Archive for August 2013
Even though the columns will be gone and it will be confusing and messy, I’m going to cut and paste a truckload of attributes from the National Data Collection model’s spreadsheet. You can click on the link to see the actual site and its spreadsheet so it’s not confusing or messy. http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary
These are the hundreds and hundreds of data points– personal details that the federal government is seeking to know about children. It’s absolute abuse of the trust we’ve put in our state and its schools, as now schools are forced to act as agents for state data collection without parental consent, through the use of many resources, including the standardized tests that are aligned to common standards, known as Common Core, and the housing of data in the State Longitudinal Databases (SLDS) that the federal government paid every state to build, for the purpose of reporting the K-12 data to the federal government.
Although this vast federal program (common nationalized standards, tests, and databases) started off appearing to collect just aggregated versions of data (not personally identifiable) the “aggregated” status is rapidly changing, as many state policies change, because the “big dogs” –such as the national association of state superintendents (CCSSO)– and others, have been working to fulfill their openly stated commitments to the DISaggregation of students’ data.
So, unless the National Center for Education Statistics deletes this information from its site, we can all see this information and then insist that elected representatives make a U-turn away from this nightmare of privacy invasion, and back to reason.
Below are the hundreds and hundreds of data points you’ll find there; my favorites include:
your child’s name
bus stop times
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
nonschool activity involvement
maternal last name
– even cause of death.
How they justify tracking students even beyond academics, even beyond death, I do not know.
–Keep in mind that this is the National Data Collection Model from the National Center for Educational Statistics, a federal agency. Keep in mind that it is illegal under G.E.P.A. law, and under the Constitution, to have a federal database for innocent citizen surveillance.
This illegality is why the federal government had to pay each of the 50 states to create interoperable STATE longitudinal databases, so that they’d acquire a national database parading as 50 independent ones.
Compare the information below (National Data Collection Model) to the data points being sought at other federal sites, such as the Data Quality Campaign or the Common Educational Data Statistics site.
Realize, too, that they are not just using standardized tests or first-day-of-school paperwork to track children. They hope to increase the use of school biological sensory tracking devices that are recommended on page 44/62 of the Department of Education’s recent report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance”. There are descriptions and even photos of the biological detection devices that measure attitudes, engagement, and beliefs of students. http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf
They say this out loud? They publish for all to see online the recommended use on students of:
Facial Expression Cameras
Posture Analysis Seats
Wireless Skin Conductance Sensors
How will such detailed, personal information about individuals be used or misused long-term? If a student is labeled –or mislabeled, will he/she lose future opportunities for jobs, education, political trust, or face gun ownership restrictions– based on tests or sensory devices or notes innocently scribbled by a gradeschool teacher, sent to the district-state-national databases?
Dear readers, if you are alive and breathing, you can do something to stop this. It’s your right and your duty. Contact your legislators and your governor. Show them the facts. Most simply haven’t been exposed to the facts and documentation yet.
Stand up and let your voice be heard. Our children cannot fight this fight for themselves; we have to do it.
Know that this is not theory. It is a real agenda, an openly documented plot: the federal government is in fact persuading test builders and governors of states to give away each child’s privacy rights, by building networks and databases and by secretly reducing formerly protective laws that once required written parental consent to access student data, but now call that just an optional “best practice.”
This is a link to his robocall that went out to parents. It’s a must hear!
Rella also wrote a letter to his representatives and called on the Governor, Regents and Commissioner to help him help the kids.
He asked his leaders to remove him from his job if they won’t remove Common Core.
Highlights of the robocall:
The Superintendent told parents that Common Core hurts students. The catalyst for the planned rally was the fact that in his district, as was echoed all over New York State, 70% of students failed the Common Core tests. Rella says that sends a message that “70% of you aren’t college material. That message hurts kids. That message is wrong.”
