A Long Hiatus

Hello, folks!  It has been way too long!  I didn’t even cover the election – not that the lack of choices on the menu needed much covering.  Once the RNC came to a close and Ron Paul had effectively gotten the shaft from the Republican Party, I sort of tuned things out.  I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s true.  Listening to Romney and Obama pretend to be different was alternately infuriating and boring, if such emotions are possible to entertain at the same time.  Perhaps “boredom” is the wrong word.  “Contempt-inducing” might be a better expression.  Suffice it to say that I didn’t care to listen to their ineffectual drivel.

I have my own big news, however.  My husband and I welcomed our daughter, Brett Ashley Derbyshire, into the world on November 1st.  It was a bit of a hard road towards the end.  I developed preeclampsia and had to be admitted to a top-level research hospital out of town.  Don’t worry – the baby and I are happy and healthy!  We got great care from great doctors, and we couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.  Of course, since arriving home with our bouncing baby Brett, life has been a bit hectic, to say the least!  I’ve just started sleep training her – yes, it’s controversial, and no, I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it – and we are all finally enjoying actual sleep, which is a Godsend.  The whole family is happier, and I feel like I can actually be a sensitive, caring parent now.

Anyway, I’m on maternity leave, and I’m trying to get back abreast of what’s going on in politics.  Best I can tell, John Boehner has just alienated the libertarian arm of the Republican Party by ousting Justin Amash, Tim Huelskamp, Walter Jones, and David Schweikert from the House Budget and Banking Committees.  (You can read more about that here at Business Insider.)   Everyone is freaking out about the “fiscal cliff” that, in my opinion, we drove off of like Thelma and Louise quite some time ago.  Ron Paul is heading out of Congress for good and all, much to my and most other libertarians’ chagrin.  Rand Paul, if the gossip is true, is trying to court Israel and set himself up for a presidential run in 2016.  Mitt Romney, predictably, has already faded into relative obscurity.  Why couldn’t he have taken Obama and 99% of Washington with him?

For my part, I’ve found myself treading water somewhat in the post Ron Paul Revolution vacuum.  As much as I hate to admit it, it seems like we’ve been left without a rallying point.  Rand, in my estimation, doesn’t fit the bill, at least for me.  I like Gary Johnson and threw him my vote in the election, but I don’t think he’s the new libertarian light.  I don’t think we have that light emerging yet, but I’m still confident that someone will come, in time.  So many have been drawn back to the traditional liberal ideals and Austrian economics that one can’t help but think that one of these young guns will emerge as the new leader of the movement.  That’s my great hope, in any case.

I don’t have any particular news to write about tonight, as I’m just trying to get back into the swing of things post-baby, but I was very much heartened by a friend’s blog yesterday.  This particular friend was, as far as I understood, generally progressive.  She studied economics at the University of Minnesota.  I naturally assumed that she must be a Keynesian lover of all things Krugman-related, but it doesn’t necessarily appear to be so.  She posted a great little Christmas video yesterday about the fallacies of spending ourselves into prosperity.  Dear readers, I enjoyed it, and I hope you will, too.  So let’s kick off the holiday season with a bit of Keynes bashing – always sure to perk up one’s Grinch-like spirits!

An Overdue Round-Up and Where the Future is Going

Hello, folks!  I know I’ve been on hiatus for what?  About two weeks now?  My grandpa always told me that excuses and alibis ring up “no sale” every time, and he’s right.  I’m still giving you my excuse, but I think it’s a good one: I recently found out that my husband and I are expecting our first child. Great news, to be sure, but I haven’t exactly been feeling like myself.  Okay, I’ve had my head in the toilet most evenings (morning sickness is a serious misnomer), and I haven’t been writing much for either of my blogs.  I’ve mostly been avoiding getting sick and going to bed early, and unfortunately, I’ve been missing out on the action!  Would you believe that I just read today that Rick Santorum dropped out of the race?  (I’m delighted.)

I’m trying to stop being a wuss and get myself back into the swing of things, and I’m going to start tonight by looking at an article I found on Lew Rockwell titled “The Great Collapse of the US Empire” by Jeff Berwick.  Some of the article seems to be thinly veiled advertising for his firm’s services, but he makes some legitimate points about the way the United States is going.  I think many Americans have a keen sense that something is very, very wrong at home, but they haven’t a clear of idea of why or how, just that everything is going to hell in a hand basket.

