Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dave Ramsey- banking shill or fool?

I turned on the AM radio while I was on the way home the other day, so that I could get a traffic report that would help me escape the early evening gridlock that I was stuck in, and I listened to several minutes of the Dave Ramsey show. The majority of his message makes a lot of sense- pay your bills, don't go into debt, etc. Then a person called in and asked if he should invest in buying gold. Now, I don't have an exact quote, but the gist of Mr Ramsey's comments were as follows:

Gold has barely broken even when compared to inflation over the past 50 years, and you are better off in a mutual fund than you are buying gold.
That statement is a little misleading, and I am not sure if I should be hoping that Dave Ramsey is a liar or a fool. Lets see why:

First, the dollar was pegged to gold until 1933 when the Bretton Woods agreement went into effect, pegging the price of gold at $35 an ounce. This ended in 1971, when Nixon canceled the system. This means that gold remained at a fixed price until 39 years ago. To compare any stock market fund to the price of gold in any year before 1971 is either deliberately misleading, or shows a lack of knowledge on the part of the speaker.

Buying 25 ounces of gold in 1971 would have cost $875.

Comparing the price of gold to stocks, I turn to the DOW. There are problems with the DJIA, and I will discuss them in a bit, but for now lets assume that Dave Ramsey bought one share in each DOW company in 1971. That would have cost him $868.

Lets take a look our investments, shall we?
In 1976, my gold is worth $3,270 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $975.
In 1981, my gold is worth $14,000 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $947.
In 1986, my gold is worth $8,800 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $1,582.
In 1991, my gold is worth $9,475 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $2,730.
In 1996, my gold is worth $9,925 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $5,405.
In 2001, my gold is worth $6,587 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $10,759.
In 2006, my gold is worth $13,831 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $10,953.
In Jan 2010, my gold is worth $27,200 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $10,067.
Edited to add:
In October 2010, my gold is worth 33,350 and Dave Ramsey's stock is worth $11,169.

So you can see that gold has outperformed the market for the last 39 years, with the exception of the period between 1996 and 2001. Even that is misleading, since there have been changes in the makeup of the companies that comprise the DJIA. During the time period of 1996 to 2001, AT&T, Hewlett Packard, The Home Depot, Intel, Microsoft, and Wal Mart were all added to the DJIA. Also considering that the DJIA has a multiplier that is used by banks to adjust the numbers, the prices that are quoted for the DJIA are inflated.

Had I bought $10,000 in stock in 2001, I would have $9356 today. Had I bought $10,000 in gold in 2001, I would have $41,293 today.

Bad advice, Dave.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Just like Dad

I wrote this post three years ago, and I never published it. I don't know why, so here it is:

My mother recently came to see me because she wanted to speak with me about the death of my father. For those of you who do not know, my father died in May of 2005. It was one of the worst days of my life. Even though I knew at the time that his passing would affect me, I had no idea that nearly 2 years later the wounds would still be so fresh. That was the reason my mother was here to see me. Mothers seem to sense these things.

Dealing with life and death issues as often as I do, I really felt like I knew what was coming when I learned of his passing. I was wrong.

Like any boy, I loved my father. A boy’s love for his father is not the affection you show for a lover, nor is it even remotely like the love of a mother for her children. You see, boys have a need to seek the approval of their fathers. They are driven by an overwhelming need to grow into even a fraction of the man that they perceive their fathers to be. Most of all, they want to earn the respect of their Dad.

I fought in a war. I gave him grandchildren. I became the first person in my family tree to graduate from college. I have delivered babies, I have held others as the life slipped from their bodies. I have pulled dying people out of burning buildings, I jumped in a lake to save a drowning man from an alligator. When my dad had a heart attack, I was the medic who worked on him. I have filled sandbags in Missouri to save flooding homes, sifted through ruined homes looking for the dead in disasters, and fed the survivors. All of these things I did, trying to be half the man I perceived him to be. I began to teach classes on medical procedures, hoping to teach the next generation of providers. Again, for him.