In a letter to his political representatives, Rella wrote:
“Please help us… If not, then I request on behalf of our residents – your constituents – you initiate proceedings to have me removed as superintendent. IF this system is truly valid, then during my tenure as superintendent, our students went from about 90 percent proficient to about 30 percent proficient.”
Two additional articles on the superintendent’s rally:
If more superintendents, commissioners, principals, teachers, parents and school board members displayed this courage and integrity, Americans would still have local control of education.
There is a growing list of not just teachers, but now also administrators and board members who are doing just that.
Thank you, thank you, to these courageous, job-risking pioneers who stand up for liberty in education administration!
Joseph Rella (New York local superintendent)
Cindy Hill (Wyoming state superintendent)
Betty Peters (Alabama state school board member)
Heidi Sampson (Maine state school board member)
Wendy Hart (Utah local school board member)
Angela Weinzinger (Calif. local school board member)
Brian Halladay (Utah local school board member)
Robert Scott (Texas former state commissioner of education)
My heart was pounding with indignation when I read today that the CCSSO (–that’s the State Superintendents’ Club– a private group, not accountable to the public and in no way under voters’ influence– the same group that created and copyrighted Common Core–) this CCSSO has a division called EIMAC. It stands for Education Information Management Advisory Consortium.
Why was my heart pounding? 2 reasons:
1) EIMAC’s formation is even more proof that America is being led into a system of nonrepresentative governance, an un-American, nonvoting system.
2) U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a liar, a deliberate, conscious liar. (I only dare make such an awful accusation because it’s obvious to anyone who does even a small amount of fact checking on his statements.)
So let me explain. EIMAC declares, out loud, that its purpose is to network state education agency officials tasked with data collection and reporting; EIMAC advocates to improve the overall quality of the data collected at the NATIONAL level – See the rest at:
Ah, did they just say: DATA COLLECTED AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL?!??
Does anyone remember that earlier this summer, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a speech to the American Society of News Editors, in which he claimed that there is NO NATIONAL COLLECTION OF STUDENT DATA?
Secretary Duncan’s exact words were these:
“Critics… make even more outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t.”
FACT: Duncan collects student level data directly from the Common Core testing consortia, as mandated in his Cooperative Agreement with these testing groups.
FACT: Duncan collects K-12 state school data directly at the federal EdFacts Exchange.
FACT: Duncan collects personally identifiable information indirectly via the 50 federally paid-for, fully interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS) that could be called a separated, but interlocking, national database in matchable segments.
FACT: Most angering of all, Duncan circumvented Congress to destroy the power of the longstanding federal privacy law called FERPA. His damages there mean that parents have no guarantee, no legal stand, no rule saying that they MUST be asked for consent, before their child’s personally identifiable information will be accessed by governmental and corporate “stakeholders” who have been redefined as “authorized representatives.”
The longitudinal databases don’t just track students; they track people throughout their careers. This is lifelong citizen tracking, without our vote, without our consent, and without most people’s knowledge.
Secretary Duncan has made the unconscienable, legal.
He’s done what he’s done with the blessing of President Obama, whose four pillars of education reform are stated to alter these four things: COMMON STANDARDS, GREATER CONTROL OF TEACHERS, and ALTERING OR CLOSING OF SCHOOLS, and DATA COLLECTION.
Right Under Our Noses.
Reblogged from Breitbart.com
Though most states in the country adopted “Common Core” education standards in 2010, many American parents still know little about them.
At the same time that teachers’ unions have joined forces with the institutional left on many issues, and more of children’s basic needs are being met by public schools via meal programs and, more recently, Obamacare’s school-based healthcare centers, uninformed parents could be abandoning significant parental rights to education by not questioning what is at the heart of the Common Core.
Joy Pullmann at The Heartland Institute finds the public’s lack of knowledge of the Obama administration’s Common Core initiative particularly disturbing. In an era in which those who value Constitutional limits to government have been critical of the Obama administration’s overreach in many areas, Pullmann observes that the cause for concern is warranted:
Debate should never be discouraged by appeals to what experts say they know or claims that the “general public” is somehow too stupid or lack the proper credentials to make informed choices. Parents whose children will be subject to these new requirements and citizens who will pay for the standards, associated tests, and myriad related initiatives deserve to know what they contain and to have a say in whether states adopt them.
Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City public schools and current vice-president at News Corp., and Sol Stern, author of Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice, have both been around the block enough in the area of education. Both men support the Common Core State Standards and are critical of both conservatives like Pullmann and the Heritage Foundation, as well as “some hard-liners on the educational left” who oppose them.
In a Wall St. Journal op-ed in May, Stern and Klein described Common Core as “one of the most promising education initiatives of the past half century.” They went on to say that, “if implemented properly, they [Common Core standards] can better prepare students for college-level work and to gain the civic knowledge that is essential for democracy to prosper.”
Stern and Klein took to task the “progressive education thinking that has dominated the public schools over the past half-century,” and the pedagogical approaches favored by liberals (i.e., “child-centered; ”teaching for social justice”). They argued that these educators on the left are opposed to Common Core’s “rigorous academic content” that threatens to “undo” the progressives’ “watered-down version” of education.
At the same time, Stern and Klein claimed to be “puzzled” over the “fervid opposition to the Common Core by some conservatives, including tea party activists, several free-market think tanks and, most recently, the Republican National Committee.”
One of the primary objections by conservatives to the Common Core standards is the view that the Obama administration is intent on controlling what is taught at each grade level in schools across the United States. According to the Heritage Foundation, the Obama Department of Education “has used its flagship ‘Race to the Top’ competitive grant program to entice states to adopt the K-12 standards developed by a joint project of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).”
Heritage goes on to say that, in its 2009 Blueprint for Education Reform, the Obama administration suggested that adoption of the Common Core standards could be a qualification for states wanting future Title I funding for low-income schools. Many conservatives considered this an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government into an area reserved historically to the states.
In response to this objection, Stern and Klein argued that the Common Core standards were, in fact, written by both the NGA and the CCSSO, with financial backing of private foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an arrangement they refer to as “constitutional federalism at its best.”
Claiming that the federal government is not “forcing” states to comply with the standards – else, how could some of them opt out of them – Stern and Klein asserted that conservative critics have overlooked that Common Core supports educating students about the nation’s founding and the basis for constitutional government in the United States.
Pullmann, however, disagrees, and points out that all math and English textbooks, as well as national tests – to be taken by all students – are expected to align with the Common Core, thereby pressuring states into adopting them if they want their students to “succeed,” based on what is viewed “successful” by the Obama administration.
Pullmann asserts that some advocates of Common Core insist that the standards are “not a curriculum” and that they will promulgate “an academic curriculum based on great works of Western civilization and the American republic.”
But the standards are being used to write the tables of contents for all the textbooks used in K-12 math and English classes. This may not technically constitute a curriculum, but it certainly defines what children will be taught, especially when they and their teachers will be judged by performance on national tests that are aligned with these standards.
Adding up all the intricacies of the Common Core standards, Pullmann sees no other way to characterize them other than as “a national takeover of schooling.”
She cites research in the Journal of Scholarship and Practice that demonstrates how the standards will infiltrate every aspect of K-12 education. They will “form the core curriculum of every public school program, drive another stronger wave of high stakes testing, and thus become student selection criteria for K-12 school programs such as Title I services, gifted and talented programs, high school course placement, and other academic programs.”
Pullman states that the “domino effect” of the standards will hit teacher evaluations, since many states tie teacher ratings to students’ performance on tests. In addition, Common Core will affect school choice, since many states that have passed school choice laws require private schools to administer state tests.
Furthermore, college entrance exams, including the SAT and ACT, would now correspond to Common Core, an aspect that would also impact homeschoolers who desire entrance to college. Would they, too, need to use the Common Core standards in order to successfully pass college entrance exams?
Pullman summarizes, “People who characterize Common Core as anything other than a national takeover of schooling are either unaware of these sweeping implications or are deliberately hiding this information from the public.”
