I love Economics classes that tell the ‘truth’ about environmentalism. The worst part of it is that the way they paint the two sides of the issue. On the one side are the conservatives who “think that money-grubbing companies will somehow fix the environmental problems”. On the other hand are the “progressives who who view government as capable of promoting an activist agenda to serve the general interest of the public”.
These quotes come from my economics teacher, who by the by I found out (through a campus Deep Throat) worked for Ralph Nader a while back. The textbook has similar viewpoints: the conservatives versus the progressives. Which one do you think most students support: those conservatives that want to go back to the old way or the progressives that want to move us to the future. Is it any wonder that environmental regulations constantly grow given the way it is taught? Is it any wonder why people my age do vote for Nader?
Warning: explaining free markets and freedom is too trite and too simple! Yep, that is right…or at least according to an “unbiased” teacher of mine.
Last week we had to write an essay fro class answering the question, “The 20th century showed us the problems of freedom, as seen in WWI, WWII, and Sept. 11. Please explain the future implications of this problem of freedom, specifically in the policy realm.” In explaining the question for us, the teacher clearly (and wrongly) explained how freedom caused WWI and WWII and Sept. 11. He also said that from this we can learn that freedom causes societal chaos…we need government or a level of control to prevent freedom from causing this chaos.
Any reader of Libertarian Samizdata knows how many lies this statement contains. Is this teacher actually going to tell me that Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Mussolini or FDR and the results of their administrations were a result of freedom when the logical answer clearly would dictate the exact opposite?
Anyway, I wrote a very lengthy essay debating his premise about freedom causing problems. And today, I got my essay back, and his one and only comment on my paper was: “While I do not mind the fact that your essay debates my premise, and indeed I am glad to see it does, your argument is too simple and results in simple rhetoric about free markets equaling freedom, C+”. My twenty-six page essay that raised twenty separate questions weighing the costs and benefits of free markets vs. collectivist states in a clearly detailed manner was too simple for his liking.
My friend, who, in one sentence accepted the premise and explained the question in one and a half pages, was told that his essay reached the appropriate level of depth and understanding. Now while I am the first to admit page numbers do not attest to a paper’s level of logic (Marx wrote a lot, but did that make him logical? Short answer: no!), my paper was well reasoned and well documented. In fact, I took it to three of my other professors and asked them to read it for logic only. The verdict reached by each was that I had great logical writing in this piece.
The remark about my paper being too simple is merely a cover for his real thought: you are wrong in your belief of free markets. Is it any wonder why we foster such lack of thought in today’s younger generation?
It is the month of black history in the good old USA, and the month that white/Hispanic/Asian students must be committed to black history. Now that is a separate issue from what is underpinning a sub debate of black history month: the nature of confederacy.
This issue was raised by my history teacher, when he said, slavery in America was a result of the south’s political system and that had it not been for the Civil War, the issue of slavery would have never been resolved. I asked the teacher if he truly meant confederacy was a system that inevitably led to slavery. Let me try and put the same case I made to him to you:
1. Confederacy is a system of government that gives more power to the states or local government and less power to the federal or higher levels of government. America is a federalist society, whereas, Switzerland is an example of a confederacy.
1a. Non-confederacy type governments have adopted the system of slavery, meaning that slavery is not unique to confederacy.
1b. Confederacy is not about slavery; it is about state’s rights and devolving rather than centralizing power.
2. The Articles of Confederation, which created a system of pure confederacy, were overturned in 1789 by the current US Constitution…nearly a century the US Civil War.
3. Slavery began in Colonial America before the USA even existed. Slavery in Colonial America started in Virginia in 1619 because of the need to find cheap labor to produce cotton, tobacco, and other such goods.
4. The northern states industrialized faster than the southern agricultural states, resulting in no need for slaves in the North, as slaves were needed for agricultural work, but not industrial work, in which paid workers were cheaper.
