A friend sent this to me by email. I thought it was a hoax. Surely aprents will fight back on this. Do we need any more reasons to end public education?
Entries in public education (23)
I'm afraid that decades of public education have convinced most Americans that government intervention in the form of a strong welfare state is necessary, especially with the global economy becoming so complex as technology moves faster than government schools can keep up. Many Americans will be unemployed even when the economy recovers because they don't possess the knowledge and skills required to perform 21st century jobs. Even those with education and job security grew up with constant appeals to government for more help with poverty, recessions, unemployment, healthcare, equality and welfare in general.
Our government wasn't always a welfare state. FDR and LBJ did more than the rest to establish the welfare state we have today, but the welfare state was seeded from the beginning. Hardly anyone asks anymore if the welfare state is working. A few people write books every now and then about the inefficiency of the welfare system, but I don't know of any influential thinkers who are suggesting that government be limited and prevented from involving itself in welfare. Most Americans can't imagine what would happen if government didn't provide welfare services.
I don't see think-tanks micro-modeling private sector arrangements which could replace the welfare system. If we're ever going to enable others to see the possibility of private sector charity/assistance replacement of the welfare state, then models will have to be built and recommended to the American people. Is the welfare state doing more damage on the whole than good? I don't know if enough research is being done to answer this question.
If libertarian thought is to have influence beyond the small faction of those who self-identify as libertarians, then welfare must be addressed and innovative alternatives must be developed. A good project to fund for wealthy donors looking to have an impact on resistance to statism would be a research project to develope innovative ideas that could emerge in the private sector to deal with those in society who have a difficult time getting started, or those who can't help themselves, or those who find themselves unemployed, or those who need temporary assistance for a varity of reason. It's one thing to say that spontaneous order will take care of the needs, but giving people a peek at what this might look like would be very helpful. Perhaps insurance experts could be persuaded to develope comprehensive insurance plans that cover most safety net concerns.
With our government and the individual states falling deeper in debt, new ideas are needed to avoid an eventual collapse. All politicians are fond of saying they want to help the people, the poor and middle class, but if they're serious about helping others then they'll start thinking of ways to avoid a collapse --a collapse which will the hurt the poor and middle class much more than the politicians and their wealthy donors. Brave politicians must level with the American people about the true nature of welfare/warfare state and the need for private sector replacement solutions for statist failures. As we're thinking of ways to replace the welfare state, perhaps we can brainstorm around private education solutions also.
There's a huge distance from the statist sytem we have now to a public which really understands the need for strict limits on government power. I've studied libertarianism for over 20 years, so, to me, the principles are clear, but when I talk to others I realize they fully expect government to intervene in the economy -- they think that elections are about deciding what kinds of interventions we want. Hardly anyone I talk with can imagine a truly free market and a strictly limited government. When the idea is brought up to someone who's never really considered the possibility, they stop and stare off for a few seconds, then they say something like --- well, how would be able to_______ ---- you can fill in the blank.
It's really going to take a lot of re-education for people to envision a free market, and to accept that a free market doesn't mean that poor people are left to die in the streets, or that rivers will be filled with filth, or that our drinking water will kill us. The State has done a good job spreading propaganda and stopping any limited government movement in its tracks. The State has done such a good job that the Right is careful to not defend free markets too enthusiastically or explicitly, always assuring those concerned about the evils of "unfettered capitalism" that the welfare/warfare state and entitlements are safe, and that the Right loves the environment to, and, yes, regulations are needed, blah, blah, blah.
The supposed defenders of limited government and a free market don't understand the concepts themselves well enough to explain them and start the education process. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who can talk the language and explain the ideas, and he could do a much better job. It's a philosophical explanation and politicians are like everyone else -- they hate philosophy and practice pragmatism. So, Republicans find pragamtic ways to curb statism where they can -- they've reduced their efforts to trying to minimize the harm of interventions. Republicans don't know how to ariticulate a vision of an alternative to the welfare/warfare state. Republicans will say they are for "small" government, but this relates only to efficiency, not to limits on power. A "small" government can be as interventionist as a Big Government. Republicans say Democrats want government to tell us how to spend our money, but they, the Republicans, believe we know best how to spend our money. What does this mean, though? What type of tax system is best for a free market and limited government? Is the Federal Reserve legitimate in a free market with a limited government? What is the relationship between national defense and a free market with a limited government?
What about public education? Republicans are satisfied with tweaking the public education system, trying to instill conservative principles, whatever that means, but should the government provide eduation? Should the government be involved in healthcare? Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but do they want to replace it with free market healthcare, keeping government out of healthcare all together? No, they don't. Until Republicans learn what limited government and a free market mean, they will not represent opposition to Democrats, and they won't be able to articulate an alternate vision of the future. Being less-statist than Democrats will not bring about the systemic changes we need. The Republican Party has a chance in 2012 to do something spectacular and present an inspirational vision for America, but if they continue this timid, pretend opposition which is nothing but cost efficient statism, Republicans will fail to take the opportunity to create real change, and we'll have to start a third party and hope there's enough time to do something before a major financial collapse.
The US State machine has been powerful for a long time, starting in earnest to become a superpower at the turn of the 20th century. Now the State is under attack from a faction of the public, from States who would love to see us fail, and from reality. As the State flails about, it relies on interventionist/coercive government to repel the threats, thus Obama arrogantly said today that America is a triple A State regardless of what S&P says. It's defiance.
Too much is invested in the State machine for it to weakly decline into irrelevance, and the whole liberal/progressive movement on the Left depends on a very strong State -- so does the Big Government, Republican establishment. Media giants of the past are floundering, and judging from Newsweek's front-cover photo of Michelle Bachmann, they've run out of ideas -- all they have left are adolescent pranks and talking points.
