Reason # 1,725 Why Government-Run Schools Make Me Sick–by Michael J. Hurd

Students at an Ohio middle school were asked to decide who they would leave behind if the world was about to end, using age, religion and other descriptions as markers for their decisions.

The assignment sparked widespread uproar.

“Whom to Leave Behind” asked students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls to choose eight out of 12 people to put into a space ship and take to a different planet because the world was ending, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Choices included a homosexual pro athlete, a militant African-American medical student and a female movie star who was a victim of sexual assault. [Source: Fox News online]

Government-run schools do not exist to teach children how to think. They exist to teach children WHAT to think. And this ridiculous exercise serves as yet another example.

The purpose of the exercise is clear: To shame and moralize students who give the “wrong” answer.

A reader of mine wrote me the following:

Notice that the criteria for who gets ‘left behind’ doesn’t include a single word about the moral stature, virtues, or values of the individuals. Just what color they are, what their jobs are, or what their victim status is. Hm…Should we take the Papuan vegan lesbian who was recently raped?

Eloquently put!

That’s my main objection, too. Why are the distinguishing attributes of the people you’re asked to save demographic variables over which the person has no control? Who cares what the race, sexual orientation or sexual abuse status of the potential victims are?

Why rig the question in this way? If you’re going to ask the question at all, why not ask students what qualities they’d look for in deciding who to save? And if you’re going to rig the question, why not do so with rational and universal values rather than ones only important to leftist twits who inhabit Manhattan and San Francisco?

The question actually is rather sick. It implies that life is a zero-sum game where sooner or later, somebody will have to be sacrificed. That’s the leftist, “liberal”, collectivist and Communistic outlook on life. They have nothing to offer us. Only despair — from which they will conveniently rescue us, provided we give them unlimited funds and power.

Notice how there’s no room for another point-of-view–the uplifiting, individualistic and rational one that would put qualities such as character, intelligence and integrity on a much higher plane than sexual orientation and race.

We’ve got to get rid of government-run schools. At least in a free market for education, parents and students would have alternatives to this diabolical trash.

We’re destroying our civilization by indoctrinating the vast majority of kids in schools with the idiotic, shallow and illogical values and standards of progressives.

I say this in the most atheistic spirit imaginable: God help us all.

Why Intellectuals Hate Capitalism – Reason.com

Intellectuals have always disdained commerce,” says Whole Foods Market co-founder John Mackey. They “have always sided with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kept down.” Having helped create the global grocery chain intellectuals arguably like best, Mackey has evolved into one of capitalism’s most persuasive champions, making the moral, practical, and even spiritual case that free exchange ennobles all who participate.

More than any other retailer, Whole Foods has reconfigured what and how America eats. Since opening its first store in Austin, Texas, in 1980, the company has helped its customers develop a taste for high-quality meats, produce, cheeses, and wines, as well as for information about where all the stuff gets sourced. Mackey, 62, continues to set the pace for what’s expected in organic and sustainably harvested food.

Because of Whole Foods’ educated customer base and because Mackey is himself a vegan and a champion of collaboration between management and workers, it’s easy to mistake him for a progressive left-winger. Indeed, an early version of Jonah Goldberg’s bestselling 2008 book Liberal Fascism even bore the subtitle “The Totalitarian Temptation from Hegel to Whole Foods.”

Yet that misses the radical vision of capitalism at the heart of Mackey’s thought. A high-profile critic of the minimum wage, Obamacare, and the regulatory state, Mackey believes that free markets are the best way not only to raise living standards but to create meaning for individuals, communities, and society. At the same time, he challenges a number of libertarian dogmas, including the notion that publicly traded companies should always seek to exclusively maximize shareholder value. Conscious Capitalism, the 2013 book he co-authored with Rajendra Sisodia, lays out a detailed vision for a post-industrial capitalism that addresses spiritual desire as much as physical need.

Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie talked with Mackey earlier this summer at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. To see the full video, go to reason.com. (Disclosure: Whole Foods Market is a supporter of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this magazine.)

reason: You believe capitalism is not only the greatest wealth creator but helps poor people get rich. But you see it as constantly being misrepresented, even by its champions. Why is capitalism under attack?

John Mackey: Intellectuals have always disdained commerce. That is something that tradesmen did—people that were in a lower class. Minorities oftentimes did it, like you had the Jews in the West. And when they became wealthy and successful and rose, then they were envied, they were persecuted and their wealth confiscated, and many times they were run out of country after country. Same thing happened with the Chinese in the East. They were great businesspeople as well.

