Government and Truth

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If you meet
me at a party you will probably think I'm one of the strangest people
you've ever met. I'm no good at small talk. I tend to wax verbose
on a number of topics that the average twenty-something has never
thought about; much less spent countless hours researching. To me
a good conversation is one about politics, economics and money.
I happen to have a set of views which almost no one shares. There's
a reason for that. You've all been indoctrinated.

I essentially
believe in anarcho-capitalism, which is a comprehensive set of economic
and moral beliefs that center on the assertion that all people know
what is best for them and that it is in the interest of every person
when they are free to make ALL their decisions for themselves, with
no coercion. To anarcho-capitalists any decision made without complete
freedom is a theft, and so any time the government forces you to
do something you don't want to, prevents you from doing something
you do, forces you to buy a product or a service you don't want,
or from someone from whom you don't want to purchase it, or prevents
you from buying what you want, or from whom you want, a crime has
been perpetrated against you by the state. We also realize that
an economy can only function in the long term if it uses honest
money, which can be anything from wampum to cattle to gold; but
certainly not paper or computer digits created at the discretion
of the government. We eschew any and all actions by the government
because we believe the government is not, never has been, and never
will be of the people, by the people, for the people, but is rather
a self-sustaining entity that operates for the benefit of its own
members.

Many people
can be convinced of certain aspects of this worldview but will not
ascribe to it in its entirety. The reason for that is the state
has conducted a concerted effort to convince us of its own necessity
and has been so successful in this endeavor that many people are
incapable of even challenging the belief that government is inherently
good.

The one
thing that the least people will agree with me on is the provision
of public schooling by the state. There is no denying that education
is, alongside good health, one of the most important things for
personal quality of life and the advancement of society, but people
make the erroneous next step of deciding that if something is important
the state must be the supplier of that good.

There are a
number of arguments against such a position, one of the strongest
being that public schools have, especially in the United States,
shown themselves incapable of even approaching the level of education
provided in private schools. When sixty five percent of Americans
can't place Britain on a world map, you've got to question why we
spend billions of dollars of tax money on a flawed system that essentially
amounts to daycare at best; prison at worst.

One of the
biggest flaws in reasoning shared by a majority of people is thinking
that government "provides" services like education. The
government does not produce anything on its own; it simply provides
a re-distributive function; typically re-distributing future wealth
to today, and from efficient uses, to inefficient ones. The fact
that Catholic schools are easily able to provide far superior education
at a fraction of the cost that public schools do reveals how nonsensical
such beliefs are. The cost of providing education to our nation's
youth is borne by society as a whole; and particularly education,
since it is funded by local property taxes. If a private school
can educate a child for three thousand dollars, why do we force
all our citizens to dump ten thousand dollars a kid into a deeply
flawed system controlled by Teacher's unions, book publishers and
politicians? The reason most people don't send their kids to private
school isn't because they choose not to, but rather because they
have no other choice; so much of their wealth, i.e., their time,
is expropriated by the government through innumerable taxes that
they have no other option but to send their children to a "free"
public school. Can anyone argue that this is a "free"
system, one that is built around personal liberty and free economic
decision-making?

And herein
lies the deepest, most abhorrent part of the tale. The system MUST
have it so to continue to work. By providing a good, the government
obviously gets to control what the good is and how it is delivered.
The evil, private free-market educational system of the eighteenth-century
Anglo-American world produced millions who were able to read Classical
Greek and Latin, scholars who were knowledgeable of authors from
Aeschylus to Shakespeare to Rimbaud. These were people who could
THINK. Men like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Lysander Spooner,
men who immersed themselves in ideas, and were able to create their
own. This is the product of an education that is provided by the
market. These are the kind of men who brought governments to their
knees, who created the seminal ideas and spearheaded the great movements
that have helped man progress out of the cave.

The current
educational system teaches you when to sit down, when to stand up,
not to talk unless called upon by an authority figure, line up,
go outside, come inside, salute the flag, listen to OUR history.
Something isn't discovered until a white person "discovers"
it. Civilizations matter as they come under European influence.
Cortez, Columbus and their ilk were great people. Government programs
can "fix" the problems of the market. Society has improved
every time the government decided to "regulate" something
new for "the good of the people." These lies have been
taught to generations by a public education system which is the
central pillar in the continuing interference of the state into
the lives of men.

