive noise can be considered a form of aggression but in this case the airport has already homestead X decibels worth of noise. By its prior claim, the airport now “owns the right” to emit X decibels of noise in the surrounding area. In legal terms, we can then say that the airport, through homesteading, has earned an easement right to creating X decibels of noise. This homesteaded easement is an example of the ancient legal concept of “prescription,” in which a certain activity earns a prescriptive property right to the person engaging in the action.

On the other hand, if the airport starts to increase noise levels, then the homeowners could sue or enjoin the airport from its noise aggression for the extra decibels, which had not been homesteaded.

Of course if a new airport is built and begins to send out noise of X decibels onto the existing surrounding homes, the airport becomes fully liable for the noise invasion.

It should be clear that the same theory should apply to air pollution. If A is causing pollution of B's air, and this can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then this is aggression and it should be enjoined and damages paid in accordance with strict liability, unless A had been there first and had already been polluting the air before B's property was developed. For example, if a factory owned by A polluted originally unused property, up to a certain amount of pollutant X, then A can be said to have homesteaded a pollution easement of a certain degree and type.(...)"

The State of the Union

A Stockholm Network acaba de publicar o relatório The State of the Union, que examina as reformas levadas a cabo nos vários países membros da União Europeia ao longo de 2004.

Re: Ambientalista Liberal

Os comentários aos excelentes textos do João Miranda perguntam com insistência: "Mas acha que o mercado resolve isso?"

Na verdade, se formos exactos, não é o "mercado" que resolve os problemas da poluição, nem qualquer outro. São os proprietários. Se existirem. Todo a complexidade de um processo social livre é na verdade baseado simplesmente no acumular de decisões autónomas por parte de proprietários (que inclui a propriedade do seu corpo e a sua capacidade de estabelecer acordos de troca pela sua força de trabalho).

Gostava de acrescentar no entanto que nem sempre os proprietários procuram "maximizar" lucros. E ainda bem.

Quanto a propriedade era um património mantido no seio de uma familia (no qual, a herança transmitida para um único herdeiro é uma condição quase essencial de preservação - costume posto em causa coercivamente por legislação), toda uma comunidade cuidava dela como um valor que transcendia qualquer noção de lucro imediato. E diga-se que assim era, quer em familias abastadas quer nas mais modestas. O mesmo pode ser referido em pequenas propriedade comuns de escala humana e que existiam mesmo nas nossas aldeias.

Todos os problemas de poluição e destruição de recursos devem-se a deficientes definições de direitos de propriedade e um sistema legal que não os protege através de litígios civis. Toda pobreza do terceiro do mundo carece do mesmo problema. É irónico que quer para um quer para outro, a solução apontada seja sempre o da globalização politica por parte dos anti-globalização.

Civil War widow, final link to old Confederacy, dies

She died just as the nation was celebrating Memorial Day and nearly 140 years after the Civil War ended.

Her May-December marriage to a Civil War veteran in the 1920s and her longevity made her a celebrated final link to the old Confederacy.

After living in obscurity and poverty for most of her life, she spent her final years with the Sons of Confederate Veterans carrying her to conventions and rallies, often with a small Confederate battle flag waving in her hand and her clothes the colors of the rebel banner.

"I don't see nothing wrong with the flag flying," she said frequently.

PS: Estava agora a lembrar-me que, não fosse o tradicional isolacionismo selectivo da Inglaterra esta teria intervido na Guerra Civil a favor dos Confederados. A maior parte do ingleses, incluindo conservadores e liberais (Lord Acton, Mansfield, etc), compreendia bem (no meio do nevoeiro das boas intenções e evocação de valores morais) do significado de uma guerra pelo Federalismo imposto.

quarta-feira, 23 de Fevereiro de 2005

Long Live Sir Thatcher!

"Antiwar.blog: isn't even supposed to have a position on Mark Thatcher and his merrie band of overthrowers, since it's not a US foreign policy issue and it's not really a war issue. But I have a position on the subject, and it is this: if I had known they were planning on overthrowing that monster in Equatorial Guinea, I would have been cheering them on.Am I supporting war? Of course not. Am I supporting violating the sovereignty of a country? You bet I am. Dictators have no rights, and human beings have no responsibility to continue on under the thumb of dictators. Teodoro Obiang has ruled since 1979 (since he had the former ruler, his uncle, executed), and lives in lavish luxury, with all dissent crushed, while the population starves and cowers. He siphons tens of millions off the country's oil profits. He is an absolute dictator and on his state-owned radio station, one of his aides said:"He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself, with whom he is in permanent contact, and who gives him this strength."Go ahead, complain that I'm no different from the people who think the US is liberating Iraq -- you'll be dead wrong. Unlike Iraq, the coup plotters weren't forcing anyone else to pay for their operations, as the US is. Unlike Iraq, this would be a surgical operation to attack the key points in the country -- here I am assuming the presidential palace and key ministries and oil fields -- and not anything anyhere near civilian population centers. Unlike Iraq, collateral damage would be nonexistent, because these are businessmen with a budget -- not career bureaucrats with a bottomless pit of funding -- and collateral damage is expensive.And of course I don't think the mercs cared about the Equatoguinean people. I'm not a dingbat -- they were in it for profit. But so what? Who cares what the motives are, as long as the result (and the means) are unobjectionable? I can't know who they were planning on replacing Obiang with, if anyone at all, but you can be damn sure it was someone who would create a more favorable business climate. This would allow Equatoguineans to improve their personal lots -- instead of those of the ruling dynasty. "

PS: Também achei muito injusto e irónico que uma iniciativa absolutamente privada (ou assim parece) de depor um ditador acabe por ser julgada como um crime. Pelo o que o Estado faz (mesmo que o faça à custa financiamento coercivo, permissas erradas - no just war -, resultados desastrosos, morte aos milhares e destruição em massa, etc) ninguém responde (porque dizem, somos "nós" que o fazemos, ou pelo menos a maioria de "nós"). Os mesmos actos, financiados e com riscos voluntários, são um crime....

Who Lost Russia?

Patrick J. Buchanan "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together," Edmund Burke admonished the haughty rulers of the British Empire of his time. Our American empire is suffering from a similar want of wisdom and plenitude of the hubris that cost George III his 13 colonies.(...)

(...) it is with near-despair that one reads the front-page story in the Washington Times: "Senators Seek to Sanction Russia: Say Putin Acts Autocratically."

Who are the senators? They are those twin protectors and proctors of global democracy, Joe Lieberman and John McCain, and they want Putin sanctioned by having the world's industrial democracies, the G-8, suspend Russia's membership, which would be an insult and humiliation.

