Government Is Legalized Force. Let’s Say It!

By Joe Bast

Jim Payne is a long-time Heartland policy advisor, author, donor, and friend. He’s written a really nice commentary on the true definition of “government” and why we so seldom hear it expressed today. His essay is here in PDF form. Here’s his definition:

Government is the organization that directs the regular, public use of physical force in a territory and makes rules upheld with the threat of force.

This is close to how Heartland’s founder Dave Padden would define government. We either accomplish things voluntarily and through persuasion, Dave said, or we resort to force. The free market is the institution that relies on voluntary exchange, while government is the only institution in society with a monopoly on the legal initiation of force. Dave often led discussions in which people would gradually come around to agreeing to his definition.

Defining the word really does change the way people view the world. Shouldn’t we try to find ways to solve problems peacefully and voluntarily before we resort to force? Is it really okay to use force to achieve trivial objectives? Wasn’t the American Revolution and the Constitution all about placing limits on the use of force in society? Come to think of it, wasn’t that a big part of the message of Christianity?

Good questions to ask in this new year!

[First posted at Freedom Pub.]

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Can Twitter Be Trusted with Its New ‘Violent Images’ Rules?

By Billy Aouste

Do you trust Twitter?

On Monday, the social media giant began to roll out its plan to ban groups it deems too violent for its platform. It is unknown just how many accounts will be purged in the great reckoning, but a clear pattern is already emerging.

Alternative-right or ‘alt-right’ nationalist figureheads have been the first to fall. The American Renaissance—a white nationalist magazine—and its founder Jared Taylor have both been suspended. Leaders for Britain First, a British nationalist party most famous for its aggressive stance on immigration and a recent retweet from President Trump, were also suspended. League of the South, an Alabaman white nationalist group who wants an “Independent Southern Republic,” has been suspended. The Traditionalist Workers Party—a white nationalist, anti-Semitic group—has been suspended. And many more are sure to follow in their wake.

Twitter’s suspension strategy is obvious; it is going directly after fringe groups that promote violence. It would be tough for anyone to argue nationalist groups are not menacing and, on occasion, even violent, as demonstrated by the Charlottesville protests. Beneath the surface of Twitter’s strategy, however, is something far more disingenuous.

Twitter announced it is targeting “violent” groups, but one quick search shows the radical leftist group Antifa—the “anti-fascist” terrorist group known for starting riots, attacking peaceful protestors, and is currently under investigation by the FBI—has not yet been banned. Black Lives Matter—whose members have killed law enforcement officials, chanted for the killing of cops, and nearly destroyed all of Baltimore—has also not been banned.

Twitter is clearly taking a hardline stance against “right-wing” violence and radical political stances, but they are ignoring left-wing groups. Why would Twitter do this? And why has Twitter silenced some non-violent, non-racist conservative voices? This apparent bias isn’t limited to Twitter, either. YouTube has gone after popular conservative voices by demonetizing them, and Facebook supposedly has kept conservative outlets from trending.

Twitter is a massive company with an incredible ability to influence public opinion, and as such, it has a civic duty to protect the rights outlined in the First Amendment. Hate speech, no matter how much you may disagree with it, has a place in public discourse in a free society. Policies that protect all speech are not in place to protect those who espouse dangerous ideologies, but rather those who challenge any mainstream belief. Those who go against the grain should never be shut down simply because those in power disagree with a dissenting voice.

By cracking down on extremist figures, Twitter and other social media platforms are not solving any problems. They are only making it easier to eliminate more mainstream conservatives in the future, while protecting leftists—including radical, violent leftists.

Who is to say Twitter’s definition of “violence” or “dangerous” won’t become synonymous with important conservative ideas? Are right-to-life protestors at an abortion clinic “violent”? What if you have a negative opinion on the transgender movement and think children are too immature to make that life-altering decision? Anybody who disagrees can be removed from the online public sphere with just a click of the button. So, the question is, do you trust Twitter to fairly manage this process and only choose to remove the truly dangerous posters? I certainly don’t.

[First published at Freedom Pub.]

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Net Neutrality: The Left Is Always Wrong – So Stop Listening To Them

By Seton Motley

The Left has a very long history of being very wrong.

The birth of modern Socialism-Communism took place a century ago – the Marxist Revolution in Russia. It spent the 20th Century murdering a mere one hundred million people – and consigning nations the world over to wanton terror and abject poverty.

Bizarrely, we in the free market mega-success story that is the United States – are infested with these Socialists-Communists (S-Cs). And have been since the birth of its stupidity. We have watched their worldview implode over and over and over – yet we remain infected by them. (Thanks, government schools and colleges/universities.)

Today’s US Socialists-Communists have wholly taken over a once semi-reasonable, semi-rational political Party. The Democrats – are fully gone around the bend.

Take a gander at the Democrat Party platform. It is an S-C manifesto. Well, person-ifesto. Xi-festo?

Today’s Congress is inundated with elected S-Cs. We just rid ourselves of one in the White House. We’ve been trying their ideas for decades and decades. Everything they’ve touched – has turned to lead. S-Cs – are the anti-Midas.

Social Security – broke. Medicare – broke. That’s 2/3 of the $4-trillion-per-year federal budget right there. S-C President Barack Obama’s Obamacare – well on the way to broke. The Post Office – broke. Amtrak – broke.

We could list S-C failures until the crack of doom. But you get the idea.

In advance of all of these failures – come the S-C pronouncements of guaranteed success. In the interest of brevity, let us just look at the S-C Obamacare assertions – all of which were the polar opposite of accurate.

36 Times Obama Said You Could Keep Your Health Care Plan

Obama Montage: If You Like Your Doctor You Can Keep Your Doctor

Montage: Five Years of Obama Lies About Lowering Typical Family’s Premiums by $2,500

Oh: An S-C Nobel-Prize-winning economic “expert” said that if Donald Trump won the presidency – a global recession would ensue. Another S-C economic “expert” said that if “Trump wins you will see a stock market crash of historic proportions.”

How’d those S-C projections do?

World Trade Boom Sails Into 2018

Dow Gained More than 25% Since President Trump’s Election

The S-Cs – still batting -1.000.

With this century-plus history of S-C wrongness in focus, let us now turn to their mandated fixation with – and predictions about – Network Neutrality.

S-C President Barack Obama in 2015 unilaterally grabbed for the government massive new Internet regulatory and taxing power – hidden inside the Trojan Horse of Net Neutrality. President Trump is on Thursday going to undo said power grab.

What the Trump Administration is doing – is nothing more than restoring the pre-2015 two-decade-plus Web status quo. That freed up the private sector to grow the Internet from “What’s that?” – to 1/6 of our entire $18-trillion-per-year economy.

The S-Cs – are losing their minds. And yet again promising all sorts of things about what it means. None of which will happen now – because none of it happened in the two-decades-plus prior to the Obama S-C interlude imposition upon the free market Internet.

As you read this S-C cavalcade of inanity, please remember that the post-Trump-rollback Web – will be exactly the same as the pre-2015-pre-Obama-power-grab Web.

We have more than twenty years of free speech-free market Xanadu Internet – which belies all of the lies the S-Cs are now peddling.

The FCC Plans to Repeal Net Neutrality This Week – And It Could Ruin the Internet

Overwrought much? Again, this S-C clown – is describing the 1996-2015 Internet. Lots of verbs apply – “ruin”-ed does not.

Oh – and as we noted last week: “If a news story contains the word and concept of ‘could’ – it isn’t a news story. It’s rank speculation….(It’s) the journalistic equivalent of astrology. ‘What’s your sign?’ – is not a legitimate avenue of journalistic inquiry. Rolling back Net Neutrality – could also lead to the Internet’s continued mass expansion. The latter – is far more likely.”

In fact, the S-Cs rely a great deal on their “could” code word. It’s their ultimate out – for when they inevitably turn out to be oh-so-very-wrong.

A Look At What Net Neutrality Repeal Could Mean

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Bring Slow Internet

The 1996-2015 Internet delivered us out from under glacier-esque 14.4k dial-up…to lightening-fast 1GB. And climbing.

A return to that Web status quo ensures us continued massive speed increases – not what the S-Cs alternatively, lamely projects.

How a Net Neutrality Rollback Could Create a Tiered Internet

Except: “(I)n the two decades without these massive regulations – the Internet was never, ever tiered.”

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Let Internet Providers Block You from Using Your Favourite Services Unless You Pay More

Except nowhere on the 1996-2015 Internet did any Internet provider anywhere do that. Even the most virulent pro-Net Neutrality S-Cs – when they feel like being honest,…say when they are under oath – begrudgingly admit it.

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Hurt Web Businesses

Yes, the 1996-2015 Internet was AWFUL for Web businesses.

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Crush Small Businesses

Again – yes, the 1996-2015 Internet was AWFUL for Web businesses. And, of course, every large Web business – was once a small Web business. The pre-Obama Internet was simply terrible for small startups like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Damage Local News Startups

Yes, the 1996-2015 Internet led to oh-so-many fewer news sources – at all levels. Not really.

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Wreck Hollywood And Big Media

Wait a second – I thought the 1996-2015 Internet “could” damage local news – which would be great for their Big Media competitors. But repeal “could” also hurt Big Media, the S-Cs tell us.

As for Hollywood: The 1996-2015 Internet gave us a gaggle of online entertainment providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Livestream,…. And gave existing entertainment providers a whole new avenue of mass direct delivery of their content. All of which was simply awful for Hollywood, was it not? Hint: It was not.

Net Neutrality Repeal Could Impact College Students

Yes – it “could” make the Internet much better for students. And everyone else. In fact – it will.

These S-C flights of demented fantasy are nigh endless – and just a Web search away.

Thankfully, that Web search will continue to get better and better.

Because the Trump Administration is rightly, reasonably restoring the gangbusters 1996-2015 Internet status quo.

Meet the new Web – same as the old Web.

Only better. And better. And better. And….

[Originally Published at RedState]

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Let’s Put an End to the Left’s Myths about the Liberal Arts

By Teresa Mull

The study of the liberal arts is increasingly becoming passé. Schools are encouraged by government grants to infiltrate the classrooms with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and computer science instruction, creating a generation of programmable techies who are proficient at clicking but not at thinking.

As a frequent cellphone and computer user, I certainly do appreciate technological advances. What bothers me, however, is that government is involved in persuading schools what to teach and telling students what to study. I’m also disturbed by the consistent naysayers who dismiss studying the humanities as some frivolous, artistic venture that contains about as much value as Kim Kardashian’s views on the Gulf War. As someone who majored in the liberal arts, I can say that’s absolutely not true.

The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal just published a very interesting piece titled, “Liberal Arts Education Is Not (Necessarily) a Waste of Time.” In the article, George Leef points out, “The liberal arts can be a practical education, but at too many schools there isn’t much education going on in their programs.”

Leef retells a story of a student who was considering studying history at Harvard, but when the student’s parents found out, was told the liberal arts are “a house of pain.” Leef explains there is a prevailing perception that those students who study “history, literature, philosophy or anything else that doesn’t have a clear occupational path is just throwing away years of school time and a great deal of money. Focus instead,” people say, “on practical subjects that might at least lead to a job after college.”

My theory is that the “liberal arts is a waste of time” rumor was started by a bunch of progressive elites afraid of what might happen when people, especially young ones, started to develop their own conclusions instead of drinking the Kool-Aid served to them at government schools controlled by liberal, big-government types.

You may think such a claim is right-wing nonsense, or even silly, but before completely dismissing the idea, consider the following: First, liberals control the overwhelming majority of higher-education institutions in America, and yet many of them are the ones dismissing liberal arts and suggesting it’s useless. Second, liberals’ philosophy hinges on everyone working together like little cogs in a giant machine, an idea that fits well with advancing STEM, but doesn’t make much sense with the liberal arts. Third, liberal arts hinges on studying the classic thinkers of Western Civilization, most of whom the left has dismissed as racist, misogynistic, greedy, or homophobic.

In short, the liberal arts is a giant roadblock on the path to socialism, so why wouldn’t the left want to undermine it?

What about the claim there isn’t “much education going on” in most liberal arts programs anymore? What’s happened? I attended (shameless plug alert) the University of Dallas (UD), a small liberal arts Catholic college known for its core curriculum. At UD, for about two years students don’t choose any of their own classes. They’re required to complete pretty much all the same courses in literature, theology, philosophy, art, science, history, and language before they can begin to focus on higher-level classes specific to their majors.

“Our curriculum,” UD’s website says, “is based on a core that emphasizes the pursuit of truth and virtue in the classical Western tradition and the importance of academic rigor.”

How can the “pursuit of truth and virtue” have been diluted to such a point that those who make it their focus in college are, upon graduation, considered virtually unemployable? Philosophy is the “love of wisdom,” theology the study of God, yet these studies — once considered the purpose of human existence — are now looked at as mere frippery that’s not worth anyone’s time (unless you went to Stanford).

How can someone who has mastered the theories of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas, as well as the history of Gaul, the nuances of Shakespeare, and other similar topics once considered to be essential, be worthless? Surely such a mind is capable of more than a narrow focus, yet such is the predominant and well-crafted misconception about liberal arts majors.

The truth is, liberal arts majors are not ill-equipped as employees and doomed to a life on food stamps. Wilson Peden wrote in Fortune magazine in 2015 (and backed his excellent article up with lots of data), “For the last time: No, earning a degree in English, philosophy, art history, name-your-humanities-discipline will not condemn you to a lifetime of unemployment and poverty… Persistent or not, the myth of the unemployed humanities major is just that: a myth, and an easily disproven one at that.”

A 2014 report from InsideHigherEd similarly reported, “Over the arc of a career,humanities and social science graduates earn as much or more than those in professional fields, new study shows, and are equally employed.”

The Wall Street Journal agreed. As did Time. And CNN. Fareed Zakaria wrote in the Washington Post in 2015, “America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous,” proclaiming, “This dismissal of broad-based learning… comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future.”

“Broad-based learning” is being dismissed because of an ever-deepening infiltration of left-wing radicals, who, like the public K–12 teachers unions folks, see academia as the perfect place to sink their teeth and finagle the future to their evil wills. Liberal professors outnumber conservative ones 12 to one. Even the straightforward, fact-based realm of engineering is not safe from these rabid manipulators.

The bottom line is this: The liberal arts are valuable. They’re beautiful and necessary. They have, however, at many colleges and universities, been perverted by people looking to advance their own ideological agenda — one that is nihilist at best and fascist at worst. But students drawn to the examination of truth, beauty, and goodness ought not to fear. You’ll enjoy college. You’ll find a job. You’ll make good money. You won’t be liberal. And you’ll be just fine.

[Originally Published at American Thinker]

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: The Truth About the Restoring Internet Freedom Order

ajit pai net neutralitu

In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor and research fellow Jesse Hathaway talks with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai about the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, a proposed order that would undo the agency’s 2015 power grab taking control of the internet and help free-market principles go online.

For most of the internet’s history the government’s light-touch approach to internet regulation had facilitated innovation and growth, Pai says. FCC was wrong to get into the business of dominating the online world, and the Order will get the agency out of that business.

The debate over “net neutrality” isn’t really about net neutrality per se, Pai says, but is actually about something called “paid prioritization,” in which content producers can pay internet companies to ensure bits get to consumer faster, like taking a toll road to get somewhere instead of taking a public highway.

Instead of worrying about the fake problem of net neutrality, Pai says he wants to continue improving the internet for all consumers, encouraging companies to invest in infrastructure development and solving real problems.

[First published at Freedom Pub.]

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Keystone Is Anti-hydrocarbon Zealotry in Microcosm

By Paul Driessen

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) recently voted to approve the state’s segment of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL Pipeline. While that would appear to allow construction to move forward, more obstacles loom before KXL can finally bring North Dakota and Canadian crude oil to Texas refineries.

Commissioners who voted against approval have raised objections, some landowners still object to the pipeline crossing their lands, other landowners were not aware that the new route will cross their properties, and environmentalists plan more lawsuits to stop TransCanada’s plans to finish Keystone.

Further complicating matters, the NSPC-approved route is not the company’s preferred path through the Cornhusker State. A spokesman said project engineers will have to assess how much the newly revised route will affect construction schedules and costs, on top of the $3 billion it already spent on KXL.

The imbroglio is a tiny facet of the ideological green movement’s implacable opposition to carbon-based energy. Rooted in climate change dogma, its “keep it in the ground” mantra has become a rallying cry for nasty campaigns against pipeline construction, existing pipelines, drilling and even sand destined for fracking operations. Police increasingly have to deal with masked thugs, mountains of toxic trash, murder threats and even the possibility of improvised bombs hidden in “peaceful protesters” encampments.

The attitudes and actions underscore the increasing power and recalcitrance of $13-billion-per-year Big Green industry, and how little fundamental facts affect its thinking. If the radicals believe there is an ecological or climate risk, they feel justified in using intimidation, criminal sanctions, and even force, violence and eco-terror to impose their will. Whatever they cannot make off limits via Antiquities Act, wilderness or other land use designations, they intend to lock up or shut down by other means.

The most delayed and litigated pipeline in U.S. history, KXL has stirred controversy for over a decade. Proponents say it is a necessary, safe, effective way to transport crude oil to refineries that produce fuel for vehicles and raw materials for countless petrochemical products. In fact, segments of Keystone have already been in operation for several years, delivering crude oil to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

A new, shorter, more direct route – Keystone XL, running diagonally through Wyoming, the Dakotas and Nebraska – would be less expensive and safer. The northern portions were approved years ago, but the Nebraska section encountered prolonged opposition from climate alarmists and President Obama.

TransCanada had already agreed to move the route away from environmentally sensitive wetlands known as the Nebraska Sandhills. The NPSC decision shifted the pipeline further away from Sandhills. Diehard opponents say all pipelines are inherently unsafe, prolong the use of “climate-damaging” fossil fuels, and will become obsolete relics as America shifts entirely to renewable energy in a utopian decade or so.

The United States already has 160,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, and 2,200,000 miles of local gas distribution pipelines. Skilled builders will use the latest steel, valve, monitoring and other technologies to build the KXL segment and prevent spills.

No one can guarantee that spills will never occur. A recent older Keystone pipeline break in South Dakota caused a 5,000-barrel leak. However, the Keystone and KXL lines traverse mostly rural areas, whereas truck and rail alternatives go along busy, congested highways and through towns and urban areas – with far greater potential for loss of human life and property.

A fiery 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people and left many more badly burned; rail accidents in Colorado and Virginia resulted in significant oil spills but fortunately no deaths. By carrying 830,000 barrels of light and heavy crude every day, Keystone XL would eliminate the need for 1,225 railroad tanker cars per day (450,000 per year) or 3,500 semi-trailer tanker trucks daily (1,275,000 annually)!

More than 99.9% of oil moved by pipeline arrives safely at its destination, the Wall Street Journal notes. Rail transit is 2.5 times more likely to have an accident resulting in an oil spill, and trucks are six times more likely to do so – with both far more likely to injure, burn or kill many people. Indeed, the 5,000-barrel spill happened after the Keystone pipeline had safely delivered more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil, and TransCanada isolated the affected pipeline section within 15 minutes. No serious damage occurred.