When I ask
people who is paying for the goods the state "provides"
most people say "the people." My next question is how
government bureaucrats know better than individuals what they want,
when they want it and how much they want to pay for it. At this
point most people's arguments start to break down and become circular
because they've never thought about a world without a nanny government;
but really what people mean, but don't want to say, is that they
are relying on what they believe is a "progressive" tax
system that will allow them to take a free ride on the backs of
the rich, whom everyone feels they have somehow been wronged by.
The truth of the matter, however, is that the world is a big place
and if too heavy a burden is placed on the rich the incentives for
them to move, or hide their assets, increases.

People
tell me all the time that a well-educated populace is the greatest
defense against tyranny. What has the American public, after decades
of publicly provided education and skyrocketing education costs,
done to stop the suspension of habeas corpus, domestic wiretapping,
torture, the expansion of American law and law enforcement to the
entire globe, illegal warmongering, gross and systemic corruption,
perjury, and a host of other crimes perpetrated by the Bush and
other administrations? The answer is nothing. All the puppet masters
had to do was flood the economy with pretend money created by the
Federal Reserve, create and artificial economic boom, and sit back
while we were all preoccupied with the newest consumer electronics
coming out of China, and they were free to do their dirty work.

Try asking
the Biafrans, the victims of China's Cultural Revolution, Europe's
Jewish middle class, the Bosnians and a host of other groups who
have been eliminated by their governments if education saved them
from the depredations of the state (around two hundred million people
were killed by their own governments in the twentieth century; more
than by war between countries). The truth is that a well-ARMED and
well-educated populace is the greatest defense against tyranny.
This is why the writers of the Constitution made freedom of speech
the first amendment in the Bill of Rights, and the right to bear
arms the second. It is the existence of a couple hundred million
privately held firearms in the U.S. that has prevented outright
tyranny. It is the mind-numbing effect of a century of compulsory
public education that has brought us to the point where we need
to be thinking about our guns. Right now the U.S. stands at the
door where Germany stood in the late 1930s. All of the laws are
in place and the government has been reorganized to allow a total
consolidation of power in the executive, but the difference is that
we can fight back. The question is how much independent thought
remains behind the trigger and how bad will things have to get before
people finally decide their own government is the biggest threat
to their liberty.

The results
of the demolition of our public school system would be a much-better-informed
populace and a citizenry capable of thinking for itself, two things
the state fears above all.

One of the
other biggest achievements made by American universities in the
war of the state versus the individual has been the destruction
of the search for objective truth. There was a time in mankind's
history when great minds sought deeply to understand the world around
them in as much truth and detail as possible. These men, fighting
against the prejudices of the day and lacking the scientific tools
and understanding we have at our disposal, were able to ask the
questions, and seek the answers, that have produced this very world
where we have access to such tools and understanding. But paradoxically
enough in this time when we have such great understanding for the
species as a whole and the ability to spread it to almost everyone
within our species, this exact search for truth that could liberate
mankind from the shackles of the past is being eaten away by liberal
professors paid for by the taxes of the people, many of whom have
no access to these "centers of learning" or who end up
deeply indebted to the system for the pleasure of attending these
places.

A modern professor
considers themself a success if they convince their students that
all opinions and viewpoints not only have value, but are equal in
value and must be given equal credence and respect. This is fine
if one teaches an art or literature course, but these same attitudes
are taught in nearly all the social sciences. While scientists around
the world are unlocking the deepest secrets of our DNA, our philosophy
classes are teaching that there is no objective reality, our religion
classes assure us that all religions have absolutely equal objective
value to world "culture" and global studies classes teach
us that preserving the languages spoken by fourteen Indians in Brazil
is worth tens of thousands of dollars. What is worth that much to
us, really preserving an extinct language or assuring ourselves
collectively that it makes sense to subsidize millions of degrees
in linguistics, philosophy, art history and all of the other things
people study on the back of taxpayers and only because they can
do it on the backs of others? If some people think such causes are
worthwhile let them pool their money for such a cause; I'm sure
it would be much better directed by a private group than by government
anyway and that way you're not taking money out of a single mother's
pocket to subsidize an adventure for a rich white kid from the suburbs
who didn't really care about studying hard enough to go into business,
biology or engineering. But all things have equal value. Nothing
can be said to be "more important" than anything else
in the world our state-sponsored professors have created.

