Temporary Slavery Called "Service" Is Still Temporary Slavery

by Don Boudreaux on January 31, 2009

in Myths and Fallacies

Here’s a letter of mine appearing in today’s Baltimore Sun:

Dan Rodricks wants to promote “national service,” and he believes that the nation’s current infatuation with President Barack Obama provides an ideal opportunity to implement such a program.  Let’s put aside the mistaken premise that each of us “serves” only when we work in government programs and ask this question: How will Uncle Sam know how best to use all the conscripted labor at his disposal?  And what earthly reason is there to suppose that he will deploy such labor according to reasonably objective criteria rather than according to political fads, partisan emotions and interest-group influences?

Sadly, Mr. Rodricks utterly ignores practical questions such as these.  His essay is evidence of the truth of what Thomas Sowell observes in a recent column: “Politics is about evoking emotions, not examining specifics.”

Donald J. Boudreaux Fairfax, Va.
The writer is chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University.

The letter immediately following mine is better:

Dan Rodricks’ column “Americans poised to heed Obama’s call to service” advocates national service. He favors not just voluntary service but paid service – that is, a government jobs program in which bureaucrats decide how to spend even more of our tax dollars.That’s bad enough. But then Mr. Rodricks goes the extra step and suggests that the national service program should be mandatory.Forced labor is slavery, whether the slaves are paid with room and board or with money.Let’s not pretend mandatory national service is anything but a sanitized form of slavery.It’s a shameful idea in a country that’s supposed to stand for freedom.

David Page Baltimore

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Jacob Oost January 31, 2009 at 8:13 am

Anybody else hearing those radio ads to join Americorps? My gosh, why didn't Bush put an end to that fraud when he could? Item #452,349 on the Things Republicans Let Me Down On And Made Me Leave The Party List.

Randy January 31, 2009 at 8:39 am

I am opposed to mandatory volunteerism on principle and also from personal experience of the consequences. My daughter's charter school has a "service learning" requirement. My daughter didn't finish all the hours, so the school won't release her transcripts, so she can't register for college until she completes the remaining hours.

Now, I am aware that there are many "reasonable" objections to my objection – she should have just done the hours – such programs teach valuable lessons, etc., but what these fail to take into account is the numerous ways in which the political class already controls and manipulates us. This "service" program was defacto mandatory because the political class has the ability to apply consequences far beyond the scope of the program. The voluntary is not isolated from the mandatory when both are under the control of the same political class.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 9:48 am

"My daughter's charter school has a "service learning" requirement.
Posted by: Randy | Jan 31, 2009 8:39:00 AM"

Hate to say it to someone I am typically in agreement with, but was that provision in the contract when you signed your daughter up? If so, then unfortunately you have no complaint.

If not, then you have a legal basis for suing and compelling them to release your daughter's transcript. If they changed the rules after you signed your agreement then your daughter should be "grandmothered".

If it is not part of the agreement you signed, then you have a legal right to your daughter's transcript and if you just give in under this circumstance you guarantee the perpetuation of the bullying and probably an eventual expansion of it in ways no one can predict.

Stop 'em in their tracks if you can.

RickC January 31, 2009 at 10:06 am

Last weekend I happened to catch a commercial for some Americorps-type program already in place in inner cities. While I believe the program is still voluntary, the images disturbed me a little.

There is something about watching young, impressionable people, dressed in uniform-type clothing, marching around in formations, standing at attention and parade rest like military units that I find disturbing. I think it has to do with it being a national program, ultimately controlled from D.C.

Or maybe, it was disturbing because of Obama's and McCain's rhetoric during the election. On top of which I had just watched an interview where Rahm Emmanuel spoke openly of mandatory "volunteer" service for 19-25 year olds, with basic training-type camps all over the U.S.

The discussion on "volunteer service" has turned downright Orwellian.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 10:22 am

Freedom, the individual, natural rights, self control, self governance, free association, and the right of self promotion and the benefits that accrue thereto, all took a massive hit when we lost the last battle.

Battle? Dramatic rhetoric? Not one damn bit, it is simple recognition of what is reality. Your enemy wants to remove every single shred of the principles or ideals in my first paragraph. What else can you call people who want to do that and are moving relentlessly to that end? Do we speak gently to socialist thugs and hope by doing so they offer the christian cheek in return? Bullshit, it ain't gonna happen.

The most likely scenario is that they will create a program just like social security, a voluntary program that will carry language and promises that make the average doofus believe that it is compulsory. One of the ways they will do this is make it widely known that future association with and benefits from the government will be withheld, or received in diminished quanity and quality. They will pressure businesses, especially those offering entry level jobs, to not hire without seeing proof of Natl Svc, they won't make that compulsory they will just exert quite coercion behind the scenes like they did with social security and make employers afraid of being audited and harassed by friendly visits from agents.

In short they will use the people's ignorance and laziness against them to create the illusion of compulsory service.

Young people who are looking for future college loans and other tuition assistance, employment prospects with any government office, will jump on it and their parents will encourage that because it will make it cheaper on them.

In short order, only a strange few, like me, will even remember the original wording and facts.

Mooooo, get along little doggies!

Each of us have the natural right to self promotion in any endeavor and the natural right to the fruits of that self promotion. Each owns his own body and his life force, energyl and, no one can compel an individual to expend an micro-ounce of energy if it is not the individual's will to do so. Threaten, coerce, and torture to be sure, but each of us moves or refuses to move our own body. Resistance onto death is an option. When they meet that kind of resistance repeated over and over, they are defeated. You and your children will only lose if you give in.

Owning our own body and the energy that controls it, it follows that we also have exclusive ownership of the fruits of our labor produced by the expending of energy. We own our time, and can not be separated from it, it is ours in exclusive ownership.

Slavery is the use of an individual in any pursuit that produces fruits of labor and then taking all or portions of those fruits against the owner's will.

Slavery exists in the military draft, a compulsory national service corp, and in involuntary income taxation, all create a condition of involunatry servitude. And, none of which have ever been shown to be constitutional.

If an individual is willing to concede to do any of the three in the last paragraph then his/her fear of hardship is greater than his/her love of freedom.

You either ride the train, or you jump off the train. One way is submission to control, the other is self determination.

If you give them your time, they will squander it.

If you give them your money, they will squander it.

Ghandi died of old age, yet his resistance blew the British out of India. Ours can drain the cesspool of Washington D.C., fill it in, and pave over it, if we choose to risk.

Don't give in to them.

Val January 31, 2009 at 11:32 am

Centrally planned economies, Socialist, Communist, et al., always depend on slave labor to make up for the inefficiencies inherent in their systems.

vidyohs: Ghandi was an excrable man who depended on the British's adherence to the rule of law and basic humanity (relative to say, Stalin, Pol Pot, or others who would have had no trouble at all crushing his efforts). One can get a good view inside his mind with his statements that the Jews should have marched happily and willingly off to the gas chambers to set a good example.

Randy January 31, 2009 at 11:45 am

Vidyohs,

"…was that provision in the contract when you signed your daughter up?"

Good point. Yes it was. But a legal contract cannot contain a provision for involuntary servitude, so it wasn't really a contract. I'm sure my daughter wasn't thinking along those lines when she signed, but I was. I had a choice, sign an illegal contract or send her to the crappy megapublic school down the street. It was an easy decision.

The truth is that I probably still have grounds for a lawsuit, precisely because they forced me to sign the so-called contract. But it isn't worth it. I give in to the will of the political class all the time because it is in my best interest to do so, and this will just be one more instance – but that is exactly my point. These programs will claim to be "voluntary", but they will be mandatory in fact.

bee January 31, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I am terrified that people believe they have the right to force others into servitude.

