this Wednesday>, Tax Day, in over 300 cities, thousands of concerned citizens will gather for a modern-day Boston Tea Party to speak out against out-of-control government taxes, spending and power. I will be appearing at Chicago s Protest, to be held from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Federal Plaza, 230 South Dearborn and invite all Midwestern readers to attend.
As a disperse and decidedly grass-roots movement, the Tea Party Protests will undoubtedly encompass a wide variety of groups and interests. What s quite clear, however, is that activists aren t simply angry about taxes, rather the philosophy behind those taxes.
What s being protested is a government that is increasingly oppressing its citizens rather than protecting them. A government that, through immoral bailouts, confiscatory taxes and staggering spending, is crushing America s economy and amassing greater control over each of our lives. Government is on track to commandeer nearly half our income, micromanage private businesses and erect a welfare state that will unquestionably stunt progress and hinder the quality of life for rich and poor alike.
The trend has been described by many as socialism, fascism or communism, each of which may be true in a particular context. The overriding and primary philosophy that s growing is collectivism. From the bailouts to the stimulus checks to stays on foreclosure, this is the dominant ideology now directing our government and culture.
Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights. Your life, your existence, your interests and the product of your labor now belongs to the group. If the group needs a bailout, heath care, green cars, low mortgage rates, a job, an education anything at all, it now becomes your responsibility to provide it, weather you want to or not.
You see it in both the redistributive legislation, which takes money from people who ve earned it and give it to those who have not, along with the language itself. Phrases like we re all in it together , I am my brother s keeper and shared sacrifice boil down to the same frightening reality: You are here to serve. And unlike the charity of volunteerism, the will of the people is implemented by force, not by voluntary trade.
This is a profoundly anti-American ideal. From the original Boston Tea party came the Declaration of Independence, which articulates the morality of individual rights. In this country, you are born free with the absolute moral right to make of your life what you will.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness refers to your life, your liberty and your happiness. America was a truly revolutionary country because, for the first time in history, every man was born not with a duty to serve the king, the senate or society, but with a moral right to live his own life and pursue his own happiness. The Tea Parties are protests against government power and in support of a society in which man has the right to live selfishly for his own sake, not sacrifice himself for the common good.
But for collectivists, sacrifice is seen as absolute. You re expected to sacrifice for your neighbor, your government, your country. For (AIG)
It s a bastardization of what rights actually are. Rights do not belong to groups, but to individuals. You don t get new rights by joining a group, such as the middle class, or employees of Citibank. You don t lose rights by becoming a smoker, or driving an SUV or renting an apartment. When government promotes the ideal that certain groups, such as autoworkers, have a right to a job, they treat the rest of us not as sovereign individuals, but merely a means to an end to be consumed and used up. That isn t production and progress but robbery.
In a political context, individual rights means free market capitalism. The current financial crisis can be directly traced not from a destructive free market, but from a collectivist, interventionist government that has for decades worked to destroy and disrupt free trade. The Federal Reserve, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Community Reinvestment Act, Sarbanes-Oxley -- not to mention the $12 trillion bailout and stimulus efforts -- are not mechanisms of the free market.
Yet if you listen to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, you ll soon discover the government is blaming capitalism for the economic crisis. It s greedy, reckless businessmen who are being vilified. It s rational self-interest that is being condemned. And when you hear free markets being blamed for a societal ill, keep in mind that, in the words of Ayn Rand, political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.
The Tax Day protests are rallies against taxes, yes, but even more so against the moral ideal of collectivism, the notion that your life, your energy, your wealth are the property of Washington to dispose of for any reason it sees fit.
As the economy trudges along and unemployment rises higher still, lest we forget that it wasn t a bailout bill or stimulus check that created the most prosperous country in the history of human civilization, but a society that limited the role of government and protected the individual rights of each citizen to live his own life and pursue his own happiness. A return to that philosophy is our only hope.
A few weeks ago we
some of the encouraging price action in many semiconductor stocks, a longtime laggard industry that has recently outperformed.
For the intrepid investor looking for names beyond domestic stalwarts
), a $3 billion Japanese firm that manufactures semiconductors and various related test systems for a world-wide market.
After trading as high as $60 in 2006, shares recently sunk as low as $10 and have bounced sharply in recent weeks without seeming to attract the widespread attention that would signify a crowded trade. And while I generally hate to buy fallen angles and former highfliers, this is a lesser-followed idea in an increasingly strong group. All things being equal, that tends to be a winning combination.
At the time of writing, Hoenig s fund held a position in shares of Advantest Corp. Please note positions can change at any time. >