Equally important, wind and solar substitutes for fossil fuels have their own major ecological impacts – which few environmentalists ever acknowledge. Using wind power to replace current US electricity generation and charge batteries for just seven windless days of backup power would require some 14 million towering 1.8-MW bird-and-bat-killing turbines, across acreage twice the size of California. The backup power would require over 650 million 100-kWh Tesla battery packs on still more acreage.

This does not consider what it would take to replace vehicles with electric versions – or coal and gas fuel in foundries, refineries and factories. The steel, copper, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, fiberglass and other raw materials to build all those turbines, batteries and transmission lines would require massive quantities of earth removal, mining, processing, smelting and manufacturing – much of it in developing countries under dangerous, inhuman conditions. Renewable energy is not ecological or sustainable.

Activists who cry Climate Armageddon attempt to tie every temperature rise, hurricane and other extreme weather event to human greenhouse gas emissions. They ignore the record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland, prior to Harvey – and the “warming hiatus” that has prevailed since 1998, except during the 2015-16 El Niño temperature spike.

Climate computer models falsely assume that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide drives climate change … and predict average global temperatures a full 1 degree F higher than have actually been observed by satellites and weather balloons, a gap that is widening every year. It now appears that Western Antarctic ice shelf instability is due to volcanic and magmatic activity beneath it – not climate change.

Heavily subsidized, sporadic, unreliable wind and solar combined provide less than 3% of all U.S. energy. One day, they (or some other as yet unimaginable energy source) may replace the fossil fuels that still account for 81% of the energy that makes US livelihoods, living standards and life spans possible – and is lifting billions out of abject poverty, malnutrition and disease. But that day has not yet arrived.

Fossil fuels provide feed stocks for paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other products that enrich and safeguard our lives. They keep our lights, heat and air conditioning on, and power the manufacturing centers that create computers, smart phones, healthcare technologies, vehicles and batteries. They take patients to hospitals, people to work and events, products to retailers and homes.

They are the most efficient, most affordable power source for the modern civilization which we Americans enjoy and take for granted – and to which all humans aspire. Pipelines are the fastest, safest, most direct, most economical way to get oil and natural gas supplies where they are needed.

Keystone XL is a vital addition to America’s pipeline system. It’s not perfect. But it is essential for a healthier, safer, more prosperous United States. Building it will create tens of thousands of jobs.

As to handling anarchists who think they are above the law, these suggestions may help. Ensure that there are sufficient police and National Guardsmen to maintain control. Require permits and multi-million-dollar surety bonds for every encampment, to ensure safety, lawful activities, and cleanup of human and other wastes. Prohibit wearing of ski masks and collect IDs, fingerprints and photos of every activist.

To prevent hypocrisy in anti-fossil fuel anarchist camps, prohibit all petroleum-based synthetic fibers (clothing, tents, sleeping bags); clothing derived from fibers grown, harvested and/or manufactured using fossil fuels; computers and cell phones with plastic housings; and transportation from protest sites in vehicles fueled or manufactured with hydrocarbons, in aircraft, or on asphalt roadways.

Allow only growing, harvesting, garment manufacturing, food, cooking and travel using all-natural pre-1900 technologies – so that campers can learn how wonderful life was back in the “good old days.”

[First published at Freedom Pub.]

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Why Democrats Lose on Global Warming

By Joseph Bast

Robinson Meyer’s November 15 article for The Atlantic, titled “Democrats Are Shockingly Unprepared to Fight Climate Change,” is an important article because it accurately reports some of the history of the debate over global warming in the United States. For example, Meyer writes:

In June 2009, Waxman-Markey passed the House. But as that summer wore on, the bill’s prospects floundered. By August, the Tea Party rose to command more media attention, and public opinion turned against Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid—focused on passing what would become the Affordable Care Act—declined to take the climate bill to the Senate floor. By the middle of the next summer, Waxman-Markey was effectively dead. Only a few years after it opened, the window to pass climate legislation had already shut.

Meyer’s account doesn’t explain why the Tea Party adopted global warming skepticism, why “public opinion turned against Democrats,” and why members of the Senate convinced Reid to call off a vote on Waxman-Markey. The Heartland Institute and one man, Arthur Robinson, played major roles in all three developments.

Starting in 2007, Heartland began distributing what would eventually be millions of copies of books, brochures, and videos explaining why man-made climate change was not a crisis. It ran over $1 million in ads challenging Al Gore to debate his critics. (Gore never did.) Heartland focused much of its efforts on the nascent Tea Party movement, providing its leaders with free publications, speakers, and other types of support.

In 2009, Art Robinson was going from office to office in the Russell Senate Office Building handing out and discussing a hefty directory of signers of the Petition Project, some 31,000 scientists opposed to legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He met with senators and their senior staff and patiently explained how the left had hijacked the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and EPA. A brilliant scientist and disarming communicator, Robinson converted scores of people.

Meanwhile, Heartland’s Sandy Liddy Bourne, often accompanied by others from Heartland or allies from Americans for Tax Reform, was going door to door in the Senate with copies of the first volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series. Senate staff have told us repeatedly that this publication plus Robinson’s directory of scientists, delivered at exactly the right moment, made a big difference in Senate deliberations. No other nonprofit group or individual was so successful in opposing Waxman-Markey.

Meyer also reports,

Even in defeat, Waxman-Markey cost the party dearly. More than two dozen congressional Democrats who had supported the cap-and-trade bill lost in the 2010 midterm election. The casualties included Rick Boucher, a 14-term veteran of Congress whose district included much of southwest Virginia’s coal country. Boucher had negotiated concessions for local coal companies into Waxman-Markey, but this could not save his seat. Ten House Democrats, including Boucher, voted for Waxman-Markey and against the Affordable Care Act. Six of them lost their seats in 2010.

This is the history many members of Congress remember and newcomers need to be reminded of: The last time global warming came up in Congress, in 2010, most of the members who voted for it lost their next elections.

Later in the article, writing about Democrats’ current climate change efforts in Congress, Meyer writes,

There are only two bills that come close to serving as a flagship bill. The first is the 100 by ’50 Act, released in April by Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “100 by ’50” is an ambitious economic-planning package that would require 100 percent of American electricity to come from clean or renewable energy by 2050.

The bill’s release was timed to the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., and McKibben attended its unveiling. It represents the triumph of the 350.org wing of the environmental movement, blocking future fossil-fuel investment and directing plenty of funding to help historically at-risk and marginalized communities. But the 100 by ’50 Act debuted to a fizzle and Sanders, its more prominent cosponsor, spends little time discussing it publicly.

Yup, that’s what happened. They thought by tying this legislation to the People’s Climate March, it would get a big media bump and political momentum. But the march was quickly identified with the emerging “resistance” movement, with meaningless and sometimes violent protests, and with identity politics gone wild. It mobilized the 20 percent hard-left anti-Trump base but turned off the other 80 percent of Americans. The bill got little attention and was quickly forgotten.

Meyer makes a rare admission by a MSM liberal writer:

… Democratic voters still don’t care about climate change very much. Like other Americans, most of the party’s electorate experience it as a “low-intensity” issue. Though a majority of Americans in every state believe in climate change, very few people use climate policy to decide whom to vote for. Even Democrats say that a candidate’s proposed climate policy matters less when making a voting decision than his or her proposed policies about jobs, health care, the economy, education, income inequality, and terrorism.

This is true about Democrats, but not about Republicans. Climate change is not a “low-intensity” issue for Republican voters because they rank it low on lists of “major problems facing the country.” Just listen to the crowd reactions whenever Trump talks about “energy abundance” and his pro-energy, pro-environment, and pro-jobs agenda. By ranking climate change low on their list of problems facing the country, Republican voters are telling pollsters they want less – dramatically less – action on global warming than what politicians have given them in the past. They are practically shouting “Stop doing this!!” And the MSM’s take on this is to say it’s a “low intensity issue.” Who’s the “denier” now?

This is another rare and honest admission:

If Democrats win unified control of Congress and the White House in, say, 2020, history suggests they will get a sliver of time to commit any kind of new policy to statute before public opinion turns against them. During that window, dozens of issues will compete for law makers’ attention.

Democrats, Meyer is saying, can win if they exaggerate and pander to public ignorance on issues like health care and global warming, but once elected and their “solutions” to the fake problems are put on the table, they immediately start to lose public support. Maybe if they were honest during their campaigns, and then did what they promised they would do, their “window” would be more than a “sliver of time.” Trump’s window, for example, is four years wide, maybe eight. Just sayin’.

Near the end of his article, Meyer writes,

There is, as far as I could find, no think tank putting a bill [on climate change] together or thinking through legislative language. I could barely find professional Democrats planning how a future offensive on the issue would look.

Of course! This is what you would expect if Democrats were merely using fear of catastrophic climate change to get the support of low-information voters, and had no interest in genuinely addressing what they knew to be a fake problem. This is Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark. It’s a damning admission of insincerity on the part of liberals. Pity that more people aren’t paying attention.

This last admission by Meyer reminds me as well of a scene near the end of Michael Crichton’s terrific novel State of Fear where environmental activists are shutting down their offices and moving on to some other issue they can exploit, even before the public realizes it was all just a scam. For the environmentalists in State of Fear, It was never about science or truth or even protecting the environment, only power and keeping a job. And so it is today with the Democratic Party and its many front groups and stenographers in the legacy media.

[First posted at Freedom Pub.]

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Culture at the Crossroads: What You Can Do to Save America

By Alexandra York

In an era when it has become “politically incorrect” even to utter that term; when public discourse and protest forums are manipulated or anarchic; when movie house previews “approved for all ages” promote twenty minutes of violence; when candidates are elected for emotional appeal rather than for rational approaches to issues; when it is not possible for parents to trust schools to teach basic history let alone the three “Rs”; when Barack Obama is still trying to “transform” — destroy — America by infiltrating municipalities with community organizers like himself trained in “change” tactics via his nonprofit Organizing For Action (OFA) founded in 2013 while a sitting president; and when citizens are evenly split along collectivist versus constitutional lines, then a crossroads (or cultural “critical mass”) has been reached.

Government is setting the course now, so in 20 years this nation will be fully totalitarian unless “average” Americans mobilize to fight for the values of liberty and individualism, of rational thought and judgment, and the morality of personal integrity. The challenge is great for those of us who embrace the core tenets of our Western-civilization-Enlightenment heritage, who labor to pay our own way in this world, and who wish for government in its limited constitutional role of protecting individual rights (not privileges). To meet this challenge we need viable methods to effectively engage in the battle to win this life or death culture war in which we find ourselves today. Make no mistake: we are in a life-or-death battle to recoup the ideals of Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness because America’s internal conflict in every arena is a war of ideas that will play out in real life for better or worse over the entirety of the developed world.

By this late date, most otherwise-common-sense Americans have been pummeled into silence by PC muzzling that has lulled them into 1) accepting group-think as superior to independent reasoning, 2) defining their identity by tribal membership (race, gender, religion, age, etc.), and 3) viewing democracy as “a level playing field” of economic egalitarianism. Over the past few decades we have witnessed the best of traditional American values — honesty, independence, excellence, accountability, productivity — being diluted, denigrated, or plainly upended into near oblivion.

Perhaps most lethal in creating this myopic cultural zeitgeist, an agenda-driven media, the public school system, university level academia, and the entertainment industry have dominated virtually all avenues of communication to the general public, pouring collectivist propaganda into every cranial nook and cranny. As more Americans are waking up to the damage wrought by these message machines, however, rumblings of resistance are signaling a “perfect storm” brewing across the land. This is encouraging because the only hope for a free future is to inform and inspire Americans dedicated to individual rights and rational values to take meaningful action against the rising tsunami of tyranny. Fortunately, history shows that a perfect storm of colliding ideas is often a perfect timefor such action because every crisis offers opportunity.

The immediate imperative to combat the increasing force of government dictates is to identify, evaluate, and provide specific action plans in order to empower every citizen to effectively fight a 21st century War of Ideas. Wars of ideas are not new, and many individuals and citizen-groups nationwide now know something is very wrong. The few who try to oppose are no match for professional manipulators, agitators, or public-relations-marketing teams with degrees in behavioral science who systematically invade not only federal and state governments but also aid in turning our communities into tiny tyrannies.

So what to do? Four short “must reads” will alert concerned citizens to the fact that those who would “transform” America into a homogeneous wasteland are not just political power-lusters. They seek whole-culture control by challenging and then altering belief and value systems via community “guidance” and all levels of education (controlling the mind); dictating healthcare and sexual subjects (controlling the body); housing demographics (controlling property); employment requirements (controlling economics); Internet and IRS snooping (controlling privacy). In short, they aim to obliterate the great experiment that is The United States of America.

Here’s the reading list to become informed:

1. “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky (Barack Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s, and other progressive activists’ go-to handbook for destroying American freedom from the ground up).

2. “From Shadow Party to Shadow Government: George Soros and the Effort to Radically Change America” by David Horowitz and John Perazzo.

3. “Push Back!: How to Take a Stand Against Groupthink, Bullies, Agitators, and Professional Manipulators” by B.K. Eakman.

