Deflating the Student Loan Bubble with Better Risk Management

The student loan market is broken again: too much student debt, too many defaults, and large write-offs pending as a result of income contingent repayment. Not that it was ever fixed, but it’s gonna blow again to hemorrhage real costs across the federal balance sheet.

Back in 2008, as the first step in the financial crisis, the Bush Administration led the federal government to take over the private elements of the student loan industry. Today, talks of evil banks continue, but student loan lending is done by the federal government and the “evil bank” is actually the Department of Education. Thanks to an overindulgent Pelosi Congress in 2007, education credit has been easy and plentiful without serious consideration of risks; this error has been costing both the students and the taxpayers.

Previously, there were three legs helping to manage risk in the federal student loan system:

  1. state and regional guarantors who would absorb defaults and collect debts before the Department would take losses,
  2. a risk share penalty against external lenders on defaulted loan, and
  3. loss of access to all Title IV program dollars for schools having a quarter or more of their students default in three consecutive years.

Now, there are no intermediary guarantors and no external lenders to limit federal exposure to losses; as a risk to taxpayers, it is worse than the bad old days of FISL in the 1970s as if nothing had been learned from that mistake. Further, currently, schools will not lose access to federal loans and Pell grants until they have had three consecutive years of 30% or more defaults per year.

The Department of Education has reported that the cohort default rate for FY13 is 11.3%, which is down from 14.7% in FY10.  There are several problems with this calculation that underreports the true impact of bad debt, including:

  • a changing definition of default,
  • the possibility of gaming the numbers by delaying defaults so that they are not counted in the numerator,
  • not accounting for future loses due to income contingent repayment, and
  • measuring rates by people and not dollars.

Thus, the Department of Education is not measuring the taxpayers’ actual loss risks with those cohort default rate numbers.

While my solution to the risk of losses to taxpayers and the harm identified by former students is to sell the loan portfolio and fully privatize student loans, I lost that argument in 2008. Given this terribly flawed government financing of post-secondary education, what could be done to address the already evident problems before the taxpayers make the politicians pay the price for this bad government policy? Better risk management as a lender by the Department of Education, which will require statutory changes by the current Congress.

So what are the risks to be managed better:

  • Post-secondary costs have grown through gold-plating on campuses due to the abundant financing provided by the federal government.
  • Students are borrowing more than a reasonable person would expect for them to be able to repay.
  • The lives of former students are being crippled by student loan debt when it comes to marriage, family, independent households, and employment.
  • Students are getting degrees unrelated to available future employment, which contradicts the idea of borrowing and lending as an investment.

Related to these problems, the stupid long-standing Republican idea on the legislative committees has been to implement federally mandated cost controls to slow tuition increases. Sorry Comrade, but that is an ineffective five year plan.

However, it is easy enough to manage immediately by reusing existing concepts and data. The idea is simply: no new government student loans to students enrolled in majors with historically high rates of underperforming loan assets based upon modernizing the long standing Department of Education cohort default rate sanctions.

Previously, the government attributed the risk of default to underperforming schools and the government cut off bad actors from future federal financing to reduce defaults. Now, we can use a similar default rate strategy, but instead target rates by the Major Course of Study (MCS); thus, if history majors or hair stylists have had unacceptably high rates of underperforming loans, then stop loaning them money.

How could this work? Using existing Department of Education data, and without delay, calculate a cohort rate for each of the past 10 years to identify the rate of underperforming assets [including all defaults (non-payment, death, disability, and bankruptcy) and assets with income contingent repayment terms); the equation would simply be the current outstanding principle balance on underperforming assets as of the end of the fiscal year divided by total disbursed loan amount (less school refunded amounts) entering repayment during the cohort year.

If an MCS’s bad asset cohort rate for any one of the prior 10 years is more than 10%, then no new federal student loans in the new school year for students with that MSC, but their students would still retain access to all other Title IV programs. If psychology majors or education majors have not been repaying their loans timely, then the federal government will stop making new loans for that major. Note that the threshold rate can be set by the Congress differently than 10% according to how much loss risk the Congress has the stones to embrace or more reasonably based upon the loans’ interest rates.

How does this help the Department of Education manage its loss risk?

  • It can immediately stop investing good money after bad.
  • Schools that are dependent upon federal loan financing will shift their educational focus into areas that will benefit future earnings for current and future students.
  • Schools will be impacted immediately by the negative consequences of their high costs, which should inspire greater frugality on expenses such as on-campus recreation facilities and activities.
  • Schools could develop effective education programs to encourage students and parents to pay unsubsidized accrued loan interest during the interim period before loan repayment.
  • Some schools could attempt to reduce their costs so that students can cover their bills with other Title IV programs, but not loans.
  • Accreditation bodies and professional organizations have a role to work across schools to improve performance and to weed out ineffective programs.
  • Students and parents can use the published rates to better understand risks associated with a MCS and debt choices, including the potential to lose access to future student loans before their program has completed.
  • Schools and other interested organization can help reduce the historical rate of bad assets by refunding to students that were not benefited by their education, educational intervention to rehabilitate bad assets, and interventions to increase job placements for former students with bad loans.

