Archives for category: Regulation

I came across a 2014 essay at First Things, by Samuel Gregg.

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/08/correcting-catholic-blindness

I wrote the following on Facebook:

Wow. Please read.

Gregg discusses economic freedom in Asia, and says:
“The ADB estimated that between 1990 and 2005 approximately 850 million people escaped absolute poverty. That is an astonishing figure.”

The article is a year old, and the numbers and predictions can be checked for this year, if you care to.

He discusses other examples. If you are a statist, this should shame you. If you believe in your political party, you are probably a statist. If you believe in and hold up the authority of the state and the obligation of the people to subject themselves in obedience, you are a statist. Statism, corporatism, socialism, and various other progressivisms are failed and detrimental to the human condition. Flatly, progressivism is against the human soul. Progressivism as practiced for the last century or so in the USA and much of the rest of the world destroys people by claiming to save them. Progressivism destroys the individual from within.

If you are a staunch Democrat, you are probably a progressive. I aver you hate humanity by your actions and attitudes. You can pretend to “do it for the children,” but you in fact do it for the authority, and the authority is invariably corrupt. The power is corrupted. It is always so.

All authority must be strictly and powerfully constrained. That is hard to do, because who watches the watchers? Still, it must be so. Authority must be strongly constrained, or it is tyranny.

We cannot allow for absolutist authority in any regard. We cannot allow for absolute religious authority. We cannot allow for any sort of political or regulatory authority, because it always seeks its own. It always becomes corrupt. It always corrupts all it controls. We must have strict controls on anything even resembling authority. Of course, all authorities cry foul and claim I’m rebellious, and worse.

Gregg closes thus, “None of this means compromising on the demands of justice. It would, however, allow the “seeing” of Catholic social teaching to take wider account of the empirical without being empiricist, to look at what actually works without lapsing into pragmatism, and to remove some of the conceptual blinkers that have inhibited many Catholics’ vision of how to transform the world’s economies into arenas of human flourishing. The well-being of the poor surely demands nothing less.”

Feel free to comment. I welcome opportunity to stretch and challenge my thinking.

Isn’t this an embarrassment?

Section XIII-4: Compulsory school attendance.
The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.

Compulsion is evil. Yet, here we require it in our state constitution. We institute evil in our governance at its inception.

Coercion is evil. Compulsion is evil. It can only be justified in the prevention of worse evil.

Can we argue that granting someone the freedom, the right, of self-determination is a worse evil than forcing attendance at education?

We all know better. We know it is right and good to allow each self-determination. It is unalienable. Liberty, freedom of association, these are rights with which we are each individually created. Certainly parents and responsible adults owe protection to our young, our childish ones, until they gain modest maturity, but the longer I live, the less mature I realize we all are. Responsibility must accompany privilege, but self-determination is not a privilege, it is innate right. Self-determination is a property of a person. It is part of the very definition of what each of us is.

No one can argue that coercion, compulsion is other than evil. We aver religious freedom. We generally allow so many freedoms, even some freedoms most of us judge as immoral. Yet, we want to deny the right of self-determination and free association to all our citizens less than 16, even 18, years of age.

We all instinctively, rightly, understand that being forced to do anything deprives us, degrades us. Most will comply, but the degradation remains. No matter the end results, the end never justifies evil means.

The end never justifies evil means.

Coercion, compulsion is evil.

The end never justifies coercive means.

Education is a good that has been sought hard through all history. Knowledge is power. We instinctively know that. We understand that information and understanding, with wisdom and sound judgment empower us to fulfill our dreams and to live our lives well. No one has to force us to do good things for ourselves. Indeed, no one can.

Yes, we are always tempted to sloth, but we know the ant. We know the fiddle-playing grasshopper.

It is not possible to justify righteously the compulsion of the grasshopper for his own good. It does him no good, and it diminishes the rest of us, at best decreasing our own productivity and efficiency, and often going much farther bringing forth in us the worst of human nature, especially arrogance, self-righteousness, condescension, and even worse.

There is no need for compulsion in education. Mothers understand its value for their children. Children understand its value when simply allowed to enjoy the process. Joy cannot flourish under compulsion. Children do not enjoy being told they must. No one enjoys being told what to do. Children must learn self-discipline, but that is an entirely different thing than education. Children learn when they play. They learn when they interact. They learn when they are shown how to do something new. They learn when they are shown the usefulness of reading, writing, and mathematics. The same applies to skills in all areas of interest, including sports and trade or industry.

