[T]hese [high-stakes political struggles for who gets taught what] are inevitable so long as we treat the public schools as an oh-so-necessary medium for transmitting a largely non-existent common culture that we then fight each other to define. And they’ll continue so long as control of the curriculum is a political plum with which to court interest groups. Far better to keep education options open, so that we can teach our kids our own values, and our own ideas about the world. Then they can debate with one another, and come to their own conclusions, without an official version mandated by politicians.
[T]hese [high-stakes political struggles for who gets taught what] are inevitable so long as we treat the public schools as an oh-so-necessary medium for transmitting a largely non-existent common culture that we then fight each other to define. And they’ll continue so long as control of the curriculum is a political plum with which to court interest groups.
Far better to keep education options open, so that we can teach our kids our own values, and our own ideas about the world. Then they can debate with one another, and come to their own conclusions, without an official version mandated by politicians.
Precisely. As I’ve noted previously: “if you, like me, resent the politicization of what is being taught in schools, then you must advocate an end to the government’s involvement in education. Otherwise, you can expect those who pay into and use the system to want to have a say in how it is run.”
In dismissing a motion by the NCAA to prevent football and men’s basketball players from legally pursuing a cut of live broadcast revenues, a federal court judge Tuesday raised the stakes for the governing body of college sports as it defends its economic model.
Judge Claudia Wilken issued her ruling Tuesday, rejecting the NCAA’s motion that players in the antitrust suit led by former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon should be precluded from advancing their lawsuit on procedural grounds.
The NCAA had objected to the players amending their lawsuit last year to claim a share of all television game revenues, not just those from rebroadcasts.
“Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability that’s based on the billions of dollars in revenue instead of tens or hundreds of millions,” said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “It’s a more accurate context for what the players deserve.”
People have wrongly tended to reduce the debate to more gun ownership or more gun control. It’s clear where the Obama administration wants to take this: toward more centralized control and fewer gun rights. The right responds by pointing to the example of Israel where teachers are heavily armed. That’s the choice the mainstream gives us.
Actually, the framing of the whole debate is wrong. It is not about whether teachers should be armed or whether guns should be banned for everyone but state-employed cops. The real issue is whether any institution in society is going to be in charge of its own security, and not be forced to obey the government’s plan.
Schools face a problem not different in kind from any other issue of security affecting banks, convenience stores, jewelry stores, theaters, homes, or churches. All these institutions are constantly threatened with violence from random sources. They must all make judgments about the risk of violence and how best to deal with it. There is no one aggregate solution that applies in every case. Each institution needs to determine security for itself. …
Does this figure into the calculation that would-be killers make as they plot their malicious acts? Certainly. Advertising a place as gun-free by law is an invitation to killers. The law says to them that if they can get in, they will have a monopoly on violence. No efforts at defense will be available on the premises to protect the teachers and the kids. I don’t see how it could be controversial to suggest that this law is a very bad idea.
To be sure, these killings might have happened anyway. Dealing with violence was the last thing on anyone’s mind in this quiet and prosperous community school. All the events might have transpired as they did regardless. The point is that the law removes viable options for the school in dealing with security concerns. It says: We, the government, know what is best, and our way is the only way.
This is a terrible way to deal with any issue of security. …
Think of this in the case of your home. Let’s say your community passed a Gun-Free Home Act. Is such a law going to be something taken note of by would-be intruders? Is a criminal going to be more or less likely to enter a home knowing with certainty that all law-abiding citizens will not have the means to protect themselves?
Some people might respond that they don’t want to live in a society in which school administrators have to carry weapons. I completely agree. But wishing does nothing to deal with the problem of anti-social behavior on the part of a tiny minority. A tiny group is capable of ruining the social order for the rest of us, which is why we need mechanisms in place to deal with them.
It’s true in every aspect of life, whether our homes or online forums or banks or schools. Ownership is what allows the security calculation to be rational. Without private property, the destructive element rules. …
It is right and proper to wish for a society of perfect peace. But it is also very smart to have institutions in place that deal with those who do not want peace. Traditionally, people have relied on government to provide this service. This is a grave mistake. Security is inseparable from private property and the institutions of the market economy.
The reason violent crime has fallen by 65% since 1993 has not been government. It has been the private sector’s creation of advanced technology in the hands of private enterprise: surveillance cameras, private security, alarm systems, increasingly sophisticated systems of screening, and so on. Guns in the hands of private owners have been part of that solution.
The best path forward for schools in particular is to get out from under the protection of government and be put on the same status as regular commercial establishments. Private establishments that own and control their own space provide better security.
Whenever any institution is singled out for special protection by government and called too important to manage itself, that institution needs to worry about its future. That’s why the ultimate solution to public school violence is the full privatization of security and of the schools themselves.
At the very least, we need a repeal of the laws that make it impossible for schools to find their own solutions to the threat of violence. In the name of human rights, security needs to be privatized, whether government likes it or not.
That Unions Represent "The Workers" is One of the Biggest Con Jobs in the History of Western Civilization →
The trade union movement has never been in favor of the common laborer. The trade union movement has always been in favor of a minority of workers who have joined a union, whose union then meets the federal government’s legal requirements to establish itself as a monopoly for labor services. A vote of 50% plus 1 of today’s employees can keep out all future employees who do not join the union. The union is then given the right to call in someone with a badge and a gun, who then sticks the gun in the belly of someone who is offering to hire a worker.
The essence of the trade union movement is the use of violence, or the threat of violence, or both, in order to establish a monopoly of a privileged group of workers, who hold their position of privilege on the basis of political power.
The essence of the claim of the privileged union worker is this: he has a legal right to exclude anybody from competing against him who has not joined a privileged band of workers, who in turn are the beneficiaries of political favoritism. …
[T]he claim of the union movement that it represents “the workers” is one of the biggest con jobs in the history of Western civilization. It is almost as great a deception as the phrase, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” While it is true the government may help one person for a period of time, thereby creating dependence on the civil government, the government must penalize other members of society for its ability to make the promise to the individual who thinks the government is there to help him.
In a scarcity-governed world, it is not possible to get something for nothing. This is why the claim of the trade union movement, namely, that it represents the workers in general, is a preposterous claim. It achieves above-market wages and conditions for union members, but only because the union can call upon the government to threaten violence against other participants in the economy.
There is an unspoken economic alliance between the trade unions and employers in those sectors of the economy that are not under the dominance of the trade union movement. Neither group ever discusses the nature of the alliance. It would be too embarrassing. It would indicate that, in the name of helping workers in general, trade unions hurt the vast majority of workers. It would also indicate that, for those businesses that are not unionized, the trade union movement is very good for business. Those businessmen who are the beneficiaries of this arrangement are not interested in explaining the nature of the government subsidy. They are dependent upon the subsidy, which is why they do not fight trade unionism in general. They only resist trade union membership in their particular sector of the economy.
Because free market economics is not taught in high schools, but only a pro-union version of the labor market, most students never understand the nature of the convenient alliance between the trade unions and businesses in the nonunionized sectors of the economy. It is not in the self-interest of unionized teachers in the nation’s public high schools to present the case for economic freedom as it applies to the labor markets. Because it is not in their professional self-interest, teachers who serve on each state’s textbook-screening committee do not adopt textbooks in economics that present the labor market in the United States as the product of government coercion for the benefit of trade union members and employers in the nonunionized sectors of the economy. …
The entire public school system is based on government coercion. … It is based on minority groups coming to the majority in the name of the benefit to society of continued coercion. It is all done in the name of the children. But, you may have noticed, nobody ever asked the children what they want. Nobody asks the children who are victims of bullying in the schools if they would like an alternative. Nobody asked the children in inner city schools if they would like an alternative. The only people who are supposed to be asked what is good for the children are members of a monopolistic guild that has used government coercion to grant them high salaries and small classrooms.
N.B.: unions that organize without the assistance of government coercion, insofar as such things exist, are not the problem.
Also, see my Personal Note on Unions.
The degrees of government ownership in the economy vary from one country to another, but in all countries the State has made sure that it owns the vital nerve centers, the command posts of the society. It has acquired compulsory monopoly ownership over these command posts, and it has always tried to convince the populace that private ownership and enterprise in these fields is simply and a priori impossible. We have seen, on the contrary, that every service can be supplied on the free market.
The vital command posts invariably owned monopolistically by the State are: (1) police and military protection; (2) judicial protection; (3) monopoly of the mint (and monopoly of defining money); (4) rivers and coastal seas; (5) urban streets and highways, and land generally (unused land, in addition to the power of eminent domain); and (6) the post office. The defense function is the one reserved most jealously by the State. It is vital to the State’s existence, for on its monopoly of force depends its ability to exact taxes from the citizens. If citizens were permitted privately owned courts and armies, then they would possess the means to defend themselves against invasive acts by the government as well as by private individuals. Control of the basic land resources—particularly transportation—is, of course, an excellent method of ensuring overall control. The post office has always been a very convenient tool for the inspection and prohibition of messages by heretics or enemies of the State. In recent years, the State has constantly sought to expand these outposts. Monopoly of the mint and of the definition of money (legal tender laws) has been used to achieve full control of the nation’s monetary system. This was one of the State’s most difficult tasks, since for centuries paper money was thoroughly distrusted by the people. Monopoly over the mint and the definition of monetary standards has led to the debasement of the coinage, a shift of monetary names from units of weight to meaningless terms, and the replacement of gold and silver by bank or government paper. At present, the State in nearly every country has achieved its major monetary goal: the ability to expand its revenue by inflating the currency at will. In the other areas—land and natural resources, transportation and communication—the State is more and more in control. Finally, another critical command post held, though not wholly monopolized by the State, is education. For government schooling permits influencing the youthful mind to accept the virtues of the government and of government intervention. In many countries, the government does not have a compulsory monopoly of schooling, but it approaches this ideal by compelling attendance of all children at either a government school or a private school approved or accredited by government. Compulsory attendance herds into the schools those who do not desire schooling and thus drives too many children into education. Too few youngsters remain in such competing fields as leisure, home study, and business employment. …
In weighing the question of private or governmental ownership of any enterprise, then, one should keep in mind the following conclusions of our analysis: (1) every service can be supplied privately on the market; (2) private ownership will be more efficient in providing better quality of service at lower cost; (3) allocation of resources in a private enterprise will better satisfy consumer demands, while government enterprise will distort allocations and introduce islands of calculational chaos; (4) government ownership will repress private activity in noncompeting as well as competing firms; (5) private ownership insures the harmonious and co-operative satisfaction of desires, while government ownership creates caste conflict.
- Murray Rothbard, Power & Market
10 Disgusting Examples of Very Young School Children Being Arrested, Handcuffed and Brutalized By Police →
You will not believe some of these.
N.B. - I of course wholly disagree with the note about what was appropriate in “the old days.” Here I call your attention to what is happening now.
“The Department of Education (DOE) spends about $30 billion annually on subsidies for higher education, almost all of which is distributed in the form of student loans and grants — $9.6 billion and $17.4 billion, respectively. Much like the housing boom, where easy credit fueled a bubble, this has stimulated demand for higher education. Between 1986 and 2006, a period in which FFA programs were greatly expanded, enrollment increased by 48 percent. This surge was accompanied by a 21 percent real increase in cost between the 1995-96 and 2005–06 academic years. […]
It’s evident that abolishing FFA would result in lower tuition rates. Failure to do so would be, essentially, suicidal for the majority of colleges.”
Consider how the decisions are made differently in a government school vs. a private school.
In the former, some bureaucrat likely gets a phone call from some politician who makes certain promises of support for a higher office if his school district buys mass quantities of leftover product from the agri-business in whose pocket said politician sits (so he “creates jobs” in his district!). The bureaucrat is comforted in that his decision is cost-agnostic as market mechanisms that would reduce prices and increase quality are hardly at play (therefore allowing for greased palms along the way). Further, he is unlikely to face serious consequences since funds are guaranteed irrespective of student/parent satisfaction (after all they can’t opt out) and firing government employees is usually a morass of red tape that inoculates the incompetents.
In the latter, the administrators are cognizant that they must make a decision that fits the demands of their customers, the parents and children - because displeasing them can result in a loss of funds. Corruption, mismanagement, overspending, toxic food are all reasons customers would look elsewhere to invest their hard-earned wealth in nourishing their children’s bodies and minds.
The differences here are a simple matter of economics: “[W]ithout free exchange, we cannot have accurate prices. Without accurate prices, we cannot make rational decisions with limited resources and we thus squander said resources.”
With regards to schools specifically, it’s as I’ve previously explained:
“As with any service business, there’s a natural feedback system built-in that is obscured by government interference: school administrators would be sensitive to making sure parents’ demands are fulfilled. In a free market in education, schools face the risk of losing students if they don’t fulfill [certain] demands.”
For this and other reasons, I advocate a free market in education:
“[H]aving locally controlled schooling… forces schools to compete for students and thus lets parents hold the teachers and administration accountable. …
[S]ince no taxpayers would be on the hook for a penny, only the parents [and guardians and students] - and not the public at large or bureaucrats or union leaders - have a say.
The best schools will produce the best adults, and that’s where the parents will send their children. The bad schools will go out of business. The rich can already opt out of bad schools, so why not dismantle the infrastructure that keeps the poor from doing the same?
Additionally, the mass-production of food and the high-availability of processed garbage that is labeled food are directly correlated to the corporatist system that is in place.
Take the case of sweeteners, for example.
Who doubts that sugar (although toxic in its own right) is better for you than high fructose corn syrup? So then why is this outrageously toxic substance (HFCS) so readily available? Because it’s cheap. Now ask yourself: why is it cheap. If I handed you some sugar cane and some ears of corn, which do you think would be easier to extract sweetener from?
The corn industry is a favorite of politicians. Our tax-dollars provide subsidies to corn farmers. When a farmer decides what to grow on his land, it often makes more sense to accept the easy subsidies to grow corn than to try another crop and risk that demand wouldn’t meet his supply. So, naturally, more corn is produced. A lot more. More than could ever be needed for corn-on-the-cob, cornbread, and popcorn. So alternative uses were developed, among them: a sweetener (ever eaten an ear of corn and thought “tastes like sugar!”), oil (ever eaten an ear of corn and thought “so oily!”), and a fairly inefficient fuel source. It even became an unhealthy but cheap way to fatten up cows (with few people pondering why something that is fed to a cow to fatten it up wouldn’t also do the same to us). Thus supply glut created this artificially cheap sweetener.
But there’s still sugar. Surely the process of extracting sugar from sugar cane is easier than doing the same with corn. As such, it should be cheaper!
Well, the protections for sugar come in another form: tariffs and quotas. You see, American sugar growers are protected from “unfair” international competition by forcing fees and limits on those imports. Fees that are reflected on the prices we pay. And since the domestic producers have no real pressure to keep prices low (since foreign supply availability is limited, and what does has inflated prices due to the import fees), they don’t. Naturally, the big sugar exporters didn’t like paying these fees and that their products, in turn, were more expensive to American consumers. So they griped to the World Trade Organization. The easy resolution would have been to drop the tariffs, and every consumer of sugar (including the many producers who use sweeteners in their products) would in turn save money and have relatively healthier products made available. But that wouldn’t be very good for the sugar industry, one of the oldest protected industries. So, instead, the dispute settlement was export subsidies. Yes, now we subsidize them to help offset their costs so that we can be charged more for sugar. Sweet deal.
