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