The state must ensure access. The state must protect those seeking education. I will even support state provision of schools and educational resource, but no good can come of forcing our young citizens and their parents to participate and attend.

It is my right to be ignorant if I so choose.

It is mama’s right to insist her child participate in education. Mama can insist her child attend. The state cannot. The state has no right to coerce with regard to self-determination and freedom of association. Mama will choose what is best for her child. We need only ensure her right is unhindered. It is mama’s right to raise her child anyway she sees fit. There are limits. We acknowledge abuse occurs, and sometimes the state must intervene, but in nearly all cases, mother really does know best. Empower her, and protect her from hindrance, and ensure she has at least one adequate option, such as a public school, and let her prove it. Mothers the world over have been proving it over and over since time immemorial.

I will always stand for mothers and fathers, for families. It is what works. For the exceptions, coercion cannot help.

Societally, we must work together and try to make up for shortfalls. We must also stand with those who see things nontraditionally, even when we have sound studies and reproducible data that show the traditional works best. But, we cannot do so by trying to force behavior.

Focus on what is most important. Freedom, self-determination, acceptance of responsibility, owning what we earn, be it for better or for worse. These are the things that are important for human dignity. These are the essentials of society. Understanding these is much more important than acquisition of some arbitrary standard of education as guessed at by some standardized test.

Children are, first, citizens. Children are not resources of the state. Children are not resources of the economy. Children are not property. We adults, specifically, we parents, are responsible for helping our children grow, and we must provide them with the tools they need for success in life. We must prepare them to stand on their own and take our places. We cannot arbitrarily set the standard. We cannot pretend to know the STEM needs of the future. Heaven forbid that for anyone we ever try to determine for him or her. Each child has the right to pursue happiness. Each child must be allowed self-determination in it.

We must amend our state constitution. We must remove the words of Section XIII-4 and replace with words prohibiting coercion, prohibiting compulsory attendance. We must free our citizens, especially the teachers in our publicly funded schools.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

Mr. Miller has comments about teacher evaluation.

http://www.viewfromtheedge.net/?p=7405

Snippets with my comments:

“So, we are right back where we were prior to SB2033. Oklahoma can do anything we choose without the threat of federal interference. We can change this law during this legislative session, and we should.”

“That’s right. I vote to abolish TLE completely. Every part of it–The Tulsa Model, Marzano, McRel, roster verification, value-added models, teacher portfolios, student and parent surveys, benchmark testing, qualitative scores, quantitative scores…EVERY. Damn. Part.”

Absolutely. Get rid of all teacher evaluation requirements. We must trust our teachers and principals. If parents will stay involved, that will work just fine. It is, in fact, the only thing that will work.

Accountability means nothing unless the parents are involved. The state need not be involved if the parents are, and the state will only cause harm regardless.

“Adding layers of bureaucracy and mandates at the state level has done little to improve the quality of teachers in our state. This has always been–and will always be–a function of school leadership.”

Yes, absolutely. Local leadership and parental involvement. With no parents, there is no hope anyway.

“Therefore, the best method of teacher evaluation will always be to hire a great principal and let them do their job.

“Likewise, the best approach for our best teachers is to let them teach. We should provide the resources, training and supports they need and then get out of their way.

“The reality is that great teachers will be great teachers with or without TLE. They are intrinsically motivated and likely harder on themselves than any administrator could ever be. This does not mean they won’t appreciate meaningful feedback and suggestions from their administrators. But it’s just gravy for many of them.”

Actually, with TLE, the great teachers succumb. They find it too hard to love the children and teach them, piled on with the requirements to keep up with all the paperwork and restrictions. TLE doesn’t do much for the good teachers, but it does drive them away.

Mr. Miller speaks of improving incentives, but I don’t think incentives are the problem, restrictions and disincentives are the problem. First, we hold a gun to everyone’s head and force them to school. Then we tie the hands of the teachers with one-size-fits-all requirements. We restrict their options, and we force them to deal with those kids who refuse to cooperate, gun to their head or not.

Children love to learn. We do not have to instill a love of learning in them. It is there. We have to be careful not to squash it. Our system is very much geared for squashing love of learning. It also squashes love of teaching.

