sexta-feira, 29 de Abril de 2005

Leituras recomendadas

Na prossecução dos seus objectivos de estudo, debate e divulgação do Liberalismo Clássico, a Causa Liberal começará a sugerir, aos subscritores do seu newsgroup, algumas leituras nesse âmbito .Os artigos serão provenientes de webzines, blogs e outras publicações disponíveis na internet. Estas sugestões serão, salvo situações excepcionais, feitas com uma periodicidade semanal.

Caso pretendam começar a receber as "Leituras Recomendadas" inscrevam-se na lista da Causa Liberal (canto superior direito desta página).

Notas
(1) Os textos serão maioritariamente em português, inglês ou espanhol;
(2) Para aceder aos artigos poderá, eventualmente, ser necessário um registo gratuito.

quinta-feira, 28 de Abril de 2005

Pérolas de Rothbard

* THE MULTIPLIER

Using the exact same logic as the Keynesians, one could “prove” that the way to boost GDP by $100,000 is to give the reader an extra dollar bill."

* Balances of Payments


An individual’s “balance of payments” must always be in balance, so long as cash balances and credit transactions are included. In general an individual will always have huge “trade deficits” with the owners of retail shops and huge “trade surpluses” with his employer. The balance of payments for an entire nation is simply the aggregation of all the individual citizens’ balances of payments.

* DEMAND FOR MONEY UNLIMITED?


Some reject the notion of a demand for money, because “people always want more money.” Yet this is true for all producer and consumer goods! It is simply not true that people always want more money (cash); indeed, anyone who owns any nonmonetary asset demonstrates that he or she does not want “more money.”

* INTEREST AND INVESTMENT


The interest rate has no causal relation to investment; both are determined by time preferences.

* MEASUREMENT

Money is not a measure of value. When someone buys a TV for $50, we cannot conclude that he “values it” at $50; on the contrary we know that he values the TV more than he valued the $50. All price indices are arbitrary.

Pope Benedict XVI (5)

Confirmando Sinais: Pope Benedict XV:

Via LRBlog: It's as if the Pope gave this homily specifically in response to various neoconservative American commentators who denied that his choice of Benedict XVI had anything at all to do with invoking the memory of Benedict XV:

"I chose to call myself Benedict XVI ideally as a link to the venerated Pontiff, Benedict XV, who guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War. He was a true and courageous prophet of peace who struggled strenuously and bravely, first to avoid the drama of war and then to limit its terrible consequences. In his footsteps I place my ministry, in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples, profoundly convinced that the great good of peace is above all a gift of God, a fragile and precious gift to be invoked, safeguarded and constructed, day after day and with everyone's contribution."

Sobre este assunto trágico para a Europa e o próprio Liberalismo Clássico, ler The Significance of Pope Benedict XV. By Thomas Fleming (the author of The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I.) no History News Network.

I'm puzzled that so little is being said in the media about the historical significance of Cardinal Ratzinger's choice of Benedict XVI as his papal name. As a German, I think we can be fairly sure he is trying to remind the world of the tragic story of his predecessor, and how close he came to bringing World War I to an early conclusion. The story has specical significance for Americans.

In the spring of 1917, Pope Benedict XV called on the warring governments to make a peace of mutual forgiveness and forbearance. As a starting point, the Pontiff proposed the restoration of Belgium, disarmament, arbitration machinery to prevent future wars, and freedom of the seas for all nations. (...)

The Germans and the Austro-Hungarians promptly accepted the Pope's proposal, although Berlin avoided specific commitments. The provisional Russian government also welcomed the papal mediation. The leaders of France and Italy, with largely Catholic, extremely war weary populations, were transfixed with alarm. They wanted a fight to the finish but they hesitated to take issue with the Pope. The English, even more determined to go for what Prime Minister Lloyd George called "a knockout blow," decided to let Wilson answer for all of them.

At first the president was inclined to say nothing. He seemed angry at the Pope's intrusion into the war. However, as the impact of the pontiff's appeal grew larger, Wilson decided he had to reply. The Pope was saying many of the same things Wilson had said before he opted for war. Now, as British ambassador Cecil Spring-Rice wryly pointed out, the president was doing "his utmost to kindle a warlike spirit throughout [the] states and to combat pacifists." No wonder the pope's appeal gave him indigestion.1

Colonel House strongly seconded this presidential decision -- and warned Wilson not to dismiss the Pope's proposals out of hand in his reply. The new Russian ambassador in Washington had informed House that alarming splits were appearing in the revolutionary government, with the call for immediate peace one of the chief issues. A dismissal could lead to the overthrow of Russia's moderate leader, Alexander Kerensky.

House also revealed that the Pope's proposal had evoked a sympathetic response in him. The colonel wondered if it would be a good thing in the long run if "Germany was beaten to her knees." That might leave a vacuum in central Europe which the Russians would be eager to fill. Before the declaration of war, Wilson had agreed with this balance of power viewpoint. It was the idea behind his appeal for a peace without victory.2

Secretary of State Lansing sent Wilson an acrid memorandum, in which he opined that the Pope was working with the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians to create a push for peace while the Allies were winning the war on land and the submarine campaign "appears successful." His Germanophobia becoming more visible with every line, Lansing argued that the Pope's proposals would depend on "the good faith of the powers" who signed such a peace treaty. But there could not be "two opinions" of the good faith of the German government. "The German rulers cannot be trusted." (...)

When it came to demonizing Germany, Wilson the war leader needed no lessons from Wellington House. Ignoring the indubitable fact that the president seemed determined not merely to beat Germany to its knees but to knock it flat, Colonel House told Wilson his artful mixture of hate and idealism was a "charter of democratic liberty." George Foster Peabody, an aide to Secretary of War Baker, said the reply convinced him that God had sent America "the Master Mind of the World in this crisis.(...)"

quarta-feira, 27 de Abril de 2005

O desemprego

é uma consequência do socialismo.

Negocios.pt: "Um quinto ganharia mais com subsídio de desemprego do que a trabalhar. Cerca de um quinto dos agregados veriam potencialmente reforçado o seu rendimento familiar caso um dos seus titulares viesse a auferir do subsídio de desemprego em substituição do rendimento de trabalho."

Ainda temos o salário minimo (que impede as pessoas de mais baixa produtividade de comprar o acesso a trabalho e formação), as prestações sociais (que encarecem a oferta de trabalhogenéricamente em 33%), as limitações ao contrato livre (que limitam a procura e aumentam o risco de negócio), os incentivos à doença fisica e psicológica (cada vez mais indisposições de todo o género são reconhecidos), a regulamentação de acesso, etc.

Números (2)

"(...) Our statistical analysis of their coverage, however, showed that there was startling disparity in how deaths were reported, depending on the ethnicity of the victim.

For example, we found that in 2004, at a time when 8 Israeli children and 176 Palestinian children were killed – a ratio of 1 to 22 – Times headlines and lead paragraphs reported on Israeli children’s deaths at a rate almost seven times greater than Palestinian children’s deaths.

A one-month sub-study indicated that this disparity grew even larger when the entire article was analyzed, with Israeli children’s deaths mentioned (through repetitions of deaths reported on previous days) at a rate ten times greater than Palestinian children’s deaths.Times coverage of deaths of all ages, while less dramatically skewed, showed similar distortion.

In the first year of the current Palestinian uprising, which began in fall of 2000, we discovered that the Times reported prominently on 42 percent of Palestinian deaths, and on 119 percent of Israeli deaths (follow-up headline articles, we find, frequently push coverage of Israeli deaths over 100 percent).

In other words, the Times reported Israeli deaths at a rate approximately three times greater than Palestinian deaths.During this period over three times more Palestinians were being killed than Israelis.

Overall, we found that in every single category Times coverage reported Israeli deaths at rates three or more times greater than Palestinian deaths.

Such patterns of distortion gave readers the impression that equal numbers of people on both sides were being killed – or that more Israelis were being killed – when the reality is that Palestinians have always been killed in far greater numbers.

