Libertarian Commentary on the News, 25 June 2015, #15-25C: Stupidity and fear in modern life

By Nathan Barton

Gee! An article, “More Spending Doesn’t Lead To Improved Student Learning,” in Forbes, asks. Have we hit a wall where more spending on traditional public schools will not lead to improved student learning? Applying commonly-accepted statistical tools to the state of Wisconsin, results show this may be the case. Like the United States, Wisconsin has spent more on public schools but has not gotten more for this investment.  Here are some highlights: (1) In the United States, since 1966, per-student spending in constant dollars on public education has increased by 300 percent. (2) In 2011, the United States spent $11,841 for every student enrolled in traditional primary and secondary public schools. This amount is 5th highest among all countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and $2,973 per pupil higher than the OECD average. (3) Yet, despite these expenditures, the United States has failed to create a world-class education system.

Among OECD countries: (1) The United States ranks 27th in math, 17th in reading, and 20th in science. (2) Less than one-third of all U.S. students are proficient in math and reading. (3) The United States also struggles to educate poor children. More than half of the OECD countries had higher portions of resilient children, poor children who manage to perform in the top quartile of students in OECD countries, than the United States.

The article points out, that for years, many policymakers declare victory after instinctively throwing money at the traditional public school system, with little evaluation as to whether children are actually learning.  Shucks, my parents (who were teachers, in the public schools back in the 1960s and 1970s) knew this was the case way back when.  It seems maybe someone rubbed Forbes’ nose in the problem?  Anyone with a lick of common sense has known for years that “More money DOES NOT EQUAL more (better) education.”  More money for government-run, tax-funded schools means more parasites get more money, and more politically correct contractors and institutions get more money.  Children are the EXCUSE for highway robbery of the taxpayers.

Police state here to stay?  Based on a federal court decision in western Michigan, as discussed in Freedom Outpost, that seems to be the case.  A man was threatened and abused by a cop because he was openly carrying a handgun and singing to himself, in a location where both were legal, and now the Nazgul says the policeman was correct in doing so.  Of course, this isn’t the only God-given right that is ignored by cops right here in the former land of the free.

So this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows people and studies history.  CNS News publishes an article on a study conducted on worldwide alcohol abuse.  The research, published in The Lancet on June 8, found that 76.8 million people in the world were diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2013… Of those, 5.1 million individuals – or a little under 10 percent – were in the United States. [The US had a] 5.5 percent increase in alcohol abuse… Opioid use disorders increased by 5.7 percent in the U.S., slightly less than the 6.4 percent increase reported globally.  But while amphetamine use disorders decreased by 4.1 percent worldwide, they increased by 3 percent in the U.S.  However, cocaine and cannabis use disorders are down, both in the U.S. and around the globe. Although cocaine use disorders decreased by 4.2 percent in the U.S., the decline was less than the 5.9 percent decrease reported globally, according to the study. Cannabis use disorders [affected] 13.6 million people worldwide, of which 1.4 million were in the U.S.  Since 1990, they have decreased by 6.5 percent around the globe, and by a statistically insignificant 0.8 percent in the United States.  I immediately thought of Soviet Russia, well known for the massive “alcohol use disorder” (drunkenness) of its people: a situation usually recognized as a direct result of the helplessness people felt under the old regime.  Is this why the US is seeing such an increase in substance abuse?  We feel more and more hopeless about the future, about our liberty?  Supposedly, drinking and drugs make it easier to forget… and easier to submit, also.  Opioid use might have increased worldwide simply because Afghanistan makes it more readily available (thanks to the Taliban and warlords), or because in the Muslim world (the “Ummah”), use of alcohol is seriously frowned upon, but hash and various forms of poppy juice were religiously acceptable for a very long time, and the ordinary person in Muslim-ruled countries have plenty of reasons to want to stone themselves into mental oblivion.

Gee, what went wrong?  After more than 60 years of stupid government “farm support” programs, the Nazgul-in-chief (the SCOTUS) have ruled that at least ONE form of government theft is wrong and unconstitutional, according to WND.  A program in which the government seized raisins to ensure that prices remained artificially high is a “grab of private property” according to the high court.  I wonder if this principle can be applied more widely.