Some people may object to this new risk management policy, because of their feels; sorry, it is simply math. However, there are two salves that can be offered for their feels:

  1. federal loan repayment profits are supposed to finance Pell Grant entitlements so bad loans hurt the poor, and
  2. consider the suffering of the former students under the current destructive federal student loan program.

The below brief documentary offers testimonials about how federal student loan debt has crushed these individuals’ lives. Not loaning students more money than they could hope to repay will be a good start to preventing government created hardship.

What are the lessons to be learned for selfish citizens from this incremental transitional proposal?

  • Moving from the current bad government programs to private solutions will likely require a transition period.
  • Current laws substantially diminish the actual value of government assets, so that simply selling them can require the government to take losses, which are often hidden in pension costs and debt.
  • As part of the transition, current laws can be changed to increase the value of government assets for potential sale.
  • Early transition of failed government programs leveraging market discipline can help initiate corrections to irrational behaviors, caused by irrational government price signals, so as to mitigate disruptive transition impacts.
  • The negative impacts of failed government programs affect the lives of real people and those costs should be publicized with correct attribution to the guilty government program.
  • Sometimes the confluence of governmental problems (student loan losses and unfunded guaranteed pension liabilities) create unusual opportunities for reform and privatization, because they exist as concurrent problems requiring immediate solutions, without additional government money, from the same legislative committee.
  • There is a substantial recidivism risk to offering incremental reform to some temporal government program problems, like the above. Legislators may assume that, instead of full privatization, old errors can be renewed later after the crisis has passed, because of feels (aka irrationalism). This has been historically true of the “public-private” partnership that had been the student loan industry…private means subordinated to public ends until the private was consumed.
Posted in Congress, Education | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Reply to Dishonest @NeilParille re: @YaronBrook on Immigration

Recently, Neil Parille started replying to tweets I had made, in which Parille criticized Yaron Brook regarding immigration. Given the number of his comments, it started to seem that I was being trolled, but it turns out that Parille has been trolling Brook and I simply walked into his muck. My take away from this exchange is that Neil Parille was being dishonest in his criticism of Brook’s positions on immigration.

It all began for me when I tweeted a video of Yaron Brook’s “Free Will and Free Borders” from AynRandCon 2016. [EVENT: Ayn Rand Student Conference 2017 will be held 11/3-5.] As part of a theme from that conference exploring free will, Brook discussed the role of free will vs. Determinism in the immigration debate.

In response, Parille replied with tangential concretes which seems too obviously trolling for a response, so I moved on with my life.


A week later Parille started up with a flurry of replies on immigration, after I retweeted a compliment Rob Schimenz made about Yaron Brook in the context of Brook’s availability to speak to campus and other groups.


I’m not going to get into every reply Parille tweeted, but instead focus on a few points of evidence; you can go to Twitter for the full exchange if you have nothing better to read. In general, every time I demonstrated Parille’s factual errors, instead of acknowledging his error, Parille would change to a different point; it was willful dishonesty on his part. A relevant point Rand made, from which Parille would benefit:

Intellectual honesty [involves] knowing what one does know, constantly expanding one’s knowledge, and never evading or failing to correct a contradiction. This means: the development of an active mind as a permanent attribute. [“What Can One Do?” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 201; via Lexicon]

Bizarrely, Parille challenged whether Brook (co-author of Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government) is an advocate of freedom. As evidence, Parille asserted that Brook is in favor of the current immigration crisis in Europe.


In response, I identified that Parille was in error and provide a 15-minute video clip from 11/15/2015 in which Yaron Brook made a clear statement about recent Muslim immigration to Europe; this proved that Parille’s statement was false.

Parille responded with misdirection and another falsehood.


How could Parille possibly know that what he said wasn’t true? I replied with a link to a post that Parille had himself made entitled Brook Debates Immigration (Believe It Or Not) (6/2/2017). The post is video of an exchange between Canadian-born Gavin McInnis and Israeli-born Yaron Brook about US immigration policy. The debate Parille should focus upon is the contradiction in his own statements.

When you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging! However, Parille digs deeper with more factual errors.

  • Parille_5

Regarding Lindsay Perigo, I linked to evidence from Amy Peikoff that Perigo had pulled out of a debate with Brook on her podcast Don’t Let It Go Unheard; in the interview that replaced the canceled debate, Brook directly addressed those who have criticized him on immigration. In response to her statement, Parille smeared Amy Peikoff by stating “I don’t believe amy [sic] wold have enforced the debate rules fairly.” Yet, later he talked about how he tried to get Amy Peikoff to moderate a debate between Parille and James S. Valliant (author of The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics: The Case Against the Brandens and co-author of Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Invented Christianity). That makes no sense; in one moment smearing Amy Peikoff’s integrity and in the next soliciting her as a moderator…more of the Parille versus himself versus reality debate.

Regarding Ed Powell, I suggested that I debate Ed, because Brook has other work to do. I know Ed. He has written a critique of statements by Objectivists on open immigration; it is titled “The Underdeveloped, the Undeveloped, and the Not-to-be-Developed Cultures: Objectivism and an Immigration Policy of Self-Interest for America Today.”  I have it bookmarked to review for a future post as a mutual friend had asked my opinion on what Ed wrote.

