Antony Zegers — November 30, 2011
This morning the world’s major central banks announced coordinated measures to “ease liquidity”. What this really means is that they are paving the way for more money printing and quantitative easing. It is a show of force that the keepers of the printing presses are willing and able to coordinate their action, thereby centralizing control of all major world currencies.
They are using their money-creating power to bail out governments and big banks. The effect is to divert resources away from individuals and their preferences for consumption, investment or holding cash, and to redirect those resources to areas chosen forcefully by government policy. The distortion of interest rates also sends faulty signals to entrepreneurs about people’s time preferences and amount of savings. Both of these effects waste resources by diverting them away from where they would best serve the free preferences of all individuals.
The central banks are fighting reality. The reality is that there is too much debt that cannot be paid back. There are not enough savings to fund capital investment. And what savings there are are being misdirected and squandered by government policies and faulty interest rate signals. They are trying to counter these realities by hiding risks, and propping up unsustainable debts. These measures do nothing to address the real problems, they simply mask them in an illusion of stability.
But the illusion cannot last forever, reality has a tendency to make itself known eventually.
Antony Zegers — November 28, 2011
Today, the House of Commons voted to allow western farmers to sell wheat and barley to whomever they choose. This move was vociferously opposed by some Wheat Board supporters, but the government stuck to their guns and actually followed through on their promise. Although it’s nice to see this expansion of freedom, it is a bit disconcerting how much opposition there seems to be to removing the use of force in this area. The freedom to voluntarily buy and sell goods, and enter into contracts with whoever you choose is a fundamental aspect of property rights. It will be interesting to observe what happens to farm production and profits in the west. Although there might be some who lose out, this change will certainly lead to increased prosperity overall, and increased opportunities for the farmers involved.
G — November 26, 2011
Reflecting recently on the polygamy case decision, it startles me how many laws are actually out there that don’t go enforced. If a given act truly is a ‘crime’, shouldn’t then all acts of that type be prosecuted across the board? In the recent polygamy ruling, this will likely not be the case. People in polygamous relationships will likely not be affected at all by this ruling except for those in Bountiful, for which this ruling is specifically targeted. I can say this with confidence because if harm to women or children were truly the issue, then those involved in harming women or children would be prosecuted now, without the need for this trial. I am not advocating enforcement of violent laws, of course, but I am saying that if the crimes on the books were truly enforced consistently across the board based on the rationale and guise for which they are created, people would quickly see how authoritarian our laws have become and how selective and punitive they were in the past (aka ‘prosecutor discretion’).
Either it is a crime across the board based on the rationale for which it is created, or it is not.
To have a weapon for which to pick and choose a crime to fit those you wish to attack, that is not justice, that is totalitarianism.
Jeremy Maddock — November 23, 2011
I have a couple of thoughts on today’s BC Supreme Court decision upholding Section 293 of the Criminal Code, which makes it a criminal offence to live in a polygamous relationship, punishable by up to five years of jail time.
First of all, I was amazed by how brazenly utilitarian the judge’s reasoning was, and how he generalized that the negative consequences of some polygamous relationships were reason enough to ban all polygamous relationships.
I was also surprised by some of the alleged “harms” of polygamy used to justify the criminal law. For example, it was alleged (and the judge accepted) that children from polygamous families “tend to suffer more emotional, behavioural and physical problems, as well as lower educational achievement…” The same generalization could undoubtedly be made about single-parent families, yet nobody is clamoring to make single parenthood illegal. (Here, it’s worth mentioning that the polygamous community of Bountiful actually has one of the best-performing schools in BC.)
Also, the judge found that “the inability of fathers to give sufficient affection and disciplinary attention to all of their children can further reduce children’s emotional security.” This is more an argument against large families, and again single parenthood, than it is against polygamy.
These same kinds of utilitarian arguments were basically declared off-limits when it came to granting marriage rights to homosexual couples, which demonstrates the effects that powerful, well-funded interest groups can have. It also demonstrates how much government loves to expand its own power (i.e. by expanding the institution of marriage beyond its traditional scope), but never to reduce it (i.e. by leaving people alone to make their own relationships and live their own lives). When government makes concessions to interest groups, it generally does so to increase, not reduce, its own power in the lives of citizens.
Now that the decision has come down (assuming it isn’t overturned on appeal), it will be interesting to see just how far the government is willing to go in persecuting Canadian polygamous communities, particularly the one in Bountiful, BC.
Time will tell if the police will actually go in with guns, break up a peaceful community, and turn several hundred children into wards of the State. If so, we could be looking at the residential school fiasco all over again. If not, this whole reference case was just a colossal waste of money.