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




Political Quickie: Donald Trump just called his hotel guests stupid!

Did he say that?  Well, not exactly – but he did say, in his presidential announcement speech, “Free trade is terrible.  Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have people that are stupid.”

In the same speech he declared the need for a “talented and smart” leader (President) to conduct trade negotiations and abandon the free-trade model. One must question whether “The Donald” understands the concept of “Free Trade”.

Is it possible that he was only talking about trade between countries and not trade between individuals, like his resort guests?  Think about it, how could he have implied that?  There is no trade been countries (except for the goods consumed by the governments themselves;) there is only trade between individuals or their contracted representatives.

And all such trade, to be truly free, must be negotiated only between such individuals or their representatives, without the intervention of governments and their leaders.  Trade negotiations conducted between government leaders is not “free trade;” it is “managed trade”, usually managed via quotas, tariffs or other restrictions.

I think it’s fair to assume that when Trump refers to trade that he is talking about only international trade, which would include the trade that he conducts with his international resort guests. Let’s further assume, for this illustration, that the trades conducted at resorts owned by Trump follow his advice that only the “talented and smart” should negotiate for hotel rooms.

So are Trump’s guests smart or are they stupid?  If they are stupid, do they have talented government agents negotiating for them?  If not, should they?  Trump has resorts in the U.S. and at least five other countries.  Should the leaders of these countries negotiate the rates for Trump’s stupid guests or set quotas or protective tariffs to benefit the competing hotels owned by local citizens?  That’s exactly the way Donald Trump wants to negotiate for the products we (as individuals) buy from China.

He has previously called for a 25% tariff on all Chinese products.  That is effectively negotiating a 25% price increase for us.  How stupid does Trump think we are?

While I may come to trust Trump to negotiate government purchases, I do not trust him to make my purchase decisions or even to negotiate on my behalf.

To show him how smart we are, let’s extend Trump’s call for tariffs to his resort business and advocate for a 25% tariff on all resort revenue, as well as call for the imposition of maximum occupancy quotas for each of his international hotels.

Do you think that then he would come to understand the concept of “Free Trade”?   Bruce-thumbnail

Bruce Hillis

Notes: To learn what free trade really is, read Senator DeMInt here. For currency manipulation see this. Also regarding currency manipulation, look up the Nazi collaborating George Schwarz, now known as Soros, the black knight of progressive extremism who made fortunes harming governments worldwide.

Political Quickie: Marco Rubio for President?

Marco Rubio has disqualified himself by reason of his position on Economic Freedom. Economic Freedom is not just a Republican issue. It is directly correlated to the prosperity of all Americans.

The freedom to trade is one of the principal determinants in the calculation of the amount of Economic Freedom enjoyed by a country or other jurisdiction. Rubio wants to continue to trade the Economic Freedom of Americans for the exertion of political pressure, via an embargo on Cuba, to achieve increased freedoms for Cubans. He wants the national constituency to pay for benefits to his Cuban-born constituency, tenuous though the underlying argument may be.

This philosophy is fundamentally flawed. While the premise may be hidden from as many as were duped by Gruber, it is nothing less than trading one person’s freedom for the freedom of another. It is comparable to exchanging the freedom of one to buy shoes for another’s freedom to buy socks – either way someone’s feet suffer.

Political intervention in domestic and international trade and commerce has helped drop the US from near the top in Economic Freedom to 12th on the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Index.

We hope Americans will exert pressure on Washington to remove the barriers that restrict Economic Freedom in the United States.   Bruce-thumbnail

Bruce Hillis

Socialism does not work – Hannan’s Oxford Union debate

The great Daniel Hannan, author of the brilliant book, Inventing Freedom, is captured in this 13-minute video making telling, forceful points about the true nature of socialism. While we are most impressed with his concluding points, about the invention of capitalism and freedom in early modern Britain and its export to the New World, this quotation, about two minutes into the video, gives the flavor of his talk:

Socialism rests on compulsion; its defining ethic is not equality, but compulsion.  Troglo




What if we didn’t need the government’s permission to work?

The case for certification instead of licensure

What if the government had told Henry Ford or Bill Gates they were prohibited from manufacturing or selling their products because cars and operating systems do not “serve a useful present or future purpose”, or are “inconsistent with the public convenience and necessity”?

In Missouri until 2012, that’s exactly what the state highways and transportation department told many applicants who wanted to start a moving business. No, their applications were not turned down because they represented a possible risk to life, limb, or furniture, or they might damage public highways. Applicants were denied the right to offer household moving services because a state agency fatuously found that their service did not serve a useful present or future purpose, or was inconsistent with the public convenience and necessity.

Most citizens of Missouri would be appalled to learn that a state agency had the legal authority, not to speak of the wisdom, to determine which household moving businesses were useful or necessary and which were not. Thankfully, the law regulating who may and who may not offer moving services was repealed on August 28, 2012 by amending legislation. Now a household mover must only be “fit, willing & able” to qualify for a certificate to move household goods.

Household movers now have a freer choice of occupations. But there are still thousands of Missourians, who are fit, willing, and able to pursue their occupations and want to risk their time and capital to pursue their dreams, but still must obtain state permission to work. Is there a way we could make it possible for these citizens to find productive work? I think so. Amend the law to allow occupational certification instead of occupational licensing. University of Minnesota Professor Morris Kleiner says that merely changing from occupational licensing to occupational certification would increase the number of jobs in Minnesota by 15,000. Continue reading

Economic Freedom and Regulation

Here is a little score card that reveals the condition of the regulatory structures for the U.S., Greece, and Spain in relation to the 141 countries measured in the 2011 Economic Freedom of the World Report, produced by the Fraser Institute:

Country Overall Economic Freedom ranking Regulation Credit Market Regulation Labor Market Regulation Business Regulation
United States 10 27 116 5 27
Greece 81 129 132 128 87
Spain 54 101 70 118 81

The US has fallen from an overall ranking of 2nd place just a few years ago, helped in part by the ranking of 116th worst in the area of Credit Market Regulations.

The North American report puts Missouri in the middle of the pack: 28th of 60 (U.S. states and Canadian provinces). That is roughly the 47th percentile. The 47th percentile on the World report would make us competitive with Namibia or just one point better than Haiti. Missouri political football fans should congregate under the Capitol dome and demonstrate their disgust in unison by shouting: “We are number 28 – we are number 28”.

Note 1: The report measures a total of five areas: 1) Size of government, 2) Legal system & property rights, 3) Sound Money, 4) Freedom to trade internationally & 5) Regulation

Minimum Wage Increase? Just say no.

The Columbia Daily Tribune of 27th April, 2012 reports in an AP dispatch, “Minimum wage initiative clears hurdle,” that the ballot summary proposed for the initiative has survived a court challenge. The group Missouri Jobs with Justice (MoJWJ) wants an increase in the Missouri minimum wage to $8.25 starting in 2013 along with an annual cost of living adjustment. Unless a court challenge to the financial summary fails, the measure will be on the ballot in November.

Missouri Jobs with Justice is a far-left group with ties to labor unions, notably the SEIU, and community organizers. It has a particularly close relationship with organized labor, whose members benefit from every increase in the minimum wage, since increases at the bottom percolate up the wage ladder. They virtuously oppose ‘corporate greed,’ though someone ought to tell them that big greedy corporations employ very few at minimum wage. Continue reading