Eventually, Parille’s volume of repeating replies became boring to me and I had to get to the essential point about his repeated errors in the face of evidence.


Why does any of this matter to selfish citizens, who already respect honesty as a virtue?

  • This post contains three really good sources with Yaron Brook speaking on the subject of immigration for your consumption.
  • As a counterpoint, for your consideration, also available is Ed Powell’s criticism of open immigration today.
  • Further, this post is a warning about the time waste that Parille can offer.
  • In future, both you and I can save time related to Parille’s trolling by replying with “Neil, you are in error again. See link…” with a link to this post. You’re welcome.
  • Finally, this post is a reminder that I am sharing valuable content created by others via Twitter @SelfishCitizen.
Posted in Immigration, Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Objectivist Conference (OCON) and Ideas for Living Life on Earth

In Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, the world’s hidden producers gathered for one month each summer and in part they traded the intellectual products that they had produced during the prior year. Similarly, Objectivists (those who study and apply Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism) gather for a week to socialize with their peers and trade ideas relevant to living life on Earth.

This gathering is called OCON and information about the current conference can be found at  Additionally, for those who can’t break away from producing to travel, the conference offers a LiveStream option of selected content.

If you are missing out on this opportunity to selfishly enhance your own life, the Ayn Rand Institute has shared some full presentations by leading Objectivist thinkers from prior OCONs on their YouTube channel; I have listed many below for your enjoyment. Not to worry, if this sampling only wets your appetite, MP3s of many more OCON lectures and additional materials are available via the Ayn Rand eStore.

Why should you care what Objectivists are thinking? Check out this video overview of Objectivism in Ayn Rand’s own words from her initial column in the Los Angeles Times.

If after consuming this feast of ideas, you decided that this is a value that you want to add to your life, including meeting such thinkers face-to-face, then plan to attend the next OCON and I will see you there, or watch the LiveStream and you can look for me in the audience.

Live virtuously, achieve your values, and enjoy your life, because it is your life.

Real Life Inspiration

Objectivism Championing Reason

Objectivism as a Tool for Life

Objectivism for Understanding Politics

Posted in Economics, History, Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reason and Rights Republicans? To Be or Not To Be; That is the Question

Recently, Ari Armstrong recommended joining the Republican Party as a Reason and Rights Republican, which he called the ONLY solution for participation in party politics.  Armstrong is a serious thinker and experienced political activist. However, Selfish Citizenship disagrees with his recommended course of activism based upon the virtue of integrity.

Armstrong’s objective is to identify what a reasonable, liberty-loving, reality-oriented individual can do to make a difference in achieving political goals and educating the polity through engagement in party politics, if that is that individual’s objective. We agree that political activism is an optional value, which is not required, but is instead objectively based upon an individual’s selected hierarchy of values.

Based upon Armstrong’s actual experience with the Libertarian scum, he dismisses participation in a minor party as a waste of one’s resources, time, money, effort. He applies his personal lesson to the recent platform of the American Capitalist Party.

Despite loathing several factions (theocrats, anti-immigrant, and anti-market) within today’s Republican Party, Armstrong has joined that party in order to change it from within. He expects that liberty minded Independents and Libertarians becoming Republicans will shift the Republican Party’s program towards protecting individual rights.

On this, Armstrong and I have different conclusions. Should either effort amount to anything, then reality will judge who chose wisely.

In part, I am influenced by an experience with a telemarketer decades ago. He attempted to get money from me for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). While I objected to drunk drivers, I also objected to the political actions of MADD related to a national drinking age and draconian criminal penalties for impaired drivers. The telemarketer attempted to persuade me that I need to pay in order to influence the political policies of MADD. Armstrong is as wrong as that long ago telemarketer.

Engaging in the rhetorical flourishes that Armstrong made in dismissing any alternative idea, I am concerned that he is starting down a path towards a painful breakup; like the girlfriend who thought that she could change her incorrigible boyfriend, but instead compromises her integrity, wastes her time, and inadvertently supports negative behaviors that she had intended to oppose.

Engaging in the vulgarity of LBJ, the difference between Armstrong’s recommendation and my personal choice is…do you want to be inside the tent pissing out or outside the tent pissing in? Without a doubt, the Republicans want Armstrong in the big tent.  That 26 year old goal should give Armstrong pause to consider if he is allowing himself to be duped by the ghost of Lee Atwater.

Let’s start to chew Armstrong’s idea by identifying the nature of the Republican Party. My post-election analysis of the Republican Party, in 2013, as a hydra remains true today.  The Republican Party is an ideologically incoherent coalition of factions, which has been true since its creation, through the period of Stalwarts and Half-Breeds, and on to today. Essentially, the Republican Party is a pragmatist party that believes in stewardship as a governing philosophy. As pragmatist stewards lacking the ideas for managing political affairs, policy innovations come from the neoconservative, theocratic, and libertarian minority factions within the party. Armstrong’s recommendation is to marginally increase the ideas from the small faction of the Republican Party supporting individual rights.

