Saturday, November 7, 2009

Playing Dice With Liberty (I): Questions to Our Leaders

A post under the title "Financial Journalists in Crisis: Did We Fail?" has been up on the main page for the better part of this week. It shows a video produced by the European new media service, EUX.TV.

It announces the upcoming convention "Covering The Crisis"  of the European Journalists Centre (EJC) to be held on November 9 and 10 in Brussels.  The aim appears to be a rare bout of professional introspection.

The matter struck me, because the press in general on almost every issue earned themselves a huge #fail tag for non-achievement over the last couple of years. But those members of the press corps, reporting on financial and economic issues are probably the least guilty of professional sell out. Nevertheless, it is them doing the self critique. Remarkable!.

Around the 1.50 mark the video shows an unspecified pundit stating:

"We've heard from every Head of State and Government Minister that we would reform Capitalism. This [speech] came from the persons who were responsible for this mess we're in."
The question who or what actually triggered the opportune crisis may never be answered and it is perhaps immaterial, given that the subprime mortgage situation was a bubble waiting to explode in our faces. But that's just one of the questions hardly ever posed, let alone answered.

Of course, as the journalist in the video states, we've all heard our respective Heads of State's and Government Ministers' comments, particularly in the run up to the last G20 summit in Pittsburgh, but perhaps we never took their assertions all that literally (unless you are a Socialist, in which case it must have sounded like collectivism come true!).

Nevertheless, the 800 pound gorilla this commentator set loose into the room cannot be whiped under the carpet.
Our leaders' comments to bring down - or "reform" - the capitalist system invite a very serious charge of treason against them. Of course most people are too 'ideologically evolved' to see the problem here, but it is nevertheless very fundamental (not to say, existential).

An exaggeration then? (Treason, indeed!) But here's the thing ...

Without going too deep into the field of epistemology, this is how the human mind works: concepts are formed from percepts, and concepts are expressed in words. Words are not rough approximations! A word has a very specific meaning. Language is not just a means of communication, it is also a convention which allows us to perform complex procedures, from neuro surgery to rocket science.

Technically, the expression of a concept into words is not the same as a definition, but the term will do for the moment to re-acquaint ourselves with absolutes. We need to get back using language with the respect it deserves! Find out the meaning of a word, before using it!

Reverting to cognition, this process is done by an individual. The individual is therefore the basic universal unit. It is the result of that natural process, derived from a higher power which we may call God, or Nature, if you are an atheist.

This is nothing less than the foundation of Western civilization: the all important primary, individual rights  derived from Nature, or bestowed upon us by God, who made us equal (it is no coincidence that it is individualism and reason that are most under assault!). This brings us to secondary rights.

On the political level primary rights lead to the rule of law and limited government in the service of individual voters whom they represent. 

Individual property rights, and rights to the fruits of one's labor form the economic basis of what Carl Marx pejoratively termed, Capitalism. 

To deny this system like collectivists and statists of various hue do, or to criticize it to the point of wanting to "reform" it, as our own leaders take the liberty to do, is not without consequences for our rights and how we organize the world.

A clarification would be in order before we embark any further upon this subtle shift from individual liberty to submission to the whole. What would this "reform" entail and from who or what do you derive the authority to do so? Furthermore:

- Do you still recognize individual rights? Or are you advocating collectivism under your leadership: special prerogatives and privileges for certain groups of people based on gender, race, religion or cultural identity, bestowed upon them by the Government?

- Are you still the servants of the people? Or are you a member of an oligarchy who know better what's good for us; and do we owe you gratitude for all the positive rights that you in your goodness, will bestow upon us through the Government?

- Do you still respect our economic rights to property, and mutually beneficial interaction and trade? Or will we keep a current account with the Tax Department through which you will determine the value of our labor and services under considerations of "social justice"?

To be continued. 

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