Friday, September 30, 2011

After the French debate

I knew going into the debate that I would stand out like a sore thumb since I was planning to speak in terms of philosophical and economic concepts. 

The other three candidates all took turns telling the audience how they would spend taxpayer money in different ways, each claiming to know better than the other what the best way was. 

They spoke of spending money on French language early childhood education.  I spoke of how the current system pushes parents into work instead of raising children and how by liberating the business from government interference most people could afford all the child care they want.

They spoke of running the money of citizens through the jaws of government before it can be used on the arts and cultural activities of the influential few.  I spoke of how culture is not a government creation but a reflection of the free will of citizens.  I spoke of how in a free market all artists receive exactly the compensation they earn from willing patrons and of how a system run by government force distorts the market and prevents free choice for both artists and patrons.

They spoke of Rules about how French must be used and I spoke of freeing people to use whatever language they want, as much as they choose.

In the last eight years McGuinty's Liberals have increased spending by 80% and have no plans to decrease it.  Hudak's PC's have stated they will reduce non-health and education spending by a whopping 2% - this is 1% of the overall budget. In a period whan the province has almost doubled its debt to about $245 billion in just eight years and is increasing this by about $33 million per day, the best they can do is try to reduce by 1% and they expect this to work?  If the PC's cannot do better than this they certainly deserve to lose this election.

I spoke in concepts and principles, then applied these to show how the big problems could all be solved by allowing people to actually cooperate to solve them making free individual choices.  The others refused to even consider the possibility that free choice could work better than centrally commanded dictates and rules.

They talked of "pushing" for more of whatever the subject of discussion was.  More money for child care.  More money for arts and culture.  More money for this and that. 

The Ottawa Citizen covered the debate but only said:
"McGruer delivered a libertarian vision of society in response to each question, saying it was not the government’s role to tell people what language to use at work or in their personal lives." 
Interesting that the writer identified my thoughts as libertarian when the Libertarian candidate did not even show for the debate.

Le Droit covered it but had little to say.

The Orleans Star covered the debate and it was in French at L'Express and at least mentioned that I spoke of the principles of a free society. My objective in repeating this mantra was to show that I was thinking with a consistent philosophy and to get people to think about what a free society actually means.  In that, at least, I was successful.

"One audience member said he thought the freedom party’s platform sounded like a dream world. They promote a society with very little government intervention and a flat tax system where no matter how one makes, income tax is the same amount for everyone. Some of their ideas are raising the speed limit on the highway to 120 kilometres an hour and to do away with the LCBO and make the purchase of alcohol available in grocery stores.

The Citizen's editorial endorsing candidates made brief mention of the 10 minute conversation I had with them:
"Freedom party candidate David McGruer says he's running not expecting to win but to help people to realize the extent that "government has taken over our lives."

I guess this was the sound bite they chose to go with out of the dozen or so I gave them.  At least it is accurate and on target.

"McGruer opened almost every response with “in a free society...” which by the end of the debate was garnering chuckles from the crowd."

The comment above is actually a pretty good representation of my ideas.  I do think that a free society would be a kind of dream world.  What rational man would want less?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Response to letter about IMF report on income inequality

Dave, This may help you with your platform. A recently released document from the International Monetary Fund, one of the more private sector friendly organizations in world.

Try to read with an open mind----not blinkered by libertarian ideology.

I certainly appreciate the thought and the opportunity to comment from a rational point of view. In fact, my mind is wide open as I read everything you refer to me and think carefully about the philosophy, fundamental concepts and moral implications of it in my responses. Libertarian only describes me well in regards to economics. Typical libertarians do not have an integrated philosophy behind their beliefs, but libertarian economists such as Ludwig von Mises have done the best job describing the proper economic structure in a free society. They have thoroughly refuted every collectivist economic idea (about a century ago in von Mises "Socialism" is the best work) and all the evidence of history has shown their concepts to be valid. Most economists of the last century (Keynes in particular) have been busy undoing their work by pushing collectivism and altruism into economics.   Collectivism fuels state interference in citizen's lives and Keynes works creates an illusion and false validation of the need for government to do so.

Before addressing the subject of the report, I must preface my remarks by correcting an assumption in your second sentence. The IMF is neither a private sector institution nor a friend of individual rights (assuming that is what you mean by the private sector). In a free society there is no such thing as government monopoly on money, no such thing as government funding of monetary institutions and no such thing as government agreements to interfere in each others' economies. In a free society money is determined by free citizens making choices about how they will exchange values. Note that the institutions that collectivists currently accuse of being capitalism and instruments of oppression are all collectivist institutions created by governments who claimed it was in the best interests of society that government should control that aspect of the economy.  A free money system (non-monopoly) has been used successfully and results in an objective standard of money instead of today's money that is constantly debased by government.

There are several logical fallacies present in the IMF report, only a few of which I have time to tackle even lightly here.  Given that the IMF is a collectivism institution it should be no surprise that it is full of collectivist assumptions.

First, there is the presumption that differences in income are inherently wrong. This is entirely a collectivist perspective, held by people who view income as being distributed and not earned. If anyone thinks he should have more income, let him compete in a free market to provide values that his fellow citizens will judge and exchange value for in return. In a free society all trade is an uncoerced exchange that by definition benefits both parties, as they each see they are gaining from the transaction or else it could not occur, and no one is allowed to steal wealth.  All wealth is earned through free exchange.

Second, the very definition of inequality as used in the report is erroneous, since it only measures a static number at a point in time based on collective statistics and ignores individual experiences. As repeated studies such as one recently published here in Canda show, the vast majority of people who are in the lowest quintile of income level at one time have moved up the scale in just a modest number of years. This is a perfectly predictable phenomenon as individuals start out with low value skills and less experience and improve themselves over time.