What is the price to be paid for that minority influence that Armstrong seeks? To really be influential, Armstrong will need to be a “good Republican,” which means actively supporting candidates who he opposes, the pragmatists, the theocrats, and neocons. It is a package deal! You do not get the influence unless you compromise your integrity to advance candidates who you personally oppose. That is the choice Armstrong will have to make in exchange for influence.

Importantly, if Armstrong plays by the Republican Party rules, he is foolishly naïve if he thinks that the evil elements of the Republican Party will do the same. Best case scenario, Armstrong sacrifices leads to the selection of a pro-freedom Republican candidate for the general elections. He can count on the theocratic Republicans to abstain from supporting any Republican Party general election candidate that fails to promote the rights hating anti-abortion positions of the theocratic Republican faction. That has been a fact in Virginia elections where gubernatorial candidates lose for their failure to adhere to the theocrats while the lower positioned but ‘faithful’ Republican candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General receive move vote than the faithless candidate for Governor. It is a trick me fuck me game that Armstrong will lose after wasting his life energy supporting Republicans.

When I look locally at vile Republican scum like state Sen. Dick Black and state Del. Bob Marshall, I can’t even stomach voting Republican much less actively advocating that those troglodytes be re-elected. It is personal! Those knuckle-draggers should not be substituting their judgment, using the force of government, for my daughters’ choice when it comes to abortion and emergency contraception. Armstrong, if he really intends to be influential in Republican Party politics, would advocate that I support my political enemies who intend to violate the rights of my daughters so that I can be effective in politics. Is that really being effective? I say no, but such would be a sacrifice of my integrity.

Personally, I have not been actively involved in electoral politics besides voting and limited participation in primaries, but in the past as a then-Democrat, I did involve myself with the local party. My principle professional involvement in politics has been at implementation, including regulatory compliance issues. In my lost youth, I spent more than 20 years attempting to privatize post-secondary education finance including defending private schools from Republican regulatory sanction. On the cusp of realizing a major success in privatizing education finance, a single Act passed by the then new Pelosi Congress, without committee hearings, destroyed decades of my effort.  In the end, I recognized that I had been helping to aid those who I opposed through a ‘private-public partnership’ that was betrayed by the public. In joining the Republicans, I expect that Armstrong is making the same mistake that I had.

In fairness, I cannot take a big ol’ crap on Armstrong’s recommendation without putting forward an alternative. Currently, I remain as an Independent pissing in the tent.

I decidedly disagree with Armstrong’s judgement of third-party candidates. In doing so, his experience with the Libertarian scum is contrasted with the historical facts of third-party candidates. For more on this issue, see my video to ‘Open Letter to Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President,’ which explores how third parties candidates can be influential in changing the policy discussion. Note the correspondence between the populist messages that I identified then and the recent popularity of Donald Trump according to polls.

However, I look favorably at the example of Freedom Party in Ontario as the best option. It is a party whose activism in electoral politics changes the policy debate by concretizing political issues into platform issues that impact the lives of real people, whether it relates to blue laws, public financial support of the Pan Am games, local garbage strikes, irrational speed limits, public ownership of alcohol stores, public control of health care, or ending the self-destructive drug war.

While I have not yet explored the platform of the American Capitalist Party, I unreservedly endorse the author of its platform Dr. Andrew Bernstein. Not only is he an engaging and humorous dinner companion, but he is a brilliant thinker and writer on the subject of Capitalism. Further, at OCON 2015, he proved himself to be a passionate defender of the right of racial minorities not because they are a collective, but because they are individuals. For my black daughters, and his own adoptive Asian daughter, I celebrate Dr. Bernstein for the integrity of his argument.

What is the take away for Selfish Citizens?

  • It is for you to decide what to do based upon your own personal hierarchy of values.
  • In today’s confused political environment in which principles are called ineffective, you will hear many optional paths of action, but it will be for you to decide what is best for you.
  • The following are all good guys doing their best in a horribly contradicted environment: Ari Armstrong, Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Paul McKeever, Robert Vaughn, Robert Metz, myself, PRODOS, and one of my personal heroes Nicholas Provenzo of the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism.
  • Ultimately, the objective is to create a government based upon objective laws that will protect the rights of the individual from the opinions and whims of the collective.

I encourage each and every reader to engage constructively and lovingly with all of the individual political activists that I mentioned either through Twitter, Facebook, their blogs, or their organizations’ webpages.

The objective is a better future for each of us individually through the promotion of reason, justice, freedom, production, and achievement.

Based upon our mutual concern about this subject, I encourage Mr. Armstrong to PM me if he would like to discuss this further and productively.

Extra Point: Nothing in this post is intended to detract from the high regard that I have for Ari Armstrong as a thinker and political activist. Individuals with broad agreement on essential values may disagree upon points of application. As an example of his stellar activism, I point to his video series related to his living, eating, and making healthy choices on an expenditure amount equivalent to Food Stamps.  It is a masterful job of concretization!!!