Then, he was gone. I carried him to his grave, and since that time, I have carried my grief around in my heart like a lead weight, and at times it has been nearly overpowering. I asked myself countless times if I measured up.

This morning, my son came to me with 2 movie tickets and asked me if I wanted to go out with him. We spent the afternoon with each other. I am proud of my son, as he starts his new job on Monday as a firefighter. As I looked at him on the way home, I realized that my son was trying to be larger than life.

Just like his Dad.

I finally did it Dad, I am just like you.

and to you, son: You have indeed earned my respect. You have fulfilled every expectation and dream that any father has a right to hope for his son.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Press anti-gun agenda

The press is making hay out this guy being caught with a .50 caliber rifle. I know that you in the press don't know the difference, and aren't really interested in the difference, but .50 caliber refers to quite a few different cartridges, and there is a large difference between them:

The round most people think of when they hear 50 caliber, is the .50 BMG. This round is used in heavy machine guns and in the Barret rifle. It fires a 647 grain bullet at 3000 feet per second, which equates to over 13,000 foot pounds of force. While there are ways to convert an AR-15 frame to fire this round, such a rifle is not going to be light, and a person will not be able to hide it under a coat.

More likely, the cartridge we are talking about is the .50 Beowolf. It fires a 325 grain bullet at 2,000 feet per second, developing 2900 foot-pounds of force. To compare this, the .30 06, a common round used in hunting, fires a 200 grain bullet at just over 2500 feet per second, thus generating about 2900 foot pounds of force.

There are even pistol cartridges that are technically .50 caliber, such as the .50 Action Express, a pistol round fired by the Desert Eagle. Firing a 325 grain bullet at 1400 feet per second, it develops about 1400 ft/lbs of energy. There is also the .500 Smith and Wesson, firing a 400 grain bullet at 1800 feet per second, and delivering just under 2900 foot pounds of force.

Even the grenade launcher is said to be a 37mm grenade launcher. Except it isn't. The 37mm launcher is not classed as a grenade launcher (destructive device) by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. According to them, it is a FLARE LAUNCHER, and there are not even any grenades available for it, just flares and smoke signaling devices.

In other words, this guy was not in possession of anything out of the ordinary. Heck, I have better weapons in my gun safe. The problem is that the truth here does not fit in with the agenda of the press: create pants-wetting hysteria in the public, so you can influence opinion in an uneducated populous to advance your agenda.

What were they thinking?

When Apple thought up the name for the new iPad?

I am also hoping that I can parley an iPad post into some hits for the 'ole hit counter.

I know, I am a whore.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More signs of recovery?

No. Instead, we have December home sales down 17%, mostly because the government tax credit giveaway was set to expire November 30, so many who were gonna buy did so during November. Cash for Clunkers had a similar effect.

Expect Obama to tell us we are recovering, just like we were in May 2008, December 2008, January 2009, March 2009, April 2009, May 2009, July 2009, and August 2009. Remember those good old days of 2008, when they told us that we weren't officially in a recession yet?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Poor Service

I bought a Gemtech Suppressor from Spike's Tactical in Apopka, Florida in mid May of 2009. They made me pay full price for the suppressor at the time I bought it, because it takes so long for approvals to come back. I sent the Form 4 into the ATF on May 15. It was returned to me 2 weeks later, unopened. Why? Because Spike's had used an old version of the Form 4, and it had the wrong address on it.

I resent it to the ATF on June 1. ATF got the form on June 4. I called in August to check on the status, and I was told it went pending July 27, and that I would be waiting for a long time.

Finally, I got tired of waiting, and called ATF. They just told me that the form was approved and mailed in November. I called Spike's, and they told me that there is only one person in the whole business that can handle class 3 problems, and he is at the SHOT show. He will supposedly return my call on Monday.

