As President Barack Obama currently visits Cuba, it merits noting that the Communist regime south of Florida has killed an estimated 73,000 people since the dictator Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, according to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was established by an act of Congress in 1993.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which runs the Museum of Communism, is a non-profit group created “to educate this generation and future generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism,” reads its website. It also is building a memorial “to commemorate the more than 100 million victims of communism” worldwide.
Writes Michael Hurd in April of 2011: Donald Trump: The Wish Fulfillment Candidate | Capitalism Magazine
If you’re looking for a label to describe Trump, the one I’d pick is fascist. A fascist is essentially a socialist who wants to keep up the appearance of private markets while in fact running the whole show himself. Socialism would do away with the private economy altogether — even one run behind the scenes by government managers — and replace it with out in the open government control. As a businessman, Donald Trump can probably be counted on not to embrace socialism. But I’d bet money he’d be a fascist. And fascism will drop the free market of capitalism, as well. Things will now be run by … Donald Trump.
As the American economy continues not to grow or get any better, the appeal of a fascist-lite dictator such as Donald Trump will grow. This isn’t because there are no rational alternatives to dictatorship. It’s just that none are being offered. The Tea Party talks cutting spending, but offers no strength because it offers no ideology of any kind. As a result, it’s hardly cutting a penny from the budget (and in today’s terms, a penny is a billion). Quite naturally people are going to listen to Donald Trump, because they think he’s something different from Barack Obama. But Donald Trump is not the voice of reason, nor the voice of the personal responsibility Americans must take if we are to remain a free country (politically) and become a free country again (economically).
Trump is the voice of wishful thinking — disguised by toughness.
Sometimes we dislike it when we are right.
Writes Glenn Woiceshyn in the National Post:
“Trumpism” is a major transition to fascism, which opposes individual rights, which is anti-American. Aside from the Second Amendment (on guns), Trump is virtually silent on defending the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Instead, he wants total executive power to restrict immigration and free trade, seize private property, punish corporations that bother him, and so on. His campaign tactics are fascistic: appeal to emotion and for blind trust, demonize critics, foreigners and religious/ethnic groups, and speak in vague generalities about positive effects — “I will make America great again!” — without naming or explaining causes. Everything is about “making deals,” not protecting rights. It’s no accident that Trump likes Vladimir Putin, who also likes Trump.
In his 1982 book, Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America, philosopher Leonard Peikoff brilliantly demonstrated how intellectual and political trends in America were pointing toward fascsm. Trump is merely cashing in on the dumbing down of America that has been taking place for decades, where relatively few today understand what liberty means or how it caused America to be great.
“If a court can ask us to write this piece of software, think about what else they could ask us to write. Maybe it’s an operating system for surveillance. Maybe it’s the ability for law enforcement to turn on the camera. I mean, I don’t know where this stops. But I do know this is not what should be happening in this country. This is not what should be happening in America. If there should be a law that compels us to do it, it should be passed out in the open, and the people of America should get a voice in that. The right place for that debate to occur is in Congress.” — Tim Cook
COOK ON A MASTER KEY:
No one would want a master key built that would turn hundreds of millions of locks. Even if that key were in the possession of the person that you trust the most, that key could be stolen. That is what this is about.
COOK ON THE SLIPPERY SLOPE:
It’s clear that it would be a precedent. New York law enforcement is already talking about having 175 phones there. Other counties across the United States are talking about phones they have. And so it is a slippery slope. I don’t fear it; it is one.
COOK ON NATIONAL SECURITY VS PRIVACY:
Cook: I know people like to frame this argument as privacy versus national security. That is overly simplistic and is not true. This is also about public safety. The smartphone that you carry has more information about you on it than probably any other singular device or any other singular place.
Muir: So this is about protecting the safety of the people who carry those iPhones?
Cook: That’s exactly right. And by the way, it’s probably just not iPhone. Because if the government could order Apple to create such a piece of software, it could be ordered for anyone else as well. It doesn’t stop here.
Think about this. It is, in our view, the software equivalent of cancer. Is this something that should be created? Technology can do so many things. But there are many things technology should never be allowed to do. And the way you not allow it, is to not create it.
COOK ON ENCRYPTION:
Cook: Hacking has become increasingly commonplace. It is very difficult to secure data, and the everyday person can’t do it. They look for Apple to help them do it. You need to look no further than the government, which has had some of the worst breaches of all in this case. And so yes, security gets better with every software release we have. Encryption gets more advanced. It has to to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
Muir: So it’s not a mistake that we can’t get into Syed Farook’s iPhone?
