Friday, October 28, 2011

Atlas Shrugged premiere in Toronto

Peter Foster, writing in the National Post has a very mixed opinion of the movie Atlas Shrugged Part I, which is based on Ayn Rand's famous novel of the same name. First published over 50 years ago and recently enjoying its best sales ever as government interference in the economy wreaks havoc, it is both a mystery novel and an explanation of a proper philosophy for man's life on Earth.  Being generally an advocate for capitalism, I expected Peter Foster to celebrate the fact that such a movie has been made at all in the face of a film industry mired so deep in what Rand called the altruist/collectivist/mysticist philosophy that is awards Oscars to junk science pieces like "An Inconvenient Truth". 

During her life and still today, Rand was and is the strongest defender of individual rights (capitalism in economics) the world has ever seen.   Her philosophy, known as Objectivism, holds that man is an individual being whose LIFE depends on his unique faculty of reason and that to survive he must have LIBERTY to exercise his reasoning to produce the values he requires and to have complete ownership of the PROPERTY thus produced.  All the rest of her philosophy proceeds from the basic concepts of reason, individualism and freedom.

In Atlas Shrugged she wrote over a thousand pages to produce a story to project the ideals of human life and perfectly distilling such a detailed and deep story into a three-part movie is impossible.  The movie will necessarily reduce the story to illustrate its core concepts and provide the essence of the messages the novel has plenty of space to explore.  Any fan of Rand's novels and philosophy will recognize the impossibility of the movie equalling the novel and be satisfied to see that the movie was made at all, having taken over 50 years to reach the screen. 

Peter Foster closes his piece saying: "Ayn Rand's ideas about the iron laws of economics and the sleazy accommodations of politics, and why they make uneasy bedfellows, remain eternally relevant. Her books are still well worth reading. Whether this movie will attract new fans is another matter."  The economic mess of the last few years has led to amazing sales numbers for a novel published in the 50's and even if the movie is half as good as the novel it will certainly motivate many people to discover some of Ayn Rand's works and think about the world in a different way. 

In a time when society desperately needs to discover a philosophy of reason and try the ideal economic system that has been sampled but never given a fair chance, capitalism, every effort to spread the ideas of freedom should be celebrated.  My copy of the movie was ordered weeks ago.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Occupy" protesters unaware of capitalism

It is clear to me that the "Occupy" protesters have no idea about the economic system of a free society, known as capitalism.  We most certainly do NOT have a free society in Canada - we have a mixed economy with about half of it controlled by government.  The logical outcome of such a system is that groups are encouraged or even required to lobby for government pull to achieve their ends.  Some of these groups will naturally be corporations led by people who choose to use the levers of government force to suppress competition. 

It is not freedom, competition or capitalism that is the problem we face, it is the intervention of government in the economy.  The solution is the separation of economy and state in the same way and for the same reasons as for separation of church and state.  If the ability of the state to use force against peaceful citizens and their corporations is removed, it would end what is known as corporatism or crony capitalism, which is really not capitalism at all but statism or collectivism.

Protester Nathalie Cote is quoted as saying "we need a revolution of the mind" and she is quite correct, but perhaps not in the way she intends.  Philosopher Ayn Rand stated long ago that what society needs do is have an intellectual revolution, to discover for the first time that capitalism (the system that protects individual rights) is the ideal system.  It has long been recognized as the system that creates the most wealth and well-being for society, but it has never been implemented and defended on moral grounds, and so it fell victim to collectivism and altruism.

I wrote an article about this at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Audience question 8 from the debate

8. What will you do to improve economic and social development?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: I will spend more money and make smarter decisions than the other guys.

David McGruer: It is not the proper role of government to direct either economic or social development. These are the result of individual initiatives by people left free to choose their own path in life, so long as they do not initiate force against others. Government has no idea how to innovate or develop anything. All such information flows from the signals provided by a free market. All the examples across the world and over time demonstrate that to the degree government controls the economy, stagnation and regression are the rule. If government would withdraw from the economy, unemployment would be zero, since there is always work to be done at some price. Government regulations stifle innovation, prevent development and so lower the standard of living of all citizens. Social development follows economic development and is certainly not the proper function of government except as it supports individual freedom.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Audience question 7 from the debate

7. What will you do about workplace safety and workman's compensation?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: I am in favour of safety and if you vote for me I will make more and better rules than the other guys.

David McGruer: In a free society the role of government is to protect citizens from the initiation of force, and that is all. First of all, the rational response of a worker to a dangerous workplace is to leave the employer and find another that values safety more highly. If it can be determined that a workplace represents an objective danger to workers, such as in a case of negligence, then government may morally intervene to prevent immediate harm, but since life and all work involves risks of some kind, workers should generally be left free to decide if the compensation they receive for taking risks is suitable. For example, mining is probably more dangerous than gardening, so a worker would rationally expect to be paid more for mining. If he is not, then he should do other work. In addition, government does not interfere in the insurance market in a free society, but rather allows for all forms of insurance to exist and for market forces to drive supply and pricing. Every worker must make rational decisions about risk and insurance and neither employers nor other workers nor other citizens have the right to force any particular insurance or work upon him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Audience question 6 from the debate

6. What will you do to address the shortage and growing need for home care?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: I am in favour of more home care. Vote for me and I will support more spending on home care.

David McGruer: In a free society home care could be provided in large quantities, limited only by the degree consumers value it, in many locations, limited only by people's evaluation of local service, and in many varieties, limited only by the degree people value such diversity. The fact is, we have many companies that already provide inexpensive, professional and very local services of all types, but in health care there are so many prohibitions, regulations and controls that few entrepreneurs are willing to enter the field. Look around you and imagine if home care was provided with the same efficiency as Tim Hortons serves its customers. And if Tim's does not serve them well, the customers leave in favour of another competitor who will do so. We do not have any shortage of Tim Hortons, and the very idea of a long term shortage of anything provided by a free market is preposterous, yet we somehow are supposed to think health care is an exception to the concept of free markets and can only be properly delivered by use of government force? As long as this idea is not challenged, we will have poor service and chronic shortages in health care.

Get government out of corporations and money

The front page of the Sunday, October 16 Ottawa Citizen featured a very interesting photograph by Greg Southam of Postmedia News. 

I found it noteworthy first because the screaming protester looks rather primitive and mindless, and thus is a good reflection of the ideology of the protest that is based in the primitive philosophy of collectivism.

Protesters in Edmonton, above, listen to a speaker as the Occupy Wall Street protest rippled around the world and came to Canadian shores. Protests came to capitalsaround the globe, including Ottawa,

Second, I noticed that the sign said "Get corporate money out of politics". While I am completely opposed to the principles of the protesters, I do agree with the goals of this particular sign - but not in the same way as the sign bearer would expect. 

In a free society the role of government is to protect the right of citizens to live their lives in the fashion they see fit, peacefully trading value for value with fellow citizens, so long as they do not initiate physical force against others.  When force is threatened or used, government is the institution to which we delegate a monopoly on retaliation.  Government MEANS the use of force.  That which can only be done by force must be delegated to government, except for an immediate threat that invokes the right to self-defense. 

Therefore, any intervention by government in the naturally free activities of citizens, especially in the area of economic activity, which is essential for life, uses force against innocent citizens and is thus improper and immoral.  What the protesters do not state and perhaps do not wish to realize is that corporate money is in politics because the political system of a mixed economy both permits and encourages it.  In some cases, it even requires it, as entrepreneurs must fight a political battle to defend their rights against interference by others.  When government interferes in the economy it shifts the playing field from one where only voluntary, cooperative transactions take place to one where whoever can pull the levers of political power can use coercion against competitors and consumers.  When such a mixed system is implemented, such anti-freedom outcomes are perfectly natural and predictable.

Rather than focusing on getting corporate money out of politics, the true solution to the problem lies in getting politics out of corporations and money.  The fact is that there is not a single business that is not heavily controlled by many government regulations, thus contorting the economy into all manner of unnatural outcomes that would not happen in a free economy.  Underlying all of this is the government monopoly on money, which they use to cause tremendous damage to all sectors of the economy. They print and push money towards vote-buying, in favour of pressure-groups and to implement all sorts of inept, immoral and inefficient economic plans that cause only harm.  If politicians would leave corporations alone, competition through cooperation would ensure a much better standard of living for citizens.  If politicians would leave money alone it would end inflation and all the pain it causes, especially to those on the lower end of the income scale. 

The protesters should embrace the very thing they decry, but which they do not even understand well enough to define: capitalism.  Capitalism is the economic system that protects individual rights.  It is not the system that allows corporations to buy political power - that is the system where government negates individual rights in favour of whatever group can control the apparatus of the state - socialism.  Maybe I will drop in on the protesters and find out if any of them can even give an accurate definition of capitalism, freedom and socialism...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Audience question 5 from the debate

5. What will you do to complete the family health center in Orleans?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: I support it and I will spend money on health care more wisely than the other guys.

David McGruer: None of the other candidates, nor their parties, nor any other group knows how to create and maintain a province-wide health industry. It is too complex for anyone to fully understand. In a free society such complexity is addressed by the equally complex combination of citizens freely choosing their professions and business structure and also choosing to buy health care from anyone they judge suitable for their needs. In this way, health care becomes a free, cooperative industry instead of one riddled with regulation, prohibition and government power. To save health care, we need to remove government intervention from the equation and allow people to creatively solve their own problems instead of having them band together into pressure groups and use the blunt weapon of government to force health care producers and consumers into defined boxes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Audience question 4 from the debate

4. What will you do to improve road infrastructure?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: I will spend more and have a better plan than the other guys.

David McGruer: In a free society roads are built and maintained according to market demand and not by government force and pressure groups trying to use this force to build roads that suit them. In other transportation industries where government does not dominate, the rule is a steady increase in quality, a lowering of prices and fierce competition to best serve the customer. Does this sound like our road system today? Our roads and bridges are run like our transit system: competition is eliminated by law, prices only go up and pressure groups compete to use government force to achieve their ends. The possibility that free citizens would make cooperative arrangements to meet their goals is not considered viable.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Audience question 3 from the debate

3. What will you do to ensure French services in the LCBO and Beer store?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: You have a right to be served in French and I would punish the employee who insulted you by telling you to go to Quebec if you want to be served in French.

David McGruer: The government has no proper role in these businesses. In a free society the sale of alcohol is a private matter between the seller and the buyer. If the seller does not serve the buyer in a fashion suitable to the buyer, the buyer does not make the purchase and goes to another seller. This clear market signal means that if enough buyers want to be served in French, then competition will make it so. It is wrong to force sellers to offer service in any particular language. If I was the store owner I would have fired that employee, but the government does not have the right to make me fire him.

The protesters might have a point? Really?

In the October 13th Ottawa Citizen, editor Andrew Potter makes a fundamental error of logic as he goes about criticizing the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters.  While he correctly identifies the harmful philosophy of some of the world's socialist regimes, he suggests that the protesters should adopt mass social solidarity of they want to be relevant.
"There is a great deal of anger out there, and Wall Street is the right and proper target. The real problem for OWS isn't that the movement has no message or goals, it is that it does not have an adequate ideological language in which to express them."

In fact, it was not the virtuous aspects of Wall Street that have created the current economic problems, but the degree to which Washington has distorted the proper function of Wall Street.  By creating an absolute monopoly on currency and then printing money out of thin air to spend on pet projects, politicians have distorted the normal market price signals beyond recognition and left cvapital to flow into all manner of senseless areas, where it naturally dies and painful death, baiting and then destroying real citizens wealth along with it.  No rational businessman would have made the decisions that we have seen in recent years unless there were massive government pressures at work to encourage them.  If they did, then in the absence of government support, they would have swiftly lost all their money, been fired, and likely never given another chance to destroy wealth.

Potter says: "
But there is another vocabulary at hand: that of the French Revolution. If life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been exposed as a recipe for plutocracy, what about liberty, equality, fraternity? Fraternity - or more expansively, solidarity - is nothing more than the conviction that we are all in this together. Or if not all of us, at least the 99 per cent of the population that is coming to the growing realization that America is a rigged game."
He ignores that it is not life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that has led to the current situation, but rather the concepts of equality and fraternity as described by socialists.  In the name of providing every American with an equal share of housing, rules were made forcing lenders to provide mortgages to those who would not qualify in a rational marketplace.  When artificially low interest rate policy naturally persuaded Americans to borrow insane amounts of money and the natural consequence was financial ruin, the socialist cry is to borrow more, tax more and spend even more than the levels that created the ruin. 
The part of America that is a rigged game is the part that is dictated by a control, tax, spend and borrow ideology.  It is the fact that the levers of government power to interfere in the naturally free economy exist that allows and encourages pressure groups to compete for the ability to pull these levers.  The proper solution is not to wrest control from the other group, but to remove the controls entirely so economic outcomes are determined by the sum of individual choices instead of the latest pressure groups.  What is neede is to free people from the artibrary dictates of politicians and bureaucrats, not to co-opt the inheremtly flawed system of socialist economics.

Dedicated socialist Alex Munter appointed as CEO of CHEO

In the October 13 Ottawa Citizen editorial one of the fundamental negative consequences of socialized health care is mentioned but no discussion of its harmful nature is made.

"While Munter has no direct hospital management experience, his background as head of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network and former head of the Youth Services Bureau will serve him well.
In public health care, a knowledge of government and communications is arguably more important than the arcana of hospital administration. CHEO's future success depends on the provincial government meeting its financial needs and the public continuing to offer generous direct support."

How sad is it that a man whose recent successes are that he managed to get himself plum political appointments is now to head one of our large hospitals?  Can there be a clearer endictment of socialized health care than to state without condemnation that for the top executive of a hospital, knowledge of how to pull the levers of political power is more important than knowledge of medicine and business administration?