Why are the young forced into this servitude? Why not the retired?

Schools have no basis for requiring this of children. It s wrong for force someone who does not have the legal right to resist.

Martin Brock January 31, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I agree completely.

rick January 31, 2009 at 12:36 pm

i like slavery.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Randy,

You're missing the obvious. If it was in the contract than it was not an "unrevealed term", and by voluntarily signing (whatever your motive) you admit you were not forced, you have no case. As your daughter was a minor than she has no recourse either, until she attains her majority and then she can claim fraud and duress.

What you did is make a choice you did not like and now like even less. Lo Siento, Amigo.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Val,

Valid points but in no way negate my view. Even more than the British, ours is a society that believes in laws and I fear no Domestic Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot. I fear beaucratic idiots like the BTF fools that formulated the attack on the Branch Davidian compound.

Your look inside Ghandi's head may be enlightening but does not negate or denigrate the results of his leadership and actions vis-a-vis securing Indian independence from Britain.

The British were forced out.

Randy January 31, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Vidyohs,

"…you admit you were not forced"

Not true. I was forced to sign the contract or put her in the mega-school. The same kind of force is being proposed for the national service programs. Volunteer, or no tuition assistance.

Andrew_M_Garland January 31, 2009 at 1:46 pm

An excerpt from "Leading the People"

True Believers propose solutions with the same general theme:

- They are best qualified by superior education and intellect to implement the solution.

- The solution requires that we all pitch in and not be greedy. The people with the most resources will put their extra income or property into the pot.

- There must be complete cooperation. Alternate solutions go against the community spirit, and these are elitist and illegal.

- There will be severe penalties for non-compliance. All good people will want to comply.

- If there are not enough resources to pay people for their work according to the solution, then those people with the appropriate knowledge and experience will contribute some of their effort for free. Whatever it takes for success.

muirgeo January 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Why force everyone to participate when you can just set up a system with great wealth inequalities to assure that the lower caste has little option but to lay their lives on the line ("volunteer") to survive themselves and protect the lives and profits of those on top who'd rather not volunteer as they are too busy participating in the contest to be the wealthiest man alive.

Forced volunteerism… I like that… but lets keep it to the minions.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 2:11 pm

You're on the right side Randy, but damn you're stubborn.

"to sign the contract -OR- put her in the mega-school."

You can call it coercion, force, or snipplediddlethingy, whatever you choose; but, the fact remains that with your own expression of it you admit it was choice.

It was choice, you had the option of the mega-school, and choose to submit and put her in the charter school. You chose the path of submission and now try to salve your conscience and status with fraudulent claims that absolve you of responsibility. Sorry pal. The 11th commandment is "Thou shalt not shit (lie to) thyself.", and this just may be the most important commandment to learn.

Your heart seems to be on the freedom side, now we just gotta get your mind to follow.

All of us are presented with choices we don't like, but not liking them makes them no less a choice.

Babinich January 31, 2009 at 2:55 pm

"Schools have no basis for requiring this of children. It's wrong for force someone who does not have the legal right to resist."

Yeah, but its easy because they;re all in one place at the same time and too small to fight back! :')

The NEA indoctrinates them, and the court system ensures that the people walk lock step with policy.

When I was young my father taught me to help others as individual. I cleaned my elderly neighbors gutters, shoveled their snow, and cut their grass.

No price asked; I did it because it was right.

This is the ultimate service: to aid another in their time of need.

What do we have now? Crypto-socialists telling us that to live life is to live life for the nation.

vidyohs (Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:22:35 AM) says:

"Don't give in to them."

Which immediately brings to mind this quote:

"Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils." – General John Stark

Lee Kelly January 31, 2009 at 3:00 pm

People are assets, not costs. Only in centrally-planned economies are people seen as costs. This is a mistake which neo-Malthusians make.

