Question EVERYTHING!!!

Question Everything
By Jeff Thomas

From Internationalman.com

Image
The average person in the First World receives more information than he would if he lived in a Second or Third World country. In many countries of the world, the very idea of twenty-four hour television news coverage would be unthinkable, yet many Westerners feel that, without this constant input, they would be woefully uninformed.

Not surprising, then, that the average First Worlder feels that he understands current events better than those elsewhere in the world. But, as in other things, quality and quantity are not the same.

The average news programme features a commentator who provides “the news,” or at least that portion of events that the network deems worthy to be presented. In addition, it is presented from the political slant of the controllers of the network. But we are reassured that the reporting is “balanced,” in a portion of the programme that features a panel of “experts.”

Customarily, the panel consists of the moderator plus two pundits who share his political slant and a pundit who has an opposing slant. All are paid by the network for their contributions. The moderator will ask a question on a current issue, and an argument will ensue for a few minutes. Generally, no real conclusion is reached—neither side accedes to the other. The moderator then moves on to another question.

So, the network has aired the issues of the day, and we have received a balanced view that may inform our own opinions.

Or have we?

Shortcomings
In actual fact, there are significant shortcomings in this type of presentation:

The scope of coverage is extremely narrow. Only select facets of each issue are discussed.
Generally, the discussion reveals precious little actual insight and, in fact, only the standard opposing liberal and conservative positions are discussed, implying that the viewer must choose one or the other to adopt as his own opinion.
On a programme that is liberally-oriented, the one conservative pundit on the panel is made to look foolish by the three liberal pundits, ensuring that the liberal viewer’s beliefs are reaffirmed. (The reverse is true on a conservative news programme.)
Each issue facet that is addressed is repeated many times in the course of the day, then extended for as many days, weeks, or months as the issue remains current. The “message,” therefore, is repeated virtually as often as an advert for a brand of laundry powder.
So, what is the net effect of such news reportage? Has the viewer become well-informed?

In actual fact, not at all. What he has become is well-indoctrinated.

A liberal will be inclined to regularly watch a liberal news channel, which will result in the continual reaffirmation of his liberal views. A conservative will, in turn, regularly watch a conservative news channel, which will result in the continual reaffirmation of his conservative views.

Many viewers will agree that this is so, yet not recognise that, essentially, they are being programmed to simply absorb information. Along the way, their inclination to actually question and think for themselves is being eroded.

Alternate Possibilities
The proof of this is that those who have been programmed, tend to react with anger when they encounter a Nigel Farage or a Ron Paul, who might well challenge them to consider a third option—an interpretation beyond the narrow conservative and liberal views of events. In truth, on any issue, there exists a wide field of alternate possibilities.

By contrast, it is not uncommon for people outside the First World to have better instincts when encountering a news item. If they do not receive the BBC, Fox News, or CNN, they are likely, when learning of a political event, to think through, on their own, what the event means to them.

As they are not pre-programmed to follow one narrow line of reasoning or another, they are open to a broad range of possibilities. Each individual, based upon his personal experience, is likely to draw a different conclusion and, thorough discourse with others, is likely to continue to update his opinion each time he receives a new viewpoint.

As a result, it is not uncommon for those who are not “plugged-in” to be not only more open-minded, but more imaginative in their considerations, even when they are less educated and less “informed” than those in the First World.

Whilst those who do not receive the regular barrage that is the norm in the First World are no more intelligent than their European or American counterparts, their views are more often the result of personal objective reasoning and common sense and are often more insightful.

Those in First World countries often point with pride at the advanced technology that allows them a greater volume of news than the rest of the world customarily receives.

Further, they are likely to take pride in their belief that the two opposing views that are presented indicate that they live in a “free” country, where dissent is encouraged.

Unfortunately, what is encouraged is one of two views—either the liberal view or the conservative view. Other views are discouraged.

The liberal view espouses that a powerful liberal government is necessary to control the greed of capitalists, taxing and regulating them as much as possible to limit their ability to victimise the poorer classes.

The conservative view espouses that a powerful conservative government is needed to control the liberals, who threaten to create chaos and moral collapse through such efforts as gay rights, legalised abortion, etc.

What these two dogmatic concepts have in common is that a powerful government is needed.

Each group, therefore, seeks the increase in the power of its group of legislators to overpower the opposing group. This ensures that, regardless of whether the present government is dominated by liberals of conservatives, the one certainty will be that the government will be powerful.