5. After Lincoln’s nearly 50/50 election there was a great tension between the North and the South about the role of the federal government (Lincoln wanted more federal government, which the Southerners opposed).
6. The US Civil War started over the role of the state versus the role of the federal government – not slavery.
Needless to say that when I said this in class…well, let me just say this: I am lucky to be alive. I have presented the facts not a politically popular statement. The fact of the matter is, saying stuff like this does not fly with PC lefties that run the school.
This is one opinion (fact based though it be) of the issue, but it is one (fact based) opinion that is never offered in school, and is instantly struck down if a student dares to offer it.
To emphasize how large the problem is: The four student collective that consists of Johnny Student worked on this post jointly – all four of us are currently dealing with this in our classes at four different universities throughout the country
The owl man has requested that I post the most recent picture of myself. I think the photo shop goofed and gave me the negative instead!
Well, wow, what a day this was. I had no choice but to blog this story, because it is so darn perfect. I could have put it on my blog (that is a secret), but it just fit better on Samizdata.
It was the first time in a long time I got in trouble for defending an idea of mine (last time was three years ago). This time it was that nasty G word that the college elite love to hate. Guns! We libertarians love them (or at least I do). They give us an ability to not be a ward of the state when it comes to defending our own life. I think that is really good. Yet, these darn profs hate the guns. I found this out when I argued in favor of gun rights and the second amendment today in class (it is a philosophy class) – I should have known better but I was feeling rebellious. After uttering a quick defense of guns, I was quickly sent to the Dean’s Office so that my gun slinging ideas could be mended to the “right path” – ironic that they call it right path, huh? As he booted me out the door, I was called a terrorist supporter by fellow students (well, the fellow students who were not drugged or hung over).
Now I should say here exactly what I said in class. My friend tape records the lectures and I was blessed with the ability to listen to my exact words and tone of voice. I said quite calmly that guns protect people from over zealous bureaucrats. I said that guns most certainly could be used for wrong, but no laws could ever prevent that.
When I reached the Dean’s Office, I was told that I was trying to threaten the life of the college rulers. Not at all! Before the police were called for me (or my parents) one of my more reasonable profs (not the one who sent me to the Dean’s office) vouched for my character and I was saved from the wrath of these gun hating Nazis (and I mean Nazis).
So, all this while I was in trouble for defending the second amendment, I had a nice taste of what it feels like to not have a first amendment. How many more years till graduation? Oh God, that many… HELP!
Since as long as I can remember, I have had this method of judging people: you are a jock, a “normals”, a freak, a geek, a nerd, or an intellectual. Most of my friends (even the liberal ones) agree with me on this view of the world. However, the older I have gotten, I have started to notice policy trends in all these people, and there is no better place to observe this than in college. I think breaking down the school population like this helps explain why our society is so anti-government and (in the most part) those interested in public policy are so pro-government.
Jocks: Views the world in a very narrow view and is incredibly dense. Typically these people are found in sporting events, but can also be found amongst soldiers. Politics is foreign to the jock; in fact I’ll bet they can’t spell politics, let alone capitalism.
“Normals”: These are people that do not make any statement. They just hope to make it home alive. They raise a family and make some money, but they don’t take risks. They are lousy capitalists and often support government protecting the consumers. They think us free market people are too weird.
Freaks: People who just don’t give a damn about the world anymore. They tend to follow the moral relativists in saying that whatever is right is right and whatever happens will happen. They think capitalists are mean and are attempting to rule the world. They however are individualistic and freedom lovers, so they probably agree with the libertarians, but call themselves socialists.
Nerds: These people can program a coffee pot to run a website, but will get hit by a car because they forget to look before crossing the street. (My best friend in high school was a true geek: he made an alarm clock out of rice and wheat but then he fell in a ditch at a construction site near the playground.) They are oblivious of the world of politics and the world of business….what’s a capitalist? Think pre-CEO Bill Gates.