AP tests are aligning to Common Core. So, explain this, Common Core proponents: the reason to change college-credit AP tests to Common Core is to make sure that they were actually college-ready?
Um, that makes no sense.
This video is a must-see. Start at about 1:05 when the College Board representative says that Common Core doesn’t include Calculus.
By definition a college-credit test should be testing college-ready information. So, the only reason to change the AP tests is to hide the Common Core’s decline for true college-readiness.
That does make sense, since Common Core is a concession to national, agreed-upon, defined middle ground (mediocrity). While some states have risen to the new Common Core, other states have dropped their standards to adopt Common Core. That’s what collectivism does, folks. It erases excellence and success because it values sameness above soaring.
It makes sense, then, that college entrance exams and AP…
View original post 154 more words
Reblogged from Education Reporter
It took three years for a group of committees to develop Common Core Science Standards, which are called “Next Generation Science Standards” (NGSS). The National Research Council and Washington-based Achieve, the group that produced the Common Core English and math standards, also managed the development of Common Core science standards.
Those who decided to call Common Core (CC) Science standards “Next Generation Science Standards” may have done so to dissociate their work from Common Core. Common Core has gained a negative reputation and is increasingly associated with failure, as the public has learned what federalized standards actually mean to the future of math and English K-12 education in America.
CC science creators and proponents claim the standards were created by the states. They made the same untrue claim about CC English and math standards. To give the science claim some credibility, 26 states were allowed some input into science standards. Each of those states “was required to form a broad-based group to review the standards, including representatives of K-12 education and higher education, as well as of the science and business communities.” (Education Week, 5-14-12) The key word here is “review.” These state committees gave feedback, but they did not develop the standards.
Stephen Pruitt, who managed the standards-development process for Achieve, indicated to Education Week that “the feedback from states has been taken very seriously, and many changes have been made to the draft document based upon it.” He added, “[T]he standards must remain true to the National Resource Council framework.”
The science standards, like those for math and English, are not based on empirical evidence of efficacy nor are they tested in any environment. They are fresh out of the box and will be field-tested statewide in any state that signs on.
Climate Change and Evolution
Proponents of evolution and manmade climate change are ecstatic about the Common Core science standards. Climate change is accepted as manmade in the standards and children must accept this notion. “The standards make clear that evolution is fundamental to understanding the life sciences,” according to Education Week. This may present a roadblock to adopting these standards in some states.
As Steve Goreham explains in The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism, some scientific evidence indicates that warming and cooling trends are naturally occurring as an earth cycle. He claims that scientists disagree about the extent to which man’s activities are a cause of climate change. NGSS teach that human activity is responsible for detrimental climate change and emphasize that action must be taken to “save the earth.”
The Myth about Curriculum
Although proponents emphasize that the Common Core standards are not a curriculum, standards and testing drive curriculum. States will be teaching to specific standards and teaching to a test. Curriculum developed will, of necessity, reflect those standards and that test.
Bill Gates, arguably the most influential proponent and definitely the largest financial contributor to Common Core, besides the federal government, said in a speech to the National Conference of State Legislators in July 2009: “Identifying common standards is not enough. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.”
The January 2013 UCLA-based National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing Common Core report concluded that “the assessments themselves and their results will send powerful signals to schools about the meaning of the [Common Core standards] and what students know and are able to do. If history is a guide, educators will align curriculum and teaching to what is tested, and what is not assessed largely will be ignored.”
Nine scientists and mathematicians reviewed the content, rigor, and clarity of the NGSS for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Fordham gave the standards an overall grade of “C,” listing the following major problems with Common Core science standards:
- The NGSS “never explicitly require some content in early grades that is then assumed in subsequent standards.”
- The standards attempt “to put a ceiling on the content and skills that will be measured at each grade,” [which] may limit what is taught by the exclusion of content that more advanced students can learn.