So the intellectuals have always sided with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kept down. You might say that capitalism was the first time that businesspeople caught a break. Because of Adam Smith and the philosophy that came along with that, the industrial revolution began this huge upward surge of prosperity.

reason: Is it a misunderstanding of what business does? Is it envy? Is it a lack of capacity to understand that what entrepreneurs do, or what innovators do, is take a bunch of things that might not be worth much separately and then they transform them? What is the root of the antagonism toward commerce?

Mackey: It’s sort of where people stand in the social hierarchy. If you live in a more business-oriented society, like the United States has been, then you have these businesspeople, who [the intellectuals] don’t judge to be very intelligent or well-educated, having lots of money—and they begin to buy political power with it, and they rise in the social hierarchy. Whereas the really intelligent people, the intellectuals, are less important. And I don’t think they like that.

(Interview trancript continues below.)

That’s one of the main reasons the intellectuals have usually disdained commerce. They haven’t seen it [as a] dynamic, creative force, because they measure themselves against these people, and they think they’re superior, and yet in the social hierarchy they’re not seen as more important. I think that drives them crazy.

reason: A lot of the times the businesspeople are plucky upstarts—they’re innovators, they’re disruptive, and they’re fighting against the power. But once they get to a certain point of influence or power, they often start to try and rig the market or freeze the market in their favor. Why is that?

Mackey: I don’t know if it’s a psychological switch so much as that they weren’t necessarily grounded in the philosophy of capitalism. They weren’t necessarily advocates of the free market. They were just advocates of their own advancement, their own personal enrichment. And so I think oftentimes, they don’t make a distinction between when they’re entrepreneurs on the way up versus when they’ve arrived. They’re attempting to not fall, so they try to rig the game, and we have crony capitalism.

reason: We live in an age where there are an unbelievable amount of government mandates that restrict the ability of business owners and employees to really negotiate about stuff. Some are things as obvious as the minimum wage, where it says, “Under no circumstances can a business offer somebody less than this amount.” How do these affect your ability to run a business in an extremely competitive market?

Mackey: The impetus behind so many of these types of regulations in the workplace is, in a sense, to shackle business again—to get it back under the control of the intellectuals. Just like commerce: If you study the history of business, you will see that most of the time in our history, commerce was controlled by the aristocrats. The merchants were kept under their thumb. And now they’ve escaped and we have this free-market ideology that says the market should determine all these things. They’re systematically undermining that marketplace to get business back, get the genie back in the bottle.

Of course, that will stifle innovation. It’ll stifle the dynamic creative destruction of capitalism. But I don’t think they’re thinking about it that way. They’re very concerned about the motives of business, and they see it as this selfish, greedy, exploitative thing. Businesspeople can’t be trusted, markets aren’t just, they’re not fair, so we need to intervene, we need to control this situation.

Is Happiness Possible ?

The following essay was written by Dr. Michael J. Hurd, at drhurd.com.  His work can be found on his website’s “Daily Dose of Reason,” as well his many books.  He is a practicing psychotherapist.

How do you know if your standard of happiness is realistic?

I hear a lot of people asking, “Do I want too much?”

I know of two ways to answer this question.

Does somebody you know, or know about, have what you want? Does the evidence support your perception? If so, then you know it’s possible. While the fact someone else has what you want does not guarantee you can have it, it shows you it’s possible. There’s nothing in the laws of nature to prevent it.

Second, form a hypothesis. Decide what you want and then break it down. “What would 10 percent of what I want look like?” Then hypothesize or speculate how long it will take you to get it. Come up with a critical path or plan for obtaining it.

Then stop worrying or wondering. Simply execute your plan over time.

Either you’ll get the 10 percent, or you won’t. But half the battle is trying, and most failure to attain results from lack of trying.

Caution: There are no guarantees. But there are almost always possibilities. People give up on the possibilities, and that’s why they become depressed, sad or hopeless.

It’s not, “I didn’t get what I want and now I’m depressed.” Most of the time, the truth is much closer to, “I gave up on what I wanted, and now I’m depressed.”

When people feel depressed, they mourn their loss of hope more than the fact they know they tried their best and failed. And those who try their best generally accomplish more than expected, if not everything.

It’s giving up that kills people more than not getting.

What I’m saying applies to the material or the non-material. It applies equally to things, wealth or attributes of skill, intelligence or virtue.

As psychological theorist Aaron Beck once wrote, man is a practical scientist in everyday life. Using reason and applying it to our lives and emotions makes both logical and psychological sense.

If only more people did this, the world would be infinitely better. The good news is you can make your own life better right now by doing it.

Good Globalism vs. Bad Globalism

Globalism” and “globalization,” are terms that suffer from a lack of any precise definition. The terms are used freely by a wide variety of commentators to mean both good and bad things — many of which are opposites of each other. Sometimes globalism means lowering trade barriers. Other times it means aggressive foreign policy through international organizations like NATO. Other times it means supporting a global bureaucracy like the United Nations.

This lack of precision was recently featured in The New York Times with Bret Stephens’s column “In Praise of Globalists.” Stephens however, also fails to make any serious attempt at defining globalism. He feigns an attempt to define globalism, but in the end, it turns out the column is just a means of making fun of Trump voters and rubes who don’t subscribe to Stephens’s allegedly cosmopolitan views.

Stephens tells us that globalists want to “make the world a better place,” thus implying that non-globalists don’t.  We’re informed that globalists value military alliances and free trade. But given that Stephen’s isn’t willing to define these terms or tell us how these institutions are used to make the world “a better place,” we’re still left wondering if globalism is a good thing. When international alliances are used to justify the dropping of bombs on civilians or turning Iraq into a basket-case and safe haven for al Qaeda, is that making the world a better place? When the EU uses “free trade” agreements as a means to crush entrepreneurs under the weight of a thousand taxes and regulations, is that making the world a better place?

Globalism: Conflating both Pro-Market and Anti-Market Forces

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Globalism has long been a heavily abused term that includes everything from lowering taxes to waging elective wars. For critics on the right, globalism must be suspect because so many center-left politicians are regarded as “globalists.”  Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are all regarded as dyed-in-the-wool globalists who also advocate for greater government control of markets.

Simultaneously, “globalists” have also long been attacked by anti-capitalists. They see globalism as working hand-in-hand with “neoliberals” who are impoverishing the world by pushing for the spread of market forces, free trade, and support for less government intervention in daily life.

These critics of so-called neoliberalism therefore attack organizations widely perceived to be “globalist” like the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization. Unfortunately, though, the critics attack these organizations for the wrong reasons. These globalist organizations deserve to be criticized, but not because they push some aspects of economic liberalization that are actually good. They should be criticized because they primarily act as political organizations that enhance the ability of some powerful states to intimidate and politically manipulate other, less powerful states.

This merging of free trade, military interventionism, and bureaucratic politicking under one umbrella of “globalism” ends up confusing the issue of globalism almost beyond repair.

But there is still hope for the term.

Historically, Globalism Is the Ideology of Peace and Freedom

Historically, it is important to remember that globalism is intimately connected to liberalism, the ideology of freedom and free trade.

It is not a coincidence that one of the nineteenth century’s most effective proponents of liberalism was Richard Cobden, who fought tirelessly against both trade barriers and against aggressive foreign policy. Cobden can be credited with waging an effective ideological war against the mercantilism of his day which was characterized by nationalist ideas in which both economic success and military security were zero sum games that required highly interventionist government institutions.

Cobden’s program, instead, was one of peace and free trade, which was then rightly regarded as a program of internationalism. Thomas Woords notes:

Although Cobden’s program would doubtless be stigmatized in our day as “isolationism,” free economic intercourse and cultural exchange with the world can hardly be described as isolation. In his day, in fact, Cobden was appropriately dubbed the “International Man.” And that, indeed, is what he was. Peace, free trade, and nonintervention — these ideas, Cobden believed, were not simply the ideological commitments of one particular party, but rather the necessary ingredients for the progress and flourishing of civilization.

We might say Richard Cobden was one of the first true European globalists. Cobden was further supported by the great French free-trader and anti-socialist Frédéric Bastiat who relentlessly called for the free flow of of goods while denouncing efforts by government institutions to “mold mankind” or impose regimentation on the population.

Thus, the liberals of the nineteenth century who supported greater freedom of movement in both workers and goods, and non-interventionist foreign policy, might be perplexed were they to see what passes for “globalism” today.

We are often told, even by pro-market globalists, that we need international organizations like the WTO to “ensure” that free trade prevails. This has always been a less-than-convincing claim. As Carmen Dorobăț has shown, there is not any actual evidence that the WTO really lowers trade barriers. Freedom in trade has grown more outside the WTO framework than within it.  All that is necessary to reap the benefits of free trade is to unilaterally remove barriers to trade. 

The European Commission meanwhile might facilitate trade within its trade bloc, but it acts as an enormous impediment to truly free and global trade.

Even worse is the foreign policy of the new globalists who support an endless number of wars and military interventions on “humanitarian” grounds. Enormous military bureaucracies like NATO, amazingly, are considered to be “globalist” organizations as well.

Political Globalism vs. Economic Globalism 

If we wish to end this confusion, though, we need to separate political globalism from economic globalism.

When we do this, we find that economic globalism is a force for enormous good in the world, but political globalism is primarily a tool for increasing the power of states.