Geeks: They fit in with the Nerds and the Normals, except that they follow the world very closely, have a good level of practical intelligence (no rice-wheat alarm clocks here), although they do have some level of unimportant intelligence (like the nerds). Unlike the normals, they stick their necks out and don’t mind speaking their mind. Its gets ‘em in trouble (I spent a good many days of school life in lockers, trashcans, and the nurse’s office suffering from bruise attacks.)
Geeky Capitalists: Sub-Group of Geeks. They like what the geeks say and they advocate capitalism. Think CEO Bill Gates. Think Johnny Student. The geeky capitalists are the only people who care enough to defend capitalism out of all the groups identified.
Intellectuals: Can we really know anything? No, so we should sit around the coffee houses and chat all day about Marx, Keynes, Freud, and the complex world. Previously on this blog, I mentioned that the intellectuals are the ones who like to create complex situations – well that is all that these intellectuals do. They are friends of Marx not Smith. By the way, these are mostly the professors and other scholars at the school. They don’t really hold the corner on intelligence, but they like to think that they do.
Although this is a quick overview of the various categories of people on campus, it is clear to see why so few people at a college like libertarians.
To avoid the Ambrose condition, Johnny Student would like to thank Jane Student for her work in co-writing this post
Ah yes, the time of Dr. King’s celebration is here again. The time when young commies that I attend school with distort and lie about King’s message to the “African-American” community. So, let me get started right away with debunking the commies distortion of his message.
Lie 1: Dr. King supported government intrusion in the market to make things more equal.
Not true! Dr. King and other similar civil rights activists were smart enough to realize the oppression came from and was authorized by the state. Most KKK members either were or had connections to high powered lawmakers and were therefore able to evade harassment charges. The Supreme Court cases that came down the channel, Brown or Keyes for example, were about eradicating government intrusion in allowing “separate but equal” policies. Not to mention the fact that “separate but equal” was allowed by the Supreme Court decision in Plessy, written in the 1890s.
Lie 2: If you do not support affirmative action, you are a racist, and do not understand the message of Dr. King
Dr. King sated, quite clearly and quite loudly, that he wanted equality for all. Affirmative action gives unfair advantages to certain groups of people (women mostly) and discriminates against Asians and us white folk. Dr, King also would support a highly productive society, where things were judged by merit, not by the color of your skin. Cleary, affirmative action judges by skin color and not merit.
Furthermore, Dr, King would, I assume, be ashamed that people using his name are crying that they should not be forced to work hard for what they want. If you want to go to the best schools or to the best jobs, you have to work hard, and should not, Dr, King argued, be allowed to just claim your race as a reason for hiring.
Lie 3: You better take off Dr. King day, or else you are a racist.
Dr. King constantly worked, and therefore to honor him, I too am going to work. (Not really to honor him though, I just have to get work done.)
Lie 4 (the big one): Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are the reincarnation of Dr. King
If anybody, they are the re-birth of Malcolm X, who by the way was a racist. Dr. King wanted to decrease government and those clowns want more government. Dr. King wanted more equality, whereas Malcolm X, Jackson, and Sharpton want inequality in favor of the black race. Which one is racist?
These lies are too easy to refute. The teachers and commie students do not bother to think and thus they are commie-like, Jackson supporters who lie for their cause. Pray for me this week as I attempt to not say any of this in class, so as to stay alive!
Truth on campus?
With the new airport security measures going into action today across the old USA, I expected to hear my teachers rejoice that Big Brother has come to the airports to “protect” us.
However, one of my teachers surprised me, saying, and I quote:
“The new airport security bill combines the worst of the private sector with the worst of the federal government”
Despite all the negative stuff that goes on at the university, in terms of the “politically correct” nonsense and blatant communism, there are some good things, such as far and few between truthful statements.