- The standards fail “to include essential math content that is critical to science learning.” Particularly in physics and chemistry, “the standards seem to assiduously dodge the mathematical demands inherent in the subjects covered.”
- The “confusing presentation of the standards, combined with vague and poorly worded expectations, earns the NGSS a 1.5 out of 3 for clarity and specificity.”
Another problem Fordham reviewers found stems from the hands-on activities required by NGSS and the resulting focus on students “performing” at the expense of “memorizing.” The Fordham Institute suggests that the creators of the standards “conferred primacy on practices and paid too little attention to the knowledge base that makes those practices both feasible and worthwhile.” They indicate that in this case “content takes a backseat to practices.” The Fordham report suggests that science education should “build knowledge first so that students will have the storehouse of information and understanding that they need to engage in scientific reasoning and higher level thinking.” NGSS are heavy on practice and light on content.
The Fordham Institute concludes that while 16 states have existing standards that are inferior to the Next Generation Science Standards, in another 22 states the difference was “too close to call,” and that existing standards in 12 states and D.C. are superior. Fordham suggests that states desiring to improve their science standards forgo Common Core and instead look to states with superior standards.
There are also National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) standards already in place that are superior to CC science standards and that could be used as guidelines by states. NAEP and TIMSS standards received the grade of A- from the Fordham Institute.
Despite criticism of the NGSS, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute remains an enthusiastic proponent of math and English Common Core standards.
As with the math and English CC standards, what is meant by “college-ready” is misleading. While the CC science standards may prepare students for an undergraduate general science class, they will not prepare them for further study in STEM subjects. According to the Fordham analysis, “there is so little advanced content that it would be impossible to derive a high school physics or chemistry course from the content included in the NGSS.” Fordham reviewers say that what NGSS offers amounts to “watered-down versions of heretofore more demanding courses in key STEM subjects,” such as chemistry and physics. Many colleges require completion of high school chemistry or physics for admission. A watered-down version will not only cheat students, but will result in the need for more remedial college courses.
The Next Generation Science Standards again indicate that in the world of Common Core, ‘college-ready’ means to graduate students who are only prepared for further studies at a non-selective institution or a two-year community college. Common Core does not prepare students for a four-year college. NGSS will not prepare students for study in a STEM subject.
Align or Decline?
The Kansas State Board of Education has already chosen to align with the Common Core science standards. Ken Willard, one of two board members who voted against alignment, said, “both evolution and human-caused climate change are presented in these standards dogmatically.” He continued, “This nonobjective, unscientific approach to education standards amounts to little more than indoctrination in political correctness.”
Kansas state Rep. Allan Rothlisberg said that Common Core represents federal intrusion. Alluding to the recently discovered, politically motivated targeting of individuals and groups by the IRS, he said, “Why on Earth would we expect the Department of Education — which is not constitutionally authorized — to look out for our children? That’s our responsibility.” (Lawrence Journal-World, 6-11-13)
Matt Krehbiel, a science education consultant for the Kansas Department of Education, who participated in the development of the CC science standards, “criticized the Fordham report as using a flawed approach to evaluate the standards, and said the new standards are worthy of embrace for Kansas.” (Education Week, 6-13-13)
Rhode Island and Vermont have adopted the standards. Although the Kentucky and Maryland boards of education have approved the CC science standards, a legislative review is needed before they can take effect in those states.
More states will soon choose to adopt or decline the science standards. Those states choosing to align with CC science will then face the expense of aligned textbooks, teacher training, and the cost of developing testing. Common Core math and English testing was initially funded by federal stimulus money, but nationalized testing in science has received no such funding.
As libertarians attempt to persuade others of their position, they encounter an interesting paradox. On the one hand, the libertarian message is simple. It involves moral premises and intuitions that in principle are shared by virtually everyone, including children. Do not hurt anyone. Do not steal from anyone. Mind your own business.
A child will say, “I had it first.” There is an intuitive sense according to which the first user of a previously unowned good holds moral priority over latecomers. This, too, is a central aspect of libertarian theory.