As to economic globalism, we can see that again and again that the free flow of goods and services, unimpeded by states, improves international relations and increases standards of living.  Where governments have increasingly joined the “globalized” economy, extreme poverty declines while health and well being increases.  Latin American states that have embraced trade and freer economies, for example, have experienced growth. Those states that stick to the regimented economies of old continue to stagnate.  These benefits, however, can be — and have been — achieved by decentralized, unilateral moves toward free trade and deregulated economies. No international bureaucracy is necessary.

This is economic globalization: opening up the benefits of global trade, entrepreneurship, and investment to a larger and larger share of humanity.

Meanwhile, political globalization is an impediment to these benefits: Political globalists at the World Health Organization, for example, spend their days releasing reports on how people shouldn’t eat meat and how we might regulate such behavior in the future. Political globalists hatch new schemes to drive up the cost of living for poor people in the name of preventing climate change. Meanwhile, the World Bank issues edicts on how to “modernize”economies by increasing tax revenues — and thus state power — while imposing new regulations.

It’s essential to make these distinctions. Economic globalism brings wealth. Political globalism brings poverty.

Economic globalism is about getting government out the way. It’s about laissez-faire, being hands, off, and promoting the freedom to innovate, trade, and associate freely with others.

Political globalism, on the other hand, is about control, rules, central planning, and coercion.

Some careless observers may lump all this together and declare “globalism” to be a wonderful thing. But when we pay a little more attention to the details, things aren’t quite so clear. —by Ryan McMaken, Ludwig von Mises Institute

Is Secession Legal? | An Open Letter to Attorney General Sessions

No, Mr. Attorney-General, secession and nullification are not settled law.  Laws against nullification and secession are the illegitimate offspring of the Civil War.

The Founders were secessionists, no Mr. Sessions?  Were you asleep during your 6th grade history class as much you are today?  Every government that exceeds its constitutionally mandated powers is illegitimate.  As such, the states are free to go.  Haven’t you noticed that the federal government has completely trashed the Tenth Amendment guaranteeing the states and the people the power of authority over those powers not granted the federal government under Article 1, Section 8?  When you assert that federal law is the supreme law of the land, are you declaring in essence that the Tenth Amendment is null and void?  If so, you are a feckless traitor.
I would under ordinary and legitimate circumstances agree with your position on California’s “sanctuary state” laws and its openly impeding the enforcement of federal immigration laws.  The Constitution is quite clear that immigration is an authorized power of the federal government under Article 1, Section 8.
But given the fact that the federal government has exceeded the powers authorized by USC Article 1, Section 8, so egregiously, so flagrantly and in so many ways over so many years, and all but ignored our sacred Tenth Amendment, it is clear that our government is illigimate, and that under the circumstances, I cannot support your stance.
I suggest you read the attached essay.  You might learn something.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/is-secession-legal/

Capitalism Gets No Respect and No Thanks (von Mises)

It’s so true. In today’s world a pedophile gets more respect than a capitalist. Everything we have, including the money to support government at every level, is made possible by capitalism. Government cannot create wealth; it can only redistribute it or destroy it. Every dime the government has has been generated by the private ( i.e. capitalist) sector. So if you’re getting food stamps, or welfare in any other form, you have capitalism to thank for it.

Capitalism, it turns out, is the ultimate form of social justice.   But, you’ll never hear this from the lame-stream media, or even the most ardent conservative/libertarian politicians. Nor will you hear it in any of the hallowed halls of academia. Should anyone dare challenge the prevailing campus ideology, they risk ostracism, threats to persons and property, loss of employment, administrative disciplinary action, or even bodily harm.

In any corner of the world, you’ll find few, if any, open supporters of capitalism or free enterprise.  It’s just too risky to your life and livelihood.

We all owe a debt of the gratitude to the late economist/philosopher, Ludwig von Mises (29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973).  Von Mises, along with Carl Menger and Friedrich Hayek, is one of the founding fathers of the Austrian School of Economics. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on behalf of classical liberalism. He is best known for his work on praxeology, a study of human choice and action.

His masterpiece,  Human Action, is considered the very best economics text by lovers of liberty everywhere.  His crowning achievement was his induction into the Artful Dilettante Hall of Fame in 2016.  He was among the original inductees.

Capitalism Gets No Respect and No Thanks (von Mises)

Benjamin Franklin on the Welfare State

“I fear the giving mankind a dependence on anything for support in age or sickness, besides industry and frugality during youth and health, tends to flatter our natural indolence, to encourage idleness and prodigality, and thereby to promote and increase poverty, the very evil it was intended to cure.”

— Ben Franklin, quoted in Benjamin Franklin: An American Life  by Walter Isaacson