Labels are useful. They indicate the content of objects which could be anything — from cans and bottles to people and institutions.
But labels can also be confusing if they are not properly defined before they are used. I think it is always prudent to define labels before using them. I agree with Confucius that definitions matter above all else. Confucius say:
“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”
I identify as a classical liberal, aka an Old World liberal. I believe in individual freedom, and equality of all persons. So what exactly is a old world (or classical) liberal? Part of my ideology is described by Murray Rothbard thusly:
Today is the 71st anniversary of the Republic Day of India. On Jan 26th, 1950, the constitution of India came into force.
Here are a few posts from previous years. Last year’s post was “Whoever fights monsters …”
Around 1951 you could count the number of central government public sector units (PSUs) on the fingers of one hand: there were five. Twenty-five years later by 1976, that number had ballooned to 155. By 1984, there were 220. The central government added 70 PSUs in the following 30 years — for grand total of 290 by 2014. That’s a rate of increase was a little over two per year.
With Modi as the prime minister — and the de facto autocrat of India — the rate of increase of public sector units shot up to over 12 per year. In the four years 2014 to 2018, about 50 additional PSUs were added. Modi promised one thing — “government has no business to be in business” — and delivered precisely the opposite.
A few things that I recently found on the web that especially caught my attention. I will lead with the cute.
All young animals are shy. Here’s a shy baby meerkat by Japanese photographer Mamekoro (@mamekoro51). No different from a human baby tentatively peeking to see what’s out there.
The relationship between economic freedom and prosperity is empirically verifiable. Countries that are relatively economically free — meaning free markets and private ownership of capital — do better than countries that are not economically free.
South Korea, for example, is a rich country and North Korea is a disaster zone; Chileans are better off than Venezuelans; capitalist West Germany was richer than socialist East Germany. Continue reading
I have a lot of work piled up. I usually deal with piles of work by entertaining myself watching TV and YouTube. It’s more fun than doing serious stuff. However one topic is both serious and fun. It’s the climate change hysteria. It’s fun to watch the Chicken Littles running around clucking “the sky is falling.” But it is seriously disturbing that governments would grab more power to “address” climate change, and in that process deal a body blow to any hopes of the poor escaping the poverty that has been imposed on them by governments.
Anyhow, here’s an episode of The Mark Steyn Show that is both fun and serious. Enjoy.
The thing that astonished me the most when I came to the United States was the public library. Every city and even rinky-dinky towns have public libraries. These are open to all and for free, unlike say university libraries.
Fortunately for me, my formal schooling prepared me by giving me the tools (reading comprehension and numeracy) for me to use libraries. I think that at the very least, everyone should be given those tools so that they can access libraries. That’s all that you need to do to get an educated citizenry. Continue reading
The correlation between economic freedom and economic prosperity is well-established and robust. Economics explains why this relationship exists and also the causal direction — economic freedom is the cause and prosperity the effect.
I am by nature in favor of freedom of all flavors, not just economic freedom. I value freedom as an ultimate good, although it fortunately happens to be an instrumental good too. Even if material prosperity did not follow from economic freedom — meaning that it was not instrumental in creating wealth — I would still value economic freedom for itself. Philosophically I am not a utilitarian.
These musings are provoked by a comment to the piece on Economic Freedom and Well-being last week. Here’s the comment: