Corporatism, Social Media Dangers, Self-Enslavement, Back Talk, Forced Egalitarianism (27m) – Episode 265

Episode 265 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the effects of corporatism on growing businesses and industries; the dangers of social media to schooled preteens, particular girls; how property is a form of self-enslavement; why he doesn’t punish his children for talking back to him; how egalitarians are like the Communists and Fascists in their creation of a “New Man”; and more.

Listen to Episode 265 (27m, mp3, 64kbps)

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On Conquest

Something that I’ve always found very peculiar is when the descendants of a conquered people adopt their conquerors’ religious and political sensibilities. Like how Catholicism is rampant in Central and South America and how Christianity and American Patriotism is rampant among black Americans. I won’t pretend this adoption is not the result of coercive forces, but you would think that there would be a rejection of these sensibilities by descendants somewhere down the line. Perhaps there has been, and there is. Was the Nation of Islam started in this vein? The Black Panthers? I don’t know, but it’s something interesting to think about. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Teasing, or Being an Asshole?

Teasing is a very delicate and almost odd activity. It can be used as a means of strengthening a relationship and having a good time, but it also is used as a veneer to jerk people around. Sometimes we even think it is one while it is kind of another, and the hardest thing to analyze is when it is truly both at the same time.

When I am in a grumpy mood, I think I am teasing to be playful and fun, but my wife has pointed out that I am less sensitive and poke in subtly jerkier ways. I’ve learned that she is usually right when she points that out, and I stop teasing in that mood.

I’ve heard some people speak out against teasing in general, but I think that is a bad idea. They feel that since it can be used in jerky ways, many people today are highly sensitive, and they don’t perceive the upside to teasing that it is best to get rid of it. Many think that teasing is really just only a desire to treat people poorly disguised as something else. I disagree. Teasing has many beneficial psychological, and social benefits. Like tickling, we poke in sensitive spots while in a safe environment. This can serve to prepare an individual for reality. At the social level it can add fun, spontaneity, better understanding of boundaries, and a myriad of other social benefits.

I think what I am going to teach my kids is that if someone is bothered, you either messed up, or you now know not to do that. When someone gets bothered and you act like they are just being stupid or sensitive, you are usually just using teasing as a means of being an asshole and you are guaranteeing that people won’t look at your teasing as lighthearted fun. It also ceases to be a safe environment for the person when they get insulted when they believe you crossed a line.

Of course, today we live in a world where many people like to advertise their offendedness in order to control others. However, you shouldn’t be teasing these people. Insult them if you please, but don’t label it as teasing. Make offensive jokes, but don’t label that as teasing. These people are your adversary in a social sense, and “teasing” isn’t an appropriate thing in this dynamic.

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Social Events No Place For Politics

In spite of how libertarianism is often portrayed, it’s not a middle ground between conservatism and progressivism. It’s not even on the scale with those positions. But during social gatherings libertarians can be a neutral zone between conservative and liberal disagreement.

The silliness of the political right and left is clear to libertarians, yet we have common ground with each, on those few issues where they still support individual liberty. Progressives and conservatives are more similar to each other than they’ll admit. Why should they fight over the minor details on which they disagree?

Cousin Xander might believe government should do something which Cousin Yolanda opposes, while Yolanda wants government to do something Xander feels would be the end of civilization. The libertarian in the room knows that neither cousin’s wish excuses government violence. Pointing this out can distract the factions from being at each other’s throats by giving them a common enemy.

Expressing skepticism about the importance of the issue they value enough to fight over can make them unite against you.

Grandpa Al and Grandpa Bill may revere different presidents and hate the presidents revered by the other. Their libertarian grandkid can see the flaws of both politicians and the ridiculousness inherent in the office of president. To explain there’s no substantive difference between their respective heroes is a sure way to help them forget their disagreement with each other for a moment.

Once you understand that all politics is the search to justify government violence against those who are looking for an excuse to use government violence against you, it’s easy to see why politics doesn’t belong in society. It also helps you understand why those who are arguing aren’t nearly as different as they imagine.

If you find yourself under the boot of government violence you won’t care whether it’s a right boot or a left boot. Libertarians decry the boot while progressives and conservatives argue over which foot ought to be wearing it. Consistent libertarianism is non-political, which is why the Libertarian Party — being political — has such a hard time gaining traction among libertarians.

Personally, I don’t think social occasions are any place for politics. Yet politics will crop up in the most devious ways and in the least appropriate places. Having a libertarian in the mix helps unite all the pro-government people against the one who can’t embrace their government extremism. It’s our sacrifice for the cause of world peace. Happy New Year!