4. “LYING AS A WAY OF LIFE: Corruption and Collectivism Come of Age in America,” by Alexandra York. (I would rather recommend another book that quickly but thoroughly lays out the 100+ year purposeful march to cultural/moral demise and political collectivism in America, but I cannot. I wrote this e-book for the urgent purpose of disseminating largely unknown information that provides understanding of our present peril and how we got here. Although I list my own work — a $0.99 giveaway — last, I suggest reading it first because it deals with the other three books and sets the historical stage for understanding their importance. I also list 19 specific actions that can be taken by anyone to protect their person, property, and privacy.

Fair warning: We all have our own soul to report to. If any one of us fails to become informed and fight, that individual is part of the cause of America’s demise. If each one of us takes action no matter how small, we have joined the fight to save our country.

20th century novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand said, “Those who fight for the future live in it today.”

This is a clarion call, and the battle lines are clear: Freedom or force. Constitution or collectivism. Reason or rations. Life unfettered or death by regulation. The hour is late.

[First published at Newsmax.]

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Liberal Socialism Is Another False Utopia

By Richard Ebeling

Very often bad and failed ideas do not die, they simply reappear during periods of supposed social and political crisis in slightly different intellectual garb, and offer “solutions” that would merely help to bring about some of the very types of crises for which they once again claim to have the answers. Socialism in its various “progressive” mutations represents one of the leading ones in our time.

The latest manifestation of this appeared on August 24, 2017 in the New Republic online in an article by John B. Judis on, “The Socialism America Needs Now.” He is heartened by the wide appeal, especially among younger voters, that Bernie Sanders received during the 2016 presidential contest. He thinks that this may herald a rebirth and a renewed possibility for a socialist alternative to the current American political and economic system.

Having traveled over the decades from the 1970s to the present from being a radical, revolutionary socialist to a more “moderate” one today, Mr. Judis admits that the Marxian-style socialism of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries is now long passé. The embarrassing experience of “socialism-in-practice” in the form Lenin and Stalin created in the Soviet Union or by Chairman Mao in China will not fly anymore.

From Soviet Central Planning to “Liberal Socialism”

Central planning seemed not to work too well, and the “communist” variation on the socialist theme also had a tendency to be “authoritarian” with some drawbacks for human life and liberty. (He tactfully avoids mentioning that Marxist-inspired regimes in the twentieth century murdered well over a 100 million people – with some estimates suggesting the number might have been closer to 150 million or more in the name of building the “bright, beautiful socialist future.” See my article, “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power”.)

He turns his mind and ideal to the “democratic socialist” parties and regimes in Western Europe in the post-World War II era, or as Mr. Judis prefers to call it, following John Maynard Keynes, “liberal socialism.” What makes this form of socialism “liberal”? It is belief that there can be a “socialism with a human face.” In other words, a form of “economic” socialism that leaves in place democratic politics with a respect for a broad range of personal and civil liberties.

We have heard this all so many times before. While Mr. Judis wishes to suggest that there is no real or definitive definition of “socialism” (any more than there are of “liberalism” or “democracy”), the fact is that throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, virtually all socialists condemned and called for the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, and in its place some form of socialist central planning directed by government in the name of “the people.”

Mr. Judis actually more or less admits this, and that the only great debate among socialists and communists in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries was over how the socialist utopia would be brought about – through violent revolution or through the democratic ballot box. The Russian Marxists led by Vladimir Lenin insisted that only revolution and a “dictatorship of the proletariat” could bring “the workers” to power and assure their permanent triumph over the exploitive capitalist class. The German democratic socialists opted for democratic means to power and rejected the dictatorship of Lenin and later Stalin.

But it is nonetheless the case that well into the post-World War II period this was a dispute over political means and not ideological ends, which remained for both branches of the socialist movement the abolition of capitalism and the imposition of socialist central planning. Communists wanted to bring about this transformation of society in one fell swoop through violent means and imposed dictatorship.  The German Social Democrats and the “Fabian” socialists in Great Britain proposed democratic means, with socialism coming more gradually and through incremental extensions of government control and planning over more and more parts of society. But for both, the end result would be the same: centralized government direction of economic affairs and social change.

As the 1950s turned into the 1960s and 1970s, more and more “democratic” socialists in Western Europe grudgingly accepted the fact that comprehensive socialist central planning was a failure as practiced in the Moscow-dominated Soviet bloc countries; and it brought little of the prosperity that government planning promised to provide as an escape from poverty in the “third world” countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Plus, the tyranny and brutality of Soviet-style socialism made it ethically difficult to defend. So the democratic socialists turned to the interventionist-welfare state to achieve their “social justice” ends without nationalizing all the means of production or centrally planning all economic activity in society. (See my article, “Barack Obama and the Meaning of Socialism”.)

In Search of Socialist Utopias Elsewhere

But those communist regimes were not so repulsive that many, if not most, of these democratic socialists in the West would not continue to still give moral indulgence and wishful hopes that, maybe, somehow, Marxian socialism would still finally work and fulfill its promise in, first, Mao’s China, then in Castro’s Cuba, or Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam, or in the Sandinista’s Nicaragua, or  . . . The collectivist dream and delusion springs eternal. Plus, after all, even a rude, crude and rough Marxist regime isn’t the United States – please, please almost anything other than capitalist America!

Even today, the enlightened “progressive” can take a tour of Castro’s Cuba with the leftist magazine, The Nation. Don’t miss out! This November 2017 you can go with The Nation and, their advertisement promises, “learn about the Cuban Revolution from experts at some of its most pivotal locations, including the Moncada Barracks, the site of the first armed assault by Fidel Castro and his band of rebels on July 26, 1953.” The progressive political pilgrim to the collectivist promised land will be spending his or her “days meeting with prominent Cuban professors, government officials,” including “urban planners” and “health care workers.” Don’t miss on your chance to visit one of the remaining socialist “utopias” before global capitalism succeeds in taking it away.

No doubt, these “social justice” tourists will not be taken to La Cabana prison, where Che Guevara was assigned by Castro the role of state prosecutor against “enemies of the people,” following Fidel’s triumphant entrance into Havana and seizure of power in January 1959. In the role as unrestrained judge and jury, Che arbitrarily sent hundreds to their death, sometimes literally by his own hand.

Nor are they likely to have quoted to them Che’s words that, “My ideological training means that I am one of those people who believe that the solution to the world’s problems is to be found behind the Iron Curtain.” And that “I can’t be the friend of anyone who doesn’t share by ideas.” Or that Che was the one who in 1960 instituted communist Cuba’s system of forced labor camps. This would not fit in with the heroic face of Che on the t-shirts that, no doubt, some of these “progressive” travelers to utopia would be wearing. After all, Fidel and Che did it all for “the people,” and, well, they did have “good intentions.”

Of course, while such political pilgrims are pleased to visit these places and bask in the moral satisfaction that the few remaining communist regimes in the world are still trying to make that “better world,” even if with the heavy hand of dictatorship, censorship of art, music and political views, the imprisonment of political opponents, and torture and execution of “enemies of the people” (all of which they still mostly turn a blind eye), they prefer to live in their own Western countries and dream the “liberal socialist” dream, as clearly Mr. Judis is doing.

Liberal Socialism as the Regulatory and Redistributive State

What, precisely, is this democratic or “liberal” socialism to which Mr. Judis hopes a younger generation of Americans will turn in the years ahead? It turns out to be the same “utopia” of the interventionist-welfare state that Western countries have been following since the end of the Second World War, though, admittedly, to different degrees in different places around the world.

Mr. Judis wants the government to intensively and pervasively regulate, command, restrict and direct various aspects of the private enterprises in society, while assuring that American society can still take advantage of the self-interested incentives and innovations that can improve the material conditions of life. But the direction, form and extent to which private enterprisers shall be allowed to do those productive and innovative things with their businesses will be confined to and constrained within those avenues that serve the “higher” and “non-market” values and purposes of “society.”

Matching the regulatory and interventionist state must be the redistributive welfare state. The excessive and unnecessary income and wealth of the businessmen and private sector investors of America must be taxed, and heavily, to assure greater material egalitarianism, and to fund all the social services and government-provided safety nets, which “would bring immeasurable benefit to ordinary Americans. A good watchword is economic security – something that is very lacking to all except the wealthiest Americans.”

At this point, it might be wondered what, then, marks off Mr. Judis’ “liberal socialism” from the already existing modern American “liberal” interventionist-welfare state? It turns out that it is all a matter of intentions and the intended recipients. In Mr. Judis’ view, mainstream modern American liberals have lost their way; they too frequently sleep with the enemy (think Bill and Hillary Clinton) in the form of excessively collaborating with businessmen and bankers to the latter’s benefit; American liberals and progressives have stopped sufficiently emphasizing “economic justice” for middle America with their increasingly primary focus on “identity politics.”

Liberal Socialism and Democratic Politics Without Romance

Also, unlike the communists and many radical socialists and some progressives, Mr. Judis calls for moving towards his notion of a better socialist future through a more active participation in the Democratic Party. The task is to nudge and shove mainstream modern American liberals in the Democratic Party further to the socialist left, which in many of their hearts these people already know is right. And to use the Democratic Party as the vehicle to propagandize and persuade more in society that socialism is good and just and the best for them.

In other words, Mr. Judis calls for using the methods of the earlier German Democratic Socialists and the British Fabians, only do so in a way that does not seem to be as threatening or undermining of all the institutions of existing society as those earlier groups often did with their call for the total abolition of capitalism.

Mr. Judis’ “liberal socialism” is really just the existing interventionist-welfare state placed – “democratically” – in the “right” elected hands, so those manning and managing the machinery of government will do what he wants political authority to do, rather than what it is currently being done by Republicans and the current Democratic Party establishments.

A way for Mr. Judis to more easily defend his desire and ideal is to suggest that the existing political-economic system in America today is a free market, “neo-liberal” capitalism, rather than what the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) once more accurately labeled it: “bourgeois socialism.” That is, a system of government regulation, redistribution, favors and privileges that benefits many in the private enterprise sectors of society rather than a more “proletarian socialism” that simply would take from “the rich” to give to “the workers” and “the poor.”

What is sometimes called “crony capitalism” is just Pareto’s “bourgeois socialism.” Pareto also understood, in the 1890s, with amazing clarity one of the insights of modern Public Choice theory, that “participatory democracy” of the community as a whole is a theoretical and practical illusion in an complex society. Politics in an unrestrained democracy always becomes a contest among special interest groups capable of gaining concentrated benefits from State intervention and redistribution at the diffused expense of the rest of the society.

In democratic societies it takes the form of coalitions of special interest groups who succeed in offering campaign contributions and votes to politicians desiring elected political office, who then fulfill their campaign promises to those groups once in the actual halls of political power. In totalitarian societies such as in the former Soviet Union, it took the form of hierarchical position within the Communist Party and within the central planning bureaucracy, including the state enterprise managers, who had the decision-making power over access to and use of the socialized means of production; thus, the communist “classless society” had one of the most intricate social webs of power, privilege, favoritism and plunder ever seen in human society.

This “politics without romance,” to use Nobel Laureate, James M. Buchanan’s (1919-2013) phase, shows why the notion of “the people” owning, controlling, regulating and overseeing the collective direction of an economy is pure illusion and deception concerning the reality of how and why political power works the way it does.

What Mr. Judis and, far too many who share his views about capitalism and some form of socialism – “liberal” or otherwise – fail to understand is that any and all forms of planning, regulation and political redistribution in fact takes power and decision-making out of the hands of the people about whom they express their concerns.

Real Participatory Liberation under Free Market Liberalism

It is the open, competitive market economy that, precisely, gives each and every individual wide latitude and liberty over his own personal affairs. It is the market that enables each of us to make his own choices concerning the profession, occupation or productive calling to pursue. It is the market that enables each and everyone of us to have the freedom to make our own choices to earn an income and spend that income as we consider best in terms of the values, beliefs, purposes and desires that we think may bring meaning and happiness to our individual lives.

It is the free society of individual liberty and voluntary association that provides truly participatory opportunities to form organizations, clubs, and groupings of almost any type to further the goals and ends outside of the narrower arena of market transactions to better our lives materially, socially, culturally and spiritually. (See my article, “Individual Liberty and Civil Society”.)

At this point, no doubt, Mr. Judis would reasonably ask, but what about those who are unable to provide for themselves, due to personal tragedy, unfortunate circumstances, or simply bad luck? Is this not the reason why enlightened and decent societies had to move “left-ward” to establish and financially provide for those unable to personally meet the essentials of everyday life and to have opportunities to fulfill their potentials as a human being? Is not the welfare state of “liberal socialism” the inescapable necessity of having a humane society?

The classical liberal responds that these very concerns can be far better and more successfully solved and served through the voluntary institutions and associations of civil society than to turn such tasks over to the government. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before the modern welfare state, all such “social problems” were handled with wide and positive affect by charities, philanthropies and for-profit organizations in places such as Great Britain and the United States. That their workings and successes are virtually unknown to most people in modern society shows the extent to which their history and social nobility has gone down a memory hole of collectivist misinterpretation and misunderstanding of what a society of liberty did and could provide. (See my article, “A World Without the Welfare State”.)