Following Locke, Murray Rothbard, and other libertarian philosophers sought to establish a morally and philosophically defensible account of how property comes to be owned. Locke held the goods of the earth to have been owned in common at the beginning, while Rothbard more plausibly held all goods to have been initially unowned, but this difference does not affect their analysis. Locke is looking to justify how someone may remove a good from common ownership for his individual use, and Rothbard is interested in how someone may take an unowned good and claim it for his individual use.
Locke’s answer will be familiar. He noted, first of all, that “every man has a property in his own person.” By extension, everyone justly holds as his own property those goods with which he has mixed his labor. Cultivating land, picking an apple — whatever the case may be, we say that the first person to homestead property that had previously sat in the state of nature without an individual owner could call himself its owner.
Once a good that was previously in the state of nature has been homesteaded, its owner need not continue to work on or transform it in order to maintain his ownership title. Once the initial homesteading process has taken place, future owners can acquire the property not by mixing their labor with it — which at this point would be trespassing — but by purchasing it or receiving it as a gift from the legitimate owner.
As I’ve said, we sense intuitively the justice at the heart of this rule. If the individual does not own himself, then what other human being does? If the individual who transforms some good that previously lacked specific ownership title does not have a right to that good, then what other person should?
In addition to being just, this rule also minimizes conflict. It is a rule everyone can understand, based on a principle that applies to all people equally. It does not say that only members of a particular race or level of intelligence may own property. And it is a rule that definitively stakes out ownership claims in ways that anyone can grasp, and which will keep disputes to a minimum.
Alternatives to this first user, first homesteader principle are few and unhelpful. If not the first user, then who? The fourth user? The twelfth user? But if only the fourth or twelfth user is the rightful owner, then only the fourth or twelfth user has the right to do anything with the good. That is what ownership is: the ability to dispose of a good however one wishes, provided that in doing so the owner does not harm anyone else. Assigning property title through a method like verbal declaration, say, would do nothing to minimize conflict; people would shout vainly at each other, each claiming ownership of the good in question, and peaceful resolution of the resulting conflict seems impossible.
These principles are easy to grasp, and as I’ve said, they involve moral insights which practically everyone claims to share.
And here is the libertarian paradox. Libertarians begin with these basic, commonly shared principles, and seek only to apply them consistently and equally to all people. But even though people claim to support these principles, and even though most people claim to believe in equality — which is what the libertarian is upholding by applying moral principles to everyone without exception — the libertarian message suddenly becomes extreme, unreasonable, and unacceptable.
Why is it so difficult to persuade people of what they implicitly believe already?
The reason is not difficult to find. Most people inherit an intellectual schizophrenia from the state that educates them, the media that amuses them, and the intellectuals who propagandize them.
This is what Murray Rothbard was driving at when he described the relationship between the state and the intellectuals. “The ruling elite,” he wrote,
whether it be the monarchs of yore or the Communist parties of today, are in desperate need of intellectual elites to weave apologias for state power. The state rules by divine edict; the state insures the common good or the general welfare; the state protects us from the bad guys over the mountain; the state guarantees full employment; the state activates the multiplier effect; the state insures social justice, and on and on. The apologias differ over the centuries; the effect is always the same.
Why, in turn, do the intellectuals provide the state this service? Why are they so eager to defend, legitimate, and make excuses for the corridors of power?
Rothbard had an answer:
We can see what the state rulers get out of their alliance with the intellectuals; but what do the intellectuals get out of it? Intellectuals are the sort of people who believe that, in the free market, they are getting paid far less than their wisdom requires. Now the state is willing to pay them salaries, both for apologizing for state power, and in the modern state, for staffing the myriad jobs in the welfare, regulatory state apparatus.
In addition to this, the intellectual class we are dealing with wants to impose its vision, its pattern, on society. Frédéric Bastiat spends much of his classic little book The Law on this very impulse: the conception of the intellectual and the politician as the sculptors, and the human race as so much clay.
