Monday, October 14, 2013

"Buy American is Un-American?" Huh?

I found this post yesterday, courtesy of Bad Blue, linked by Jonathan Hoenig  over at Capitalist The author is an "Objectivist Philosopher" at the Ayn Rand Institute, Dr. Harry Binswanger.

To say the title surprised me would be an understatement.

Buy American is Un-American.

Really? There are far too many holes in the author's assumptions, which I'll point out.

America's distinction among all the nations of the world is that it enshrined political and economic freedom. Although we have departed greatly from our original laissez-faire principles, to the whole world America still symbolizes capitalism. Americanism means understanding that a free market, domestically and internationally, is the only path to general prosperity.

That may have been true for past generations, but under our current Progressive political leadership, it is no longer so. If I had ten thousand pages, I'd be happy to chronicle the many regulations placed upon American businesses by the Obama administration. Progressives Democrats and Republicans alike have no love for open competition nor a free market. One needs only to remember president Obama's pledge to "punish our enemies and reward our friends" to dispel any myths you may have concerning his allegiances or his opinions on equality.

A generation ago, under the Clinton administration, two pieces of legislation were passed that did much harm to our economy: one was the North American Free Trade Agreement and the other granted Most Favored Nation trade status to Communist China. These two terrible laws resulted in the massive shutdown of American factories and millions of unemployed and sub-employed Americans. At the time, president Clinton said that we were going to move to a service-oriented economy, and away from the manufacture of durable goods. Logic would have approved one goal in addition to the other, but that's not what happened. One replaced the other, thanks to government.

Philosophically, Americanism means individualism. Individualism holds that one's personal identity, moral worth, and inalienable rights belong to one as an individual, not as a member of a particular race, class, nation, or other collective.

But collectivism is the premise of "Buy American." In purchasing goods, we are expected to view ourselves and the sellers not as individuals, but as units of a nation. We are expected to accept lower quality or more expensive goods in the name of alleged benefits to the national collective.

Most "Buy American" advocates are motivated by misplaced patriotism. But for some the motive is a collectivist hostility towards foreigners. This xenophobic attitude is thoroughly un-American; it is plain bigotry.
The author incorrectly assumes that American products  are inferior to foreign-made products. Americans have a dedication to quality. As a former producer of manufactured goods, I can attest to the pursuit of quality: it's there, it's real and there are no excuses for not producing a quality product. I own a Chevy pickup that's 22 years old and has over 224,000 miles as evidence.

It's what  we do.

As to individuality, we are born as units of a nation, and there is nothing we can do about it until we can relocate. Our good fortune is to be born in America, and there's nothing wrong with unity in the promotion of our national values of freedom and individuality, especially where our money is concerned.

I would rather spend my money inside my own country and have that money go towards others who share my values. I'd also prefer the taxes I pay to help my fellow citizens than for that money to go into the pocket of some corrupt official in a foreign land. This is not the "hostility towards foreigners" the author claims, but an exercise of my individual preferences. I choose for my money to stay as close to home as possible.

Throughout history, mankind has always banded together with others of like mind and I can find nothing wrong with that. Unless, of course, you're a cannibal.

Giving preference to American-made products over German or Japanese products is the same injustice as giving preference to products made by whites over those made by blacks. Economic nationalism, like racism, means judging men and their products by the group from which they come, not by merit.

No, it doesn't. There is no injustice in it. It's an individual decision, something the author previously stated he was in favor of. Besides, how does he account for the sales of foreign goods? Ours is a society that allows the market to decide who fails and who succeeds. I know of no group or country that's prohibited from selling here.

The patriotic advocates of buying American would be shocked to learn that the economic theory underlying their viewpoint is Marxism. In describing the influx of Japanese products and investment, they don't use the Marxist terminology of "imperialism" and "exploitation," but the basic idea is the same: capitalistic acts are destructive and free markets will impoverish you. It's the same anti-capitalist nonsense whether it is used by leftists to attack the United States for its commerce with Latin America or by supposed patriots to attack Japan for its commerce with the United States.

Now he's just making stuff up. How is not sending money to help support a nation whose government is openly hostile to American values Marxist?

It is in your interest that other men be smart, ambitious, and productive, not stupid, lazy, or incompetent.
By spending my money here, I am much more likely to be a beneficiary of that smartness, ambition and productivity. Physical proximity counts for something. Also, by spending my money at home, I'm contributing more to the people who live around me, especially when it comes to charity. While I may not be able to contribute directly to charities, many of the companies I support do.

I'm offended at Dr. Binswanger's thinly veiled attempts to divide us further. Capitalism has been the victim of bad publicity despite all evidence to the contrary. The Twentieth Century was American Capitalism's finest era when unimagined wealth and prosperity were brought to the whole world.

You're welcome.

Those who are to blame for fouling capitalism are the first to proclaim it doesn't work. Funny, that.

We would do ourselves a favor to find leaders who would commit to an American Renewal. Such leaders would drastically reduce the amount of regulations and taxes that are currently preventing us from reaching our economic potential. They'd also promote freedom in all its forms, but primarily freedom from unnecessary governmental intrusion into our private life.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tourists Imprisoned by Yellowstone Park Officials

Gee, they seem to be serious about this partial shutdown of the government, aren't they?

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” said Vaillancourt, who grew up in Lawrence. “It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, ‘we’re sorry,’ it was all like — ” as she clenched her fist and banged it against her forearm.

Gloria Allred was unavailable for comment.

h/t Ace of Spades HQ

Friday, October 4, 2013

Your Government Atwerk - Updated

Lovely, just lovely.

The games politicians play: Barack Obama is having a lot of fun using the government shutdown to squeeze the public in imaginative ways.

The Park Service appears to be closing streets on mere whim and caprice. The rangers even closed the parking lot at Mount Vernon, where the plantation home of George Washington is a favorite tourist destination. That was after they barred the new World War II Memorial on the Mall to veterans of World War II. But the government does not own Mount Vernon; it is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The ladies bought it years ago to preserve it as a national memorial. The feds closed access to the parking lots this week, even though the lots are jointly owned with the Mount Vernon ladies. The rangers are from the government, and they’re only here to help.

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

It should be noted that this is the direct result of Harry Reid's obstructionism. This shutdown is owned wholly by the Democrats, not the Republicans. Anyone who tells you different doesn't know what they're talking about.

UPDATE! - Here's a list of the  unnecessary shutdowns - Link  to Breitbart.

UP-UPDATE!! - The Pentagon is withholding the Death Gratuity to families, falsely blames Tea Party.

Congress passed the bill paying the military, and Obama signed it. Yet the Pentagon is interpreting this to deny the families the benefit, and telling the families it is because of Congress. This is beyond obscene, a part of a continuing attack on the military to diminish and divide.

h/t Drudge Report