Third, we can easily see that the overall quality of life in the relatively free countries has improved more since individual freedoms started to be protected a couple of centuries ago than in all of human history and in all other countries combined. A person in the bottom quintile of income today enjoys luxuries and life quality that a citizen could never have dreamed of just 100 years ago. Even today, the poor in a relatively free country are infinitely better off than all but the oppressors in the non-free countries.

Fourth, even if we were to ignore the fundamental errors above, what if there was an actual permanent difference in income levels between people? The final falsehood I will address here is that it would then be moral to steal part of the life, work and property of the individuals who produced more wealth and to give it to those who did not earn it. Who will presume to apply the force of government against innocent citizens to take their assets? How will it be enforced against those who do not wish to be robbed? What punishments will be meted out and on what moral basis? Which group will decide how much is to be taken and who gives them this power over the lives of others?

Please answer me this: what philosophical system holds that the value a man has produced through his own effort and according to his own rational self-interest to be taken forcefully and given to others, and what moral principles are in play to validate it?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Le debat francais en Orleans

J'ai traduit de l'anglais. Le débat aura lieu le jeudi 28 à Septembre à la Centre culturel d'Orléans, 6600, rue Carrière. Le débat mettra en vedette une introduction puis trois questions ci-dessous et ensuite aux questions du public.

Introduction (3min)
David McGruer: Vous observerez que mes déclarations et mes réponses seront très différentes des trois autres candidats. C'est parce que les miennes sont toutes basées sur une philosophie intégrée et cohérente, fondée sur les principes d'une société bonne pour la nature de l'homme comme un individu rationnel. Ma philosophie est individualiste, où leur est collectiviste. Le mien est fondée sur le rationalisme alors leur est basée sur le mysticisme. Le mien est basé sur l'égoïsme alors que leur est basé sur l'altruisme.

Depuis environ un siècle maintenant, les partis collectivistes se disputent les détails de ce qui sera le groupe en contrôle de plus de votre vie, votre liberté et votre propriété pour les quatre prochaines années.
Comme collectivistes, leur philosophie exige naturellement le sacrifice des individus à des groupes. Ils ne considèrent pas l'effort d'établir une société libre d’être valable.
En fait, si vous leur demandez, ils ne pourront même pas décrire une société vraiment libre.
Une société libre repose sur trois principes fondamentaux et liés: (1) un gouvernement limité qui (2) édicte et applique des lois objectives pour (3) le seul but de protéger les droits individuels.
Quand le gouvernement initie la force par la réglementation, les contrôles, le monopole et l'interdiction contre des citoyens pacifiques, elle change de son rôle de protecteur à la pire violateur des droits, puisque les citoyens sont laissés sans autre protecteur.
Dans une société libre, vous êtes responsable de votre propre vie et les conséquences de vos choix.
Vos droits ne sont pas sacrifiés pour répondre aux désirs des autres et vous ne  demandez pas aux autres de se sacrifier pour vous ou pour les soins ou éducation de vos enfants.
Dans une société libre, le soin de santé est un accord de coopération entre clients et fournisseurs. Tous les types d'assurance médicale sont autorisés.
Il n'y a pas de participation du gouvernement.
Dans une société libre, l'électricité est fournie par une variété de concurrents, chacun s'efforçant de fournir une énergie fiable au prix le plus bas. Si l’un affaiblit, d'autres vont rapidement augmenter leur part de marché.
Il n'y a pas de participation du gouvernement.
Dans une société libre, tout service de garde et d'éducation en dehors de la maison est un accord de coopération entre les parents et les éducateurs.
Il n'y a pas de participation du gouvernement.

Dans une société libre, les taxes ne sont qu'une petite fraction de l'économie, et non pas 50%, il y a séparation de l'économie et du gouvernement, l'éducation et du gouvernement, la religion et le gouvernement, et il y a un marché libre dans les ampoules électriques, les pesticides, l'assurance automobile,
l'alcool et tout le reste, tant que dommage objectif aux autres n'est pas fait.

S'il est élu, le Parti Freedom promet de:
• restaurer le choix de l'assurance maladie,• restaurer l'assurance automobile équitable• terminer les interdictions sur les ampoules,• les pesticides et• Shopping sur les fêtes religieuses.• Nous allons mettre fin à la prime de la santé,• fermer les écoles publiques fondées sur la race,• mettre fin au monopole sur l'électricité• et d'alcool,• augmenter la limite de vitesse sur autoroutes de la série 400 à 120 et• mettre fin à la 14,7 cent impôt par litre d'essence.
La restauration de ces libertés serait simplement nos premiers pas dans la bonne direction.

Question 1
Qu’elles seront les actions prise par vous et votre parti politique en ce qui a trait à l'augmentation des places subventionnées pour les enfants de 0 à 3.8 ans dans des centres éducatifs de qualité et francophones dans la région d’Ottawa – Orléans ?
David McGruer (1min): Tout d'abord, laissez-moi vous dire que la question contient une contradiction fondamentale qui révèle une philosophie, ce qui implique que c'est bien le rôle du gouvernement pour s'occuper des enfants.
Dans une société libre, 100% de votre revenu est à vous, alors la pression pour les deux parents de travailler pendant les années de la petite enfance est généralement éliminé.
Dans une société libre, les parents qui choisissent que leurs enfants soient gardés par les autres ont à comprendre que c'est leur seule responsabilité, et ils ne sont pas responsables pour les enfants de quelqu'un d'autre. 

Les services de garde n'apparaissent pas miraculeusement en souhaitant pour cela et il est immoral de forcer les autres à les fournir. Tous les parents sont libres de se regrouper pour organiser tout type et langue de garde d'enfants qu'ils souhaitent avoir.