Extra extra point: It took a lot of effort on my part to avoid asking the question “What is the difference between a Reason and Rights Republicans and a moderate Muslim?” You can examine that question for yourself in the comments, but please do so with due love for the meritorious intellectuals involve in this minor disagreement.

Posted in Election, History, Political Discussions, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Discussion: In Defense of Selfishness by Peter Schwartz

For an upcoming book discussion, I drafted the following announcement:

“Every civilized culture is shaped by some view of right and wrong…In ours it is the principle of altruism…Our society takes as a given the idea that pursuing your own welfare is morally tainted but sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others is virtuous. [This book] asks you to question that assumption.” – Peter Schwartz

Come and join us for a discussion on the core of today’s moral conflict, which is rooted in idealism versus reality.  We will be discussing Peter Schwartz’s new book In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice is Unjust and Destructive. At OCON 2015, where the book was featured in several talks, Schwartz shared that his own title for the book had been The Tyranny of Need.

According to the publisher, “This provocative book challenges readers to re-examine the standard by which they decide what is morally right or wrong.”

Unlike most people, we understand that self-sacrifice is bad and that selfishness is good, so why read and discuss another book about it?

How did the last conversation go when you discussed self-sacrifice vs. selfishness with a non-Objectivist? How long ago has that been?

When you have discussions about other topics, how often does this moral conflict come up as the crux of a disagreement?

When you talk about being selfish, do people who like you try to talk you out of it based upon a genuine concern for your well-being while protesting that you do not act selfish?

More personally, are you genuinely making selfish choices in your life or have old habits and the cultural atmosphere led you into sacrificial decisions?

For a general audience, Schwartz analyzes in detail the nature and consequences of altruism; plus, he explains the nature of selfishness and choice to the reader’s life. What can we learn about effectively communicating these ideas from this book? Further, would this book make a good gift for someone about whom you care especially if that individual needs to make better choices?

C-SPAN’s broadcast of Peter Schwartz’s talk, which was delivered as a part of ARI’s Road to a Free Society tour, can be seen here.

Peter Schwartz’s interview with The Undercurrent can be read here.

The book is available in hardcover, Kindle, and audio formats.

As a selfish citizen, what could you do about this?

  • If you are in the DC area, let me know and I can invite you to our event.
  • Read the book!
  • Reuse the above (permission granted) to organize your own discussion of the book.
  • If you have a campus based organization, attempt to secure Peter Schwartz to speak at your campus.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Question 12: Should the Government Force a Man to Pay Child Support?

Recently, via the Leonard Peikoff podcast, Yaron Brook answered the question, “Should the Government Force a Man to Pay Child Support?”

While I almost always agree with Dr. Brook, in this response, he got the answer wrong. In fairness to him, he acknowledged that this question was within the philosophy of law, in which he is not an expert. Therefore, his statement was a matter of his first blush thoughts related to the question.

In summary, his thought is that once the man consciously and affirmatively agrees to take on responsibility for the child then he is obligated, but not before then. A positive example that Dr. Brook cited was the paternal obligation in divorce cases of a couple who had chosen to have children together. In other words, and not the ones that he chose, bastards have no rights.

Dr. Brook’s processing error is that he started with a statement instead of a question. Whenever the question is asked “Should the government do this or that?” then the first step should be to answer the question, in context, “Whose rights are being defended?”

The question of child support is generally discussed as an issue of the rights of the mother; however, this is totally totally wrong! It is the rights of the child that are at risk and in need of defense by the government, if necessary. It is a legitimate function of the government to protect the rights of children even from their own parents; unfortunately, the government too frequently fails to do so appropriately and even further acts inappropriately when the child’s rights are not actually identified correctly, but that important issue is for a separate post or possibly a whole book.

I assume that it is not controversial or disputed to say that a child has a right, according to its nature, to be cared for, and not physically abused nor starved to death, by its parents. In the event, that the parents are unable or unwilling to do so personally and directly then they are still obligated, by the consequence of their choices that led to the birth of the child, to do so by other means such as adoption.

With a focus upon the rights of the child, my initial point of departure from Dr. Brook concerns when does the father incur the responsibility to his child. Dr. Brook holds that the father upon notification of pregnancy can renounce any obligation to the child; by for example, offering to pay the cost for the woman to have an abortion. Dr. Diana Hsieh has made an argument similar to Dr. Brook with reference to the contradiction of a woman having a legitimate right to an abortion by her choice while legally denying the man a chosen obligation to support the child. The conclusions of Drs. Brook and Hsieh incorrectly focus upon a conflict between the mother and father, when it is the rights of the child that are in fact in question.
In contrast, especially to Dr. Hsieh’s expansive commentary, in reality, the roles of men and women are not the same in creating a child and it is not the role of law to pretend otherwise. As such, the point at which a man can just say no to a child, and to that child’s rights, occurs earlier than it does for a woman. Yes, even for a man, the child is a choice, but that choice occurs when he entrusts his special sauce to a woman. It is not a question of fairness nor of equality, but is metaphysically given. This is not a fact of nature unfamiliar to most people as admonished by Coach Norton in the movie Saving Silverman:

“Remember, boys! STAY AWAY from women! All they want from you is your man-juice!”