In particular, we found that Times stories so often repeated reports of Israeli children’s deaths that in some periods they were reporting on Israeli deaths at a rate of 400 percent.

In contrast, the majority of Palestinian deaths – particularly children’s deaths – were never reported by the Times at all.According to Israeli human rights groups and others who assiduously gather data on all children killed in the conflict, at least 82 Palestinian children were killed before any Israeli children were killed – and the largest single cause of these Palestinian children’s deaths was “gunfire to the head.”

Yet, almost no one is aware of this, since Times coverage consistently omitted or minimized coverage of these Palestinian deaths.In other words, we found that New York Times coverage of Israel-Palestine exhibited highly disturbing patterns of bias." New York Times Minimizes Palestinian Deaths, The Perversions of Daniel Okrent By ALISON WEIR

Texteis mais baratos 20% a 50%?

Não pode ser. O consumidor tem de ser protegido de si mesmo ("protect me from i want" diz uma música). E o ditador tecnocrata social-democrata, atento às armadilhas da liberdade de escolher, vai proteger as massas. Ainda existem "Muros de Berlim" para deitar abaixo.

PS:

Quando um produto baixa de preço, essa poupança permite:

- consumir outros produtos (produzidos com os recursos libertados)
- investir em aumentos de produtividade adicional (usando os recursos libertados)

E é assim que a economia cresce, porque "production creates its own demand".

A maravilha de tudo isto é pretenderem que a economia cresça ao mesmo tempo que combatem os seus efeitos. E fazer tudo isto sem dar a sensação de esquizofrenia crónica.

PS2: Que 1 bilião de chineses a aumentar o seu nível de vida (e genéricamente da sua liberdade) constituam uma enorme fonte de aumento de consumo de produtos mundiais também parece não contar para nada.

segunda-feira, 25 de Abril de 2005

Os liberais face ao "25 de Abril"

O artigo já tem um ano mas mantém plenamente a sua actualidade: Deverá um liberal festejar o "25 de Abril"?, por Luís Aguiar Santos.

Non-Albanians

U.N. team announces discovery of 21 bodies in Western Kosovo mass grave

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - The United Nations said Saturday that an investigation of a cave in Western Kosovo had uncovered 21 bodies of non-Albanians believed killed during the province's 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces
(...)
NATO airstrikes pushed the Serb troops out of the province and forced former Serb president Slobodan Milosevic to relinquish control of Kosovo. The province is now run by the United Nations and NATO-led peacekeepers, although it remains part of Serbia-Montenegro, the successor state to Yugoslavia. Negotiations on its final status are expected to begin this year.

PS: "final status" significa independência, claro. As delícias do internacionalismo.

domingo, 24 de Abril de 2005

Deus, esse estrangeiro

"A questão aqui mais relevante é a da intervenção externa (e estrangeira) de uma organização que visa contrariar a possibilidade de aplicação de uma lei em matéria que lhe não diz directamente respeito - o que se afigura insuportável juridicamente. " escreve CAA.

Eu diria que sendo o Vaticano um Estado estrangeiro é bem pior do que isso. Pode equivaler a uma Declaração de Guerra. Ainda por cima é um Estado cujo representante é eleito pelos agentes (nomeados directamente pelo Chefe de Estado estrangeiro) a seu soldo presentes em todos os restantes Estados. Humm, organização estranha esta.

Por outro, o Vaticano funcionou como a ONU da civilização durante séculos. Por exemplo, consagrou a legitimidade da Nação Portuguesa e do seu Rei (e com melhores resultados do que a ONU consagrou a existência de Israel).

A conclusão é simples. O Vaticano representa uma dimensão de poder organizado alternativo ao Estado na medida em que evoca uma fonte de direito alternativo. E isso pode ser um problema para um Estado de Direito, porque um Estado de Direito é um espaço onde o Direito é monopólio exclusivo do Estado e que não reconhece (ou residualmente) outras fontes de Direito. Por isso os notários têm uma dimensão "pública" (tradução= só fazem aquilo e na medida do que o Estado concede). O casamento passou a ter uma dimensão "pública" (tradução: passou a ter de ser declarado ao Estado) também (com Napoleão). E agora como o Estado define o que o casamento é ou não é, os notários têm de passar a "casar" homosexuais mesmo que a sua "lei" não o permita.

Os notários católicos podem recusar a fazê-lo? Em primeira ordem, os notários deviam poder "registar" ou deixar de "registar" os actos que entenderem. É um problema semelhante ao da Educação. Não devia ser pública porque depois é preciso decidir que Educação dar ou não dar. Deve ter uma disciplina de Moral? De Religião? Mas de certeza que pode ser "neutra" (tradução: formar cidadãos que obedeçam sempre e não ponham em causa a Lei que emana da Legislação, mesmo que mude em cada Estação do ano).

PS: Os Cristãos da América sem Estado, a dos grandes espaços e da "fronteira", casavam-se assinando a Bíblia de sua casa (ainda hoje esse acto é reconhecido juridicamente). Por exemplo, os homosexuais podem se o quiserem, começar a assinar a Bíblia de sua casa. Ninguém os impede.

Os grandes lideres

Com a projecção do excelente filme "A Queda - Hitler e o Fim do Terceiro Reich" retoma-se o o debate sobre as "causas" ou "como foi possível", mas não cesso de ficar espantado como nunca é referido, nem sequer como enquadramento, a ordem civilizacional europeia que se perdeu na Grande Guerra. No meio da destruição, o que mais se perdeu foi a moral de uma ordem imperfeita (como todas as realidades humandas) mas natural nas instituições que protegiam as mentes das paixões ideológicas e da procura de um lider politico vindo do povo, sem quaisqer traços de aristocracia velha cultura (presente quer no fascismo, no comunismo, mas também na partidocracia dos tempos presentes. Será por acaso que as tentativas feitas contra Hitler na própria Alemanha tenham tido origem na antiga aristocracia germânica?)

Ainda hoje a procura de um lider é o que motiva a política. Em vez da reivindicação de soberania local e individual (e para mais fácilmente, à escala humana, podermos realmente influenciar, em vez do anonimato das macro-democracias) o que se pretende é que um lider seja encontrado e aclamado, que vai pegar no poder central e através dele fazer grandes coisas.

Mas é essa mesma necessidade de procura de um lider que está na origem de todo o totalitarismo (na monarquia não existe a necessidade de um lider que entusiasme as massas, pelo contrário, era uma fonte de poder limitado enquadrada numa ordem espiritual - razão pela qual nunca as monarquias não alcançaram nunca, nem as absolutistas, nem de perto nem de longe o totalitarismo das repúblicas laicas). E o que levantou essa necessidade foi a destruição fisica e moral da Europa na Grande Guerra ("o suicídio da Europa" nas palavras do Papa Bento XV), acabou como Liberalismo Clássico e inaugurou o socialismo não democrático e o democrático.

O actual paradigma da social-democracia, o estatismo, o centralismo democrático, também vive da procura do líder que irá nascer para tomar conta de um centro (o Estado) do qual emanam decisões (choque tecnológico, educação, etc...não sei como é possivel que as pessoas se enganem a si mesmas tantas vezes...mas a psicologia já determinou que esses estados são até muito frequentes e sobrevivem com muita persistência).

A direita ou alguma direita que vê na sobrevivência do Estado, o mais alto designio político, peca por confundir Nação com Estado, o que faz com que estabeleça de forma automática de que o que é bom para o Estado é bom para a Nação. O que reforça a autoridade do Estado é bom para a Nação.

A esquerda que compreendeu que "igualdade" é o que de menos natural existe, precisa de um centro de propaganda para fazer acreditar que compulsório = voluntário, e convencer também que a maioria da população é um ganhador líquido (o que recebe é mais do que paga) e que sem o Estado iria perder o previlégio (o que é absolutamente verdade em relação aos únicos que não pagam impostos: os funcionários públicos).