Putin's crimes? Says McCain: "Mr. Putin has moved to eliminate the popular election of 89 of Russia's regional governors, has cracked down on independent media, continued his repression of business executives who oppose his government, and is reasserting the Kremlin's old-style central control." Says McCain, "The coup is no longer creeping – it is galloping."

But a question arises: Why are these internal matters of the Russian republic any business of John McCain's? Putin is the elected president of Russia. Who elected McCain to anything outside of Arizona?

During our Civil War, Lincoln blockaded Southern ports without the approval of Congress, suspended habeas corpus, sent troops to prevent a free election in Maryland, sought to arrest Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, shut down newspapers, shot down rioters on the streets of New York, and made himself dictator of the Union. Was that any business of the members of Britain's House of Lords? Just who do we Americans think we are?

Whether Russia's governors are elected or appointed is none of our business. As for the jailing of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, or any of the others in that den of thieves, that is no more our concern than TR's smashing of the trusts or Truman's seizure of the coal mines or Bush's incarceration of Martha Stewart was or is any of Russia's business.

As for President Putin acting "autocratically," can Sen. McCain recall when Russian rulers have acted any other way?(...)

Since Reagan achieved the rapprochement with Russia, the United States has pushed NATO up to her borders; bombed her ally Serbia for 78 days; interfered in elections in Georgia, Ukraine, and Belarus; and begun a pipeline to cut Moscow out of the Caspian oil trade.

Now, Russia is going her own way: selling SAMs to Syria, AK-47s to Venezuela, missiles and fighter aircraft to China, and aiding Iran in completing its first nuclear power plant.

Of this generation of leaders, it may be said in epitaph: They were too small to see the larger world. They frittered away in a decade what others had won in a half-century of perseverance in the Cold War."

terça-feira, 22 de Fevereiro de 2005

How Free is Britain?

Leitura recomendada: How Free is Britain?, por Anthony Daniels.

I don't want to indulge in any self-pitying false comparisons. We have neither Gestapo nor Gulag, and it is an insult to all those who have experienced such things in their own flesh and blood (or bone, as they say in Spanish, perhaps more accurately) to compare our small tribulations with theirs. Irritations are not tragedies.

Nevertheless, I think we are less free than we used to be. The weight of the state is making itself everywhere felt. In my former professional life as a doctor, for example, I was obliged more and more to obey the dictates of ministers, rather than those of my medical beliefs. Whereas when I started out on my career all that was necessary to continue in practice was that I should be qualified and that I should refrain from behaving in an egregious or outrageous manner, by the time I retired this year I had to fulfil all sorts of requirements, all of which (in this age of evidence-based medicine) were quite without evidence of use or efficacy. But that is not the real point of such requirements: they are not there to improve the quality of medical practice; they are there to let us all know who is boss. And even if they were effective, which is intrinsically very difficult to prove, they would still represent a loss of liberty.

(...)

Very rarely nowadays do I feel myself free of the state. Its power has increased, is increasing and ought to be decreased. But I am not the man to do it. By retiring, I have withdrawn myself from it as far as possible. Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se...

Timshel assume neoliberalismo!
(em "termos blogosféricos")

Interrogações pertinentes

Nada no meio?, no Super Flumina.

A Hora dos Liberais?, no Observador.

From the Hard Right II

The Most Pro-Life Thing You Can Do by Christopher Check

"(...) Contraception, however, did more than enable the sexual revolution; it inspired it. As Paul VI warned, a man using contraception will "forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires."

If you doubt that this exploitation of women has come to pass, then you must be unaware of the $12 billion American (or $57 billion worldwide) pornography industry and the marriages it has destroyed.Paul VI also warned that contraception would become "a dangerous weapon . . . in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies."

If a husband and wife could sterilize themselves on the grounds that another child would break their limited means, the Pope concluded that governments could apply the same solution to "the problems of the community." Overpopulation. Crime. Feeblemindedness. Take your pick. Americans might find Pope Paul's warnings a little fantastic until they discover that controlling the populations of the Third World is a central element of our own national-security policy.

When we contrast the promised benefits of contraception (spontaneity, romance, pleasure) with the realities that Paul VI predicted (divorce, adultery, political tyranny, even disease), we should not be surprised to discover that the proliferation of contraception has done nothing to slow abortion. On the contrary, the former leads to the latter. It's easy enough to see how abortion steps in when contraception all too frequently fails.

But the more profound relationship between contraception and abortion is this: Both are a deliberate rejection of human life, the true end of marriage. Marriage begins as an act of love, the total gift of oneself to another. The child is the fruit of this love. Contraception deforms marriage into an arena of self-gratification or lust, to use a word out of fashion.

What is the bitter fruit of lust? Abortion.Yesterday, we marked the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's creation, out of whole cloth, of a mother's "right" to kill her baby. If you fear for the soul of a nation that promotes this "right" to the tune of some million-and-a-half innocent babies a year, here is my suggestion: Read Humanae Vitae, toss out your pills and prophylactics, and (if you are married, of course) have another baby. Bringing a child into the world is the most pro-life thing you can do."

From the Hard Right

www.chroniclesmagazine.org Blog:

Ramesh Ponnuru of NRO thinks it important to correct a “much-discussed” study purporting to show that “higher incomes are not associated with higher frequencies of sexual activity.” According to the link provided by Ponnuru, they are.

It is somewhat surprising to see National Review’s house “social conservative” feel the need to reassure his readers that being rich does mean having more sex. But these days, both the left and the “mainstream right” seem to view sexual pleasure as the summum bonum of human existence. Such a view logically leads, of course, to acceptance of abortion and promiscuity, which may explain why much of the “mainstream right’s” opposition to both is largely limited to rhetoric.

Reformar a Segurança Social...

...é acabar com a transferência de rendimento dos trabalhadores activos para os reformados e acabar com a noção de poupança compulsória (coerciva).

Um solução de compromisso seria fixar o subsídio de desemprego e a pensão de reforma num valor equivalente ao salário mínimo (que por acaso devia ser abolido, mas isso é outra conversa) permitindo adoptar um tecto de constribuição máxima, ou seja, uma subida dramática do rendimento disponível (e livre) das famílias.

Sendo o imposto da Segurança Social de cerca de 33% do rendimento, o que significa que a sua abolição aumentaria de imediato em 50% os salários brutos, querem então perguntar quem abdica voluntáriamente do serviço compulsório de seguro de rendimento e poupança de longo prazo? Tanta conversa sobre liberdade, liberdade, e os sociais democratas de esquerda e direita não percebem o quanto se assemelham a qualquer ditadorzinho?

George Reisman: "(...)Here is an alternative, pro-free-market reform of Social Security that I suggest. It is one that many readers will find extremely radical and perhaps frightening as well. I put it forward in the hope that it will serve as a starting point for further discussion leading to the achievement of the ultimate goal of economic freedom.

