The Incubation of Brute Political Force

Many if not most rational people agree with Donald Trump’s message (found here) that Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator who oppressed the Cuban people for decades. What’s missing in Trump’s brief statement, and for that matter in most accounts by the mainstream media, is any explanation as to WHY Castro was such a brutal dictator.

What drove Castro to use the brutal force of the Cuban nation state against his own people?

There is no compelling evidence that he took brutal action against everyone.  He used it against those who opposed him.

The question then to be answered is: was his brutality to prevent opposition to his position as dictator, which many intuitively believe; or was it to prevent opposition to the radical leftist-collectivist policies that he strove to implement?

I maintain that it was not due to the fear of having to forfeit his position as dictator.

Given his success in ousting Batista, the brutal and crooked dictator immediately preceding him, Castro would more than likely have enjoyed all the trappings of dictatorship with a luxurious lifestyle and would have long retained his position, with only minor and occasional force.

I suggest that Castro’s brutality was the direct consequence of his philosophy of social order and the policies necessary to implement this philosophy.

Castro was a self-described Marxist-Leninist for whom communism would be the one and only economic system allowed in Cuba.  He was an ideologue who would use any means to achieve his goals.  Brutality was the means of choice because it was his only workable option.

Socialism, especially where a citizenry has been exposed to any semblance of capitalism, even if only crony capitalism, can only be imposed via force. Without force, natural cooperation, the formation of capital and voluntary exchange emerge.  Capitalism, the antithesis to socialism, is achieved in the absence of force.  Natural cooperation and voluntary exchange must be stamped out for pure socialism to survive.

If dictator Castro had embraced capitalism or even crony-Capitalism, Trump would have surely tweeted a different, more gentle message.

The questions remaining unanswered are: what portion of natural cooperation and voluntary exchange will a Trump administration attempt to stamp out via the abuse of private property rights and the imposition of trade restrictions and tariffs; and what version of brute political force will be used to achieve Trump’s philosophy of economic nationalism?   Bruce-thumbnail

Bruce Hillis



Canadians now wealthier than Americans

Serious food for thought

The Toronto Globe & Mail cites a report from Environics Analytics finding that the average household net worth in Canada in 2011 was $363,202, while the figure for American households was $319,970. The difference is in real estate holdings, $140,000 in favor of Canadian households. The author of the report cites Canadian fiscal conservatism, avoidance of our subprime disaster, and Canadian rejection of the income tax deductibility of mortgage interest. The Canadian unemployment rate is lower than ours as well.

What havoc has been wrought by Fannie, Freddie, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the whole crew of pandering, vote-buying politicos of all stripes responsible for the recent economic crash and the nosedive in our national net worth.

A penny for your thoughts

Our family was getting into the minivan at a gas station the other day when I spotted a penny on the ground. I nudged my 8-year old son to turn back and pick it up. He shook his head, “You can’t buy anything with that,” and continued to his seat inside. I glanced over to a fellow pumping gas just across us, likely about 70ish, who had heard my son just as clearly as I, and we both had a chuckle. I then reluctantly agreed aloud, “You know, he’s right, though.”

My grandfather turned 96 this spring. I fondly recall many of his stories about growing up decades ago, roaming the Midwest in search of work in the 1930’s. A factory in Chicago, a local egg route, and as a farm hand in the Dakotas for the wage of a dollar a day.

People expect a dollar to be a store of value. It is to some degree, at least for short to intermediate periods of time, anyway. But long term, what a crap deal holding a buck is. If my grandfather had taken a dollar from a full day’s hard work and stuck it in cookie jar and pulled it back out today, he’d still have a dollar, sure, but what he could buy with it now is a lot less. Back then, it would buy a few loaves of bread, now only about half a loaf (this despite the great advances in agriculture, delivery, and food processing which should drive prices DOWN!)

What a bad deal to work so hard, to prudently save for a rainy day, just to have a lot of that value rot away. That penny my son found too worthless to pick up now was worth a few pieces of gum decades ago.

Government spends more than it takes in, passes laws to make credit too easy, and sets up back-stopped mortgage-buying enterprises, so more money is printed one way or the other. And that feels good to those getting the benefit of the new money, so they can buy more stuff than they could otherwise afford. The economic indicators look perpetually positive, and we feel magically wonderful as a nation since everybody has been “making more.”

But there’s a back side to this gravy train. Food prices are creeping up and savers are earning no interest; no wonder we are scratching our heads. Maybe some of us are starting to realize that value is evaporating from our own pockets. However it’s nothing new in human history: you can’t create value out of thin air; value is just sucked in from somewhere else; in this case, holders of dollars…or pennies…or, in my son’s case, those who have become indifferent to a penny.

By the way, after he refused that small coin, I reached down and put it in my own pocket before getting into the driver’s seat. As I always do, I examined the coin’s date, not as a collector, but because pre-1982 pennies are mostly real copper, so the melt value is about 2 cents – it awards me more than a penny’s worth of pleasure finding those (pre-1964 dimes and quarters have 90 percent silver- so hold onto those, too.)

Somewhat ironically, a few minutes later at a garage sale, my son found a toy he had been really wanting for his stuffed animal collection for the giveaway price of 10 cents. …”Ya know, son, if it’d been a dime we’d found, I could help ya out…”

Steve Spellman

The Case for Capitalism Education

Guest post by Kel Kelly

Few people understand what Capitalism actually is and how it works. If they did, they would almost certainly not continue to vote for the policies they currently support, and they would not experience today’s economic problems.

Capitalism is blamed for most of our economic ills. But in fact it does not exist. Capitalism is defined by free markets. But markets are not free when they are taxed, regulated, subsidized, mandated, hobbled, and otherwise manipulated. Government interventions in the economy were not for the purpose of fixing so-called “market failures.” They were implemented for political gain. But these interventions necessarily caused more problems due to the law of unintended consequences. Today we are “fixing” so much that our economy is breaking down. Continue reading