When seen in this light, if the television viewer were to click the remote back and forth regularly from the liberal channel to the conservative channel, he would begin to see a strong similarity between the two.

It’s easy for any viewer to question the opposition group, to consider them disingenuous—the bearers of false information. It is far more difficult to question the pundits who are on our own “team,” to ask ourselves if they, also, are disingenuous.

This is especially difficult when it’s three to one—when three commentators share our political view and all say the same thing to the odd-man-out on the panel. In such a situation, the hardest task is to question our own team, who are clearly succeeding at beating down the odd-man-out.

Evolution of Indoctrination
In bygone eras, the kings of old would tell their minions what to believe and the minions would then either accept or reject the information received. They would rely on their own experience and reasoning powers to inform them.

Later, a better method evolved: the use of media to indoctrinate the populace with government-generated propaganda (think: Josef Goebbels or Uncle Joe Stalin).

Today, a far more effective method exists—one that retains the repetition of the latter method but helps to eliminate the open-ended field of alternate points of view. It does so by providing a choice between “View A” and “View B.”

In a democracy, there is always an “A” and a “B.” This illusion of choice is infinitely more effective in helping the populace to believe that they have been able to choose their leaders and their points of view.

In the modern method, when voting, regardless of what choice the individual makes, he is voting for an all-powerful government. (Whether it calls itself a conservative one or a liberal one is incidental.)

Likewise, through the modern media, when the viewer absorbs what is presented as discourse, regardless of whether he chooses View A or View B, he is endorsing an all-powerful government.

Two Solutions
One solution to avoid being brainwashed by the dogmatic messaging of the media is to simply avoid watching the news. But this is difficult to do, as our associates and neighbours are watching it every day and will want to discuss with us what they have been taught.

The other choice is to question everything.

To consider that the event that is being discussed may not only be being falsely reported, but that the message being provided by the pundits may be consciously planned for our consumption.

This is difficult to do at first but can eventually become habit. If so, the likelihood of being led down the garden path by the powers-that-be may be greatly diminished. In truth, on any issue, there exists a wide field of alternate possibilities.

Developing your own view may, in the coming years, be vital to your well-being.

 

Charity vs. Coercion

Another article from txfatherofseven.wordpress.com.

txfatherofseven


When we oppose subsidies, we are charged with opposing the very thing that it was proposed to subsidize and of being the enemies of all kinds of activity, because we want these activities to be voluntary and to seek their proper reward in themselves. Thus, if we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in religious matters, we are atheists. If we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in education, then we hate enlightenment. If we say that the state should not give, by taxation, an artificial value to land or to some branch of industry, then we are the enemies of property and of labor. If we think that the state should not subsidize artists, we are barbarians who judge the arts useless. — Frederic Bastiat



I’ve posted this quote onFacebookonce but never got to dig into it more. One of the things about the…

View original post 495 more words

Common Core creates new wave of home schoolers!

A new out-break of freedom as GenX parents reject statist monopolized education!

The department of education is barely older than most of these parents, yet it continually speaks to them as if they were the children.

Children are people- not mechanical property of parents or the state. Children deserve to have choice in their educations, not statist-mandated   tests and programs.

Adults enjoy free choice. When you go to lunch , you have dozens choices- Asian, Mexican, home-style, Italian, smoking and non-smoking.

As an adult, you typically enjoy your lunch due to the CHOICES you have. No one forces you to eat the same lunch day after day, much less a lunch mandated by an-ever shifting cadre of statist nincompoops.

Homeschool is a great way to introduce freedom and enjoyment into the educational life of the children in our families. Let them develop curriculum that enhance their talents, and challenge them.

We love them, we want them to grow into thinking individuals and not robots.

Homeschool offers the best chance.

 


 