First, following a period of two to three years to allow time for necessary adjustments to be made, immediately raise the Social Security retirement age from 66 (which it is scheduled to be as of 2009) to 70.

This, of course, would be a major disappointment to everyone who had counted on starting to receive a Social Security pension sooner. Fortunately, there is a way to give these people a substantial form of relief, which would go a long way toward alleviating their hardship. That is, at the same time that sixty-six year olds are denied entry into the Social Security system, enact for their benefit a “senior citizens' employment-income tax exemption” in the amount of, say, $90,000 per year, which is equal to the current maximum income subject to the Social Security tax. The far greater part of the taxes thereby waived for these seniors on their income derived from employment would be taxes the government would never have collected in the first place, since most of the seniors would not have been working otherwise. The elimination of the government's payment of pensions to this group would far outweigh any loss of revenue from those sixty-six year olds who would have worked and paid taxes on their incomes even in the absence of the rise in the Social Security retirement age.

This income-tax exemption should be extended and enlarged year by year until it embraces everyone in the 66 to 69 year-old age group. And, of course, it should be progressively increased from year to year to keep pace with rising prices and rising wage rates. Indeed, it should eventually be extended to apply to everyone 66 years old or older. States with income taxes of their own should be required to adopt the same tax exemption. In this way, the years remaining in life past today's customary retirement age might become truly “golden years” for millions of people, who at last would be freed of the burden of income taxes on their earnings derived from employment.

The retirement age of 70 should be retained perhaps for as long as fifteen years, to make it possible for all workers aged 55 and over at the time of its enactment to take advantage of it. Thereafter, however, the Social Security retirement age should be gradually increased further, to 75, over, say, a twenty-year period, rising at the rate of one calendar quarter for each passing year. Thus, workers aged 54 at the time of the reform's enactment would be eligible for social security at the age of 70 ¼, while those aged 35 at the time of its enactment would not be eligible until the age of 75.

The Social Security system should accept no new pension recipients after the end of this twenty year period. In other words, it would be closed to workers 34 years of age and younger at the time of the reform's enactment. These workers, who would be ineligible for Social Security, would all have ample time to make their own provision for the future. The Social Security system itself would progressively decline and ultimately disappear as its pensioners passed away.

The government's very considerable savings from reduced pension obligations over an initial phase-out period totaling almost forty years from start to finish, should be earmarked for reductions in the Social Security taxes of the workers who will never be able to enter the system, i.e., in the above scenario, workers aged 34 and less at the time of the reform's enactment. As these workers advance in age, new workers will be entering the labor market. There will thus be an increasing number of workers to bear the burden of the Social Security system's final phase. This will permit Social Security tax rates to be steadily reduced on this group, until they disappear altogether.(...)

The end of Social Security and its diversion of funds into government consumption—the return to private, individual saving and provision for the future—will mean a great increase in saving and the accumulation of capital, because the savings of individuals will be invested, not squandered. This, in turn, will mean a more prosperous and more rapidly progressing economic system, in which the standard of living of everyone, young and old will greatly improve.

The only really proper reform of Social Security is the gradual abolition of the whole system."

segunda-feira, 21 de Fevereiro de 2005

O NOVO ABC DA POLÍTICA PORTUGUESA

A
Almoços grátis – é o regresso do socialismo orçamental; o engenheiro Sócrates anunciou ontem que vai governar para todos, o que é a forma habitual de dizer que não vai incomodar nenhum interesse instalado.

B
Boys for the jobs – há um batalhão de deserdados do guterrismo à espera e cento e cinquenta mil já têm um job prometido pelo engenheiro do “choque tecnológico”.

C
Canalha – agora somos o país da Europa com a maior extrema-esquerda parlamentar (estalinistas, trotsquistas e maoístas de tendência albanesa são quase 15%).

O meu P.S. (post scriptum):

PORTAS

Não me envergonho de dizer: a saída do Dr. Paulo Portas empobrece muitíssimo a política portuguesa. Ficamos com cinzentões e radicais em excesso e sem um único líder conservador liberal.

Leituras recomendadas

Dose dupla de Luciano Amaral: A nova "confiança", no DN e Tempos interessantes, no Acidental.

O Caminho Para a Servidão, por André Abrantes Amaral.

Assumir a derrota

(via Intermitente)

José Mário Silva quer ver a direita assumir a derrota. Pela minha parte, não tenho dúvidas que nas últimas eleições legislativas assistimos a mais uma inegável derrota da direita. Uma derrota aliás motivada pela razão habitual em Portugal: falta de comparência.

Balanço eleitoral

Quatro breves notas sobre os resultados das eleições legislativas:

1- Uma inegável vitória do sentido táctico de Jorge Sampaio, independentemente das consequências nefastas que esta dissolução venha a ter a médio prazo sobre a estabilidade (e talvez até a sustentabilidade...) do actual sistema político.

2- Uma esmagadora vitória do PS, com um país na expectativa de ver actores que no passado recente tiveram um desempenho pouco menos que desastroso a assumirem novamente o protagonismo. Resta-nos esperar que desta vez os resultados sejam melhores...

3- A urgente necessidade de refundar a direita portuguesa. Uma necessidade de refundação tão urgente quanto não é claro em que termos nem com que bases se possa processar.

4- A assustadora subida de uma força extremista como o BE. A simpatia dos media e a inegável inteligência e sentido estratégico de Francisco Louçã não explicam tudo. Se a votação no PCP é compreensível através do recurso a factores históricos, o mesmo não se passa com o BE e seria bom que que se começasse a prestar mais atenção ao fenómeno.

domingo, 20 de Fevereiro de 2005

Resultados eleitorais

Os resultados das eleições legislativas poderão ser acompanhados aqui.

A democracia como um meio

Em dia de peregrinação eleitoral, vale a pena reflectir um pouco sobre a natureza da democracia. Um bom ponto de partida é texto Democracy is a Means, Not an End, de Michael Munger.

It is fine to celebrate the great achievements of democracies, once they are firmly established. But such celebrations confuse cause and effect. The reason democratic nations have personal liberties, property rights, and rule of law is not that they are democracies. Rather, nations that have those things embody the entire package of the Western tradition of good government. Requiring that government actions hinge on the consent of the governed is the ribbon that holds that bundle together, but it is not the bundle itself.

(...)

This essay may make me sound like an enemy of democracy, some kind of elitist nut. Well, that's not entirely wrong. But describing democracy's flaws is not the same as arguing the virtues of elitism or dictatorship. I just want to foster an humble skepticism about what democracy really is and what it can actually accomplish. Many policy conflicts hinge on whether the public can tell individuals what to do. There is a subtlety that is often missed in policy debate: there is a difference between public decisions and collective decisions. Public decisions affect everyone by the nature of the choice itself: we can only have one defense budget; polluting rivers befouls not just my water, but yours.

