by Tim Swanson
by Tim Swanson
If you are
an outspoken libertarian, odds are that someone has trenchantly
advised you to travel the world, to see why "America is so
underlying motivation for their sage wisdom is typically shrouded
in nationalistic rhetoric, to defend the state against your treasonous
And this issue
is not necessarily a matter of foreign policy.
one of my former roommates labels himself a fiscal conservative,
yet when I mentioned the defunding of NASA, he waxed on and on about
their technological contributions
to America. He finished by suggesting that I go see how the rest
of the developing world struggles to survive because their governments
failed to finance such innovative
and future-thinking agencies.
the key to progress, economic growth, and a high standard-of-living
is a NASA in every nation-state. Why stop there and not erect a
NASA in every municipality?
modern-day arguments for pyramid
building, perhaps there is something to this globe-trotting
perspective that Doug
Casey is missing.
Young man, Far West
In the middle
of the summer, I moved to Korea (the South of course). And if anything,
my libertarian convictions have grown stronger.
Many of the
conversations I have had over the last several months have been
I have yet to meet a Canadian that is not proud of their national
health care system. Admittedly, they acknowledge that wait times
are much longer than those in the US, but gosh darnit, everyone
gets their equal chance at suffering. And according to them, that
is more important than independent, incentivized care.
are en vogue. In fact, aside from my history department,
this is one of the only places I have met die-hard, militant Marxists
and Trotskyites. Some knaves even long for the day when the South
becomes a socialistic paradise. Dare we ask who the cult of personality
will be? Rain?
I am hardly the stereotypical, gun-toting Texan, a Scotsman I have
befriended recently admonished me for suggesting that when guns
are outlawed, the "good" law-abiding citizens are the
only people that turn them in. Furthermore, criminals will keep
them and know that they have a better chance at successful armed
robberies because MAD
deterrence is now a statistical whisker.
was certainly a fan of victim disarmament, no?
it is fair, egalitarian and makes me feel warm and fuzzy
One of my former
coworkers is a diabetic and must take insulin shots several times
a day. Until the day he left, he was singing praises to the nationalized
health care system here in Korea, because it allowed him to purchase
his medical supplies and drugs at a rate far cheaper than what he
could in America.
is the classic case of the seen
and unseen. While my coworker does indeed obtain subsidized
health care that is seemingly cheaper, someone else is footing a
large chunk of the bill, namely, Korean taxpayers.
Not only that,
but one of the reasons medical care, drugs, and supplies are substantially
more expensive in America is due to stifling regulations and licensing
procedures that insulate incumbent providers (e.g., Big
from outside competition.
once, shame on you -- fool me twice, shame on me
vapid, foaming-at-the-mouth statism that some expats extol, the
ironic, yet unfortunate reality is that their ideas have all been
while I have detailed
the corrupt, government-conglomerate system of chaebols, inefficient
unions still bully the show in many industries, including banks,
public education, manufacturing, shipyards, automobile factories,
steel mills, and most other blue-collar industries.
insulate the car
and agriculture industry from foreign competition. Until recently,
a 100% tariff was placed on all imported cars and every vehicle
from Japan was permanently non grata. In fact, until
1998, importing music, movies, and video games from Japan was
banned carte blanche.
limited quotas are maintained for crops like rice. The loser in
both of these situations is the consumer, because they are essentially
forced to pay the rent-seeking prices charged by domestic providers.
And while the
controversial Free Trade Agreement will supposedly
remove some of the rampant protectionism, most of the industries
will still be managed and reregulated by the state.
year, movie theaters were required
to show domestically produced movies 146 days of the year, now
it is a mere 73 days. Could you imagine if American theaters were
legally required to show bombs like Gigli or Kangaroo Jack for that
amount of time? How do you say bankrupt in Konglish?
In an effort
to stymie overseas tourism, the Korean government is now
offering farmers tax breaks to build golf courses on their land.
Those involved in constructing them will receive subsidies and various
the small little detail that goes unmentioned in those reports is
who ultimately finances the subsidies: Korean taxpayers. Also, why
not cut taxes across the board and put money back into the hands
of every citizen, who in turn has more to spend domestically?
South good… right?
to most foreigners, for nearly 40 years, the South was essentially
run by one military dictator after another; its history is arguably
more tumultuous than the revolt-happy French.
In fact, Syngman
Rhee, the president of the First Republic was a megalomaniac
who was in some ways, no different than Kim Il Sung, his northern
counterpart (e.g., he single-handedly prolonged the Korean War by
refusing to sign numerous ceasefire agreements).
South Korea is considered the "Miracle on the Han" (after
similar economic growth in Germany "Miracle
on the Rhine"), historians often overlook that during the
20 years after the Korean War, roughly 60% of the foreign investment
directly from the US government (roughly $3 billion).
not only was the American taxpayer unwittingly forced into paying
for the bombs to level Germany and Korea, but they were also prodded
into reconstructing the ruined civilizations, brick by brick. (See
This list of
malfeasance is by no means exhaustive, however it can act as an
educational illustration: statism is statism, no matter what language
is spoken or where the sun rises.
Swanson [send him mail]
is a graduate of Texas A&M University and enjoys kimchi and
soju cocktail. Visit his blog.
© 2007 LewRockwell.com