Likewise for critical thinking. Kids will, if we don’t throttle them every time they do so. We tend to, since there just isn’t time in the classroom to let the child’s thinking run its course. When Sally makes an astute observation followed by an off-the-wall conclusion, the ideal is to work with her and her peers to sort out the error and find better conclusions. She can and will if we can take the time, but we don’t. The typical response is to tell her that she was sharp to notice, but then the teacher must simply interject the correct conclusion because there simply isn’t time for the distraction. The distractions are important. In the distractions, our children learn to think for themselves. Distractions and focus on them develop the love of learning into lifelong habit. Figuring out and working through the errors and misjudgments develops the critical thinking that simply cannot be taught. Tests and lessons cannot teach critical thinking. Telling students what the critical points are teaches them nothing. They know a fact for a while; then it fades from mind. Doing the process of critical thinking instills it. Teaching it, accomplishes nothing.

I shared this on Facebook, reproducing here.

Regarding this article from Heartland: http://blog.heartland.org/2015/10/teslas-success-a-great-example-of-how-government-regulations-manipulate-markets/

Note how badly all coercive regulations from the government screw up things for us little people. The regulations are supposed to be good for us, good for the environment, but no. All the regulations accomplish is driving up prices for all cars, and making lots of junk that we have to dispose of. Tesla is laughing all the way to the bank though nearly nobody can afford their cars, and those who can, just don’t want them. The problem is not electric cars. Electric cars are great, and eventually, inevitably will take over, but either we must have an incomprehensible breakthrough in batteries, or we must build the electrical infrastructure into the roads.

We will, but it could be decades.

https://books.google.com/books/about/History_of_the_Electric_Automobile.html?id=T8tpQgAACAAJ&hl=en
History of the Electric Automobile: Battery-only Powered Cars
“Beginning with early electric vehicle development in England, France, and the US, Wakefield provides an in-depth look at the golden age of electric vehicles (1895-1905), demonstrating the technological improvements and business risks of this era. He also explores the dead era of the 1930s, 1940s.”

Note that the golden era of battery cars was the turn of the century, the last one, not this one. The fact is that batteries are not significantly better now than then, despite heroic efforts by some of the world’s best. We need batteries about 50 times better than they are now. That currently does not seem possible. If it is, if we develop those batteries tomorrow, at similar prices to our current best batteries, the cars of the world will be over 90% electric in about five years. IF!

Don’t count on it any time soon.

Heartland posted regarding Oklahoma’s shameful asset forfeiture laws.

https://www.heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-oklahoma-civil-asset-forfeiture-reform-0

I wrote this on Facebook, opening with a quote from the article, duplicating here:

In all civil forfeitures in Oklahoma, property owners are presumed guilty and are forced to contest forfeiture and prove they were not aware their property was being used illegally.

Isn’t that enough for us, as Americans, don’t we honor and hold as sacred the Fifth Amendment? “No person shall […], nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Don’t we believe that? Shouldn’t we rid ourselves of the stench of takings without due process?

Don’t we also honor the 14th Amendment? “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Don’t we also hold in highest regard the Golden Rule? Doesn’t each of us want full due legal process, full trial by impartial jury, when it is our stuff being taken? Proof beyond reasonable doubt.

We are talking of crimes here, not civil issues. We seem to pretend it is a civil issue, like the state is suing over the stuff, but no; it is being taken for a crime; the crime may even be assumed. There are no small number of instances where assets are taken, or even simply frozen (impounded), and no crime was ever even charged, much less proven. And with frozen assets, how does one even afford to mount a legal defense?

The entire notion of asset forfeiture until after full due process and proof of crime, and finding and assigning guilt, is totally reprehensible and should be anathema to all who claim to be American.

Perhaps, if Oklahoma will not rid itself of this blight, we can secede from the Union and declare ourselves the “Banana Republic of Sheriff Boss”. It seems to always be the Sheriffs in the lead fighting to keep taking property without due process.

State Senator Kyle Loveless, Kyle D. Loveless, I thank you for trying to improve the situation for all Oklahomans and for honoring our fundamental national values. Perhaps only small steps are politically possible, but we must start, and we must do more. Only full due process before forfeiture is just. Only justice will suffice.

http://biblehub.com/micah/6-8.htm
Live justly, love mercy, walk humbly.

Statistics don’t care to be saved.

“As a physician, I am intrigued, if not put off, by the EPA concept of “premature deaths.” How am I to know that that unfortunate patient, who has just died, died prematurely? If asked, he would undoubtedly claim that he had died before his time, no matter the actual cause. All deaths are “premature” when viewed subjectively.” Dr. Charles Battig

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/10/new_climate_regulations_will_save_lots_of_imaginary_people.htm

Dr. Batting uses examples to explain why EPA rules will help no one. While reading Dr. Battig’s keep in mind that our air and water in the USA have gotten significantly cleaner every year since 1970 when we first started keeping track. Every year cleaner for 45 years. Our air and water are cleaner than they were 100 years ago? How clean do we need to be?

