(L140) Bureaucracy & Brainwashing

Is tax-funded education inherently bureaucratic?

For the sake of simplicity, yes. The reason that we know this is because of the entire set-up of the educational system. First, money goes from the taxpayer’s wallets to the government. This money is then split up and a portion goes into public schools. Since the government is technically the source giving the money directly to the schools, it is the government who decides what the schools teach. In other words, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Public schools are an area/branch of the state; bureaucracy is the system through which such areas/branches are monitored. The monitoring is done through bureaucrats themselves – in the case of public schools, the bureaucrats are teachers and administrators. Each leader and/or representative of a tax-funded school is given a book of laws governing the entirety of their actions. This rule book spans from disciplinary action plans, to educational lesson plans and academic requirements. Again we find the issue of underlying special interests: the government is funding education through coercion, and mandating teachers every step dictating what they may and may not teach. (Otherwise known as common core education.) Government (tax) funded education goes beyond being a conflict of interest; rather it simply becomes means of indoctrinating children with a distorted and immoral view of life. Government schools dictate the teachings of statism because they are directly founded on statist principles. Tax funded education is undeniably and inherently bureaucratic.

(L65) Swedish Prosperity & Fascism

1.) The standard claim about Sweden is that it shows that society can prosper without such a free market and with extensive government intervention. Based on the lesson and on your reading, what would be a good response to this claim?

Sweden’s prosperity was originally birthed from a free market capitalistic economy, as well as avoiding war (as best they could). There is no historical evidence, even as late at the 1950s, of great welfare funding, and Sweden’s Austrian economics standpoint lasted between the 19th and even the early 20th century. The economic strength and prosperity that resulted from these practices was eventually funneled into a welfare state. Between 1970 and 1989 taxes were raised and hand-outs were increased; Sweden’s place as the 4th richest industrialized country dropped to the 14th by 1993. Just as capitalism had built their country strong, the turn away from it had began to make their country weak economically; since then however, economic freedom has increased (and surpasses that of the United States greatly).

2.) What were the primary values of fascism?

The primary values of fascism basically hold that the rights of the individual are far surpassed by the “good of the Nation”. In the words of Mussolini, “everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.” Beside putting the state on a pedestal and pushing for political centralization, fascism also highly encourages nationalism and the glorification of the military.

(L45) The Welfare State

1.) What is the primary problem facing a policymaker who is trying to design a program to benefit people in unfortunate circumstances?

The biggest issue in creating a welfare-benefits program is the fact that it needs to be created in such a way that it is good enough to help people, but not so good that people never give up the help to support themselves (without welfare). This entails creating a target group; however people just outside of the guidelines of this target group are more likely to worsen their own situations, to place themselves within the guidelines in order to receive assistance. This means greater numbers of people are taking out, and less are paying in. Welfare benefits also create incentive for people within the guidelines (say, unemployed people) to stay within the guidelines, because rather than bettering their situations through work, they are handed a better situation. Even for those who originally have intentions of using welfare just to get them back on their feet again become comfortable in the situation they have been gifted. Overall, the rules of the program have encouraged those within the guidelines to stay there, and those outside of the guidelines, to get between them.

2.) In practice, what have been some of the outcomes — intended or unintended — of anti-poverty programs?

Throughout the growth of the welfare state, many disturbing side effects have been revealed. The largest of these realities being the fact that the welfare state does not actually decrease poverty! From 1967 to 1994, welfare spending quadrupled; poverty levels however, remained the same. It has also been discovered that poor people without government assistance are two and a half times more likely to escape poverty than those who are on welfare. It’s effects on family life have been absolutely devastating as well, and it has been linked to extremely high divorce rates. Children who come from families receiving government assistance typically have an IQ 20% lower than the average child coming from a non-welfare funded family. Welfare also has proven to impair young men’s earning abilities, cause behavioral and emotional issues in children three times greater than that of those without government assistance, and double the chances of a criminal future. Tax payer’s hard earned money is being drained into a system promoting broken families and lives of despair, all the while being framed as the greater good; is this something that you really want to be supporting?

(L15) Garage Sale Regulation

If the state regulated garage sales, would poor people be better off?

All people, especially poor people, would be worse off if the state regulated garage sales. Taxes would not only hike up the prices of each item, but the government would also most likely require licences to sell, discouraging people from holding garage sales in the first place. Minimum and maximum prices would also more likely than not be imposed, and garage sales would no longer be a mutually beneficial event. These regulations would all be enforced using coercion, and the option of voluntary exchange would be revoked.

State Subsidies (L30)

Is it possible to have state subsidies without state control?