Having lived  and worked outside the US for about three and a half non-consecutive years, and I can certainly say that there are places where freedom still has a real face and hunting for a job doesn’t make you feel like a blind sow rooting for an acorn.  For about the past two years, I’ve become firmly convinced that East Asia is where it’s at now.  The so-called Asian tiger economies are manufacturing powerhouses, and the standard of living here is rising quickly to rival that of any country in the West.

Let’s take a look at a “snapshot” of the average Korean family with a child or children attending my school.  Almost without exception, their fathers work for a bank, a company like Samsung or Hyundai, in a law firm, as a small business owner, a factory owner, a doctor, or educator.  Most of their mothers stay home, although I have several whose mothers work in government, in banks, or in other prestigious jobs.  The students all wear North Face jackets, carry smartphones, and attend minimally two or three after-school academies.  They are all learning English, and all of the kids above a certain can speak with some degree of competence about world affairs.  In short, most of these kids are like the “smart” kids you knew in school.  Except that they are the majority.  And they are competitive.

The way that one is able to live in Korea further highlights some of the serious problems that we have in the US today.  Koreans do not fear the police.  The police are here to help, and they generally have a “hands off” policy.  Forget being harassed in the street.  More often than not, the police are young boys doing their two-year civil service, move in herds, and will smile and say “Hello” in English when you pass.  Small businesses are alive and thriving here.  Walk up and down any Korean street, and there are innumerable merchants plying their trade, and most of these businesses are family-owned.  It is incredibly common to go into a restaurant here and be waited on by the wife or children while the father prepares your meat in the back room.

Does that mean I think that everything is perfect in Asia?  Obviously not.  However, what I see here is much closer to how I envision a free, functioning society.  The people are not afraid of the police or the government.  Education is good and considered to be a worthwhile endeavor.  Manufacturing is still alive, and competition is encouraged.  In fact, the hard truth in Korea is that you have to compete and compete hard or fail.

The simple truth is that East Asia has a large population and is becoming more and more relevant on the world stage.  The people here are intelligent and economically successful, and they are enjoying their new prestige.  They travel, they spend money, they work hard, and they know what they want.  But one thing that I’ve never noted is that they expect anyone to give it to them.  Does this mean that everything is always bright and shiny and wonderful?  No.  The suicide rate here is the highest in the world, thanks to work-related stress.  There is a lot of pollution, and students spend more time at school than with their families or unwinding a bit.

I suppose what I’m really trying to convey is that capitalism is alive here more than it is in the West.  Freedom is alive here in a way that it is not alive in the US today.  I pay 3.5% in income taxes.  My health care, though not specifically to my philosophical tastes, is more accessible and just as good as anything I would get back home.  The Korean system is not perfect, but it does better by me than the imperfect system at home, which is frankly the worst of both worlds.  My life is good here.  My husband and I save approximately $3000 per month.  We are debt-free, and we have enough money to do pretty much whatever we want, when we want.  The sad fact is that this would not be the case in either of our home countries, England or the US.

It is high time that the US government remove its blinders and get with the program.  The US is being grossly out-performed by the East, and that doesn’t have to be the case.  I still stand firmly behind the belief that Americans are the smartest workers on the planet, and I think just about anyone who has worked both in the US and overseas will tell you that’s true.  We have unbeatable innovative skills, drive, and grit, but American business is stymied by the insurmountable burden of taxes, regulations, and labor laws that the government has laid upon it.  And I don’t just mean big businesses; this affects all businesses, from big manufacturing companies to the family-owned local business, a breed which I fear is approaching extinction now.

Unfortunately, I don’t see the government making any serious efforts to alleviate the situation at home.  Their answer is always the same: MORE.  More taxes.  More laws.  More regulations.  More committees.  More money to the banks.  More money to the mega-corporations.  More debt so that we can spend ourselves back to prosperity.  It’s time to reconsider the old notion that sometimes less is more.  Less regulation.  No war.  Fewer taxes.  Smaller government.  For God’s sake, stop taking money away from those who need it most.  Quit giving our money to failing businesses with too much influence.  Stop peddling influence for money overseas.  Let America get back to work.  Let us compete.  We have done it before, and we can do it again, but first, the government has got to get the hell out of the way.