Pollution: fear in action.  At least according to the Guardian, from several years ago, discussing how pollution from a large ocean-going cargo vessel pollutes as much as millions of private automobiles. This pollution includes both the rather fake idea of “greenhouse gases” (especially CO2) as well as particulates, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and organic compounds.  Why mention this now?  Well, a bunch of Nazgul has ordered the Kingdom of the Netherlands to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% in the next four years, according to the BBC.  Buying and beaching (or just torpedoing) a couple of supertankers might meet that insane goal easily (yes, an insane solution to an insane demand).  But daily we have a steady drumbeat of how we must reduce automobiles to Crackerjack boxes on wheels, how we must jam ourselves into public transit, how we must freeze in the winter and swelter in the summer to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce all other sorts of air pollution.  But… just as one speaking trip by Algor can negate the efforts of 10,000 people suffering carpooling, so a single container ship carrying luxury hybrid autos can counter the “benefits” of all those vehicles and ten or twenty times their number in a few short nautical miles.  But governments want to crack down on people, so the charade of “environmental protection” (or as some point out, “free-market destruction”) by government agencies continues.

The War on Flags? While South Carolina’s pandering “political leaders” debate taking down a CSA battle flag from a war memorial honoring – gasp! – CSA dead, we find all these stories: Amazon Takes Down Confederate Flag, Continues to Sell Communist Merchandise,  an appeal to “Take Down the Fascist, Anti-Christian Gay-Pride Flag,” and Amazon, eBay Ban Confederate Flag Merchandise.  There are even demands to pull down statues of Confederate heroes in Texas and Tennessee.  All of these things have several commonalities: one, they are diametrically opposed to the concept of freedom: of free speech and self-expression.  It is PRECISELY offensive speech that right protects: speech which is acceptable to everyone is in no need of being protected.  Two, they are about symbols rather than substance.  Why worry about trying to help (or allow) people to defend themselves from murdering thugs when you can feel good about yourself for coming out against bigotry and equating a symbol with actions – or even BLAMING the symbol for actions? (“The devil made me do it.”) Limbaugh is probably right – the next target is the US flag. It is already decried by many schools and universities as a symbol of racism and oppression, to Hispanic and black and foreign students, they claim.

Federal agencies are wide open to hackers and cyberspies, according to an article in the Beloit Daily News.  “Passwords written down on desks. Outdated anti-virus software. ‘Perceived ineptitude’ in information technology departments. The federal government, which holds secrets and sensitive information ranging from nuclear blueprints to the tax returns of hundreds of millions of Americans, has for years failed to take basic steps to protect its data from hackers and thieves, records show.” Just as the FedGov has failed consistently to carry out its self-proclaimed responsibilities in many areas.  Just as Congress cannot and WILL not abide by its own requirements and promises, much less the hundreds of thousands of pages of laws it imposes on the Fifty States and the people of those states.  Yes, many businesses have similar problems with their management of information, but supposedly the government is “better” and “smarter.”  And private businesses don’t have eighteen million employees and contractors and former employees and contractors to let information about escape to… somewhere.  It is impossible to reform government enough to get it and its agencies and employees to do this sort of thing responsibly; so the only real solution is to take away from the government both the “responsibility” and the data and the power to gather and store that data.  Perhaps one solution would be for hackers not to steal the data, but simply to destroy it: either outright or by corrupting it beyond use.  Thanks to people like Edward Snowden, millions of pages of government documents: information often stolen from and about private individuals and companies and other organizations – has been made public.  But millions more pages remain: destroying them – wiping them clean – would reduce or eliminate data breeches like this most recent one, AND reduce the power of the government to dictate to us and control our lives.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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One Response to Libertarian Commentary on the News, 25 June 2015, #15-25C: Stupidity and fear in modern life

  1. Bear says:

    “Have we hit a wall where more spending on traditional public schools will not lead to improved student learning?”

    Yes. The establishment of gov schools was the “wall.”

    “Federal agencies are wide open to hackers and cyberspies…”

    Um… Like as far back as the ’90s, when hackers were taking over the FBI’s website on a weekly basis? Ciao, baby.

    Like

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