I am not impressed. I could have had this thing over 2 months ago, and they let the ONE guy who handles transfers leave town for a week? They didn't bother to call me when the Forms came back approved? It upsets me that my purchase was delayed because first they gave me an old form with the wrong address, second because they got my approved paperwork back and decided it wasn't important enough to call me, and compounded my dissatisfaction by leaving the office unstaffed by anyone who can actually get things done for over a week.

Edit: I called Spike's this morning, and they told me the guy was still out of town. I am going up there and see what I can get accomplished in person.

Edit 2: I made the 45 minute drive, and stomped my feet until they let me talk to Spike himself. He straightened the problem out in less than 10 minutes. It seems that they had my paperwork the entire time, but the employee in charge of NFA transactions lost my phone number and was either too lazy or too stupid to simply write me a letter at the address on my Form 4.

Either way, I got my suppressor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One year anniversary

Here we are, one year into the Obama Presidency. His inaugural term is 25% complete.How is he doing?

One year ago, the then President-elect told us that we could expect trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. I predicted that Obama would borrow $2.1 trillion in his first year, and would leave us $17 trillion in debt by the end of his first term. He borrowed his first trillion dollars in 6 months.

At the end of his first year, Americans are $12.32 trillion in debt, or $1.7 trillion more than one year ago. To put this in perspective, it took this nation 210 years to borrow $1.7 trillion. From George Washington to Ronald Reagan- Obama borrowed that in just one year.

Unemployment has climbed from 8% to over 10%. There are more troops overseas now than when he became President.

I give him an F.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Laws keep us safe?

This is my belated MLK post. One of Dr King's quotes:

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Bullshit. The law cannot prevent a man from lynching you any more than the law can prevent the sale of drugs, rape, murder, the theft of your stereo, or anything else, for that matter. The only thing the law does is punish people when they break the law- after the fact. Sure, this can have a deterrent effect, but what do you do when they laws themselves allow the lynching?

This is why ALL of our rights are so important. The right to be tried by your peers, which guarantees that the people can overrule an unjust law, the right to speak out and spread the word of injustices, the right to keep arms in the event that the other rights are ignored or trampled upon. Sure, that last right is not needed at this moment, but once it is needed, it is too late to ask for it.

Protect the Second Amendment, for it protects the others.

The founders on the enumerated powers

Every time a law is passed, whether that law is free health care, bailouts, or any other thing, and a person asks where Congress gets the authority to enact such a law, the response is almost always the "general welfare" clause, or the "interstate commerce" clause. Let's see what James Madison, one of our founding fathers, had to say about that

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress.... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.
What about the commerce clause?

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign state be at liberty to impose duties on any goods, wares, or merchandise, imported, by land or by water, from any other state, but may altogether prohibit the importation from any state of any particular species or description of goods, wares, or merchandise, of which the importation is at the same time prohibited from all other places whatsoever.
Hmmm. Looks like Federal Government control is not what the FFs meant when they wrote the commerce and general welfare clauses.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


When I have a financial deal with a person, the only responsibility that I have is to complete the deal according to the terms of the agreement. For example, if I buy a car from a dealer, and his home burns to the ground, am I morally obligated to stop by and give him more money than agreed upon? Of course not.

If I drop by the dealership, and donate clothes, food, and money, would it be ungrateful of him to complain that it wasn't enough? Or should everyone at least be happy that I donated what I could spare?

Apparently, that is not true if you are a cruise line, and one of your ports of call is in Haiti. Nevermind that Royal Caribbean enriched Haitians to the tune of $55 million during construction of the facilities in Labadee, Haiti. Nevermind that Royal Caribbean directly and indirectly employs over 500 people at the facilities in Haiti, people who would be unemployed if the cruise line stopped going to the port. All of this activity injects millions into the local economy every year. What else does Royal Caribbean owe the people of Haiti?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No more jury trials in the Dictatorship of (formerly) Great Britain

When we last discussed Great Britain, we talked about how Doctors, making house calls in the employ of the government, would inspect the homes of their patients, and report infractions of the law to their political masters. We also discovered that the British government was placing video cameras in the homes of people that the government considered to be troublesome. I called the country a dictatorship.

