Tag Archives: FEE

Not Voting Is a Powerful Form of Dissent

Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow
Saturday, June 18, 2016

Imagine living in a country in which the two major parties had nominated a statist, war-mongering crook and a nasty authoritarian narcissist. Imagine being embarrassed that after more than two centuries of existence this apparently was the best your beloved country could do. Imagine considering that the best option on Election Day might be committing ritual Seppuku, but deciding to stay home instead.

The Freedom to Stay Home

Politicians have no right to insist that the disaffected suffer through the humiliation of voting.But then imagine government officials showing up at your door, demanding that you accompany them to the polling place to vote for one of the candidates who you would scratch your eyes out before actually watching speak. That is the world which some high-minded “civic activists” desire.

Every election can be expected to unleash ponderous commentaries bemoaning low voter turnout. Many Americans don’t register, let alone cast ballots. Why, oh why, won’t they get out and participate—which usually means vote left? It is so unfair, we are told. The wealthy, elderly, and well-educated disproportionately participate, which “skews policymaking,” complained the Economist. Just think of all the government programs the underrepresented could vote for themselves if only they showed up on Election Day.

Of course, there is another way of looking at the process. Today those most likely to follow politics, understand issues, watch the news, and know the candidates vote disproportionately. Which might “skew” policy, but presumably in a very good way. Those choosing America’s leaders are actually more likely to know something. Amazing thought!

Forced to Vote

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Spark and Fuel: How to Help Your Child Learn without Resorting to Compulsion

How can you truly facilitate your child’s learning? More important than what to do is what not to do.

First, what is learning? Learning is the accomplishment of a cognitive improvement: either new knowledge or a new skill. All improvements are made for the sake of the better pursuit of purposes.

Now here’s the key for not getting in the way of you child’s learning. Never force your child to acquire an improvement that is for the sake of a purpose that is not yet her own. Don’t force them to learn something while using the lame teacher excuse of, “trust me, this will come in handy later.” The child should never have to try to acquire a new improvement (knowledge or a skill) only for the chief purpose of appeasing you or anyone else.

You can compel study, but it will be a grudging study, and it won’t stick. In fact it will counterproductively foster an aversion to the subjects that are forced upon the child. Later in life, once the obligation to appease a parent or instructor drops out, so too will the pursuit of study. This is why so few graduates of the American school system become devoted autodidacts once they finally pass through their 16-year gauntlet of compulsory scholarship.

Little Autodidacts

Your job is to provide the spark and the fuel, not the fire itself.

Children are natural learners. Unbidden, they hungrily seek new knowledge and skills from early on. There is no danger in a free child not developing a love of learning, so long as they are not trapped in a stimulus-impoverished environment. What truly endangers the spirit of learning is the threat of being crushed by forced study. As Maria Montessori stressed, adults are more likely to impede learning than foster it: especially given the currently backward learning philosophies that currently reign.

The chief role of the parent in the child’s learning process is not that of a home-based schoolmaster, but that of a provider and a playmate. Provide and play, every day, and watch as your child eagerly teaches herself.

Your job is to provide the spark and the fuel, not the fire itself. Present pursuits to your child in a way that elicits her voluntary interest. Instead of forcing your child to acquire improvements for the sake of purposes that are not yet her own, you inspire her to develop her own purposes by sparking her interest in something new. Then you fuel the flame that you sparked. Offer to show her new improvements (knowledge and skills) that will help her achieve those goals, along with useful materials. Only then will she truly, deeply, and gladly pursue a course of learning that you think will benefit her. Your role is to inspire ends, not to impose means.

Friendship Instead of Drills

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The Most Schooled Generation in History Is Miserable Millennials are stressed out because they’re bored

It’s said that sadness isn’t the opposite of happiness — boredom is.

With this in mind, is it any surprise that children, adolescents, and young adults today are so unhappy? Is it any surprise that so many turn to extending their schooled lives into structured activities as long as possible? Is it any surprise that when people don’t know what to do, they simply go to graduate school?

To understand this mass unhappiness and boredom with life — and the sudden uptick in quarter-life crises — look at where these young people have spent most of their lives.

What we see today in Millennials and younger is something henceforth unseen in the United States: a fully-schooled generation. Every young person, save the occasional homeschooler, today has been through schools. This means rich & poor, established & unestablished, and developed & undeveloped young adults have all been put through roughly the same exact system with the same general experiences for the last two decades of their lives.

School teaches them that life is broken into discernible chunks and that learning and personal development are to be seen as drudgery. Rather than teaching them how to foster a love of learning, a constantly-centralizing school regime in the US today teaches them to look for standards to be measured against. Rather than helping give them the cognitive and philosophical tools necessary to lead fulfilled lives in the context of the world in which they live, schools remove them from this world and force them to develop these skills only after 18–25 years of being alive. Rather than allowing them to integrate themselves into the broader scheme of life and learn what they get fulfillment from achieving and what they don’t, school leaves fulfillment to five letter grades and a few minutes of recess.

“We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean’s lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.”

John Holt

In short, school teaches apathy towards education and detachment from the world. School removes people from being forced to learn how to get fulfillment from a variety of activities and subjects and instead foists a handful of clunky subjects onto them hoping they meet state standards for “reading,”“mathematics,” “writing,” and “science.”

Not only this, but they’ve had childhood extended further into adulthood than any other generation before them. A young person today is considered a “child” much longer than a young person was 20 or 40 years ago. To treat a 16 year-old as a child in the 1960s would have been insulting. Today, it is commonplace.

Adult children wander the hallways of universities and workplaces today, less-equipped to find purpose and meaning than their predecessors. They can’t be entirely blamed for their anxiety and depression — their parents, teachers, and leaders put them through an institution and created a cultural norm that created the world they live in today.

“Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they’ll never be bored.”

John Taylor Gatto

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by May 9, 2016

For the Russians, May 9, 1945 is the day marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, and it is celebrated every year, including this one, with a giant military parade through Red Square in Moscow. For the former Soviet and now the post-communist Russian government, it is hailed as the day that “Soviet power” under the leadership of Joseph Stalin defeated Nazi Germany and saved Europe from the permanent clutches of Adolph Hitler and Nazi tyranny.

What is forgotten is that it was Stalin and the Soviet Union that were Hitler and Nazi Germany’s ally in starting this horrific war that took the lives of well over 50 million people, and set the stage, after the defeat of Hitler, for the nearly half-century enslavement of the eastern half of Europe under communist tyranny.

It is the fairy tale of Russian innocence and victimhood in starting and fighting the Second World War that is still used by the post-Soviet government of Vladimir Putin to justify a nostalgia for the “good old days” of Soviet power, and for the Russian president to say that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the “greatest geo-political tragedy of the twentieth century.”

Among the lies and distortions of Soviet history that Vladimir Putin’s government continues to perpetuate is a downplaying of the human cost of trying to “build socialism” during the nearly 75-year reign of communist rule in the Soviet Union, from 1917 to 1991. It is estimated that as many as 64 million innocent men, women and children were killed in the Soviet Union in the name of building the socialist workers’ paradise.” (See my article: “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power.”)

The Soviet Fairy Tale About the Start of World War II

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What Sparked Your Interest in Liberty?


I suppose I can date my interest in both libertarianism and Austrian Economics from the day I was born. The doctor grabbed me by my little feet, turned me upside down and spanked my tiny bottom.

I began to cry out. That is when I realized the fundamental axiom that, “man acts.” In addition, I appreciated that what the doctor had done was in violation of the “non-aggression” principle.

The rest is history. Well . . . maybe not quite.

For some reason, I had found history and current events interesting when I was in my early ‘teens in the 1960s. I had a part-time job at the Hollywood Public Library in Los Angeles when I was in high school. Part of responsibilities was to maintain the magazine collections on a balcony in the building. I would finish my work, and hide up in the balcony reading new and old political and news publications.

But I soon was confused. When I read “left-of-center” publications like “The Nation” or the “New Republic,” they always seemed to have the moral high ground, making the case for “social justice,” “fairness” and morality.  On the other hand, when I read “right-of-center” publications like “Human Events” or “National Review” the argument was made that all that “bleeding heart” stuff just did not work. There was a “bottom line”: it cost too much, screwed things up, and socialism and communism seemed to kill a lot of people.