A common objection, cited by both Drs. Brook and Hsieh, is that the man selecting to use birth control has chosen not to have a child. Where is this magic birth control that is always 100% effective, because my drugstore does not sell it? Men, and even boys, know that jiz in or even too near her happy place could result in pregnancy even when protection is conscientiously used. A man enjoying vaginal sex with a real live pre-menopausal woman is guilty of a massive evasion of reality if he does not recognize that pregnancy is a possibility even when proactive steps are taken to reduce that probability. This is true even when the pregnancy is accidental or not desired. Thus, that is his point of his choice (at pre-conception and not at pre-birth) and when he elects to accept responsibility for the potential child; anything different, wishes facts to be different than they actually are. In contrast, a woman has to actively choose to nurture and protect the embryo and later fetus, and can choose to terminate her support of the potentially lethal parasite before birth.

The good doctors and I likely agree that a man should selfishly choose his sexual partner such that they both share similar judgments on pregnancy and abortion. However, in my judgment, for the fucktard that sticks it into any gullible and willing female stranger, there is no credible case to be made that he was actively attempting to prevent an unwanted pregnancy as his chosen behavior screams otherwise.

In addition, I want to address the common objection of the man being the unwilling victim of an unwanted pregnancy. In the event of the woman committing some sort of fraud, by for example lying about being sterile (as opposed to the minor claim of being on the pill, which can fail), then the man’s claim is not against the child, but is instead against the woman; the child’s right is unimpaired by the rights violation committed by the mother. Instead, while the man’s financial obligation to the child remains, the man could make a separate civil claim against the fraudster mother. Cases of theft of semen or rape by the mother could be legally addressed similarly. Why does this distinction matter? Consider the rights of the child in such a case when the fraudster mother dies in childbirth or from a drug overdose; are you prepared to argue that the child has no right to support from the father?

To be clear, I am not making a conservative anti-sex and anti-abortion argument. Sex is wonderful so selfishly have a lot of it with a fabulous partner; to be clear, that includes the selfishness of selectivity, discrimination, and respect for the law of causality. Sex can result in pregnancy; if you cannot deal with that probability, even when reduced by choice, then do not have sex. It is a responsible choice to enjoy sex with a partner with whom you both explicitly mutually agree that abortion is the remedy to an unwanted pregnancy.

In summary, on the question of child support, it is the child’s rights that are relevant. Even if steps were proactively and conscientiously taken to reduce the probability of pregnancy and a child, when the man’s sexual choice results in a child, then the child has a right to support from the father. Yes, nature has placed an earlier threshold of choice upon men, and we should man-up to make choices in full consciousness of those facts of reality. The law of causality is not subject to a man’s whims when he did not intend even the well-known consequences of his actions. Bastards do have rights.

Extra Point: The life lessons from Coach Norton…

Posted in The Courts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Discussion: Rooseveltcare – How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance by Don Watkins

For an upcoming book discussion, I drafted the following announcement:

“ Social Security is immoral.” – Don Watkins

Come and join us for a discussion of Don Watkins’ new book Rooseveltcare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance. In a brief 125 pages, Watkins argues that America should liberate the productive young from being drafted into financially supporting the idle elderly as mandated by Social Security and its related wealth transfer welfare programs.

Through our government schools and the news media, young producers have been indoctrinated with the contradictory ideas that the elderly have already paid for their own future benefits AND that it is the duty of the young to pay the taxes to pay the current spending of these programs. Now, that contradiction is coming to a head as the Social Security Trust Funds have been already been spent on past federal welfare programs and taxes on the productive young MUST be raised to maintain the promised benefits to the idle elderly.

No biggie? How does paying $400k in taxes more than the future benefits received sound to you? That is the debt for old age welfare programs owed by our current infants and toddlers. Social Security…it’s like stealing a flourishing life from a baby.

How did this happen? Is there an alternative that protects the innocent victims of Social Security, both young and old? In his book, Watkins addresses these critical questions by starting with a factual review of both the history of the program and its consequential attacks upon America’s culture of self-reliance.

The book is available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle. Additionally, it is available gratis in pdf format.

For additional information on the book, check out the End the Debt Draft Campaign.

Here is a list of questions that you may want to consider as you read (or re-read) the book:

What was America like before Social Security?

Under what terms was Social Security sold to our citizens? How is that contradicted by Social Security’s actual legal terms?

What impact has Social Security and resulting additional welfare programs had upon America’s culture of self-reliance?

What are the myths that perpetuate the Social Security Ponzi scheme?

In the face of this fiscal train wreck, what can we do now? [Hint: Plenty and it starts with facing the facts!]

 As a selfish citizen, what could you do about this?

  • If you are in the DC area, let me know and I can invite you to our event.
  • Read the book!
  • Reuse the above (permission granted) to organize your own discussion of the book.
  • Take advantage of the legislative elections to voice your opposition to Social Security to your candidates and community.
  • If you have a campus based organization, attempt to secure Don Watkins to speak at your campus.
Posted in Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Question #11: What is the relationship between objective virtues and individual rights?