Ordinarily, people produce more than they consume, and are like investments for the economy as a whole. An increasing population actually promotes economic prosperity, because people the best investment. Nothing increases our future ability to consume more than the inventive and varied uses of ourselves. Countries that are "over-populated" are not so because there are too many people, but because of poor economic organisation.

But when labour is allocated by 'political fads, partisan emotions and interest-group influences', the effect is to malinvest human capital. People become a net cost to an economy, not an asset. Such conditions lead to over-population, and terrible attempts to curb it, such as gulags and one-child laws.

The best way to solve an over-population problem is not to reduce the population, but increase its productivity. This is not possible when the allocation of labour is centrally planned. Every step the U.S. takes down this path makes me worry greatly for future generations.

dg lesvic January 31, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Why never any complaints about the involuntary servitude of retail businesses having to provide special access to the disabled?

Randy January 31, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Vidyohs,

"…damn you're stubborn."

Damn straight :)

Truth is, I'm telling my daughter exactly as you're saying here. "You wanted to go to this school, so deal with it". It will be a good lesson for her. My point in bringing the situation up here is just to give an example of how so-called "voluntary" government programs actually work.

seanooski January 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm

C'mon vidyohs, is school for minors voluntary? No, it is required by law. The notion that Randy had a "choice" is disingenuous. Why do you defend the indefensible with legal technicalities when you don't even respect the governing body that decrees it? You cannot write involuntary servitude into a contract, just as you cannot write other onerous and illegal privileges into EULAs and reasonably expect them to hold up in court. It's simply intimidation to put such things into contracts, and it works not because it's legal, but because defiance is costly and inconvenient.

muirgeo January 31, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Ordinarily, people produce more than they consume, and are like investments for the economy as a whole.

Posted by: Lee Kelly

I agree people are the ultimate resource. So why not make sure every person has access to the basics… health care, education and the basics which are wealthy society can easily afford.

dg lesvic January 31, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Muirgeo,

If I answer your question, will you acknowledge it, or just ignore it, as so many other times before?

MWG January 31, 2009 at 8:02 pm

"Why force everyone to participate when you can just set up a system with great wealth inequalities to assure that the lower caste has little option but to lay their lives on the line ("volunteer") to survive themselves and protect the lives and profits of those on top who'd rather not volunteer as they are too busy participating in the contest to be the wealthiest man alive."

Are you talking about the US? Because it sounds like you're describing N. Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, ect… You know, those free market hells.

persiflage January 31, 2009 at 9:20 pm

This talk of coerced "service" to our servant, the government, is horrifying. The government exists only to serve us. It has no other purpose to exist, nor any intrinsic right of existence, other than to serve us. We are not it's slaves – it is our slave. It's job is not to give orders, but to take orders. It's job is not to establish who we may associate with, do commerce with, worship with, what property we may own, how much wealth we may accumulate in the course of voluntary cooperation with others – its job is to do what it is told, insofar as what it is told to do is allowed by the Constitution. Its job is not to rule, but to obey. How has this founding principal of government of, by and for The People been turned on its head? We do not work for them! We pay them to work for us!
OK, rant over.

Christopher Renner January 31, 2009 at 9:37 pm

vidyohs,

Gandhi actually didn't die of old age; he was assassinated by a Hindu radical. And it's very debatable whether India became more or less free because of the British decolonization, and whether his nonviolent resistance was principally responsible for the end of the Raj.

On the subject of "voluntary" national service, I think it's interesting how much that said service is usually cloaked with militarism. Its proponents will praise the teamwork and egalitarian benefits of shared sacrifice, and play down the loss of freedom inherent in military service.

They will also ignore the facts that a)the military is restricted in its domestic roles(for good reasons) and b)many of the services provided by the military probably cannot be done by volunteer organizations, private individuals, and private corporations.

On a visceral level too, it's sort of insulting to the military to equate with their service some of the garbage that gets passed off as "national service".