Les fournisseurs de soins de l'enfant sont libres à créer n'importe quelle entreprise et ne sont responsables que pour les parents, qui sont leurs clients, et non aux politiciens, et non au gouvernement.
Dans une société collectiviste il y a de nombreux groupes de pression qui tentent de contrôler l'usage de la force du gouvernement en leur faveur et le groupe le plus nombreux ou bruyant gagne habituellement.
Pour ce faire, ils doivent violer les droits de tous les autres citoyens, et donc ce type de système est clairement immoral.
Un gouvernement Freedom commencerait à enlever toutes les barrières permettant aux parents de rester à la maison pendant la petite enfance et tous les obstacles à un marché libre dans les garderies.

Question 2
Sachant que les arts et la culture représentent un des secteurs essentiels à la vie communautaire, comment un gouvernement sous la bannière de votre parti entend-il appuyer financièrement les organismes artistiques et culturels tant au niveau des infrastructures qu'au niveau de fonds de fonctionnement de base ?
David McGruer (1 min): Arts et culture sont en effet des éléments importants de la vie en communauté. Dans une société libre, tous les artistes sont bien entendu libres de produire un théâtre, danse, peinture, poterie ou littérature qu'ils souhaitent. Comme dans tout autre marché libre, leur succès est déterminé par la volonté de leurs clients de payer pour leur art.

En août, j'ai été à Niagara et a assisté à une production dans le Festival Shaw.
J'ai payé 82.49 $ chacun pour les billets parce que j'ai choisi d'assister. Je ne sais pas si la production reçoit aucune subvention du public.
Je n'ai certainement pas le droit de s'attendre à quiconque de payer pour une partie de mon billet et personne n'a le droit de me faire payer pour eux.

Si nous enlevons l'ingérence du gouvernement de tous les arts et la culture, tous les artistes seront rémunérés dans exactement la quantité que leurs clients ont choisi de les soutenir.
Tout soutien pour eux sera fait par accord mutuel et non la coercition.
Il n'y aura pas de conflits et  tout le monde va être traité avec justice.

Question 3Les services en français ont toujours été des enjeux importants des campagnes électorales en Ontario, surtout pour la communauté d’Ottawa-Orléans. En ce sens, êtes vous en en faveur de coupures budgétaires à l’Office des services en français ainsi qu’au bureau du commissaire aux services en français de l’Ontario ?
David McGruer (1 min): Dans une société libre, la langue est un choix individuel et n'est pas soumis à aucun contrôle gouvernemental. Il n'y a pas des bureaucrates qui créent de règles, pas de police de la langue, pas de restrictions sur la signalisation, de la langue au travail, ou n'importe quoi d'autre.
Le seul rôle moral du gouvernement est de protéger les droits des individus. Il doit agir que lorsque le droit à la vie, la liberté ou la propriété est violée. Par exemple, si un groupe de personnes se sont réunis pour essayer de vous forcer à courir vos affaires en anglais, c'est le rôle du gouvernement pour les arrêter, peu importe la taille du groupe. D'autre part, ils sont libres d'essayer de vous persuader d'offrir des services en anglais, et c'est à vous de décider si vous souhaitez les servir en anglais.
Quand il s'agit de citoyens d'interagir avec le gouvernement, dans un gouvernement de société libre le gouvernement est beaucoup plus petit les citoyens interagissent avec le gouvernement seulement par la police, les tribunaux et la création de lois objectives. Les citoyens ont le droit de comprendre et être compris, il est donc nécessaire pour le gouvernement d'offrir des services bilingues ou la traduction, où la situation le justifie.


David McGruer: J'espère que vous avez commencé à voir la différence fondamentale entre mes déclarations et celles des autres candidats. Leur sont toutes basées sur l'idée qu'il est bon pour le gouvernement de prendre votre argent et le dépenser selon leurs souhaits ou ceux de groupes de pression. Naturellement, une telle méthode a des conflits à la base et alors les gens ne sont jamais vraiment satisfaits et l'arrangement n'est pas moral dans une société libre.

Je vous encourage à commencer à repenser votre prémisse selon laquelle les soins préscolaire sont correctement délivrés par usage de la force du gouvernement contre les citoyens, car elle n'est pas. Un tel arrangement est normal dans un pays où le collectivisme est la philosophie dominante et les individus n'ont pas le droit, comme dans l'ancienne Union Soviétique, en Allemagne socialiste ou dans la Chine communiste. C'est une idéologie qui ne faisait pas partie des principes fondateurs du Canada, mais plutôt s'est glissée dans le fil des décennies.

Je vous encourage à commencer à repenser votre prémisse selon laquelle les arts et la culture ont quelque chose à voir avec un rôle moral pour le gouvernement. Dans une société libre les artistes sont libres de faire leur travail et à charger le prix qu'ils souhaitent, tandis que les clients sont libres de choisir d'acheter l'art ou pas. Personne n'est forcé par le gouvernement pour payer les artistes et les artistes n’utilisent pas la force du gouvernement à prendre l'argent des citoyens. L'ingérence du gouvernement dans l'art et la culture conduit nécessairement à des conflits d'intérêts et détruit la liberté des artistes et des clients aussi.
Dans une société libre, les employeurs sont libres d'embaucher des personnes de toute langue et nécessitent la compétence linguistique qu'ils choisissent. Les entreprises sont libres de poser des affiches dans la langue de leur choix. Les entreprises qui ne servent pas assez de clients ainsi ne vont pas durer et ceux offrant des services dans la langue de leurs clients vont se développer. Voilà comment fonctionne une société libre et je vous encourage à commencer à penser que la liberté est possible une fois de plus, au lieu de voter encore pour les contrôles et les règlements que nous avons souffert depuis si longtemps.

Questions for the Sept. 29 Orleans French-language debate

I have translated these into English.  The debate will be held on Thursday, September 28th at the
Centre culturel d’Orléans, 6600, rue Carrière, which is off Orleans Blvd just south of St. Joseph Blvd.  The debate will feature an introduction then three questions below and then audience questions.

Introduction (3min)

You will observe that my statements and answers will be very different from the three other candidates.  This is because mine are all based on an integrated and consistent philosophy based on the principles of a society proper for man's nature as a rational individual.  My philosophy is individualist where theirs is collectivist.  Mine is based on rationalism whereas theirs is based on mysticism.  Mine is based on egoism while their is based on altruism.

For about a century now, the collectivist parties have been fighting over details of which group will control more of your life, your liberty and your property for the next four years. Being collectivists, their philosophy naturally requires the sacrifice of individuals to groups. They do not consider the effort of establishing a free society to be worthwhile. In fact, if you ask them, they could not even explain what a truly free society looks like.

A free society is based on three fundamental and connected principles: (1) a limited government that (2) enacts and enforces objective laws for (3) the sole purpose of protecting individual rights. When government initiates force through regulation, control, monopoly and prohibition against peaceful citizens, it changes from its proper role of protector to the worst violator of rights, since citizens are left with no other protector.

In a free society you are responsible for your own life and the consequences of your choices. Your rights are not sacrificed to meet the wishes of others and you don’t ask others to sacrifice themselves for you or your children's care or education.

In a free society, health care is a cooperative agreement between customers and suppliers - doctors, nurses, surgeons, hospitals, pharmacists and inventors. Shortages cannot exist for long since entrepreneurs rush to fill unmet needs. All types of medical insurance are permitted. There is no government involvement.

In a free society, electricity is supplied by a variety of competitors, each striving to provide reliable power at the lowest price. If one weakens, others quickly increase their market share. Supply meets every conceivable demand. There is no government involvement.
In a free society, all child care and education outside the home is a cooperative agreement between parents and educators.   Shortages cannot exist for long since entrepreneurs rush to fill unmet needs everywhere the supply and demand prices match .  There is no government involvement.

In a free society, taxes are only a tiny fraction of the economy, not 50%, there is separation of economy and government, education and government, religion and government, and there is a free market in light bulbs, pesticides, auto insurance, alcohol and everything else, so long as objective harm to others is not done.

If elected, the Freedom Party will:

  • restore choice in health insurance,

  • restore fair auto insurance and

  • remove bans on light bulbs,

  • pesticides and

  • shopping on religious holidays.

    • We will end the health premium,
    • close race-based public schools,
    • end the monopoly on electricity
    • and alcohol,
    • raise the speed limit on 400 series highways to 120 and
    • end the 14.7 cent per liter Ontario gasoline tax.
    Restoring these freedoms would be just our first steps in the right direction.

    Question 1
    What actions will be taken by you and your political party with respect to increasing child care subsidies for children from 0 to 3.8 years in quality Francophone education facilities in the Ottawa-Orleans area?

    David McGruer (1min): First, let me say that the question contains a fundamental contradiction that reveals a philosophy at work, implying that it is properly the role of government to provide child care.

    In a free society 100% of your income is yours to keep and so the pressure for both parents to work during early childhood years is usually eliminated.

    In a free society, parents who wish to have their children cared for by others understand this is their responsibility alone and they are not responsible for the children of anyone else. 

    Child care does not miraculously appear by wishing for it and it is immoral to force others to provide it.  All parents are free to group together to organize any type and language of child care they wish to have. 

    Child care providers are free to create any business they wish and are accountable only to the parents, who are their customers; not to politicians; not to government.

    No one is forced to pay for the child care of anyone else's children and no one uses government force to prevent parents from obtaining the child care they are willing to pay for.

    In a collectivist society there are numerous pressure groups that try to control the use of government force in their favour and the largest or loudest group usually wins.  To do so, they must violate the rights of all other citizens, and so this type of system is clearly immoral.

    A Freedom government would start removing all the barriers to enabling parents to afford to stay home in the early childhood years and all the barriers to a free market in child care.

    Question 2
    Recognizing that arts and culture are one of the key sectors in community life, how will a government under the banner of your party financially support the arts and cultural organizations both in infrastructure and in terms of operating funds base?

    David McGruer (1 min): Arts and culture are indeed important parts of community living.  In a free society, all artists are of course free to produce any theater, dance, painting, pottery or writing they wish.  As in any other free market, their success is determined by their supporters willingness to pay for their art. 

    In August I was in Niagara and attended a production in the Shaw Festival.  I paid $80 each for the tickets because I chose to attend and believed my wife would love the show.  I do not know if the production receives any taxpayer subsidies.  I certainly have no right to expect anyone else to pay for any part of my ticket and no one has the right to make me pay for theirs. 

    If we remove government interference from all arts and culture, all artists will be compensated in exactly the amount their customers have chosen to support them.  All support for them will be done by mutual agreement and not coercion.  There will be no conflicts and everyone will be treated justly.

    Question 3
    French-language services have always been important issues of election campaigns in Ontario, especially for the community of Ottawa-Orléans. In this sense, are you in favor of cuts to the Office of French Language Services and the Office of the Commissioner of French language services in Ontario?

    David McGruer (1 min): In a free society, language is an individual choice and is not subject to any government controls.  There are no bureaucrats creating rules, no language police, no restrictions on signage, language at work, or anything else. 

    Since the only moral role of government is to protect the rights of individuals, it must only act when the right to life, liberty or property is violated.  For example, if a group of people got together to try and force you to run your business in English, it is the role of government to stop them, no matter how large the group.  On the other hand, they are free to try and persuade you to offer services in English, and it is up to you to decide if you wish to serve them in English.

    When it comes to citizens interacting with government, in a free society government is far smaller and citizens only interact with government through the police, the courts and the creation of objective laws.  Citizens have a right to understand and be understood, so it is right for government to offer bilingual or translation services where the situation warrants it.

    Questions from Fair Vote Canada

    1. Did you sign the Declaration of Voters Rights, either on paper or at

    David McGruer: No.  I do not think this represents a meaningful solution to the deep problems in our government.

    2. In the last federal election the Conservatives won a majority with the support of under 40% of the electorate who voted, and about 25% of the support of the total electorate. Each of you represent good ideas, but only one of you will be able to represent those ideas following this election despite the fact that almost certainly more than 50% of the people in your riding will vote for one of you who don’t get elected. In the last provincial election, 52,2% of votes did not go to a wining candidate.  Given this, can you tell me where each of you stand on electoral reform?

    David McGruer: I believe the problem with Canadian government is that it does not fulfill its single, moral purpose: the protection of individual rights.  If government did not interfere in all aspects of our lives, the method of voting would have far less significance, since government would not have the power to mess things up as it does today.  Dedicating one's energy to reforming a voting method instead of tackling the fundamental immorality of the current philosophy of government is a waste of energy.  A different means of electing people to do things in a totally improper fashion will have no meaningful positive impact on society.

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    A few questions of my own for candidates

    I have a few questions I am asking candidates to identify their fundamental ideas about rights, politics and government.  If I get any responses I will post them.

    1. Currently, the market in health care services is severely restricted by government monopoly.  Do you believe doctors have the right to run their own business, choose their own patients and charge their own fees?  If not, what is the moral principle you rely on to restrict the natural rights of doctors?

    2. Do you believe citizens have the right to use their own money in exchange for any health services they want and can obtain in a free market?  If not, please identify the moral principle you rely on to deny citizens this right.

    3. Do you believe citizens have the right to own their own property, free of all encumbrances and charges that others may wish to impose, no matter how large the group?   If not, what moral principle do you use to override the right of individuals to property.

    4. Do you believe it is moral for the rights of individuals to be overridden by whichever group can assemble a majority vote?  If so, please identify the moral principle you rely on to support your position.

    5. Do you believe individuals have the a natural liberty to peacefully pursue their own goals in life, so long as they respect the same right of others, and the right to keep all of the values they produce through their own efforts?  Please elaborate as much as possible.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Questions from an undecided voter

    Dear Ottawa-Orleans candidates,
    My name is _________, a currently undecided voter  in the Ottawa-Orleans riding, and I would like to know your position on a number of issues, as listed below.
    David McGruer: Please note that ALL of your concerns can be addressed easily through a  fundamental philosophical exercise.  By identifying man's individual nature, his need and right to reason and act freely on it to survive and his right to own the values he creates, the logical consequences of these ideas are the establishment of a free society where government is charged only with protecting those rights according to objective laws.  My responses try to cut to the ideological essence of the question and deal directly with the underlying issue instead of treating all the assumptions in the questions as if they were valid or necessary.
    On human rights:
    1. Considering that the province of Ontario has received and continues to receive embarrassing international attention with regards to its separate school system (e.g., especially when our troops are fighting for human rights abroad, what measures do you intend to enact to rectify the situation (e.g. introduce a unified school system, introduce a Swedish-style school voucher programme, or some other solution)?
    David McGruer:  Such a question can only arise in a society where government has forced students into state-run schools, "separate" or "public" and forced citizens to pay for it, and further implies that such a coercive arrangement is desirable. In a free society, individuals establish schools that offer what they believe parents want in an educational institution, parents choose among the schools offered, competition between all such institutions requires them to remain relevant and productive, and so families obtain the educational services they want, not what is dictated they must have by those in central command.   I am in favour of a free education system, not meaning that others are forced to pay for it, but meaning all participants are free to choose, instead of the current one.   Using more force to reduce existing choice in schools can only make things worse and validates the use of force in education. 
    I would like to see Ontario move towards a free system where all types of schools are permitted and all choices regarding school choice, subject matter, teacher compensation and everything else is conducted on a voluntary, mutually agreeable basis with no government interference.  Our election platform only contains a hint of that since the change would be enormous and take much time for adjustments to occur.
    2. Considering that there is a growing gap between rich and poor in Canada, what measures would you introduce to close the gap in an economically sustainable manner (e.g. introduce German-style co-determination legislation, increase funding for universal compulsory education, increasing funding for walking and cycling paths in our cities, or other measures)?
    David McGruer: The question contains the false premise that there is something wrong about income inequality.  Compared to other life forms, humans are more unique, more distinct and more unequal than any other species.  It is part of our natural diversity, our strength as a species and one of our most valuable characteristics.  Income inequality is only a moral issue under a system of totalitarian government based on the false moral premise that all men are equal.  In all such societies, income inequality is actually higher than anywhere else because the rulers suck the population dry, leaving them in equal degrees of poverty.  Good examples can be seen in socialist Russia, socialist Germany, socialist China, socialist North Korea, socialist Cuba, and the list goes on. 
    The fact is that income inequality in a free society is desirable as it indicates that when men are left free to work towards their goals in life, that some manage to create such tremendous value that they cannot benefit from even a fraction of it themselves, and the entire population obtains great benefit at no cost.  For example, consider the billions of lives that have been improved by the creators and sellers of electricity, of oil and petroleum derivatives, of medical technologies, of communication and internet technologies.  Yes, hopefully the successful ones have become wealthy from their innovation, but the largest benefit goes to the general population that pays relatively little for permanent advances in technology.  How much is the inventor of a valuable new brain surgery technique paid and how does that compare to the immeasurable benefit provided permanently to the entire human race?
    In a free society the right of every citizen to think, to act, to produce and to build wealth through mutually agreeable transactions is limited only by the requirement that you do not use force against others.  In fact, it is the moral role of government to protect those rights.  In our current society, poverty only exists to any meaningful degree because of the thousands of obstacles to employment, trade, wealth accumulation and other activities that make up a free economy.  The tiny number of people who are truly unemployable could easily helped through voluntary charities.
    On balancing the budget:
    3. What kind of tax reforms do you have in mind that could raise revenue while discouraging consumption of government resources at the same time (e.g. resources taxes, which could discourage unnecessary road use and encourage investment in solar panels and such, thus clearing traffic and reducing the need to build more motorways and building more power plants, or some other strategy)?
    David McGruer:  In a free economy there is no such thing as government resources since resources are properly private property.  I am against any scheme which raises government revenues by use force or threat of force, which is almost all the current government revenue.  Resources are unlimited by the law of conservation of matter and resource use is only limited my human ingenuity.  The entire petroleum industry did not exist 200 years ago.  Oil in the ground was considered to be a smelly, gooey nuisance to farmers.  Human ingenuity converted such goo into the most valuable resource we currently have and has enabled the rise of industrial society, vast scientific discoveries, doubled the lifespan of humans and greatly increased their quality of life too.  Solar panels are currently very uneconomical because the technology is too primitive and plenty of more economical alternatives exist.  When and if alternatives become more expensive and/or scientists discover more efficient solar panel technologies, a change in energy production will naturally occur, with no government interference at all.  Interference can only serve to distort proper market pricing signals, destabilize markets and waste valuable wealth that could instead be improving lives today.
    There is no right or wrong number of roads or cars, except that determined by a free market.  By suppressing the free market, government has created a perpetual conflict among groups of citizens who try to resolve their conflicts through manipulating government force instead of through peaceful, cooperative means such as only a a free market can deliver.  This is an immoral system and should be abolished as soon as possible.
    4. Where will you look at cutting government spending?
    David McGruer: In our platform we propose to restore choice in health care, which is currently about half the Ontario budget.  By gradually returning health care to the control of individual citizens and removing force from this valuable industry, government spending could decrease rapidly for many years due to this one item alone.  In a free market, costs decline greatly as efficiency and productivity rise and all government obstacles to exchange are removed.  Under a monopoly such as we now have, costs steadily rise, productivity is stifled and shortages naturally occur.  We are trying to operate our health care system under the same moral principles as did the Soviet Union and are already facing some of the same consequences, with many more to come, unless our society can discover a morality based on individual rights.
    On employment:
    5. How do you intend to remedy classical unemployment (e.g. reduce the minimum wage, deregulate labour standards, or other measures)?
    David McGruer:  In a free society there is a limitless amount of work to do and therefore unlimited job opportunities.  Each individual seeks to find work that makes highest use of his abilities and each employer seeks the most valuable employees.  When an employee and employer agree on a price for labour, a job is created.  The current system has so much government interference that many jobs that would naturally be created in a free economy are in fact outlawed.  Minimum wage laws make it illegal to work for less than someone's arbitrarily labeled wage level and so create a permanent percentage of unemployed citizens.  This is a clear case of government saying it is acting to protect a goup in need while actually harming that exact group because of an inverted morality.
    In a free society, government does not set labour standards because workers and employers make their own agreements.  Government's only proper role in this subject is to protect the rights of workers and employers alike by acting through the court system to arbitrate contract disputes through objective law.
    6. How do you intend to deal with geographical unemployment (e.g. have the Ontario Ministry of Education establish common educational standards with other ministries of education in Canada and abroad for various trades and professions, encourage the Federal government to promote free labour-movement agreements, or other measures)?
    David McGruer: This is a false concept since it implies that unemployment should be dealt with by government and that the physical location of an unemployed person is any business of government.  In a free society, a person who loses his job is free to seek any other job anywhere he wants.  He must deal with reality as it is, and not as he or anyone else wishes it to be.  He must always be prepared to lose his job as he does not have a right to a job, just a right to freely seek one; he does not have a right to a particular income, just the right to seek to earn as much as he wishes through voluntary trade; he does not have a right to a job within a certain geographical area, just the right to move freely and relocate as he sees fit in pursuit of a job.  The government should have no role at all in labour or business.  Every action the government takes in these areas necessarily reduces jobs and wealth.  The proper role of government is to abstain from interference.
    7. How will you solve skills-deficient unemployment (e.g. will you increase education funding for trades and professions, would you make such funding available to the unemployed only, or also to the underpaid, especially should you plan on reducing minimum wages, introduce some kind of peace corps whereby Ontarians could receive higher education in exchange for service to the community, or do you have some other solution in mind)?
    David McGruer:  Drawing from my responses to education and employment above, it should be clear by now that it is not the moral role of government to interfere in the business of education, business of training or any other business.  The problems you list are easily solvable by people left free to pursue their own goals in life and for whom all artificial obstacles are removed.  Natural obstacles such as the need to think, to act, to learn and work hard to create value are a fact of reality and cannot be faked or avoided through any government schemes.  It is the schemes that are the largest problem.
    8. How will you deal with closed-shop unemployment (e.g. would you introduce US-style right-to-work laws outlawing closed shops, or some other solution)?
    David McGruer: In a free society a business owner is free to negotiate any terms he wishes with his employees, who are free to make any requests they want, but this must be done with no government rules that abrogate rights to free negotiation.  Current labour laws erect enormous barriers to free exchange of labour and grant monopoly rights to unions.  This type of rule is immoral and destructive to society.  As I implied before, all government interference in the economy should be eliminated.