Normally, others ask a question and I answer; however, this time, I am asking the question above and only starting towards an answer, which I will chew through over time in future posts.

Over the past several months, a couple blocks from the White House, I have been attending an Ayn Rand Institute lecture series directed at young adults, interns and professionals working in our nation’s capital. I have found the audiences to be smart, sharp, and engaged in the ideas being discussed. While speakers Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate effectively communicated critical and voluminous information about the relationship between ethics and politics, the audience gave feedback through their questions during the Q&A that something was missing in making the Objectivist case.

This communication gap is not limited to these young people. I recall being told a couple years ago of a similar problem with addressing experienced professionals working in DC think tanks. An experienced political activist and attorney shared her experience conducting educational outreach to these professional wonks. She expressed inadequate progress in developing their appreciation for the vital link between ethics and politics, and thereby public policy; these wonks were stuck in a mindset of thinking about politics from an economics perspective in evaluating policy alternatives.

Getting back to the Q&A following separate lectures by Brook and Ghate, the questioners were stuck on two points in ethics:

  1. What is the ethical relationship between me (the questioner) and other people?
  2. How do I evaluate that a specific action directed by choice is actually selfish, and thus objectively moral?

I note that Brook and Ghate covered BOTH of these issues, yet the audience members were still struggling to chew through these questions themselves.

During these sessions, I was bouncing up and down on the inside, where it doesn’t count, as I experienced a flashback to the first words I heard upon returning to college. In a political philosophy class, Dr. B initiated us with the question, which he intoned as a command, “What is justice?” From Plato’s Republic, this is the first question in the development of political philosophy.

In what I thought would be a softball question, during the Q&A, I asked Ghate to expand upon the concept of justice, which he had including without elaboration in his presentation’s slides. Unfortunately, my intent was not manifest. In politics, Objectivism implements justice through a government protecting individual rights; further, justice is one of Objectivism’s ethical virtues by which choices are made not only regarding your interactions with others, but also your evaluation of yourself. As I reconsidered this unexpressed point, a chewed more and thought that justice was but a hint at something more significant.

Soon after, something that Diana Hsieh had said in her podcast, Philosophy in Action, pointed in a promising direction. Related to analyzing an unjust law that had intended to be just, Hsieh observed and listed the negative concrete consequences to law abiding citizens as a result of the unjust law. Considering the concretes cited by Hsieh, I pondered the principles at stake and realized that government force was being misapplied to prevent individuals from acting virtuously…the unjust law in question was not only attacking the virtue of justice, but also of independence.

Considering Hsieh’s case and supporting evidence from other instances in reality via either personal experience or history, I settled upon two broad and complementary questions:

  1. Do some or all objectively valid laws protect virtues? Is this the essence of freedom, the freedom to be moral by choice?
  2. Do some or all objectively invalid laws attack virtue and thus in fact increase immorality?

SO WHAT? How does this get back to the original issue identified in the Q&A after the ARI lectures? My thought…by emphasizing the relationship between virtues (the tools of individual choice for securing values) and public policy alternatives, an audience member can more easily apply their experiences from life to understanding the relationship between ethics, individual rights, and government.

As a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), what is the potential of a virtue analysis of political issues? In legal cases, our judges talk of the reasonable man; yet, government is free to act against individual rights wherever a spurious claim of a rational basis for that violation is presented to the court. Could future legislators and jurists consider the negative impacts of an irrational law upon the virtuous man as a basis for protecting a solitary individual from abuse by the majority acting through the legislature or executive? Could such a virtue analysis regain what was lost with the judicial overthrow of our previously recognized constitutional right to substantive due process?

These questions require more review than can be done in a single post. While I will get to looking at specific public policy choices, I need to first step back, level set, and explore the relevant principles, which would be the foundation of such an examination of particulars.

Here is a rough idea of how I plan to start:

  1. Force versus the mind
  2. Economic power versus political power
  3. What are individual rights?
  4. Why should government protect individual rights?
  5. Initiation of force versus retaliatory force
  6. What is the role of ethics in man’s life?
  7. What are values?
  8. What are virtues?
  9. Chew the specific Objectivist virtues
  10. Objective versus non-objective virtues

That will help to set the table for looking at the relationship between objective virtues and specific public policies. Feel free to suggest, in the comments, public policies for future chewing from this virtues perspective.

Subscribe to Selfish Citizenship via RSS, Facebook, or Twitter to get notices of future posts in this series.

Posted in Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats Kick Unemployed and Entry-level Workers When They Are Down

The Democrats are getting another woodie over raising the minimum wage.  Everyone, other than those who are in a Karl Mannheim induced ideological coma or who remains mentally enthralled to the indoctrination they received from a publicly paid educrat, knows that government creates unemployment with such thug-like interventions, which impose government force against our individual rights of contract and free association.

Why are Dems so evil?  Do they really think that they are helping the poor by throwing them out of work?  While the stupid ones probably do, their leaders know better as they actually carry water for the union bosses to compel, by statutory fiat, pay increase for those earning more than the statutory minimum wage.  As a matter of practice, many union contracts are often tied to the minimum wage, so when the federal government raises the minimum wage it uses government force to artificially increase wages on a broader scale than accounted for in the political debate, where you are being lied to.

