Friday, July 31, 2009

Indoctrination in Public Schools: a personal memory

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









Indoctrination in Public Schools: a personal memory

Jim Fedako



schoolprop.jpgMy parents recently visited and left some relics of my youth. One look at this drawing sent my mind back in time.

Almost 40 years ago, it wasn't enough for government to tell me about the evils of smoking, they also coerced me into sharing private family information -- that my father smoked -- in order to serve the agenda of the state.

Mind you, my father knew the dangers of smoking. Everyone did (and does). Nevertheless, after a hard day of work, my father had to face me -- his smirking, deputized son -- and my silly artwork and misspelled message.

At some time in our past, the state succeeded in elevating its education above all other institutions -- the family included. By doing so, the state created the situation where it alone could indoctrinate the youth, and parents wouldn't even raise a concern.

Yesterday it was smoking. Today it's the environment. Tomorrow, who knows.

Whoever controls the minds of the youth controls the future.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

FFF Again

From a recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
A man has freedom as far as he shapes his life according to his own plans. A man whose fate is determined by the plans of a superior authority, in which the exclusive power to plan is vested, is not free in the sense in which the term "free" was used and understood by all people until the semantic revolution of our time brought about a confusion of tongues.
— Ludwig von Mises, “
The Individual in Society” [1952]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Social Function of the Wealthy

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









A Social Function of the Wealthy

Jim Fedako



Since I loathe shopping, I tend to stay out of stores. So it should not be a shock to learn that, as I browsed a computer store this past weekend, I was surprised to find big-box computer monitors missing from the shelves. Instead of those once-ubiquitous monsters, I found an amazing selection of flat screen monitors of all types and shapes.

And to think, not too long ago, flat screen monitors were quite expensive -- well beyond my penny-pitching ways. Now those monitors are a deal, really.

So today I read where the flat screen TV is being replaced by the ultrathin. Of course, the current price for the ultrathin is well beyond my ouch point. Nevertheless, many folks will buy this gotta-have item, setting in motion the free market process that quickly drives prices lower over time.

I fully expect my next TV to be a reasonably priced ultrathin (of course, if you know me, you know that my next TV purchase will likely be many years from now).

"Gagnon expects ultrathin models to be at a premium for another year or two, while manufacturers wring as much as possible from customers who are wealthy, early adopters of gadgets or especially design-conscious."

Yes. Wring from the wealthy and later provide for the masses. What a wonderful system, this free market.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trolling for Morons, and the Bobbleheads Are Biting


Trolling for Morons, and the Bobbleheads Are Biting
by Jim Fedako

"Is not the State an idol? Is it not like any graven image into which men have read supernatural powers and superhuman capacities? The State can feed us when we are hungry, heal us when we are ill; it can raise wages and lower prices, even at the same time; it can educate our children without cost; it can provide us against the contingencies of old age and amuse us when we are
bored; it can give us electricity by passing laws and improve the game of baseball by regulation. What cannot the State do for us if only we have faith in it? And we have faith. No creed in the history of the world ever captured the hearts and minds of men as has the modern creed of Statism." ~ Frank Chodorov (from
The Need of a Golden Calf


It's that season once again: the presidential campaign. And the candidates are casting about for every possible vote. Sure, the candidates claim that it's all about issues and an educated electorate, but it’s really just a seemingly endless Dr Phil show.

You know what I'm talking about, the politician, playing the good doctor, intently listens to the each pathetic whine and then contemplates the situation. Finally, the healing begins as, yes, government can ease that ill also. A costless solution at that. This scene repeats as long as the moderator allows questions to be asked by the audience.

Questions? Huh! They’re always softballs even when thrown overhand. The candidate feels the pain and effortlessly spins the question back to a government solution. Never, never, does the questioner ask something as simple as, "But, Senator Clinton, who is going to pay for your solution?" No, just like the Dr. Phil guest, the questioner just wants to be heard, to be healed. That the senator added this new cause to her ever-growing litany of programs is enough. It’s all about hurting and healing, and government of course.

And, like a town meeting that goes on too long, the questions become more personal, and more demanding of government as the evening progresses. It's as if Tocqueville's image of America was a dream, and a utopian dream at that. If you want a raise, Obama will guarantee you one. If you want to sue someone, for anything, Edwards is ready for you. If you want to fight foreign wars and extend the empire, Giuliani and Romney will strike up the band and grab the largest flag to be found; let the marching begin.

It gets even better than that. The candidates are ready to take up the Wilsonian vision of America the Great. Because, in candidate-speak, "The world wants the US to lead the charge to end wars, epidemics, and the common cold."

Forgotten is any mention of economics – the scarcity of means relative to ends. Human wants always overshoot resources. That's the human condition. Yet, Hillary, Barak, Rudy, Mitt, and company, will throw reality aside and provide a solution. These folks are so prepared – so ready to lead – that they can propose new solution off the cuff. They are leaders who do not need talking points. They simply take a moment, and the new program is proposed. No, it's promised, guaranteed.

Watching the audience react leads me to divide the typical voter into one of two classes: the moron, and the bobblehead.

The moron is the one who thinks life is a kindergarten class in any public school. He truly believes that nothing has changed since he turned five. Problems such as Billy chewing gum and not having enough for everyone are solved by confiscation and greater poverty. The teacher forces Billy to spit his gum into the wastebasket as the rest of the class nods in approval. How dare someone have more than the rest? Starving but equal is the motto of the day.

And, there is more. The kindergarten class recycles unwanted stuff – paper, plastic, etc. – at a loss to the taxpayer. But that’s OK since the affective emotions for the environment, etc., are encouraged and soon trump any alternate activity for resources wasted in the recycling process. The affective emotions trump common sense. Starving, but at least you feel good.

What about the bobblehead? They sit in awe of both the candidate and peer pressure. It's always easier to hug the tree than to chop it down. You can forget the real needs waiting for factors of production to be released to the economy by the ax; what is unseen is of little value. To be caught chopping when the PC winds say preserve is a certain way to be lopped from the in-crowd. And, the bobblehead cannot have that.

As the moron jumps onboard the candidate’s latest problem and solution, the bobblehead nods in approval. The bobblehead has rational beliefs, but the mob is forming, and things are getting ugly. Once again, better to join than to make a stand.

Therefore, when Clinton says taxes might have to go up to heal the nation, improve its infrastructure, and provide healthcare to rational citizens who chose not to purchase it, the bobbleheads don't even feign disapproval. They sit as the Soviet apparatchik before Stalin; never once giving any sign that the speaker is muddling through nonsense. No, they stay silent, and even cheer when appropriate.

See, the bobblehead knows the role of the citizen in the collective. Remember the kindergarten class, the bobblehead acquiesced to the collective good; a goal of any government-run education system. Standing outside the group is a sign of a troubled youth, and Nurse-Ratched-as-teacher is ready to break the spirit of any individual who does not conform to the mission of the state; lobotomized into the bobble doll that always nods – from only the slightest nudge – in approval of the state and its agents.

Against this stand the lovers of Freedom. They go by many different names, and wear many different hats, yet they simply want to be left alone to produce goods desired by their neighbors, whether across the street or across the ocean. Their light-in-the-darkness is Ron Paul.

Paul does not look for the morons in the crowd when proposing solutions, waiting for the bobbles to bobble. No, he attacks the problems at their source: government. That means he is challenging everything drummed into our heads while we sat, barely awake, through 12 years of government indoctrination.

That many have not yet come around to his candidacy is understandable. It took me almost 20 years to shed public school’s false teachings and golden calves.

Let’s continue to rally behind Paul so that our children, and their children, will live in the land of the free and brave, not the land of the moron and bobblehead.

Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tax Farming

Burton Folsom, Jr., details the origin of farm subsidies in America in his article, The Origin of American Farm Subsidies.[1] Like a lot of government programs, it's easy to assume that farm subsidies have been with us from the day of the signing in Philadelphia during the summer of 1776. In actuality, farm subsidies have a relatively short history.

Folsom notes that President Coolidge fought one of the first subsidy programs with the words, "Such action would establish bureaucracy on such a scale as to dominate not only the economic life but the moral, social, and political future of our people."

This wise warning was ignored by the nation's next two presidents, Hoover and Roosevelt. And, exactly as Coolidge pronounced, farm aid subsidies were the beginning of our long, wretched history of redistributing wealth to those who can grab hold of the politician's elbow.

Some of us are taxpayers while others are tax recipients. Ludwig von Mises long ago describe the real class structure of modern society: Two classes exist, those who pay the taxes, and those who receive them.

This
link takes you to some of the biggest welfare recipients -- er, tax recipients -- of my county, Delaware County, Ohio. With a few clicks you can find similar data for your county or state.

Some of the farmers receiving federal subsidies have such a tough life. Imagine getting close to $100,000 per year from the federal government, almost $1 million over the last ten years. Not a bad way to make a living.

We keep paying and they keep cashing.

Go to the
Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Farm Subsidy Database to learn more.[2]

And, when given the opportunity, thank those who farm tax dollars for a living.


note:

[1]This article was published by
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in their monthly magazine, The Freeman.

[2] While I do not subscribe to the politics of EWG, they have a wealth of data to mine.

Steel Comes to Liberty Township

Yes. According to ThisWeekNews, the Liberty Township staff voted to join the United Steel Workers of America.

Look out Liberty taxpayers, the real battle is not between the new union and the trustees, it's between the union and your wallet -- with the trustees forcing the exchange.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reading Liberty

Henry Hazlitt assembled a list of 550 titles addressing the concept of Liberty in his book, THE FREE MAN'S LIBRARY: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography, published in 1956.[1] One can only imagine the number of more-recent books deserving a spot among the 500. The sad fact is that there is no chance that I will make much of a dent in this list during my lifetime. But, there it is anyway.

The point: The next time your local school district creates a summer reading list, see how many Oprah recommendations and NY Times Best Sellers make the cut. I'd wager that none of the Hazlitt books will be listed. Why? Your local school districts are about feeding rot. Keep in mind, a unionized government workforce has no place for the concept of Liberty; just fluff and collectivist muddle.

[1] This book is available at
Mises.org as a downloadable PDF.
Here's the makeup of the new Ohio School Funding Advisory Council. Remember, all these folks are in it for the kids.

The Council is to be comprised of 28 members:

  • 3 state employees--Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents
  • 10 associated with public K-12 education
  • 1 associated with higher education
  • 4 associated with charter schools
  • 1 representing the business community
  • 1 representing a philanthropic organization
  • 1 associated with early childhood education
  • 1 representing chartered non public schools
  • 1 representing the Ohio Academy of Sciences
  • 1 representing the general public
  • 4 appointed at large

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Free Riders: Austrian v. Public Choice

As the Tour de France wraps up, here is an old article of mine which was published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. This article compares and contrasts two views of economic thought. -- Jim


Free Riders: Austrian v. Public Choice
by Jim Fedako

The latest exploits of Lance Armstrong in this year's Tour de France provide a solid backdrop for discussions contrasting the economic ideas of the Austrian School and the adherents of Public Choice.

Public Choice is predicated on the belief that individual preferences can be known and quantified. From this simplistic view of Thymology, the Public Choice school deduces supposed economic laws regarding government interventions in the market. Government is required because acting man cannot negotiate agreements effectively with other self-seeking acting men.

The Austrian School starts from an aprioristic axiom that humans act by using means to obtain ends. Their ends are individualistic and self-centered. The Austrians do not claim to know unrevealed individual preferences nor do they deduce the need for government interventionism in the market. Acting man is able to create working arrangements with other acting men that benefit all involved.

OK. Good and well. But what about the Tour? How can a bicycle race be applied in discussions of economic theory? Simple. Cycling is an excellent reflection of the market. 198 professionals begin each year's Tour with certain unrevealed goals. Sure, some end goals are widely known. For Lance, a seventh win. For Jan Ulrich, a chance to redeem himself. But what about the 196 other riders?

As in all sports, and all human activities for that matter, there are those few who sit at the pinnacle; the rest are simply one of the bunch. Sure they dream of winning the Tour, but more than likely they are concentrating on the wearing the best-in-the-mountains jersey, the best-in-the-sprints-jersey, winning a stage, or just securing a professional contract for next year.

Public Choice assumes that every racer has the same goals and will react like any other racer in all situations. The Austrians will have none of that. It is impossible to look at a rider and know for certain what he wants to achieve during any given day of the Tour. Certainly you may guess what his team has set for him but what really lies in his heart is unseen and unknown, at least until human action reveals his preferences.

In bicycle races, individual riders will typically "attack" the main field of riders in order to gain time over those other riders and a better chance of success. Better to be 1 of 4 in a small “breakaway” group at the finish line than 1 of 198 in the large field.

In order to gain time, riders must work together by taking turns leading and blocking the wind so that the following riders can rest awaiting their turn at the front. So there you have it, 4 riders with widely divergent preferences working together for a common goal. The four have established a de facto contract that is to everyone’s benefit, even though none knows the other's true motives.

One may assume that they all are looking to win the stage. Possible. But it's also likely that one just wants some time in front of the cameras, another wants to pad time on rivals, a third is there just to assist his team’s goals, and the fourth wants the win so bad he can taste it.

But how do the four create this ad hoc contract? A quick glance, a nod, a wink, or a few words exchanged is all that is required for the four riders at hand to build a successful coalition. Public Choice will have none of this reality. They say that negotiation cannot be frictionless and that only through government interventions can people agree to work together.

What about the "free rider?" In Public Choice theory, the "free rider" always gums up the works. The "free rider" causes coalitions to collapse and contracts not to be formed. Think there are no "free riders' in the Tour. Think again.

Everyone wants to ride in a breakaway group for free. Who wouldn't? Conservation of energy is important when you are racing over 2,000 miles in three weeks. But pressures internal to the coalition typically force the "free rider" to perform. In reality no one really knows if the all racers in the breakaway are giving their fullest effort because no one really knows other's internalized desires and abilities.

There are always “free riders” or “free loaders” in all human activities. That becomes just another datum assumed when choosing amongst alternative choices. Every racer in the Tour understands this quite clearly. Accept it and move on.

Externalities? Come on: every action creates supposed externalities. Should Lance be taxed to offset help he received during the Tour from other riders who were actively pursuing their own selfish interest? Who would create and administer the Pigovian tax structure that would offset all of Lance’s gains and loses? Can even the Cray Supercomputer solve these equations and derive a payout before the 2006 Tour begins?

OK. Individual preferences unrevealed, externalities, “free riders” everywhere, and ad hoc contracts being agreed upon without legal signatures. But what about society? What is best for the collective group of 198 riders? Can this spontaneous order (or disorder, depending on your viewpoint) be best for all? Is this even close to Pareto optimality? It all depends. If you agree that each rider has unrevealed goals, throw that neoclassical equilibrium out the window. The impossible task becomes the creation of an aggregate demand curve.

So, assume that you can create this curve. What would you have? A Tour that functioned much like the Soviet economy. As stated above, all riders want to be “free loaders”, er “riders,” in that they don’t really want to suffer over a hundred miles of mountain roads if their needs were truly going to be met otherwise. Why sweat and pound the asphalt when you can lazily ride and occasionally stop to view the sights?


A couple of problems will arise. First, all riders cannot be designated the Tour champ – the Tour is not a Kindergarten class – so all needs cannot be met. In order to correct for this, the results would have to be created in a manner that approximated the regressed preferences of the aggregate field. Lance would probably remain champ and the other riders would be slotted into their likely finishing positions – all based on creating the efficient solution.

This lead to the second problem, this manner of racing would be slow and boring. Who would watch the riders literally tour France at a leisurely pace? Other than a spouse or two, probably just a few mothers, fathers and girlfriends. The Tour would be no more and 198 riders would be out of a job, all to satisfy some odd belief in equilibrium and utility. This is not a very satisfactory solution.

As you enjoy the Tour on TV remember that riders from many countries, speaking a host of different languages, are able to negotiate productive contracts that are mutually beneficial to both riders and viewers.
----------
Jim Fedako is a former professional cyclist.

Friday, July 24, 2009

William Phillis finally speaks the truth

Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy in School Funding (the Coalition) believes public education deserves the last penny in your pocket. How else to provide endless raises for his buddies in the fields?

Nevertheless, Phillis noted the reality that faces Ohio tax consumers in a state wallowing in high taxes and budget deficits. In one of his internet dispatches, Phillis noted this: However, an African proverb says that when the waterhole dries up, the animals look at each other differently.

Yes. When faced by reality, the tax consumers quickly turn on themselves.

(Note: Of course, in due time, they return to feeding off the taxpayers. More meat there.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh, and by the way, our staff averaged 6.5% raises this year (snicker, snicker, snicker)

In his latest address to the masses, ol' Wade forgets the real threat to district taxpayers -- the ever-rising salaries.

But in a classic redirect, Wade places all the blame on the state. Based on his messages thus far, it sounds like district taxpayers will be stuck in Wade's spin mcycle for a long while.



Dear Olentangy Residents:

Late last week the governor signed Ohio’s new biennium budget bill. This bill includes a reduction in funds for 75% of Ohio schools, including Olentangy, some significant operational changes and a new way of funding Ohio schools.

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome for our schools and certainly applaud our governor and legislators for making schools a priority in these challenging economic times. Moreover, much of the credit locally certainly goes out to all of our Olentangy parents and residents who twice answered our call to contact state legislators. Together, we were able to make our voice heard on behalf of our students and taxpayers.

At this stage, we have some preliminary information as to how Olentangy will be affected. In the coming weeks and months, we hope to obtain more specifics from the state so that we can adjust our programming, budget and projections accordingly. In the meantime, below is a summary of what we do know:

*Olentangy will lose 1% in state funding this year and 2% next year. In order to offset this and any other shortfalls in revenue from other sources, the district will make the necessary adjustments and keep the commitment made to voters in March of 2008 of not returning for operating funds for three years.

*Ohio districts, including Olentangy, are receiving stimulus dollars. However, these dollars are earmarked for certain programs, such as IDEA, which affect approximately 10 percent of our student population. These are one-time funds and this funding goes away after two years.

*The state is mandating all-day everyday kindergarten and meeting state-mandated student-to-teacher ratios. However, we understand that there may be waivers granted for high performing schools such as Olentangy. If not, certainly this will affect our operating budget and our schedule for new building construction.

In addition, there is a provision in the budget which permits slot machines at racetracks. Residents should know that in supporting slot machines, one is not directly supporting schools. Much like the lottery money, this is not money that the schools receive directly. Rather, the slot machines simply free up money in Ohio’s overall budget so that other programs can be funded with less of an impact on education.

As we obtain more details we will communicate those to you. In the meantime, we are very appreciative of the support shown by our residents for their schools. Thank you for answering our call to assist. I believe that our combined efforts were tremendously successful.

Sincerely,

Wade Lucas
Superintendent

One Item Missing from Ohio's Evidence-Based School Funding Model

Ohio's new evidence-based funding model builds on costs associated with certain positions and expenses that a supposedly effective district requires and incurs.

The state threw in almost everthing, but they missed one key district expense. What did they miss? The dubious and expensive consultant -- think Avakian Consulting and Fallon Research. Seems just about every local district is using these firms to do something for ... well ... for the kids, of course.

How could the state miss such an obvious expense? Maybe they missed the expense since the payments are funnelled through organizations such as the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. Could it be that keeping the expense from taxpayers also keeps it from so-called experts of evidenced-based funding.

Whatever those firms do -- no one is quite certain what that is -- is essential to the mission of every school district: providing tax dollars to district staff, friends and associates.

Friends helping friends in trying times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Delaware County Commissioners to Raise Taxes

According to the Delaware Gazette:


"The commissioners still have to make up a projected $2.4 million deficit next year, although that number assumes the commissioners vote to reduce the county’s property tax “rollback” from 1.8 mills to 1 mill, a move Cannon recommended.

“We’re at the point where we simply don’t have any other choice right now,” he said.

If that were to happen property owners would owe an additional $24 per $100,000 of home value on their tax bills next year."

Cannon wants your money ... no kidding. And your commissioners will willingly hand it over to him.

Who do the commissioners represent? Cannon and the rest of the county employees? Or the taxpayers? The question is rhetorical of course, and the county employees know the answer by heart.

Again, according to the Gazette:



The move would be a reversal of policy from the previous board of commissioners. Last October, former commissioners Jim Ward and Kris Jordan voted to increase the rollback by 0.2 mills, effectively reducing taxes.
Hanks, then county auditor, criticized the move at the time as “irresponsible” and “crippling” to the county’s budget.

Am I shocked? Nope. Last year, Hanks tried his very best to not reduce county property values (reducing property values would have kept those value in line with the declining housing market in the county) during the reappraisal update. Why? Hanks wanted keep more money in government coffers -- your money.

Hanks is over his head .. and out of his mind.

Folks, keep in mind that this board is made up of three Republicans. So much for the GOP being the party of low taxes and small government.

There is but a dime's difference between the two major parties -- and it's my dime every time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's all about controlling the masses

From the folks over at Crossroads (the Kjos Ministries):
Brainwashing & "Education Reform"

Strategies used in China and other Communist countries as described by Edward Hunter in his 1956 book: Brainwashing: The story of the men who defied it

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Brainwashing is a system of befogging the brain so a person can be seduced into acceptance of what otherwise would be abhorrent to him. He loses touch with reality. Facts and fancy whirl round and change places.... However, in order to prevent people from recognizing the inherent evils in brainwashing, the Reds pretend that it is only another name for something already very familiar and of unquestioned respect, such as education or reform." Edward Hunter, Brainwashing (New York: Pyramid Books, 1956), pages 185-186)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have read our articles or Brave New Schools or followed the implementation of Goals 2000 -- the massive education program signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 -- you would know that "education reform" has turned our education system upside-down. Our master plan comes from UNESCO, which published the blueprint for "lifelong learning" in 1973. The six goals announced by UNESCO at its World Conference on Education for All in 1990 became the original six goals for the American version of the global education system (See "Zero Tolerance for Non-Compliance").

Back in 1985, President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev signed the U.S. - USSR Education Exchange Agreement. It put American technology into the hands of Communist strategists and, in return, gave us all the psycho-social strategies used in Communist nations to indoctrinate Soviet children with Communist ideology and to monitor compliance for the rest of their lives.

The parallels between the Soviet education system and our Goals 2000 have been well documented by researchers such as James Patrick.1 But few have recorded the practical horrors of Communist brainwashing more thoroughly than did Edward Hunter in his book, Brainwashing. 2

It's time to take a closer look at the well-tested tactics used by Communist regimes to alter minds and create "the new Soviet man," for it's happening here. Once the international system is fully in place, neither we nor our children will remain free from socialist indoctrination and unthinkable controls. It's all part of Goals 2000, the school-to-work legislation, and the process of "lifelong learning" which is essential for building the planned "sustainable communities" around the world.

Edward Hunter based most of the following observations on personal interviews with victims of the Chinese "education reform". These survivors include Western missionaries, prisoners of war, teachers, and business men who were trained through cruel but sophisticated "brainwashing" tactics to betray their nation, embrace dialectic materialism, "confess" lies, and serve the Communist propaganda machine. Later, we will show how some were able to resist the process.

Compare Mr. Hunter's findings with present-day realities. Notice the references to words such as "democratic" and "discussion." Both point to the quest for social solidarity through the Hegelian dialectic or consensus process now used to mold minds through group facilitators in our schools, government, and workplaces from coast to coast.

A NEW KIND OF WAR!

"This was war! Some called it psychological warfare. A better name would be brain warfare. The only difference was that formerly weapons were aimed principally at bodies, to incapacitate and destroy them, whereas now they were aimed mainly at minds, so subvert and control them. In brain warfare ultimate victory lay in the conquest of attitudes and feelings." (p. 47)

"The Reds wanted people to believe that it could be described by some familiar expression such as education, public relations, persuasion - or by some misleading term like mind reform and re-education." (p. 5)

GROUP LEARNING, EMPHASIS ON SHARING FEELINGS

"...classes had virtually stopped. Varieties of 'learning' meetings were taking up all the time. The students were working on confessions, as were many of the faculty members." (p. 50)

"Meetings were being held in vacant rooms and open spaces wherever a group could gather to discuss, self-criticize, and confess." (51)

DIALOGUE, CONSENSUS PROCESS, DESTROY FACTUAL BASIS FOR RESISTANCE

"They went about this in the 'democratic discussion' manner this was the new principle of unanimity. He felt so tired that his minds did tricks on him.... God knows how little sleep he got." (43)

"What was truth anyway? Nobody knew. What was false. Others had confessed the same as he. Everyone couldn't be wrong. Could they? Weren't they all one team A collectivity." (44-45)

PURGE MINDS OF TRADITIONAL VALUES

"They work then on persuading the prisoner to rid his mind of the 'bourgeois poison' he had been carrying about of seeing good on all sides! That is patently ridiculous, they point out to this weary mind. Their patient then is taught that there is good only on one side, that the other is 'all bad' and the enemy. When an individual reaches this upside-down stage in his theorizing, he can then be freed." (198)

TRAIN EVERYONE FOR VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE

"The long-range objective of brainwashing is to win converts who can be depended on to react as desired at any time anywhere. This is the inside-out meaning they give the word voluntary and is why they condemn free will with such ferocity, for its existence is basically inconsistent with communism.

"Even when he stands by himself, the truly indoctrinated communist must be part of the collectively. He must be incapable of hearing opposing ideas and facts, no matter how convincing or how forcibly they bombard his senses. A trustworthy communist must react in an automatic manner without any force being applied. Only then is he the 'new Soviet man' that Lenin foresaw." (184)

"Brainwashing was made up of two processes.

One is the conditioning, or softening-up, process primarily for control purposes.
The other is an indoctrination or persuasion process for conversion purposes." (182)
"[Conditioning and indoctrination] operate strictly within the 'practical' framework of dialectical materialism, which recognizes only power. They want to make sure that their followers will not grab the first opportunity to turn against them. That is the dilemma they have been unable to solve short of creating a 'new Soviet man' with the instinctive obedience of the termite instead of a free will which is subject to reasoning faculties and is therefore never 'reliable'." (183)

SCIENCE, ZEAL, and PSYCHIATRY:

“The methods used to make ‘learning’ and confession palatable and workable are borrowed freely from … evangelism, psychiatry and science. The language and ideals of each other these fields were taken over and given new meanings and new interpretations in accordance with communist need. Brainwashing is a combination of this fake evangelism and quack psychiatry in a setting of false science.” (202)

EARLY CHILDHOOD TRAINING -- Infant and preschool conditioning

"The only real guarantee for this was to grab a baby from its cradle and then to keep it all its life from the slightest contact with outside ideas or places, so a subversive word can never enter its ego." (184)

PURGE BIBLICAL HOPE & ABSOLUTES
(Today, China continues to outlaw certain biblical truths dealing with our eternal hope)

"The achievement of this submission is the immediate short-range objective of brainwashing. The man does not have to be a true believer so long as he is convinced that he has no alternative to following Red instructions. Hope -- the prospect of any alternative in life, no matter how slim -- must be wiped out of his mind entirely before communism can fell safe with him." (184)

"The hopelessness-inevitability line permeates communist strategy everywhere." (196)

DOUBLE-TALK and NOBEL EUPHEMISMS

"The Party's own name is one of its most striking examples of double-talk. Communism is sheer power system, gang rule with modern appliances. So long as the individual submits unquestioningly, he is what is referred to as a "disciplined Party member." (184)

"LIFELONG LEARNING": Everyone -- young and old -- MUST participate

"'Learning' and 'confession [now referred to as authenticity]' are inseparable from brainwashing. Everyone has to participate in them, whether a party member or not. Learning means only political teaching from the communist standpoint. Confession is an integral part of the rites. In China there are no exceptions from it for anyone, any more than for attendance at 'learning' classes. The retention of his own individuality by a single person is recognized as a deadly menace by the whole monolithic structure." (184)

Communist PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MEDIA

“There had been a big change in journalism since the Reds had taken over. News was now a weapon. The reporters knew… that the new authorities didn’t hesitate to alter details according to what they wanted to prove, and even to cut the news out of a whole cloth when it suited their purpose.” (44)

“The Red officials appealed to a man’s common sense. Seeing was believing, wasn’t it?” (45)

“He felt high, from smoking marijuana. The reds had told him not to, but he did. He foxed them; the stuff was growing all over the place. Funny, if they were so anxious to keep it out of his hands, why didn’t they uproot it?" (48) [DARE and other values clarification programs]

DISSEMINATION OF POLITICALLY CORRECT INFORMATION:

“Now they had the final proof that America had engaged in cowardly and loathsome germ warfare against the poor peoples of Korea and China. They had the details from the mouth of a man who had done so. What a story! Every newspaper… ran the story. They were copied by hand…. Posted on countless house fronts… Farmers were approached in wet paddies where they worked by 'able Party members' who told them the news.” (48-9)


FACILITATED GROUP DIALOGUES are used to confirm the new Information:

“The radio, with an emphasis all its own, repeated every detail. The routine discussion meetings, held daily in every school, office, or factory, were given over to this news by order of the authorities. The interviews were read out loud, during lunch or after work, by group chairmen who asked in the ‘democratic manner,’ for each person present to express his frank opinion about this ‘unspeakable barbarity perpetrated by the imperialist Americans.’ The repressed burdens each man carried within himself could find vent here. “


ALL MUST PARTICIPATE IN "REAL-LIFE" EXPERIENCE:

“Everyone in China… heard…. Every person was given the feeling of being an eyewitness. Everyone in all of China was called on to swat flies and squash bugs. The authorities explained that there was no telling how many innocent people had been infected with the ‘American plague.’ … A minimum quota was set for insect slayings…. Schoolchildren had to deliver their quota to their teachers. … Nobody could evade his responsibility to the state.” (49)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)


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For a more complete report on this topic, see COMMUNIST PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE, a Congressional interview with Edward Hunter


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Footnotes

1. James R. Patrick, America 2000/Goals 2000 (Moline, IL: Citizens for Academic Excellence, 1994).

2. Two editions of this book may still be found today. Brainwashing: From Pavlov to Powers (1960), is available through public libraries. Copies of pages from this book were sent to me by a California friend, Sally Bowman. A friend from Washington, Barbara Whitt, found two 1956 paperback editions of the same book with a different subtitle: Brainwashing: The story of the men who defied it (New York: Pyramid Books, 1956), in a used book store. The above quotes are from this earlier edition. I suggest you try to find a copy for yourself..


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Indoctrination in Public Schools: a personal memory

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









Indoctrination in Public Schools: a personal memory

Jim Fedako



schoolprop.jpgMy parents recently visited and left some relics of my youth. One look at this drawing sent my mind back in time.

Almost 40 years ago, it wasn't enough for government to tell me about the evils of smoking, they also coerced me into sharing private family information -- that my father smoked -- in order to serve the agenda of the state.

Mind you, my father knew the dangers of smoking. Everyone did (and does). Nevertheless, after a hard day of work, my father had to face me -- his smirking, deputized son -- and my silly artwork and misspelled message.

At some time in our past, the state succeeded in elevating its education above all other institutions -- the family included. By doing so, the state created the situation where it alone could indoctrinate the youth, and parents wouldn't even raise a concern.

Yesterday it was smoking. Today it's the environment. Tomorrow, who knows.

Whoever controls the minds of the youth controls the future.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cass Sunstein to run the web

From the New York Post:
GAG THE INTERNET!
AN OBAMA OFFICIAL'S FRIGHTENING BOOK ABOUT CURBING FREE SPEECH ONLINE


"When it comes to the First Amendment, Team Obama believes in Global Chilling.
Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on speech that might hurt someone's feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them."

It all about controlling dissent. -- Jim

Sunday, July 19, 2009

FFF and Jefferson

From a recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Thursday, July 16, 2009
If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Edward Carrington [1787]

Wade Lucas: feeding the pilot fish

Not only are the taxpayers stuck with Wade McLucas, now we have to endure his pilot fish (his minions from Green Local), all in a frenzy for whatever scraps ... er, dollars ... the shark (Ol' Wade) has left in your wallet.


Wade gets to spread it around because the board just loves to spend your money.

By the way, I believe that Wade calls these new hires "the kids." 'Cause you know every dollar is spent for the kids.

Thought Control: already in your schools

And you'll pay for it and be happy.

Folks, this nonsense is pushed by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development in its Educational Leadership, a widely read educationist magazine that drives the agenda in all public schools and most private schools. And, yes, your Olentangy administrators and teachers subscribe to both the magazine and its agenda.

How can people readily accept such thought control without even a whimper? Has the state and its minions -- the education monopoly -- beaten us in the battle of ideology, and the battle for our children and posterity?

Don't ever say it was done to us. Our epitath is thus: We did it to ourselves.


From the July edition of Educational Leadership -- You can sense where this nonsense is going. -- Jim

4. Arrange "Concern Meetings"
During a concern meeting, a counselor and two or more peers privately confront a student who has fallen down academically or behaviorally, expressing concern and probing for how that student might do better and what supports the student may need. The choice of peers in a concern meeting is crucial. If the erring student does not perceive all participants as caring friends, there is a good chance that this student will experience the peer pressure during the meeting as harmful rather than helpful. When the confronted student believes the confronters are on his or her side, however, that student can make remarkable changes.At Hyde Leadership Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. (a National School of Character finalist), several educators and four students held a concern meeting with an 11th grade girl whose grades had taken a downturn and who was speaking disrespectfully to teachers. The girl first blamed the teacher present for not being fair, but one of the boys said softly, "I think you're pointing the finger at other people. I've done that myself. The sooner you address this as your problem, the sooner you'll solve it." Another student told her, "I've been where you are. Last year I got myself into a similar predicament because of my attitude. But I've known you for a long time. I know your work ethic. I know you're much better than this."

By the meeting's end, the girl's defensiveness was gone. There were some tears, and her four peers spontaneously hugged her. With the dean's encouragement, she made goals for her coursework and community service and set a time to check in with the group and report on how her plan was working

Friday, July 17, 2009

Olentangy Administrators: Taking Care of Themselves

The Olentangy district administrators are really looking out for themselves in this economic downturn. While the masses are happy to even have a job, the district elite asked for a 2.8% raise -- all for the kids, you know.

The sycophantic board majority approved. Why not? It's just family helping family in trying times.

In other district news, the transportation department is spending federal funds (our tax dollars, once again) to study why some elementary students do not ride bikes or walk to school.

Hmmm. Save the tax dollars and ask a few parents to find the reason (hint: It's because parents want to drive their young children to school.).

And the district takes pride in spending money on such nonsense. Amazing.

Powell's Dan Wiencek wants more taxes

Powell City Council member Dan Wiencek wants to stick it to Powell residents. I believe Wiencek was heard muttering, "Let them eat cake."

Wiencek is just the latest politician looking to fund pet projects, with your tax dollars. Amazing.

Delaware County: hiding from the sunshine

Seems the folks in Delaware County are hiding something (something big?).

Debi Henthorn wants to get to the bottom of the mess -- literally. So she made a public records request and was met by a brick wall.

Folks, keep in mind that Lisa Iannotta is paid by the the public. But it appears that she is working for the machine.

Ask yourself this question: What do Hanks and Thompson have to hide? Why does the sunshine scare them so?

According to Debi:


Dave Cannon called me Friday July 10, 2009 in regard to my June 18th, records request. I had a 2 o'clock appointment to view those 500+ records today and ended up in a room with Kyle Rohrer, Lisa Iannotta both attorneys and Dave Canon. I was not permitted to view them. I was told Todd Hanks and Tommy Thompson have no records. I asked about the phone calls address in Hanks and Comstocks ( 9 emails) I was told Tommy made and received those calls at home and there are no records. Ken O'Brien is the only one of the commissioner that maintains files and he's been left out of the loop. I asked O'Brien if he had seen Todd's and Gus's emails, he had Not seen any of them. Things in Delaware County Government are very strange and smells really
bad.


The response from the machine is below. Another example of your Delaware County tax dollars at work -- at work against you, that is.

From: "Iannotta, Lisa"
Date: July
9, 2009 5:33:47 PM EDT
To: [Debi Henthorn]
Cc: "Cannon, Dave" , "Rohrer, Kyle"
Subject: Emails


Ms. Henthorn,

Mr. Cannon has indicated that you are requesting emails be sent to you now that are
responsive to your records request. Per my last email to you, I am working off of your June 25 request since it is more specific and geared toward ST ege.

Please be advised that some of these I have hard copies of and will scan and send; the others, as I mentioned on the phone, number less than 10. I will forward those to you this evening.

Those are the only ones I have at this time. I received two large files late yesterday, approximately 500 pages, that are still undergoing a review, including a legal review, to determine if they are responsive to your request and can be released. As soon as that review is complete, I will let you know.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,
Lisa Iannotta
Director of
Administrative Services
740-833-2125

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Socialism: the debate continues

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









Socialism: the debate continues

Jim Fedako



"But this immediately destroys Mises' argument against socialism."

Over at zloj's Motley Fool CAPS blog, the haunting spectre rises once again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jefferson Predicts America in 2009

From our friends over Freedom Watch:
Jefferson Predicts America in 2009

“If we run into debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they do now, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves out to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.”

(Jefferson to Samuel Kerchival, March, 1816)

(The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1900, pp. 234-235)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Todd Hanks starring in The Big Idea

To the best of my knowledge, Todd Hanks has never created one job -- being a political hack and all. Yet ...

According to ThisWeekNews, "Hanks and ST eGe officials contend the project could create up to 3,000 jobs and bring in non-tax revenue for the county of more than $100-million annually once it is operational. He and other county officials immediately began looking at funding sources after the June 22 meeting, including federal grants."

Got that? Hanks is going to create 3,000 jobs in Delaware County ... 3,000 jobs. And he is going to do it with your tax dollars.

Hanks is a man of small ideas. So where did he come up with such a big project -- such a big idea? Maybe his friends think big for him.

The question to ask is this: What's in it for Hanks? (Might be time to check his friends and family plan.)

A proposal from the American Family Roundtable

The American Family Roundtable is an Ohio-based organization that is terrified of socialized medicine -- and with good reason. AFR recently created Move Out Congress in order to send the bozos in Washington -- on both sides of the aisle -- back home.

I agree with AFR. We are being led down the
road to serfdom by those elected to protect our property FROM government.


Pink Slip Congress - Today

It's time for them to come home. They spend money we don't have. They pass bills without reading them. They watch as thousands of innocent people are thrown out of work for no just cause and businesses are destroyed. They are conspiring to take over your healthcare and strip you of your choices. They have abandoned the principles of the Declaration and Constitution and cast aside the rule of law.

So why should they claim to be representing you?

We are sending every member their Termination Notice. It's time to let them know we are finished. It's time for them to come home. You can
download this pdf file, print it and send copies to the local district office of your Representative and Senator.

Then
copy and paste the pink slip text into an email and send it to the DC offices of your Representative and Senators. You can find their contact information here on this site.Or you can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask for your House Member and Senators. Ask each office for an email address and fax number for your Members.

So you send hard copies to the local district offices and email copies to Washington D.C. Hold onto this contact information for future emails, faxes and mailings you will want to send in the coming
months ahead.

Contact information for your members of Congress is right here.

Then call the local office and the DC office and ask them if they got their
Termination Notice. If not, ask them for their fax number and send them another copy. They'll get the message.

More Messages to Congress

We will be sending more messages to Congress in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for downloads on how to send more important information like: Moving Companies they should contact, Resume Services, Move-out checklists, etc.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A timely repost

For those desiring early-warning sirens in Delaware county, consider an older post of mine over at the Blog at Mises.org.









Mom or government?

It's tornado season here in Ohio.

This afternoon as a few funnel clouds were forming miles from my house, I received a call from my mother living in Florida. Seems she was not about to wait for her son to make his yearly Mother's Day call as she had urgent news. CNN and other news outlets were reporting funnel clouds and tornados in Central Ohio, with my county noted as a likely target. This was sometime before 2:00. I turned on the TV and hit the web for detailed updates. Luckily, the storms passed overhead without even a significant touchdown.

With the menace long gone, I received another phone call; an automated call from the county 911 department notifying me of the tornado warning. This was 2:25, with the warning to expire at 2:30. And, more importantly, with the storms no longer in the county, or even a threat to adjoining counties.

Then I learned that Franklin County -- just to my south -- also had a delayed tornado warning because "Franklin County EMA deputy director Jim Leonard said the communications room is not manned during weekends and holidays, but there are two people on-call at all times."

Do I complain to management? No way. Those folks are looking for complaints as a means to justify additional funding. Do I keep my mother happy? You bet! Her warning was neither delayed nor costly.

Remember mom, and not just on Mother's Day.

A great news source

Go to DAWN.com and subscribe to the DAWN Internet News Alert. According to DAWN, DINA is "a free daily news-service from Pakistan's largest English language newspaper, the Daily DAWN."

In my view, DINA provides a great window into India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. It's a great read -- though I do not get around to reading it daily.

But whenever politics heats up in that region, I turn to DINA for the local report (biased, for sure -- what reporting is not biased?).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tommy Thompson plays the terrorist card

You just have to love the likes of Thompson. He wants a new tax, so he plays the terrorist card.

According to The Delaware Gazette, "Commissioner Tommy Thompson said the likelihood for terrorist attacks has risen since the events of 9/11."

Wait. Hasn't Homeland Security and the endless war provided security? Hmmm. Where have those trillions gone? Whose pocket got fatter at our expense. I digress.

Thompson wants a new tax -- he's a Republican who likes government, big government. And the rest of the county elected Republicans are falling in line.

Again, according to the Gazette, "Berlin Township Trustee Phil Panzarella said the nearly 3 million annual visitors to the Alum Creek State Park wouldn’t receive reverse 911 calls the county currently uses to warn residents."

I've been to the park and have never seen those 3 million on any given day. Talk about aggregation for effect.1

The lone voice of Earl Long speaks reason in the county. Of course, he is not one of the elected elite.

Thompson should confine his efforts to reviewing ditches. We'd all be better off.



Notes:

1. Consider that I visit the park 50 or more times per year, always packing my cell phone. Add in my family and you quickly see how an annual number is for effect only.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Petty Officials Deceiving the Masses

"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

1 Corinthians 3:18-20"


According to the The Delaware Gazette, "Gus Comstock is a busy man." And according to the Bible, he's also a vain man.

Now, Gus is a nice guy. He really is. But he is not omniscient by any means -- no one is (reread the passage above for proof).

Gus thinks that he and Delaware's other petty officials can guide the county into the future. They are the great planners who can oversee the evil, profit-seeking entrepreneurs. They are the altruistic government leading us to a bright utopia, dragging the entrepreneurs by the ear.

"But, if you have a progressive, activist, robust government that wants to be involved, you can make sure that these projects are best serving the citizens of the community."

A progressive, activist, robust government is the bane of mankind. Yet Gus wants to push government to the forefront. In fact, he wants government to lead. That comment could be attributed to just about any totalitarian government. It is almost as if Gus doesn't even know that his statements belie thoughts that are antithetical to freedom -- thoughts that are antithetical to the best interests of the county resident.

"We need to make sure the latest technology is being deployed to Delaware County because companies demand that."

Of course they do. Companies want tax dollars to support their projects. Just look at the bozos from ST eGe to see the lengths many investors will go in order to secure governmental funding. But just because they do it, that doesn't make it right.

"I think if we get that designed properly, there’s some opportunity for some manufacturing growth, some office space and some retail. It would be a nice mix."

A good mix for whom? For Gus? For his business friends (those who keep his phone constantly ringing)? For county residents? Is ol' Gus so smart that he can satisfy everyone? Well, he is vain enough to think so.

Our future is decided by either entrepreneurs looking to profit by providing for the wants of the consumer. Or it is decided by those like Gus who think a little to highly of themselves. There is no other third way.


note: Ah, yes, the non sequitur. How can the evil businessman ringing Gus suddenly become the good businessman willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy the needs of the consumer? The answer is simple: When government officials -- like Gus, and Hanks and Thompson -- seek to provide goodies for business, they (the officials) are the drug pushers working to hook businessmen into lives of dependency.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

An Ethical Penumbra

A timely repost. -- Jim

Ludwig von Mises Institute blog post by Jim Fedako

penumbra.gif
I love the word penumbra -- the shaded area between light and dark . The word has a wonderful ring. Let me propose a matter that is (to me) an ethical penumbra.

The article below came out of a discussion with a next door neighbor who was livid that backyard fireworks were going off about 10 houses away. We (my family) thought it was great since we didn't have to travel for what turned out to be dueling fireworks displays. We (my family again) discussed our neighbor's view and his possible actions.

While I do not like the state, I could not find fault with someone wanting to protect his property (he never called, just paced back in forth in a lather).

So, here is the ethical penumbra: When is it OK to use the state in defense of property? The issue is not my neighbor as his property was far from the fireworks. The issue is other property owners in closer proximity to falling debris.


Don't be a Libertarian Tattletale

What is the difference between tattling and telling? As a father, I know that tattling is something that needs to be addressed every so often. My rule - not subject to debate - is that tattling occurs when one of my children attempts to use the family apparatus of coercion and compulsion (me) in order to gain an advantage over another. Accordingly, tattling does not occur when the tale revolves around the protection of property or life. Therefore, telling me that my middle son is (say) set to jump from his bedroom window to the trampling below is not tattling, while snickering that another sibling skipped her morning job is. Let's apply the Fedako Rule of Tattling to adult life?

Last year we purchased an
Easy Set pool for use in our backyard. Easy Set pools live up to their name: simply place on level ground, attach the electric pump and filter (included), blow up the outer ring, and then fill with water. With no real effort, you can have a pool that is four feet high and 18 feet in diameter, as well as a summer of family fun for less than a public or private pool membership. That is until the township zoning goons spot your pool and start sending notices for removal or fine.

It is at this point that the collectivist cries, "Those pools are an attractive nuisance, they are dangerous." But the pool is almost five feet high (when you include the inflatable ring), requiring a removable ladder to enter. So, even accepting the collective concept of nuisance - and setting aside my own desire to not see someone else's child harmed, the pools pose no real danger. Certainly no more danger than the trees that sit on my property - gravity being a undeniable and lethal force. Of course, some folks see things differently, and those folks inserted regulations into the zoning code to preclude my enjoyment of backyard fun. That said, pools are not the only way to enjoy the summer in your backyard.

In Ohio, fireworks are legal to buy but illegal to set off. Around the holidays, licensed fireworks distributors open their doors to sell fireworks. The consumers are mostly Ohioans who have filled out a state-mandated form swearing to set off those very same fireworks in some other state. Please, those fireworks are set off in backyards across Ohio.

Certainly, a fireworks display brings enjoyment to the property owner, as well as some (if not all) of his friends and neighbors. However, besides the colors and sounds, fireworks also rain sparks and smoldering debris over adjoining properties, creating real and potential threats to those homeowners.

So, here is the current situation: pools that violate zoning and fireworks that violate state law. Now, back to tattling and telling.

On a family bike ride through our neighborhood, we noticed a few Easy Set pools. My children wanted to know why we could not have ours when some neighbors had theirs. My answer: Zoning, as well as government enforcement in general, is arbitrary at best.

The next question was expected. Should we tell on our neighbors for violating the zoning code? My answer: No, that would be tattling. The reasoning is simple: zoning regulations are a collective theft of property rights. Our only reason for tattling would be to gain an advantage over our neighbors - the power to control their property through the use of the
social apparatus of coercion and compulsion. We can't have our pool, so you can't have yours.

Hey, if these folks can get away with a small act of civil disobedience, the more power to them. They have not aggressed against my property nor violated a contract. The state is the aggressor and violator. Besides, I do not want to support the state by acting as its volunteer agent.

What about fireworks? What is the appropriate response in this instance? The answer is a little more complicated since the answer depends on where your property sits relative to the fireworks display.

I have only been an outside observer (literally), watching from a good distance the colors and sounds. If I lived where sparks and debris were falling on my property, I could make the call to the county sheriff. In this instance, I am seeking protection for my property from the cartelized protection racket. This is well within my rights since I would not be using government to gain an advantage over my neighbors (I refer to ethical rights, not legal rights). I would merely be protecting my property from aggression.

Could I call the police in order to protect my neighbor's property in his absence should his property sit beneath the fireworks display? If you have an agreement with your neighbor that includes property protection, call. Additionally, if you truly believe that his property will be damaged, call. Otherwise, if you have no property-based reason for stopping the display, remain silent. It could be that all adjoining property owners have agreed to the risk.

Again, we are not agents of the state who must report every violation of law, or any violation for that matter. We are simply acting men and women who have the right to protect our property from aggression.

Sadly, in Ohio, the police likely will not enforce your fireworks complaint - they will not protect your property. However, they will act as the gun wielding muscle should you ignore the zoning folks and decide to keep your pool.

That settled, let's add a twist: Your neighbor builds a fence that violates the restrictive covenant of your development. Do you have a right to complain and seek action? Absolutely. In this instance, your neighbor violated a contract he freely signed.

Occasionally you read about the so-called patriot who installs the 100-foot flagpole and spot lighting in a neighborhood where the restrictive covenant precludes such a display. The patriot claims that he has a right to show his love of flag and country, "That's what our soldiers fought and died for." This is a perversion of liberty: the belief that the desire to worship the flag supersedes any contract previously signed. Usually the media and sundry statists rush to his defense, making the homeowners association the evil usurper of the right of patriotism. The reality could not be further from the truth.

So, a libertarian can complain and seek action for actual wrongs. -- tell when appropriate, but do not tattle. And never use the state to your advantage.


note: It's true, local police will not enforce fireworks laws. But they have threatened me for drifting through a subdivision intersection while bike riding. The idea being that if I come to a complete stop at every stop sign, no more neighborhood car break-ins or armed home invasions (one occurrence). The state's perverse version of the broken window theory.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

They think we are idiots -- and they may be right

Most folks love being ruled by the political class. And being forced to turn on windshield wipers is just another reason to love democracy even more. -- Jim

New Ohio law went into effect today: Headlights must be on when windshield wipers are in use in the rain.

FFF Quotes

From recent editions of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Rule by the majority is beneficial only to those who happen to always be in the majority. Otherwise, democracy is no better than any other form of control. -- Jim

Friday, June 19, 2009
There probably are as many persons coerced into acting, not as they want, but as others want, through majority rule as through totalitarian dictatorship.
— John C. Sparks, The Freeman [May 1971]

This is the very same game now played by both sides of the aisle. -- Jim

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Naturally the common people don't want war.... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.... All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism.
— Hermann Goering

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

In Comes the State

A recent article of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:








In Comes the State
Jim Fedako





Over the past fifteen years, I have seen the state slowly take over my local government, replacing a friendly, ineffective mishmash of neighbors with a professional bureaucracy set apart from its taxpaying masses.

Consider a friend of mine, a man who years ago served as a township trustee. Sure, he received a small salary for the privilege of sitting at the table during twice-monthly meetings — some years even wielding the gavel. However, he also had the privilege of fielding midnight calls — to wake and dress for the grim task of removing a bloodied carcass from a local road.

He had no real power, no real influence, and no real office. The township hall was the backroom of the volunteer fire station — spacious, yet sparse. None of the trappings of power existed in that functional, nondescript building. If you wanted a cup of coffee, you opened the can of generic grounds and brewed a pot yourself.

If you assume that government is essential, this is the government for you: a government where the citizen-statesman rules. Of course, you will always find power-hungry wannabes sneaking around government buildings. But where there is neither power nor money, there are no real favors to give.

It is true that the friend or political ally may have received that extra cup of coffee or benefited from the early snowplow. And those connected may have won the road-salt contract. But none of this really affected me or other township residents.

Since the trustees also held day jobs, they had little time to interfere in our lives. In addition, the township employees were few and ill paid. They too had neither the time nor desire to lord it over us. Sure, there was bickering and politics. However, it was always petty. The township went about its business and we went about ours. Not liberty, but not oppression. A nice middle ground, so to speak.

And whenever a trustee lost his seat at an election, there were heartaches and ill feelings to be sure. But there was also a sense of relief. No more burdensome phone calls. No more evenings away from the family. And more time to attend to productive activities.

The backwaters are not the place for those seeking intrigue; anyone looking for power and trouble heads to the county seat, to the state capital, or to Washington, DC. However, as an area grows — and allows (or encourages) government to grow with it — the flow of power slowly reverses course, sending currents of statism back to once-pastoral regions.

An observer may blame money, especially money from developers looking to profit in a fast-growing area. That is not the case. With development comes the growth of government. And with the growth of government comes the requisite interventions. New zoning standards are adopted, forcing developers into trustees meetings. And so the problems begin.

It is not just zoning; it is planning in general. My sleepy township slowly awoke to an influx of residents, businesses, traffic, etc. Instead of letting acting men and women with property at stake divine the future, many residents clamored for the township to guide the way.

Gradually, a completely new class of politicians began appearing in the township hall. Elections are now debates over various political visions. Instead of the man willing to throw a dead deer in the back of his pickup, the new trustee is the man who has the ability "to inspire change."

No longer are township meetings the place to hear the petty feuds of neighbors. They are now planning sessions where developers swear fealty to the omniscient class seated at the table. Future developments are no longer decided on the farmhouse porch. Developments are now decided in public and private meetings, with exactions and extractions the sought-after rewards for the game played by hosts of rent seekers — on both sides of the table.

Now, trustees believe they know best. As an example, where township residents used to be able to select from a handful of refuse companies, the trustees took it upon themselves to pick one for all of us. And they decided that we all want to recycle — and to pay for it.[1]

You might consider recycling a minor grievance. Nevertheless, it is symptomatic of a subtle turn from government to the state. The trustees believe in their own omniscience and residents have begun to agree — a belief that brings a smile to agents of the state.

I once asked a candidate for trustee how he would know the correct number of firefighters the township required. Then, I just listened. For almost ten minutes, the candidate noted how he would research and analyze that particular issue once elected. It was obvious that he did not have a clue.[2] Nevertheless, he would act and vote as if he did.

Where volunteers once protected us, we now have unionized firefighters and associated bureaucrats. The fire department expands based on studies and research, not on any market-based analysis, balancing very personal benefits with very personal risks.

The trustees and bureaucrats plan the future based on the science of the day. They act as if they were the intended recipients of a letter written by Claude-Henri Saint-Simon some 200 years ago. In that letter, Saint-Simon envisioned a paradise governed by "men of genius." That was his utopia. Of course, history reveals a different reality.

There is a temptation to believe the state must accompany a complex society on the journey into tomorrow. Fight the temptation. Only acting men and women with their own property at stake can be trusted to make efficient decisions and bring about a tomorrow that is better than today.

And if we must have government, let it remain small and insignificant, spending its time cutting ribbons and bickering over nonsense like the color of street signs. Let the rest of us enjoy the freedom to pursue our own happiness.

Notes
[1] Amazingly, the trustees of a bordering township rejected a proposal to force one refuse company on its residents. They said that if residents want to negotiate contracts, they could organize themselves and negotiate without the interference of government. A ray of hope in a sometimes gray world, indeed.
[2] I also do not know the correct number of firefighters. And neither does anyone without a profit line.