To be blunt, there is absolutely no way for state subsidies to exist without state control. The government should under no circumstances hand out money without “strings” or regulations, because this leads to the abuse of handouts. The welfare state offers one of the best explanations of this in today’s society; it is funded by the plundering of those not receiving such help, and heavily promotes dependence on the state by welfare recipients. It is not considered particularly difficult to become a recipient of government aid in the United States; the welfare state is largely abused and encourages paternalism. The government uses coercion to control the wealth of the United States by means of redistribution. Without this control, there would be no money to fund any state subsidies. Rather, a community of cooperation and charities; people with more of their own money will be more apt to help others. In today’s society one encounters money handouts in thousands of government programs; likewise, as of 2014 taxes are up 42% since last year. Although many people seem to benefit from the plundering of others, they, in reality, are just making themselves wards of the state through dependence. No man wins under state control or coercion.

“How To Argue With a Liberal…and Win!” Discussion Question (L25)

“If the state is strong enough to do something good for you, it can also do something bad to you.”

As true as this is, it is hard for some to understand why, or even how the government would do something bad to the people who so naively trust it. Maybe it is easier to consider it in this context; each action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, to a woman receiving welfare, the state is a positive thing. This is helping move her in the direction she needs and she appreciates the help; what a thoughtful government we have, looking out only for the best interest of it’s people. But, on the other hand, she is not thinking about exactly where that money came from. This recipient of government aid isn’t considering that just as she is cashing that check, or using her food stamps, a man is on the other end pulling his hair out about the devastation of taxes. The government is stealing one man’s money from his paycheck each week simply to hand it over to those who ask. On any scale, the state can only “do good” for one person when it is harming another, due to the fact that 100% of their funding has amounted from the plundering of hard working citizens.

Sixteenth-Century Writing Assignment (L20)

What were the causes and consequences of the Spanish revolt that occurred after Charles left to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor?

The Spanish revolt had been a long time in the making, but it all really began when Charles V, whom had been in control of many European states, came to be the King of Spain in 1516. Not only could he not speak Spanish early on in his reign, but under the belief that people from the Low Countries were more advanced, he also had brought comrades from his homeland to serve as government officials in Spain. As one can imagine, many were hesitant to accept Charles V as their King. In 1519, Charles was to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor, and in 1520 he leaves Spain in the hands of a man named Adrian while he is away. The consequences of this being that, during his absence, a relentless revolt breaks out, with the goal of establishing a league of cities to keep an eye on the king. As the citizens rage on however, the Spanish Nobility decides not to support this revolt, due to the growing realization that this could actually turn into what they called a class-war. Not wanting to be subjected to this, they joined the Royal Officials in stopping the revolt. Following such events, Charles V uses the revolt to justify ruling Spain with an absolutist outlook.

What were the causes of the Dutch revolt? What was the “demonstration effect”?

The main causes of the Dutch revolt were Philip’s absolutist methods of ruling, his violent outbursts, and absurdly high tax rates being imposed on the people. More specifically, Philip left neither Protestants or Catholics in his support after a display of strength through a 10,000 man strong army. Following this, the Duke of Alba imposed a ludicrous new 10% sales tax, which devastated the already crumbling economy. Rebellion broke out in full force.
The demonstration effect was the effect of behavior on individuals set into motion by the observation of the actions of others and their following consequences or rewards. This is, in other words, leading by example. The demonstration effect in terms of the Dutch Republic specifically meant no King, secure property rights, rule of law, religious toleration, intellectual freedom, and economic prosperity. The economic decay of Spain, for example, was a negative demonstration effect.

Who were the contenting parties in the French wars of religion? What was the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre? What was the Edict of Nantes?

The parties involved in the French wars of religion were the Protestants, the Huguenots, and the Catholics.
The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was the butchering of thousands of Huguenots by mobs in Paris and other provinces. This had been caused by an idea that Catherine had in her head that she and the King were going to be seized by Huguenots. In the midst of her fears, she approved the murder of Huguenot leader Admiral Coligny, and it was coordinated by the Duke of Guise. Things escalated from there and the massacre broke out so strongly against Huguenots that the forces of the people couldn’t be stopped for days.
The Edict of Nantes was issued by Henry IV, which granted freedom of conscience and absolute freedom of worship to the people in order to bring peace.

Describe the religious policy of Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth I’s religious policies were very lenient, and some contemporaries even suspected she claimed no religion whatsoever. Some aspects of Catholicism did appeal to her, but in reality she only cared much for one thing; her power. Elizabeth could not abide subjection to the papacy because she believed there could only be one true ruler. This being said, any persons going over her head to the Pope for anything could be considered treasonous. All in all, Elizabeth would leave one to do as they please as long as her authority was recognized, respected and honored.