The 21st century is log-jammed by government intervention in the economy and the slog of mideast wars, yet we have a nation of productive people ready to expand the economy and compete in the global market, although many are poorly prepared due to the failure of public education and welfare policies. It's evident at the State level no one is ready to give up control, and the representatives the people sent to Washington in the midterm elections to break up Washington political business as usual are under attack from all components of the State machine.
Our government has set up a system that has made trillions of dollars of entitlement promises on which they can't possibly deliver, yet there's no will to admit to the American people that entitlements were a terrible mistake and have to be reformed or transformed. Although some politicians have admitted that the entitlement situation is untenable, they say that a fews tweaks will fix the problems. But with HCR coming on line, it will require much more than tweaks to avoid a future of nation-crushing debt.
American businesses are afraid to invest in such a risky economy, yet many of these businesses, especially large corporations, are dependent on a powerful State, and they have partnered with government to prevent a free market. In essence, companies like GE and Goldman Sachs are parts of the State machine, as newer companies like Google jump on board. Unions and minorities play a supportive role in maintaining the State machine, yet they're losing ground in this economy. Each of these parts of the State machine blame the Republicans, especially the limited government representatives, but the State has not been rolled back, so blaming supporters of limited government makes no sense. There are not enough limited government representives to stop the establishment in our two party, statist system.
What the component parts the State machine are experiencing is statist decline, a failing system they've built and supported. This blindness to systemic failure is blocking the nation from going forward. Just as in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, America is in statist decline, and if we don't do something soon, half the world is going to be in the biggest financial collpase the world has ever witnessed. It doesn't have to be this way.
For the last decade, at least, I've heard the meme regarding the declining middle class. To start with, we're now in a recession, so, many people are experiencing financial pain, but in 2008, before the recession really hit hard, the "declining middle class" meme was answered by research such as this -- http://stats.org/stories/2008/myth_decline_middle_june9_08.html -- from George Mason University, and the findings reveal a more complicated story. But for the sake of this post, as I promised in the previous post, I will address the current meme that rich billionaires like the Koch Brothers are out to savage the middle class. In other words, many on the Left believe that the wealthy among us who are making loads of cash are hurting the middle class, and that Governors like Scott Walker who were backed by the Koch Brothers have been bought-off to break public unions and thus hurt the middle class.
This is an adolescent charge that doesn't make much sense when you think about it. What benefit can the wealthy receive from destroying the middle class? Most people who are rich own businesses, or they run businesses, and they need paying customers or clients. I suppose you could make the case that corporations are trying to lower labor costs to China's level so they can compete in the global economy, but most new employment over the last decade have been created by small businesses. However, wages will not be lowered to the level of China's labor costs, and corporations can't succeed on exports alone -- they need paying customers and clients in America, and a healthy middle class means that people are spending with confidence, and hopefully they are receiving good educations in order to meet the demand for high-skilled labor. If poverty increases in America, this means taxes on the wealthy will rise to take care of the poor, so the wealthy don't want more poverty -- it's ridiculous. There's simply no motive for the wealthy to destroy the middle class.
However, it would not necessarily be a bad thing for American wages to adjust so that American companies can be more competitive in a global market, but this would only be good if prices also fell, so that after paying living expenses workers are at least no worse off -- they could even be better off if prices fell further than wages. American companies can also compete globally by increasing productivity and efficiency and by finding niche markets where Americans excel through innovation and quality. There are major changes going on the global market, and if we can get government intervention out of the way, the adjustment will be less painful.
If the middle class is feeling squeezed, it's mainly due to government intervention, antiquated union ideas and tactics, and the middle class itself electing representatives who have bought votes through give-aways that have created a mountain of debt. The middle class has asked the government to do too much, and the government willingly did it, and much more. In many ways we've become a weak, dependent people who blame others for our problems. In many other ways, the State has grabbed power that citizens never agreed to, and now we have a giant, powerful, out-of-control State machine running everything. I'm charitably including myself as I write "we", but to be honest, I've fought against this development of statism. I've become dependent because the State now controls things that I have to access -- we're all dependent-- but it can be different. I think it has to be different if the middle class is going to get back on the track of growth and prosperity.
The middle class's biggest problem right now is a statist system of government which has created uncertainty in American businesses. Businesses have to know what their costs are going to be before they begin investing, growing and hiring in any meaningful way. This has been stated ad nauseum, but no one is doing anything about the system -- instead, unions are digging in their heels and demanding that businesses keep giving. This will go nowhere -- it will only run business overseas, or keep them in a holding pattern. Part of the statist system failure has been the enmeshment of Big Business with Big Government. The first order of business in creating a limited government and free market would be to ban all government subsidies and favoritism, then regulations have to be dealt with because regulations help big corporations who can afford to meet the regulations while small businesses can't.
Once we've changed the statist system by limiting government and separating State and Economy, then free competition will allow small and medium size businesses to whittle down the large corporations who've been propped up by government. A free market will also spur innovation to address global economy demands, thus creating many more small businesses which will need good workers. But companies going forward need educated workers, so our education problem also has to be dealt with -- public education needs to transition to private education. Whatever it takes, the private sector locally should find a way to offer education to everyone, even those who can't afford it, because without tackling this problem, there will be little economic progress in America, and we'll definitely become a third rate nation of haves and have-nots. This is a tough problem, but until we take education out of the hands of the government, there will be little change.
The middle class will be fine if we break the dependence on government and create our own future. Nothing gets done without doers. Also, it pays to keep in mind that when anyone produces new wealth, that's wealth that didn't exist before, it wasn't taken away from anyone. An educated, prepared, creative middle class can build their own wealth, just like evil rich people.