The never-ending cycle of revolutions

via: http://www.activistpost.com

“A revolution is the climax of a long philosophical development and expresses a nation’s profound discontent; a Putsch is a minority’s seizure of power. The goal of a revolution is to overthrow tyranny; the goal of a Putsch is to establish it.” Ayn Rand

The day after Revolution the streets were in silence. Anarchy was the rule and a no man’s land emerged. The protests against the ruling party had started several weeks before. However, as my grandmother recalled, the problems that had ignited the most recent uprising had always existed: ” these were the very old unfulfilled promises long inherited from Colonial times.”  Indeed, these promises were the idea that Government was here to rule over Us, to give Us and to provide Us for our needs and to care for our frailties.  The Global South has known dozens of revolutionary movements, dozens of attempts of revolutions and a handful of sanguinary coup d’états. Unfortunately, not much if anything has changed after the uprisings.

Around the world today conflict  continues in many areas that were once colonized or controlled by Western European or Soviet powers. The source of many of these protracted conflicts, in large part, lies in past colonial  policies, and especially those “regarding territorial boundaries, the treatment of indigenous populations, the privileging of some groups over others, the uneven distribution of wealth, local governmental infrastructures, and the formation of non-democratic or non-participatory governmental systems.”

It is therefore essential, if one wants to understand current revolutionary movements, intractable conflict and its causes, to examine not only the issues and problems of the moment, but also influential historical factors and actors – most notably, past colonial policies and today’s ruling power of these metropolis over former colonies – and their lingering effects.

The idea that the government should provide for our needs is more accepted in post-colonial governments that inherited institutions of dependency and granted privileges by the metropolis.  Imagine yourself traveling 200 years back in time to the period in which colonies were ruled by Western Capital. Interestingly, you will find yourself observing almost the same institutions and the same old problems that societies in the Global South still face today in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe and South Asia. The problems in these societies are the result of a long list of misguided decisions all centered in one fatal conceit: the conceit of revolution by force, not in defense, but in violation, of individual rights.

The colonial institutional heritage of the Global South is built around the abuse and violation of individual rights. Not a single revolutionary movement in the Global South has really aimed at restoring individual rights but to the granting of privileges for a minority.  The minority groups have taken many forms, received many names and have taken many slogans. They have been revolutions organized by and in contraposition of one minority group versus a majority: of the poor versus the rich, of the middle classes versus oligarch classes, of national interests of capital versus foreign interests, of enlightened groups versus conservative groups, of different ethnic groups against each other, of indigenous groups tired of being exploited, and many many more.

In order for a revolution that aims at restoring individual rights to take place it would be  necessary for all citizens to first redefine their code of values upon principles that allow them to pursue happiness without violating the rights of others.  This means that for a “revolution and not a putsch” to take place in the Global South we need first to understand that today’s revolutions have no moral justification and are all gang warfare.  As such, in order to change our immoral systems of government we require to first our own immoral code of values.  This means that we need to learn our history and fix all those immoral decisions taken in the past by our former enslavers.

I believe that the ideal way for starting to learn which is the code of values that provides for a consistent philosophy of life that protects individual rights and allows for humans to pursue happiness is the philosophy of Objectivism and the Objectivist Ethics.

If successful, most probably, the ongoing revolutionary movements in the Middle East, Ukraine and Venezuela will reflect to be nothing but immoral putsches of the very same old privileged groups that they were supposed to fight.  Corruption will take a new name, the citizens will be again defrauded by their leaders, immorality will again reign.  the power currently upheld by immoral leaders is not a simple system of domination of one specific group but it completely traverses the entire social body.  When social relations are not based upon a consistent and ethical code of values its result is “the immanence of force” that Foucault widely studied.    In this game of power, the incessant struggle and confrontation will be reinforced, transformed and reshaped without any meaningful outcome.  This never-ending cycle of revolutions will encrust and institutionalize itself if it hasn’t already. I truly believe that a Peaceful Philosophical revolution is Possible.  It is up to you reader, to chose wether to start it or not.

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Supreme Court upholds Obamacare. Recommended analysis on its short & long-term effects.

