The first thing we do, let’s kill all the rich

I think envy drives more people to do bad stuff than ambition or greed ever did. And politicians regularly depend on envy to motivate the masses to elect them on the promise that the wealthy are evil and therefore deserving of the pain that they are sure to suffer. Naturally the crookedest of the politicians … Continue reading The first thing we do, let’s kill all the rich

Strangling the Politicians

In my last post, On the Distress of Farmers, I wrote "that Indians will never be free until the last politician is strangled with the entrails of the last bureaucrat." I was echoing the European Enlightenment figure Denis Diderot (1713-1784) who wrote: La nature n'a fait ni serviteur ni maître; Je ne veux ni donner ni … Continue reading Strangling the Politicians

What is Socialism?

Robert Heilbroner (1919 - 2005) defined socialism as "a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production." Why is Heilbroner worth quoting on this matter? Because he knew what he was talking about. He was a committed socialist all his life. He was a best-selling author. His book The Worldly Philosophers: The … Continue reading What is Socialism?

Quote of the Day: Mises on saying what’s true

How one carries on in the face of unavoidable catastrophe is a matter of temperament. In high school, as was custom, I had chosen a verse by Virgil to be my motto: “Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.” ... Again and again I had met with situations from … Continue reading Quote of the Day: Mises on saying what’s true

Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Race

Prof Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is an American institution himself. He is arguably one of the finest contemporary intellectuals. An economist by training, his output of books and articles is prodigious. A brilliant mind and an indefatigable warrior against the forces of unreason, ignorance, bigotry, tyranny, the controlling state, and … Continue reading Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Race

Miscellaneous Quotes

The 3-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots. — Robert Heinlein in Expanded Universe (1980) It is difficult to get a … Continue reading Miscellaneous Quotes

Democracy and the Economics of Politics

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men . . .” The truth of Lord Acton's observation gets confirmed with sickening regularity. Here I explore that point in the context of democracy. Why do democracies, particularly those with powerful governments, tend to elect bad people? What’s the analytical relationship … Continue reading Democracy and the Economics of Politics