Collective decisions, on the other hand, affect us all only because the majority is empowered to force its will on everyone. There need be no true public aspects to the decision as a policy outcome; we have just chosen to take the decision out of individuals' hands and put the power in the hands of the mob.

Now, it may very well be the case that lots of collective decisions are also public. But we need to see the line dividing private and collective choices, and to defend it fiercely. As P. J. O'Rourke notes, the fact that a majority likes something doesn't mean that the majority should get to choose that something for everyone.

(...)

The real key to freedom is to secure people from tyranny by the majority, or freedom from democracy.

sábado, 19 de Fevereiro de 2005

Democracy for All

Thomas E. Woods, na American Conservative, sobre o mais recente livro de Michael Novak, The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable:

I was not surprised to see that Michael Novak, the well-known neoconservative author, had written a book called The Universal Hunger for Liberty. I was surprised to see the subtitle —Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable. Although strongly opposed to the foreign-policy positions Novak has advocated, I can appreciate much of what he is attempting to do here. Intentionally or not, Novak has written a book that tempers the extremism of the likes of Daniel Pipes on the most belligerent end of the neoconservative spectrum, whose vision of the future involves ceaseless war and the very clash of civilizations that Novak’s new book insists is avoidable.

(...)

Novak devotes the most potentially controversial part of his book to exploring whether the institutions of the free society might be expected to take root in Islamic soil. He wonders whether there exists within Islamic theology the potential for doctrinal development, whereby what is implicit in Islamic belief is drawn out and rendered explicit with the passage of time, such that fresh insights may be gleaned from older truths. John Henry Cardinal Newman, the celebrated 19th-century Anglican whose Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine led him into the Catholic Church, famously posited just such a phenomenon within the Christian tradition. Novak is confident that ideas of individual responsibility and human dignity, which he describes as fundamental to Islam, may under the proper theological guidance be developed in such a way as to provide support for political moderation, even liberalism. He points to Muslim scholars who are anxious to carry out this very project, though he concedes the uphill struggle this woefully outnumbered minority have before them.

Critics may still say that Novak is too optimistic about this project. Perhaps he is. But Islam is a fact of life, and it is the faith of a billion people around the globe. The Christian world has had next to no success in its attempts to convert Muslims in any serious numbers, and while missionary failure is no reason to give up trying, it certainly does add a cautionary note to our deliberations. It is not sentimental hooey to hope—no matter how forlorn such a hope may be—that these people, with whom we live in this world, can carve out for themselves some kind of livable political order that befits human beings.

Reflectir sobre o ideal democrático

Agradeço ao Miguel a simpática referência ao meu modesto artigo "A Frustração do Ideal Democrático" na Mão Invisível.

Great minds think alike

Acabo de constatar que assinalei o segundo aniversário do excelente Intermitente com a mesma expressão usada, antes de mim, no Xanel Cinco.

Como não tinha lido o Xanel Cinco antes de fazer o meu post e não acredito em coincidências, vejo-me forçado a concluir que se tratou de um fenómeno de transmissão de pensamento...

A ameaça chinesa

Leitura recomendada: Teodoros, para sempre, no Picuinhices.

2 anos Intermitentes

Está de parabéns o Miguel pelo segundo aniversário do Intermitente, uma das referências incontornáveis da blogosfera nacional.

sexta-feira, 18 de Fevereiro de 2005

Richard Ebeling na FEE

Audio: “Dancing with the Devil: FDR, Stalin, and the Lasting Legacy of the Yalta Conference

Consumo/Investimento/dinheiro II

Como dito em I., guardar dinheiro debaixo do colchão ou inversamente retirar e consumir ou investir, não tem qualquer efeito prático. Acumular dinheiro, apenas altera os preços nominais, a economia real e a proporção de investimento e consumo mantêm-se, ou seja, a taxa de juro que equilibra a preferência entre consumo agora e consumo futuro (investimento), não se altera por essa via.

"(...) An increased demand for money, then, tends to lower prices all around without changing time preference or the pure rate of interest Thus, suppose total social income is 100, with 70 al­located to investment and 30 to consumption. The demand for money increases, so that people decide to hoard a total of 20. Expenditure will now be 80 instead of 100, 20 being added to cash balances.

Income in the next period will be only 80, since expenditures in one period result in the identical income to be allocated to the next period.[9] If time preferences remain the same, then the proportion of investment to consumption in the society will remain roughly the same, i.e., 56 invested and 24 consumed. Prices and nominal money values and incomes fall all along the line, and we are left with the same capital structure, the same real income, the same interest rate, etc. The only things that have changed are nominal prices, which have fallen, and the propor­tion of total cash balances to money income, which has increased.

A decreased demand for money will have the reverse effect. Dishoarding will raise expenditure, raise prices, and, ceteris pari­bus, maintain the real income and capital structure intact. The only other change is a lower proportion of cash balances to money income.

The only necessary result, then, of a change in the demand-for-money schedule is precisely a change in the same direction of the proportion of total cash balances to total money income and in the real value of cash balances. Given the stock of money, an increased scramble for cash will simply lower money incomes until the desired increase in real cash balances has been attained.

If the demand for money falls, the reverse movement occurs. The desire to reduce cash balances causes an increase in money income. Total cash remains the same, but its proportion to in­comes, as well as its real value, declines.[10]"

[10] Strictly, the ceteris paribus condition will tend to be violated. An increased demand for money tends to lower money prices and will there­fore lower money costs of gold mining. This will stimulate gold mining production until the interest return on mining is again the same as in other industries. Thus, the increased demand for money will also call forth new money to meet the demand. A decreased demand for money will raise money costs of gold mining and at least lower the rate of new production. It will not actually decrease the total money stock unless the new production rate falls below the wear-and-tear rate. Cf. Jacques Rueff, “The Fallacies of Lord Keynes’ General Theory” in Henry Haz­litt, ed., The Critics of Keynesian Economics (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1960), pp. 238–63.

MONEY AND ITS PURCHASING POWER Rothbard

O Mal e o Bem

"In the case of Hiroshima, no substantive evidence exists that the bombing was “necessary” to make Japan surrender. In fact, the Japanese had already attempted to sue for peace in July and were only hesitant because they distrusted the terms of unconditional surrender that the Allies demanded.

They specifically wanted to keep their emperor, which, after the atomic bombings, they were allowed to, anyway. The military estimated before Hiroshima that invasion would cost as many as 20,000 or 30,000 American lives, but not nearly the half million lives that Truman later claimed had been the estimate. Even without invasion, Japan was utterly defeated by the war and U.S. blockades prevented the island nation from getting the necessary food to survive, much less maintain any type of threat against America.

