Thursday, December 24, 2015

Statists Play the Indoctrination Long Game



On Christmas Eve, I went to a chain bookstore looking for a box set of the Little House books for a friend's young daughter. While I was there I noticed a section of biographical and historical books for children. As I looked closer I noticed there were plenty of books on America's founders like Washington and Jefferson, but no Madison or Mason. There were also a few books on entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Edison and sports figures like Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali. But there were also many books lionizing liberal icons such as Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Gloria Steinem and Obama. Then I saw a book on The Great Depression. I quickly scanned it. Not surprising, it was the usual “unfettered capitalism failed and FDR, using the power of the federal government, came to the rescue” narrative. It even promoted the standard claim that, while FDR's programs were turning the corner, ultimately it was World War 2 that finally got the US out of The Great Depression.

These books only reinforce the indoctrination from schools that those who used the power of government are the heroes and those that fought for less government were standing in the way of progress. What is puzzling to me is why don't teenagers and college students revolt against the indoctrination that they have been force fed since preschool? They certainly did in the '60s. Why has the statist worldview continued to be cool while liberty not so much? I believe it is mostly due to libertarian voices being lumped in with conservative voices who have become easy targets of leftist social media activists. Maybe a separation of social conservatives and interventionists from libertarians is coming. But without being able to make the case for liberty through social media, libertarian ideas will not stand a chance. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

“If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.” – Mark Twain


Monday, December 2, 2013

No to Open Borders: When Immigrants Undermine Liberty


In one of my previous posts I made the argument that open borders was not always the practical libertarian position.  In my Two Islands post, I argued that statist-minded immigrants could and likely would destroy liberty if allowed to immigrate in large numbers.  Here is what I said: 

Let’s suppose there are two island nations. One is named Liberty Island and the other one is Statist Island. Both are democracies. Neither have a constitutionally constrained government. Both practice open immigration. Since both island nations are democracies, the people get the government they vote for.

On Liberty Island, the people prefer smaller government, one which protects life, liberty, and property. In general, the government doesn’t interfere unless a citizen violates someone else’s right to life, liberty, and property. For the most part, the role of government is to provide a small, defensive military. Consequently, the tax rates are very low. The people of Liberty Island are very prosperous.

On Statist Island, the people want their government to provide a wide range of services and to regulate the affairs of its citizens and companies. Consequently, the government consumes a very large proportion of the wealth. Statist Island has high unemployment and low growth rates. Over the past few years, things have been so bad that many have migrated to Liberty Island, not in search of liberty but primarily as a way to feed their families. They have brought with them many of their customs and culture which have made Liberty Island a more vibrant and diverse island.

Unfortunately, they have also brought with them their statist political philosophy.
The new arrivals join with a minority of Liberty Island voters and start winning elections. These elected representatives encouraged more and more Statist Islanders to migrate to Liberty Island. Soon the statists were in control of the Liberty Island legislative branches and the presidency. They then enacted statist policies and liberty was no longer to be found on Liberty Island.


Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen links to a study of U.S. Immigrants' Attitudes Toward Libertarian Values by Hal Pashler which found that immigrants to the US generally are hostile toward libertarian ideas.  Here is the abstract:

While there has been much discussion of libertarians’ (generally although not universally favorable) attitudes toward liberal immigration policies, the attitudes of immigrants to the United States toward libertarian values have not previously been examined. Using data from the 2010 General Social Survey, we asked how American-born and foreign-born residents differed in attitudes toward a variety of topics upon which self-reported libertarians typically hold strong pro-liberty views (as described by Iyer et al., 2012). The results showed a marked pattern of lower support for pro-liberty views among immigrants as compared to US-born residents. These differences were generally statistically significant and sizable, with a few scattered exceptions. With increasing proportions of the US population being foreign-born, low support for libertarian values by foreign-born residents means that the political prospects of libertarian values in the US are likely to diminish over time.
While there has been much discussion of libertarians’ (generally although not universally favorable) attitudes toward liberal immigration policies, the attitudes of immigrants to the United States toward libertarian values have not previously been examined. Using data from the 2010 General Social Survey, we asked how American-born and foreign-born residents differed in attitudes toward a variety of topics upon which self-reported libertarians typically hold strong pro-liberty views (as described by Iyer et al., 2012). The results showed a marked pattern of lower support for pro-liberty views among immigrants as compared to US-born residents. These differences were generally statistically significant and sizable, with a few scattered exceptions. With increasing proportions of the US population being foreign-born, low support for libertarian values by foreign-born residents means that the political prospects of libertarian values in the US are likely to diminish over time. - See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/12/u-s-immigrants-attitudes-toward-libertarian-values.html#sthash.9gnQg64r.dpuf
While there has been much discussion of libertarians’ (generally although not universally favorable) attitudes toward liberal immigration policies, the attitudes of immigrants to the United States toward libertarian values have not previously been examined. Using data from the 2010 General Social Survey, we asked how American-born and foreign-born residents differed in attitudes toward a variety of topics upon which self-reported libertarians typically hold strong pro-liberty views (as described by Iyer et al., 2012). The results showed a marked pattern of lower support for pro-liberty views among immigrants as compared to US-born residents. These differences were generally statistically significant and sizable, with a few scattered exceptions. With increasing proportions of the US population being foreign-born, low support for libertarian values by foreign-born residents means that the political prospects of libertarian values in the US are likely to diminish over time - See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/12/u-s-immigrants-attitudes-toward-libertarian-values.html#sthash.9gnQg64r.dpuf

If the primary purpose of government is to protect liberty, which most libertarians believe, then a government is justified in restricting immigration of individuals who hold views contrary to a constitutionally constrained government.  Furthermore, if a group of immigrants has been shown to be overwhelmingly anti-libertarian in their views, then government is justified in limiting entry of individuals from that group just because they are from those countries where the people are hostile toward liberty.  