Any subsidization
to the educational system, including government issued loans, is
distortionary. The market sets a price for borrowing money. By artificially
lowering the price of borrowing money, you blur the true cost of
an education, transferring the cost of the education from the student
to other borrowers, people trying to start businesses, people hit
with unexpected costs, and people moving into homes.

If the true
price for an education were always borne by the student, those who
aren't qualified would not spend four years on the government's
dime cheating in class, smoking pot and playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater
for eight hours a day. As we all know, there are PLENTY of people
exactly like this. Instead they would seek out vocational training
and become productive members of society, or else. Those who are
smart enough would still go, no matter how poor they are, because
a thriving private market for college loans would always find and
fund the talent, just like good ideas are found and funded today.
People are either qualified or unqualified for college and making
school artificially cheaper for some people does not change this
fact; it only causes them to misallocate four years of their lives
acquiring worthless skills and using taxpayer money instead of finding
a job they are qualified for.

The core function
of economics is to determine which option amongst a group of choices
provides the highest "utility" for the economic actor
and to then allocate resources to that choice until, due to the
law of diminishing marginal return, there is a higher utility choice
which should attract available resources. By funding a public school
system, capital is mistakenly allocated to investment in human capital
when other uses would actually return a higher-utility to the owner
of the capital, say a factory, a restaurant, a farm, research, business
loans, etc. So now the situation is an overextended educated class,
and an investment-starved production base.

This is exactly
the situation that we today have in the United States. It takes
two college-educated adults working together to raise a family with
the same standard of living that a single man could do in the 1950s.
All of our manufacturing jobs, pressured by rising tax rates, the
most highly regulated business environment in the world, lower cost
options in the third world, staid, corrupt leadership, and overwhelming
medical costs have left our shores. We continue living the highest
standard of living in the world, but without producing any of the
things the rest of the world needs. This situation would be much
less severe if we had issued more degrees to factory managers, engineers,
mathematicians and geologists instead of folklore, psychology, political
science and gender relations studies majors. Many people claim that
it is somehow "necessary" to have a college degree in
today's world, that is precisely the effect one would expect of
a subsidized product. A college degree once provided a meaningful
differentiation from the rest of society, now it is nothing more
than the required social badge to prove one is not from the lower
class.

If you think
being a lawyer will pay well, why do you need someone living in
a trailer, or who is ninety-two years old, to pay for it for you?
Because it's your "right" as a member of a first-world
country? I believe it is the right of everyone else not to be stolen
from.

Regardless,
thanks to the GI Bill the U.S. and the world went on a tangent throwing
money into educational systems that inexplicably provide a continually
less valuable product. This brings us full circle to why the professors
have destroyed objectivity.

There are tens
of thousands of professors and hundreds of thousands of support
staff who have very well-paying, very secure jobs with great benefits
that are all predicated on the existence of a constant army of new
college students. Most of these people teach all of the same worthless
things that most of our students graduate with on their diplomas,
often something easier than they had planned on when they enrolled.
They must continue to convince society that we need them, that all
knowledge is of equal utility for society as a whole, that it is
just as important to have theatre and outdoors studies majors as
geothermal scientists, welders and petroleum crackers. To do this,
to protect all those cushie jobs in the old, ivory-covered houses
behind campus, it is necessary to destroy the value of objectivity.
In the meantime the state receives the added benefit of a populace
who are unable to decide on a firm course to follow. The future
is discounted entirely, the political process stalls, people can't
tell the difference between important news, important changes to
the political sphere and meaningless celebrity gossip. Our world
no longer knows how to evaluate truth.

June
28, 2007

 

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