Property rights have long been a part of America’s political heritage. Indeed, the Founding Fathers wrote extensively on the importance of protecting property rights. But property rights are under attack in America today. Part of the reason for the success of these attacks is imprecise or fuzzy thinking. Even many advocates of property rights are unable to clearly define the concept, and thus, they are unable to provide a consistent and principled defense. In this course, we will examine the principles that underlie property rights, as well as the principles underlying attacks on property rights. Only by understanding these principles can we clearly defend property rights and refute the claims of their enemies. Who is the target audience? Business owners harmed by regulations Property owners restricted by land-use regulations Organizations involved in defending property rights.
“Let us imagine ourselves among a race of giants who differ from us in proportion as we differ from the child and we ourselves are forced to use the giant’s furniture, dishes and possessions. If we want to sit down, we have to climb on to a chair with our hands and feet. If we want to move the chair, we have to climb down the same way and move this great weight. We want to wash our hands but the [sink] is like a big bath tub. … It takes two hands to use a hairbrush. Everything is so high that we cannot use anything (without asking for help), doors to open, hooks on which to hang our clothes and other things. We are unable to do things we need to do and we feel the humiliation resulting from our failure to act. We certainly would disdain these giant people and not wish to live with them, if we knew they had prepared nothing so we might act. — Maria Montessori
“A century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori introduced the world to a new type of classroom — the “prepared environment” — which did away with the traditional teacher-as-master model in exchange for a wholly new method that encourages each child to happily develop mastery over himself. But what happens when a teacher or parent is no longer the “giant” ruler of the classroom or home, when children are allowed to direct their own development — won’t they then just go wild? No. In fact, in the right environment, the opposite occurs. As countless teachers and parents have experienced firsthand since 1907 (the year Dr. Montessori opened her original school in Rome), children truly transform themselves in Montessori classrooms and in Montessori homes. With adult guidance, they develop into independent individuals who are competent in the world, confident in themselves, and capable of connecting peacefully with others.” — Jesse McCarthy
To help introduce the Montessori Method to parents and teachers in the 21st century Jesse McCarthy of montessorieducation.com has launched a new podcast — now three episodes in. “Interviews range from What is Montessori?, to the challenges and fun of working with infants & toddlers, to becoming a Montessori parent. And there will be many more episodes and topics to come! … Current episodes range from about 20 to 30 minutes and offer listeners a chance to delve a little deeper into the world of thoughtful, down-to-earth parenting & teaching, with an emphasis on us adults growing right alongside children.”
Yaron Brook is the host of the nationally syndicated Yaron Brook Show and renowned best-selling author. Brook’s Radical Capitalist series can be heard weekly on TheBlaze Radio and his Living Objectivism series can be heard on the Yaron Brook Show at BlogTalk Radio and YouTube.
The Yaron Brook Show is the premier broadcast that promotes the principles of rational self-interest, laissez-faire capitalism, and individual rights.
The Fool: In your opinion, what caused the crisis?
Allison:I view the crisis differently than a lot of people. I was a long-serving CEO when the crisis struck and I think the whole thing was caused by regulatory policy.
Yes, some big banks made mistakes. But it was a combination of government housing policy, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in particular, which had $5 trillion in liabilities and $2 trillion in subprime mortgages when they failed, and the Federal Reserve, which held interest rates below inflation, that contributed to the bubble in the housing market, along with bubbles in other markets.
I don’t believe the whole industry was failing. I think that’s ridiculous. It was a relatively small number of large institutions that were in trouble. Banks like Citigroup. I think they should have been allowed to fail and the world would be a better place today.
The whole idea that everybody would have gone broke if one of the big banks failed was absurd. We had been doing business with investment banks like Bear Stearns andGoldman Sachs, but we controlled our risk with those companies just like we did with any borrower. If they had gone broke, we would have lost money, but not nearly as much as we lost to residential builders in the marketplace.
It was a relatively small number of large banks and a handful of small banks that were in trouble. It was not an industrywide crisis, except to the degree that the regulators created a crisis by choosing to fail Wachovia, save Citigroup, fail Lehman Brothers, save Bear Stearns. The uncertainty caused by that response took what was going to be a normal correction and transformed it into a crisis, making everything worse than it had to be.
The Fool: How did regulators’ response to the financial crisis differ from their responses in past crises that you witnessed?
Allison:I went through the financial correction in the early 1980s, which should have been more severe because we were in bad trouble economically after the inflation of the 1970s. I also went through the correction in the early 1990s. In neither case did we have a panic. And the reason we didn’t have a panic was because at least you knew what to expect.
