Friday, 23 February 2018

First thoughts on the Herald paywall

The Herald announces:
NZME, owner of the 'New Zealand Herald', plans to put up a paywall around premium journalism on its website, says chief executive Michael Boggs.
Based on the Herald's increasing tabloidisation, that would be a laughably small amount of content.

If any.

The phrase 'the Herald's premium journalism' has become virtually on oxymoron. And only a moron would pay to have to have the Herald's reporters pass on their gossip or paid advertising as news.

And since the Herald's rare excursions into quality are generally lifted wholesale from the world's other, better, news sources, why wouldn't you just read your news direct?

So, no, I won't be signing up. Would you?


Question on America's 2nd Amendment

1. So we all know America is going nuts.

2. And we all know that in arguing gun rights/gun control, that no-one is listening to anyone else. (See point 1 above.)

3. And we do know that the discussion (such as it is, see point 2 above) is pitted between those arguing that they have a right to guns for self-defence, those arguing they have a right to guns because their god told them so, and those arguing that no-one has any right to guns at all. Ever. But they can perhaps apply to government for the privilege. (Maybe.)

4. So the discussion has more than just two sides (see point 3 above) but has become tightly focussed around a central misunderstanding of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution.

5. Because the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution has never protected what people think it protects (see point 4 above).

6. The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution does protect "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, [which] shall not be infringed." So there's that. But the stated constitutional reason for this is neither self-defence nor because your god said so, but because "a well regulated Militia [is] necessary to the security of a free State." That's what the Constitution itself states to be the reason for any right to bear arms at all. And that means that what the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution actually does protect (see point 5 above) is simply the right of people in pre-Federal America to bring their arms to bear in protection of their particular State (being Vermont, New York, Virginia etc.) And that's it.

7. So (and I'll put this in italics so you can read it again) there is no constitutional right to bear arms in self-defence. And nor, since no reasonable government would be expected nor required to protect a "right to revolution," is there a constitutional right to revolt. (See points 5 & 6 above.)

Q: So I have three questions for you that follow from the above 7 points (and if you aren't a Seppo, just wring your hands for a moment as you imagine that you are):

  1. Would you support a constitutional amendment that does explicitly protect "the right to self-defence and the means thereof."
  2. What would be the odds of such an amendment having the necessary support of two-thirds of the congress-reptiles? And...
  3. If in the unlikely event it did pass, would you expect to see a preponderance of (say) small disposable single-shot handguns instead of automatic weapons with (say) 30-cartridge magazines?

And finally, would you like such a clause in a NZ constitution?

Leave your answers in the comments.

[NB: Both the 2nd Amendment argument above, and the resulting not-unimportant questions, were posed by John McCaskey -- and in much more depth than I have offered. Visit his website here.]

Quote of the Day: The confusion of the anti-globalist

"The great age of foreign investment came to an inglorious end when the 20th century's doctrinaires were no longer prepared to see any difference between the devastation of a country by military action and the investment of foreign capital for the construction of factories and transportation facilities. Each of these two entirely different procedures is called conquest and imperialism."
~ Ludwig Von Mises, writing in 1966 on 'The Outlook for Saving & Investment'

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Politician's Syllogism, or, How politics solves problems

Read this:
His Royal Majesty was forced to swallow antimony a toxic metal. He vomited and was given a series of enemas. His hair was shave f, and he had blistering agents applied to the scalp, to drive any bad humours downward.
....Plasters of chemical irritants, including pigeon droppings, were applied to the soles of the royal feet, to attract the falling humours. Another ten ounces of blood was drawn.
....The king was given white sugar candy, to cheer him up, then prodded with a red-hot poker. He was then given forty drops of ooze from "the skull of a man that was never buried" who, it was promised, had died a. most violent death. Finally, crushed stones from the intestines of a goat from East India were forced down the royal throat
If you guessed that the next sentence reads something like, "not surprisingly, the king died soon after," then you wouldn't be too surprised.

The quote comes from new book The Elephant in the Brain by Robin Hanson. It describes perfectly how politics "solves" problems.

Why did what was then the world's most celebrated physicians undertake such injudicious treatment on their single-most important patient? Because all the nations eyes were upon them.
The king died on February 6. But notice all the conspicuous effort in this story. If Charles's physicians had simply prescribed soup and bed rest, everyone might have questioned whether "enough" had been done. Instead, the king's treatments were elaborate and esoteric, By sparing no expense or effort -- by procuring fluids form a torture victim and stones from goat bellies -- the physicians were safe from accusations of malpractice.
The physicians were safe. The patient was not.

This is a prime example of what Sir Humphrey Appleby famously summarised as the Politician's Syllogism, "Something must be done. This is something. Therefore we must do it." And be seen to do it.

In following the Syllogism the politicians themselves are almost always safe.

It's you and I who are not.

[Hat tip Michael Strong and David Weiner]

Quote of the Day: Rand v Rawls

"[In] Rand’s view: The more rational you each are, the more you have to gain from each other and the less your interests conflict.
...."For Rawls, it is the opposite: Another man’s rationality is a threat to you. The more rational we all are, the more our society is dog-eat-dog. The more rational your neighbour is, the bigger threat he is to you, and we need government to protect us from the rational actions of others... This presumption of a fundamental, inescapable, metaphysical conflict of interest among rational human beings underlies everything in Rawls—-the original position, the veil of ignorance, the two principles, the difference principle, the basic structure, the criteria of stability, justice as fairness, . . . everything...
...."For Rand, the more rational your neighbour is, the less of a threat he is to you, and we need government to protect us from the irrational actions of others.
...."For Rawls, we need to protect ourselves from people who would act rationally. For Rand, we need to protect ourselves from people who would act irrationally....
...."[Furthermore] if Ayn Rand is right that there is no conflict of interests among rational men—-however strange that may sound—-then all of Rawls’ edifice collapses. "

~ John McCaskey, from his post 'A Dog-Eat-Dog World: Rand vs. Rawls'
NB: If you don't know, John Rawls is widely considered the most influential political philosopher of the late twentieth century, with the effects you can see all around you.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

QotD: Sound Money

"It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realise that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against the despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights."
~ Ludwig Von Mises, on The Principle of Sound Money

NZ's new aristocracy of pull

New Zealand's revolving door of political lobbyists -- political insiders shuttling back and forth between well-paid jobs in government and even-better paid jobs with private lobbyists -- has finally got the attention of political watchers. Turns out it's endemic, bighlighted by the various former, current and intermittent chiefs of staff peddling their contacts with influence:
This week a perfect example of the "revolving door" of government officials and lobbying has occurred. The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff has shifted from the Beehive to a lobbying firm. Lobbyist Gordon Jon Thompson, has been a political manager – or "spin doctor" – and lobbyist for a long time, and shifts between government and private sector jobs with apparent ease... Another interesting – but less contentious – "revolving door" story [is] another former chief of staff, National's Wayne Eagleson – see: Former National Party chief of staff joins firm of Labour's top advisers...
    Thompson, who has been a lobbyist and PR professional for many years, worked with Jacinda Ardern last year, helping prepare her for the TV leaders debates. And then when she formed the new government she invited Thompson to be Labour's Chief of Staff, despite the fact that he would remain a lobbyist and director of his Thompson Lewis firm.
    Walters' article states, "Thompson finished a four-month stint as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's acting chief of staff, while chief of staff Mike Munro was recovering from illness." This means Thompson was made Chief of Staff by the Prime Minister, with the full knowledge that he would then return to his lobbying business, where he would be involved with clients with an interest on influencing the new government. Indeed, he finished work last Friday in his job as the number one adviser to Jacinda Ardern, and resumed his lobbying job yesterday.
The issue immediately raises issues about potential conflicts of interest....
Sure does. And it's only the tip of the iceberg, with former MPs and MPs' wives and husbands and party hacks selling their proximity to power, often swapping roles with former advisors from the same or similar lobbyists.

Not to mention former ministers and prime ministers selling themselves to the folk they formerly regulated.
Whatever the sector, a Cabinet minister who legislates/regulates in ways which are welcomed by the regulated industry are much more likely to find the post-politics doors open than one who regulates in a way the industry finds costly or inconvenient.
Selling themselves -- and at a very nice price thank you very much -- not for what they know (which in most cases is risible), but for whom.

Conflict of interest? The phrase, for these vermin, is simply meaningless. More like: "L'état! C'est ma source de profit."

Token hand-wringing against the practice appears at places like No Right Turn, bewailing that "these former public officials are seeking to leverage the knowledge and contacts they built up in their highly paid public careers for private profit"-- and he calls for "rules" around this practice. And just who does this big-government blogger think will be writing the rules?

PJ O’Rourke points out that when legislation proscribes what is bought and sold, the first things to be bought will be the legislators -- and the more legislation is written the higher the demand, and the higher the price.

Ayn Rand called it simply “the aristocracy of pull.”
One of Ayn Rand's best scenes in Atlas Shrugged has her hero Francisco d'Anconia complete the statement of one of her villains with a surprise ending. Villain James Taggart states:
We will liberate our culture from the stranglehold of the profit-chasers. We will build a society dedicated to higher ideals, and we will replace the aristocracy of money by--
"the aristocracy of pull," interjects d'Anconia.
This, you should be aware, is the price of big government -- it's simply what modern government looks like. If you don't like it, then perhaps you should reconsider your support for Government-With-Everything. Because this is the essential sauce it comes with.

[Cartoon by Wiley Miller]

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

QotD: What art does

"The experience of the sublime is to be looked for in art. Art integrates senses, emotions, and thought. The sublime in art elevates our sensory experience, heightens and taps our emotional potential, and furthers our knowledge. The sublime in art can also give us a moral, a stance towards living. At its best, the sublime in art inspires awe in our human potential and gives us a path to evolve as a whole being and as a species."~ a new definition of the sublime in art, by one of my favourite living artists Michael Newberry

Monday, 19 February 2018

Supporting voluntary euthanasia

Have you written your submission yet supporting David Seymour's bill, which supports your right to voluntary euthanasia -- his End of Life Choice Bill?

Submissions close on March 6, so get going. (No excuses! It's not hard to write one.)

Here, as today's guest post, is Mark Hubbard's:

Submission: End of Life Choice Bill.

Submitter: Mark Hubbard.                

This submission asks for the End of Life Choice Bill to be passed into legislation, despite being unable to figure out why I have to ask – or plead a case - for such a basic right over my own body. The ability to die with dignity is a choice I want. As importantly, it is a choice that is my right, and should not be up to a conscience vote of 144 members of parliament who are as far from the concerns of my life, or representing them, as could be.

I would have written a long submission listing cases of those I know who have died in situations they did not want, some of them dreadful, for whom palliative care, and opiate painkillers (i.e,, morphine; used in the absence of legal medical cannabis) simply were not an adequate solution, and never would have been: the last such case being a man who died of throat cancer over six years and who, finally, in desperation, starved himself to death. But I’m keeping this submission short for two reasons:

1.     I have run out of time with work commitments through to the end of March.

2.     I have little faith, anymore, in Parliamentary process or governance to implement or uphold  rights-based law, given the way seminary-trained MP Simon O’Connor previously, and so cynically, sabotaged his own select committee on the petition in support of Maryan Street’s excellent euthanasia bill by exhorting in Catholic publications for parishioners to submit against, hence all the one-sentence submissions from the churches that distorted the for and against percentages to that committee away from the 70% to 80% of Kiwis who want this option (according to scientific polling over a long period of time). I wasted a week of my Christmas holiday making a submission to that previous select committee which was a sham, its only purpose to ensure the debate never made it into Parliament. (O’Connor is not fit to be serving in Parliament in any capacity in my opinion.) But, anyway, here we go again, with Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill not allowed to be debated to even first reading, and we plebs not given the opportunity of submission on that, and now forlornly trying to get David Seymour’s dying with dignity bill into law. I suspect this submission is similarly as pointless as to O’Connor’s farce, because we don’t have representation where it matters in New Zealand, but I will ensure there are two ticks in favour of this bill, regardless.

I only need say the following:

Please include this submission as a request for this Bill to be made law so we, my wife and I, have the choice to die with dignity. Note that myself, or my wife, having this choice in no way affects the choices of anyone else, whether with religious belief or not, to make their own choice in the matter. As my choice does not affect the choices of those who are against voluntary euthanasia, I do not understand why the Bill's opponents get to effectively bully my choices via the State : the State’s role, surely, is to protect the rights and choices we all have and make.

I write this submission as very well read on this topic, noting how well euthanasia works in those jurisdictions in which it is legal, with safeguards working to such a comprehensive extent that there is no court case on abuse of euthanasia in any of those jurisdictions. I am disheartened however to constantly see in our local debate that the against-camp here states that legalising voluntary euthanasia will lead to some sort of genocide of the elderly and disabled: it has not anywhere else, it will not here, especially in the limited circumstances provided for in this bill: this tactic is scare-mongering and, frankly, is as infantile as it is despicable.
Note I refer to this as voluntary euthanasia not assisted suicide. This latter term is used by the against-camp in their emotive – not reasoned – campaign against individuals having choice. To want to die when in pain or indignity – however an individual measures that for themselves - within the last twelve months of a terminal illness is not suicide as we understand that term: it is the choice to die with dignity. Indeed, those who foolishly conflate this issue with suicide serve only to cheapen the very important debate on suicide.
The two are not the same. 
Finally, I know (and you can read for yourself the blog of Matt Vickers's, the partner of Lecretia Seales) that there are many doctors and workers – largely silenced – who work in palliative care in New Zealand who would voluntarily offer this service. In fact we all know that there has always been a merciful but unofficial euthanasia practiced in New Zealand. Indeed, another reason for this law is to protect doctors in cases such as this (allowing open discussion with the dying, not furtive back-room conversations with family).
Unlike its overseas counterparts, the New Zealand Medical Association refuses to poll its own membership on this issue and so, despite make sweeping pronouncements against euthanasia in the media (and no doubt to this committee), does not speak for all doctors and medical staff. I have been in correspondence with two former chairs of the NZMA, both Christians, who were against euthanasia on religious grounds. That is not good enough. On this issue at least, they do not speak for their members.

And that is enough. Give me the choice, please. Because, in fact, none of you have the right to deny me this choice, or to deny the majority of Kiwis you are supposed to represent.

Thank you. 
Mark Hubbard.
Made a submission supporting the bill? Send it to me (at peter dot organon at and we will post it here at NOT PC.
And don't forget to submit -- only 15 days to go!

QotD: Summing up Churchill

"Churchill was the last British Prime Minister to have a serious influence on global events, and his actions during World War II [and across his sixty-year political career] helped to end this influence...
...."Late in life, Churchill became depressed by the fact that he would leave Britain very much worse than he found it. He had been born into the richest and most powerful imperial nation in the world. By the time he died, the wealth had largely gone and the empire was largely going – and with it Britain as a great power. Many factors and many people were responsible for this, and Churchill was one of them.
...."[V]ictory [in WWII] was personified in the being of Churchill himself. The fact that victory came later and at higher cost than it could have without him has always been obscured by the very fact of victory itself...
...."The British people needed Churchill to be great, the embodiment of their desires and beliefs. They needed to believe that it was indeed they, the British people, who were responsible for victory. Within living memory, Britain had been the greatest power on earth, and the British did not believe that this could have appreciably changed by the 1940s. So it seemed natural that they must have won the war, albeit with a little help from others...
...."The fact that Britain was no longer the most powerful nation took decades for its people to adjust to.
...."In the deepest of ironies, it was Hitler who made Churchill a historical figure... He would have ended his political career in 1929, as [a failed] Chancellor of the Exchequer – just as his father had. He would have been a minor figure in British political history, and would be largely forgotten today. It is because of Churchill’s role in World War II, and because he wrote so much of the history himself, that we remember Churchill..."
~ Nigel Knight, concluding his book 'Churchill: The Greatest Briton Unmasked'

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Quote of the Day: "May"?