Furthermore, the transfer of such welfare responsibility to the government reduces each and every recipient to a ward of the State. It is politicians and bureaucrats who decide the education your children will receive in government schools; they are the ones who determine the retirement possibilities you will have; the healthcare to which you will have access and its type; the wages and work conditions under which you may be allowed to be employed or unemployed, and the forms and types of associations you may enter into and the activities and membership you permitted.

The “liberal socialism” about which Mr. Judis dreams is not the path to liberation but a continuing servitude and obedience to the those with political power and who have the arrogance and presumption to imagine that they know better how people are to earn a living, care for their own lives and that of their families, and associate with other members of society better than those individuals deciding all of these matters for themselves. (See my article, “Democratic Socialism Means Loss of Liberty”.)

One would have thought that after more than seven decades of the interventionist-welfare state as the political left’s “liberal socialist” alternative to Marxian socialist central planning, it would be realized that it is just another constraining and corrupt manifestation of the unworkability of any collectivist system of control and command.

Mr. Judis’ program for a socialist America also shows the intellectual bankruptcy of those on “the left.” The revolutionary transformation of society, for which they yearn, ends up being nothing more than the existing interventionist-welfare state, just with the desire that people who agree with Mr. Judis should be at the helm of political power rather than those with whom he disagrees.

[Originally Published at the Future for Freedom Foundation]

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Leftist Ideologues Use Big-Lie Technique to Slam School Choice

pinocchio liars

By Robert Holland

Led by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-wing think tank founded by John Podesta, who later served as chairman of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the political left is attempting to smear the modern school-voucher movement as the offshoot of a racist scheme to keep black children in segregated Southern public schools in the 1960s.

That is such a gross distortion as to be a damnable lie.

CAP’s propagandists focus on the shameful attempt of one Virginia jurisdiction, rural Prince Edward County, to thwart court-ordered desegregation by closing its public schools in 1959. While the county’s whites could obtain public tuition grants to attend an all-white academy under a hideously misnamed “freedom of choice” plan, black civil rights leaders declined to participate in taking such handouts obviously designed to perpetuate a segregated system. Not until President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy joined Virginia leaders in marshaling support behind a stopgap Prince Edward Free School in 1963 did black children have access to formal schooling. In 1964, the Supreme Court finally ordered the Prince Edward public schools reopened.

A CAP-affiliated “news” blog called ThinkProgress opened the smear campaign on January 10, 2017, by praising U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for exposing the “racially charged history” of school choice vouchers. That blast came in the context of Warren harshly criticizing Betsy DeVos, who was then the education secretary nominee. Warren insinuated because DeVos is strongly pro-voucher, she would surely would be weak on civil rights enforcement.

On July 12, CAP followed up with a turgid 11-page white paper titled, “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers,” which was mostly devoted to the sad Prince Edward saga (as was the ThinkProgress piece).

Hypocrisy alert! Warren herself co-authored a book in 2003 that advocated for a school voucher system, in part to save middle-class families from buying homes beyond their means in order to be zoned to desirable public schools. Moreover, the progressive Senator didn’t envision just a partial subsidy but rather private-choice vouchers paying “the entire cost of educating a child.”

In advocating for a voucher system, was Warren aligning herself with a long-rotting racist scheme? Or is her perception of history no more clear-minded than her unsubstantiated claim of Native American heritage?

As a young writer just out of journalism school, I lived with and through a significant portion of the education history in question, settling into Prince Edward residency as a news-bureau chief for the Richmond Times-Dispatch just as the Free School was coming to fruition and remaining there through the death throes of the unwise and unjust school-closing scheme. Therefore, I am confident I know more about what went down in Southside Virginia than Elizabeth Warren ever will.

In regular chats with town and county officials, police officers, everyday citizens, and leaders of the local black community (notably, the Rev. L. Francis Griffin), I came to understand that most whites saw the civic and social structure they and their forbears had always known crumbling around them. Fear, more than hatred, occupied their hearts. In adopting the wrong-headed course of closing the public schools, their leaders took their cue from the policy of “massive resistance” to racial integration espoused by Virginia Sen. Harry F. Byrd—the Democratic boss of a formidable political machine—in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historicBrown v. Board of Education decision.

Never once did I hear one of Prince Edward’s inner circle mention the voucher concept, first broached by economist Milton Friedman in his 1955 paper “The Role of Government in Education,” as the inspiration for their resort to a phony free-choice plan based on state tuition grants. If they had, the hypocrisy would have been even thicker than Liz Warren’s. Friedman championed universally available private-choice vouchers with the goal of breaking down statist barriers and creating opportunities for all within an educational marketplace. The segregationists’ objective was to use government dishonestly to preserve white privilege.

Any doubt about that in a young reporter’s mind was erased upon awakening August 6, 1964, and finding that a substantial part of Prince Edward’s white adults had gone to local banks in the dead of night to collect $180,000 in tuition-grant payments. The county’s leaders put together this hush-hush payout for whites only because they feared the NAACP was on the verge of securing a court injunction on further payment of tuition grants to Prince Edward residents. Civil rights lawyer Samuel W. Tucker aptly described this sleazy operation as a “midnight raid on the public treasury.”

By complete contrast, the vouchers envisioned by Milton Friedman have advanced in the light of day and with major backing from minority families. Consider:

  • An African-American state legislator and Jesse Jackson supporter, Polly Williams, pioneered the advent of private-choice vouchers for disadvantaged Milwaukee schoolchildren in 1990. Choice has expanded greatly in the city and state since then.
  • Research studies have shown voucher recipients attending private schools are more likely to be in racially integrated classes than are their peers in public schools.
  • Polls have consistently shown that black and Hispanic parents overwhelmingly favor vouchers—and by larger margins than do parents from other racial/ethnic backgrounds.
  • When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark 2002 case (Zelman v. Simmons-Harris) vouchers are constitutional, the case before it was from Cleveland, where the vast majority of children benefitting from choice came from low-income black or Hispanic homes.

In truth, vouchers (or “opportunity scholarships”) are impeded by a legacy of bigotry rather than being propelled by one. An honest history lesson CAP could teach—were it interested—would show how anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments inserted into many state constitutions in the late 19th century continue to block some families from freely choosing faith-based schools, Catholic or otherwise. Of course, CAP is blind to that injustice because its allegiance is to those with vested interests in government-monopolized education.

[Originally Published at American Thinker]

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