Babinich January 31, 2009 at 10:02 pm

muirgeo on 01-31-09 @ 5:38:18 PM
says

"So why not make sure every person has access to the basics… health care, education and the basics which are wealthy society can easily afford."

We are granted inalienable rights: rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs or a particular society or body politic.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

We are not guaranteed health care, education, nor access to taxpayer money when times get tough.

True_Liberal January 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm

"to sign the contract -OR- put her in the mega-school."

…OR – relocate to a region where better choices exist. It all depends on where your priorities lie.

Kevin January 31, 2009 at 10:55 pm

You guys keep talking about principles. None of this is about principles. Muirgeo will tell you that some if not all of the principles you discuss have no place in a democracy of people who don't want to keep them. This is 100% about what is, on the margin, expedient for the majority. Finding a way to increase their power while observing that boundary condition is the work of the political class. Principles, liberty, and rule of law in America are little different than anywhere else in human history, which is to say they amount to a smile on a dog.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Christopher Renner,

Thank you for correcting me, I did not go back to research and relied on casual memory, but in any case you're right Ghandi was assinated as you say.

However, not by the British, who were the targets of the peaceful nonviolent resistant movement he lead. And, that is what I believe is important to my post and to my own ideas and feelings about our present situation here in America.

I concur wholeheartedly with the rest of your post as being part of the likely way they will ease the people closer to admited servitude.

vidyohs January 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

seanooski,

I see you're taking reading comprehension lessons from Gilhuahua, or perhaps STrUmPiT.

muirgeo February 1, 2009 at 12:18 am

This talk of coerced "service" to our servant, the government, is horrifying. The government exists only to serve us. It has no other purpose to exist, nor any intrinsic right of existence, other than to serve us. We are not it's slaves – it is our slave. It's job is not to give orders, but to take orders. It's job is ……..We pay them to work for us!
OK, rant over.

Posted by: persiflage

Dude,

The government is us, you and I, your rant makes you sound like some one with multiple personalities ordering himself to obey… himself.

Sam Grove February 1, 2009 at 12:24 am

So why not make sure every person has access to the basics… health care, education and the basics which are wealthy society can easily afford.

When everyone is focused on how stuff is distributed, production of stuff is neglected.

When incentives are keyed to distribution, they are removed from production.

The best way to have plenty of cheap stuff available for distribution is to allow the rewards to fall to production.

This is why government management of economic factors leads to disaster, the focus of political management of the economy is on distribution and redistribution.

Everyone consumes, so when political management of wealth distribution becomes the norm, the incentives fall toward manipulation of political channels rather than toward production.

Besides, the worst thing you can do for people is to "make sure" they are taken care of.

muirgeo February 1, 2009 at 12:26 am

We are not guaranteed health care, education, nor access to taxpayer money when times get tough.

Posted by: Babinich

I think "life" falls under healthcare. We pay the government to protect our lives from enemies foreign and domestic. A heart attack is a pretty big enemy if you have no health insurance.

If we want to include health care, education ect that''s our right as a self governing society.

By all means put up your best candidate and tell him to tell the tax payers they will no longer have to fund education or Medicare but they will also o longer benefit from these programs… you will lose every-time and your personal interpretation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will matter not.

Thomas Jefferson's most proud achievement was the University of Virginia which he founded to be a tuition free university funded by the government.

Sam Grove February 1, 2009 at 12:27 am

The government is us,

BS, it has a life of its own.

Sam Grove February 1, 2009 at 12:45 am

IOW

So why not make sure every person has access to the basics… health care, education and the basics which are wealthy society can easily afford.

You seem to have no grasp of the importance of incentives.

The cost of wealth is directed activity; risk, thinking, and labor. People pay the costs because of the reward of consumption.

The focus of political government is on redistribution. This shifts incentives from production to affecting the political process of redistribution.

A wealthy society that attempts to make sure everyone has access to the basics will become a poor society.