Today, Americans who Love Freedom lost a battle against the Welfare State.  In a historical decision, the Supreme Court decided to support Obamacare and to extend the devastating track of health care regulations in The United States of America.

The effects of Obamacare will represent higher costs, less competition, less innovation, more bureacracy, and decreased quality.  and in the long run, the result will be the complete destruction of American health care, as the system’s problems are inevitably blamed on our ‘private’ health care system and a fully socialized ‘single payer’ medicine is offered up as the only cure as explained, Yaron Brook, the Director of the Ayn Rand Center.

To learn how today’s decision will impact your life in the short and long term, I invite you to read the following articles that were collected by the Classical Liberal network Kosmos with the opinions of some the most important Libertarian and Classical Liberals:

While Freedom lost a battle today; the fight for a limited government that protects individual rights, including the right to private property, will continue and we will not stop.

Book Review: Free Will

Free Will

Harris explores the notion that free will is an illusion in this nimble book (which, at 83 pages, can be read in one sitting or a couple of Metro rides), amiably and conversationally jumping from point to point. The book’s length is one of its charms: He never belabors any one topic or idea, sticking around exactly as long as he needs to in order to lay out his argument (and tackle the rebuttals that it will inevitably provoke) and not a page longer. Go to article

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Travel Diary: Prices, Unions and Freedom in one of the richest countries of the World

Prices in a capitalist economy reflect the relative scarcity of a good or service as well as the amount and intensity of consumer demand. Free-market prices are the only viable means of rational economic calculation. If a good or service becomes in shorter supply, for whatever reason, its price will rise, all other things being equal. The higher price will give consumers the proper incentive to do what is needed whenever anything becomes scarcer: conserve, or cut back on consumption. DiLorenzo in “How Capitalism Saved America

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Oslo Objectivist Conference 2012 in Oslo, Norway in which I enjoyed a weekend of Philosophy, Objectivity and a celebration of Individual Rights.  On Monday before returning to my base in Leipzig, I decided to spend the day enjoying the parks and streets of the city (one of my favorites) and during lunch I went to eat buffalo wings in front of the City Hall Park.

That noon I was reading the last pages of the book “How Capitalism Saved America” by Thomas DiLorenzo and was writing extensive notes in my notebook criticizing many of his arguments in favor of capitalism due to lack of consistency and integration.  Leaving those morality issues aside, I was very interested in his historical explanation on the role that Unions (and privileged groups of interest) have had in destroying the foundations (principles) of capitalism in the United States since the foundation of the country.  Curiously, that same day the Farmers Union of Norway gathered in front of the park to do a countrywide protest (news).

As DiLorenzo writes, Unions have claimed for decades to be representatives of the “interests” of society, workers, middle class, proletarians and et. al. However, it has been actually only in the interests of the Union’s leadership and their pursuit of cronyism that they have actually worked by being concerned only in “their own membership rolls and dues revenues”. Examples from the Unions intervention in the destruction of the most successful industries of the  United States are explained by DiLorenzo’s book.

On Monday, the disgruntled Norwegian farmers decided to take the streets against the recent decisions of the government in April, 2012 to subsidy of Agriculture by granting only 625 million Norwegian Kroner instead of the 2.2 billion they asked.  The Norwegian Farmers’ Union (NFU) decided to take their trucks and cows and occupy the doors of the City Hall in Oslo; in other cities and towns the mayors were even kidnapped by the unionists.

This protest arise after the Parliament decided that that food prices should rise 20 percent in the next 20 years in line with expected population growth, providing sufficient income to both achieve this and ensure continued recruitment to farming (this reminds me of Hayek’s ideas on the Fatal Conceit). The NFU doesn’t agree.  They consider that the average annual incomes are under 300,000 kroner per man-labour year, whilst it is 469,000 on average in other sectors.  They also claim to represent the “interests” of 100,000 jobs in agriculture and food industry and not only to be seeking for more money for farmers (yeah, right).

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and its society lives in very comfortable conditions.  The Leviathan in government charges immense amounts of taxes and inflation is incredible.  Just to illustrate the size of Leviathan: The buffalo wings and a beer cost me the high price of 250 krone (aprox. 33 euro or US$41.00 in T.G.I. Friday’s) That same meal would have cost me much less if bought in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world .

