An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Socialism’

The Death of Free-Thinking Education

A rather interesting issue was raised recently in the news.  There was a student named Damon Fowler.  He lives in what is called the “Bible Belt” of the United States.  He was a student at Bastrop High School in Louisiana.  He is an atheist.  When his graduation was coming up, Damon decided to raise an issue that he had with the ceremony.  He was upset that they had a prayer at graduation, and wanted it to be removed from the ceremony.  Since this is a public school, he was well within his rights to make that request.  In all honesty, this shouldn’t have been part of a public school’s ceremony to begin with.  Damon wasn’t asking for special treatment by the school officials, just omit an event.  That’s not too much to ask.

However, this brings a rather unpleasant issue to light – majority being taught as the rule.  It is something that is seen constantly on various elements of this country – having the majority be right, and the minority be wrong.  Fox News makes an example of the minority groups all the time.  Does anybody remember Glenn Beck’s little campaign against the group ACORN?  The conservative elements of this country seem absolutely bent on making the majority the rule, and quashing opposing opinion.

It happens time and time again in this country.  Conservatives say that those who don’t agree with them are “un-American” or “unpatriotic.”  It recently appeared again in the discussion of renewing The Patriot (Unconstitutional) Act.  Those who opposed it were met with vitrial and scorn by the conservatives. (See http://youtu.be/_GO1tI1FF6Y)

The very idea of having a differing opinion in this country seems to be so unbelievably awful to conservative elements.  Bill O’Reilly talks repeatedly about how challenging conservative ideas makes you a terrorist (*cough*Bradley Manning*cough*).  Any group that actively opposes that status quo, like Wikileaks or Anonymous are called terrorists and should be killed.  Another rather terrifying aspect of this is how the conservative community often has the idea of killing people as a means of stopping different opinions (Joyce Kaufman, anybody?).

The conservative community seems bent on not having differing opinions and not having people express them.  And the campaigns against those who express anything they don’t like is almost ruthless.  Does anybody remember Shirley Sherrod?  Fox News jumped on her bandwagon so fast that it made most people’s heads spin.  If you are against the Patriot Act, you are a terrorist.  I absolutely hate the argument in the worst way that if you aren’t a terrorist, you have nothing to hide.  That is so hopelessly degrading that it should make more people sick.

There was a clip today from Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell where he talked about the stupidity of the conservative campaign against socialism (if only a third of them, or a quarter, or an eighth knew what socialism actually was, maybe it would be a true debate in this country) and how Bill O’Reilly actually said something true for once in his career (See: http://youtu.be/e83GsyNaJqQ)

But back to Damon Fowler.  Even after he approached the school administration first with his grievances, giving them the benefit of the doubt and a chance to do the right thing.  It was after he went to them that he approached the ACLU.  But even after the school decided to take the prayer out of their graduation ceremony, a young woman who was speaking at the graduation decided to get up and to make a stand against the supposed threat to her freedom, by saying the Lord’s Prayer and encouraging the audience to join in.

This issue is important and shed a rather disturbing light on the American education system.  Maybe we can chalk it up to just being a Louisiana thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  What she was saying here is that she was the victim.  The girl said, flat-out, that she “couldn’t go on” unless she could pray to her God.  Does that mean that she was going to kill herself?  That is pretty serious, but also just strange.  It is strange how the overwhelming majority of this country acts like they are somehow the victims of some kind of crime against them.  The overwhelming majority is acting like victims, being abused by the minority.

This is genuinely disturbing because it seems now that the message that is being put out there by conservative elements is – don’t challenge the status quo, don’t question, don’t voice your opinions, just let the majority rule and not be challenged.  It seems to have escaped the notice of conservative elements in this country that all the major changes that have happened in America have been the result of a determined minority who was dedicated to change.

Our students are supposed to be being taught that they are supposed to think for themselves, and to act on their beliefs and to challenge the status quo.  If this country starts genuinely telling our students to do the opposite, then America is doomed.  Not metaphorically, but literally doomed to failure.  Advances into the future are caused by people who are willing to speak up.  If nobody is left talking, who will be left to listen?

Peace out,

Eli

A Question to Ron Paul and To Libertarians

Okay, after seeing some of the statements by people like Ron Paul, and listening to various libertarian elements, I have one question that I would like to ask – How many freedoms have you lost?

It’s not a difficult question.  The lack of the libertarians ability to answer the question does leave some questions.  I have talked to countless libertarians who are completely angry at our country over offenses that have not occured.  I like how Bill Maher put it, “people who think that the freedoms in this country are going away should be forced to watch the new Jackass movie.”  That is the absolute truth.  What exactly is the contention?

The only real loss of freedom that has happened in this country in a very long time was when The Patriot Act came into play.  Now that was when freedom was actually being hindered.  Of course, a very large part of the libertarian party was very silent.  Of course, there was Ron and Rand Paul who were vocally against it.  Of all the people who claim to be Libertarian, those two actually seem to stand by their message, although, like almost every single other libertarian, they seem to get a crucial definition of a concept that they claim to be against dead wrong.

Let’s clear up a critical misconception right now- the Founding Fathers were not against socialism.  In fact, they were very much in favor of it, but only for crucial functions.  Of course, like so many things that people who claim that the Constitution is completely correct about everything simply because something is in there, there were not a lot of crucial functions for government to serve, mostly because the technological and scientific knowledge wasn’t there.  We didn’t have a police force like we do today.  There was no fire department back in those days even remotely resembling the modern capacity.  We didn’t have medical help the way we do now.  These things just didn’t exist.  But the Founding Fathers were against public ownership of crucial services.

And that is another thing- socialism does not mean the government owns everything!  Socialism actually means quite the opposite.  It means that there is a collective public ownership of a service of business.  It means that the power is being taken away from the government and being given to the people.  This is critical to understand because groups like Fox News and conservative and libertarian groups continually and mercilessly misrepresent things.  The fact is that true socialism takes power away from the government, rather than giving it to them, as the common belief is on the Fox Network.  There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with a system, but if you are going to have a case to present, at least have your facts straight.

However, it does take away from the capitalist market.  However, this is another ugly misrepresentation.  The idea that the free market can take care of itself is a gross overstatement of things that have been proven by intellectual and economists to be false.  The free market taking care of itself has never been true.  If it had been, then there would never have been a recession during Reagan’s (the false conservative prophet of foolishness) time in the 80’s, and there certainly wouldn’t have been one as there is now.  The “trickle-down” model has NEVER worked, not once.  The Milton Friedman model has never worked.

The fact is that the only proven method of economic growth is a very precise mix of capitalism and socialism.  It is not an exact science, and it must be rigorously maintained.  That is the only way that it works.  And it is with that in mind that the statement can be made that free market capitalism is a farce.

Now, onto another topic.  Ron Paul recently said that it should be perfectly alright for a business to be able to tell a group of people that they are no allowed to shop there.  He is basically in favor of segregation.  His reasoning is because it is enfringing on the freedom of a business.  That may be true, but in what way?  They are not free to tell people that they don’t have a right to shop with them?  That’s interesting, because isn’t it infringing on the rights of people who are shopping by telling them that they can’t shop at your store?  Aren’t you getting in the way of capitalism by telling a group of peopel that they are not allowed to do business at your institution?  You are taking away from a person’s rights, and therefore, Ron Paul, your argument is taking away people’s liberties.  Interesting, isn’t it?

The fact is that the libertarian position is more childish than anything.  They don’t want to be taxed, they don’t want to be told no.  They tend to throw tantrums when people tell them what to do, because in so many of their minds’, it is wrong for anybody in power to tell them to do anything.

The Founding Fathers were against the government having too much power.  But they found this really cool away around that.  It is called “checks and balances.”  All three of the major areas of government have power over one-another, and therefore, the government is kept in check, or at least, it was supposed to be.  The fact is that the bulk of the libertarian movement came to focus during President Obama’s time.  Back when Bush was stripping away people’s right to privacy and their 4th Amendment rights, they were remarkably silent.  These people are not left or right of anything but helpful, and rather than try and fix the system, the choose to stand apart from it.  A lot of people would probably be on their side, were it not for the fact that they ignore the basic principles of different terms, and ignore evidence given by intelligent people about topics that are over their heads.

Government is made by people listening to the smart, not ignoring and saying no.

Peace out,

Eli

PS – here’s an article that can say it better than I –

http://www.examiner.com/atheism-skepticism-in-new-york/why-government-is-important-and-libertarianism-is-bollocks

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