A commenter, balkanoldhand, said that calling Britain a dictatorship was incorrect. Semantics. Call it totalitarian, if it makes you feel better. Still, the commenter felt that I was incorrect. I wonder how he would feel if he knew that British subjects were now being tried without a jury, in violation of Article 39 of the Magna Carta, which reads:

"No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and or by the law of the land."
Thus again proving the point that a nation who's citizens are deprived of arms inevitably slides into dictatorship. We are watching it happen first hand, and the United States is not far behind.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nursing home versus firefighter humor

This sounds alot like the nurses at any of the five nursing homes in my first due.

Out of control spending

Well. Chavez tried to give everyone in Venezuela free everything. He 'Nationalized' nearly every industry in the country to pay for it, and he instituted price controls on industries and goods that he did not simply confiscate, demanding that prices on various items remain at a certain level. Once the people who produced those items realized that they could make no money at that price point, they quit working. After all, who is going to keep working when you can't make money selling your labor at the government set price?

Inevitably, this causes shortages and the price controls eventually have to be eased. With inflation approaching 25% even WITH price controls, his economy is in big trouble. To control expenses, he has decided to devalue the currency. This is how that works: He has revalued the Bolivar to equal 4.3 to the dollar for oil. For each dollar of oil he sells, he gets 4.6 Bolivars.

The Bolivar for non-oil products is still set at 2.6 to the dollar. Therefore, he hopes to contain inflation by this split exchange rate, and by putting price controls on products. Violators of these price controls will have their business 'nationalized,' and given to their employees.
One of the problems with this is that there is no discernible difference between oil and non-oil Bolivars. So, a person could sell oil Bolivars at 4.3, and buy food at 2.6, making a 165% return on their money. Many people who are in a position to do this will. What this will do is make inflation worse. Turning to the printing press to make more money, so you can hand it out to citizens in a vote and popularity buying scheme will not work.

The US is now $12.3 trillion in debt. Our GNP is $14 trillion, making our debt to GDP ration a whopping 88%. Venezuela, with a GDP of $127.8 billion, and a national debt of $15.8 billion, looks thrifty in comparison with their debt being 12.3% of GDP.

We as a nation will never pay that money back. Tell that to our government, to the Republican AND Democratic parties. Comparing this to Germany in the post WWI era:

The German postwar inflation and hyper-inflation of the 1920s had two fundamental causes: a low savings rate, and bad monetary and fiscal policy. One consequence of World War I was an erosion of incomes, and a dramatically reduced savings rate. But at the same time, at least for a while, Germans were able to sustain their living standard, and run large trade deficits.

They had this luxury because investors from around the globe bought German assets: currency, securities, real estate. British and American investors were gambling on a German recovery. Only in the summer of 1922, did foreigners begin to realize that Germany was unlikely to be able to pay all its debts.

The second driving force of the inflation was the policy of the German government and the German central bank. Both were sensitive to political considerations. Both worried that rising unemployment might destabilize the precarious political order. So they were willing to do anything in fiscal and monetary policy to counteract economic slowdown. The government ran large budget deficits as it tried to keep up employment in the state-owned railroad and postal systems, and also to generate more purchasing power. It kept on looking for new ways to administer repeated fiscal stimuli.

Equally significant, the president of the central bank, an elderly Prussian bureaucrat called Rudolf Havenstein, boasted about his success in getting new printing plants, printing plate manufacturers, and paper factories to meet the enormous demand for new money. He found more and more ingenious ways of stimulating bank lending to large businesses on ever more dubious securities. And he kept on saying that keeping the money presses rolling was a patriotic duty. Of course, today we don't need printing presses. Now we create dollars using computers. A billion dollars is just a few keystrokes away.

There was, in short, what would now be called a “Havenstein put” — in which the central bank would keep its interest rate at levels sufficiently low so that German business could continue to expand. Sound like the Fed 0% prime rate?