Cleaner than clean hurts.

The bottom line is the EPA rules will hurt the bottom line, especially for those with the lowest bottom line. EPA rules passed the point of diminishing returns long ago. The EPA causes far more harm than it mitigates. The EPA is the most dangerous thing known to mankind.

End the EPA.

The practical way to end the EPA is to repeal the Clean Air Act. I hope that is possible.

Political will will have to be high. Those voting to repeal the laws that empower the EPA must have sufficient backbone to take the name calling and threats.

The politicians will have to replace the laws, because we do actually need to protect our air and water, but the laws must be targeted and specifically limited in scope and control. Very specific. I expect that will cause some problems and confusion for a while as lawyers fight each other and politicians to iron out the details. Still, it has to be better than what we have.

EPA is killing us.

EPA is the most dangerous thing on earth.

The article I wrote about that pointed out half our teachers are leaving the profession within five years referenced an article about Finland from 2011.

Wow!

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/?all&no-ist

The gist is the Finnish teachers are trusted and allowed to do whatever it takes to prepare kids to succeed in life. They only try to teach them how to learn. They never try to teach them how to test. Yet, the Finns do quite well on tests, including the international one. Read the rest of this entry »

Writing for Newsweek, , discusses the low morale of teachers in public education.

http://www.newsweek.com/why-has-teacher-morale-plummeted-321447

Like, no duh, huh?

He points out that the current problem started in the 1980s. It started even before the Civil War, but the problems today are largely the doings of Jimmy Carter and the Democrats of the early 1980s. Reagan tried to stop it. He said he would, but he failed. Tip O’Neill mattered in that. Most of our education problems today are mostly, originally, Tip O’Neill’s fault. (Bushes and Clintons share a lot of blame and responsibility in our education problems, too.)

Mr. Ward points out that 40-50% of our new teachers leave the profession within five years. Wow. There are no reforms we can do to the education system and hope to fix it while none of our teachers have significant experience in teaching. Nothing!

The first requirement to any fix in education is get rid of compulsory education. Repeal all truancy laws. All of them. Our education system will continue to worsen until we get rid of compulsory education laws. Compulsion, coercion, is always immoral. The only justification for any coercion is the clear and imminent threat of harm. There is no clear threat associated with lack of education for children. There certainly is no imminent threat.

Compulsory laws for education are evil. The history of it is sad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_education

Second requirement: Let the teachers teach!

Get out of their way. Get back to the principal and district superintendent running the school, trusting the teachers, proving them out one-on-one with the students and parents, and get out of the way.

Get the Fed out entirely. We need to amend the Constitution. Add the words “or education” to the First Amendment, like this, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;…” Our Federal government should treat education the exact same way it treats religion, totally hands off.

Our states need to back it down to the counties. We need to acknowledge that there is no overriding interest of the state in our children. We, including our children, are citizens. We all need equal protection. We all need equal standing. Sure, minors must be specially defined until the age of majority, but 18 is really probably older than we need for most things.

Well, enough today. I found Ward’s article worthwhile, and it slapped me hard that it is impossible to fix the public education system when most of our teachers have less than five years experience. It is impossible. We have to figure out how to fix that first. We cannot fix it by meddling.

Restricting my comments only to the US Census Bureau and its impositions, I encourage everyone to refuse anything from the USCB that is not obviously required by law.

Look for the word “voluntary” in any notice or form or survey you receive, and point that out to any nosy busybody who comes calling.

Contact your Representative and Senators. Demand the dissolution of the USCB.

A quick double-check of something on Google brought up this tidbit as a suggestion.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/26/395524049/census-data-prove-it-we-prefer-sunshine-and-golf-carts

A tidbit that clearly shows the frivolous waste of tax dollars that the USCB is. It is worthless and harmful in all regards. End it.

Not to mention boondoggles like this: http://watchdog.org/208924/fake-fracking-new-hampshire/

 

Read the rest of this entry »

The referent article appeared last year on First Things. It is worth rereading.

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/09/the-princess-bride-syndrome

I pretty much agree with the breadth of the article, but I cannot accept a role of the state, nor any interest of the state, in marriage. The state’s only legitimate role in anything is fair, even application of the law. We have messed up making marriage law. Commitment, contract, other obligation factors weigh, and the state has a role there, but the actual marriage, especially with its generational and religious connotations, is out-of-bounds for law and the state.

