Who Rigs Every Oscar Night? – Freedom Philosophy

Who Rigs Every Oscar Night? – Freedom Philosophy

Ricky Gervais dropped his bombshell comedy act on Hollywood’s elite at the Golden Globes, and it’s raising some interesting questions. Should Hollywood stars be opining on their particular platforms?

This isn’t a comment on the politics of free speech. Clearly, they have the political right to do as they please, provided that the private property owners acquiesce.

It’s more of a comment on etiquette.

If I were the CEO of a major company, and given that if I were at an office party, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to interrupt the gathering to give a lecture on my religious beliefs. At the very least, I wouldn’t take it well if I were a low-level employee having to hear my boss opine during a business meeting telling me about his atheism (the bar after work is a different matter).

My major issue is that most Hollywood celebrities don’t possess sophisticated views on politics or religion. Even Ricky Gervais uses his platform to espouse criticisms of religion that second-year philosophy students who even agree with him would roll their eyes at.

Hollywood celebrities like Ben Stein need no accolades to their intellect. Others like Penn Jillette and Natalie Portman, who often give opinions where I agree with them and often I disagree with them, strike me as people whose thoughts are rooted in deep study rather than cheap hearsay or short soundbites. But this can’t be said of Hollywood as a whole.

Herein lies the heart of the matter. As we approach the 2020 Oscars, we will no doubt hear of the problems of maleness, white privilege, and the like. Meanwhile, rural Americans are praying their home won’t be repossessed as their cities are hollowed out and emptied. Mothers in Yemen, slaves in Libya, and refugees in Syria will be howling because of wars instigated and supported by Democrats while Hollywood cries fowl because some millionaires are overlooked by other millionaires and turn to the Democratic Party for support.

Nothing will more signify the eliteness of Hollywood than Meryl Streep chastising Donald Trump for mocking a disabled journalist, and speaking down to Republicans while ignoring the fact that Obama had bombed a hospital – filled with disabled people. This is the Oscar political philosophy in a nutshell.

Although I am not fully aware of every skin tone or genitalia configuration, many people are suffering from the decisions of the Democratic Party while academia, Hollywood, journalists, politicians, coastal elites, socialites, aren’t suffering but rather are benefiting. Streep’s latest Hollywood production, The Laundromat, was difficult for those of us who face the realities of these evils every day, while she made millions off of her poorly-informed artistic preachments.

I don’t know how more neatly and philosophically to articulate this, but I couldn’t possibly care less what these people think. They prosper while people who live under their pronouncements struggle for life or to keep the families together.

Are the award shows, the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the appropriate venue for expressions of condemnation on issues these people typically know nothing about? I would envision that the Filipino community would not appreciate my views on their hardships if I have studied them neither academically nor experientially.

In the same vane, I envision that the lot of us feel an irritation by Hollywood Oscar elites complaining about middle America, the rural west, or the plight of Middle Easterns, when they themselves appear wholly detached both intellectually and experientially from these realities.

Reprinted from the Being Libertarian.

The Left’s Errors on Taxing Billionaires – Freedom Philosophy

The Left’s Errors on Taxing Billionaires – Freedom Philosophy

In a public debate concerning the leadership of the United Kingdom, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed that the existence of billionaires in unconscionable. Since then I’ve seen an influx of memes calling billionaires evil. The very notion that someone has made a billion dollars in unacceptable to these people.

The time has come for a reality check to the left. They demand higher forms of taxation on billionaires so that their wealth can be redistributed. Jeff Bezos is their usual target, demanding that the alleged world’s richest man pay his fair share.

Herein lies the problem.

No one can tax billionaires easily. It’s not that they’re brilliant money launderers hiding their wealth in the Cayman Islands.

It’s that Bezos doesn’t have that much money to tax. He really doesn’t.

His net worth is $110 billion. Nearly all of it is in Amazon shares. He can’t sell those shares without causing a massive price-drop in Amazon stock. If he did, a considerable portion of his wealth would evaporate within hours.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are both actively attempting to give their wealth to charitable causes — causes that do much more for the world than the government does — but have the same difficulty. Their wealth is intertwined with stocks.

This isn’t to say they don’t have luxurious lives. But a significant portion of their wealth is inaccessible. The government could theoretically demand that they transfer the shares of the various companies they own to the state. However, then the government would be in the same position as the billionaires. It would also make the government controllers of various companies like Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway, given that they don’t know anything about running these companies like Bezos and Buffet do. This would be an undesirable situation.

