Thankful to be an American — considering Daniel Hannan’s warning to us

One of the first conservative shows I ever watched was “Uncommon Knowledge” with Peter Robinson. At that time, it was on Channel 9, I believe KQED, and I remember trawling through the channels flipping them to find something that would catch my attention – and there was this uber-SQUARE looking guy, with the suit and the glasses and this sort of earnest questioning of his guests — and they were alone at a table, bare-bones decoration and always discussing something of intrigue — economic policy, history. I remember thinking at some point as I listened, “Oh my god, I think these people are… CONSERVATIVES!” Oh oh….

But, I usually didn’t change the channel. I was curious and held by the discussions and sometimes just shocked at what I heard. Many of the ideas were strange and fresh and new sounding to these then far left ears and somehow, over time, it began to leak in that possibly, some of these people made sense.

Then, I began to look forward to the shows, although I always felt odd that I liked them so much.

And, that was a long time ago now, back in the early 2000’s. It was a transformational and sometimes anguished long journey from then to now, but I sometimes still tune in to the show, which is now featured at National Review and on the web.

Today’s Thanksgiving, and I just want to say — when I think of what I should be thankful for, the first thing that comes to mind is – –being an American. I could put that in leftist speak, that my biggest privilege in life is to be an American, but I’ll say it the other way, since really, today, that’s what I actually mean.

Here, an episode from Common Knowledge where Peter Robinson speaks with Daniel Hannan, a British member of the European parliament and an author of a new book called The New Road to Serfdom – A Letter of Warning to America . Here, Hannan speaks eloquently and with some degree of passion about our country and its founding principles. He discusses the differences between our system and the European systems and why ours is more conducive to prosperity, freedom and innovation. Touching on the European welfare state and our defense policies, on Obama and on European demographic decline — and explaining why you won’t find a Tea Party in the UK, Hannan lays out why we should not Europeanize. The complete show is here, but you can also watch the segments. And, there is a transcript available as well, if that works better for you.

Daniel Hannan—A Letter of Warning to America

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Overdose – the Next Financial Crisis (and how we got to where we are now)

Here’s another film, found and vetted by yours truly for you on Kitman TV .

The film, Overdose is a fascinating and entertaining look into what caused the current economic crisis, which we can’t seem to entirely shake. Is the economy beginning to strengthen, staying the same, or beginning to worsen from one month to the next? No one is ever entirely sure and opinions shift as time works on the crisis, a crisis that feels increasingly chronic instead of temporary. The country’s debt rises and unemployment remains high as companies continue to not invest or take risks.

Even so, there are signs that the gloom is lifting. I’ve interviewed at start-ups that are optimistic about their prospects. There are companies being formed while others founder. Even so, many are out of work in what appears increasingly to be a chronic lapse of employment; debt rises and the stimulus that was to remedy the situation feels nearly spectral, vague and theoretical — what did it really accomplish any way? We know the money did something, no doubt, but just what was that, and why was it not enough to change this lingering malaise?

And, of course, there could be a crash if our debt gets too high, and some places- like Greece, are already feeling the rumblings of that crash, shifting and heaving the entire country to collapse under a rising and huge debt. Well, it could happen here folks and if it does, that’s really bad news. Like nothing seen in our lifetime, even worse than what’s happening right now. And, this recession is already the deepest I’ve seen in mine.

The economists interviewed in this film all predicted previous crisis and were laughed off the news, their warnings are dire, and the style of the film, Overdose, is fast-paced, but not apocalyptic. And, the film is clear and dramatically points out that no one political party is responsible for this deep recession, but that government and speculation and greed, and — more government — helped to create this economic maelstrom.

And, SEE THE WHOLE THING here, on the original site at Kitman TV: Kitman TV – Politically Incorrect Documentaries Online: Overdose – The Next Financial Crisis.

Ahmadinejad at the UN – anti-Free Market

Possibly, it is not altogether surprising that the far left finds common cause with totalitarian leaders like Ahmadinejad, even if most of them, with their often unconventional or libertine lives, would be entirely unacceptable in an Islamic Fundamentalist regime. Apparently, they do find things in common nonetheless, since after all, he is also aligned against free market economics as well as Israel… Here, from Libertarian Republican

“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a speech to the United Nations this morning in New York City, specifically singled out free market capitalism for special criticism. And sounding like an old Soviet Union aparatchik he vowed that capitalism will eventually be defeated.

He stated at a speech in front of the U.N.:
United Nations (CNN) — Attending a United Nations session on alleviating world poverty Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed capitalism for the world’s woes.

“The demanding liberal capitalism (see below) and transnational corporations have caused the suffering of countless women, men and children in so many countries,” Ahmadinejad said at a U.N. General Assembly session on the Millennium Development Goals.

“It is my firm belief that in the new millennium, we need to revert to the divine mindset, to our true nature for which man was created and, indeed, to the just and fair governance,” he said.

At past global conferences, Ahmadinejad’s strong words against Israel have prompted world leaders to walk out. But the hard-line Iranian leader’s comments Tuesday were relatively tempered.

“”Now that the discriminatory order of capitalism and the hegemonic approaches are facing defeat and are getting close to their end, all-out participation in upholding justice and prosperous interrelations is essential,” he said.

Strange bedfellows indeed – the far left and Islamic Fascist extremism. And everyone tippy-toeing to not offend Muslim sensibilities. It’s enough to make you want to become, a – Republican! And, a libertarian leaning one at that. Hah.

More Milton Friedman – the power of prices and all the knowledge in a pencil

I get on jags and right now, I’m on a Friedman jag. It won’t last longer than one night, though I bet I’ll return again some other time. The guy is brilliant in how he simplifies certain ideas here, about pricing as an impersonal mechanism that moves markets. Prices contain knowledge in a sense, they rise and fall as conditions change due to activities and desires and necessity. If government stays out of the mix enough to allow people to “voluntarily cooperate” they innovate, and exchange materials and products. He notes how economic liberty is a very important, a crucial, kind of freedom, and how economic liberty and other types of freedom are so important that people will go through tremendous hardship to attain them. I’m still exploring his ideas, and there is a lot to learn. He begins with the ideas of Adam Smith. I remember first hearing of Adam Smith and feeling quite intrigued, as I had not learned about him much in school. We learned Marx, but no Smith. A shame that!

Milton Friedman – why he’s not a conservative but a liberal – and free markets

A thought provoking interview with economist Milton Friedman about government control and paternalism, free markets, and the singular power of free individuals pursuing their enlightened self interest to create and sustain prosperity. He states he is not against government, but against overweening government controls which lead to totalitarianism. Friedman is in favor of unleashing the power of individual creativity instead of allowing encroaching government control to make people essentially – into slaves or serfs. An interesting reminder today, as the government continues to expand in order to stimulate and sustain an economic recovery, that each day appears more distant.

Good food for thought, and things I’m thinking about these days!