O Liberalismo tem o dever de combater a partidocracia (seja do partido único ou multipartidário) e o mito do grande lider. Precisamos de menos política e mais representação civil onde os lideres são naturais, enquadrados na adesão voluntária a códigos comuns decididos por residentes e proprietários e não por uma massa anónima de votos que em aparência parece legitimar que o centralismo democrático decida sobre tudo o que ocorre debaixo do sol e da lua.

PS: Vejam a sucessão que deu lugar no BCP. Porventura foi um processo democrático (no sentido político)? Mas podemos afirmar que a designação de um sucessor teve o acordo dos accionistas sem que para isso sequer tenha existido um voto formal no sucessor. Foi um processo "natural". E é assim a democracia civil. Comparem isso com mesmo os bons lideres politicos conseguem fazer:

"Woodrow Wilson's decision to bring the United States into Europe's "
Great War" (1914-18) wasn't made in 1917. In fact, his agents had already reached an agreement with the governments of England and France to involve the U.S. in the autumn of 1915. He then spent all of 1916 campaigning for reelection on the slogan, "He kept us out of war." When Wilson, who had already invaded Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, finally got Congress to declare war against the Central Powers on April 8, 1917, based on the ridiculous Zimmerman Telegram, the renewal of unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans, and trumped up charges of atrocities against the Belgians, he didn't just get more than 100,000 Americans killed, he solidified the last century's turn toward warfare and totalitarianism that eventually killed over two hundred million people. So says Jim Powell, Perhaps he left the Cold War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the wars against terror and Iraq out of the book's title for brevity's sake.

Powell makes a compelling argument that by the time the U.S. got involved, World War I was a
stalemate. Peace was sure to break out soon(...) As soon as the U.S. Congress declared war less than a month later, Wilson began applying diplomatic pressure and paid the Russians $325 million to continue the fight. (...) The payoff worked: Russia's provisional prime minister Aleksandr Kerensky kept the Russians involved in the war. Finally, on their fourth try, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and his sidekick Leon Trotsky seized power. As Powell says in the book, "If Russia's Provisional Government had quit the war and negotiated peace with Germany in early 1917, we might never had heard of Lenin. (...)"

Without the help of
conscripted American soldiers it is much more likely that the Allies would have negotiated sooner and demanded less vengeful terms. And vengeful terms they were: Clause 231 and 232 of the Treaty of Versailles forced the Germans to accept blame for the entire war, and to "make compensation for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allied and Associated Powers and to their property during the period of belligerency of each as an Allied or Associated Power against Germany by such aggression by land, by sea, and from the air, and in general all damage." (...)

If he - Wilson - had had details in mind for just peace terms, it might have been different. Instead he was thoroughly dominated by the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and the British foreign secretary Lord Edward Grey.

One wish of Wilson's was granted: he had demanded that the German Kaiser resign. He would only accept surrender from a "democratic government," presumably meaning one
like his. Due to this decision, the German democrats who had opposed the war were discredited for being those responsible for signing the terrible treaty. The opposition took all the heat, rather than the people who got the country into the war in the first place. The series of maneuvers Hitler used to seize power were difficult enough as it was. Without the destruction of the German economy by the demands of massive reparations and the discrediting of the moderate factions, Adolph Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' Party would never have been able to seize power. Hitler's entire propaganda program was based on the idea of punishing the "traitors of 1918" (those who signed the Versailles treaty), and restoring dignity to a country so humiliated by the aftermath of the first world war.

(...) Wilson's blunder also
paved the way for our current conflicts in the Middle East. With the overwhelming victory of the Allies, made possible by US involvement, the British Empire expanded by over a million square miles. The French were able to greatly expand their territories as well. The current nation-states of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and what was then called Palestine were drawn on a paper napkin by Winston Churchill with no regard for local populations at all. On top of all this, Lord Grey's successor, British foreign secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour, issued his famous "declaration," in the form of a letter to Lord Lionel Rothschild declaring the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people..." This has been, and will continue to be, a cause of major problems for the West, and the United States in particular, to say nothing of the people who live there.(...)" Blame Wilson by Scott Horton

A chantagem do costume pelos federalistas

French referendum 'no' would mean 'fall of Europe': Prodi

If France votes "no" on May 29, he told the Sunday paper Journal du Dimanche, it would be far more than a case of the country being "the black sheep" of Europe, using an expression employed by French President Jacques Chirac. "There will be no more Europe," Prodi, now leader of the Italian centre-left opposition to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said. "We will go through a great period of crisis. The problem will not only be a catastrophe for France, but the fall of Europe.

Mas a ausência de uma constituição permite que as actuais instituições funcionem e previne avanços para o centralismo democrático supra-nacional que acaba sempre por desaguar no avanço dos poderes executivos, legislativos, e depois até judiciais a nível federal.

Isso quer dizer na prática o quê? Que será mais dificil impôr a uniformidade fiscal, emissão de dívida "federal", ligação dos sistemas de segurança social, impostos federais. etc.

PS: Apesar do que por aí se diz (e por quem se deixa influenciar pelos abusos ou pura ignorância feita pelos neocons àcerca da história...a qual parece ter começado apenas com Chamberlain) foi à França que calhou o ónus de assumir a maior coragem e custos nas guerras continentais (sendo que a excepção de Napoleão foi quem inaugurou a conquista e mudança de regime em busca de uma nova ordem internacional...sem a velha europa monárquica...e uma cultura de serviço ao Estado como garante e emnador dos novos direitos da modernidade...um visionário portanto...): contra Carlos V, Bismarck (1871), Grande Guerra e Segunda Guerra (se se lembrarem de "alguém" que mais prontamente declarou guerra, em cima do opositor e até em desvantagem clara, sem ter sido directamente atacado e mais vidas perdeu teve por favor indiquem-me). A França fazia um favor a si mesma e a todos (mais uma vez) se impedisse também a construção de uma federação europeia.

sexta-feira, 22 de Abril de 2005

Pope Benedict XVI (4)

"(...) The secular world, too, hoped the church would alter its doctrines to conform to a moral relativism that teaches there is no law above manmade law, and that what is right and wrong is decided by each generation. The notion that there is a higher law—God’s law, permanent law—to which all manmade law and human conduct must conform is anathema. (...)

What the world wants the church to do is to stop claiming it is the custodian of moral truth. Because the church refuses, it is hated. As an earlier pope would not bless the new marriage of Henry VIII, this pope will not accede to the world’s demands. And so Benedict XVI must and will be relentlessly attacked.

In a sense, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who create their own moral code to conform to how they wish to live—such as Hugh Hefner, who created his own Playboy philosophy—and those who try to conform their lives to a moral code that exists outside and above themselves, like Benedict XVI.

Completing the episode in the Gospel of St. John, when the other disciples rejected his words and departed, “Jesus said unto twelve: Will you also go away? “Then Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”

What Benedict XVI is telling the world and dissident Catholics is: It is not Christ’s church that must change its teaching, it is you who must change your hearts. Like Christ himself, Benedict XVI will be reviled because he has said no to the world, the flesh and the Devil." Behind the Rage at Benedict XVI Patrick J. Buchanan

Taxa Única de Impostos

Tem piada que embora os meus colegas da Causa Liberal e outros sites liberais nuncam tenham comentado as propostas aqui feitas com insistência sobre uma Taxa Única de Impostos (a primeira das quais em artigo de Junho de 2003 - Em Defesa da Taxa Única de Tributação
Por uma aplicação mais justa, transparente e democrática da política fiscal
, o que vale é que rejeito o conceito ético de propriedade intelectual...:) a ideia (e o conceito) vem sendo comentada (até porque já foi implementada em países do Leste uns anos atrás) de forma crescente, primeiro por Miguel Frasquilho, agora por Duarte Lima (Via O Insurgente):

"Há uma terceira medida, mais simples e mais eficaz a aprovação de uma reforma fiscal que aponte para o objectivo da introdução de uma taxa única em todos os impostos, nomeadamente IRS, IRC, e IVA, acabando com o princípio da progressividade, e com a generalidade dos benefícios e incentivos fiscais, que são uma fonte de complexidade e de fraude fiscal, para lá de implicarem custos acrescidos no funcionamento da máquina burocrática do Estado que tem a seu cargo a cobrança das receitas.A questão da taxa única - a "flat tax" - está hoje no coração da discussão do debate político na Europa."

N´O Insurgente diz-se que é uma falsa questão. Que o problema está na despesa. Bem, o problema se querem saber mesmo, está na própria existência do Estado (com a capacidade unilateral de decidir despesa e receita compulsória), ou ainda o sistema monetário em que o monopólio do Banco Central emite notas para financiar os déficits públicos (e por isso a solução da despesa passa por defender o regresso ao padrão ouro e a liberdade bancária) mas misturar os problemas para baralhar a tentativa de introduzir algumas condições necessárias a uma discussão objectiva sobre o sistema fiscal nas condições actuais não ajuda.


E pergunta-se ainda:

"Exemplo: IRS progressivo com máximo de 40%, IRC a 25% e IVA a 19% ou, alternativamente, uma taxa única de 30% para todos os impostos (IRS, IRC e IVA). Qual solução preferem?"

1. Para discutirmos o que preferimos seria útil diminuir as combinações possíveis.
2. Também seria útil retirar ao jogo político a capacidade de descer um e subir o outro.
3. A TUI permite distinguir diferentes propostas eleitorais.
4. A TUI, em IRS significa que a progressividade só existe entre o escalão de isenção e o patamar sujeito, o que é mais aceitável do que concluirmos que o sistema democrático é o sistema pelo qual uma classe de rendimentos (em maioria numérica) sujeita outra (e só porque está em minoria) a condições que não impõe a si mesmo.

Pope Benedict XVI (3)

"(...) Michael Novak has rightly recognized that the very emergence of relativism means that "Power trumps."

"The new way [to relativism] – writes Novak – is not toward objectivity, but toward subjectivism; not toward truth as its criterion, but toward power. This, Ratzinger fears, is a move back toward the justification of murder in the name of "tolerance" and subjective choice."

Yet Novak does not go as far as to recognize, given such a context, the dangers entailed in the "divinization" of democratic rule so typical of the contemporary word.

Democracy goes far beyond being a merely procedural rule, and is raised to the status of the main ideological ethos of our time.

Legitimacy comes to be tested not in the light of independent criteria of good and evil – but rather via the mere ratification of a particular act by a parliamentary majority.

In a way, the very idea of the possibility of voting on whatever issue – ranging from killing infants (abortions) and adults (war) to the denial of private property (taxation) and wealth redistribution (subsidies and regulation) – is in essence a form, if not the form, of relativism.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that Truth isn’t enemy to freedom. As Alejandro Chafuen points out, "Cardinal Ratzinger focused on teaching the importance of convictions, rather than force.

On November 6, 1992, at the ceremony where Ratzinger was inducted into the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institute of France, he explained that a free society can only subsist where people share basic moral convictions and high moral standards. He further argued that these convictions need not be ‘imposed or even arbitrarily defined by external coercion’." (...)

In the 1985 interview-book, Rapporto sulla fede, that Vittorio Messori (later to interview John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope) authored with the Cardinal, he sharply defined Marxism "not the hope, but the shame of our time."

Indeed very significant is the name that Cardinal Ratzinger chose for himself.

The last Benedict was Benedict XV, who was a strong critic of World War I, which he defined as a "useless massacre" that was leading to the "suicide of Europe." Benedict XV was a Pontiff for peace. He made very clear that the path that Europe was climbing would end in the death of the West. Benedict XVI has the same vision, although today the threat to Europe is much more ideological than before: the smoking gun is not a real gun, as it was the case in 1914–18, but relativism.

Asked by an interviewer to comment on John Paul II’s opposition to the Iraqi war, the then Cardinal Ratzinger explained that he found the Holy Father’s judgment "reasonable also from a rational point of view: there were no sufficient reason to wage war against Iraq."

A Pope for Peace and Reason by Carlo Stagnaro and Alberto Mingardi

Coerção

Ainda existe (por incrivel que pareça) quem apresente o baptismo (para quem não é crente, umas palavras ditas e um pouco de água derramada) como uma acto de coerção intolerável.

Serão os mesmos que sendo pela propriedade colectiva defendem o direito a decidir sobre a vida e a morte de um ser porque o corpo é propriedade privada da mulher?

quinta-feira, 21 de Abril de 2005

Pope Benedict XVI (2)

E aí está: sempre se confirma que a intenção de Papa Bento XVI foi estabelecer uma ligação ao Papa Bento XV, que assistiu ao absurdo e tragédia da Grande Guerra, onde o anti-monárquico Woodrow Wilson ignorou os esforços do Papa Bento XV (e tendo também sido ignorado nas Conferências de Paz - podre? - que se seguiram), e que ditou o suicídio da Europa e no fim de contas, do fim do período do Liberalismo Clássico.
"...In fact, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia said Tuesday that the new pope told the cardinals he was selecting Benedict because "he is desirous to continue the efforts of Benedict XV on behalf of peace ... throughout the world."
As a Cardinal, the new pope was a staunch critic of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. On one occasion before the war, he was asked whether it would be just. "Certainly not," he said, and explained that the situation led him to conclude that "the damage would be greater than the values one hopes to save."
“All I can do is invite you to read the Catechism, and the conclusion seems obvious to me…” The conclusion is one he gave many times: "the concept of preventive war does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."
Ratzinger offered a deep insight that included but went beyond the issue of war Iraq: "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war'."
Along with his actual criticism of war, we take heart in the theological principle behind such criticism. While many Catholics, most notably Weigel, have advocated deference to the heads of state in determining issues such as war and peace, the new pope has consistently taught that the Churchcannot simply retreat into the private sphere.”
He is skeptical of the view that politics can be done without reference to the Gospel. Appeals to neutral language that does not refer to religion—popular as they are among many neo-conservative Catholics—forget some of the “hard sayings” of Jesus that don’t seem quite “rational” enough for public discourse.
(...) …He signals an invigorated contiuance of the Church speaking the truth to power. In a talk on "Church, Ecumenism, and Politics," he insisted that "The Church must make claims and demands on public law....Where the Church itself becomes the state freedom becomes lost. But also when the Church is done away with as a public and publicly relevant authority, then too freedom is extinguished, because there the state once again claims completely for itself the jurisdiction of morality."
He follows his namesake in refusing to let the Gospel become irrelevant to politics. Elected directly after the outbreak of WWI, Benedict XV sent a representative to each country to press for peace. On August 1, 1917, he delivered the Plea for Peace, which demanded a cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, and international arbitration.
Interstingly, on August 15, 1917, the Vatican sent a note to James Cardinal Gibbons, leader of the Church in the U.S. The request was that Gibbons and the U.S. Church "exert influence" with President Wison to endorse the papal peace plan to end the war. Cardinal Gibbons never contacted Wilson. (Nor does he seem to have lobbied on behalf of Benedict XV's call for a boycott on any nation that had obligatory militarey conscription.) On August 27, President Wilson formally rejected Benedict's plan.
But Gibbons and the U.S. Catholic archbishops were not about to reject Wilson's war plans. They had promised the president "truest patriotic fervor and zeal" as well as manpower: "our people, as ever, will rise as one man to serve the nation" and exhorted young men to "be Americans always." Cardinal Gibbons had even written when war was declared that "the duty of a citizen" is "absolute and unreserved obedience to his country's call."
Such unreserved obedience was not endorsed by Benedict XV, nor is it by Benedict XVI. This was perhaps what upset U.S. neoconservatives most, that John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger did not show more deference to the state. Perhaps because of their own experience with violent regimes, they seemed to grasp the biblical axiom from the Acts of the Apostles: "we must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)"

quarta-feira, 20 de Abril de 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

"In May 1945, thousands of German prisoners of war trudged down the highway toward the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling. Among them -- tired but grateful to be alive -- was 18-year-old Joseph Ratzinger, who days before had risked death by deserting the German army.(...)

At the time, he knew that the dreaded SS units would shoot a deserter on the spot -- or hang him from a lamppost as a warning to others. He recalled his terror when he was stopped by other soldiers. "Thank God they were ones who had had enough of war and did not want to become murderers," he wrote in his book, "Aus meinem Leben," published in English as "Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977."(...)

For years, he and his family had watched the Nazis strengthen their grip on Germany. His father, a policeman and a convinced anti-Nazi, moved the family at least once after clashing with local followers of the party. A local teacher, he remembered, became an ardent follower of the new movement, and tried to institute a pagan May pole ritual as more fitting of Germanic ways than the traditional, conservative Catholicism. In 1941, Ratzinger, 14, and his brother, Georg were enrolled in the Hitler Youth when it became mandatory for all boys.

Soon after, he writes in his book, "The Salt of the Earth," he was let out because of his intention to study for the priesthood. In 1943, like many teenage boys, he was drafted as a helper for an anti-aircraft brigade, which defended a BMW plant outside Munich. Later, he dug anti-tank trenches. When he turned 18, on April 16, 1945, he was put through basic training, alongside men in their 30s and 40s, drafted as the Third Reich went through its death agony. He was stationed near his hometown -- he doesn't say where -- but did not see combat with the approaching U.S. troops.

After he returned home, the Americans finally arrived -- and set up their headquarters in his parents 18th century farmhouse on the outskirts of the town. They identified him as a German soldier, made him put on his uniform, put up his hands, and marched him off to join other prisoners kept in a nearby meadow. Taken to a camp near Ulm, he wound up living outside for several weeks, surrounded by barbed wire. He was finally released June 19 and hitched a ride on a milk truck back to Traunstein.

His family was happy to see him. (...) Suddenly, in the middle of July, in walked Georg, tanned and unharmed. He sat at the piano and banged out the hymn, "Grosser Gott, wir Loben Dich," "Mighty God, we Praise You" as his family rejoiced. The war was truly over. "The following months of regained freedom, which we now had learned to value so much, belong to the happiest months of my life," he wrote.

Pope Benedict XV (2)

Sobre a Grande Guerra em Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum: "On every side the dread phantom of war holds sway: there is scarce room for another thought in the minds of men. The combatants are the greatest and wealthiest nations of the earth; what wonder, then, if, well provided with the most awful weapons modern military science has devised, they strive to destroy one another with refinements of horror. There is no limit to the measure of ruin and of slaughter; day by day the earth is drenched with newly-shed blood, and is covered with the bodies of the wounded and of the slain. Who would imagine as we see them thus filled with hatred of one another, that they are all of one common stock, all of the same nature, all members of the same human society? Who would recognize brothers, whose Father is in Heaven? Yet, while with numberless troops the furious battle is engaged, the sad cohorts of war, sorrow and distress swoop down upon every city and every home; day by day the mighty number of widows and orphans increases, and with the interruption of communications, trade is at a standstill; agriculture is abandoned; the arts are reduced to inactivity; the wealthy are in difficulties; the poor are reduced to abject misery; all are in distress."

terça-feira, 19 de Abril de 2005

Sinais: Pope Benedict XV

"On 25 May 1914 Chiesa was appointed a cardinal and, in this capacity, on the outbreak of World War I—with the papacy vacant upon Pius X's death on 20 August—he made a speech on the Church's position and duties, emphasising the need for neutrality and promoting peace and the easing of suffering. The conclave opened at the end of August, and, on 3 September 1914, Chiesa was elected Pope, taking the name of Benedict XV.

His pontificate was dominated by the war, which he termed "the suicide of Europe", and its turbulent aftermath. His early call for a Christmas truce in 1914 was ignored, and though he organised significant humanitarian efforts (establishing a Vatican bureau, for instance, to help prisoners of war from all nations contact their families) and made many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace, his effectiveness even in Italy was undermined by his pacifist stance. The best known was the seven-point Papal Peace proposal of August 1917, demanding a cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, guaranteed freedom of the seas, and international arbitration. Only Woodrow Wilson responded directly, declaring that a declaration of peace was premature; in Europe each side saw him as biased in favour of the other and were unwilling to accept the terms he proposed. This resentment resulted in the exclusion of the Vatican from the Paris peace conference of 1919; despite this, he wrote an encyclical pleading for international reconciliation, Pacem Dei munus." Via Wikipedia

PS: Como se vê também por este relato, Woodrow Wilson insistiu na continuação da guerra, o que facilitou o colapso na Rússia assim como o de todas as monarquias europeias, depois tivemos Versailles, os Impérios ainda mais alargados dos vencedores (com os cumprimentos da Liga das Nações), o comunismo e o fascismo e a Segunda Guerra - ou seja, como disse o Papa Bento XV: "the suicide of Europe". E assim foi.

Lideres naturais

A Igreja mostra bem a maior legitimidade das organizações civis (e que incluem as religiosas). Milhões de pessoas submetem-se voluntariamente a um codigo social, respeita a sua hierarquia e venera as suas tradições que têm um sabor medieval. Os lideres formam-se naturalmente e o financiamento da instituição é voluntário.

Comparem isso com o Estado e o Sistema Político. Não se sabe bem porquê mas os lideres são normalmente quem faz a guerra que financiam com colecta compulsória (quando não serviço obrigatório). Outros passam a vida a prometer o bem na terra promovendo a transferência de riqueza e perseguir quem a cria. E depois, a cada momento, o seu entendimento moral ou amoral uniforme é a todos imposto.

Números

Leio com frequência como os grupos terroristas relacionados com a querela territorial Israel-Palestina provocaram já milhares de mortos. E de facto assim é e por isso devem ser condenados. Mas às vezes parece escapar que o número de mortos àrabes-palestinianos (a que se junta a destruição de património, etc) é várias vezes superior. Não é o que os números façam prova do que quer que seja, mas convém não exagerar.

The security dilemma

"(...) The Yousefzadeh prescription, by contrast, is to issue the government a blank check to pursue an "activist foreign policy" in order to "maximize [its] own power." This notion is bizarre on its own, but in no sense is it libertarian. How does he define "power"? Does he mean that libertarians should seek to maximize the amount of power the state has, or the amount of power it uses? How would a state that is infinitely powerful abroad act at home? Would it act libertarian? More basically, should libertarians be concerned first and foremost with maximizing the power of the state, or the liberty of its constituents?

Libertarians also contribute to the debate a unique skepticism about the concentration of power -- one that too rarely penetrates discussions of foreign affairs. Knowing that governments always seek to accumulate more power, we believe in a stark separation of powers domestically, and in limiting the government by a constitution that clearly delineates what each branch can and cannot do. The foundation for this skepticism lies in the belief that branches of government - or governments themselves - that hold too much power will use too much power.

Thinking of international politics as a system of governments, then, one can see that the relative concentration of too much power in one part of the system is problematic from a libertarian analytical perspective.
[2] Massive defense budgets, a sprawling global archipelago of forward-deployed bases and other resources not needed for defending the country will inevitably be used and expanded, leading other states to seek more power for themselves in order to balance against the United States. International relations theory refers to this phenomenon as the security dilemma. We could minimize the risk of other states arming against us by enunciating a humble foreign policy and hewing to it closely. (...)" What Realism Isn't, and What Libertarianism Is, By Justin Logan

Anti-federalismos

O comércio livre não necessita de união política.

A união politica por outro lado, apenas aumenta a capacidade de estabelecer maiores barreiras (como a política agrícola e outras) decididas em bloco e com maior eficácia, assim como aumenta a tendência para a uniformização fiscal e legislativa.

Quanto maior é a dimensão de um circulo eleitoral mais desvirtuada é a noção de democracia. A eleição directa de um governo executivo europeu aumentaria em alguma coisa a nossa "liberdade"?

Os socialistas e estatistas de todas as cores sabem bem que quanto maior é a região democrática mais se estabelece o estatismo - eliminando por completo qualquer chance de idiossincracias liberais (baixos impostos, desregulamentação, regimes estranhos como principados, etc).

A teoria segundo o qual é preferível passar a estarmos sujeitos a um centralismo democrático supra-nacional porque "aqui não nos entendemos" não é um pouco derrotista e totalitária?

Lembrem-me outra vez, exactamente para quê um Tratado Constitucional e o Federalismo Europeu?

E por outro lado, não somos realmente mais federais como espaço inter-governamental do que os próprios EUA cujo caminho federalizante apenas tem vindo a invadir as capacidades dos seus Estados (e já vou deixar de lado o mau precedente histórico da sua Guerra entre Estados no que respeita à capacidade desses Estados se retirarem de uma Federação)?

domingo, 17 de Abril de 2005

Anti-Federalismos

"(...) The Euroskeptic Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who defends that old-fashioned concept of the nation-state and who believes a "supranational" organization such as the EU bodes ill for the actual people who live there, attacked the Eurocrat royalty in a recent interview.

"...For these people who breakfast in Venice, lunch in Dublin and dine in Stockholm," Klaus says, employing a good old Czech reference, "there is Kundera's 'unbearable lightness of being.' For them it [the EU] is a paradise which they must defend" - that is, a paradise of limitles free travel, bloated salaries and endless perks, of the comfortable anonymity of not being a truly public figure, thus no threat of an accountability moment, but of truly spending the public's money.

Indeed, says Klaus, "...unfortunately the EU and the debate about the Constitution are in the hands of people, eurofederalists, who have bound their own future to the EU [emphasis added]. These people need supranational powers like the EU. [T]hat is the ideal forum for people like them - where they see personal prospects for work, salary, profession and reputation." Balkananalysis.com

Reforma Eleitoral nas Autarquias

Começam agora a discutir as vantagens e desvantagens do actual sistema versus executivos monocolores, etc.

Porque não acertar em dois ou três sistema aceitáveis e deixar a escolha do regime concreto ao Município?

Limitação de mandatos: Má ideia

O problema da gestão da coisa pública é o curto horizonte temporal que está subjacente nos cargos políticos.

Conhecem alguma empresa a definir mandatos máximos? Quanto muito algumas contêm limite de idade nos estatutos.

E sempre digo que é precisamente as autarquias que esse limite menos se justifica. Pelo contrário, quanto mais "centralista" for o cargo menor a minha oposição à limitação.

Por exemplo, os deputados. Não sendo eleitos em circulos uninominais, tornado-se instrumentos da partidocracia da capital, sendo um conjunto restrito mais ou menos conhecido e todos os outros desconhecidos, a limitação de mandatos impõe uma rotação de desconhecidos, assim tipo, vamos "democratizar" o papel do desconhecido e inútil.

Já sendo eleitos em circulos uninominais (e com deveres de presença e serviço à comunidade cujos interesses devem representar), a limitação é perfeitamente escusada.

A limitação de mandatos presta-se a precisamente retirar da gestão autárquica e do deputado uninominal (se os existissem) a necessária visão de médio e longo prazo e os que têm o consenso alargado local (para o que ajudaria a possibilidade de candidatos independentes).

Economist: Taxa Única de Impostos

No "Special Report" da semana, "The case for flat taxes" fala dos passos tímidos dados pelos países da UE e EUA para se começar sequer a falar do assunto enquanto outros a implementam:

O primeiro foi a ESTONIA em 1994 com 26% para IRS e IRC

Depois, "Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia´s Baltic neighbours, promptly floowed its example."

Rússia: 13%

Eslováquia: 19% para o IRS e IRC e mais tarde IVA (não sabia desta quando pela primeira vez fiz a proposta de Taxa Única de Impostos)

Polónia: um dos partidos o centro-direita propõe o mesmo mas com IRS, IRC e IVA a 15%.

E ainda temos, em IRS:

Sérvia: 14%
Ucrânia: 13%
Georgia: 12%
Roménia: 16%.

Pessoalmente, o exemplo a seguir é a de uma Taxa Única de Impostos para o IRS, IRC e IVA, como a Eslováquia.

O princípio devia ser aceite pelo regime, passando as propostas eleitorais a disputarem um único valor para a taxa sobre estes impostos. Poderiam continuar sim, a discutir, o quanto alto deverá ser o rendimento com isenção em termos de IRS (uma discussão sempre saudável e onde o jogo eleitoral tende a funcionar a favor da subida do nível de isenção), ou a coexistência ainda de taxas de IVA menores como actualmente.

O que importa é simplificar não só o sistema fiscal, mas também tornar mais clara a discussão sob a colecta fiscal, poupando as habituais falácias quer dos políticos quer dos economistas de como este imposto é pior do que aquele, resultando num processo ad infinitum de descidas deste e subida daquele, aumento de todos no fim.

sexta-feira, 15 de Abril de 2005

Destaque: Papa João Paulo II e Ludwig von Mises

(Deixo apenas o início do texto)

Two Men From Galicia By Christopher Westley

With the death of Pope John Paul II last week, many have compared his intellectual contributions to those of Ludwig von Mises. Comparisons are certainly apt, as both men have much in common. That their experience with 20th century totalitarianism shaped their lives is well known. It is less well known that they both spent their formative years in a similar area of Poland—Mises's ancestral home of Lemberg and John Paul's Krakow are in an area of Poland known as Galicia.

When Mises grew up, the Habsburg family was still in power and this region had not yet succumbed to the forces of modernism then spreading across Europe. Mises himself would be a lifelong friend of Otto von Habsburg. That family's influence no doubt still characterized the region when John Paul was born some two generations later. During the beatification of Emperor Karl in Rome last October, one news report stated that John Paul himself—previously Cardinal Karol Wojtyla—was named by his parents for Karl von Habsburg. (At the time of John Paul's birth, Emperor Karl's martyrdom to the advances of the Progressive Era was well under way. He would die three years later.)

So it was a Catholic culture, aristocratic, and somewhat non-democratic, that shaped Mises and John Paul into top-rate intellectuals within their realms of the social sciences. Their intellectual formation—reflecting several centuries of Scholastic influence on the Continent—contrasted with the modernizing tendencies of Europe at a time when Hegel was still the most popular philosopher in Germany. Aristotelian ideas were still very strong in Austria as well as in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the decades leading up to World War I.

Both Mises's and John Paul's philosophies center on the human person, as suggested by the titles of each man's important treatises—Mises's Human Action and John Paul's The Acting Person. In both of their writings, there is a strong emphasis on the sanctity and centrality of the individual.(...)"

Contra o Estado Laico

Alguns liberais protestam com todos os simbolos religiosos que as escolas públicas mostram ou qualquer outro indício que ponha em causa a sua noção de Estado Laico (mas ser Laico não é em si uma posição moral?).

O problema não é esse, mas sim a própria noção de ensino público. O Estado tem de retirar-se da sociedade civil precisamente para não ter que se colocar na posição de favorecer o que quer que seja.

Mas a partir do momento em que se aceita o ensino público, tem de se aceitar que este seja influenciado. O problema é que os "laicos" favorecem o ensino "laico" como se fosse possível alguam noção de ensino "neutral". Mas isso é uma falácia, não pode existir "neutralidade" porque ser "neutral" é um afirmação em si bastante ideológica. E impor "neutralidade" é uma imposição como outra qualquer.

Existem muitas evidências que provam que as instituições religiosas (como as Católicas, mas também outras) são muito eficientes a oferecer ensino.

Se existe ensino público este tem de ser necessáriamente influenciado. Mas por quem? Pela comunidade local que em primeira ordem financia esse ensino local.

Por exemplo, o problema da medida Francesa nã foi a proibição dos trajes "religiosos" em si. Foi o comando central uniforme para milhares de escolas.

As escolas privadas (ou qualquer outra propriedade privada) tem toda a soberania (ou devia ter) para proibir ou estabelecer qualquer tipo de pré-condição para os trajes dos seus alunos-consumidores.

O que em França devia ter sido feito era permitir (se é que já não era) que cada Escola pública tomasse as medidas regulamentares que achassem necessárias quanto a esse ponto.

Se as escolas privadas podem ser religiosas, as escolas financiadas colectivamente por uma comunidade também o podem ser.

O facto do Estado ter tirado soberania às comunidades, cobrando impostos a nível nacional que uma elite política e administrativa retém e decide como distribuir centralmente, tal facto não deve esconder que em última análise as escolas pertencem de facto às comunidades locais. E que estas devem decidir se querem o tipo de "neutralidade" que o Ministério do Pensamento deseja impor.

quinta-feira, 14 de Abril de 2005

Neo-Jacobins?

Claes G. Ryn, professor of politics at the Catholic University of America, is chairman of the National Humanities Institute and the author of America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire.:

"(...) The neoconservatives have transformed the old American exceptionalism, which counseled isolation from the world, into an assertive, ideologically intense nationalism, whose smugness seems to know no bounds. The president has long asserted that America’s values are for all people. “There is a value system that cannot be compromised, and that is the values we praise. And if the values are good enough for our people, they ought to be good enough for others.” In the State of the Union address he claimed, “we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born.” He and America are called to enact the will of Providence.

That a particular leader or country could be identified with God’s purpose is a notion alien to the mainstream of the Christian tradition, which insists that humans are fallen beings. Their knowledge is, at best, imperfect.

(...) “Freedom” and “democracy” can mean radically different things. The president, his secretary of state, and their neoconservative idea-men have connected them with the Jacobin faith. The French Jacobins were followers of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued, “man was born free, but he is everywhere in chains.” For men to be liberated, inherited societies and beliefs had to be destroyed.

(...) To France was assigned the mission of liberation. Europe and other parts of the world were thrust into protracted war.

(...) In a large number of speeches and statements since 9/11, the president has made clear that he considers armed world hegemony necessary to America’s mission. At the inauguration, the massive security—involving some 30,000 secret service agents, police, and military personnel—and other telltale symbolism signaled the invincibility and willpower of the United States.

(...) neoconservative foreign-policy analyst Robert Kagan wrote in the Washington Post that America should pursue timeless “universal aspirations.” Fighting terrorism was “too narrow, too limited” as a “paradigm for American foreign policy.”

(...) They demanded “moral clarity” in U.S. foreign policy. Good stood against evil. After 9/11, Bush became their chief spokesman. He committed the United States to what he calls “the global democratic revolution.” The war against Iraq, he said, was “the first step” in that revolution.

(...) Rarely has an ideology been so strongly entrenched in a country’s opinion-molding establishment. Especially with regard to foreign policy, the new Jacobinism is strongly represented in virtually all leading American media outlets. In the press, this is particularly true of the Wall Street Journal, but the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and U.S. News and World Report all give it more than a hearing. Among the opinion magazines, the Weekly Standard is its main voice, but on foreign-policy issues at least, it also dominates formerly more conservative magazines like National Review.

(...) The America they champion is not the America of history with its deep roots in a European and English past. In theory, they have constructed their own America, which represents a radical break with history. “ To celebrate America is ... to celebrate revolution,” writes professor Harry Jaffa, a leading disciple of Leo Strauss, whose admirers are spread throughout the Bush administration.

(...) Michael Ledeen, who first came into view as an advisor on national security in the Reagan White House, openly portrays the America with which he identifies as a destroyer of existing societies. According to Ledeen, “Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day. ... Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions. ... [We] must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”

(...) According to Irving Kristol, the reputed godfather of neoconservatism, today’s United States is “ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear.” His son William insists that for America vigorously to promote its universal principles abroad, it must have great military and other governmental might.

The old conservative suspicion of strong, centralized federal government must be abandoned. According to the elder Kristol, it has been the role of neoconservatism “to convert the Republican party, and conservatism in general, against their wills,” to this new conception of government.

To call people who are attracted to the new Jacobinism “neoconservatives” reveals profound confusion. Modern conservatism was born in opposition to Jacobin universalism.

The father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, was an English liberal, a Whig, who was very friendly to the American colonists; he thought they had strong traditional grounds for challenging king and Parliament. What Burke argued passionately against, by contrast, was the French Revolution and Jacobin thinking, which he saw as expressing an unhistorical, tyrannical spirit and an importunate desire for power. Burke warned specifically against “liberty” in the abstract.

Like Burke, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution associated liberty with particular inherited traditions, limited, decentralized government, checks on power, self-restraint, moderation, and a willingness to compromise. Jacobin “freedom,” by contrast, justifies unchecked imperial power. (...) "

quarta-feira, 13 de Abril de 2005

O Desemprego...

...é uma consequência da interferência na liberdade contratual entre dois proprietários: o do capital e o da sua força de mão de obra/talento.

O equilibrio entre as partes está assim formado naturalmente. Ao segundo é proposto receber receitas adiantadas sob vendas incertas de um produto ou serviço cuja produção só é possível pelo capital incorporado. Quanto mais capital está incorporado na produção de um produto ou serviço voluntáriamente consumido, maior é o valor do salário. A cada momento, quanto mais capital (poupança acumulada sob forma física: casas, máquinas, processos, vias de comunicação, etc) existe, maior é a produtividade do trabalho.

Foi George Reisman que afirmou e com razão, que não é o lucro que subtrai valor à mão de obra. Pelo contrário, os salários são adiantamentos e valores subtraídos às receitas das vendas proporcionadas apenas pelo capital e conhecimento do empreendedor(es)-accionista(s)-gestor(es) (o que organiza e sabe distribuir as tarefas, gerir a informação, detectar necessidades, aloca recursos fisicos e humanos - estes últimos por contratos voluntários entre partes).

Os tempos actuais são as da negação da realidade, a procura de uma outra realidade porque não querem enfrentarem a que têm.

Depois, para combater o desemprego aumentam ainda mais as interferências: criam o subsídio de desemprego, salário mínimo, aumentam o preço da oferta de trabalho em 33% pela taxa de segurança social, determinadas profissões são "protegidas" por licenças e regulamentações várias e ainda pelos proto-monopólios sancionados pela lei das Ordens e Associações, e depois...

a culpa é da liberdade contratual.

O Porquê

de atribuir tanta importância à Grande Guerra deve-se ao facto de este evento marcar:

- o fim do Liberalismo Clássico e das suas liberdades (impostos abaixo de 10% do PIB, comercio internacional, livre circulação, padrão ouroe banca livre, etc)
- o fim das monarquias e da velha civilização europeia
- o surgimento da doença da ideologia, das repúblicas fascistas e comunistas (em primeira ordem a Revolução Soviética)
- o fim da República Americana no seu carácter de excepção: a inata desconfiança e quase rejeição do poder politico e aversão aos problemas do mundo
- ter dado lugar a outra Guerra (seguido da Guerra Fria, com origem na aliança com Estaline e a tragédia dos nacionalismos/descolonizações disputadas sob 2 blocos intervencionistas)
- o início do paradigma da social-democracia, o centralismo democrático, o monopólio legislativo, o igualitarismo
- o monopólio (ou quase) da educação estatista

E estas foram as bases em que assentou a construção do Estado Moderno.

terça-feira, 12 de Abril de 2005

O debate continua

No History News Network:

Wood's book is valuable because it opens questions like the German breach of Belgium's neutrality as the prime cause for WWI.

Was it? If so, were German intentions misread? Official records muddy rather than clarify.

Thus a book like Wood's that disagrees with current theory is very valuable. And Woods is not the first by any means. Maybe he's just a convenient target because he's supposedly Conservative.

One of the finest iconoclastic books of recent years "The Pity of War" by Niall Ferguson says British intervention in August was not defensive - not a result of the German right invading Belgium. Ferguson insists (with a mountain of circumstancial evidence) that, had the Germans not violated Belgian neutrality, the British would have done so themselves.

John Keegan in his "The First World War" seems to agree, at least partially, on page 33 and blames a series of facts and events (most not in Germany's control) that forced a reluctant breach of Belgian neutrality. Some historians have cited Sir Edward Grey's failures and the Tsar's haste as reasons the Germans miscalculated.

The vast horror of WWI was, all agree, brought on by a series of collosal blunders that may never come unraveled.I believe it never hurts to examine accepted truths of any era or class, and the howls of pain from the Left and the Right only whet my appetite for this book.

Prince Rainier, RIP

Jørn K. Baltzersen (is a senior consultant of information technology in Oslo, Norway):

April 6 one of Europe’s ten monarchs – and one of the two ruling – passed away. Indeed Rainier III highly deserves to be named a Hoppean monarch. The long reign and rule of Prince Rainier III should be highly praised. Along with the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Principality of Monaco is one of the two of Europe's ten monarchies where the monarch not only reigns, but also rules. There are perhaps no words for how pleasing it is that, nearly nine decades after a world war – with the "good" help of Pres. Woodrow Wilson – ended the monarchical age, two princes still rule on the European continent.

How he successfully stood up against the attempted usurpations of democratic politicians in this age is impressing and delightful. Delightful it is too that democrats have no grounds at all for saying that Monaco is a terrible tyrannical place. Neither do they have such grounds when it comes to Liechtenstein.

Although the Chief Minister must be chosen among candidates nominated by France, it is still up to the ruling Prince to choose. The executive power is vested in the Prince. In this democratic republican age this has become unacceptable, but it still is so in the Principality of Monaco. Every monarch is expected nowadays when the legislature comes and asks for his prerogatives to give way. Not so with Prince Rainier. He stood up to them and told them that those prerogatives were his.

According to the obituary by the Times Prince Rainier was called "The Boss" by both the then Crown Prince Albert and subjects, a "nickname" certainly deserving a man who refused to give in to modern democracy.

In this age of ever-expanding government and high-tax nations muscling, His Serene Highness also stood up to claims by France to tax Monegasque residents. It wasn’t a full victory, as France now has a right to tax her own who move there. Other residents are relieved of any direct taxation. Oh, what a tyrannical government!

Let us hope that the worries that the new Sovereign will not be able to lead Monaco as his father did and keep the principality "off the rocks" will be proven groundless. Tax havens are sorely needed in this high tax world. So are undemocratic shining stars in this age of totalitarian democracy. We will miss the late Prince. If the worries are not proven groundless, we will miss him immensely.

The new Prince needs inspiration and encouragement to keep up the good work. May the rule of the House of Grimaldi outlive the democratic republican age. May His Serene Highness Prince Albert II long reign and rule over Monaco.

sábado, 9 de Abril de 2005

"All isolationism got us was a Second World War"

Resposta (Jim Powell):

"Presumably you're referring to the unwillingness of Britain, France and the United States to do stop Hitler when he might have been easily stopped during the 1930s.

Why do you suppose Britain, France and the United States didn't want to fight?

Because millions of lives had been squandered by reckless generals and politicians in a stupid war from 1914 to 1918, and these countries understandably weren't in a hurry to get into another war.

Britain's General Douglas Haig was responsible for nearly 20,000 deaths in a single day during the Battle of the Somme (altogether 95,675 dead British soldiers and 420,000 total British casualties in that battle). A reported 50,729 French soldiers were killed, too. Then there were the battles of the Marne (1914, 270,000 French and British soldiers killed), Artois (1915, 100,000 French soldiers killed), Ypres (Second Battle, 1915, 70,000 French soldiers killed), Gallipoli (1915, 50,000 British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers killed), Verdun (1916, 315,000 French soldiers killed), Arras (1916, 160,000 British soldiers killed) and Passchendaele (1917, 310,000 British soldiers killed). The United States lost about 116,000 soldiers in the war.

The United States couldn't prevent other countries from fighting, but we could have stayed out of the war, and that would have prevented the British and French from winning the decisive victory that put them in a position to dictate vindictive surrender terms.

By forcing a representative of the new and fragile Germany democracy to sign the humiliating armistice -- that, among other things provided for a continuation of the British navy's "hunger blockade" against Germany, even though Germany had stopped fighting -- Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George immediately discredited German democracy. They further discredited German democracy by requiring that its representatives sign the vindictive Treaty of Versailles.

Hitler would have been much less likely to gain power if the Allies hadn't humiliated the Germans, demanded ruinous reparations and the rest, since he skillfully exploited the bitter nationalist response in Germany.

(...) If the United States were unable to assure a magnanimous treaty with better prospects of avoiding bitterness, dictators and another war, then what was the point of entering the war and sacrificing 116,000 American lives?

Even if Wilson had been competent, I doubt a vindictive treaty could have been avoided, because of all the slaughter, destruction and bitterness that resulted from the war. Whoever won a decisive victory was going to take it out on the losers.

The key mistake was entering the war and enabling one side to win a decisive victory. The Germans were unlikely to win a decisive victory. Even before American soldiers arrrived at the front in appreciable numbers, the German 1917 offensive was running out of steam. German soldiers had advanced far from their supply lines. German soldiers were weary. The army was putting down mutinies. Military production as well as the general economy continued to suffer the effects of the British naval blockade.

Even if Germany had won, it would have been surrounded by hostile guerrilla fighting, in France, the Balkans and the territories acquired from Russia. World War I had started amidst the nationality conflicts in the Balkans, and the hatreds were as intense as ever.

If America had remained a true neutral ("isolationist") during World War I, probably Hitler would never have come to power, and the Holocaust wouldn't have happened.

(...)For instance, Russian expert and Pulitzer Prize winning historian George F. Kennan observed with characteristic understatement, “it may be questioned whether the United States government, in company with other western Allies, did not actually hasten and facilitate the failure of the Provisional Government by insisting that Russia should continue the war effort, and by making this demand the criterion for its support. In asking the leaders of the Provisional Government simultaneously to consolidate their political power and to revive and continue participation in the war, the Allies were asking the impossible.” [George F. Kennan, Russia Leaves the War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956), p. 23]

(...) Biographer Robert Service observed that “Lenin had been given his chance because of the wartime economic dislocation, administrative breakdown and political disarray.” Clearly, this meant the longer Russia disintegrated, the more likely Lenin would be able to seize power. [Robert Service, Lenin, a Biography (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), p. 369]

(...) The arrogant Woodrow Wilson was playing an international war game even though he knew little about it. Richard Pipes, the distinguished historian of the Russian Revolution, observed that “Woodrow Wilson seems to have believed that the Bolsheviks truly spoke for the Russian people and formed a detachment of that grand international army that he imagined advancing toward universal democracy and eternal peace…Every message which the U.S. government transmitted to the Bolshevik authorities in the early months of 1918 conveyed the sense that Washington took at face value the Bolsheviks’ professions of democratic and peaceful intentions and ignored their calls for world revolution.” [Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990), pp. 600, 601, 602]

By pressuring and bribing the Russian Provisional Government to stay in World War I, Wilson along with the French and British helped accelerate the disintegration of the Russian army until there was hardly any army left to resist Lenin's fourth coup attempt in 1917.

(...) During the Russian Revolution, Lenin was the only political leader speaking out for peace -- his slogan was "Peace, Land and Bread." Of course, Lenin wanted totalitarian power, not peace, but by pressuring and bribing the Russian Provisional Government to stay in the war, as I make clear in WILSON'S WAR, Woodrow Wilson played into Lenin's hands. Russia stayed in the war, there was another humiliating defeat during the summer of 1917, and Russian soldiers deserted the army by the hundreds of thousands.

Increasingly, Lenin appeared to be the only alternative to the disastrous war policy.By the fall of 1917, the Russian army had virtually collapsed, and Lenin seized power on his fourth coup attempt. Lenin recognized that if Russia didn't withdraw from the war, he would be overthrown, so he pushed to accept the draconian German settlement terms (give up large chunks of Russian territory populated by non-Russian peoples).Meanwhile, Lenin established his secret police, concentration camps and a reign of terror, starting a civil war aimed at expanding Bolshevik control over the entire country. Some 5 million people were killed.Wilson didn't intend to play into Lenin's hands, but he knew wars are unpredictable, and entering wars unrelated to national defense is asking for trouble. If he didn't know this, he had no business playing an international war game."