Against School Vouchers: Choice Can Be the Enemy of Freedom

June 2, 2015 by · Comments Off 

2015-06-02.mouse-trapProponents of freedom in education beware: choice can be the enemy of freedom. On June 1, 2015, Investor’s Business Daily reported that:

“Nevada has enacted what might be the most sweeping school-choice program yet — a path-breaking win for educational freedom that has left teachers unions wondering what hit them.

The law, signed Friday, gives 450,000 public school kids the option of using taxpayer funds — through what are called “education savings accounts” or ESAs — to help pay the tuition for private schools. Families can use funds in these accounts to also pay for textbooks and tutoring.

Students from families with incomes under 185% of the federal poverty level may receive tuition aid of 100% of the statewide average of public school per-pupil costs. Kids in families with incomes above 185% of the poverty level, roughly $45,000 for a family of four, will qualify for up to 90% of the public school per-student cost.”

The news has been well-received by many people, including parents frustrated with the consequences of being forced to pay for government owned-and-operated schools that are in one way or another thought to be failing or abusing their children. Forced to pay for the government system, many parents find it hard to afford or to justify the additional cost of sending their children to a private school. And, precisely because of those frustrations, advocates of voucher systems have long found a receptive audience.

A receptive audience is a rare and precious thing that an advocate of freedom should never squander. Yet, the advocacy of a voucher system is just such a squandering. Read more

False Pretences: For and Against the Singing of Canada’s Anthem in Government Proceedings

May 23, 2015 by · Comments Off 

2015-05-23.god-keep-our-landRebel Media reports that “On May 11th, Richmond Hill’s town council voted 5 to 4 against singing [Canada’s national anthem] O Canada to start council meetings.” Apparently, council says it was responding to a lawyer’s opinion that the line “God keep our land glorious and free”, in the anthem, makes it a violation of our constitution to sing the anthem as part of the official council meeting. Rebel Media has started an online petition that reads: “We the undersigned Canadians demand that the town council of Richmond Hill reverse their outrageous decision, passed by a 5 to 4 vote on May 11, 2015, against singing O Canada to start council meetings.”

I’m happy to be Canadian, and I’ve got nothing against singing a country’s anthem within its official ceremonies (e.g., lawmaking institutions). However, I’m not as upset about this as some, and I won’t be signing the petition. Read more

Ontario’s Teacher Strike Blame Game Masks Real Problem: Funding Education with Taxes

May 21, 2015 by · Comments Off 

2015-05-21.Hobbes-Leviathan{A letter I sent to Toronto Sun columnist Christina Blizzard on May 20, 2015 in response to one of her columns about a teacher strike in Ontario that – where I live – is now in its fifth week.}


Re: Vulnerable students hurt most in teacher-government struggle (Toronto Sun online, May 20, 2015)

You write “While it’s easy to wrangle over who’s to blame in this strike — teachers or government…”

I invite you to consider that that’s a distinction without a difference. Read more

Sticks and Stones: A Short Note on Verbally Baiting Theocratic Murderers

May 9, 2015 by · Comments Off 

2015-05-09.draw-muhammadOn May 3, 2015, a group of people assembled at the Curtis Culwell Centre in Garland, Texas to watch the announcement of the winner of a “Draw Muhammad” Contest. The organizers knew that some if not all Muslims believe that no person ever should draw Muhammad, and knew that some Muslims have murdered cartoonists in the past who have drawn or otherwise depicted Muhammad (see here, and here, as examples). Accordingly, the organizers spent something in the order of $10,000.00 on security for he event, which was closed to the public. Two men from out-of-state approached the Centre, shot a security guard in the ankle, and were promptly shot dead by a police officer. In the days that followed, most of the media thought the event to be an irresponsible, provocative, “baiting” of Muslims, and they actually expected the organizers of the event to be repentant for what happened. Read more