MORE PARENTS CHOOSE HOMESCHOOLING DUE TO COMMON CORE
by DR. SUSAN BERRY 27 Mar 2014 241 POST A COMMENT

As Common Core champions like Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continue to attack parents, teachers, and taxpayers for what they claim are “myths” spread about the centralized standards initiative, many parents across the nation are not convinced.
They are refusing to subject their children to the stress, pressure, and confusion associated with the Common Core by opting out of the assessments aligned with the standards, or by withdrawing them from school and choosing homeschooling instead.
WHNT 19 News in Alabama reports a growing number of families making the decision to withdraw their children from school in order to homeschool because of “confusion,” “chaos,” and stress related to the Common Core standards.
“It [Common Core] has caused chaos in our house, and it’s not worth it,” said Lori Peden, who has withdrawn two of her children from McBride Elementary in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “The teachers are not comfortable teaching it. They’re frustrated. Parents are upset, kids are not making good grades. That’s what I’ve seen.”
Peden said she never had plans to homeschool her children, but did so after she observed her son struggling with Common Core math assignments in which he was required to find and learn up to half a dozen different pathways to the same final answer, an endeavor that created confusion and constant stress.
“In math, they take a very long road to go a short distance,” said Peden. “You’re fighting over which method to use and how to figure out how he needs to do it. It’s a lot of time wasted, a lot of effort wasted.”

Megan King, a parent from Kansans Against Common Core, is also homeschooling two of her children because she is unhappy with the Common Core standards.
“My oldest is in middle school, and is on an advance track that I felt comfortable leaving him where he is at, but even with him I am seeing problems in the area of English,” King told Breitbart News.
King said she pulled her kids from public school as Common Core was being implemented.
“I noticed the dumb and confusing way math was beginning to be taught, and as I looked more and more into Common Core, I didn’t like what I was seeing on so many levels,” she explained. “My 4th grader had only read one literature book through the year. I asked his teacher about their reading and she said they had been reading small non fiction books (informational text).”
“I just felt my kids were not going to learn at a level I know they can and should be learning at,” King said.
Though homeschooling has been an adjustment for the entire family, King said the results have been worth it.
“I do recommend homeschooling,” she said. “It’s very rewarding, but I had to quit my job as a preschool teacher in order to homeschool, so we have had to really tighten our belt financially. But, even if a state finds its way out of Common Core, it will be years before things are what they were before No Child Left Behind and Common Core, so we, as parents, have to get creative and find new ways to educate our kids.”
Justin and Jennifer Dahlmann of Kansas also have decided to homeschool their children in response to the implementation of the Common Core standards.
KAKE.com reports that the Dahlmanns, who have four daughters from ages two to nine, said Common Core had been implemented at their children’s private school.
“Our own kids were taking these standards that are driving the curriculum and we didn’t know anything about it,” Justin said. “That’s when we started doing the research on it and realized how overbearing it was.”
The parents asserted that the Common Core standards are making education more confusing, as opposed to encouraging more rigorous critical thinking, as the standards’ supporters tout.
Homeschooling, for the Dahlmanns, is, in some ways, a form of protest of the “top down” Common Core standards.
“If this does nothing more than wake people up to becoming more involved with their children, that’s great,” Justin said. “But absolutely parents need to become more involved in this.”
William Estrada, Director of Federal Relations of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) wrote in December of 2012, that he believes “children – whether homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled – do best when parents are fully engaged.”
Estrada said that centralized education policies do not encourage parents to be engaged in what and how their children are being taught.
“The CCSS [Common Core State Standards] moves education standards from the purview of state and local control to being controlled by unaccountable education policy experts sitting in a board room far removed from the parents, students, and teachers who are most critical to a child’s educational success,” Estrada wrote.

 

The nature of our opposition

Some good information here from Mark Stoval, a friend from over at Twitter. He touches briefly on moral relativism- which I link to the myth of the efficiency of violence. Read on!

On the Mark

As an enemy of the state I find my opposition is numerous beyond my abilities to count. I find opposition on the far left, the far right, in the middle, and from people whose politics defy being categorized. What these people all have in common is a deep belief that it is the state itself can be our salvation. Consider the “watermelons” (green on the outside and red on the inside) who want to use the state to force mankind back into a preindustrial state of being: they see the state as the ultimate salvation of life on this planet!

The  modern liberals “progressives” are by far the worst of the bunch as they are forever preaching that “the ends justify the means” and hence morality, ethics, honest debate, or any objective standard of behavior does not apply to them since they are trying to “save the world”…

View original post 745 more words

Libertarian Anarchy: Against the the State/ A Review by James O’Gallagher

A recent article for a book review from the excellent blog of Bill Buppert of zerogov.com. There’s a lot if information and great articles over at zerogov.com and you may also order Bill’s book there as well.

 


 

Image

Libertarian Anarchy: Against the the State/ A Review by James O’Gallagher
Posted on March 28, 2014 by Bill

from zerogov.com

Publisher’s Note: This is James’ first contribution to the blog and he does an excellent job talking about the book. I highly recommend James J. Martin’s book Men Against the State for an earlier compendium about 19th century individualist anarchists in America. -BB

Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State

Gerard Casey, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at University College in Dublin, Ireland, and an Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute, has written a concise, excellently sourced treatise promoting the political philosophy he labels “libertarian anarchy”.