Unfortunately, the US government's policy has been to encourage immigration from countries where there is little support for limited government, free exchange of ideas and products, and the rule of law.  When a country is fairly evenly divided, these statist voters will have a huge impact in the future direction of the US.

EDIT: The original title of this post was "Libertarian Case Against Open Borders."     

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Julie Borowski's Wacko Bird Video


Julie Borowski is hilarious.  In this video she responds to old man McCain's comments about young maverick Rand Paul's filibuster of Obama's nomination of John Brennan to become the CIA Director.  If the Republican Party is to have a future then it needs to adjust its message to be more appealing to young people.  The GOP's current emphasis on foreign interventions and personal liberty interventions is a big turn off for today's youth.  There is only one real issue today - the Debt Bomb - and it will affect young people more than any other group.  THAT is what the Republican Party needs to be about.




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tea Party vs Occupy Wall Street

Senator Rand Paul recently made some insightful points about the differences between The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.  Sen. Paul said, “The Tea Party, I always say, is more like the American Revolution, and Occupy Wall Street is more the French Revolution.  . . . We (The Tea Party) weren’t unhappy with people just because they were rich; we weren’t happy with you (the banks) if you were making money off of our taxes and we were bailing you out. If you were making $100 million, your bank goes bankrupt and all of a sudden we bail you out and you’re still making $100 million — that upset us.”

The Tea Party hated the big bank bailouts because it violated the rule of law and would only encourage risky behavior in the future with taxpayers' underwriting the loses. Occupy Wall Street just hates rich people and corporations. Big difference. Liberals see the world as a clash between oppressors and the oppressed. Libertarians see the world as a clash between coercion and free choice. A political philosophy based on envy will not lead to win-win solutions, it will only give us lose-lose outcomes.




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teach Your Children Well by Joseph Sobran


Teach Your Children Well by Joseph Sobran


Teach Your Children Well

by Joseph Sobran

    
Because I write about politics, people are forever asking me the best way to teach children how our system of government works. I tell them that they can give their own children a basic civics course right in their own homes.

In my own experience as a father, I have discovered several simple devices that can illustrate to a child's mind the principles on which the modern state deals with its citizens. You may find them helpful, too.

For example, I used to play the simple card game WAR with my son. After a while, when he thoroughly understood that the higher ranking cards beat the lower ranking ones, I created a new game I called GOVERNMENT. In this game, I was Government, and I won every trick, regardless of who had the better card. My boy soon lost interest in my new game, but I like to think it taught him a valuable lesson for later in life.

When your child is a little older, you can teach him about our tax system in a way that is easy to grasp. Offer him, say, $10 to mow the lawn. When he has mowed it and asks to be paid, withhold $5 and explain that this is income tax. Give $1 to his younger brother, and tell him that this is "fair." Also, explain that you need the other $4 yourself to cover the administrative costs of dividing the money. When he cries, tell him he is being "selfish" and "greedy." Later in life he will thank you.

Make as many rules as possible. Leave the reasons for them obscure. Enforce them arbitrarily. Accuse your child of breaking rules you have never told him about. Keep him anxious that he may be violating commands you haven't yet issued. Instill in him the feeling that rules are utterly irrational. This will prepare him for living under democratic government.

When your child has matured sufficiently to understand how the judicial system works, set a bedtime for him and then send him to bed an hour early. When he tearfully accuses you of breaking the rules, explain that you made the rules and you can interpret them in any way that seems appropriate to you, according to changing conditions. This will prepare him for the Supreme Court's concept of the U.S. Constitution as a "living document."

Promise often to take him to the movies or the zoo, and then, at the appointed hour, recline in an easy chair with a newspaper and tell him you have changed your plans. When he screams, "But you promised!," explain to him that it was a campaign promise.

Every now and then, without warning, slap your child. Then explain that this is defense. Tell him that you must be vigilant at all times to stop any potential enemy before he gets big enough to hurt you. This, too, your child will appreciate, not right at that moment, maybe, but later in life.

At times your child will naturally express discontent with your methods. He may even give voice to a petulant wish that he lived with another family. To forestall and minimize this reaction, tell him how lucky he is to be with you the most loving and indulgent parent in the world, and recount lurid stories of the cruelties of other parents. This will make him loyal to you and, later, receptive to schoolroom claims that the America of the postmodern welfare state is still the best and freest country on Earth.

This brings me to the most important child-rearing technique of all: lying. Lie to your child constantly. Teach him that words mean nothing – or rather that the meanings of words are continually "evolving," and may be tomorrow the opposite of what they are today.

Some readers may object that this is a poor way to raise a child. A few may even call it child abuse. But that's the whole point: Child abuse is the best preparation for adult life under our form of GOVERNMENT.

Joseph Sobran (1946–2010), conservative turned libertarian, was one of the most significant American writers of his time. See his website and his intellectual journey.

Copyright © 2013 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided full credit is given.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Explain Libertarianism to a Kindergartener

This from David Boaz:


Inspired by Robert Fulghum’s bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, I like to tell people that you learn the essence of libertarianism — which is also the essence of civilization — in kindergarten:


Don’t hit other people.
Don’t take their stuff.
Keep your promises.

And read Yertle to Turtle to them.