    9. How will you deal with linguistic unemployment? Considering that, according to statistics Canada, the rate of success in English and French second-language learning in Canada is almost as poor as it is in Europe (with success rates hovering at around 6% in Europe, and around 15% in Canada, bearing in mind Canada also invests more in it than most European countries do), and that this poor rate of success therefore makes most school spending on second-language instruction to be a waste of money, and prevents most French-speaking Canadians from finding work in English Canada and vice versa, thus restricting labour movement considerably within our borders, what changes will you introduce to Ontario's second-language instruction policy so as to raise that rate of success (e.g. Hungarian-style second-language instruction policies granting schools a much wider range of languages to choose from to teach, or students a wider range of languages to choose from to be tested in, so as to allow for the option of easier-to-learn languages)? Also, would you look at plans to coordinate such activities with the Quebec Ministry of Education and other ministries of education abroad so as to raise the rate of bilingualism, even if in easier-to-learn languages, so as to raise the rate of success in bilingualism to a more reasonable level, so as to grant Ontarian workers access to a larger world market?
    David McGruer: In a free society all language use is a private matter and there are no regulations requiring or prohibiting any use of language.  Within government, aside from the military, the proper roles are police (mostly local), the courts (mostly local) and the establishing of objective laws (easily translated into multiple languages).  All governments could easily provide multilingual staff translation when dealing with the police and courts as local circumstances warrant.  The right of anyone arrested or appearing in court to fully understand the law, charges and the process must be protected. 
    There is no such thing as linguistic unemployment, there are only government regulations that prevent employment.  If a person does not speak the language required of him by a potential employer, it is his own responsibility and no one else's. 
    In a free society parents choose the language of instruction in school and I believe that if left free to choose, many would opt for second or third language instruction.  As discussed above, it is certainly not the role of government to enforce any particular language in schooling or the workplace, nor to prohibit it.  The current system wastes a vast amount of wealth in creating improper and arbitrary rules and interventions and then attempting to ignore the fact that the rules created obstacles, therefore creating the apparent need for more rules to solve the problem.  And so society gets bogged down in a vicious cycle of increasing controls and regulations while everyone studiously ignores the fact that all of it is unnecessary and immoral.
    I thank you in advance for your consideration and look forward to your replies.

    Intro to Orleans candidates debate to be recorded by Rogers TV

    This is my planned introduction, to be recorded in advance and within only a 2-minute slot.

    For about a century now, the socialist/collectivist parties have been fighting over details of which group will control more of your life, your liberty and your property for the next four years.  Being collectivists, their philosophy naturally requires the sacrifice of individuals to groups.  They do not consider the effort of establishing a free society to be worthwhile. In fact, if you ask them, they could not even explain what a truly free society looks like.

    A free society is based on three fundamental and connected principles: (1) a limited government that (2) enacts and enforces objective laws for (3) the sole purpose of protecting individual rights.  When government initiates force through regulation, control, monopoly and prohibition against peaceful citizens, it changes from its proper role of protector to the worst violator of rights, since citizens are left with no other protector.

    In a free society you are responsible for your own life and the consequences of your choices.  Your rights are not sacrificed to meet the wishes of others and you don’t ask others to sacrifice themselves for you.

    In a free society, health care is a cooperative agreement between customers and suppliers - doctors, nurses, surgeons, hospitals, pharmacists and inventors.   Shortages cannot exist for long since entrepreneurs rush to fill unmet needs.  All types of medical insurance are permitted.  There is no government involvement.

    In a free society, electricity is supplied by a variety of competitors, each striving to provide reliable power at the lowest price.  If one weakens, others quickly increase their market share.  Supply meets every conceivable demand.  There is no government involvement.

    In a free society, taxes are only a tiny fraction of the economy, not 50%, there is separation of religion and government, and there is a free market in light bulbs, pesticides, auto insurance, alcohol and everything else, so long as objective harm to others is not done.

    If elected, the Freedom Party will:
    • restore choice in health insurance,
    • restore fair auto insurance and
    • remove bans on light bulbs,
    • pesticides and
    • shopping on religious holidays.  

    • We will end the health premium,
    • close race-based public schools,
    • end the monopoly on electricity
    • and alcohol,
    • raise the speed limit on 400 series highways to 120 and
    • end the 14.7 cent per liter Ontario gasoline tax.
    Restoring these freedoms would be just our first steps in the right direction. In Orleans on October 6th, vote for David McGruer and the Freedom Party.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Candidate questions from Orleans EMC

    Orleans EMC - candidate profiles for the Orléans-Ottawa riding for the upcoming provincial election.

    1. Why are you running?
    David McGruer: I am running to shift the basis of political discussion from the collectivist fight over who will pull the levers of government interventions to a rational one where individual rights are respected and protected.

    2. Tell me about yourself, what do you do? Where are you originally from?
    David McGruer: I was born in Montreal, where I completed a B.Ed. and M.A. at McGill University. I lectured for one year at Concordia and one year at McGill before my wife Carole and I moved to teaching in the Inuit village of Salluit, Quebec for four years. Since 1993 I have lived in eastern Ottawa and have worked as a personal financial planner for a national firm. Since 1994 I have taught adult education interest courses on financial subjects. We have two daughters in University (Ottawa) and grade 12 (Orleans).

    3. Why the Orleans area? Are you based out of Orléans?
    David McGruer: I live in Vars but have historically had much stronger ties to Orleans. I lived in Orleans for seven years after moving to Ottawa, from Quebec, then Cumberland for four years and for the last seven years in Vars. My kids high schooling has all been in Orleans, their ringette has been there, many of our friends are there and it is where our doctor and dentist are and most of our shopping is done.

    4. What's the most important issue for you in the coming election as it relates to Orléans?
    David McGruer: Like all other Ontarians, Orleans residents have seen a steady deterioration of their freedoms over the last several decades as government has intruded into ever more areas of our lives. The largest expense of the Ontario government, by far, is health care, and it is rising sharply and unsustainably. The province is functionally bankrupt. The other parties are willfully blind to the fundamental problem, which is the enforcement of government monopolies. They tinker blindly with the innumerable government controls while not even understanding the nature of the problem. They have no idea how to construct and operate an efficient health care system, nor does any other person or group. Only a fully free market can allow each person's voice to be heard and enable health care providers to organize their businesses to meet the needs of citizens. Centrally commanded systems do not work - and have never worked - efficiently in any industry. To protect the lives of Ontarians, freedom of choice must be fully restored in health care.

    5. Why should Orléans residents choose you, why should they choose the Freedom Party?
    David McGruer: Alone among the Orleans candidates, I think the role of government is to defend every individual's life, liberty and property and - in deciding the scope of those things - I am guided by the nature and purpose of man: to pursue his own happiness solely by rational means. The others either believe the largest group has the right to trample the rights of minorities, the smallest of which is the individual. They are either explicit or implicit collectivists. They fight over how they will control the lives of citizens while I wish to return freedoms to citizens.