Thousands of banks and thrifts failed in the 1980s and 1990s. The unwillingness to let banks fail in the latest crisis — they were effectively bailing out everybody — prevented the natural correction process from happening.
We had rule of law in the past. In this crisis, we had no rule of law. When Washington Mutual failed, instead of taking the losses out of the FDIC fund, they took it from bondholders. That crashed the capital markets, which then caused Wachovia to fail. That was a regulatory decision.
Clinton became president not because he is a deft man of principle, but because he is a deft pragmatist, one who skillfully monitors (and manipulates) public opinion, and alters his “principles” accordingly.
Pragmatism, the philosophy dominating modern politics, involves eschewing principles in the name of “doing what will work.” The classic example of a pragmatist was Britain’s then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, who abandoned principles to appease Hitler’s power lust by giving him Czechoslovakia, all in the name of peace. The result was war. Without principles, one cannot identify what will and won’t work.
Pragmatism eschews valid moral principles, such as honesty, integrity and justice, which leads to a policy of “doing whatever I can get away with.” If elections can be won by making promises one knows one can’t keep, or deliberately generating false hope about disastrous and wasteful schemes like Medicare and Social Security, or accepting financial contributions from Chinese dictators, or lying about adulterous affairs (such as with Gennifer Flowers), then do it. Clinton’s latest big lie was his claim in his recent State of the Union speech that “We have the smallest government in 35 years.”
How does one know if one will get away with lying or adultery? Ultimately, by feelings. Pragmatism sinks to: “Do I feel that I will get away with it this time?” If one is impulsively driven by strong adulterous urges and gets away with satisfying them once, that builds “confidence” to try again. “Success” at fooling others breeds recklessness, and a perverted feeling of triumph over others and over reality. According to Gennifer Flowers, Clinton once asked her to have sex in a bathroom at the Arkansas’ governor’s mansion while his wife and 50 guests were outside on the lawn. (CNN — Larry King Live, Jan. 23, 1998.) Imagine the “triumphant” feeling of getting away with that!
….Elan Journo explains the essential nature of the conflict, and what has fueled it for so long. What justice demands, he shows, is that we evaluate both adversaries—and America’s approach to the conflict—according to a universal moral ideal: individual liberty.
From that secular moral framework, the book analyzes the conflict, examines major Palestinian grievances and Israel’s character as a nation, and explains what’s at stake for everyone who values human life, freedom, and progress.
What Justice Demands shows us why America should be strongly supportive of freedom and freedom-seekers—but, in this conflict and across the Middle East, it hasn’t been, much to our detriment.
Terence Corcoran, gives a little history lesson on how “Net Neutrality” worked in the 20th century over at the Financial Post:
Our freeways and highways are working models of road neutrality. At any time, anywhere, drivers are free to stream onto highways, free of any of the blocking, throttling and paid prioritization that private road tolls might bring. The result of road neutrality is constant congestion, with drivers dependent on politicians to determine whether new roads are built as a public utility, with no regard to price and cost.
Postal neutrality dominated for centuries, until key parts of the business were liberated from neutrality by allowing competitors to travel the same routes to deliver parcels. Today, UPS and FedEx compete with government postal services on quality and price. Recently, UPS announced another break with postal-neutrality principles, saying it would impose a surcharge on U.S. packages shipped the week before Christmas. The objective, says UPS, is to end congestion by prompting shippers and consumers to postpone deliveries that are non-essential holiday items until after the Christmas rush.
Promoters of net neutrality might learn from the history of public utilities and the experience in de-neutralized sectors such as postal services. Under deregulation, telcos in competition with one another would have more incentive to innovate and supply the infrastructure for the promised technological miracles than they would under the centuries-old utility model. [We tried ‘neutrality’ before the net came along. It’s always terrible.]
In this lecture Randy E. Barnett speaks on the topic of his latest book, “Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People”: The Constitution of the United States begins with the words: “We the People.” But from the earliest days of the American republic, there have been two competing notions of “the People,” which lead to two very different versions of the Constitution. Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a “democratic” constitution that allows the “will of the people” to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a “republican” constitution is needed to secure the pre-existing inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority.
The lecture “Why Marxism?”, is an examination of why so many people are still attracted to Marxism despite the history of totalitarianism and genocide. Professor C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He has also been a visiting fellow at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.
The US Justice Department announced today that it will file an antitrust suit against Santa Claus. “He’s got a monopoly on delivering presents on Christmas Eve,” said Justice Department spokesperson Ben Scrudge. “Plus he’s giving those presents away for free. Who can compete with that?”