Against Cannabis Prohibition?: Why You Should Oppose Minimum Wage Laws Too

May 3, 2015 by · Comments Off 

2015-05-03.minimum-wage-laws-signRecently, on, I quipped that “Behind every minimum wage increase, there’s an overpaid, uncompetitive (probably government-funded) venture looking to eliminate (private sector) price competitors.” One of my acquaintances, who I know to be an active opponent of cannabis prohibition, replied by posting an article titled “The 3 Biggest Myths About Raising the Minimum Wage“. The three alleged myths were that:

1. Minimum wage jobs are primarily for teenagers or part-time workers who are just trying to score some extra cash.

2. Raising the minimum wage will raise prices.

3. Raising the wage kills jobs.

The reader will notice that each of these arguments is an argument about economic effects, not about ethics (i.e., not about right and wrong). Yet, as with every question about the use of government force, one cannot judge minimum wages simply by the facts – whatever the facts might be. One also has to take the next step: determining whether minimum wage laws are politically right or wrong (i.e., whether they are consistent with the goal of ensuring that no person takes your life, liberty, or property without your consent). Accordingly, I replied to my fellow anti-prohibitionist as follows: Read more

"Left-wing" versus "Right-wing" versus Me

March 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Each political “wing” (left and right) grants freedom with respect to things they do not value.

The left doesn’t value morality, it values material goods, so it claims to be a civil libertarian with respect to people who, for example, believe they are a fork trapped in a human body. The right doesn’t value material goods, it values morality, so it doesn’t care who is rich or poor, and it doesn’t particularly want anyone’s money.

The left wants to live well in this life. The right wants to live well in an after life. Thus, the left’s god is government, and the right’s god is God, or Allah, or what have you.

Each values, most of all, to get something for nothing. The left wants to live on the fruits of their neighbour’s labours. The right wants an eternity of effortless bliss.

Me: I want to live on this earth, pursuing the material and spiritual values that are here, in this life, on my own steam, and without any other man hitching his wagon to my horse. Neither the left nor the right will let me do it.

It ain't the blog that's dead, Baby

March 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

“The blog is dead”…for those with nothing much to say, and for those with no desire to know. Try changing the world 140 characters at a time and you’ll fail. Essays always will be essays. Speeches: speeches. Books: books. When folks started watching mass-market TV news instead of reading, that didn’t mean that books were dead. It meant that hope was dying. Still does. Saving the world remains a case of wheat and chaff. The chaff blows. Let it. Keep writing those essays – on blogs or otherwise. Keep doing those intellectual radio broadcasts. Not everyone will read or listen…just the survivors.

The Choice: Ayn Rand versus the Status Quo

March 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

One of my “facebook friends” recently posted an article that a clinical psychologist wrote about Ayn Rand’s influence in the United States. Penned by someone named Bruce E. Levine, the article was titled: “Clinical Psychologist Explains how Ayn Rand helped turn the US into a selfish and greedy nation“. I quickly glanced over the article, which was full of the usual ill-informed ad hominems. On my facebook friend’s wall, comments to the article were numerous and sympathetic to the views of the article’s author:

“Horrible selfish woman. Her personal life bears it out.”

“One of the worst people to emulate.”

“I got that she thinks people who are good looking have the right to walk over everybody else.”

“Her Objectivism was simply adolescent fascism.”


I replied as follows: Read more

McKeever’s Minimal Maxims and Bon Arrows, Volume 2, Issue 5

March 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

20081029paul“Isn’t it something?” But of course.

What you won’t is what you will.

One man’s end is another’s means.

The less you see of a wife, the less there is to see of her husband.

Simon Says Sex: The Nature and Purpose of the "Affirmative Consent" Campaign

January 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Consent.  By its nature, it is the difference between giving and stealing, between murder and assisted suicide, and between sex and rape.  By its nature, it is the difference between victim and non-victim.  In law, it is also the difference between guilt and innocence.  Therefore, its legal definition, and the way it is judged to be present or absent, has a dramatic impact upon whether justice prevails or fails.  It should concern everyone, therefore, that a small but vocal number of activists are promoting a new approach to consent that is certain to facilitate injustice, to endanger young children, to make sex repulsive, and to replace love and respect between men and women with fear, distrust, disrespect, animosity, and hatred. Read more

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