This is really a debate about unions’ political power and their ability to use their “investments” in Democratic incumbents, which is political corruption; according to the Center for Responsive politics, unions spent an estimated $163 million on Dems the 2012 election.   In his recent book Unintimidated, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker discusses his experiences with public employee unions in both Milwaukee County and at the state level.  Based upon his negotiations with union leaders, Walker observes that they would rather that employees be put out of work than the union agreeing to reasonable changes to work rules or previously established compensation and benefits.  This carelessness regarding the livelihoods of their members demonstrates why union membership is dropping, especially as workers are gaining legally protected rights to drop out of the unions and union coercion.

Government imposed higher wages for those who have jobs sounds like a good idea to those who take a disintegration view of reality and ignore all of the cause-and-effect relationships that exist in actual reality.  However, in reality, higher wages come from increased productivity resulting from either increased skill from experience or capital investment by the business enhancing an employee’s capacity.  In attempting to fake reality by commanding by government an unearned increase in wages, unions and Democratic politicians destroy opportunities for those who are not working or are in entry level positions.

What to do?  If you are unemployed, underemployed, or love someone who is, then contact your Congressman and Senators and demand that the government stop stepping on your neck, your loved one’s neck, and the neck of potential employers.  Related to minimum wage laws, what is needed is more than blocking a proposed statutory increase in the minimum wage; in fact, the existing individual-rights-violating minimum law should be abolished.

The principles expressed by the Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York, and later overturned when a switch in time saved nine, are mostly correct and relevant to today’s government created mess in employment and unemployment.  While the Supreme Court has failed in its obligation to protect the individual rights of you and those who you love, it is now time to demand that the legislature, your representatives, do so.  Justice Rufus W. Peckham wrote for the majority of the court in Lochner:

The general right to make a contract in relation to his business is part of the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, and this includes the right to purchase and sell labor, except as controlled by the State in the legitimate exercise of its police power.

Liberty of contract relating to labor includes both parties to it; the one has as much right to purchase as the other to sell labor.

Independent of constitutional and statutory rights, which are the means by which government protects individual rights, we each have an independent and individual right, according to our nature as humans, to contract that should not be infringed by our neighbors, the union bosses, our Congress, and our government.

Posted in Congress | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving and Political Change for the Better

Living during the Orgy of Sacrifice, which constitutes the bipartisan political agenda of the past 30+ years in the US, losing hope for a better future can be easy, especially for younger citizens who have never known different circumstances.

While historical successes for freedom through the protection of individual rights can be a comfort, I find as I get older that truly phenomenal advances have been made within my own lifetime and experience.  Further, I note that such changes are not achieved by activism in a single election or in the short term, but instead by consistent political action over time based upon the principle of individual rights.

Consider an example that has had decades to demonstrate the positive consequences of government protecting individual rights after centuries of curtailment.

On the day that I was born, it was illegal for a white individual to be married to another individual of a different race, as define by Virginia law.  While it did not have much impact on me at the time, the Virginia law did impact Richard and Mildred Loving, who had been married in 1958 under the laws of the District of Columbia.  After they returned to Virginia to live peacefully as man and wife, the local police raided their home, captured them asleep in their bed, and arrested them.  After they confessed in court to being married, which was a felony in Virginia, the Lovings were given the choice of prison or exile.

The resulting appellate case Loving v. Virginia was unanimously decided by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn such anti-miscegenation laws then active in 15 states, including Virginia.  For the unanimous court, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote,

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

Twenty years later, I was free to marry the individual whom I loved without being a felon subject to the sanction of Virginia laws and compelled by government force to be exiled across the river.  Years later, at a family reunion, while sitting in the shade under a tree with my uncle-by-marriage, while we watched our family’s next generation of various hues playing together, he said to me related to race relations, “Things are much better now than they ever have been before.”

More than 300 years of bad law in Virginia related to interracial marriage was overturn by individuals acting selfishly upon principle to demand the protection of the law so they could freely live their lives without being subject to the tyranny of the majority acting with the force of government.  Frankly, this long lasting question of interracial marriage (in history see debates over ending slavery, freedman colonization to Africa, anti-Union talking points before and during the Civil War, Jim Crow, and states’ rights imbeciles) was far more intractable than more recent issues such as the relatively simple winding down of irrational entitlements like Social Security; our challenges today are much easier.

Recently, we have seen well publicized advances in protecting individual rights related to legal recognition and protection for same sex marriage, and the slow liberalization of irrational anti-drug laws.  Meanwhile, the progress of existing irrational laws related to health care and financial regulation expand.  Why the difference?  Success happens when individual rights are explicitly articulated concretely related to the injustice towards specific individuals, and failure happens when policy opponents concede the irrational premise of seeking the collective public good.

Irrational public policies of today (like ObamaCare) can be just as repugnant and unthinkable in the future as the historic anti-miscegenation laws are to us today.  The change begins with using principles to defend individuals from the injustice committed by the majority abusing the force of government to achieve their irrational whims.

Posted in Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment