Thursday, December 30, 2010

Paul, Paul, Paul

Paul Lambert of the Hilliard School Board wrote this comment on my prior post:
You're ducking the question. Do you believe the flawed resolution would not have otherwise been addressed?

Do you think it is better to keep the levy off the ballot because of a technicality rather than allow your community to have the debate?

Do you have so little faith in the people of your community that you believe they will make the wrong decision if this levy is put up for a vote?

Paul forgets that the representatives of the community voted on the issue -- the vote was 3-2 for the levy. That a 3-2 vote is not sufficient to pass an permanent operating levy in not a "technicality." It is state law.

Is Paul really stating that the two Olentangy board members only voted against the levy because they believed the issue would pass over their "no" votes?

What does that say about integrity on school boards?

Seems Paul sees little integrity on the Olentangy board. Is Hilliard any different? One wonders.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feasel’s follies

A board president who doesn’t know the number of votes needed to pass board action items. Amazing. Did she forget to pull out her handy-dandy Ohio School Boards Association voting cheat sheet? Or is the desire to cheerlead the next levy simply too overwhelming?

The beauty of the vote is that not only was Feasel flawed, but so were the other former board presidents in the room (can you name them?), as well as the superintendent and treasurer (who, by the way, is the board secretary and parliamentarian).

Note: You got to wonder what else is going on at the board and district.

Paul Lambert defends the team

Does he really comb through the minutes of every Ohio school board meeting looking for voting errors, etc? Or is Olentangy something special to him? Regardless, Lambert should be minding his own business -- his Hilliard business, not defending property tax increases in our district.

Note: I always suspected that Lambert wanna-be was tax consumer. I just wish he would consume Hillard taxes and leave us alone.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A 50% increase in 4 years

7.9 mills in 2011 will make a 50% increase in district property tax rates for operating mills in only 4 years. A 50% increase?!? Are they mad, or just arrogant?

Or both? Hmmm.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's a short quiz

The Olentangy most-recent Five-Year Forecast shows that the district violated its three-year levy pledge. Can anyone explain why my statement is a true?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Raising my taxes once again

From the Delaware Gazette:

Rollback may be eliminated
Saturday, August 21, 2010
ANDREW TOBIAS

Staff Writer

County commissioners are scheduled to vote on Monday on whether or not to increase property taxes in Delaware County.

According to an agenda released Friday afternoon, commissioners will consider a resolution to eliminate a 1-mill property tax rollback. Doing so would raise an additional $6.3 million in annual revenue for the county, while costing property owners an additional $30.63 per $100,000 of property value.

The resolution, proposed by commissioner Tommy Thompson, says commissioners have determined “projected revenues are insufficient to maintain necessary services and appropriate cash reserves for a favorable bond rating for Delaware County” and would immediately pass the vote along to the county auditor for certification.

Any change in property tax levels would take effect next year, county auditor George Kaitsa said.

In a phone interview, Thompson said eliminating the rollback would help prevent future reductions in county services.

“I know nobody’s just chomping at the bit to be able to pay their taxes, but I think for the most part, people are understanding about the fact that they know services received cost X amount of bucks,” Thompson said. “And you either collect the monies and pay for the services, or you don’t collect the money, and you cut back on services.”

There are no immediate cuts such as layoffs of county staff on the table, but Thompson said more revenue would help stabilize the county’s finances.

Commissioner Ken O’Brien said in a phone interview that he will vote against the resolution.
“In these trying times, I do not think it is the time to raise taxes on people who are trying to put food on the table,” he said.

O’Brien said he is particularly disappointed since voters in 1996 approved a 10-year, 0.75-percent countywide sales tax, and commissioners promised to maintain a 1-mill rollback in exchange.

Also, O’Brien doesn’t believe the county would need to make immediate layoffs or cuts without additional revenue.

“It has not been articulated to me by other commissioners as to why or how we need this money, and how it should be spent,” O’Brien said.

So, the vote may come down to commissioner Todd Hanks, who has said he is “on the fence” on the issue, but who was not available for comment for this story. He has said the county maintaining a good bond rating, which allows the county to borrow money at a lower interest rate, is an important factor in his decision.

A preeminent bond rating agency has recommended that Delaware County maintain a cash reserve between $7.2 million and $7.9 million in order to preserve its current bond rating.
As of Thursday, the county had an unencumbered balance of $10.65 million in its general fund, Kaitsa said. However, $6.9 million of that is solely dedicated to the Delaware County Engineer’s Office’s roads and bridges fund, leaving only $3.7 million for general use.

Delaware County had a cash reserve of $11.5 million as recently as 2007, but commissioners have used much of the county’s “rainy day” funds over the past few years to offset budget deficits while mostly avoiding laying off staff.

While a deficit had been previously forecast for 2011, county officials now believe the county will manage to stay in the black next year. However, an unspecified deficit is now projected for 2012.
Delaware County’s property tax rollback has recently been as high as 1.8 mills, but commissioners in 2009 unanimously voted to reduce it to 1 mill.

Factoring into the commissioners’ decision is a possible loss of state funding as Ohio lawmakers seek to balance a projected $8 billion deficit in the state budget in the coming months. Kaitsa said the county could stand to lose up to $1.2 million in local government funding.

Commissioners are also considering whether to give raises to non-union county workers — salaries for these employees have been frozen since 2008. Payroll makes up about two-thirds the county’s $62.4 million budget.

atobias@delgazette.com

Thursday, July 08, 2010

An analogy for the Fourth

If you want to know where your cow last stood, head for the circle of flies. If you want to know where your incumbent congressman stands on the Fourth, head for the circle of military jets -- ironically called flybys.

Like flies to cow patties, so are flybys to the DC equivalent.

The empire began when the military replaced liberty on the Fourth.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Is support of public education a fundamental duty?

According to musicman over at Save the Hilliard Schools, it is.

His proposition is this: Voter support for publics education is a fundamental duty.

But what is a fundamental duty? And why is public education necessarily so?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oh, come on!

According to the latest Olentangy mailing, "The dedicated volunteers of Olentangy's SCHOOL FUNDING ACTION COMMITTEE work to express the concerns of the community and board regarding the state's school funding system."

Dedicated? Oh, come on! The committee has only met once in three years.

Here's a tidbit from the minutes of the committee's last meeting (March 2010), "Scott Galloway added that there is a hole in the budget and it needs to be filled with economic development to help our tax base and take some of the pressure off the taxpayers."

Sure there is a big and growing hole in the budget. District employees are still getting over 6% salary increases (on average) in an economy that is struggling at best.

Why doesn't Scott reduce the budget to take pressure off of taxpayers? Why? Well, he would rather whine than represent the taxpayers. So, instead, he is chasing development that just won't happen.

And then he and the assorted district sycophants will blame the state via their resurrected dog-and-pony show -- the School Funding Action Committee.

These folks are amazing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Olentangy does the impossible

According to the latest Board Business, "During the 2009-10 school year, the district reduced its budget by more than $10.2 million over the next four years."

Did you get that?

In the last school year the district reduced its budget (a one year document) by more than $10.2 million over the next four years.

Olentangy does the impossible with the help of doublespeak. It's 1984 all over again.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

To the collectivists, he really was Papa Joe

Just a fellow collectivists breacking some eggs to make an omelet. -- Jim

Over on the Blog at Mises.org:









It is just too much
Yuri Maltzev

Statues of Joseph Stalin have been torn down all over Europe. I have witnessed how happy Lithuanian youth were peeing on his fallen monument in the Park of Fallen Foibles in their capital Vilnius in 1991. Stalin killed more people than Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Castro and led the world in the worst socialist crimes.

To commemorate his “part of our history”, a statue of Stalin is included in the National D-Day Memorial dedicated in Bedford, Virginia, this Sunday, June 6. It is unbelievable how the idea of putting up a monument to a monster would come to anyone’s mind and – especially in Virginia – the cradle of our freedom! Sure enough erectors of the Stalin’s bust are soliciting funds from Obama and Virginia Governor Kaine to defray the cost of the monument to the mass murderer who exterminated millions of innocents in Europe and Asia and hated this country with such a passion that under his watch thousands of Americans were also killed in the dreadful Gulag. How can we void this?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Debasing? Maybe not for the educrats

Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, made this comment in his latest article on the Teachers College Record:

In such a culture, a performance art piece in which the artist smears feces on his body would be seen as debasing and morally wrong, even though no one is harmed or treated unfairly. (emphasis mine)

Can anyone who is normal find that act to be something other than debasing?

The implication is that in Willingham's culture the above act is art. Art?!! What culture does he live in?

The bizarre world of the education establishment, of course.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The plan to destroy this nation

Bree Picower, from New York University, defines the plan to meld the Three R's into Marxian social change. -- Jim

Saturday, May 22, 2010

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










The New Bureaucratic Man
Jim Fedako



[An MP3 audio file of this article, read by Steven Ng, is available for download.]

There is something to Trotsky's vision of man under communism. From all historical appearances, man under a totalitarian state functions differently than a man under liberty. And degrees of man exist as society slowly turns from liberty to slavery.

The prevailing view is that man under socialized healthcare will remain the same as man today — a man living under a pseudo-free market. In fact, some even believe that man may progress. In this view, the doctor we see today will, at the very least, remain the same under socialized health care. Don't bet on it.

Unlucky Ducks

I once worked as a software contractor for a state agency (forgive me). The building where I worked was not your typical government building. It had a modern feel, with a decorative moat detailing the front entrance. The front door — guarded, of course — was accessible via a walkway bridge of sorts.

It's not what you may be thinking; it was all very subtle and nice. However, the drop from the bridge to the mulch-covered, bush-laden moat was a good three feet.

One year, at the beginning of spring, a duck built a nest in the moat, under one of the many bushes. As her ducklings hatched and grew, it came time for them to search for water. However, despite their repeated attempts, the ducklings could not jump from the moat to the walkway bridge.

One of the employees in the building asked the building manager if he (the employee) could place a wooden ramp to allow the ducklings to waddle out of the moat. Being a good state employee himself, the building manager called the state department of natural resources for guidance. The answer: since ducks are migratory birds, no one could do anything.

The next morning, someone plastered official signs around the entrance, stating that any attempt to help the ducks was a violation of law. No ramp, no water, no food. And violators — you know this already — would be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Soon we had a real scene. The mother duck would leave the moat and encourage her ducklings to follow. They couldn't, of course. She would march back and forth on the walkway bridge and quack in desperation. All the while, the guard at the entrance stood watch, stopping any attempt to help.

Repeated calls to the bureaucrats at the department of natural resources were answered by a repetition of laws and fines. And not one of the department employees was going to go against the rules, or even ask for an exemption, for any reason.

The ducklings died days later.

There you have it: upon joining the state, the department of resource folks — folks who likely dreamed of careers helping wildlife — became staunch bureaucrats enforcing rules over reason.

Healthcare

I have had many good experiences with doctors, nurses, and such. Our pre-Obamacare system was not perfect, but it suffered from nothing that the free market couldn't cure. Nevertheless, our elected officials believe otherwise. And they have a lot of support from the masses, who, I believe, are deluded.

Many proponents of socialized healthcare envision a system where their current providers remain, and society, hidden behind the state, pays the bills. But man changes by degree as liberty is lost. So the smiling doctor and caring nurse you trust will become the faces of the nomenklatura and apparatchiks. They can become nothing else.

Yuri Maltsev, former economist under Gorbachev, detailed the truths of Soviet medicine in a recent Mises.org article. He wrote of drunken medical professionals roaming the halls of filthy hospitals — hospitals devoid of necessary equipment and supplies. And he wrote of a system where adherence to the rules of the bureaucracy trumped reason and sanity.

Meeting quotas was the mission, not serving the patients. So people died due to the rules of the bureaucracy, and no one could or would do otherwise.

Do we really believe the conduct of Russians under socialist rule was due to genetics or geography? Do we really believe there is something unique about Russians or Russia — and all the other groups who lived under socialist rule? And do we really believe Americans under that very same system would comport themselves in a different manner — as if altruism were genetic in the 50 states? Does anyone really believe any of that?

We have a tough case to make. We have the supporters of socialized healthcare dreaming that everything will remain the same, except someone else will pay the bill. It's a nice fantasy. But a fantasy, nonetheless. And fantasies can be hard to defeat at times.

On our side, we have the science of economics that says the system will collapse in the end. It will collapse under its own weight due to the state's inability to allocate resources efficiently. And just as important, we have history that shows how man behaves when under socialism — how man will behave until the system finally collapses. And let me tell you, that behavior ain't pretty.

Your doctor and nurse, no matter how nice today, will become the bureaucracy. They will see you in terms of state rules and regulations. They will push you out into the cold rather than risk having you die on site — and them having to suffer the consequences of a bad report to the central authorities.

Of course, your beloved healthcare professionals will not change overnight from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. No, they will slowly change as the cloud of socialized medicine and accompanying bureaucracy incessantly rots their souls (as it rots our souls as well). It will happen — it has to.

To think otherwise is to be that mother duck, expecting officials of the state to rescue her ducklings because that is what employees of the department of natural resources are supposed to do: rescue wildlife.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Letting the bed bugs bite

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









Letting the bed bugs bite
Jim Fedako

Who would let the bed bugs bite? The feds of course.

If you are looking for a reason to support the Tenth Amendment movement, turn a bedsheet or two in Ohio.

Seems the EPA no longer allows the pesticide Propoxur to be sold for home use. Why?

Is Propoxur unsafe? Hardly, Propoxur is "a decades-old pesticide that many see as the best, and cheapest, way to stop the voracious bugs."

What changed? According to Andrew Christman, owner of the Ohio Exterminating Co. and president of the Ohio Pest Management Association, "Propoxur had long been labeled for use in homes. It lost that status last year because the manufacturer had declined to pay to re-test and re-register the product."

So the manufacturer decides that the cost for federal testing and registration is too high and now "[m]any low-income families and elderly residents repeatedly suffer from bites because they cannot afford extermination, which generally costs between $200 and $500 per application."

Remind me, who does government benefit?

Friday, May 14, 2010

FFF ... again

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

Monday, May 3, 2010

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
— William Somerset Maugham, Strictly Personal [1941]



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not invoking Godwin's law

Sure, it sounds like a violation of Godwin's law, but it's poignant nonetheless.

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland.
— Adolf Hitler, on the creation of the Gestapo

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Marx is not all wrong"

Not my quote. And it isn't from my good friends over at Marxists.org. The quote is actually from a recent edition of Teachers College Record: The Voice of Scholarship in Education -- published by Columbia University's Teachers College, the ideological center of public education.

While economic Marxism is gone (or hidden behind the veil of Keynesianism), cultural Marxism is alive and well in most colleges and universities, along with all public schools.


Who else believes this nonsense:

The second reason is that Marx is not all wrong. Workers have become alienated from what they produce.

It's 2010 and Marx's theory of worker alienation is being championed by the teachers of teachers over at Columbia University.

And all that effort and indoctrination is not going to waste. Your child's teacher is reading this nonsense and saying, "I better include that in my next lesson plan."

And she will.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pat Tiberi v. the (supposed) Greater Evil

The Proposition:

It is better to have voted for Tiberi than the (supposed) greater evil who ran against him in the last election.

The Flaw:

My singular vote has no real effect on a congressional election – a singular vote never does. Keep in mind that there has not been an election that Tiberi won by one vote (no Congressman ever has won by just one vote). So, regardless who I voted for in the last election, Tiberi would still be in Congress. Therefore, my singular vote (if I vote) had (and has) no real effect, whatsoever.

In addition, Tiberi has never been the deciding vote on any issue that is important to me. Had the (supposed) greater evil been elected, life today would be the same. With or without Tiberi, we would still have TARP, the Bailout, ObamaCare, etc. Therefore, Tiberi is of no consequence, whatsoever.

It amazes me how many people inflate the impact of their personal vote. And it amazes me how many people will vote for Tiberi even though he voted for TARP and the Bailout (in the face of an overwhelming majority of constituents opposing that vote). He voted and voters said, “I’ll never vote for him again.” Yet, they will vote for Tiberi again because they fear the (supposed) greater evil running against him, inflating the impact of their own vote along the way.

Look, your vote will not change the end result of any election. But if you vote for Tiberi in the next election, you will be making a public statement that you support folks who supported TARP, the Bailout, etc. And you will be empowering Tiberi (and his ilk) to continue playing you as the fool.

Ironically, there is a Dispatch web-only letter to the editor by someone who wants RomneyCare (a neighbor of mine, actually -- a nice guy, but a useful idiot of the state, nonetheless). The writer likes Tiberi since Tiberi desires nationalized health care – though, a lower cost, Republican version (an oxymoron).

Of course, this is true. Call Tiberi’s office and his staffers will set you straight. Tiberi believes that health care is a right and that government must run health care. In addition, to keep costs low, government must run our lives in totality – the paternal and maternal state (fascialism).

In the end, is this any different from Obama, ObamaCare, and any (supposed) greater evil running against Tiberi?


Notes:

Your vote has no impact on an election. It is simply a statement of your core beliefs – you just add a tick to the column of one of the candidates, but never tip the scale in anyone’s favor. If you vote for Tiberi, be certain that you understand he holds your values in contempt. He will vote your liberties away the first chance he gets – which makes him the same as the (supposed) greater evil..

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Here's a title for you

PETER LUCAS is a lecturer of peace education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Enough said.

What's in your head, teacher?

So you are attending for child's first teacher conference. You are nervous. You want to be assured by the professional at the other side of the table that your child is doing fine. Your thinking, "I wonder if Johnny is up to grade level."

Across the table, Johnny's teacher is remembering the very last comment she made to her class that afternoon, "You know I’m not your major teacher in this class. You guys are. There are 32 of you and one of me. So, don’t tune each other out. You all are teachers and just think, if you learn three new things a day how much you’ll know by the end of the year."

Not the "major teacher?" No way. In these instances, the elementary students are the authorities -- 'cause it sure ain't the teacher.

Note: This article is from the TCRecord.org, the website for the nonsense that is the Teachers College of Columbia University. Not to worry, this nonsense is not only Ivy League. It's in OSU and in your local public school.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Science for the State

A recent article of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org -- the final version of an article that evolved here and here:










Science for the State
Jim Fedako




It sometimes seems that every regime needs to find its justification in science. Ideology is fine, to a point. But the final arbiter of legitimacy resides, or so it seems, in science. So what of science?

The Soviet Union had its ideological foundation in dialectical materialism — that edgy methodology that combines, you guessed it, dialectics and materialism. In essence, so the theory goes, matter moves from one state to another in an endless ascendancy from the lower to higher.

I know, blah, blah, blah. Just a load of muddled nonsense. But it was the Soviet religion. And everything had to be justified through it.

So in the 1920s, along comes this quack by the name of Lysenko. According to Wikipedia,

he rejected Mendelian genetics in favor of the hybridization theories of Russian horticulturist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, and adopted them into a powerful political-scientific movement termed Lysenkoism.

Helena Sheehan picks up the story noting that Lysenko

subsequently became famous for the discovery of "vernalisation," an agricultural technique that allowed winter crops to be obtained from summer planting by soaking and chilling the germinated seed for a determinate period of time.

More muddled nonsense. But since Lysenko and his nonsense — er, theories — fit the nonsense that is dialectical materialism, he became a sweetheart of the state bureaucracy.

And as Lysenkoism grew in power and prestige, so did the pressure on those who dared object.

Alternate theories were rejected and proponents forced from positions and jailed, and sometimes even sentenced to death. Mendelian genetics was pushed from the halls of academia into the hushed-hushed backrooms where no one listened, except spies for the state.

There were two other results of Lysenkoism worth noting: food shortages and waste. But, hey, what's a few cracked eggs among friends, especially when the omelet is for the state?

The key to my opening statement is not that science needs to justify the state. The key is that the state needs to find the science that will justify its (the state's) existence.

So the state creates its justifying science and, lo and behold, that very same science justifies the state. In Lysenko's words,

Long live the Party of Lenin and Stalin, which discovered Michurin for the world and created all the conditions for the progress of advanced materialist biology in our country.

Glory to the great friend and protagonist of science, our leader and teacher, comrade Stalin!

Does any of this sound familiar? In the 1930s, the state adopted Keynesian economics. It did not do so because the system made sense. No, the state adopted Keynesian economics because it justified the state and the state's profligate ways.

Keynes was the Lysenko of the Roosevelt administration. The state declared Keynes a genius and worked to control his opposition. No Siberian Gulags, just academic ones. But the chilling result was the same here as in the Soviet Union. The state's science became the science, and science and state lived happily ever after. For a while anyway.

When Stalin died, Lysenko was first discredited by Khrushchev.

Nevertheless, Lysenko was to find favour again, and at that with Khrushchev, for his researches into composting and breeding dairy cows with high butter fat, themes both dear to Khrushchev who wanted to raise the USSR's milk output.

In the end, the Soviets finally recognized that Lysenko was a fraud, though it took a half a century.

Here in the United States, it took us almost the same amount of time to begin to question Keynesianism. And just like Lysenkoism, Keynesianism fell out of favor only to subsequently return to favor once again — nothing like more butter fat to whet the appetite of the political class.

Of course, Keynes is gone — his long run ended years ago. But Keynesianism lives on through its adherents. And Paul Krugman is the most visible one we have today.

But Krugman is just another Lysenko — peddling nonsense that justifies the state. As one of its most prominent and vocal proponents, Krugman is an influential activist for the political class and the status quo. So, of course, he is blessed by the state.

Most importantly, Krugman is willing to see more than a few eggs cracked in order to serve up a state-sized omelet — I think he calls his special omelet the Laureate, but I am not certain of that.

Every state needs justification. And the justifiers are always welcomed and cheered by the state. So we should not be shocked that a false science — a science that props up the state — is embraced by the state and associated sycophants.

But we must always remember that in the end, the nonsense is revealed for all to see, with the proponent receiving his due discredit. But how long do we have to wait? And what will be the final result? Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Eight vote loss

Really nine, I suppose. Could it have had something to do with this letter to the editor? ;-)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Life of an article -- final version

A recent article of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org -- the final version of an article that evolved here and here:










Time Is on Our Side
Jim Fedako




Living at the intellectual margin can challenge even the most ardent advocate of free markets and liberty. However, I contend that history is on our side.

In the preface to his book Marx's Religion of Revolution (1989), Gary North writes of an intellectual movement that was for years confined to the dark recesses of coffeehouses and tearooms.

Igor Shafarevich, the Soviet mathematician and critic of Marxism, made a very important observation in his classic book, The Socialist Phenomenon (1975). He said that peculiar little socialist groups debate for years about the details of their odd-ball social theories, and then, almost overnight, their ideas become widely believed, and societies are restructured in terms of them.

When I am feeling down because of the political landscape, I think of that passage. Change one word and you have this bit of encouragement, "He said that peculiar little anarcholibertarian groups debate for years about the details of their oddball social theories, and then, almost overnight, their ideas become widely believed, and societies are restructured in terms of them."

What a powerful statement. And a statement that may soon ring true, if we all do our part.

At one point during the recent The Birth and Death of the Fed conference, I sat with three other Austrians in the hotel sitting room discussing the details of our supposedly oddball social theories — the theories of free markets and liberty. Around us sat other peculiar little groups proposing various means for these very same theories to become widely believed once again, to serve as the guiding lights for a near-overnight restructuring of society. While the theories we debated are still not mainstream, a tipping point of sorts may be near.

In the not-too-distant future, it is likely that we will see the ideas of free markets and liberty begin to take hold. And we will watch as societies start to restructure themselves without the burden of the oppressive state. Questions arise: How will this restructuring occur? Will it be through political action?

Politics is about today — tomorrow be damned. The politician wants to get elected and stay elected, and retire well off. He only cares about getting votes from constituents he abhors. He cares nothing of their lives, their struggles, or their successes.

In the politician's mind, he is of the vaunted political class, and his constituents are nothing more than groundlings to be manipulated and entertained by his double entendres and rhetorical sleights of hand. So it is no wonder that heartless politicians cannot stand the sight of the little folks, those whose votes decide the next coronation — the bestowing of the power and the prestige each politician so desperately desires.

It is obvious that politics is not the answer. And neither, it turns out, is violent force — politics by other means. This is a nation conceived in the ideas of liberty. Given time, ideas would have won the day. But our forefathers resorted to force. And by doing so, they birthed, so to speak, the desire for a new state — a powerful central authority to guide the several free states.

Shortly thereafter, unable to control their fetish for a state, our forefathers went behind closed doors and crafted the so-called perfect union that secured the blessings of liberty to themselves alone, leaving their posterity to suffer under an ever-growing Leviathan — a Leviathan now larger by magnitudes than the one they had so recently deposed.

You may object: Wasn't the Soviet Union the product of both political action and violent force? Yes, to a point. The actual revolutions (February and October) were more political than violent.[1] And even that political action was the product of something else. What was that something else?

Ideas, of course.

Ideas have consequences that, in the long run, trump the politics of the day. Nevertheless, we are currently engaged in the battle over ideas. And as Mises so clearly stated, it is a battle we must all fight.

Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us. (Ludwig von Mises, Socialism)

Each of us carries this burden. And we must engage in the great historical struggle that none of us asked for. But a struggle that is ours nonetheless.

Remember the peculiar groups and their oddball theories. And remember the tipping point. The failures of the state are becoming obvious and folks are taking notice. It is our responsibility to vigorously thrust ourselves into the intellectual battle and relentlessly advocate for free markets and liberty.

Each individual who embraces our oddball theories and joins our peculiar groups brings us that much closer to the tipping point and pending restructuring — and free markets and liberty.




Tuesday, May 04, 2010

From the Berean Call

HT: From our good friends over at The Berean Call -- Jim

CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE TOTALITARIAN'S DREAM COME TRUE

Christian Theologian on Earth Day: 'Climate Change Is the Totalitarian's Dream Come True' [Excerpts]

For E. Calvin Beisner and his colleagues at the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation (CASC), every day is Earth Day because Christians are called by God to be good stewards of the planet and its inhabitants.

Beisner believes that it is not carbon emissions but global warming activism and international climate treaties that are a threat to the nation's future and the world's poorest populations.

"Climate change is the totalitarian's dream come true," Beisner, founder of the CASC, said at a conference on Thursday at the Family Research Council in Washington. "It offers a rationale for government intrusion into every aspect of life for every person on Earth."

Beisner, who is also the national spokesman for the CASC, is a teacher and author who frequently speaks on the connection between religion and environmentalism.

Beisner painted a chilling picture of what would happen if the United States signed on to the kind of international climate-change treaty proposed at a United Nations conference in Copenhagen last year."

Global warming alarmists see each new human being in terms of his or her 'carbon footprint,' and already many are saying that the best way to fight global warming is for everyone to have just one child so that the population will shrink," Beisner said.

The enforcement of a U.N.-style treaty would mean a global government's intrusion into how people live their private lives - "everything from the temperature at which you keep your house to whether to drive a large, crash-worthy vehicle or a small car that conserves fuel but is a death trap in an accident," Beisner said.

In his speech, Beisner said that Christians should be concerned about global warming policies because they affect myriad issues, such as the sanctity of human life, individual liberty, the survival of free enterprise and free markets in the United States, compassion for the poor around the world, and a sovereign America with the kind of limited government envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Christians are commanded by God to care for the poor, which Beisner said would suffer the most from the kind of environmental controls and alternative energy plans proposed by both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I'll defend you right to drink raw milk

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









I'll defend you right to drink raw milk
Jim Fedako

But, please, don't drink it in front of me.

A friend of mine in the liberty movement drinks raw milk. That's not for me.

What really offends me is that adults -- such as my friend -- have to sneak around in order to buy something they believe is healthy.

In a guest commentary in my local paper, I wrote: "Raw milk is not the issue, it's a symptom. The issue is our desire to rule over our neighbors through the use of government. And that desire gets fed each time another intrusive law passes without protest."

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Dreaming of a Bastiatian Orange

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









Dreaming of a Bastiatian Orange
Jim Fedako

The regional planning commission in my area recently released "the region’s first Regional Food Assessment and Plan." The executive summary is 20 pages worth of the joys of central planning.

The regional planning commission believes that more food must be grown and eaten locally. Now local is not defined as the US. Nor is it defined as the Midwest. It's not even defined as the 88 counties that make up the state of Ohio. No, local is defined as the 12 counties within -- you guessed it -- the region of the regional planning commission. Talk about micro-mercantilism.

The recommended solutions include such nonsense as encouraging indoor fish farms and longer growing seasons (global warming, anyone?). Oh, and lots of government support and force -- such as efforts to "persuade retailers and restaurateurs ... to ensure shelf space for local produce."

The local media is all over this. They are excited beyond belief. I imagine them locking hands with the folks over at the commission while dancing and singing, "We're going to central plan, We're going to central plan."

As Bastiat wrote in his Sophisms, "By means of this duty, they say, the conditions of production will be equalized; and the Chamber, giving effect, as it always does, to such reasoning, inserts in the tariff a duty of elevenpence upon every foreign orange."

If this nonsense goes forward, Ohio will do just what Bastiat argued against some 150 years ago. Of course, central Ohio will not impose a tariff, just a tax. Regardless, taxpayers will be supporting centrally-planned waste.

Who ever said we get smarter by the generation

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Talk about a pig in a python

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









Talk about a pig in a python
Jim Fedako

The Teachers College of Columbia University publishes TCRecord, an online version of the Teachers College Record. For those who do not know, the Teachers College is one of the nerve centers of Progressive education. All the evil -isms of the day have a home there.

TCRecord sent out a recent email that included an
article lamenting the supposed youth obesity crisis.

Of course, no crisis can exist without associated hyperbole. This, for example:

Today fully one-third of children and adolescents are obese (having a weight to height ratio at or above the 95th percentile for age and gender) or overweight (85th percentile).

When one-third of a group is at or above the group's 85th percentile, you have a real pig in a python. And catchy hyperbole as well.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The 30-Second Political Test

Insight from Joseph Sobran (HT FFF):

If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist.

— JOSEPH SOBRAN

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tiberian fascialism

The Dispatch published a letter of mine today. Here is the original -- the director's cut. Jim


Dear Editor:

There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major political parties. Both have the same agenda – a bigger, more intrusive government. The only debate is around the edges.

In other words, the debate is between ObamaCare and RomneyCare – it’s a debate over who takes credit, and nothing else.

The Republicans are not looking to dismantle ObamaCare. Congressman Pat Tiberi, speaking for the Republicans, was quoted in Sunday’s Dispatch as stating that the real issue was Obama’s unwillingness to include Republicans in the debate – “a missed opportunity,” sighed Tiberi.

But the missed opportunity was not for Tiberi and the rest of the Republicans (save Rep. Paul of Texas) to say “no way.” The missed opportunity was for the Republicans to stamp their nonsense on Obama’s watershed legislation.

This country is fast moving toward fascialism (a combination of fascism and socialism). And the great political debate of today is over which party leads the way.

Jim Fedako

Monday, April 26, 2010

Republicans as the paternal elect

Here is the Republican Party in Ohio.

Jon Husted is a state senator, the former speaker of the house, and current candidate for Secretary of State

Bill Harris is current president of the senate

The issue is a Republican sponsored bill to give BMI (body mass index) scores for all public school students and to notify parents about proper foods, etc.

There ain't a dime's worth of difference between major parties.

Jim

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: JFedako@aol.com
To: SD06@senate.state.oh.us
CC: newsroom@delgazette.com, letters@dispatch.com, SD19@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
Sent: 4/26/2010 6:34:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: Question from a constituent


Jon,

Then the school employees should be required to lose weight so as to set good examples. As should you and your fellow senators. But that is not what you mean by setting "good examples." We both know that.

I don't care what you say you will do -- that can easily become another empty promise. I care how you voted. And you voted on a bill that is another instance of an increasingly paternal state.

In the end, you believe that government must be involved in parental decisions. I find that both sad and appalling.

You are working to leave your children (and mine) an interventionist state -- a state based on one of the -isms of the day (take your pick, all are the antithesis of liberty). And you only have yourself to blame.

Jim

Note: Just be truthful and state that you are a Progressive -- one believing in the power and sanctity of the state. Just tell your constituents, and the voters of Ohio, that liberty is a relic of a simpler time. And that only the wise few (the elected) can guide the unwashed masses. Deep down, despite your protests otherwise, that is what you believe.

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

In a message dated 4/26/2010 5:13:15 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, SD06@senate.state.oh.us writes:

Mr. Fedako:

The use of the word “allow” versus “require” in my response was a mistake, not an attempt to misrepresent what the bill does. I am working to change this provision.

I agree with you this is an issue that should be primarily left to parents. However, as parent myself, I also understand parents rely on schools to set good examples for children during the school day.

Please know I will work to change the legislation to allow schools to set up this program as apposed to mandating they do it. I will also work to ensure there are appropriate opt-in/opt-out provisions for parents.

Again, I appreciate your perspective.

Sincerely,

Jon Husted




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

From: Jim Fedako
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 7:07 PM
To: Senator Husted
Cc: newsroom@delgazette.com; letters@dispatch.com; Senator Harris
Subject: Re: Question from a constituent


Jon,

The version of the bill which you cosponsored "[r]equires school districts, community schools, and STEM schools to establish a body mass index and weight status category screening program." I do not know where you read "allows."

Your support of this legislation is a reflection of your core beliefs.

And your email reads the same as that coming from any Democrat. You are advocating for a bigger, more intrusive state, and you are advocating for the paternal state.

Please remind me how the Republicans are different from the Democrats.

By the way, I find it truly offensive when elected officials deliberately obfuscate (dare I say lie) when speaking about their actions. You cosponsored "requires" but you claim "allows" when responding to me. Shame on you.

Jim

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

In a message dated 4/1/2010 11:10:55 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, SD06@senate.state.oh.us writes:

Dear Mr. Fedako:

I received your recent e-mail about your concern over a provision in Senate Bill 210 that would allow schools to conduct Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations on students. I appreciate you taking the time to write to me on this issue.

The primary objective of Senate Bill 210 aims to address childhood obesity by setting nutritional standards, physical education and activity standards in our schools. In addition, the bill includes implementing an assessment and education program for children which is a proven way to help children who are at risk of obesity.

While I understand your concern, I believe provisions in the bill are under revision and will be re-drafted in a manner that preserves parents’ ability to make decisions that are best for their child in regard to their physical fitness. For example, the bill does not mandate all students have the BMI calculation. It leaves the choice to participate in the program with parents. The bill also allows parents to use their own healthcare provider to conduct the calculation and ensures that student privacy is maintained. Results of individual tests are not to be shared with anyone except the parents of the student.

I believe teaching children to eat healthy and lead an active lifestyle is important to creating a healthier Ohio, lowering health care costs and improving the quality of life for all. I encourage you to contact me if you have continued concerns with the legislation, and I will be happy to work with my colleagues to address those concerns.

Again, thank you for your e-mail. I hope that some of the information I have shared with you provides for a better understanding of the legislation.

Sincerely,

Jon Husted
Senator


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

From: Jim Fedako
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 10:33 PM
To: Senator Harris
Cc: Senator Husted; newsroom@delgazette.com; letters@dispatch.com
Subject: Question from a constituent


Bill,

Since you believe the state has the right to perform Body Mass Index calculations on students and then badger their parents (S. B. No. 210), I figure you would gladly share your BMI with your constituents.

Please reply with your BMI so that I may see if you are fit enough to continue as the senate's chief nanny do-gooder (you do appear a little pudgy in your photo).

Keep in mind that the only belt you should be poking is your own.


Thanks.


Note: Jon, send your BMI also. It appears that your need for power is expanding with your beltline. By the way, how do you differ from the Progressives on the Left? Remind me.


Jim Fedako

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teri Meider gets a job

And we all pay.

Seems the current board was feeling magnanimous at its last meeting, so it decided to give former board member Teri Meider an opportunity to continue living on the public dole.

Does Kerr need an "executive secretary?" Do the taxpayers? What about the kids?

Remember, it's all for the kids.

Any idea on the next board member (former or present) to have a hand in your wallet?

Note: These folks are supposed to be working for the taxpayer, not setting up jobs for their spouses and themselves. Talk about conflicts of interest.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Julie Feasel insults former superintendent Davis

Julie Feasel is quoted in this week's edition of the OVN as stating that the district's new superintendent Lucas is "a breath of fresh air for the school district."

In her quest to be the consummate rhetorician, did she realize that her compliment to Lucas was also a backhand slap to Davis?

What was the stale air under Davis?

Feasel? Do you want to expound?


Note: Of course, Feasel is not really insulting Davis. She is simply showing how simple she is.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stop the Food Police Part 1 - My Food My Choice

Where will it end? Socialism, fascism, or fascialism? Regardless, our children will be impoverished and enslaved by the ruling class. -- Jim

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cutting in e-lines

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









Cutting in e-lines
Jim Fedako

A group of "Wiseguys" beat the CAPTCHA challenge in order to move closer to the front of virtual ticket lines. And they are now facing the standard federal prison sentence pile-on.

These four guys purchased quality tickets to events (such as Springsteen concerts, New York Yankees games, etc.) and resold them, earning $28.9 million along the way.

As I see it, what they did was no different, in an ethical sense, from the host of scams used to cut in line at a real ticket window ("I had to step out of line to give my brother my cell phone."). And the involvement of wire does nothing to change that.

More sophisticated for certain. And really rude. But is it worthy of decades in federal prison?

Monday, April 19, 2010

A government influenza

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









A government influenza
Jim Fedako

I recently received the 2009 Annual Report of my county's general health district. Splashed on the front page is the headline, "H1N1 Flu Campaign Breaks Local Records." Wow. I didn't realize the flu had such an impact in central Ohio. Or did it?

Turns out the records were not cases of the flu -- there were only 29 of those throughout the year. No, the records set were these (from the front page of the annual report):

  • The biggest immunization campaign (18,000+ doses of flu vaccine administered, and still counting)

  • The biggest single immunization clinic (2,404 persons served at Olentangy Liberty High School)

  • The biggest data entry project (every dose of the vaccine is being tracked in case of adverse reactions)

  • The biggest mobilization of volunteers (at least 71)


  • All for 29 cases. In a county of over 160,000 residents.

    H1N1 certainly had an impact -- it allowed the specter of big government to further haunt the soul of a once proud, independent region.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Obamacare = TiberiCare = RepubliCare

    By the way, Tiberi's "conservative" voting record is 40%. That makes him a good Democrat -- Jim


    I know some of you want to believe in the current Republican Party, but take a look at this excert from Dale Steinreich's excellent article on Mises.org (below). This is your Republican Party -- if the Dems don't get you, your own party will.


    "Obamacare," or More Accurately, ConservativeRepublicanCare

    When you actually look at the bill itself, it incorporates all sorts of Republican ideas … a lot of the ideas in terms of the exchange, just being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market, originated from the Heritage Foundation. (Barack Obama,
    NBC's Today Show, March 30, 2010)

    The latest chapter in US healthcare is one of the most surreal. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 was signed into law by Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Among many provisions, the act includes expanded Medicaid eligibility, prohibiting denials of coverage for preexisting conditions, and a requirement to purchase federally approved health insurance or pay a fine.

    While the content of the Act is summarized in myriad places, much more interesting is its conservative Republican origins. The Heritage Foundation's Stuart Butler, the intellectual behind urban enterprise zones, in Senate testimony in 2003 proposed a plan for universal healthcare coverage.
    [29] Here's one surprising portion of the testimony that sounds like it was uttered by a European socialist:

    In a civilized and rich country like the United States, it is reasonable for society to accept an obligation to ensure that all residents have affordable access to at least basic health care — much as we accept the same obligation to assure a reasonable level of housing, education and nutrition.

    Keep in mind that Butler is the conservative Heritage's
    current vice president of domestic and economic policy. No wonder Butler seems to have found a new admirer in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Butler again:

    The obligations on individuals does not have to be a "hard" mandate, in the sense that failure to obtain coverage would be illegal. It could be a "soft" mandate, meaning that failure to obtain coverage could result in the loss of tax benefits and other government entitlements. In addition, if federal tax benefits or other assistance accompanied the requirement, states and localities could receive the value of the assistance forgone by the person failing to obtain coverage, in order to compensate providers who deliver services to the uninsured family.

    Now "Obamacare" is certainly more than just a mandate, but the mandate is certainly what has conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, both of whom have
    connections to, if not sponsorship by, the Heritage Foundation, screaming bloody murder the most. There's no doubt that these ideas influenced Mitt Romney's healthcare plan in Massachusetts.

    Romney subjected himself to a recent interview by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that can only be described as a disaster.[30] O'Reilly dwelled on the fact that outside tax dollars funded half of the plan, and Romney agreed, adding that the funding was approved by two conservative Republican HHS secretaries, Tommy Thompson and Mike Leavitt. In response to a question, Romney admitted that he didn't know that emergency-room costs in Massachusetts had increased 17% over the last two years. He repeatedly asserted that the plan solved a problem, but he couldn't specify what it was since Massachusetts had the highest per capita costs both before the plan and after.

    As far as other conservative Republicans go, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has repeatedly stated that he sees "some good things" in Obamacare, especially the expanded use of Medicaid.

    Voters naïve enough to think they will get a complete repeal from the Republican Party appear to be in for a major disappointment. "Obamacare," with its continuance of socialized costs for private gains in American medicine, was the treatment that the conservative Republican doctor had in mind for some time. The problem is that the Democrats were the first to implement it.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Olentangy is working the next levy

    I hope no one attends this nonsense thinking facts will be on display.
    SCHOOL FINANCE 101 FREE OPPORTUNITY AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
    The Olentangy Local School District is proud to announce its first community education opportunity. This four-night class is free and open to the public.

    School funding has been a complex and emotional topic of debate in Ohio for more than a decade. You can begin to unlock the mysteries of school funding by attending School Finance 101 on April 22, May 6, May 20 and June 8 from 6 until 8 p.m. at Olentangy Liberty Middle School, 7940 Liberty Road in Powell.

    Presenters include Olentangy Superintendent Wade Lucas, Ed.D., and Treasurer Rebecca Jenkins, Hillsdale Local Schools Superintendent Joel Roscoe and TRECA Director of Financial Services Dee Cramer.. They, along with other external experts in the field, will cover topics including:
    * the history of Ohio school funding;
    * the current reality of school funding;
    * the Five-Year Financial Forecast document;
    * tax collection and disbursement;
    * levies and bond issues;
    * Olentangy Local Schools' finances; and
    * Olentangy expenditure reductions.

    Please join Olentangy Local Schools for this unique opportunity to learn more about school finance - an issue that affects every taxpayer, parent and child. For registration information, please visit www.olentangy.k12.oh.us or call (740) 657-4055. A flyer is also attached to this message.
    All you will get is a load of spin -- a big load of spin.

    Seriously, does anyone think the real reason for a new levy will even be mentioned? You all know what I am talking about: average salary increases that continue to exceed 6% per year, and benefits that are simply unreal.

    I'll cut to the chase and save you four evenings of premeditated agitprop. Ol' Wade-O and his sundry sycophants will blame the state ... even as they continue to convert your hard-earned property taxes into sweet raises and out-of-this-world benefits.

    If only the state would increase it's funding at a rate that offsets district salary and benefits increases. Then Wade-O would not have to bring out the dog and pony show. But that would mean we are finally over the rainbow.


    Save yourself from Wade-O and his drooling band of government tax consumers. Spend the evening watching CNN -- compared to Olentangy, CNN is fair and balanced.


    Note: Wade-O would rather you do not attend. See, the district benefits from staging this nonsense. It's good propaganda, er PR -- note the splash in this week's OVN. The district get no extra benefit if you attend. And you will get no benefit for attending.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Has John Boehner ever met the Constitution?

    Not according to this video. And he's the hope of the diehard Republicans. -- Jim

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Dave Yost gets it right ... well, almost

    It's not just the feds who want to poke waistlines, it's also his Republican party (including senate president Harris and former house speaker Husted). Regardless, Yost is correct with this post.
    A "shovel-ready" program: Hamilton County Gets $6.7 million for War on Obesity

    The federal government thinks you're too fat, so they're giving your money away to bureaucrats to make it easier for you to eat right and exercise. In the name of stimulating the economy, Congress is stretching Constitution's Commerce Clause farther than America's collective waistline.

    The
    press release announcing the grants said that the money "will provide communities with the resources to create healthy choices for residents."

    The notion that either the federal government or local communities can "create healthy choices" is an amazing idea. Choices exist as a function of liberty, which is not created by government.
    In this case, we already had healthy choices, not created by the federal government. Reach for an apple instead of the Doritos. Get up off the couch.

    The press release went on to say that the federal money will create choices by "increasing availability of healthy foods and beverages" and "improving access to safe places for physical activity." How, precisely, this will work, and why it is the business of the federal government, is left unsaid.

    Hamilton County received a $6.7 million grant -- part of $230 million in stimulus funds shoveled out to 30 communities around the country for the obesity war. (Who knew that the obesity war was "shovel ready"?) Hamilton County got the only Ohio grant - begging the question of whether the rest of the State is sufficiently trim for the taste of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The obesity war is part of a program called Communities Putting Prevention to Work. The CPPW also includes $30 million for the media - to "foster effective and hard-hitting prevention and wellness messages and advertisements."

    Now, it's a good idea to be fit. It's just not the federal government's job to make us so. Perhaps more importantly, we're out of money.

    This is going to be paid for with borrowed money, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. We've got enough pseuo-wars going on, but let's start one more: What American needs now is a War on Debt.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Earth Hour in the rearview mirror

    Another Earth Hour has come and gone. So what can we learn from the fourth iteration of this event?

    Earth Hour is a drain on resources. This is true since, if it were otherwise, companies that participated in the event would continue the practice of lights off after the event. So, clearly, the tangible costs of switching off lights are greater than the tangible benefits.

    And it follows that greater costs mean more resources were consumed (all types of resources). From this we know that the environment (as defined by the organizers) did not benefit.

    So why do companies participate?

    For some companies, participation is a goodwill gesture. And as far as it is a goodwill gesture, the companies and their owners benefit. When goodwill is involved, the decision to participate implies an efficient (or near efficient -- as far as any entrepreneurial decision can be known to be efficient ex ante) use of resources. Participation adds value.

    But I believe that some participation is due to fears of possible governmental interventions. Those involved in the organization, as well as supporting groups, have the potential to push for laws and regulations that would cost more than the once-per-year event. So companies participate in order to placate the organizers and their enforcer -- the societal apparatus of coercion and compulsion, even if for only one more year.

    Or maybe I'm just cynical.

    Thursday, April 08, 2010

    Life of an article -- version 2

    The editor said that quotes at the beginning are universally skipped. So back to Word for revision two. -- Jim
    note: Editors are (almost) universally correct. So I do not mind revising to be read.

    Peculiar Groups and Odd-Ball Theories


    Igor Shafarevich, the Soviet mathematician and critic of Marxism, made a very important observation in his classic book, The Socialist Phenomenon (1975). He said that peculiar little socialist groups debate for years about the details of their odd-ball social theories, and then, almost overnight, their ideas become widely believed, and societies are restructured in terms of them.“ Gary North, Marx’s Religion of Revolution

    “Are you really for free market health care knowing that children will die?” What a tough question, especially since the average questioner will only give you 30 seconds before switching subjects or walking away. But it is a question that serves as a bellwether of our current state of affairs.

    When I am feeling down because of the political landscape, I think of the quote above from North. Change one word and you have this bit of encouragement, “He said that peculiar little anarcho-libertarian groups debate for years about the details of their odd-ball social theories, and then, almost overnight, their ideas become widely believed, and societies are restructured in terms of them.”

    This is powerful. At the recent
    The Birth and Death of the Fed conference, I sat with three other Austrians in the hotel sitting room discussing the details of our supposedly odd-ball social theories -- the theories of free markets and liberty. Around us sat other peculiar little groups proposing various means for these very same theories to become widely believed once again, serving as the guiding lights for a near-overnight restructuring of society. While the theories we debated are still not mainstream, a tipping point of sorts may be near.

    It is likely that at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will once again see the ideas of free markets and liberty begin to take hold. And we will watch as societies start to restructure themselves without the burden of the oppressive state. However, a question arises: Will this restructuring occur due to political action?

    Politics is about today; tomorrow be damned. The politician wants to get elected and stay elected, and retire well off. He only cares about getting votes from constituents he abhors. He cares nothing of their lives, their struggles, or their successes.

    In the politician’s mind, he is of the vaunted political class, and his constituents are nothing more than groundlings to be manipulated and entertained by his double entendres and rhetorical sleights of hand. So it is no wonder that heartless politicians cannot stand the sight of the little folks, those whose votes decide the next coronation – the bestowing of the power and the prestige each politician so desperately desires.

    It is obvious that politics is not the answer. And neither is violent force – politics by other means. This is a nation conceived in the ideas of liberty. Given time, ideas would have won the day. But our Forefathers resorted to force. And by doing so, they birthed, so to speak, the desire for a new state – a powerful central authority to guide the several free states.

    Then, shortly thereafter, unable to control their fetish for a state, they went behind closed doors in an act of subterfuge and formed the so-called perfect union that secured the blessings of liberty to themselves alone, leaving their posterity to suffer under an ever-growing Leviathan – a Leviathan now larger by magnitudes than the one they had so-recently deposed.

    So what is the answer? Ideas, of course. Ideas have consequences, which, in the long-run, trump the politics of the day. Nevertheless, we are currently engaged in the battle over ideas. And as Mises so clearly stated, it is a battle we must all fight.
    “Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.” Ludwig von Mises, Socialism

    Back to the question at the top: “Are you really for free market health care knowing that children will die.” The question is a bellwether – its presence shows that we are still engaged in the great historical struggle which none of us asked for. But a struggle that is ours nonetheless

    So what is the correct response to the question? The answer is simple: Say anything that promotes liberty, just be accurate and consistent. Realize you will not win the day with a 30-second response. But you may inspire the occasional questioner to doubt the status quo and seek out the truth, and maybe even join those peculiar groups debating odd-ball theories.

    And always remember that each addition brings us that much closer to the tipping point and pending restructuring – and free markets and liberty.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2010

    The life of an article

    Over the next few days I will be posting versions of an article that I submitted for publication. Sometimes I hit a home run and get it right the first time, while other times I have to work my way around the bases.

    Here is the first version which the editor thought had a slow start. And he is right. -- Jim


    A Peculiar Tent of Social Theories

    Igor Shafarevich, the Soviet mathematician and critic of Marxism, made a very important observation in his classic book, The Socialist Phenomenon (1975). He said that peculiar little socialist groups debate for years about the details of their odd-ball social theories, and then, almost overnight, their ideas become widely believed, and societies are restructured in terms of them.“ Gary North, Marx’s Religion of Revolution

    Q: What do you get when three Christians and an atheist converse by the fireplace of a hotel sitting room?

    A: If they are all Austrians at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel during the
    The Birth and Death of the Fed conference, you get a thought-provoking and lively discussion. And you get a view of the big tent that is the movement for liberty.

    The question posed by the atheist was simple, but the answer was not. The atheist asked, “In a political debate with a socialist, how can the Christian libertarian politician respond to ‘Are you really for free market health care knowing that children will die?’”

    We, the Christians, were stumped. However, the atheist did not have us since he was stumped as well. It was a discussion, not a debate. We all searched for an answer, but could not find one.

    Keep in mind the situation we created for our hypothetical political debate: Your opponent ended his rebuttal of your response to a health care question posed by the moderator with, “Are you really for free market health care knowing that children will die?” You opponent is looking at you. The moderator is looking at you. Everyone is looking at you.

    You have 30 seconds to respond, not enough time to breeze through
    Human Action or touch on Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. Not even time for a quick lesson in Bastiat’s unseen. No, you have to come up with a 30-second response to win the day. And your time is already counting down.

    When I am feeling down because of the current political landscape, I think of the quote from North above. Change one word and you have this bit of encouragement, “He said that peculiar little anarcho-libertarian groups debate for years about the details of their odd-ball social theories, and then, almost overnight, their ideas become widely believed, and societies are restructured in terms of them.”

    This is powerful. The four of us – a peculiar little group, indeed – sat by the fire discussing the details of our supposedly odd-ball social theories; the theories of free markets and liberty. And we proposed various means to realize the dream of our theories becoming widely believed once again, the guiding lights for an overnight grand restructuring of society.

    It is possible that at some point in the near future, we will see liberty take hold. And we will watch societies restructure themselves without the burden of the oppressive state. However, a question arises: Will this restructuring occur due to political action?

    Politics is about today; tomorrow be damned.

    The politician wants to get elected and stay elected, and retire well off. He only cares about getting votes from constituents he abhors. He cares nothing of their lives, their struggles, or their successes.

    In the politician’s mind, he is of the vaunted political class, and his constituents are nothing more than groundlings to be manipulated and entertained by his double entendres and rhetorical sleights of hand. So it is no wonder that heartless politicians cannot stand the sight of the little folks, those whose vote decides who gets the power and the prestige the politicians so desperately desire.

    Politics is not the answer. And neither is violent force – politics by other means. This nation was conceived in the ideas of liberty. Ideas would have won the day, given time. But our Forefathers resorted to force. By doing so, they created the beginning of the state. And shortly thereafter formed the perfect union which secured the blessings of liberty for themselves alone, leaving their posterity with an ever-growing Leviathan.

    So what is the answer? The answer is ideas. Ideas have consequences, which, in the long-run, trump the politics of the day.

    The battle is over ideas. And as Mises so clearly stated, it is a battle we must all fight.

    “Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.” Ludwig von Mises, Socialism

    Back to sitting room on Jekyll Island. What was the correct response to the question posed by the socialist? The answer is simple: Say anything that promotes liberty, just be accurate and consistent. And realize that you will not win the day in the political arena. But you may inspire some members of the audience to question the status quo and seek out the truth (think Ron Paul during his presidential campaign).

    The sufficient response to the socialist’s question will take more than 30 seconds. It will take time to educate members of the audience in the science of economics and the ideas of liberty. It is the great historical struggle which none of us asked for. But it is ours nonetheless. So drag anyone you can under the tent of liberty, a tent growing bigger by the day.

    We will easily win political debates with the socialists (and fascist, and all the other –ists) when our odd-ball social theories of liberty are once again widely believed. In the meantime, educate, educate, educate.