It’s not that the left is wrong about this, it’s that it’s embarrassingly wrong. It betrays a complete lack of understanding of how our tax system works, and yet they have remedies for it. This is unmitigated arrogance coupled with ignorance.

There are those taking a more sophisticated approach, like Andrew Yang, who’s attempting unconventional means of taxation by discussing the monetary value of our data.

When they do access their wealth, they pay taxes on it just like the rest of us.

What they do with their billions isn’t hoard it and wallow in it reminiscent of Scrooge McDuck. These are high performance individuals that devote their lives to various causes. Elon Musk is using his technical and business acumen to develop green technology and space exploration. Bezos is also moving into the space transportation. Gates and Buffet are philanthropists, who are seeing considerable results eliminating diseases and developing education.

The arrogance of the left, with their naive socialism, is that people who have never built great cities wish to tell us how to build great cities. People who have done little more than read books wish to tell us how the tax code ought to work, when they can barely fill out their own returns, let alone offer prescriptions for societal tax woes.

Reprinted from Being Libertarian.

Why Environmentalism Has Failed – Freedom Philosophy

Why Environmentalism Has Failed – Freedom Philosophy

Pollution is a clear-cut violation of the non-aggression principle. Acid rain, plastic waste, greenhouse gases, runoff fertilizer, clearcutting that causes floods — all of these impact other people in a negative way. Herein lies the question: Can these issues be solved with more freedom, or less?

Take greenhouse gases as an example. The left is adamant we pay a carbon taxes. In Canada, the proposal will reach up to $0.50/tonne of carbon emissions. This amounts to $0.12/liter of gas — roughly $0.04/gallon for our American friends.

Carbon is what economists call an inelastic good (elastic means flexible, inelastic means inflexible). It’s much like milk. Whether milk costs $2/carton or $4/carton doesn’t have an impact on how much milk people consume. If gas goes up by a few pennies, people still drive to work, their cottage, and the grocery store — their habits are unaltered. Carbon is inelastic.

The economics of elastic goods is very different from the economics of inelastic goods. They need to be approached differently. They demand different business practices. There are even areas such as the stock market, jewelry, or consultation, where a higher price can increase demand.

If I have a watch that I claim costs $20, no one would interested. But if I say the same watch costs $1,000, for reasons unbeknownst to me, people would be more infatuated with the product. If the price of a stock is skyrocketing, for reasons unbeknownst to me as an investor, people become more interested in the stock. I can’t explain human psychology. I’m only here to report what economists have observed.

Economics for traditional products and services is very different from the economics of non-traditional supply and demand curves. Carbon usage needs different economic thinking.

The environmentalist movement does so well in explaining that science has spoken, and the time to act is now. But they do so miserably when the time comes to examine the science of economics that tells them which policies will succeed and which will fail.

The environmentalist movement is demanding policies that won’t work. This is a precarious situation to be in. We have a potential ecological calamity, and in the case of plastic pollution, the diminishing bee population, and greenhouse gases, there’s potential for extreme ecological calamity. But the environmentalists are fixated on socialist-style solutions that have a habit of failure.

Free market environmentalism has alternative solutions. Pesticides that don’t kill bees face burdensome regulatory barriers to import. Electric vehicles are increasing their share of the market by 50%-60% each year, and our falsely so-called green politicians are doing everything in their power to ensure growth in these markets is unsuccessful.

The privatization of waste disposal is an obvious example of free market environmentalism. A man who sets three full large bags of garbage aside for disposal pays the same amount for this service as a man who sets one small bag of garbage, even if the lesser polluting man took the time to recycle and compost. These two individuals ought to pay a discrepant price for two reasons; the first is that it’s far more equitable, the second is that it incentivizes environmentally-friendly practices.

Environmentalists has failed for a simple reason — they never bothered to ask what policies will succeed. They’ve made weak assumptions about taxation and spending. Taxing pollution inefficiently and spending on programs they barely understand is juxtaposed with tax cuts for companies that understand green tech extremely well. People with executive excellence in the field will outperform government bureaucrats with no track record of success.

Environmentalists ignore economics, financial acumen, and most importantly, consumer behaviour. Yet they and have the audacity to ask why there hasn’t been a migration to their policy proposals and practices. Environmentalism has failed because it was doomed to fail. As surely as the man who ignores gravity will suffer, so too will anyone who denies the science of economics.

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Reprinted from Being Libertarian.

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