Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Secret Libertarian Message In Food Inc.

I know, I know, you think the title must be a perverse joke.  However, I am serious.  Now, I have no idea if the passel of Leftoids who made Food Inc. are secret libertarians or unaware/inadvertent libertarians, but a libertarian message there is, buried near the end of the 'film.'
Consumers Drive The Train!
One must wade through ever deepening piles of manure to get to the end of the film to discover that, yes, the customer drives the train in a truly Free Market.  They give The Walmart a fine hearing, buried at the end, because they are out buying "organic" products for their stores.  Why are they buying 'organic?'  Because their customers want them.

Organic is a funny word anyway.  All food is organic.

Subsidies Bad!
Also, this pack of Marxists discovered that subsidies are bad.  Sort of.  They go to great lengths to complain that there is some sort of a lack of regulation, that somehow there is not enough government involvement, yet they complain that the government is regulating in favor of the biggest players in the food industry.  Isn't it obvious that this is the outcome every time you give government the power to pick favorites?

Anyway, they have a complaint that corn is subsidized.   The subsidized corn is messing up our food when it is fed to cows, or when corn sugars are fed to us.  Oh, and "the corporations" are doing this just to poison us because they don't care if they kill their customers.

The hidden libertarian thing here is that subsidies are bad.

Only The Large Rule?
Another of their complaints is that the food industry is consolidated into about four "giant" companies.  They show numerous examples of small farms, that seem to be doing pretty well, so I am not sure if the writer of the narration actually saw what he was narrating.  Within this complaint, they complain that food production has been consolidated into a handful of large factories.  That is pretty much the way things go with advancements in production technology.  However, they also complain that the armada of inspectors have declined.  Seriously?  If the production is, as they claim, concentrated in a few factories, then the inspectors do not need to cover as much ground.

Of course they use the fiction of Upton Sinclair as some sort of evidence that meat packing is dirty business.  Oddly, their video clips of where meat is actually butchered shows pretty darn clean conditions, while the narrator talks about all the filth that was on the outside of the cows before they were washed off and skinned.

The secret libertarian message here is that without government possessing the legal authority to pick favorites, the consumers would be picking their favorites in the marketplace as manufacturers competed for their business.

Walmart Monolith?
They make a big deal about Walmart, yet the opening credits and many other scenes appear to be shot at Kroger.  This seems to be a big thing with the neo-Marxists, pretending that Walmart is the only store left and that they have some magical power to destroy other stores.  In my neck of the woods, they don't seem to be doing such a good job, since I have to drive past Food City and Kroger to get to a Walmart produce department.  One had to drive past all three to get bags of fried gluten, or even a fresh-frozen pig's head.

Intellectual Property Gone Wild
They also make a point about Monsanto's aggressive patent enforcement and the ridiculous government handling of that sort of thing.  If, and only if, they managed to frame this bit factually (accidents can happen), then the Intellectual Property system is really out of whack.  Some farmers, who claim to never use Monsanto seed, say that other fields cross-pollinate their seed, resulting in patented Monsanto genes ending up in their next generation of soybeans.  Somehow, our glorious courts deem this as a patent infringement.

I don't know about you, but to me if you have a patent for something that can replicate itself, you should not have a claim on other people's property that your creation invades.  Too bad these farmers can't retaliate with trespassing charges.

If only we had decent judges who would throw out cases like this.  However, the film's answer to these issues is more government.  Sounds like another argument for the abolishment of intellectual property.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Call to Arms or Bureaucratic Bleg?

“With officers laid off and furloughed . . .
video

simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared?”

“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?”
Many reporting on this take the Sheriff's Public Service Announcement as a call to arms by a responsible Sheriff, speaking to his fellow citizens.  However, note the preamble:  With officers laid off and furloughed . . .  Some might say that this is a message to the community to pony up more taxes to keep the police force at current strength.  Nothing overt, of course.  Just the subtle message that, hey if we have to keep laying cops off you better get your own gun and do this job yourself.

There was a day when the citizens did just that.

Feedback at National Review's The Corner on my notion above:

John Tagliaferro

With his preamble of "officers laid off and furloughed" it sounds more like a typical bureaucrat bleg for more funding.

pkotik

Nice little town youse got here. Wouldn't want nuttin to happen to it...


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Zip Gun Arbitrage

No portion of this post or blog constitutes legal advice.  Remember, the police are not always your friends.  When they say "no questions asked" it does not constitute anything meaningful.

Ever wonder what the hell is going through the heads of the cops and their bosses in your area whenever they have a "gun buyback" three-ring-circus?  Me too.  Nobody who actually uses guns in the course of their business, like highwaymen or Dollar Store robbers, would dare sell the main tool of their trade to the police.  Especially at a lower price than they paid, or even a lower price than the risk they took when they stole the piece.

So, here is an idea.  Next time there is a gun buyback in your area, make a cheap zip gun and turn it in.  Make sure you spend less on it than the cops are paying you for it and you have an instant profit!

Don't try using any of these gadgets.

9mm
.22 cal.
12 Ga.
If your elected officials are going to pay you more for your craftsmanship than anybody else . . .

Interesting, after SaysUncle.Com  posted this (and generated more hits in one day than I get in months), it showed up in the Seattle Times, in the comments section.

Update:


Monday, January 14, 2013

Al Sharpton: Is Obama Ready for Mt. Rushmore?

Seriously, Al?

OT: Latest book update - Got some inspiration from Jeffrey Tucker, Sheldon Richman, and Robert X. Cringely.  Working on the libertarian portion of Super Duper Socialism and moved the new stuff to the front.  New section is titled Freedom is Freedom and Nothing Else.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My School Voucher Program

Dr. Milton Friedman had his ideas on school vouchers, which I have finally "warmed up to," in the sense that I have given up on the dream that the USA will cease government schooling any time soon.
One libertarian victory that has occurred in my lifetime is the revolution in home schooling.  Just the number of States that 'allow' parents to school their own children in the manner that they decide on their own, generally.

My plan?  Parents should get a "voucher" for the full amount that the government would be spending on their children if they were actually in school, based on a simple formula.  The amount of all school funding (in their locality) divided by all of the children eligible for school.  Home schoolers get the same amount as any other schooler.

Of course, this is not going to reduce the size of school budgets any time soon, but this is not an overnight solution.  I can envision a future where not a single student attends government school in county after county in the USA, while local school boards, States, and the feds continue to fund idle staff to babysit the empty buildings.  At that point, it might be obvious to the overtaxed masses that this is an expense they can do without.

An earlier thought was dividing the school budget by the average number of students in attendance in government schools.  And I still like that one.

Here is another Milton Friedman video from his PBS special Free to Choose:
A short one from Reason.TV with Sheldon Richman:
A longer one by Sheldon Richman on Libertarianism.Org:
And, of course, more Sheldon Richman:
But wait, there's more!