Truman’s decision to use nuclear weapons against civilians has not gone without criticism from the political and military elite of his time.

Truman’s chief of staff, Admiral William D. Leahy, wrote in his book I Was There that using the “barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.” He lamented that the U.S. government “had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages” and that he “was not taught to make war in that fashion.” In 1963 Dwight Eisenhower told Newsweek that “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” Targeting Civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Anthony Gregory

PS: a insistência numa derrota total do regime japonês conduziu a que o comunismo (tal como em metade da Europa devido à aliança com Estaline) tomasse facilmente conta da Ásia.

quinta-feira, 17 de Fevereiro de 2005

Consumo/investimento/dinheiro

"(...) A man may allocate his money to consumption, in­vestment, or addition to his cash balance. His time preferences govern the proportion which an individual devotes to present and to future goods, i.e., to consumption and to investment. Now suppose a man’s demand-for-money schedule increases, and he therefore decides to allocate a proportion of his money income to increasing his cash balance. There is no reason to suppose that this increase affects the consumption/investment proportion at all. It could, but if so, it would mean a change in his time pref­erence schedule as well as in his demand for money.

If the demand for money increases, there is no reason why a change in the demand for money should affect the interest rate one iota. There is no necessity at all for an increase in the de­mand for money to raise the interest rate, or a decline to lower it—no more than the opposite. In fact, there is no causal connec­tion between the two; one is determined by the valuations for money, and the other by valuations for time preference." Murray N. Rothbard

Uma vitória para a propriedade privada

(via LRC Blog)

Post dedicado, obviamente, ao CN. ;-)

Kyoto protest beaten back by inflamed petrol traders

WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.
What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement.

"We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs," one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. "I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view."

Another said: "I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot." Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: "Sod off, Swampy."

Pensamentos

Il y a assez de lumière pour ceux qui ne désirent que de voir, et assez d'obscurité pour ceux qui ont une disposition contraire.

Il y a assez de clarté pour éclairer les élus, et assez d'obscurité pour les humilier.

Il y a assez d'obscurité pour aveugler les réprouvés, et assez de clarté pour les condamner et les rendre inexcusables.


- Blaise Pascal

quarta-feira, 16 de Fevereiro de 2005

terça-feira, 15 de Fevereiro de 2005

Para a compreensão do fanatismo anti-católico

Jacinto Bettencourt, no Acidental:

A verdade é que esta reacção à Igreja, aos católicos, aos milagres e tudo aquilo que os cristãos designam, apreciam e valorizam a seu bel-prazer, sugere complexos não superados, cujos portadores deviam enfrentar sozinhos e no mais introspectivo silêncio.

Recomendado

O Quinto Império - Ontem como Hoje

Irmã Lúcia

Muitas coisas verdadeiramente grotescas se têm escrito na blogosfera sobre a morte da Irmã Lúcia. Para algum bom senso recomendo os seguintes posts:

Liberdade, Pluralismo e Silêncio, no Blasfémias.

A Propósito da Morte da Irmã Lúcia, no Intermitente.

O SUAVE PASSAMENTO DE IRMÃ LÚCIA, no Velho da Montanha.

segunda-feira, 14 de Fevereiro de 2005

Pela privatização do casamento

Artigo de John Coleman, na Reason:

My Privatized Valentine
A martyr for state-free marriage


Around 270 A.D.—according to one tradition, at least—St. Valentine, a Roman cleric, was imprisoned for his opposition to Emperor Claudius' decree that young men (his potential crop of soldiers) could no longer marry. Valentine performed their ceremonies anyway and was thrown in jail for his obstinacy. His belief was that marriage is too sacred a rite to relegate to the incompetence of state bureaucracy. And, on February 14, he was executed for that belief.

Nouveaux riches

"(...) the democratization of law and law enforcement — the substitution of the people for the king — made matters only worse, however.

The price of justice and peace has risen astronomically, and all the while the quality of law has steadily deteriorated to the point where the idea of law as a body of universal and immutable principles of justice has almost disappeared from public opinion and has been replaced by the idea of law as legislation (government-made law).

At the same time, democracy has succeeded where monarchy only made a modest beginning: in the ultimate destruction of the natural elites. The fortunes of great families have dissipated, and their tradition of a culture of economic independence, intellectual farsightedness, and moral and spiritual leadership has been lost and forgotten.

Rich men still exist today, but more frequently than not they owe their fortune now directly or indirectly to the state. Hence, they are often more dependent on the state’s continued favors than people of far lesser wealth. They are typically no longer the heads of long established leading families but ‘nouveaux riches’.

Their conduct is not marked by special virtue, dignity, or taste but is a reflection of the same proletarian mass-culture of presentorientedness, opportunism, and hedonism that the rich now share with everyone else; and consequently, their opinions carry no more weight in public opinion than anyone else’s.(...)" THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF MONARCHY AND DEMOCRACY, AND THE IDEA OF A NATURAL ORDER Hans-Hermann Hoppe

A triste história de Maria

Artigo de JCD, no Público:

Agora a Maria vai casar com o José. Foi o pai dela que arranjou o casamento. O José faz-lhe lembrar o António, de quem era muito amigo. O José propõe-se gerir as finanças familiares de outra maneira. Quando a Maria lhe pergunta como é que ele vai fazer ele explica: "É fácil, o objectivo é sermos felizes."

O José já prometeu que as semanadas das crianças vão ser aumentadas, porque é uma vergonha que os nossos filhos tenham menos dinheiro que os filhos dos outros. Vai comprar um computador lá para casa e ligá-lo à Internet, em banda larga. Vai haver telemóveis para todos. "É um choque tecnológico", explica ele. E promete à Maria, que continua a ser a única a trabalhar lá em casa, que não vai precisar de lhe dar nem mais um tostão. O José vai gerir a casa com o que tem. E daqui para a frente, quem paga o café e os cigarros é ele. Essa mania do consumidor-pagador já era.

Soa a banha da cobra mas a Maria quer marido e os bons pretendentes não aparecem.

Shiites Take Absolute Majority in Parliament

Iran Scores Victory in the Iraqi Elections

"Lebanese Broadcasting Co.'s satellite television news is reporting that the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), comprising Shiite religious parties, has won an absolute majority (141 seats) after adjustments were made in accordance with electoral procedure. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the list leader, expressed his pleasure at this 51 percent outcome for his coalition. The UIA still needs a 2/3s majority, and therefore a coalition partner or partners, to form a government (which involves electing a president and two vice-presidents, who will appoint a prime minister).

But it can now win votes on procedure and legislation without needing any other partner.

