Friday, June 3, 2011

Checking the Premises

Today, I’ve decided to list some common premises that many*  people in America tend to believe but which I am at best skeptical about:

  • Science has to be taught in school – The fact of the matter is, science classes in most schools are usually substandard and many don’t even cover real lab work.  As someone who went through IB Chemistry, the most difficult advanced course you could take in High School, I can attest that the vast majority of science education in school is the equivalent to beating a dead horse.  Most kids will not need any kind of scientific knowledge for their careers when they grow up and the vast majority of people (even a large portion of scientists) cannot refute bad science when it is encountered.  Case in point, a large number of people believe that Al Gore’s movie was all fact.  Never mind that polar bears have been increasing over the past several years, not decreasing.
  • Coca-Cola Classic was exactly like the version before New Coke – No, when “Classic” Coke was re-introduced into the market, it was made with corn syrup, not pure sugar as it was originally.  So it wasn’t classic and a keen pallet can taste the difference.  Just go to an international supermarket and buy a Coke made in Mexico and buy one from a 7-Eleven.  The difference will be plain.
  • Conservatives believe in Constitutional Government – No they don’t.  They only believe in limited government so long as it fits in with their agenda or ideology.  Have you ever heard a conservative give a constitutional reason for supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  At best they’ll state that the War Powers Act allows the President to deploy troops, but that act was not an amendment to the constitution and Congress can (and does on a fairly regular basis) pass unconstitutional laws.
  • The Courts protect the citizens, especially the minorities – Given that the vast majority of prisoners in this country are black or Hispanic, I doubt that the court system really does protect minorities.  Fallacies aside, the courts behave in a manner which at the very least preserves the Statist quo and sometimes expands it.  The courts are there to protect and legitimize the illegal acts of the State.  Has a police officer ever been charged with murder for killing a suspect who was handcuffed and face down on the floor?
  • Government keeps us safe from our enemies – The fact is, the United States has created more enemies in the past century because of its interventionist policy.  Granted, there is no small amount of envy that many nations have against America and its economic prosperity, however, various countries that should have not been a threat to us are simply because of various ill-conceived policies.  I am not saying that we are asking for another 9/11, since I don’t believe that people deserve punishment for the foolhardy actions of their leaders, but that perhaps it is time we all reexamined our foreign policy.  Aside from that, the mere fact that our government refuses to guard the Mexican borders should be evidence enough that it is not engaged in public safety but private interests.
  • The United States is a capitalist country – It is not and I’m not sure if it has ever been a free-market country, especially these days.  Right now, there are sectors of the economy which are, by and large, free from government intervention.  However, many of the major industries, especially the ones that are frequently discussed in the media, are not part of free-market.  The United States is a corporatist economic system, where the government and the corporation have a kind of alliance of beneficial interests.  Often times, politicians will obtain benefits for their corporate buddies in return for some kind of bribe or kickback.  It’s all perfectly legal, of course, since the people behind it make the rules.
  • Excellent education only comes from State run or regulated institutions – Education has been, by and large, a monopoly controlled by the State for the past century or so.  These days, going to a government school has been the subject of television and movie dramas, all of which have little to do with learning.  Most high school dramas are imitated in real life by teens who are raised by the television rather than their parents.  In any case, some of the greatest geniuses in mankind’s history haven’t ever gotten much from government school.  Even those who did go to prestigious universities did so for their own ends, wanting to have access to resources.  Still though, most highly intelligent individuals have attained such levels of intelligence through their own effort.  You can teach kids Shakespeare, but if they don’t listen and process it, then the whole point is moot.
  • Without any welfare program, the poor would starve – Never underestimate the human need for survival.  The welfare system is nothing more than a way for the looters to control the moochers.  It is not about feeding people, providing clothing, or all that other good stuff that faux altruists often attach to it.  In reality, if the entire welfare establishment was dismantled, I think most people would learn how to fend for themselves very quickly.
  • Social Security and Medicare are investments – Anyone with half a brain could go to any compound interest website and figure out that even a regular savings account that barely keeps in sink with inflation would yield better returns than Social Security.  Anyone claiming they paid into the system and now deserve the money in return are just making excuses for their looting of the income of the young producer for the sake of their pathetic retirement plan.
  • The Free-Market “System” is the perfect economic system – While I do believe strongly in individual liberty, of which free-market economics is a large part, I am not a fool.  Human nature tends to nullify any kind of Utopian-like vision that certain leaders present to them in the first place.  Just as Socialism is proven to be a farce of a system to any who ever studied the Soviet Union’s central planning system, the free-market doesn’t bring about a perfect society.  In other words, I have no delusions as to the nature of the free-market.  But I would prefer a flawed system of voluntary interactions over a flawed system of forced interactions any day.
  • Human beings are rational, well-adjusted people if left on their own – Any firm believer in individualism knows that it always depends on the individual.  At any given point in time, an individual could be doing something self-destructive that harbors no rational or sane basis whatsoever.  It is the truly idiotic who repeat the same self-destructive behaviors over and over again.
  • Credit Cards are necessary – No they aren’t and what’s more, I don’t have high opinions of those who use them regularly or have any at all.  In truth, a credit card is a bank product that many people were tricked into obtaining.  If you look at any credit card commercial, you’d notice that they are trying to depict them as wealth builders, but getting and using credit cards is a suckers game.  You only build the wealth of the parasite class.
  • Government spending (or spending of any kind) grows the economy – This line of logic comes from the beloved homosexual hedonist, who happened to dabble in economic theory, John Maynard Keynes.  While spending does grow the economy, the source of the money is what is really import.  Government spending is a perfect example of non-productive spending.  In other words, if government spends, it takes that money from somewhere else.  In essence, all government spending is wealth redistribution.  Private sector spending is largely coming from the profits made through production and this is what grows the economy.  So, it isn’t a matter of spending, but the means used to obtain the wealth to spend that really counts.  And anyone who argues for roads or other infrastructure projects from government spending needs to understand that because that money was not obtained through production, but confiscated from production, there is an opportunity cost that must be assessed first.
  • Public Property – The very phrase is a fallacy at best.  There is no such thing as public property, there is only state-owned property for which mundanes like ourselves are permitted limited use.  If it really was public property, then 51% of the people could take it and use for some group project.  Alas, I’m sure the local supervisors or Federal park rangers would have objections to it.

I could go on like this for a while, but I’m sure many of you have already started to skim what I’ve written.  Needless to say, there are plenty of things which many regard as fact which are really just misguided notions from where I stand.

*NOTE: When I say the terms many, most, or majority, what I mean is at least 51%.  That is is the traditional majority, after all.  Besides that, when making generalizations, I find it easy to apply the 80/20 rule where about 80% of a select group tend fit the generalization where as around 20% do not.