Implicit in the appointment is the idea that Munter will be able to persuade his socialist friends to fund his hospital more than it funds other hospitals.  The essence of success under socialism is not innovation, not achievement in science, not entrepreneurial genius, not a fiercely competitive business model, but political pull.  In socialism, gains of one group come at the expense of other groups and a battle over political power to control men's lives is waged until the last one dies, much as Greek socialists are now fighting for the right to tax, spend and borrow until the last victim is depleted of all wealth and the whole society dies together.  This is the course chosen by Soviet Russia, North Korea, National Socialist Germany, Cuba, Red China and others over the last century.  It is sickening to watch it happen to one of our most valuable industries - medicine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Audience question 2 from the debate

2. What will you do do address the huge problem of government debt and deficit?
Paraphrasing the other candidates: I will keep spending and increasing spending, and I expect that tax revenues will increase enough to eliminate the deficit in five years or so. I will not discuss the debt. My spending plans are better than those of the other guys.

David McGruer: In my regular work as a financial advisor I understand this issue very well. If you ran your finances or your company the way government does, you would be bankrupt. When excessive government debt and spending create an economic crisis, the solution is to drastically reduce these, not to set about spending and borrowing more than ever. The Liberals have increased spending by 80% in 8 years and have no plans to reduce it. The PC's best response is to say they will keep increasing spending on health care and education, which make up over half the budget, and cut 2% from the rest. Really? is that the best you can do? The other parties are not even able to identify the problem, never mind offer any intelligent solution to it. The reality is that the only solution is to stop the madness and stop government from doing all the things it now does. Until you face reality, the problem will only get worse.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Audience question 1 from the debate

  1. What will you do to support French school boards?

Paraphrasing the other candidates: I support French education more than the other guys and will spend more than they will. Vote for me.

David McGruer: In a free society there are no government obstacles to French schools or any other type of schools. By removing government controls, parents can support only the precise schools they want their children to attend and are not forced to pay for all the other schools. The simple solution is to remove the use of force from education.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Debate and last word before the election in the Orleans Star

The Orleans Star just released what is likely to be their last article before the election.  I note that the title "Different Ideas" appears to be driven by my comments and that the Green and Libertarian candidates were not even mentioned as voting options.  The reporter did quote me quite extensively in three full paragraphs, which I hope will lead some more voters to consider Freedom an option worth voting for.

Freedom Party candidate, David McGruer takes on a different approach. "The other partys' philosophy is that government should be doing all kinds of things inside of people's lives whereas ours is that people should be responsible for their own lives."

He said it's hard to name specific examples of improvements he'd like to make in Orléans because their platform encompasses all ridings. "If we look at the typical issues that other candidates will talk about it's things like healthcare, education, regulations, rules, controls, things like that. Ours is the opposite. It's about removing all these restrictions, obstacles and problems that are created by government intervention."

McGruer is not confident that he will win, or even come close, only capturing less than 1 per cent of the popular vote the last time he ran. "My objective in the campaign was to get whoever would listen to start thinking that it doesn't have to be this way. To move the discussion slightly is the only hope I have in this election. I have no illusions of being elected."

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Health Care

Most people are quite taken aback when they first read or hear my response to their question.  In the French debate one question was about the planned new health center in Orleans.  The other candidates spoke of being in favour of it and claimed to be more in favour of it than the others.

My response was that I did not have any particular opinion, since it is not the moral role of government to monpolize health care.  I paraphrased my May 15 blog post I'll have a large Tim Hortons Health care please.  If health care experts were allowed to be as free to serve customers as is Tim Hortons, we would have all the high quality health care we want and wish to pay for.  Health care would be available inexpensively and in a wide variety of locations and delivery methods.

Most Ontarians can hardly conceive of a free health care industry, so indoctrinated and accustomed are they to the current system, they do not even realize we had a free system that worked very well before the government took over in the 1960's.  Our education system teaches them nothing about the principles of a free society, nothing about how health care has declined under a monopoly, next to nothing about individual rights, and I could go on for some time...

If I can even slightly shift the nature of political debate then I will have made a positive difference in this election.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

No replies from candidates in my riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

I sent out five questions to the "big four" candidates in my riding to see if they would answer questions about rights and moral principles.  So far I have not had any response.  I guess I should not be surprised, but I had hoped they would at least provide something along the lines of their usual evasive replies.  I will reduce the number to three, soften and re-send them.

1. Currently, the market in health care services is in severe shortage. Do you believe doctors have the right to run their own business, choose their own patients and charge their own fees, and do citizens have the right to use their own money to obtain whatever services they choose?  If not, what is the moral principle you rely on to restrict the rights of doctors and citizens?

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

3. Do you believe there is a natural, human liberty to peacefully pursue your own life, so long as you respect the same right of others, and the right to keep what you produce through your own efforts? Please elaborate as much as possible.