Robin Wright of the Washington Post points out that an electoral victory of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party, both of them close to Tehran, is not what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Neoconservatives had been going for with this Iraq adventure. The United Iraqi Alliance is led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a Shiite cleric who lived over 2 decades in exile in Iran. I point out that the likely coalition partner of the United Iraqi Alliance is the Kurdistan Alliance, led by Jalal Talabani, who is himself very close to Tehran. So there are likely to be warm Baghdad-Tehran relations."

Recordar Dresden

Dark Days to Remember: A Crime Committed in a War Against a Criminal Regime, por Tom Palmer.

Poupar / Consumir versus Heterossexuais / Homo

"(...) let me move on to the substance of Professor Hoppe's claim that homosexuals tend to "plan," i.e., save, less than heterosexuals.

This seems to me to be: (1) not merely highly likely as a theoretical matter but implied by rather straightforward economic theory; (2) supported by empirical evidence; (3) not in the least invidious; and (4) a very useful teaching illustration.

The point I believe that Professor Hoppe was trying to make is that our tendency to save rather than consume is a function of the particular circumstances of our lives. Specifically, to the extent that we have affective relationships with others and are concerned with their financial well being, especially if they are financially dependent on us, we will be inclined to save more than were these conditions not to prevail.

Thus because homosexuals tend not to bear and rear children they will tend to feel less of a need to save and insure their lives. The distinction between homosexuals and heterosexuals is but one of many that I (and I suspect Professor Hoppe) would pile on to capture the point of the relationship between our economic lives and our social, cultural, religious, sexual, and other differences.

There are a fascinating variety of ways in which this relationship presents itself. For example, I am inclined to tell my students that in those cultures where chastity and marital fidelity are more present, more saving will occur because paternity is more certain.

The various points being made by the examples are powerful and important: (1) it shows the relationship between the ordinary psychological, social, religious, and cultural aspects of life and their economic consequences; (2) it shows that the savings rate, something that is normally thought of as a function of narrow government "economic" policy, e.g., monetary policy is driven by more fundamental human drives, and that differences across communities in the savings rate is effected more by differences in their "non-economic" ways of life than other things."

"The Hoppe Affair", by Lloyd Cohen

The Utopian Conservatives

Joseph Sobran:

Since when is revolutionary a conservative compliment? Modern conservatism is usually dated from Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1791), a profoundly anti-revolutionary book that warned against an imprudent disdain for tradition.

Burke presciently argued that France’s hot pursuit of “the abstract rights of man” could lead only to violence and, finally, tyranny, probably under some strongman. He wrote this years before the world had heard of Napoleon Bonaparte.

France had just undergone a self-inflicted regime change, and after a year of observation from across the English Channel Burke found himself “alarmed into reflection” on the bloody events in Paris. He set down his thoughts in some of the most beautiful English prose ever written, a model for all future conservatives.

Burke stressed such principles as prudence, tradition, and a sense of limits, as opposed to utopian hopes for perfect political arrangements on earth. Political wisdom begins with the realization that man is a fallen creature whose passions need to be checked, not inflamed. Until recently, nearly all professed conservatives would have agreed.

But today the new conservative consensus seems to be that Burke’s principles are applicable when Democrats are in power but may be set aside when Republicans rule. Conservatives, in just a few years, have been transformed into utopians. (...)

Bush was straining for the same effect. America’s freedom depends on freedom everywhere. We will eliminate tyranny, everywhere, forever and ever! And just how do we do that? By expanding the War on Terror into a War on Tyranny?(...)

Did this mean that allies of the United States will henceforth have to be democratic? Or else?(...)

The inaugural address itself is just one of the rituals: The president is supposed to make idealistic JFK-type declarations about freedom and resolve that nobody takes very literally.

But in Bush’s case, you never know. He may mean every word of it, to judge by his policies. A global crusade for democracy is not out of the question. Or maybe he was just looking for a quick bump in the polls, as when, a couple of years ago, he came up with the idea of sending a man to Mars. That didn’t seize the public imagination as hoped, so we’ve heard no more of it.

What is clear, though, is that Bush is pretty nearly the diametric opposite of a Burkean conservative. Modern conservatives like Robert Taft, Russell Kirk, and Michael Oakeshott wouldn’t recognize him as one of their own.

His zeal for utopian language and utopian projects marks him as an alien to the breed. He shares the Napoleonic ambition to impose a new international order.

Irão

O Irão, vitima primeiro, nos anos 50, de um golpe de estado fomentado pela CIA em que foi deposto o primeiro ministro eleito democraticamente e viveu sob um regime ditatorial ocidentalizado durante 25 anos, e depois esteve em guerra contra um Saddam apoiado pelos EUA, tem uma estrutura política bem mais proto-democrática que os países árabes (por exemplo, a Arábia Saudita, o Koweit, o Qatar, o Dubai, o Egipcio, etc) que sempre foram suportados e tolerados realisticamente (e eu acrescentaria e bem) pelo ocidente. Nas últimas eleições, foi o actual presidente a forçar que o pré-requisito de aprovação dos candidatos em eleições fosse relaxado.

Portanto, se existem questões de defesa, digam-no (embora não existam, o Irão pretende a mesma capacidade que Israel não declara e tem todas as razões históricas para se preocupar com a sua defesa; quem trouxe a possibilidade do Iraque - ou parte dele - poder vir a ser influenciada pelo Irão foram os perigosos ideólogos extremistas pela democracia). Os regimes são um problema e responsabilidade de cada população.

Leitura recomendada

Vale a pena ler o post Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos, Irmã Maria Lúcia de Jesus e do Coração Imaculado, no Sobre o tempo que passa:

Não sou católico, ateu e nem sequer agnóstico. Fico-me pela minha heresia panteísta. Mas sei que qualquer coisa de extraordinário ocorreu na Cova de Iria no ano de 1917. Não sei, nem nunca saberei o que efectivamente foi. Aliás, nem para os católicos, as aparições são uma questão de dogma. Mas há uma coisa que reconheço, com toda a humildade de um mortal que continua à procura da raiz do mais além. Havia três pastorinhos: Francisco, Jacinta e Lúcia e hoje faleceu esta última grande senhora da nossa história. Para os crentes de Fátima, para os católicos, para todos os portugueses que sejam homens de boa vontade. Só espíritos fechados em ódios e dogmatismos poderão negar a nobreza de carácter de alguém que representa, para milhões e milhões de homens, um testemunho do que vai além da morte. Que mais exemplos de vida como esta, possamos ter!

domingo, 13 de Fevereiro de 2005

Precisamos de um Abanão

Leitura recomendada: Precisamos de um Abanão, no Observador.

Destaque:

O Estado Social faliu. Já não é possível que tão poucos paguem regalias a tantos. Esta é a questão que urge enfrentar. É preciso que se repense a organização social tal como ela existe actualmente. As dificuldades que vivemos, mais que económicas, são políticas e só com o regresso da política e do debate sobre o que realmente queremos, é que estaremos aptos a preparar o nosso futuro.

Domingo Liberal

No Domingo Liberal desta semana, destaco, para além das entrevistas a Pedro Aguiar-Branco e Nuno Melo, o editorial de Jorge Pereira da Silva e os artigos de Manuel Menezes de Sequeira, Carlos de Jesus Fernandes, João Miranda, Pedro Magalhães Froufe e Rui Albuquerque.

Sobre a Direita

Novo artigo no site da Causa Liberal: Sobre a Direita, por Carlos do Carmo Carapinha.

sábado, 12 de Fevereiro de 2005

Seguir Howard Dean

Com o afastamento do moderado Tim Roemer e a nomeação de Howard Dean, parece que os democratas estão dispostos a continuar no caminho de esquerdização que os conduziu aos desastrosos resultados nas últimas eleições.

Boas notícias para o GOP

Dean named Democratic Party chief

Cold War Liberals Together Again

by Tom Barry

The neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC) has signaled its intention to continue shaping the government’s national security strategy with a new public letter stating that the “U.S. military is too small for the responsibilities we are asking it to assume.” Rather than reining in the imperial scope of U.S. national security strategy as set forth by the first Bush administration, PNAC and the letter’s signatories call for increasing the size of America’s global fighting machine.

The January 28th PNAC letter advocates that House and Senate leaders take the necessary steps “to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps.”
Joining the neocons in the letter to congressional leaders were a group of prominent liberals – giving some credence to PNAC’s claim that the “call to act” to increase the total number of U.S. ground forces counts on bipartisan support.

(...)

Irving Kristol, known as the “godfather of neoconservatism,” famously defined neoconservatives as “liberals who have been mugged by reality.” That political mugging occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the rise of the counterculture, the anti-war movement, and progressive New Politics of the Democratic Party.

Former Trotskyite militants and Cold War liberals like Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Midge Decter switched their loyalties to the Republican Party. The “reality” that mugged the neocons was the progressive turn in the Democratic Party led by such figures as Jesse Jackson, Bella Abzug, George McGovern, and Jimmy Carter. In contrast, the neoconservatives found the militant anticommunism and social conservatism of the Ronald Reagan faction in the Republican Party invigorating. In the neocon lexicon, liberalism became synonymous with secularism, women’s liberation, anti-Americanism, and appeasement.

Over the past quarter century, the neocons have sought, with increasing success, to rid the Republican Party of its isolationists, its anti-imperialists, and its realists. The younger neocons, such as William Kristol (son of Irving) and Elliott Abrams (son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter), have promoted a new right-wing internationalism that holds that America should be both a global cop and a global missionary for freedom.

Traditional conservatives and Republican Party realists say that the neocons’ foreign policy agenda is, respectively, neo-imperialist and unrealistic about the capacity of U.S. military power to remake the world.

Apart from their militarist friends in the Pentagon and defense industries, the neocons are finding that their closest ideological allies are the internationalists in the liberal camp. Having recuperated from their mugging, the neocons are now reaching out to liberals who share their idealism about America’s global mission.

To the delight of the neocons at PNAC and AEI, an influential group of liberal hawks share their vision of a U.S. grand strategy that will create a world order based on U.S. military supremacy and America’s presumed moral superiority."

sexta-feira, 11 de Fevereiro de 2005

"Fair trade" e proteccionismo

(via The Globalization Institute Blog)

Há falácias e más ideias que são infelizmente extraordinariamente persistentes, ainda que assumindo em cada "reincarnação" uma nova face:

"Fair trade bears a suspicious likeness to our old friend protection. Protection was dead and buried 30 years ago, but he has come out of the grave and is walking around in the broad light of day. But after long experience underground, he endeavours to look more attractive than he used to appear... and in consequence he found it convenient to assume a new name."

- William Gladstone (1809 - 1898), former UK Prime Minister

O Sinédrio

(via Intermitente)

Novo link: O Sinédrio

250000

Está de parabéns o JCD pelas 250000 visitas acumuladas (medidas pelo Sitemeter) do Jaquinzinhos.

É difícil ser anarco-capitalista na UNLV (2)

Mais sobre a polémica com Hoppe e a UNLV:

Hoppe Attacked by Political Correctness!, por Kenneth R. Gregg.

Even Disgraceful and Disgusting Characters Shouldn't Be Censored, por Tom G. Palmer.

UNLV Economist in Trouble, por Jim Lindgren.

The Thought Police and Hoppe, por Stephan Kinsella.

É difícil ser anarco-capitalista na UNLV

Hans Herman-Hoppe enfrenta possíveis sancções da UNLV por comentários feitos sobre os homossexuais durante uma aula:


Lecture causes dispute: UNLV accused of limiting free speech

A UNLV professor under fire for comments he made about homosexuals during a class lecture last year demanded Friday that the university stop threatening to punish him.

"I have done absolutely nothing wrong," said the professor, Hans Hoppe, a conservative libertarian economist with almost 20 years teaching experience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, on Hoppe's behalf, sent a letter to UNLV officials alleging that the university violated Hoppe's free speech rights and his right to academic freedom.

(...)

The subject of the lecture was economic planning for the future. Hoppe said he gave several examples to the class of about 30 upper-level undergraduate students on groups who tend to plan for the future and groups who do not.

Very young and very old people, for example, tend not to plan for the future, he said. Couples with children tend to plan more than couples without.

As in all social sciences, he said, he was speaking in generalities.

Another example he gave the class was that homosexuals tend to plan less for the future than heterosexuals.

Reasons for the phenomenon include the fact that homosexuals tend not to have children, he said. They also tend to live riskier lifestyles than heterosexuals, Hoppe said.

:)

"Frodo failed. Bush has the Ring."

That was then

Rothbard durante os anos de Bush pai (e ainda antes do Golfo I):

"(...)Max Lerner has outlined for us with great clarity the neocon version of the New World Order: an order where not only any America First trend is stamped out, but also any "Russia first" or anyone else first movement everywhere in the world, in order to eradicate all nationalisms and "anti-Semitism."

Does this mean that the United States is supposed to run the world in order to crush all nationalism and anti-Semitism throughout the globe? Can this foreign policy doctrine be sold, in all its candor and clarity, to the American public? Is Max willing to take a democratic vote on this issue?

All nationalisms must be stamped out, it seems, but one. For Israel must be supported to the hilt and beyond. Of course, bipartisan all-out support for Israel would mean, in Max's words, "a rejection of Patrick Buchanan and America's most dangerous isolationist movement since the dark days on the eve of World War II." But Max admits he's got a tough row to hoe.