Professor Casey writes in large part from a Rothbardian perspective, as one sees by his very first sentence: “States are criminal organizations”. He distinguishes libertarianism from libertinism, noting that libertarians may live by strict moral principles, yet “the law has no business enforcing purely moral considerations”.

Casey describes the “limited objectives” of his compact, well -written and well -argued brief for liberty as the following:

1) To show the anti-libertarian character of states and state action

2) To argue for the presumption of liberty

3) To make the case for libertarian anarchy

4) To show that law does not require state sponsorship

5) To demonstrate the illegitimacy of the modern state by means of an attack on the representative nature of democracy and the validity of state constitutions

He accomplishes these objectives, to this reader, without exception. He provides an apt metaphor of the state as “the Wizard of Oz, a small man with a megaphone pulling levers behind a curtain”.

Casey begins by addressing the overriding myth prevailing in contemporary society, “The belief in the legitimacy and necessity of the state”. He quotes James Scott: “Until shortly before the common era, the very last one percent of human history, the social landscape consisted of elementary, self- governing, kinship units that might, occasionally, cooperate in hunting, feasting, skirmishing, trading and peacemaking…..It did not contain anything one would call a state…Living in the absence of state structures has been the standard human condition”.

Casey shows how statism in inextricably linked to warfare, aggression, and theft. “The making of the modern state and the making of war go hand in hand, and money, other people’s money, lots of it, is required for both.”

Casey attacks the presumed moral legitimacy and ‘special status’ of the state and state actors. “If someone wants to make the case for the privileged moral status of state actors, the burden of proof resides with them”. Further, the “principal concern” of his book is to refute the claim that the “the creation, the administration and enforcement of law” …..”cannot be provided by any other body” than the state.

Casey delivers some knockout rhetorical blows against statism and statists. “The greatness of our historical leaders is built on the mangled bodies of the poor, the defenceless and the politically gullible”. He lists a sample of the “innumerable legion of petty tyrants that have plagued the world” consisting of the “Alexanders, Caesars, Napoleons, Hitlers, Stalins,Clintons, Blairs and Bushes”.

He paints a positive, life affirming portrait of libertarianism, explaining how it is premised upon the Non Aggression Principle (NAP), the Golden Rule (Reciprocity) and freedom, leading to human flourishing. “Freedom is essential to human flourishing…..’Coercing people’, writes Sartwell, ‘reduces them to the status of inanimate objects’ and serves….’to attack the status of human beings as moral agents’.”

While confirming that for libertarians, “liberty must be the default position for any ethical or political theory”, Casey stresses that liberty is not the be all and end all of human existence, but rather the most fundamental social value. In other words, quoting Lord Acton, “freedom is the highest political end, not the highest end of man per se”.

Casey cites the NAP in distinguishing libertarianism from classical liberalism and conservatism, as well as from modern, activist liberalism\leftism. ”Both the liberal and the conservative are selective in those spheres in which they will allow liberty to operate”. The conservative allowing liberty in many economic areas but not in morals or military and nationalistic concerns, while the modern liberal is more tolerant of private moral choices, yet is compelled to call for more and more central planning in the economic and industrial areas.

Regarding the always heated disputes as to whether anarcho-commmunism\socialism or anarcho-capitalism represents “true” anarchism, Cases explains:

“I believe we are free to bind ourselves by entering into informal and contractual relations with others, even relations in which we voluntarily subordinate ourselves to other. I do not accept the common claim of anarchists from the left side of the political spectrum that such relations are necessarily anti-anarchic. If we are not free to bind ourselves then we are not really free, our liberty is compromised. The form of anarchism that accepts this radical notion of freedom, our freedom to bind ourselves, I call libertarian anarchism.”

So the author prefers the term “libertarian anarchism”. What about that old rhetorical bugaboo, capitalism? Casey concedes: “The term ‘anarcho-capitalism’ is used by some to name the position I am defending here.”

He acknowledges that ‘capitalism’ “carries so much emotional and conceptually confusing baggage” that it is not likely to “be used in a neutral, descriptive way”. He notes that Rothbard, perhaps the father of anarcho-capitalism, or at least its most well known proponent, distinguished between ‘free market capitalism’ and ‘state capitalism’. The latter, of course, is what passes for free enterprise capitalism today in most people’s eyes, the corporatist, bailed out, propped up, subsidized, mercantilist, bastardized version of real freedom in economic pursuits. As Rothbard put it, the difference between these two versions of ‘capitalism’ is “precisely the difference between…peaceful, voluntary exchange” and ”violent expropriation”.

So, providing that no coercion is used, any set of economic arrangements is acceptable. Libertarian anarchists, according to Casey, believe that their role is not to endorse any particular economic system but, quoting Sneed, “to destroy the state in order to allow all economic systems to complete on a voluntary basis”. To that, Casey clarifies, “any set of voluntary arrangements that do not violate NAP”.

Casey goes on to discuss fundamental principles of property rights, and addresses common criticism of anarchy, and anarchists. He weaves into the discussion, succinct and pointed analysis of political theorists, philosophers and economists, from the ancient to the contemporary, including Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Bastiat, the great Lysander Spooner, Kirk, Hayek, Walter Block, Bruce Benson, Randy Barnett, and innumerable others.

He explains how law is not imposed from above by those in authority, but derives from the common experiences and reasoning of the people who subscribe to the law, community norms, usual and customary standards, judicial opinions and the like (otherwise known as common law). However, the judicial opinions, legal standards and rulings are not some mysterious gift handed down by above, but tried and true principles, rules and rational decision making used to resolve disputes. In other words, the laws of a society are created and rise from the bottom up, and are not properly viewed as hierarchical edicts imposed on a people, or a community. Legal change occurs by evolution, not (legislative) revolution.

Of course, as NAP is entirely consistent with the universally sacred concepts of respect of human dignity, individual autonomy, the golden rule\reciprocity, and natural rights, what hopefully evolves in any given society will be completely consistent with natural law. Those societies and communities that respect and honor natural law and natural rights will expect to grow, prosper and flourish, especially over time. Moreover, due to respect of universal human natural rights such as individual sovereignty, the right to travel, freedom of association and the abolishing of arbitrary, government imposed borders and barriers, communities (business, legal and otherwise) needn’t be tied to artificial and geographical restrictions.

Casey discusses anarchic societies, of varying sizes and times, to give examples of “anarchy in action”. He emphasizes the importance of kinfolk, restitution, and non- violent and non-coercive methods of keeping law and order, including such varied, voluntary approaches as disapproval, ostracism, boycott, blacklisting, blackballing, banishment and expulsion\exclusion, for those who refuse to obey societies norms, pay their debts, honor legal judgments, respect the rights of others, maintain a surety or insurance, or membership in a DRO.

Casey clarifies that he is not claiming these societies are examples of pure libertarian anarchism or any kind of imaginary utopia, but he brings them up “to show that there have been societies that functioned without a state apparatus”. As even (neo-conservative historian) Francis Fukuyama wrote, all over the world for most of human history people owed obligations “not to a state but to kinfolk, they settled disputes not through courts but through a system of retributive justice”. Casey then specifically discusses a few examples, including Eskimo society, Somalia, ‘medieval ’ Ireland (really, about 500 BC to 1600 AD), with an emphasis on the use of customary, kritarchic (rule by judges) as well as polycentric law for private dispute resolution, including use of surety’s, dispute resolution organizations (DRO’s), and what today would be called insurance. For more examples of anarchic societies throughout history, be sure to check the end notes and bibliography.

Casey’s fundamental thesis, as one would expect, is that the state is illegitimate, its “office holders” thieves, authoritarian control freaks, and frauds. He demolishes trite, grade school “social studies” propagandistic canards like the myths of political democracy, “representation” and the completely discredited notion that states can effectively “limit” and restrain themselves through Constitutions and “checks and balances”. The preposterous idea that statist Constitutions are “contracts” (‘social’ or otherwise) is fittingly and easily disposed of.

Casey concludes his work, stating: “What I have tried to do in this book is to make the case for libertarian anarchy and the illegitimacy of the modern state- two sides of the same coin.” He recaps how he accomplishes this, by citing to the ideas of other brilliant minds, and including many of his own.

The book is very well sourced and includes a bibliography that any “libertarian anarchist” (or classical liberal\minarchist) would enjoy perusing. For any of you interested in the topic, and indeed, whether one is anarchist, minarchist, or simply interested in competing political theories and analytical discussion, I highly recommend this extremely readable, engaging and instructive work.