    6. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?
    David McGruer: The principles and policies of the Freedom Party will require a fundamental re-shaping of how government operates, returning it to only its basic and moral role as protector of individual rights. After a century of growing interventions, it will take time to undo. Our 2011 platform is only a small fraction of what needs doing, but fundamentally points us in the right direction.

    Our platform promises to cancel the bans on incandescent light bulbs, pesticides and shopping on religious holidays.
    We would restore choice in health care and scrap the Health Premium.
    We would close race-based public schools, separate organized religious practices from public schools and remove religion from official government proceedings.
    We would restore fair auto insurance, restore sensible highway speed limits and eliminate Ontario's gasoline tax.
    We would end the LCBO and Beer Store monopolies and eliminate minimum pricing rules.

    If I was elected but not in a majority government, I would press for government to examine every action it takes from the perspective of the individual rights of citizens instead of virtually ignoring them.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Bridge for the east end?

    Interprovincial Crossings – Question for Ontario Election Candidates

    The National Capital Commission is currently working with the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau in a fundamental study of development in the region entitled “Choosing Our Future”.   One of the aims of this worthwhile project is to preserve citizens’ quality of life while encouraging more sustainable lifestyles, in particular in relation to transportation.  Yet while this study is under way the NCC is still pressing ahead with its partners, the governments of Ontario and Quebec, to choose a site in the eastern part of the region for a new bridge across the Ottawa River, a concept dating back over nearly thirty years.

    An alliance of community associations and other interested citizens’ organizations, the East Alliance for Smarter Transportation, is firmly convinced that the construction of a bridge in any of the three corridors under consideration would not solve the current intolerable situation on the King Edward Corridor.  It would only serve to divert a portion of truck traffic from downtown Ottawa and would simply spread the current problem to additional communities.  Any of the locations being studied would interfere with a precious green shoreline and parkland and would direct heavy vehicle and commuter traffic towards residential neighbourhoods.

    Citizens of the NCR deserve to have decisions on future transportation infrastructure made in light of current concerns over sustainability and recognition of the need for smart growth.  The “Choosing the Future” project should be followed by a thorough and open examination of transportation needs and sustainable options for the region before any further expensive construction projects are undertaken.

    Therefore, as a candidate for election to the Ontario Legislature, would you both personally support the suspension of any bridge site selection process until a more comprehensive study of future transportation requirements is completed and urge your party and the Government of Ontario to adopt the same position?

    David McGruer:  This question is a perfect example of what is wrong with our society: many decisions are made by pressure-group warfare as groups lobby politicians to use political force against other groups of citizens in order to accomplish their goals.  This constant struggle to override the rights of others is the logical consequence of a society based on the philosophy of collectivism – where the rights of individuals are subjugated by various groups claiming the good of “society”, “the majority”, “the community” “the neighborhood”, or worse, the non-sentient “green shoreline” or whoever or whatever they purport to advocate for. 

    In the absence of property right protection, government force is used to build bridges wherever the few people who can influence decisions say it should be built. Since no individuals own the bridge, maintenance of it is also subject to political pull and often results in work being delayed until it becomes urgent – just look at the crumbling state of many roads and bridges across Quebec and Ontario.  Just look at the ancient and crumbling water pipes under the older part of Ottawa.  Bridge maintenance, since it is not a political vote-buying hot-button, receives little attention until it absolutely must be addressed. Attempts are made to plan long-term, but since the bridge structure is owned and operated outside the free economy, the normal price/value signals are virtually absent.  There is no rational way for central planners to decide if there are too many bridges, not enough bridges, big enough bridges or if there should be tunnels instead.

    This is a stark contrast with a free society, where all economic arrangements are done on a voluntary basis and only occur when both parties find there is an advantage to them.  In a free society, the rights of individuals, property rights in this case, are fully protected by government.  If an individual or group of individuals wants to build a bridge, they are free to do so as long as the rights of other individuals are not violated.  The price system ensures that all considerations are properly accounted for – the price of land that needs to be bought, the price of construction materials, the price of design labour are all seamlessly integrated and guide entrepreneurs in their decision making. The price of a project must compete with all others who would tackle a similar project or an alternative to it.  If someone considers building a bridge, he must have a plan to recover his investment and make a profit, or else the bridge does not make economic sense.  The bridge must be maintained for decades and eventually replaced and again, the owner must plan to protect and maintain his long-term asset as efficiently as possible.  No rational bridge owner would wait until it is falling down to maintain it, he would want it to be run as economically as possible and have as many customers as possible.  If he does a poor job, customers will seek alternatives, others who are more efficient will take his market share away or will take over his whole business.

    If a group of individuals disagrees that a bridge should be built in a particular location, a free society permits them to buy up the land by negotiating with the current owner and refuse to sell it to the builder, or to try to persuade the builder that there is a better location.  A free society does not allow groups to persuade government to initiate force against a builder just because they disagree with a project.  If they want their own rights to be protected, they must allow for the rights of all others to be protected too.  If they don’t want their interests to be sacrificed to political power, they must not call for the interests of others to be sacrificed.

    Decades of government interference in the economy has created massive government ownership of assets that are properly in the realm of private property.  The resulting quagmire is referred to as “the tragedy of the commons”.  It would take a long time to undo all this damage and achieve a free economy and if elected, the Freedom Party would begin this process.  Our election platform contains only hints of what is needed to accomplish the full job and focuses only on a few things that demonstrate to voters the right direction to take.

    Regarding the current bridge issue, while I am not an expert in all aspects of this question (and neither is any other politician), I believe this question has been studied long and hard for decades and until such time as property rights are protected, the most current Kettle Island proposal should proceed because it provides the most direct route to the 417 while avoiding downtown Ottawa.