"Making sure" that people are taken care of will make them less than they can be.

Sam Grove February 1, 2009 at 12:47 am

I think "life" falls under healthcare. We pay the government to protect our lives from enemies foreign and domestic.

We expect government to prohibit aggression, we should not wish it to practice aggression.

The government does not guarantee your life, only that others may not take it.

Gil February 1, 2009 at 12:57 am

Good point muirgeo. Why not put it this way:

"We are not guaranteed crime protection nor defence forces nor access to taxpayer money when times get tough"

When times are tough, people can defend themselves by themselves and not try and free ride off everyone else.

brotio February 1, 2009 at 2:58 am

Good point muirgeo.

Not in this life. All I've seen from Mierduck is:

The Government is my shepherd,
I shall not want;
It makes me lay down my arms.
It leads me wherever it deems best I be;
It restores my soul.
It leads me in paths of Community Service
for His Holiness: The Divine Prophet Algore I's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your guns and Your bureaucracy, they comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in a house in the Projects forever.

Christopher Renner February 1, 2009 at 4:38 am

vidyohs,

Thanks. Tom Sowell wrote an insightful article on India and western culture's perception of it a few years back, mentioning Ghandi as well.

I'm sort of surprised, and maybe glad, that no one said something like "how dare you insult our troops like that". I'd have responded with the fact that I've been deployed twice fairly recently but what does that have to do with whether I'm right or wrong?

Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" is very insightful on the subject of the "liberal" search for the "moral equivalent of war". It's not really a subject that's come up recently, with the exception of Rangel's periodic calls to reinstate the draft and Obama's call for a domestic security force or whatever the hell he casually mentioned, but I do think it's noteworthy that the left doesn't mention the specific sacrifices of basic freedom entailed in military service and the reasons that such sacrifice is necessary whenever they're extolling "national service".

On a side note, I felt far more free to criticize actions of my nominal superiors in the USMC than my instructors in academia. Just a thought.

Randy February 1, 2009 at 5:24 am

Muirgeo,

"Dude, The government is us…"

Who do you mean by "us"? I mean, I can see how you would believe that the government is you and yours (that would certainly explain your propensity for propaganda), but government is an enterprise of exploitation, and that's what you want it to be.

Babinich February 1, 2009 at 7:51 am

muirgeo on 02-01-09 @ 12:26:58 AM says:

"By all means put up your best candidate and tell him to tell the tax payers they will no longer have to fund education or Medicare but they will also o longer benefit from these programs… you will lose every-time and your personal interpretation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will matter not."

Tell the taxpayers that their dollars are going to:

1) Infrastructure: All hype. Only 5% ($43 billion) of the bloated $825 billion package is for transportation, including only 3% for highways. Very little is “shovel-ready” work; most wouldn’t be spent for two years or more.

2) Continued bailouts: It’s not about government efficiency. The $43 billion for transportation spending is overshadowed by five times as much (more than $200 billion) to bail out state and local governments that have overspent their budgets.

3) New spending: $136 billion of the bill is for unproven ideas — to start 32 new federal programs.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/11400327/Stimulus-New-Programs

4) Rewarding those that put the Tabula Rasa in office: ACORN would get their own new slush fund, look for the Democrats to push for 'Card Check'.

5) Additional waste: $20-million to re-sod the National Mall, hundreds of millions for contraceptives (Pelosi wants us to become Western Europe), $650 million for digital TV coupons, and $250-million for an after-school snack program.

'Sunlight is the best disinfectant': the longer this bill is out in the open the less support it will receive from the masses.

You want nationalized health care; I want something along the lines of the Singapore system.

If your ideal government is one where national health care is implemented, our tax dollars go to fund overseas abortions, our educational system is centrally controlled, wages are fixed, business is run through a central planner (ala the NKVD and the Red Army) and our politicians are not held accountable for excessive spending of our tax dollars then I believe it is time for that government to fail.

muirgeo February 1, 2009 at 9:05 am

A wealthy society that attempts to make sure everyone has access to the basics will become a poor society.