Inflation skyrocketed, the German people suffered. Businesses, unable to keep up with the inflation, went under. Unemployment increased tenfold in five years. This set the stage for the National Socialists to step in.

There are obvious similarities between the conditions in post WWI Germany and the present day United States. Are we setting the stage for a dictatorship here? Only time will tell.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Customer Service

My brother owns a business. He makes a large deposit of the day's receipts each day. Last Friday, the armored car that comes to pick up the money did not show, because the New Years Eve holiday had them overwhelmed, so he loaded the money into his truck and made the 2 mile trip to the bank himself.

When he got there, the new manager of the bank would not let him load the money in the back door of the bank, but instead made him bring it through the front door, and then raised a fuss about the size of the deposit. He also uses a money counting machine to count the bills, and then bands them, and it also counts and bags the coins. She made him stand there while they recounted the money by machine, and then again by hand, saying that she didn't trust him or her own machines to have counted correctly. Now understand that he makes a million in deposits a month, so this deposit took a bit of time to count by hand. The previous manager knew him, and always accepted his counts, or at least the counts of her own machines.

The new manager was pretty rude. So, being a smartass, he decided to exact his revenge. He held the $1 bills out of the deposits for the week. Then, on Friday just 15 minutes before the bank was due to close, he walked in with $32,000 in one dollar bills. Unbanded. He demanded a receipt, and then stood there while they counted it. He says he will continue to do that until the manager's attitude improves or he gets a new manager.

Poor customer service on the bank's part.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Global warming is here

This is the weather forecast for Orlando, Florida, straight from the National Weather Service:

Saturday: A chance of rain showers, snow showers, and sleet before 11am, then a slight chance of rain showers between 11am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Wind chill values as low as 25. North northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

The Recovery ist Kaput

Well, I guess that answers my question:

The unemployment figures for December will be released this friday, I believe. Will those figures show an increase in the ranks of the nearly 15.5 million unemployed?

The answer is: yes. My question here is this: If there are 8 million unemployed, and that equals 10 percent, then 1 percent would be 800,000 and .1 percent would be 80,000. Since 85,000 jobs were lost, the unemployment rate should have risen by .1 percent. It didn't. More spin?

Bankruptcy filings for Central Florida are still up. For the month of December 2009, there were 4,951 bankruptcy filings. That figure is up from November's 4,927.

The numbers for the year are even worse:
2009 61,690
2008 42,557
2007 26,424
2006 15,304

I am not sure if these numbers are representative of what is going on in the rest of the country, but I would imagine that they are. We are posting bankruptcy rates that are 4 times higher than what they were in 2006.

Every bankruptcy filing represents lenders and businesses that are not going to get paid at least a portion of the money that they thought they would. Until the unemployment and bankruptcy numbers start to fall, it is too premature to even think about a recovery.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Google Censorship

Google is playing the censorship game.

They do it again here, for China.

When there is blood in the streets, buy. Thanks for proving that some will collaborate with evil to make a buck.

Maybe it is time to switch to Bing.

Negroes, the census, and the offended

It appears like certain people have their panties in a wad because the census is asking people their race, and one of the choices is "Black/African American/Negro."

"The fact that it's 2010 and they're still putting 'negro,' I am a little offended," said Secaucus resident Dawud Ingram.

Question #9 on the this year's census asks about your race. One of the boxes you can choose is "black," "African American," or "negro," all placed next to the same box. Ingram said it's not a word he uses to identify neither himself nor anybody else.

"African Americans haven't been going by the term 'negro' for decades now. It's really confusing," he said.
I bet the United Negro College Fund would be surprised to hear that. Of course, we could follow the example of rappers, and change the question to reflect today's vernacular. What they call each other would get me labeled a racist, however, and would certainly result in howls of indignation.

I think the real issue here is that no matter how the issue is dealt with, even if race is ignored, someone, somewhere will find a reason to be offended. As I have noted in the past, "those who look for a reason to be offended will have no trouble finding one."