How can they afford it? The population earns artificial higher incomes due to the government interventions in the economy and disrupts the economy of the country.  How did the country reached such a condition can only be understood by taking a close and detailed attention to the role interventionism has in a country’s economy.  The effect: high prices, unstoppable high taxes and widespread limitation of liberties behind the power that Unions, groups of interests, politicians and bureacrats have had in the economy for decades.

Slowly but consistently, the Unions and crony capitalists in the bureaucracy of the Norwegian country have made it impossible to be free to exchange products in the country without any type of government intervention.  While Norwegians seem to be free, their daily lives are unconsciously been managed and controlled by a gigantic government that regulated every instant of their lives.

As DiLorenzo described, “Ludwig von Mises initially explained back in the 50s in this theory of government interventionism: one intervention (such as subsidies for railroads) leads to market distortions, which create problems for which the public “demands” solutions. Government responds with even more interventions, usually in the form of more regulation of business activities, which cause even more problems, which lead to more intervention, and on and on. The end result is that free-market capitalism is more and more heavily stifled by regulation. And on top of that, usually the free market, not government intervention, gets the blame.”

I would love to go back to Oslo and if possibilities arise to settle and live there for a couple years. I wish that my passion for buffalo wings will bring me to experience a story to write about and meditate again.  As for now, I return to write about Capitalism while sitting in a desk in Leipzig, Germany.

Discourse: Nationalization, Private Companies and Crony Capitalism

The neoliberal (a.k.a. crony capitalism) ruling of the world during the last 50 years is usually generalized as a “big fish eats small fish” relationship. The story continues, with the big fish in Washington, Brussels and Moscow fed themselves with the riches of the world and profited from globalization.  Meanwhile, the small fish continued breeding and feeding the always hungry lords.  This general discourse is repeated in most if not all the academic papers dealing with postcoloniality and globalization.

The impact of the ideas of these intellectuals is widespread and not easily observable for the ignorant masses.  As such, when you read the newspapers in Latin America or Africa in regard to the “new” nationalizations being undertaken by the “new” socialist/anti-neoliberal governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Greece, Lithuania, and Sri Lanka since 2011 people usually ignores that there is nothing “new” in these actions.

These nationalizations of privately owned assets have been in many of the cases actual renationalizations of companies that were not owned by the principles of free market ideas, but that had been privatized by corrupt social democratic governments 50, 40 or 10 years before and who created new privately owned privileged companies.  As a result of these social democrat and socialist governments many privately owned companies emerged as the bastions of crony capitalism, inefficiency and corruption.  The previous, generally increased as closer the national industries were owned by crony private companies that owned single-crop cultive exports and resource rich regions.

To mention short examples of the previous, recently in Argentina Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF; English: “Treasury Petroleum Fields”) was renationalized (not nationalized) by the government under claims of corruption, inefficiency and negative benefits to their national interests.  In Bolivia, Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE) was nationalized by Evo Morales government.  However, TDE was also a fruit of the neoliberal and crony capitalist deals established in 1952 after a coup d’état that established a military socialist democracy with the party  Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) which allied into a military-nationalist clique that lasted for 50 years.

Privately owned companies produce always more efficient and better products than state-owned companies.  However, privately owned companies that have benefited from government granted privileges for decades not necessarily will produce more and better services and products than state-owned companies.  The previous is something that few of us dare to identify and explain with a non-contradictory historical and philosophical background.  Meanwhile, the great majority of academics influenced by collectivist philosophies will start writing articles and books applauding the “successful” renationalizations and condemning those free-market authors who will write back and fight.

Indeed, there is a difficult road in defending private property and privately owned businesses in the context of countries and regions that lack respect for individual rights and the rule of law.  As such, to defend the private vs collective in those circles it is necessary that first we identify how the societies are currently organized around the collective inefficient systems of social and economic organization.  In the case of Bolivia and Argentina it is necessary for us to identify how these business and societies are not structured and organized around the principles of free market and individual rights.  By understanding and explaining this clearly there will be a chance to change the discourse of discussion from “why is renationalization good?” to “why laissez faire capitalism is better than the privately owned business of crony capitalism?”