The good times can’t last forever
Showing their Puritanism-like beliefs, the university has beefed up the anti-drug and anti-sex rhetoric. While I am anti-sex and I am anti-drug, the university’s luck with cracking down on these vice crimes is doomed with the same fate that plagued the War on Drugs, the War on This, and the War on That.. College kids, with the exception being me and ummm me, want sex and want drugs. The authoritarian puritans that run the school apparently have no concept of reality, and instead want to violate human nature and individual rights to sex and to getting high.
While enthralled in an argument over God with one of my philosophy teachers, we hit upon an interesting subject that severely challenged my beliefs about the world. That subject was the question: are we determined by God to do things, or do we have the power of free will via spontaneous order.
The teacher’s assertion was that we are determined by God to do whatever God wants us to do. He further declared that the silly idea of individuality and the other silly idea of natural laws were a bunch of bunk that Thomas Jefferson (among many others) abused to gain power. These natural laws and notions that the individual was sovereign believed that spontaneous order works. Let me divert from the post for a moment and argue against two things here:
1) I believe that there are natural laws. In the state of nature, with no forms of civilization or order (including religion, government, and other oppressors) around, we would behave by these fundamental natural laws, without question, because they are natural. By nature, for example, we have the ability to operate individually for our personal good. That good involves saying what we think, owning property, having the ability to defend ourselves, and, among many others, having the ability to live. If those natural rights sound familiar, that is only because they are defended by the Bill of Rights. Libertarianism, I contend, revolves heavily around the idea of natural rights or natural laws. Without them, there is no justification for claiming that the individual is sovereign, which, need I say, libertarianism does.
2) Spontaneous order is what guides the world, not some cockeyed notion of God’s will determining us from birth to death. By nature things happen which force us to adjust and change our beliefs about the world. This is seen daily in capitalism, because of the innovation that is constantly undergone to correct past problems. I contend that people innovate and change without being determined to do so. But as my teacher would say, do we really know anything?
Let me stop with my philosophical diatribes that seem to be more prominent on Sunday morning than other times (those dang religious shows) and turn now to the question of what does this have to with liberal bias on campus. Just wait!
The teacher, as I stated, declared that every course of action was chosen by God. God had determined John Locke and others to invent the notion that in the state of nature, there are natural laws. This was to trick humans to think that God did not exist, hence the rise in the 18th and 19th centuries of deistic and atheistic notions; which God had determined.
He continued to say that in the 20th century God showed his power by causing the Great Depression (he determined the stock market to crash), to force religion back into our lives. Then he determined us to call for big government as a sign of religion; big government was a new age pyramid for God, if you will. I am not making this up!
Now here is how I look at it: I am a deist: there are laws in the universe that are not intruded upon by God. Second, I believe, as stated, in natural laws. Third, I believe that natural laws clearly defy the growth of government; and seeming that God does not supervise or enforce those natural laws, God does not support big government either.
Regardless if you agree with me or not on my religious views, I think most of us (I hope) can agree that God does not support big government. However, if you listened to the teacher one might think that FDR was God’s second son. (That would make Daschle…)
But wait, it gets better. I asked him to explain the infidels who do not support big government? His answer: the devil put them on this earth to torment God, and so far God is winning showing his strength with every new government program. So, to my fellow devil worshiping libertarians, advocate evil by advocating limited government.
In class today, the subject of the strength of man became a focus of discussion. Many in my class offered the theory that all people (can’t dare say man) are perfect and through societal reforms can become more perfect. I challenged this mind set as a bunch of baloney. Men, err people, are not angels! Men, argh people, are fundamentally egotistical and only improve their outcome and behavior, if not their interior character, so as to adhere to some incentive. (Thankfully a really hot girl in the class agreed with me, but that is another story…)
Eventually the teacher asked me (the hot chic too) if we had read too much Friedman or too much Ayn Rand. Once we said yes the teacher asked if we were Libertarians. I love listening to my profs on Libertarianism, here is why.
There are two main arguments they use against the fundamental principal of Libertarianism (as I define it, the ability of all people to act freely in the market to spontaneously create societal good [as luck would have it this is the same definition I discovered that this hot libertarian chic uses too]). First, Libertarianism is too simple for today’s complex world. Second, Libertarianism is now two centuries old; its glory days died with the Great Depression. Let me deal with these both in turn.
Libertarianism is too simple
Upon analyzing the way our society is, I have concluded that this complexity is a result of the elite wishing to keep it complex. The minute these elites say it is simple, they are no longer elite. It should come as no surprise that the tool of creating this complexity is the government.
So, to protect their elite-ness, they have made the world more complex, via laws and also via their discussion of “heady” issues. An example of these heady issues is their common cry that unless you understand that you can never really know anything, like natural rights as described by Locke, you can never really ever understand anything about the world, or, put differently, you cannot be elite until you understand this moral ambiguity. Well, I am in the top 8% of my class, apparently I know something – and I know enough to say %*** the &*** elites! Oh sorry, let me stop swearing.
The world is fundamentally simple, and operates better as such. If there are too many regulations, you just have trouble. Market forces are not allowed to work properly to solve social ills. Libertarianism does advocate this level of simplicity, and thus it works better than anything else.
It’s old and dead, bury it already
This argument cracks me up! Here is how it works: The 18th century saw the rise of Capitalism; the 19th century abused capitalism, and the 20th century saw why Capitalism does not work, and why we should ban it all together in the 21st century. Now I have a disagreement with their interpretation, as I think the 20th most clearly showed the strength of capitalism and the death of socialism. This is clearly defined in the Cold War; however, it can also be seen in the areas of society that innovated the most throughout the last century. Let me quickly examine as an example: education and technology. (To confess this example was originally offered in class by the loveliest Libertarian I have ever met, but I agree with it and am throwing in some of my own stuff.) Education saw little to no innovation in how it was taught; it saw innovation (if you can call it that) in the administrative process of education. There are more education regulations, but quality is dropping. Technology saw great innovation, not in the administration but in how it works. Computers are faster now than ever before. The quality has improved. I care a lot more about quality of the product over the administration of the development of the administration for the product. In other words, capitalism still works to this day and is not dead. (However, it is because of this professor that I have found at least one reason to support the Drug War.)
(P.S. – Although this may be a really interesting discussion, I must admit that I was struggling to prevent drooling while listening to the hot Libertarian chic, and therefore did not do the argument justice in class, hence my posting it here, after allowing time to regain some composure)
(P.P.S. – Point of clarification about my last post. It was not intended to defend sales taxes. They are wrong, evil, and nasty stuff for more reasons than what I mentioned.)
Another report from the front lines of socialist-land from the student hiding behind the “pixilated burqa of on-line anonymity”
I love the “logic” of the majority of my fellow students. They “hate” taxes and love big government programs. Hypocritical? Yes, but it gets so much better than it might appear at first glance.
One tax they hate the most is the sales tax on text books. Now a 3.7%+ tax can add a bit to the bill when an average bill is over $200. While understandable, the student legislature has a weird solution to this problem: ban sales taxes on campus.
Now while I love the thought of banning taxes all together (I am a Libertarian after all), I find it hypocritical that they also call for big government. If they (the supporters of this big government) don’t pay for it, then who do they think will? The hypocrisy is unbelievable. You pay for what you advocate.
