Saturday, May 28, 2011

Statism in my Favorite TV Show Fringe

Literature under Capitalism is perhaps my favorite chapter in Mises’ book The Anti-capitalistic mentality. Not only did this book show me Mises’ superior and unrivaled understanding of the human condition, his insights on literature was probably something that really struck me and changed the way I look at the world.

At the time, of course, Mises was referring to novels, stories, and plays. He had no concept of how literature and technology has evolved especially because of new media and yet in spite of all that, I still find his insights very relevant.

In TV shows and movies I watch, people’s statist mentality and adherence to folklore economics remain very prevalent just as he explained it would be. And this is something he explained ever so beautifully: the reasons why statist ideology will always be favored and popularly accepted by the mainstream.

Olivia Dunham and Peter Bishop

The reason I am writing this would probably because of my love for the TV show Fringe. I noticed that libertarian ideas are suppressed and many times even portrayed as the immoral choice. It annoyed me, of course, but Mises already taught me that I shouldn’t even be surprised (a friend and fellow libertarian even pointed out that it’s expected since the show is about the FBI and the many bureaucracies tied up with it).

Since season 1, the question I would always ask would be who pays for all their expenses? When Olivia Dunham would fly somewhere or when Walter would need new lab equipment or a cow or any of his other shenanigans, the burden is on the taxpayer!

You know there’s that misleading idea that governments are assumed to always be financially solvent and spending is justified because it’s for the safety and defense of the citizens. But you see, governments don’t have their own money—it is all acquired through coercive taxation and inflation.

There was this bureaucrat character in season 1 who was assigned to streamline the fringe department’s budget and spending and he was deemed as the enemy—the concept that the fiscal conservatives who want to audit and cut down spending on defense is unpatriotic—thus justifying that giving more money and power to bureaucracies will make people safer.

And even I was swayed, many times finding myself saying, “No! Don’t cut their budget or abolish their department, Olivia won’t be able to save the world!”

But you see, I based this assumption merely on what’s apparent or visible and now I shall move on to recommend another brilliant book That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen by Frederic Bastiat. Here it is explained once more just why it is so hard to rid the masses of the statist mentality because the promises and arguments are so seemingly beneficial and so ingeniously disguised with good intentions that doubting them becomes easily ridiculous and shrugged off even by most intellectuals.

Of course, Fringe is fiction. But we’ve seen how fiction can shape our history and the way people think. Rizal’s fearless and provoking novels, for instance, helped ignite a revolution. Fiction, through whatever medium, can really be an effective method of spreading ideology.

I love Fringe. I really don’t know what I’d do without it. But it’s a really good thing that Mises along with many other classical liberal authors and even modern-day libertarian bloggers have equipped me with some sort of immune system against the conditioning of statist propaganda in mainstream media and literature.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Philosophy of Liberty

Here's a good video that describe values and advocacies of libertarians. It's just eight minutes long. With all the modern typography animation techniques, I find this to be really dated and personally I'm not so fond of the music used. My only request is that you take just eight minutes of your life and finish this video and see the basic principles that are advocated in this blog.

There's really so much I have to write about that are way overdue but there's just so little time. Actually, by working on this post I am already procrastinating. I also haven't been in the proper mood or mindset to write but of course this is surely very temporary.

I hope the video teaches you a thing or two about the importance of liberty and the evils of state coercion. I would also recommend the book The Anti-capitalistic Mentality by Ludwig Von Mises. It's quite draggy at first but eventually it becomes really enlightening. Mises' understanding and analysis of the world and human behavior and interaction is just so superior.

Another would be How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes by Peter Schiff. It's actually much like a children's book and can easily be understood by anyone. It even has drawings and diagrams. The first part is probably the simplest way of explaining that there us no zero-sum game and why the incentive for profit is very beneficial (this is something that's really misinterpreted in the public view).

Or maybe go watch some Ron Paul Videos on YouTube. He's surely going to be able to change your mind on some issues especially regarding the importance of free markets and limited government.

Just some recommendations that maybe you can check out when you're bored or curious. There's a lot of requirements that I have to get done plus there are these other issues I have to deal with that's why I just thought of writing about these suggestions that can maybe show some of you a different perspective on things.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Keynes vs Hayek—whose side is really for prosperity?

Many people have this ungrounded advocacy for economic central planning and government intervention and adhere to their promises of prosperity. Without those things, they say, markets will become a free-for-all where no one will stop the greedy from exploiting the needy. What they overlook though is the fact that giving power to appointed bureaucrats to manipulate the economy leads to cronyism and bailouts, corruption, devaluation of our currency and inevitably creates the opposite of what is so arrogantly intended.

Here's a funny video I found on YouTube explaining the differences between the positions of Keynes and Hayek

I learned more about Keynes and his doctrines as well as Hayek and the Austrian school of economics after watching the PBS documentary Commanding Heights: Battle for World Economy. After that I eventually read and learned more about the two opposing schools of thought.

I think it's very important to learn more about this "battle of ideas" before advocating any of them. There are those that are so opinionated about economic issues who don't even know Keynes or Hayek and base all their assumptions on folklore economics.

But who am I, right? Who am I to go against the followers of Keynes who have their masters or PhD degrees in economics? I have no credentials whatsoever and even failed economics several times in school. I'm just some kid who enjoys reading about these things and watching YouTube videos and documentaries. All I can do, really, is to recommend that you do the same and learn more about it, that's all. Just learn more about it before deciding which is really better instead of just succumbing to what is already accepted.
"In times of change, the Patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot." -Mark Twain