Cook: We didn’t do it for that reason, David. We did it to protect our customers. But yes, a side effect means that Apple can’t get to it either. Think of it like this: if you put a door in a house, it’s a lot easier to get in that house. It doesn’t matter whether it’s locked or not. Somebody can get in that. And so our simple view is that you encrypt end to end, and you don’t keep a key. And so the people that can see communications are the people on either end of that communication.
COOK ON THE FBI DEMANDS:
Cook: What they want is, they want us to develop a new operating system that takes out the security precautions. Including the precaution that, after 10 tries, if somebody has set “erase all data after 10,” they want that to not be in there. And then they want an ability to go through a number of passwords at the speed of a modern computer.
Muir: A computer would do that to figure out the code.
Cook: A computer would do that. We believe that is a very dangerous operating system
Muir: Because once people know that exists, you say, the cat is out of the bag.
Cook: If one of the bad guys knew that that existed, think about the target that is. Everybody would want that system. Because you could get in… It has the potential to get into any iPhone. This is not something that should be created.
AT THE END OF THE DAY WHAT APPLE WILL DO
Cook: We would be prepared to take this issue all the way. Yes. Because I think it’s that important for America. This should not be decided court by court by court. If you decide that it’s okay to force a company to do something that they think is bad for hundreds of millions of people, then… Think about this for a minute. And this case is an awful case; there is no worse case than this case. But there may a judge in a different district that feels that this case should apply to a divorce case. There may be one in the next state over that thinks it should apply in a tax case. Another state over it might apply in a robbery. And so you begin to say, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t how this should happen.’ If there is going to be a law, then it should be done out in the open for people so their voices are heard through their representatives in Congress.
Muir: And if Congress decided that there’s this small category — this was a terrorist’s iPhone. If Congress decided that, if the American people signed off on that, you’d entertain it?
Cook: Let me be clear. At the end of the day, we have to follow the law. Just like everybody else, we have to follow the law. What is going on right now is we’re having our voices be heard. And I would encourage everyone who wants to have a voice and wants to have an opinion to make sure their voice is heard.
The head of NASA convinces the President that space exploration should be done by private industry, and the United States government declares, “The first person to land on Mars, live there a year, and return alive owns the whole Red Planet.” Capitalists compete to win the greatest race in history. Environmentalists plot to make them all fail.
That is the premise of Ron Pisaturo’s novella, The Merchant of Mars, now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook. That premise draws on a political idea by Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger.
Author Pisaturo says about his story:
The story’s heroes are greedy capitalists who want to exploit Mars, and the villains are environmentalist progressives who want to ‘save’ the planet—Mars, that is. The story illustrates that there is virtually no limit to what capitalists can achieve when the government recognizes and protects property rights.
The pro-capitalist perspective of the story flows naturally from deeper elements. The good guys drive the action. They don’t merely react to the diabolical plans of an evil mastermind. It is the heroes who are the masterminds, the ones with gigantic plans, the ones who build great and powerful machines; and it is the villains who react by trying to destroy those machines.
The heroes are not grim loners who reluctantly become heroes only after their loved ones have been killed by the arch-villain and his all-powerful organization. The heroes don’t wait for bad things to happen. They make good things happen. The heroes are already-successful and happy individuals who risk everything—their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor—to achieve something beyond the dreams of others. Their conflicts are great because they have a lot to lose and a lot to gain, and they and their loved ones face all-or-nothing, life-and-death choices throughout their journey.
It’s not easy to build a business. Many people in today’s society think that only society as a whole can do it. This story shows individuals doing it. They have to raise money, make payroll, meet deadlines, mortgage their personal property, lay off employees, fight regulations and government-subsidized competitors, turn down government subsidies that come with strings, drive competitors they admire and love out of business, or lose everything.
The novella can be read in one sitting.
[W]as Shkreli’s performance actually more objectionable than that of the legislators who were performing alongside him? Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, is the ranking Democrat on the committee, and he used his allotted time to deliver a scolding. “Somebody’s paying for these drugs, and it’s the taxpayers that end up paying for some of them,” he said. “Those are our constituents.” In fact, it’s hard to figure out exactly who is paying what for Daraprim. Shkreli and Turing have claimed that hospitals and insurance companies will pay, while patients who can’t afford it will get a discount, or get it for free. And Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, told the committee about her company’s efforts to get the drug to people who can’t afford it. The arrangement she described sounded like a hodge-podge, an ungainly combination of dizzyingly high prices, mysterious corporate bargaining, and occasional charitable acts—which is to say, it sounded not so much different from the rest of our medical system.