My pessimistic view is that it is going to take a serious collapse to realize this goal.  I really hate to be that way, because it harkens me back to my grandfather again, though not in the best way: all doom and gloom and “I told you so.”  Part of me, however, is starting to think that maybe we need to get back to basics.  Let it all fall down, come what may.  Maybe, as Berwick suggested, a collapse would take the TSA, the Federal Reserve, and all the shady elements of the government with it.  Maybe it would allow us to get back to first principles, with a new era of liberty and prosperity rising like a phoenix from the proverbial ashes.

I hope that it doesn’t come to this.  Santorum is out and Gingrich is bouncing checks for $500.  They’re out.  Ron Paul is still in, and with a rally at UCLA last week that counted over 10,000 in attendance, I can’t say that the message of liberty is falling on deaf ears, because I truly believe that more and more people are hearing that message and responding to it in incredibly positive ways.  This is so uplifting, as I truly believe, as do most of us in the movement, that there is nothing that brings people together so much as freedom.  This gives me hope that the spirit of ’76 is not dead yet, and that the fight has only just begun.

A Thank You to My Readers

As I stated in my last article, I know that I haven’t been updating a lot lately, and I feel pretty bad about that.  I need to do better by my readers.  There are so many things about which I want to write, and not having enough hours in the day hardly seems like a good excuse.  There are plenty of people who are far busier than me who still find time to sit down and pen thoughtful, interesting articles.  So.  That said, I am renewing my commitment to putting out good articles for you all.

For those of you who have been reading, thank you so much.  Sometimes I get discouraged when I don’t get that many hits or go through a phase when I don’t feel like writing, but having faithful folks like you reading makes me feel better, and I’m heartened by the improvement in numbers that I’ve seen lately.  I’m thinking that’s thanks to my recent link-up to Twitter, which has been fun so far.  There is an absolutely overwhelming amount of information out there, not that I needed to point that out.

In any case, thank you for visiting, reading, and/or subscribing.  It means more than you know, that there are people interested in reading about the tenets of liberty and specifically reading my take on them.  I often feel that I don’t do the movement justice, but as long as the movement is growing and the principles of liberty, free markets, and sound money are spreading, I’m doing what I set out to do.  Thank you again!  I’ll see you later this weekend!

Getting with the Times

Well, loyal readers, I have officially joined Twitter.  I’ll admit it – I’m skeptical about this move.  Part of me hates the idea of becoming one of the millions of “Twits.”  However, I am hoping to bring in more readers and subscribers to my humble little corner of the Web.  It will also be a good way for me to share articles that, while I find interesting, don’t necessarily garner a full post on the blog.

I’m just getting started, but do come find me, if you have a few minutes.  I will try and update at least once a day with an interesting news item or article that I find.  My username is: LadyLib1776.  See you out there in the big, scary Twittersphere!

Rethinking Global Warming

I have always been somewhat skeptical about the issue of global warming.  Part of that is because I’m flat-out contrary.  When a large group of people believes something to be true or likes an idea or even a movie (ahem, “Twilight”), I have a tendency to pull staunchly in the opposite direction.  This is not necessarily logical thinking.  I think it actually ranks somewhere between “crotchety grandfather” and “blackguard-cynic.”  Whatever the case,  I always think that there is no such thing as too much evidence, and in the case of global warming, I’m not convinced by the evidence that is generally available for mass consumption.

Now, I’ll admit up front that I’m no scientist.  I find science interesting, but I would never claim to have an aptitude for it.  That said, I have heard other theories of global warming that involve sunspots and periodic cooling and heating of the Earth’s surface due to natural climate change.  I think it’s hard to argue that the Earth’s climate changes naturally, independent of any human influences.  See the Ice Age for proof of this one.

I found the theory about sunspots to be compelling, though I’m not going to go too far into it today.  Basically, what it states is that the sun goes through periods of heightened sunspot activity.  This is known and documented by NASA.  In fact, we are currently entering an “active” period for the sun.  During this period, the extra radiation emitted from the sun actually blocks gamma radiation coming from space that would heat up the Earth.  This would result in a cool-down.  Now, whether or not this has any merit is beyond me, but it is interesting.  From what I can tell on the Internet, many institutes think it’s a crock.

I was checking in at Mises today, and there was a new article called “The Skeptic’s Case” by Dr. David M.W. Evans, and it has a lot of really interesting information on global warming and why some (most?) scientists might be getting it wrong.  This is one of the more scientific looks into the possible fallacies surrounding global warming that I have come across, and I found it a worthwhile read.  Again, I do not claim to be any kind of climate change expert; I am not savvy on the subject by any stretch.  That said, I think it’s healthy to explore all points of view.

I don’t think that pollution is a good thing, so don’t misunderstand me.  I hardly think we should be poisoning our drinking water or killing off all the bees.  Again though, I think it’s worthwhile to explore all angles of the argument, and this article struck me as a very good place to start with the counterargument.

Freedom Watch Booted from Fox Business

I am so disappointed to be writing this to you, readers.  Freedom Watch on Fox Business has been cancelled.  For those of you who don’t know about it, Freedom Watch was a show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano.  Judge, as he is commonly known, showcased Austrian economics, libertarian philosophy, and real news issues.  Judge was probably the only libertarian on the news, and now he’s been cancelled.  If you’ll allow me a moment of perfect candor, the first thought that I had when I was saw this headline was, This is bull$h1t!  I’m angry.

Judge was shining a bright light on the Fed, the NDAA, and the tomfoolery that goes on daily on the Hill.  Judge was the only host bringing us real straight talk about the economy and the state of the world today.  I watched his show often in clip version, as we don’t get it in Korea, and found every segment to be enjoyable and informative.  I will admit, of course, that he was preaching to the choir.

Why can’t libertarians have a newsman of their own?  I don’t believe that there weren’t enough viewers, because there are plenty of libertarians, and more are coming to the fold every day.  Judge was a great voice for liberty, and that voice has been silenced.

I, for one, don’t intend to take this lying down.  I love Judge’s show, and he is probably the only person on Fox – or TV, generally – for whom I have any respect.  If you are libertarian but you haven’t watched his show before, I suggest you head to Fox and watch some clips before they get removed.  I’m sure there will be plenty of devotees who have him on YouTube, as well.  I will continue to reuse and distribute his clips, as I think they are interesting and informative.  I’m also going to send an angry letter to Fox and tell them exactly what I think about this.  If you love Judge and refuse to let him go quietly into the night, I suggest you do the same!

Freedom Watch: Ron Paul Will Be On GOP Ticket

Continue reading on Examiner.com FreedomWatch with Judge Andrew Napolitano has been cancelled – Wilmington Civil Rights | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/civil-rights-in-wilmington/freedomwatch-with-judge-andrew-napolitano-has-been-cancelled#ixzz1m4uTqKet

**Addendum: Fox has apparently been inundated with emails about Freedom Watch.  Judge has posted on his Facebook page that, while he appreciates the show of support, the people at Fox are getting pretty irked about the constant emails, and he is requesting that people stop immediately.  We must respect Judge’s wishes on this matter.  Please DO NOT email Fox News about Freedom Watch.  I have taken down the links to the Fox exec’s emails.  

Judge has also stated that the decision was based purely on business and not on the content of the show.  He says that he accepted the decision cheerfully and feels that there will be another opportunity or project for him some time in the near future.  I can only hope this is true.  In any case, please don’t email Fox anymore, guys!

Check it Out: Reason TV

I just recently discovered that Drew Carey was a libertarian.  There aren’t many of us out there, so anyone who can bring extra attention to the fold is obviously a welcome addition.  I stumbled onto The Drew Carey Project on iTunes, and I found the home for it, which is Reason TV, a website which has tons of videos about the philosophy of freedom.

I haven’t delved too far into it yet, but I’m loving what I see so far, and I strongly urge you to check it out.  I have already found an excellent video put out by the Cato Institute in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.  Once you actually know how much of what Obama says is flat-out lies, it makes you even more disgusted than you already are with the demagogues in government.  In my case, that is fairly difficult to achieve, so congratulations, President Obama.

 

The videos in the Drew Carey Project archive are older now (2009), but there are new videos added daily to the Reason TV arsenal, and there are some newer series, such as “Reason Saves Cleveland.”  There are lots of great posts about Ron Paul, historical events, and current events.  I’m having a good evening checking them out, and I highly recommend it, especially for those nights when you’re a little bit burnt out and just don’t quite think you can sit down to digest Mises.  (Believe me, this is one of those nights for me.)  Enjoy!

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