This is how
our the corporatist state works. We pay taxes that go to farmers to grow a crop we do not directly demand. Then we pay taxes to pay the salaries of bureaucrats who enforce rules that make a product we do wish to buy more expensive. And we pay taxes to pay off the foreign entities who are getting screwed by the quotas that limit their sales (lowering available supply and competition, thus increasing our prices) and by the fees that are passed down to us anyway. We pay taxes to fund entire agencies to tell us it’s all perfectly healthy, and to present us a “food pyramid” that merely reinforces the consumption desires of the same cronies who are in bed with the state (whilst doing little to promote actual human health). And what do we get out of it? An inferior, extremely unhealthy product that finds its way into almost everything we eat and is shaving years off of all our lives. Truly: the intake of HFCS has helped unleash a plague of obesity, insulin resistance and even heart disease. Oh, and cancer.
[S]ubsidizing much lower prices has been a boon to agribusiness companies because it slashes the cost of their raw materials. That’s why Big Food, working with the farm-state Congressional delegations it lavishly supports, consistently lobbies to maintain a farm policy geared to high production and cheap grain. (It doesn’t hurt that those lightly populated farm states exert a disproportionate influence in Washington, since it takes far fewer votes to elect a senator in Kansas than in California. That means agribusiness can presumably “buy” a senator from one of these underpopulated states for a fraction of what a big-state senator costs.) …
Cheap corn… is truly the building block of the “fast-food nation.” Cheap corn, transformed into high-fructose corn syrup, is what allowed Coca-Cola to move from the svelte 8-ounce bottle of soda ubiquitous in the 70′s to the chubby 20-ounce bottle of today. Cheap corn, transformed into cheap beef, is what allowed McDonald’s to supersize its burgers and still sell many of them for no more than a dollar. Cheap corn gave us a whole raft of new highly processed foods, including the world-beating chicken nugget, which, if you study its ingredients, you discover is really a most ingenious transubstantiation of corn, from the cornfed chicken it contains to the bulking and binding agents that hold it together.
But, please, let’s not blame poor government.
Despite the grim economy, Gov. Jerry Brown is asking Californians to approve a $7 billion tax hike. Without it, he recently wrote, the state “will have no choice but to make deeper and more damaging cuts to schools.” Taxpayers are thus left to weigh the potential benefits of spending an extra $7 billion, largely on public schools, against the damage that higher taxes do to employment and economic growth. When they do so, they will be surprised to learn how little they have gotten for previous increases in public school spending. …
Californians spent $27 billion more on public schooling in 2010 than they did when Jerry Brown was elected to his first term as governor in 1974. That’s after taking both inflation and rising enrollment into account. Given that a $27 billion increase was accompanied by worse academic performance, the merits of a multibillion-dollar increase are, at best, questionable.
When I think “limits to [economic] mobility,” two phrases immediately occur to me: minimum wage and public schooling. If you wanted to impede upward mobility, there could hardly be better ways than to scuttle job creation for the unskilled and to give poor people a bureaucratically produced “education.
It’s really quite simple: if you, like me, resent the politicization of what is being taught in schools, then you must advocate an end to the government’s involvement in education. Otherwise, you can expect those who pay into and use the system to want to have a say in how it is run.
No student loan bailouts.
Not to come to his defense, but the incessant focus on Obama as the evil mastermind behind this accomplishes absolutely nothing in the way of convincing the economically illiterate on the left of the detriment brought by these policies. The fact of the matter is the Keynesianism has been the prevailing ideology of government and its cronies for the past 80 years, and Obama is only one in a long line of destructive presidents, both Republican and Democrat.
Public schools, by their very nature, are designed to promote government. They teach children to accept that government is exempt from the ethical code that prevents someone from stealing their neighbor’s belongings; without government theft, the schools would not exist.
They teach children that the biggest problems of the day can only be solved by central planners. Through these exercises [that solicit ideas for making a better world without analyzing unintended consequences or considering the morality of the means to that end], children learn that humans are so simplistic that one policy can solve a major problem with thousands of variables.
It teaches kids that everything happens in a vacuum. The idea that every man is a unique, free-thinking individual who faces unique choices is replaced with the view that all men are part of a herd, which can be easily manipulated and coerced.
When they ask children to think about what they would change in the world, they are really asking, What would you coerce others to do?