What we are taught, therefore, from all official channels, is something like the following. For the sake of mankind’s well-being and improvement, some individuals need to exercise power over others. On our own, we would have little if any philanthropic instinct. We would commit the vilest of crimes. Commerce would grind to a halt, innovation would cease, and the arts and sciences would be neglected. The human race would descend to a condition too degraded and appalling to contemplate.
Therefore, a single institution needs a monopoly on the initiation of physical force and on the ability to expropriate individuals. That institution will ensure that society is molded according to the proper pattern, that “social justice” is achieved, and that mankind’s deepest aspirations have some chance of fulfillment.
So entrenched in our minds are these ideas that it would hardly occur to most people even to think of them as propaganda. This is simply the truth about the world, people assume. It is the way things are. They cannot be otherwise.
But what if they can? What if there really is another way to live? What if the sphere of freedom need not be so confined after all, but may expand without limit? What if the general presumption against monopoly applies to government just as much as it does to anything else? What if the free market, the most extraordinary creator of wealth and innovation ever known, and the most reliable and efficient allocation mechanism of scarce resources, is also better at producing the goods for which we have been told we must rely on government? And what if the state, the greatest mass-murderer in history, the great drag on economic progress, and the institution that pits us against each other in a zero-sum game of mutual plunder, is retarding rather than advancing human welfare?
Just how liberating this political philosophy becomes clear when we realize some of its implications.
It means that taxation is a moral outrage, since it involves the violent expropriation of peaceful individuals.
It means that military conscription is a fancy term for official kidnapping.
It means that the state’s wars are cases of mass murder, and that the suspension of normal moral rules that the state’s officials insist on during wartime is a transparent attempt to divert the normal kinds of moral inquiries that might occur to someone unschooled in government propaganda.
And it means the state is not the glorious guarantor of the public good, but is instead, a parasite on the individuals it rules. The left-anarchists were grotesquely wrong to condemn the state as the protector of private property. The state could not survive absent its aggression against private property. It produces nothing of its own, and can survive only because of the productive work of those it expropriates.
The state is the very opposite of the free market in its ethics and in its behavior, and yet so few supporters of the market bother to examine their premises. They continue to believe the following:
(1) The best social system is one in which private property is respected, people are free to exchange with each other, and coercion is not used.
(2) That is, until the production of certain goods is in question. Then we need monopoly, coercion, expropriation, bureaucratic decisionmaking — in other words, the most egregious contradiction of the principles we claim to uphold.
To be sure, it may not be so easy at first to imagine the free-market provision of certain goods. And anyway, don’t we need someone “in charge”?
But by the same token, it should be just as difficult to imagine the success of the free market itself: without someone in charge of production decisions, how can we expect private actors to produce what people want, especially when faced with a virtually infinite number of possible combinations of resources, each of which is demanded in varying degrees of intensity by an unimaginable number of possible production processes? Yet that is exactly what happens on the market, without fanfare, every day.
I’ve been surprised not only by the spread of anarcho-capitalism — quite a surprising development, since it runs counter to everything people are taught to take for granted — but also by the attacks on it. You’d think, since we’re still a tiny minority, no important periodical would bother going after us. And yet they have. The reason? Because they realize, as you and I do, what these ideas mean.
Libertarians have put forth the most radical critique of the state ever posed. The Marxists claimed to favor the withering away of the state, it is true, but this can hardly be taken seriously. The coercive power of the state plays a central role in the Marxist transition from capitalism to socialism. As Rothbard put it, “It is absurd to try to reach statelessness via the absolute maximization of state power in a totalitarian dictatorship of the proletariat (or more realistically a select vanguard of the said proletariat). The result can only be maximum statism and hence maximum slavery. …”
And without private property, how would production decisions be made? By a state, of course. The Marxists just wouldn’t call it a state. Again Rothbard:
With private property mysteriously abolished, then, the elimination of the state under communism … would necessarily be a mere camouflage for a new state that would emerge to control and make decisions for communally owned resources. Except that the state would not be called such, but rather renamed something like a “people’s statistical bureau”…. It will be small consolation to future victims, incarcerated or shot for committing “capitalist acts between consenting adults” (to cite a phrase made popular by Robert Nozick), that their oppressors will no longer be the state but only a people’s statistical bureau. The state under any other name will smell as acrid.