"Making sure" that people are taken care of will make them less than they can be.

Posted by: Sam Grove

You are just shooting your mouth off saying something that sounds good to you but is in absolute contradiction to the facts and reality of the real world.

The most successful economies, the most free people through all of history are those of us who live in societies (the modern developed social democracies) where our efforts are pooled to provide basic access to the things people need to succeed. There is nothing in the real world to suggest that getting rid of public education, health care and other safety nets would improve economic efficiency or personal freedom.

muirgeo February 1, 2009 at 9:08 am

When times are tough, people can defend themselves by themselves and not try and free ride off everyone else.

Posted by: Gil

Whatever you say Mr. Hoover.

Randy February 1, 2009 at 9:38 am

Muirgeo,

"There is nothing in the real world to suggest that getting rid of public education, health care and other safety nets would improve economic efficiency or personal freedom."

There is a great deal of evidence that restricting the rewards for productive behavior, and thereby transferring responsibility for production to the political class, dramatically reduces the ability of society to provide the things you mention, or even to provide a decent standard of living for most of the population. And yet, this you do advocate – frequently.

Babinich February 1, 2009 at 10:38 am

muirgeo 02-01-09 @ 9:05:38 AM

"There is nothing in the real world to suggest that getting rid of public education, health care and other safety nets would improve economic efficiency or personal freedom"

You made it abundantly clear that you do not understand the Singapore system.

corbet February 1, 2009 at 11:51 am

:: "Let's not pretend mandatory national service is anything but a sanitized form of slavery." ::
– D. J. Boudreaux
_______________

… Let's not pretend 'mandatory government schooling' is anything but a sanitized form of slavery.

'Going hand in hand with the spread of public education have been compulsory attendance laws, which have forced all children up to a high—and continually increasing—minimum age, to attend either a public school or a private school certified as suitable by the state apparatus… the entire mass of the population has thus been coerced by the government into spending a large portion of the most impressionable years of their lives in public institutions…

..what institution is more evidently a vast system of incarceration ?

… critics of government education trenchantly exposed the nation's public schools—and to a lesser extent their private appendages—as a vast prison system for the nation's youth, dragooning the entire youth population into vast prisons in the guise of "education," with teachers and administrators serving as surrogate wardens and guards….' (Murray Rothbard)

______

Sam Grove February 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

The most successful economies, the most free people through all of history are those of us who live in societies (the modern developed social democracies) where our efforts are pooled to provide basic access to the things people need to succeed. There is nothing in the real world to suggest that getting rid of public education, health care and other safety nets would improve economic efficiency or personal freedom.

BS, the U.S. economy exhibited its greatest growth before the political class was prevailed upon to pool efforts to provide basic access, etc.

Many things occur simultaneously. You like to ascribe all our modern success to the political machina because it suits your "progressive" precepts.

The government management model has failed repeatedly throughout human history. There are no "right" people to make it "work".

Sam Grove February 1, 2009 at 12:17 pm

And you simply must refrain from adhering to a static model. The U.S. has "benefitted" from nearly a century (and more) of progressive government. Look where it has brought us.

We are a collapsing empire.

muirgeo February 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Sam,

And you must refrain from lumping in Republicans with progressives. The Republicans are far more the responsibility of libertarianism then are the democrats and progressive. The two notable market crashes have followed era of Republican policy dominance. The last one and this one were/ will be fixed by progressive governance.

Don't go anywhere because I want to take you along for the ride and see how you explain away the Obama recovery as it happens real time.
You are on record proclaiming our imminent collapse.

Free markets do not exist.

Poorly regulated ones are prone to big crashes and inefficiencies.

Well regulated ones optimizes the benefits of capitalism and the efficiencies of market competition.

End of discussion!

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