Book Reco: Individual Rights and Government Wrongs by Brian Phillips

Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

An excerpt from the Introduction to Individual Rights and Government Wrongs.

This book was written for those who love the United States of America and the principles upon which it was founded.

America was founded on an ideology—the right of each individual to his own life, his own liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness. As philosopher Leonard Peikoff writes: “America is the only country in history created not by meaningless warfare or geographic accident, but deliberately, on the basis of certain fundamental ideas.”[1] The Founding Fathers sought to establish a form of government that, unlike monarchy, theocracy, and the mob rule of democracy, recognizes and protects individual rights.

The Founders were intellectual men, widely read in the ideas of the Enlightenment. They were also practical men, concerned with the problems of life on earth. Their great achievement was transforming the ideas of the Enlightenment into a practical socio-economic system—capitalism.  Read more…

[1] Leonard Peikoff, “Assault from the Ivory Tower: The Professors’ War Against America,” in The Voice of Reason (New York: Meridian, 1989), p. 187.

On how Islam violates individual rights

Wealth is produced for the purpose of creating a monetary profit (a moral value) that will enable a man to pursue other values.  The process of creating wealth is the result of a man’s reason put in practice.  This process of acting requires that man be free in order to pursue his rational and objective values and to make use of them as he pleases.  The previous process I have mentioned is much more complex to understand and requires pages of explanation. For anyone interested in learning how man’s mind works I recommend you to check the writings of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand as a starting point.

There are many philosophies of life and religions that are in opposition to individual freedom because of the religious dogma from which they are rooted.  These people’s philosophies and religions have codes of values that deny an individual’s right to their life and the pursue of their happiness.  Religions are anti-life since they proclaim rules believed by faith that require man to suffer, sacrifice and do irrational actions in the aim of fulfilling their dogma. The religion that strikes me the most is Islam because it is not only a religious creed but also a political mean of organizing human life through the Sharia and Fiqh.

Ellaborating on how Islam is anti-life would take also dozens of pages with explanations and examples of how it does so.  A great reference to start learning is the book “Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism” which clear examples on how Islam and the practice of Sharia and the Fiqh violate individual rights, disincentive man’s creativity to pursue happiness and create wealth. Also, I recommend you to check the following blog post “Islam Violates our human rights” which enumerates very shortly and clearly good examples of violations done by Islamics,

  • Violation of Article 23 (1) and 26 (1) of the UDHR Article 23 (1) of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Article 26 (1) states: Everyone has the right to education.

But in Afghanistan, a muslim country, girls are not allowed education. Girls schools are banned and those caught running these schools, can be punished by law.

This continued for about 5 years, during the reign of the Taliban, the oppressive Islamic extremists, who were finally eliminated by theAmericans. (Thank you, America)

  • Violation of Article 19 of the UDHR Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other muslim countries do not allow freedom of speech, regarding criticism on Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. This has taken the shape of a Blasphemy Law, where any person who speaks negatively about Mohammed, can be given death sentence or life imprisonment and/or fine.

An example of this is the recent death sentence given to Dr. Younus Shiekh for correctly pointing out that the Prophet Mohammed did not become Muslim until the age of 40 (which was when he received his first revelation) and that his parents were non-Muslims (as they died before Islam was proposed by the Prophet).

  • Violation of Article 18 of the UDHR Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

But the Quran says that:

Any religion except Islam will not be accepted

Quran 3.85 : If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost.

This is also mentioned in Violation 5, where those who dont believe in Allah, will be tortured severely.

  • In Iran, and Afghanistan, brutal punishments are give for extra-marital sex. Stoning to death was ordered by Mohammed, and is still used in Iran. This is a very cruel brutal punishment and its only aim is to inflict maximum pain on the individual. Muslims in Afghanistan and Iran can be flogged for consuming alcohol, slandering or for adultery while they are not married.

Flogging is ordered by the Quran:

And those who accuse free women and bring not for witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes.”59 For the adulterer, God says :”The adulteress and the adulterer, flog each of them with a hundred stripes.” 60 s

These punishments are condemned by the International Community

Islam also orders cutting of hands and feet :

Quran 5.38 As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.

Read here the complete post on how Islam violates rights…