As manufactured credit balloons, savings disappear and the marginal productivity of debt collapses

"The Austrians may have had it right all along: ...ineffective central bank policies, which cause interest rates to remain too low for too long, resulting in excessive credit creation, speculative economic bubbles and lowered savings.”
~ Lance Roberts from his post (and tweet) 'There Will Be No Economic Boom'

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Quote of the day: "The gravest danger to the west ... "

"The gravest danger to the West has come not from hardworking Latino farmhands, [Indian students] or conscientious Chinese engineers, but from the import of postmodernist European intellectuals.
...."Offshore citizens have risked even death to escape tyranny. Individuals must be free to move, but governments are not instituted to secure the individual rights of citizens not their own.
...."Human beings have a conceptual and rational faculty that determines the content of their minds. Many read and absorb the ideas of the Enlightenment and move themselves to a mental state compatible with the values of Individualism; indeed, those who have done so despite their culture could well be stronger in their convictions than those born into such values. They also have raw negative emotion tied to a fear of, and memory of, a culture that alienated them.
...."The culture they bring with them is the content of their minds."

~ Vinay Kolhatkar, from his post 'The Case for Unbounded Immigration'

Friday, 16 February 2018

Ayn Rand advises the National Party

Ayn Rand offers advice on choosing a political candidate:
In view of the general confusion on this subject, it is advisable to remind prospective voters of a few basic considerations, as guidelines in deciding what one can properly expect of a political candidate, particularly of a presidential candidate.
....One cannot expect, nor is it necessary, to agree with a candidate’s total philosophy — only with his political philosophy (and only in terms of essentials). It is not a Philosopher-King that we are electing, but an executive for a specific, delimited job. It is only political consistency that we can demand of him; if he advocates the right political principles for the wrong metaphysical reasons, the contradiction is his problem, not ours.
....A contradiction of that kind, will, of course, hamper the effectiveness of his campaign, weaken his arguments and dilute his appeal — as any contradictions undercut any man’s efficacy. But we have to judge him as we judge any work, theory, or product of mixed premises: by his dominant trend.
....A vote for any candidate does not constitute an endorsement of his entire position, not even of his entire political position, only of his basic political principles…
....It is the basic — and, today, the only — issue by which a candidate must be judged: freedom vs. statism.
....If a candidate evades, equivocates and hides his stand under a junk-heap of random concretes, we must add up those concretes and judge him accordingly. If his stand is mixed, we must evaluate it by asking: Will he protect freedom or destroy the last of it? Will he accelerate, delay, or stop the march towards statism?
So, a serious question: is there any candidate for National Party leader who you could support? Or are they all little more than a junk-heap of random concretes.

Question of the Day: "The proper question is, 'What share of its legal monopoly on the use of force should the government share with its citizens?'"

"To see why it is proper for a government to regulate weapons and to understand the principles by which it should, we need to go back to some fundamental principles of moral philosophy, political philosophy, different kinds of rights, and the nature of government... You have a natural right to defend yourself against an attack, using unlimited force if necessary. But it still might rightly be illegal for you to own or carry a gun...
    "Remember, the proper question is not, 'Why can the government restrict my access to guns?' The proper question is, 'What share of its legal monopoly on the use of force should the government share with its citizens?' The proper answer is, 'Whatever is needed for those citizens to protect themselves when the government cannot.'
    "Unfortunately, this principle is not articulated in the [US] Constitution and we are stuck twisting the Second Amendment into service. Things would be better if we didn't have to." 
~ John McCaskey, '
Natural Rights, Civil Rights, and Guns'

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Bill English: The end of the wet?

I had no intention of writing anything about Bill English. What has he even done that deserves thirty minutes of my time? I did search the archives here, for anything at all to say, and I confess I nearly fell asleep while reading them. They reveal him to be a punter, not a man of principle -- a man who finds a way to take a problem off the political table, but never in fact to solve it.

28 years of "public service" say the tributes. Pffft. For nearly three decades he's been one of the country's highest-paid beneficiaries -- and even then Sir Double Dipton grasped for more.

He did get over being Mr 22% in 2002. Let's give him that. But in failing to understand MMP, or to campaign against it, he sealed his own fate in 2017.

And according to some his spending was responsible for rebuilding inner Christchurch. Have you seen inner Christchurch recently? (And whose money was that?)

The most revealing thing about him, perhaps, is that for well over a decade he talked about his big plan for what he called "social investment" (in other words, aiming to intrude more, to spend more welfare money on fewer). Yet while being at or near the top of the greasy pole for over nearly all that time, he never came close to implementing his one big idea -- and all the while the welfare problem exacerbated by big government was increasing.

He was always a man for thirty-year plans, but never a plan for the next thirty days.

There was a reason the left always felt obliged to talk him up: because he was always so dripping wet.

And don't get me started on his Catholicism constantly being brought to bear on his party to vote against every move every parliament made towards increasing social freedom.

So was there one thing he actually achieved?

Perhaps the best that could be said for the man was said by the even more dripping wet Wayne Mapp, that he allegedly "guided New Zealand through the global economic crisis." Let's see the argument:
What is Bill English’s political legacy? More than anything, it will undoubtedly be his tenure as minister of finance from 2008 to 2016. The National government took office in the middle of the largest financial shock for over 50 years...
....As the new minister of finance, Bill English had to complete an instant financial stocktake. Three things were evident. First, New Zealand had low government debt, in large measure due to Michael Cullen having run continuous surpluses. Second, Labour’s commitments from the 2008 budget were completely unaffordable; even National’s more modest election commitments had to be wound back. Third, it was essential to maintain social and economic stability. That meant borrowing for the basics, but not for the frills. It would ultimately be tens of billions of dollars.
Let's not use euphemisms when numbers are much easier, Wayne: your former colleague took the debt from ten billion to sixty-six billion dollars.

Borrowing, supposedly, "to protect New Zealand’s social fabric at a time when it easily could have come under immense pressure." Borrowing, in fact, to maintain middle-class welfare while avoiding making any reforms of anything either politically or economically substantial.

Borrowing to produce a deficit we're still paying for, and will be for years to come.

And remember that lie about not raising GST?

So the best argument in his favour is not so much that he was a good finance minister, just that we was not quite so profligate as all the world's other big spenders. And let's not forget those massive tax cuts he promised us during the 2008 elections, all the while fully aware the GFC was going to allow him an alibi to backtrack once he found his feet under the Finance Minister's desk. In other words, he flat-out lied. (And no fear saying he didn’t know about the economic crisis when he said it.)

Yes, he did, eventually, achieve a surplus. But that should just be business as usual, not a reason for a medal.

But let's give him that much before he shuffles off the stage into well-deserved anonymity. That he did, once, achieve a genuine surplus.

It's as modest an achievement as befits him.

Q: When did you last read a book? [updated]

"Why read books and know a lot about one thing, when you can be on social media and know extremely little about everything?"~ Lalo Dagach

UPDATE: From Russ Roberts's '12 Rules for Life':
5. Read Read Read
Videos and television are great fun. But don't spend too much time on them. Leave lots of time for getting smarter by reading. Read widely. Read some books more than once. Write in your books. Don't finish every book you start. You might be able to read 2500 books in your lifetime. Maybe a few more than that. It's still a very small number. Choose wisely.
Choose wisely. But read, read, read!


Monday, 12 February 2018

Thank you, Thomas Edison

Adam Mossoff reminds us it's a good time to raise a glass to the great inventor whose new ideas changed lives:
Today is Thomas Edison's birthday! With his patented innovations, he contributed to massive transformation in human life. Celebrate by turning on a light, listen to recorded music, watch a movie, talk on telephone; just a few of the technologies he invented or perfected.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Quotes of the Day: On the separation of school & state [updated]

"The Government knows Maori and Pacific achievement is abysmal, a stain on the promise of opportunity for all, but they are so focused on helping the unions they have forgotten about the 1500 kids whose lives are being turned around by Partnership Schools. ... Today’s announcement on Partnership Schools shows the juvenile and callous nature of a Government led by ex-student politicians."
~ David Seymour

"Labour is putting politics, and paying back teacher unions, before the needs of pupils.
"All the schools, their staff and most importantly their pupils face uncertainty and the knowledge they could be axed at the whim of the minister.
"He might give Davis and Jackson some wriggle room by renaming three schools to allow them to continue, but what about the other schools and more importantly the pupils who are succeeding after failing at conventional schools?"
~ blogger HomePaddock

"I want every child in [the country], especially the children of the poor, to be able to go to a better school than they do today. And I think separation is the way to do it."
~ Marshall Fritz

"Quite the opposite of feeding inquiry, the true purpose of state schooling, easily established by reading the words of its founders, was always control. The common school removed from discussion many aspects previously universally inseparable from the project of acquiring an education. Compulsion government schooling was never a mechanism of defending freedom but one of truncating it."
~ Alan Schaeffer

"It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance, and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."
~ Alan Shanker, late president, American Federation of Teachers

"A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body."
~ John Stuart Mill

"Where once a tyrant had to wish that his subjects had but one common neck that he might strangle them all at once, all he has to do now is to 'educate the people' so that they will have but one common mind to delude... Far from failing in its intended task, our educational system is in fact succeeding magnificently, because its aim is to keep the ... people thoughtless enough to go on supporting the system."
~ publisher & author Richard Mitchell

"The shocking possibility that dumb people don't exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn't real. ... Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self-direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy; these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent, on one pretext or another. ... Who besides a degraded rabble would voluntarily present itself to be graded and classified like meat? No wonder school is compulsory."
~ award-winning teacher John Taylor Gatto

"The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense."
~ writer G.K. Chesterton

"Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening."
~ US Commissioner of Education Willliam T. Harris

"In all countries, in all centuries, the primary reason for government to set up schools is to undermine the politically weak by convincing their children that the leaders are good and their policies are wise."
~ Marshall Fritz

"If it's wrong, and it is, for the government to intrude into the churches of our nation, to reshape and affect their basic doctrine and teaching, then it is just as wrong for that same government to be the sponsor of the worldview and values of 90 percent of all our nation' s children. - Joel Belz

"If it would be wrong for the government to adopt an official religion, then, for the same reasons, it would be wrong for the government to adopt official education policies. The moral case for freedom of religion stands or falls with that for freedom of education. A society that champions freedom of religion but at the same time countenances state regulation of education has a great deal of explaining to do."
~ philosopher James Otteson

"The more subsidised it is, the less free it is. What is known as "free education" is the least free of all, for it is a state-owned institution; ... and cannot possibly be separated from political control."
~ writer Frank Chodorov

"Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery."
~ former British PM Benjamin Disraeil

"It is out of character for [any] country that prides itself on intellectual freedom to put the education of its young in the hands of the state."
~ writer David Kelley

"Don't wait for the perfect moment to break free -- there isn't any. Don't let officials, relatives or anyone else intimidate you into sacrificing your children. If you want to help public schools, give them your money, give them your time, give them your house and your car -- but don't give them your kids. There's a world of support out there for home schoolers. If you can't home school, find a decent private school and sacrifice for your kids' education like you would for that fancy car you want or that vacation or entertainment centre or big house. Whatever you'd sacrifice for the thing you most want in life, sacrifice ten times as much for your children."
~ Tammy Drennan

"The only persons who seem to have nothing to do with the education of the children are the parents."
~ G.K. Chesterton

And finally,

"Only a system of state-controlled schools can be free to teach whatever the welfare of the State may demand."
~ former American educator Elwood Chubberly


  • "To achieve [the necessary educational revolution] would be a monumental job, which would take decades. A part of the job, I want to recommend one specific step to improve our schools: close down the teachers colleges.
    "There is no rational purpose to these institutions (and so they do little but disseminate poisonous ideas). Teaching is not a skill acquired trough years of [these] classes ... Teachers must be masters of their subject; this -- not a degree in education -- is what school boards [and parents] should demand as a condition of employment.
    "This one change would dramatically improve the schools. If experts in subject matter were setting the terms in the classroom, some significant content would have to reach the students, even given today's dominant philosophy. In addition, the basket cases who know only the Newspeak of their education lecturers would be out of a job, which would be another big improvement.
    "This reform, of course, would be resisted to the end by today's educational establishment ..."
    Why Johnny Can't Think - Leonard Peikoff, AYN RAND CAMPUS
  • "If formal, reality-oriented, intellectual education is an 'imposition' on childhood, it is an imposition that has long since been removed. "
    The False Promise of Classical Education - Lisa Van Damme, OBJECTIVE STANDARD