“Limited-government” conservatives, in turn — who in practice favor an enormous government footprint, but for the sake of argument we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt — want to reform the system. If we try this or that, they say, we can transform a monopoly on violence and expropriation into the fountainhead of order and civilization.
We libertarians are a million miles removed from either of these views. We do not view government officials as “public servants.” How sad to hear naïve conservatives speak of returning to a time when government is responsive to the people, whose elected officials in turn pursue the public good. The situation we face now, contrary to what these conservatives try to believe, is not an unfortunate aberration. It is the dismal norm.
There are two, and only two, versions of the story of liberty and power. One looks to power, as manifested in the state, as the source of progress, prosperity, and order. The other credits liberty with these good things, along with commerce, invention, prosperity, the arts and sciences, the conquering of disease and destitution, and much else. For us liberty truly is the mother, not the daughter, of order.
Some will protest that a third option is available: a judicious combination of the state and liberty, it may be said, is necessary to human flourishing. But this is merely an apologia for the state, since it takes for granted precisely what we libertarians dispute: that the state is the indispensable source of order, within which liberty flourishes. To the contrary, liberty flourishes despite the state, and the fruits of liberty that we observe around us would be all the more abundant were it not for the state’s dead hand.
We can find precursors of anarcho-capitalism here and there in Western intellectual history — Gustave de Molinari, for example, and in the United States Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, and a handful of others. But no one developed it fully, followed it consistently, or assembled it in a coherent system before Rothbard. It was Rothbard who made a sweeping and systematic case for private-property anarchism, based on economics, philosophy, and history.
Very few people have either the courage or the originality to break radically with existing systems of thought, much less to develop their own. Courage and originality were Rothbard’s trademarks. Had Murray been content to repeat the state’s propaganda, a man of his genius could have taught wherever he wanted, and enjoyed the prestige and privilege of the top tier of academia. He refused to do it. Instead, he labored, often thanklessly, to bequeath to us an elegant — and massive — system of scholarship from which we can learn and to which we can add as we press forward toward Murray’s lifelong goal of a truly free society.
We can be thankful that we live in an age in which the work of Rothbard — despised, resisted, and suppressed by the purveyors of official opinion — is readily available.
And here is another side to the libertarian paradox: although our philosophy derives from a single proposition, the nonaggression principle, the development of and elaborations on that principle provide an inexhaustible source of intellectual pleasure, as we explore how the interlocking features of human society can work together harmoniously in the absence of coercion.
The intellectual class has its task and we have ours. Theirs is to confuse and obscure; ours is to clarify and explain. Theirs is to darken the mind; ours is to enlighten it. Theirs is to subject man to the domination of those who violate the moral principles all civilized people claim to cherish. Ours is to emancipate him from that subjection.
I will leave you with the final libertarian paradox, which is this: while on the one hand we are teachers of the philosophy of freedom, as long as we love and cherish these great ideas, we shall always be students as well. Continue to explore and discover, to read and to write, to discuss and to persuade. Violence is the tool of the state. Knowledge and the mind are the tools of free people.
Copyright © 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is chairman and CEO of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and author of The Left, the Right, and the State. Send him mail. See Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.’s article archives.
Reblogged from Right Reason
This is not appropriate education material for first graders, or any age. This is indoctrination and parents, grandparents, and educators must learn to recognize it when they come across it. They are teaching our kids how to use emotional words to manipulate people. They are learning to marginalize parents and the children will believe their educators are smarter than their parents. Please review what your children are being exposed to and understand the underlying social programming going on in our public education system.