The long-awaited 2012 report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (a.k.a. the “Drummond Report”) has been delivered. Ontario’s official opposition, and almost all journalists, are speaking about the report as though it is tough medicine that now must be swallowed if Ontario’s budget is to be balanced in 2017-18. Though the report does finally put to rest the nonsense – nonsense spouted by both Liberals and Progressive Conservatives until now – that Ontario is on course for a balanced budget in 2017-18, the report is not medicine at all. Ontario’s budget cannot be balanced by 2017-18 or any other year by attempting to implement the Drummond Report’s 362 recommendations, even could they all be deciphered and concretized. Consequently, all of the arguments you will hear among PC, Liberal, and NDP MPPs over the coming months – about how and how quickly the report should be implemented, and to what extent – will serve only to ensure that the action needed to solve Ontario’s fiscal woes never gets discussed. Read more
I was recently asked: “What is the Freedom Party’s plan for creating jobs?” It’s a question commonly asked of all parties. What follows is one of my answers.
The truth of the matter is that government is an organization that does not create wealth. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing: the same is true of all law enforcement, including the military, the judiciary, etc.. My point is that none of those organizations performs the role of creating wealth. A government primarily stops people from doing things…preferably, only from doing bad things. Specifically, a government, when it is doing its job well, prevents anyone from taking your life, your liberty, or your property without your consent.
In truth, government is capable only of decreasing the number of jobs that people create: it is capable of job destruction. Government can destroy jobs in either of two ways: using its influence when it shouldn’t, or failing to use its influence when it should. In other words: governmental errors and omissions destroy jobs. Read more
On September 2, 2009, the Financial Post published an opinion piece by Penn Bullock that asks whether or not the current economic crisis was the result of Milton Friedman’s monetarism. Casting him rightly as someone held up as a hero by libertarians, Bullock concludes:
For two libertarian champions of free markets and limited government, this legacy has the ring of a world-historic irony.
In response, I submitted the following letter to the editor of the Financial Post. From what I can tell, it was not published by that paper. Read more
I recently received a question from a reader concerning my post of October 20, 2008, entitled “Banking and Morality: 100% Reserve versus “Fractional” Reserves“. It reads as follows: Read more
In an article titled “On Libertarian Bolshevism”, conservative blogger Adam T. Yoshida argues that we see two approaches being proposed to achieve a free society that not only are doomed to fail, but also make it more difficult for a “Reactionary Libertarian” to achieve a freer society. Yoshida implies that the Reactionary Libertarian has an approach that can achieve freedom in a society that is either indifferent to, or hostile to, the goal of a free society: “going back to some older social structures and institutions”. Read more
On the National Post’s blog, columnist Jonathan Kay reports that Justin Trudeau – son of the now-deceased former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau (a father of Canada’s Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) – shared with a questioner his opinion on whether Canada’s Charter would protect extraterrestrials, were they to (exist and) land in Canada. In a nutshell, he said that the Charter would apply if the alien first became a Canadian citizen. His response betrayed an ignorance of the Charter, given that several of its provisions apply even to those lacking Canadian citizenship. Read more
Interested in learning (or about learning more) about money and banking? Read more
In recent years, a group of land owners (mostly farmers) in Ontario, Canada has – largely under the former leadership of an electrician named Randy Hillier – become a voice deemed by the media to be worthy of news coverage. On the surface, the Ontario Landowners Association appears to be in favour of government ceasing to violate their property rights. Their signs – which can be seen all over the Ontario countryside, posted to farm fences, particularly in Eastern Ontario – read: “This is our land. STOP. BACK OFF GOVERNMENT”.
Former OLA chief Randy Hillier wearing
a tee-shirt version of the sign found
on many farm properties in Ontario.
Approximately a year ago, Hillier resigned from the management of the OLA and used his popularity among members and supporters to win himself the nomination of the Progressive Conservative (PC) party in Ontario. Many advocates of property rights were perplexed by the move, given that the PC party historically (but with the brief exception of the leadership of Mike Harris) has been Ontario’s most substantively socialist/collectivist party. It introduced the Human Rights Code, rent controls, and the provincial income tax; it banned private health insurance and set up a tax-funded government monopoly on health insurance, etc.. Rather than conclude that Hillier has given up on advocating property rights, it would appear more accurate to conclude that Hillier’s expectations are merely naive, and that he believes he can (presumably with some ongoing assistance by the OLA) transform the “red tory” PC party into a party that is in favour of government that defends rather than violates, property rights.
That he is likely to fail in his effort to turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse becomes even more obvious when one considers the decidedly mixed bag of political wants held by members of the OLA. At times, the mutually exclusive nature of these wants has become high-profile. For example, when the OLA clogged the traffic arteries of Toronto’s core at and around the Ontario legislature, the media did live radio interviews with the many people driving their tractors to the event. There were indeed some libertarian-sounding property-rights advocates among those interviewed, but such members were decidedly mixed with farmers that wanted something akin to tax-funded subsidies for failing agricultural ventures, etc. (Interesting aside: the effort to get headlines by creating a traffic jam and storming the legislature grounds with tractors got overshadowed in two ways: 1. a competing farmer association [probably supportive of the governing Liberal party] pulled the exact same stunt one week earlier, and 2. when the OLA did it, a man pulled up in a truck, babbled incoherently, poured gasoline on himself, and lit himself on fire…guess which story got the bigger headline? It makes one wonder how many “Thank-you” and “Job Well Done” cards the man received from the Liberals).
All of which brings us to the news today that the OLA is – loudly, and with a press release – threatening to “clear cut” 100 square kilometers of wooded land in Eastern Ontario. According to today’s pre-fab report by the Canadian Press (you know the sort: printed in newspapers of every stripe; just add a headline, print it in your newspaper, and pretend that you are still a source of news), the threatened clear cutting relates to a law which violates property rights so as to protect endangered species:
If an endangered bird is found on someone’s property, [the OLA's Jack] MacLaren says their property values plummet and they can no longer use part of the land for farming.
“Ah”, you might infer, “the OLA is objecting to the endangered species legislation, saying that it violates their property rights”. Well, sadly, no. The Canadian Press explains that:
[McLaren] says that’s not fair because the government doesn’t offer to compensate those landowners.
Might I suggest changing the OLA’s sign a bit: “This land is our land. STOP. Back off government...unless you come with gifts of money taken forcibly from other people“.
This is yet another example of people wanting “freedom for me, but not for thee”, and it all results from wanting freedom for the wrong reasons. The rightness of defending ones control over ones own land is properly founded on the necessity of that control if one is to use the land in accordance with ones own rational decisions about its use. In other words: property makes it possible for one to live a rational (hence productive and happy) life. Asking for “compensation” from the government in exchange for the violation of ones own property is not a call for freedom. It is a call to push the costs of tyranny onto someone else’s shoulders. It is not a defence of property: it is a call to tax others and hand the loot over to landowners; it is a call to violate other peoples property; it is a sanctioning of government violations of property; it is a call for the government to protect landowners from the effects of tyranny, by imposing additional tyranny other others.
If the OLA is successful in their bid to loot other Ontarians, one can only hope that they spend a few bucks on a copy of Atlas Shrugged (and that they actually read it), so that they can realize, before it is too late, just how badly they are defeating their stated goal.