For President Bush is persisting in terrible anti-Israel policies, "his petty personal grudge against Yitzhak Shamir" (who, knowing Shamir, could possibly have a personal grudge against this lovable character?); his "false realism" in courting "terrorist" Arab countries (Hey, Max, your pal Shamir has no mean terrorist record himself); and Bush's "indifference" to the "plight" of new immigrants to Israel (English translation: Shamir's urge to settle these immigrants in Arab areas). And behind Bush, says Max, is the even more terrible "James Baker and his media claque" (Go ahead, say it, Max: his "amen corner").

Well, how about the Democrats? No, because none of the Democratic candidates are denouncing Bush and Baker for their "betrayal of the American-Israeli alliance" (alliance against whom exactly, Max?)."

Comentários: Bush pai antes do Golfo I terá sido porventura ainda a última administração americana com realismo estratégico, independência, e pudor contra o idealismo (à direita) quase histérico dos dias actuais (de pessoas com idade a fazerem lembrar o espirito juvenil-adolescente-revolucionário de outros tempos).

quinta-feira, 10 de Fevereiro de 2005

Mais liberdade para os franceses

A França dá sinais, ainda que limitados, de tentar inverter o caminho para a servidão, através de alguma liberalização do mercado de trabalho:

French MPs vote out 35-hour week

French lawmakers have voted in favour of a controversial bill to increase the country's 35-hour working week. The proposal backed by a large majority allows private-sector employees to work up to 48 hours a week.

(...)

Observers say the 370-180 vote underscores the government's determination to revamp a system that it blames for a stubbornly high unemployment rate and rising labour costs.

French unemployment figures stand at about 10% of the work force amid complaints from private sector companies that the existing system makes them uncompetitive.

Pius XII at War

Um sucinto mas interessante artigo que todos aqueles que ajudam a difundir propaganda anti-católica (caso, por exemplo, do Templo Ateísta e, ultimamente, também do Renas e Veados) fariam bem em ler com atenção:

Pius XII at War

The dishonest story of Pope Pius XII being "Hitler’s pope" for not doing enough to protect Jews in the last war has surfaced again. It does not reflect well on the people who spread it.

Cardinal Pacelli served as Pius XII from 1939 to 1958. He recognized Hitler as a threat to German culture and as early as 1921 was criticizing the Nazis. Professor Ronald Rychlak documents that between 1917 and 1929, 40 public speeches made on German soil by Pacelli before he was Pope contained attacks on National Socialism. As Pope he pressed hard for peace, declaring that "Nothing is lost by peace but everything may be lost by war." He devoted his first six years in office to bringing relief to the suffering plus bringing as many Jews as possible to freedom. Thousands of Jews were housed in Church buildings in Rome – even after the Nazis occupied the city in 1943.

These were only a few of the hundreds of thousands that the Church saved from Nazi killers. In 1967 Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide estimated that Pope Pius XII was "instrumental in saving at least 700,00 possibly as many as 860,000 Jews from death at Nazi hands." To put these numbers in perspective consider that the Nazis had 8,300,000 Jews under their control; 6,000,000 were killed leaving 2,300,000 survivors. If we take Lapide’s lowest figure, the Pope was instrumental in saving 30% of the Jews who survived the Holocaust.

(...)

After the war Soviet Communists began the disinformation campaign against the Church. Pope Pius was the leading anti-communist leader in the world. Hating him and the Church was as much a part of Soviet Communism as hating Jews was part of Nazism. But as Rabbi David G. Dalin notes in his authoritative article in the Weekly Standard, "Pope Pius XII and the Jews," this communist big lie was appropriated by "lapsed or angry" Catholic writers as "simply the biggest club available for modernists to use against traditionalist Catholics."

(...)

Further testament to Pius’ moral stature is the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Rome chose to convert to Catholicism after the war. Obviously conversion involves more than the example of one man. Nevertheless the example of a good man can have an impact, and the example was there.

Leitura recomendada

(via Intermitente)

Uma excelente e oportuna reflexão sobre a direita portuguesa: Sobre a Direita, no Contra a Corrente.

quarta-feira, 9 de Fevereiro de 2005

CDU atinge reconhecimento internacional

(obrigado ao MN pela indicação)




Communiqué de l'Institut Hayek
L'Union européenne veut interdire les symboles nazis - mais pas les symboles communistes...

Nos inestimables élites politiques européennes veulent bannir les symboles nazis en pénalisant leur exhibition.

On mesure l'urgence et l'intelligence de la mesure.

Perdant une fois encore l'occasion de se taire, de nouveaux Européens s'étonnent : pourquoi limiter la mesure aux symboles nazis ? Quid des symboles communistes ? Les crimes communistes seraient en quelque façon moins accablants que les crimes nazis ?

Oui mais non, explique le commissaire européen Frattini : le "contexte" de la discussion actuelle ne se prête pas à l'élargissement de la mesure aux symboles communistes.

Il serait intéressant de connaître l'avis sur la question du commissaire européen Laszlo Kovacs.

(En illustration, une affiche électorale qui tapisse actuellement les murs du Portugal)

terça-feira, 8 de Fevereiro de 2005

Leitura recomendada

Why I Support a Privatized Individual Account Social Security, por Gary Becker.

Destaque:

I do not believe that the main advantage of a private account system is that individuals can get a higher return on their old age savings by investing in stocks. There are no free lunches from such investments since the higher return on stocks is related to their greater risk and other trade offs between stocks and different assets. However, neither is there any special “transition” problem in moving to a fully funded privatized system since future generations in some way or another have to pay for the implicit debt due to commitments toward present and future retirees. But it is better to transit smoothly to fund this debt rather than require a sharp increases in taxes on later generations.

(...)

As in Chile and other countries with private retirement accounts, the government would guarantee every retiree a minimum income-similar to but larger than the minimum social security guaranteed income under the present United States system. Unfortunately, such guarantees create a “moral hazard”; that is, savers may want to make risky investments that give high payoffs if they succeed since the government partly bails them out if they fail. Or they may not save at all. The minimum required savings rate overcomes the latter incentive to “game” the system, and regulation of which types of investment accounts are approved takes care of the incentive to be overly risk-taking.

(...)

There is no guarantee that government interference would not increase further in such a privatized system since the retired would continue to press for additional benefits. But experience shows that governments interfere less when an industry is privatized than when it is a public enterprise, especially in access to capital and financing of industry budget deficits.

So the really strong arguments for privatization are that they reduce the role of government in determining retirement ages and incomes, and improve government accounting of revenues and spending obligations. All the other issues are really diversions because neither advocates or opponents of privatization are asking the most meaningful question about privatizing social security: Is there as strong a political economy case for eliminating government management of the retirement industry as there is for eliminating their management of most other industries? My answer is "yes".