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FFF ARTICLES  by April 19, 2016

Academia has long been thought of as the “marketplace of ideas,” the arena where truth may be pursued through dispassionate discourse and openness to competing views. Yet higher education in America has moved a great distance from this ideal and its practice and into arenas of collectivist indoctrination.Too many of our colleges and universities have become cloistered “hothouses” of bias and intolerance––schools of closed-mindedness. Everywhere we look these institutions are dominated by “political correctness,” the common theme of which is disdain and disapproval of the American traditions of individualism, free enterprise, and constitutionally limited government.

The Closed Mind of a Socialist Academia

No amount of criticism or doubt from outside those hallowed halls seems to affect either the professors or the administrators, who claim to be the stewards of the younger generation placed in their intellectual and moral care. Indeed, more often than not, they demonstrate contempt for those who challenge their entitlement to mentor and mold our sons and daughters as they think fit. Their conduct shows that they consider themselves answerable to no one but themselves.

This should not be surprising considering the special, indeed, unique environment in which they operate. The vast majority of America’s colleges and universities have become insular islands of “academic socialism.” They are either directly owned and operated by government, or if they are “private,” they have become so dependent on government loans, scholarships, and research grants that they have little real interaction with the wider remaining private-sector society.

Regardless of the lack of intellectual merit or usefulness of what is often taught in fields such as history, political science, economics, sociology, and literature, the faculties at these schools are protected from any negative feedback. Their salaries at state institutions are paid through tax dollars; their jobs are secured through lifetime tenure; and the content of their courses are judged as good or bad only by themselves. Any doubts about or dissent against how and what they teach is responded to with shouts of “academic freedom.” That phrase has become a mantra to ward off the demons: those of us who may not agree with the “wisdom” they wish to “share” with our children.

Government funding, of course, comes from tax dollars expropriated from the hard-earned income of the American citizenry. Parents are therefore left with fewer financial resources with which to send their children to educational institutions outside the net of state sponsorship and control. Furthermore, the lure of less-expensive state-funded and state-subsidized colleges and universities creates a perverse incentive for parents to send their young to these politically funded schools.

Monopolizing the Minds of Young People

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Why Bernie Sanders Has to Raise Taxes on the Middle Class

Anything Peaceful- The regressive Progressive tax plan

Willie Sutton was one of the most infamous bank robbers in American history. Over three decades, the dashing criminal robbed a hundred banks, escaped three prisons, and made off with millions. Today, he is best known for Sutton’s Law: Asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, Sutton allegedly quipped, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Sutton’s Law explains something unusual about Bernie Sander’s tax plan: it calls for massive tax hikes across the board. Why raise taxes on the middle class? Because that’s where the money is.

The problem all politicians face is that voters love to get stuff, but they hate to pay for it. The traditional solution that center-left politicians pitch is the idea that the poor and middle class will get the benefits, and the rich will pay for it.

This is approximately how things work in the United States. The top 1 percent of taxpayers earn 19 percent of total income and pay 38 percent of federal income taxes. The bottom 50 percent earn 12 percent and pay 3 percent. This chart from the Heritage Foundation shows net taxes paid and benefits received, per person, by household income group:

But Sanders’ proposals (free college, free health care, jobs programs, more Social Security, etc.) are way too heavy for the rich alone to carry, and he knows it. To his credit, his campaign has released a plan to pay for each of these myriad handouts. Vox’s Dylan Matthews has totaled up all the tax increases Sanders has proposed so far, and the picture is simply staggering.

Every household earning below $250,000 will face a tax hike of nearly 9 percent. Past that, rates explode, up to a top rate of 77 percent on incomes over $10 million.

Paying for Free

Sanders argues that most people’s average income tax rate won’t change, but this is only true if you exclude the two major taxes meant to pay for his health care program: a 2.2 percent “premium” tax and 6.2 percent payroll tax, imposed on incomes across the board. These taxes account for majority of the new revenue Sanders is counting on.

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