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School Security Is Now a $3 Billion Dollar Annual Industry

US taxpayers spend nearly $700 billion each year on K-12 public schooling, and that eye-popping sum shows no sign of slowing. In fact, as more non-academic programs are adopted in schools across the country, the price tag for mass schooling continues to swell even as achievement lags.

The Cost of School Security

One ballooning school expenditure is the vast amount of money allocated to school safety. US schools now spend an estimated $2.7 billion on security features, from automatically locking doors to video surveillance and facial recognition software. That amount doesn’t include the additional billions of dollars spent on armed guards at schools. Federal spending on school security is also rising, with the US Department of Homeland Security recently awarding a $2.3 million grant to train high school students how to act like first responders in the event of a mass casualty, like a school shooting.

These enhanced security and training mechanisms may seem justified, particularly in the wake of deadly mass school shootings like the massacre in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. But school shootings are exceedingly rare. As Harvard University instructor David Ropeik writes in The Washington Post:

“The chance of a child being shot and killed in a public school is extraordinarily low. Not zero — no risk is. But it’s far lower than many people assume, especially in the glare of heart-wrenching news coverage after an event like Parkland. And it’s far lower than almost any other mortality risk a kid faces, including traveling to and from school, catching a potentially deadly disease while in school or suffering a life-threatening injury playing interscholastic sports.”

Still, it’s natural for us to want to protect children from harm—and to get angry when our preferred method of protection doesn’t gain traction. Advocating for increased gun control measures, reporter Nestor Ramos writes in the Boston Globe: “In a nation unwilling to take even modest steps to prevent the next Columbine or Parkland massacre, schools have begun training students to patch up their classmates’ gunshot wounds.”

Gun control is only one possible policy prescription—and even respected researchers doubt that it would do much good in halting gun deaths. There are other “modest steps” we could take, aside from increased regulations and restrictions, that may more effectively reduce gun-related mortality in children—and they cost much less than current school security measures.

A Simple Solution

In states with generous school choice options, like charter schools and vouchers, the teen suicide rate was lower than in states without these options.

A simple but powerful step in saving young lives is to expand school choice options for families. If children feel trapped in an assigned district school and are subjected to daily bullying or humiliation with no escape, it can lead to severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Let’s remember that mass shootings and suicide are intertwined. Compelling research by Corey DeAngelis and Angela Dills shows a striking correlation between more school choice and better mental health. They found that in states with generous school choice options, like charter schools and vouchers, the teen suicide rate was lower than in states without these options.

When parents have greater access to education choices beyond their assigned public school, their children are happier. This is good news for those children—and for the rest of us who don’t need to worry that their depression may turn deadly.

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Shutdown Theater: Trump is Winning

As I write this, the US government is in its 18th day of a putative “shutdown.” Some federal employees have been furloughed — sent home — while others are expected to show up each day but also warned to expect an empty pay envelope come Friday. As of tomorrow, the shutdown will become the second longest in history, surpassed only by a 32-day funding fight in December of 1995 and January of 1996.

Does anyone want to bet against president Donald Trump holding out for the record? He likes doing things in a big way. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went for 33 days just out of the cussedness he’s known for.

And at the moment, frankly, he’s winning this fight.  To understand why, consider what he’s really after. Hint: It’s not just a border wall.

On Christmas Day, Trump said that “many” of the furloughed/unpaid government employees “have said to me, communicated, stay out until you get the funding for the wall.”

Two days later, he tweeted “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?”

He was right on both counts. A major component of federal employment is in law enforcement and corrections. Many of these people are, and others might well become, part of the “Trump Democrat” portion of his base that put him over the top in 2016. More funding for “border security” means more jobs in their line of work.

If the shutdown pain isn’t too bad and doesn’t go on for too long, he’ll keep some of those government employees in, and move others into, his column for 2020.

And even if the shutdown pain IS bad, or drags on, many of them will blame Congress, not Trump. After all, he’s “only” asking for $5 billion for the wall. That’s 1/200th of what the government spent on Social Security last year. It’s about 1/800th of total federal expenditures last year. Pocket change! And Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are holding their paychecks over it!

Trump is also winning by signaling a divided Congress that things are going to start getting done his way or not getting done at all. It takes a 2/3 vote of both houses to override a presidential veto. Assuming Democrats (including those posturing as “independents”) vote unanimously, forcing a spending deal on Trump that he doesn’t accept would require 55 Republican Representatives and 20 Republican Senators to defect. That’s incredibly unlikely.

I personally don’t want Trump to get his wall, and I’d rather the federal government stayed “shut down” forever on general principle.

But if I was a betting man, I’d bet that the shutdown will end with something resembling the wall funding he’s demanding and with a cowed Congress. You read it here first.

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