The Daraprim saga has as much to do with the Food and Drug Administration as with Shkreli: although the drug’s patent expired in the nineteen-fifties, the F.D.A. certification process for generic drugs is gruelling enough that, for the moment, whoever owns Daraprim has a virtual monopoly in America. (Overseas, it is much cheaper.)
Shkreli is selling a drug in America where the PATENT HAS EXPIRED — other people cannot sell it in America, not because of Shkreli, but because of the FDA. It is cheap outside the country where there is no FDA!!!! Perhaps congress is going after the wrong entity.
One of the strangest things about the anti-Shkreli argument is that it asks us to be shocked that a medical executive is motivated by profit. And one of the strangest things about Shkreli himself is that he doesn’t seem to be motivated by profit—at least, not entirely.
Sanders spent most of his life as an angry radical and agitator who never accomplished much of anything. And yet now he thinks he deserves the power to run your life and your finances — “We will raise taxes;” he confirmed Monday, “yes, we will.”
One of his first jobs was registering people for food stamps, and it was all downhill from there.
Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail. “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine. “His carpentry was not going to support him, and didn’t.”
Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.
The only thing he was good at was talking … non-stop … about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”
The choice in this election is shaping up to be a very clear one. It will likely boil down to a battle between those who create and produce wealth, and those who take it and redistribute it.
Global poverty has fallen faster during the past 20 years than at any time in history. Around the world hunger, child death, and disease rates have all plummeted. More girls are getting into school. In fact, never before have so many people, in so many poor countries, made so much progress in reducing poverty, increasing incomes, improving health, reducing conflict and war, and spreading democracy.
Some of these gains – especially the declines in poverty and child mortality – rank among the greatest achievements in history. Yet few people are aware that they are even happening. Most people believe that, apart from a few special cases such as China and India, developing countries by and large remain hopelessly mired in poverty, stagnation, and dictatorship. Yet the reality is quite different: A major transformation is quietly under way, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people in nearly every corner of the world.
What sparked these changes? […] First, the end of the cold war, the demise of communism, and the collapse of the Soviet Union dramatically improved the global environment for sustained and peaceful development. The United States and the Soviet Union stopped propping up some of the world’s nastiest dictators. Proxy wars and political violence associated with the cold war came to an end in Central America, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and elsewhere. Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia gained their freedom. Perhaps most powerfully, economic and political ideologies shifted substantially. Communism and strong state control lost credibility. A new consensus began to form around more market-based economic systems and – at least in many countries – more accountable and democratic governance, along with greater respect for basic freedoms and rights. Developing countries around the world introduced major economic and political reforms and began to build institutions more conducive to growth and social progress.
Second, globalization and international access to new technologies brought more trade and finance and a far greater exchange of ideas and information. Exports from developing countries are five times as large today as they were just 20 years ago, and financial flows are 12 times as large, creating many more economic opportunities. With deeper global integration came technologies that spurred progress: vaccines, medicines, new seed varieties, mobile phones, the Internet, and faster and cheaper air travel. To be sure, globalization has brought challenges, risks, and volatility, not least the 2007 food and 2008 financial crises. [These in fact were caused by government policy.–Ed.] But it has also brought investment, jobs, ideas, and markets, all of which stimulated progress.
Third, while global changes mattered, the countries that began to move forward did so primarily because of strong leadership and courageous actions by the people in those countries themselves. Where new leaders at all levels of society stepped forward to forge change, progress ensued; where old dictators stayed in place, or new tyrants stepped in to replace the old, political and economic systems remained rigged. ….
How should courts interpret the law? Strictly according to the text? By lawmakers’ original intent? By the needs of today’s society? Philosophical ideals? In this talk and Q&A, Tara Smith, professor of philosophy and BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism at the University of Texas – Austin, argues that the best laws in the world are useless if misunderstood – yet today, the debate over proper interpretation is a minefield of loaded concepts and false alternatives.
Smith’s new book, Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System, explains the pillars of proper review by grounding it in the function of an objective legal system. As the Rule of Law teeters, as presidential candidates stake radical claims about judges and the Constitution, and as issues ranging from abortion rights to medical care to war powers come before the courts, the question couldn’t be more timely.
Daniel Hannan’s book, The New Road to Serftdom: A Letter of Warning to America, urges Americans not to take such things as federalism, the rule of law and limited government for granted. He believes the United States could find itself lurching toward European-style socialism even more quickly. We have points we disagree with but his knowledge, eloquence and passion for freedom is something missing in the bulk of today’s politicians.