Now if you will excuse me, I think I will grab my reading glasses and try to find the clause in the Constitution that protects your right to not be offended.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Car dealers/ rip off artists

Linoge posts a story about the way dealers sell cars, and it reminds me...

About 7 years ago, I bought a Nissan truck from Universal Nissan in Orlando. After the deal was done, imagine my surprise that they tacked on a $400 "dealer prep" fee. I objected, and they told me that "everyone pays this. I work here, and even I have to pay this."

I told him, "That's your problem. I am not paying this."

He got the manager, and the manager asked me if I was the sort of man who would let $400 ruin a good deal. I responded, "No, you are. We negotiated a price, and slapping extra charges on there after we agreed on a price is dishonest."

He responded by telling me that the reason the fee is preprinted on the forms is that everyone must pay them, because this is what paid the dealer to get the car ready for sale, you know, inspecting, washing, etcetera. I told the manager that as far as I was concerned, that was a part of the cost of doing business, and that those costs should be factored into the deal.

We finally came to an agreement whereupon I agreed to pay the fee in exchange for them taking another $600 off of the price of the vehicle. Even though I paid $200 less this way than if they had just waived the fee, I just know that I somehow got screwed on the deal.

Everything that car dealers do is shady and dishonest, from sign and drive scams, to $200 floor mats, to the hidden fees and charges- all car dealers want to do is rip you off. Even the so-called "no haggle" dealers do it- just in their case, the deal is "take it or leave it." Universal Nissan is not unique- nearly every dealer does this.

I, for one, am not sorry to see them in financial trouble. Why can't people just do honest business at an honest price?

Recovery? What recovery?

The Wall Street Journal reports that bankruptcy filings are up 32% from 2008.

Mr. Mann (a law Professor at Columbia University) said he believes bankruptcies reached their peak sometime last year, but bankruptcy attorneys from across the country said there was no sign that business was slowing. The 113,274 filings in December alone were a third higher than the same month a year earlier.
As I reported before, we have been hearing that we are in a recovery phase for over a year now, but the news just keeps getting worse. The unemployment figures for December will be released this friday, I believe. Will those figures show an increase in the ranks of the nearly 15.5 million unemployed?

My favorite attempt at spin is this story. The math is intended to confuse you, so let me see if we can work it out:

Retail sales rose 3.6% from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, compared with a 2.3% drop in the same period a year ago, according to figures from SpendingPulse, which tracks all forms of payments, including cash. Adjusting for an extra shopping day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the number was closer to a 1% gain. Last year, the economy was in “critical condition,” said Michael Macnamara, vice president at MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse. “This year, it’s in stable condition.”
So lets start by setting sales in the Christmas season of 2007 as "normal," or $1000. Now 2009 saw a 2.3% drop, meaning sales dropped during that period to $977. Now adjusting sales figures to account for the fact that the 2009 season has one fewer shopping day increases our sales by 1% to 987. That figure is still 1.3% lower that 2007. In fact, if those figures are adjusted for the inflation we saw in 2008, the sales figure would be closer to $946.

In other words, the increase in sales over the normal of two years ago is less than the rate of inflation. Sales figures for this Christmas season are more than 5% lower than pre-financial crisis levels. I am tired of being told that things are better, I am tired of being lied to. When all of this started, I listened to the talking heads who told me to keep my money invested where it was and take the "long view." They said the smart thing to do was wait it out, and that we would improve.

I lost over half of my life savings. My home value dropped to less than half of what I owed on it. My mother has had to come out of retirement, as the nest egg she built with my late father becomes depleted. I am sitting on my money. I am buying the one thing that has not lost real buying power- gold and silver. I am getting rid of this boat anchor of a house. I will buy another at half price, and hope for the best.

Above all, I am no longer listening to the supposed experts that got us all into this mess in the first place.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ayn Rand

I am in an Ayn Rand state of mind today, so I will share a few of my favorite quotes:

Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.

Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

Evil requires the sanction of the victim.

It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.

There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions to an individual, but permitted to a mob.

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.