August 28-31, 2010

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The Rational Argumentator's Eighth Anniversary Manifesto:
G. Stolyarov II

August 29, 2010
Mr. Stolyarov is pleased to announce that, once again, The Rational Argumentator has had its most successful year to date. TRA's Eighth Anniversary Manifesto recounts some major accomplishments as well as TRA's planned future endeavors amidst these turbulent times.


Let the Housing Market Normalize!:
Ron Paul

August 28, 2010

Recently there have been some encouraging signs that Congress is finally willing to admit what should have been evident two years ago. Even after a $150 billion bailout, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still bankrupt and should be abolished.  Indeed Rep. Barney Frank, a longtime champion of Fannie and Freddie has made a few statements alluding to this, and I have signed on to a letter asking him to clarify his remarks and hold hearings on this topic.  There seems to be a growing consensus in favor of abolishing Fannie and Freddie. This is the good news. The bad news, writes Rep. Ron Paul, is that instead of simply returning to the free market, Fannie and Freddie will probably be replaced with something equally damaging, and at this point we can only guess what that will be.

Venus Needs Some Austrians:
Robert P. Murphy

August 28, 2010
Dr. Robert Murphy has recently become aware of "the Venus Project." Although the people involved are admirably doing what they can to rid the world of injustice, they lack basic knowledge of economics. In the present article, Dr. Murphy runs over some of the biggest gaps in their proposal.

Goods, Scarce and Nonscarce:
Jeffrey A. Tucker and Stephan Kinsella

August 28, 2010
Everyone who is serious about ideas now has to deal with the issue of "intellectual property," especially given the advent of digital media and the state's war on the supposed violators of the intellectual rights of others. The situation has at once become very hopeful, with more sharing of ideas than ever before in history, and extremely grim, with the federal government pressuring every Internet-service provider to act as proxy enforcers of an unjust law — and twisting the arms of developing countries to adopt draconian, Western-style IP law. Jeffrey Tucker and Stephan Kinsella write that this debate, however, involves more than just IP issues. The discussion surrounding this topic has further clarified other issues, like the character of goods and property, the existence and centrality of nonscarce goods in economic life, and the role of learning in the evolution of society.

Revisit Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451:
Jeff Riggenbach

August 28, 2010
Jeff Riggenbach believes that, for many, Ray Bradbury's classic science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 is probably one of the few good things school ever did for them. The downside of the situation is that millions of these people, probably the majority of them, have not looked at Bradbury's remarkable little novel for years, since they were 13 or 14 years old. It's worth another look.

Envisaging a World Without the FDA:
August 28, 2010

Reason from The Longevity Meme writes that there is no open marketplace for medical technology in the developed world. Instead, we see a very different set of incentives dominating the state of research and development. Regulatory bodies like the FDA have every incentive to stop the release of new medicine: the government employees involved suffer far more from bad press for an approved medical technology than they do from the largely unexamined consequences of heavy regulation.

Unpredictable Government and Economic Growth:
Gary Wolfram

August 28, 2010
The Obama Administration, along with House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, has created enormous uncertainty for entrepreneurs and business owners. Suppose you are the owner of the Oasis Car Wash, with five car washes throughout Michigan and 65 employees, and you are deciding whether or not to add three new employees. Dr. Gary Wolfram enumerates some of the obstacles that would stand in your way toward making an informed, sensible decision. 

End Environmental Experiments on Africans!:
Fiona Kobusingye

August 28, 2010
This excellent column by Fiona Kobusingye is fresh out of Africa. It is a hard-hitting article about how Africans are being used as laboratory animals in eco-colonialist experiments - to prevent malaria without using DDT or insecticides, to generate (minimal amounts of electricity) without using fossil fuels, to keep farmers and people on subsistence agriculture and food supplies, by restricting the use of biotech and even hybrid seeds.

Iraq: An End or an Escalation?:
Ron Paul

August 30, 2010
Amid much fanfare last week, the last supposed “combat” troops left Iraq as the administration touted the beginning of the end of the Iraq War and a change in the role of the United States in that country.  Considering the continued public frustration with the war effort, and with the growing laundry list of broken promises, Rep. Ron Paul argues that this was merely another one of the administration’s operations in political maneuvering and semantics in order to convince an increasingly war-weary public that the Iraq War is at last ending.  However, military officials confirm that we are committed to intervention in that country for years to come, and our operations have in fact, changed minimally, if really at all.

Our Schools, Dumb and Dumber:
Alan Caruba

August 31, 2010
As the nation’s children return to elementary and secondary schools, it is increasingly essential that their parents and communities coast to coast realize how poorly served they are and how their learning environment is increasingly tainted by a socialist agenda. Alan Caruba writes that our nation’s schools have long been factories of boredom, centers of academic incompetence.

"Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation." 
~ Milton Friedman