“The state rightly takes a particular interest in this type of relationship.” No! I strongly disagree. There can be no rationale for imposing the power and violence of the state on marriage. While the relationship may be far-reaching and generational, it may even be foundational to society, it is not justifiable to hang the sanctioned violence of the state over the relationship.

Society may have standing and interest, but it must necessarily be limited to normative influence. Society, institutions, religion, et al., must be nonviolent and noncoercive.

I suppose I am becoming convinced that the traditional view of marriage and family is foundational to what society has become. Marriage is certainly key to what our cultures are in Western countries. However, for better or for worse, we the people, as well as our government, must not impose upon individuals and partners any of our corporate ideals, even if our ideals are perfectly right. (And, of course, such is impossible, given that we are also fallible humans.)

We must allow for freedom and individuality. We must.

Good article here at The Breakthroughhttp://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/issues/nuclear/five-surprising-public-health-facts-about-fukushima.

My summary is that the scare over the nuclear incident harmed many immediately and long-term, the data and facts show little danger ever existed from the nuclear plant problems and long-term danger is too little to detect. The reaction was the problem, not the nuclear fallout. Fukushima was tragic for several reasons. The nuclear problems were minimal, and our engineering was sound. It was simply overwhelmed by the forces of nature, forces which we are now accounting for better. The net result is this nearly inconsequential contribution to the horrific disaster will be even less in the future.

Journalist Will Boisvert said of the forced evacuations and initial restrictions imposed by officials, “another instance of alarmism that causes more harm than the risk it’s trying to avert.”

That statement is particularly important. The ancient truism, “First, do no harm.” Don’t make matters worse when there is no real and quantifiable likelihood of making matters better in the long run.

Not only were people directly and immediately harmed by the forced evacuations, substantial resources were diverted from obvious use in alleviating immediate suffering of thousands. We really need better education in these matters. The information is available. We don’t need research and grants. The information is already accumulated. It is a matter of personal initiative. And I’ll state frankly that LNT is false and its use and imposition causes harm, harm that cannot be justified.

We live in a radiation filled environment. Millions of years, and we are going strong. There is a threshold for all types of radiation, and most of what we encounter with all sorts of radiation exposure are simply not dangerous. We will live longer and die happier if we just don’t worry about it.

Of course, yes, that can be taken too far, but we have a long way to go from where we are before we need to start worrying about not worrying enough.

This article, http://www.energyguardian.net/obamas-climate-deal-china-sends-signal-new-congress-back-home, indicates that our President just promised China that we would shut down a fourth of our factories, shut off a fourth of our lights, close a fourth of our hospitals, and drive only three-fourths of what we do now, all within 10 years. Okay, for what?

Well, apparently, in return for killing and impoverishing here at home, the Chinese have agreed to stop growing within 15 years. Huh?

Fortunately both are impossible. However, things might get ugly here in the USA if we cannot stop our sycophantic leader.

Elections have consequences, and quoting our dear leader, “We won.”

The gravest threat to our society, to the modern way of life, is government regulation. Government regulation causes far more harm than good.

Writing for the Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse,  writes an insightful article. 

The Fundamental Case for Parental Rights.

I invite you to read her article. I recommend it.

I agree with her without reservation until she gets to “The Role of the State in Educating Children.”

At that point, she simply doesn’t go far enough. She states that coercion by the state should be as limited as possible, but I assert that it is possible to entirely proscribe state interference and coercion. 100%, no coercion. All coercion is immoral. The state, all governments at all levels, must add to their charters, their constitutions, that they shall make no laws regarding establishment of education, and they shall not restrict the free exercise thereof. There should be an even wider separation between education and the state than there is between religion and the state.

Fundamentally, there are no public goods, no needs of society, no compelling state interests that override the sovereignty of the individual over himself. This goes for children just the same, and the parent has the fundamental right and full responsibility to raise the child personally, as partners in the family, free of compulsion and interference of the state.

The state’s obligation, the state’s compelling interest is in protecting the rights of the parent and the child, of the family, to act sovereign within their family to grow and become good people, productive members of society, competent citizens free from any outside coercion. The only true function of the state is to protect us from the outside, too protect us from infringement of our rights overtly. It is just a much the state’s obligation to protect our freedom to mess up.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” and “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.” Ghandi

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