There are fundamental facts about the nature of the world we live in which are unalterable by human desire or action. Conservation laws are an example of this. You cannot get something for nothing, on the aggregate. Certainly, A can get something for nothing but only if someone else, B, gets nothing for something.
When the government gives something to some identifiable group, it cannot do so without taking (usually by force) from some other person or group. On the aggregate, the government does not produce the goodies it distributes. It merely takes through taxation what it intends to distribute, keeps part of it for its own consumption and distributes the remaining (often a very small part of what it takes) to certain groups to buy their allegiance. Continue reading
As commercial airlines go, Air India is nothing to write home about. Air India ranked third-worst performing airline in the world, reported Economic Times in Jan 2017. Air India’s all-round dismal performance–customer service, timeliness, cabin service, heavy commercial losses, etc., etc.–is not surprising considering that it is a Government of India enterprise. Nothing that the GOI does is ever done competently and well. The bureaucrats and politicians are perhaps the least competent in the world, barring a few African banana republics. Continue reading
Merely because governments routinely undertake to do a large number of things, most people tend to assume that it is not only legitimate for governments to do so but also believe that only governments can, should and must do them. This is a mistaken attitude that has enormous social costs that in the worst case impoverishes nations, and in the best case prevents nations from being as rich as they are capable of.
Why do we need a government in any case? The answer could lead us to an understanding of the proper role a government in a free society. But what do we mean by a free society? A society is a collective comprised of individuals, and a free society is one in which every individual is free to do what he or she pleases provided that he or she does not impinge on the corresponding freedom of other individuals.
This freedom of the individual comes with a constraint, namely, that the individual does not initiate force against others, and respects the private property of others. The primary injunction can be stated as, “Do not harm others, and don’t take their property.” Continue reading
We’ll know on Nov 8th which fork in the road ahead the US takes. Since I value freedom, I cannot ever support either of the major parties but I hope that Clinton does not win. But it looks like she will. Anyway, here’s my favorite commentator, Pat Condell, on what’s in store for the US.
If you were an employer, and your employee was inefficient, incompetent, irresponsible and arrogant, you would fire him. There are other people who can do the job. If you were an employee, and the work was demeaning, the boss irascible, the pay miserly, you would quit. There are other jobs in other companies. If you were a customer, and the product was faulty, expensive, unreliable and badly designed, you would take your business elsewhere. There are other suppliers of goods and services. If you were in a partnership, and your partner was insulting, domineering, lazy and greedy, you would dissolve the partnership. We can associate with others. We all have the freedom to do the best we can and deserve our just deserts. But all bets are off when it comes to the government.
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, polymath, inventor, scientist, writer, diplomat, etc., etc., Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) observed that “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” An analogous statement about nations could be that all nations are born poor but it requires hard work to keep it in poverty. Not surprisingly that hard work is properly done by the politicians of poor countries. What’s surprising is the evident pride they appear to take in their dismal accomplishment. They obviously revel in the fact that the country is poor and proclaim it loudly for all to marvel at. A recent statement on twitter (image below) by the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, retweeted over 1500 time no doubt approvingly by Indians, brought this to mind.
This video is from 26th January, 2014. Truthdig.com has the details: The Edward Snowden Interview the U.S. Media Didn’t Want You to Watch. Excerpts from it below the video.
“Every time you pick up a phone, dial a number, write an email, make a purchase, travel on the bus carrying a cell phone, swipe a card somewhere, you leave a trace, and the government has decided that it’s a good idea to collect it all, everything, even if you’ve never been suspected of a crime.”
That revelation is actually from a second interview given by former Central Intelligence Agency and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, this time to German broadcast giant ARD.
And even though ARD is the second largest public broadcaster in the world (after the British Broadcasting Company), and Snowden’s message easily unearths the largest violations of the Constitution by the US to date, our dinosaur media does not believe this is mainstream enough to cover.
To be clear, you cannot find the 30-minute interview – released via the international video-sharing site LiveLeak on Jan. 27 – on one single American news outlet.”
People should be free to do whatever they can and wish to do. But that does not give license to people to do such things that cause harm to others. Since it would be too inefficient for each of us to individually protect himself or herself from harm by others, it is prudent to collectively create a mechanism that provides “policing services” that prevent anyone from causing harm to others, and in case harm is caused, to provide a means for the redressal of the harm and the punishment of the culprit. This fundamental function of providing policing services is the government’s proper role. Thus the proper role of the government must be limited to restraining people from harming others but not to forcing people into doing particular things.
In other words, the government’s job is solely to protect the negative right of every person, namely the right to be unharmed by others. Of course, there has to be a mechanism for determining what actions are harmful to others. The design of the mechanism that determine the rules — the rules of just conduct — has to be specified by a set of meta-rules. These meta-rules we call the constitution.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction by Murray Rothbard to Étienne de La Boétie’s Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (1576). It’s important for us to understand this because India is under “voluntary servitude” to the corrupt few, namely the politicians that Indians elect.