These student bureaucrats, oh I am sorry student legislators, apparently have some problem with sales taxes. I hardly doubt that it is the same problem I have. My problem is that it takes money from people and spends it on horrid and wasteful government programs that violate the very nature of the US Constitution. (This is true with me of all taxes.) Unlike me, their problem is that sales taxes are more visible to them than payroll taxes and income taxes (they’re wards of Mummy and Pappy and don’t need jobs). In my opinion, sales taxes are the best of all the evil taxes available. As sales taxes are the least unfair because it is harder for the politicians to politicize them. With income taxes they can change the rates so that the rich get screwed and the poor get helped. That is exactly what we have right now in America (the majority of taxpayers are rich paying for the poor – the minority of people paying for the majority of people because of the tax structure). The student legislatures (who really dislike me, by the way) really do not care about the payroll taxes or other forms of income taxes that their fellow working students (the minority of students need you be told) have to pay
Let us pretend for a minute that I am mistaken: they just dislike all taxes, not just the visible ones. Assuming that this is true, and it is not, they are clearly fighting the wrong battle. Want to reduce taxes? First reduce the government, then taxes will follow as spending will decrease then all politicians will have nothing left to do with the money except return it. However, I highly doubt that this is what they think, as they suffer from the liberal’s contagious cancer that encourages a pro-tax bias. There are two other reasons why I know this is not the case. First, they want to eradicate taxes in just the bookstore, not in nearby restaurants and stores. Dare I say that this may be, in some twisted way, a political move of these future bureaucrats?
I also know this because they like to see the government doing things: education, health care, energy, environmental protection, euro-creation, food distribution, retirement provisions, and whatever else. In other words, they have no problem with people paying 100% taxes, if that is what it takes to have these utopia-based government programs. Furthermore, they dislike any mention of broad scoping tax cuts, even the petty cuts proposed by the president and the governor of whatever state I happen to be in.
The idea of anti-taxes is not bad, but that is clearly not what they really believe. They just want to save their political hides by not having on campus taxes. Like all politicians, these student politicians also see the need to eradicate visible taxes from those they represent. At least if their hearts were really against taxes I may not be so displeased with their decision, but as it stands, these politicians are operating at the same level of intelligence as Tom Daschle and Karl Marx.
Ah yes, the glory days of school have begun again. I always love to return to school after the winter break. The crisp chill in the air fits with new smell of text books always gets me excited to learn again.
However, this bliss fades as soon as I encounter that which really irks me: the whining and moaning of the first week back. “I can’t find my class room”, “I didn’t want to buy my text books, they’re too expensive”, “I don’t want to do this”, “I don’t want this homework”, “I don’t know the answer to that question”. How nice: people trying to find other people to take care of their problems. If others fail to take care of their problems, they let you know that too. What this comes down to is an inability to handle their own affairs, or in other words a level of dependency that grows worse daily.
Now I sympathize with them, because finding the classroom can be hard, after all you may have to look at one of the 50 maps located in the classroom building. Throwing over $500 for textbooks is not easy, but you obviously want to go to school, so you do it. Students need to learn that level of biting the bullet and not sharing their problems. In other words, reach a level of independency; take care of your own problems. College is a darn good time to start that.
But most students fail to learn that lesson, instead they continue to want more dependency, more help, and in short, they cry “I want my Mommy”. So each time I return to school I am tortured by the same question: Why are they so dependent?
After two years of college, I think I figured it out: the professors want it this way. Not just the college professors but also the high school teachers. In high school, I was yelled at for being too judgmental; they wanted people to consider all options and not to make any decisions or conclusions. There is no right and wrong – people who think so (like T. Jefferson?) are full of bunk. They encouraged mental dependence: encourage explaining other people’s thoughts, but do not dare to express your thoughts. Mental independence, don’t dare – how nice.
Getting so used to this in high school, it followed most students to college. When asked a question, most students answer it with “well these people say x and these people say y”. If the professor even dares to ask “Which one do you agree with?” the student is left floundering and sputters out “well x is good for a, b, c and y is good for d, e, f.” Because of this lack of requirement for judgmental thoughts, students are unable to think independently. They cannot even tell you what they think because they get trapped in telling you what others think. This lack of mental independence has spread like a cancer to all of their other activities, including finding class rooms and purchasing textbooks. Why does it stay this way? It is in the teacher’s best interest to keep their student’s mind dependent, that way they seem really smart. However this only leads to ruin and distress in the futures of those students. Boy I love returning to school…