The Collapse of Venezuela: It Goes for Us in the U.S. as Well

By Bradley Harrington

 “Directive 10-289, Point One: All workers, wage earners and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be attached to their jobs and shall not leave nor be dismissed nor change employment, under penalty of a term in jail …” — Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged,” 1957 —

WTE3 Column #95 Illustration -- Protesting Starvation in VenezuelaThe above quote comes from a work of fiction.

THIS, however, does not:

“Thousands of oil workers are fleeing the state-run oil firm [PDVSA] under the watch of its new military commander [Venezuelan Oil Minister Major General Manuel Quevedo], who has quickly alienated the firm’s embattled upper echelon and its rank-and-file … Some PDVSA offices now have lines outside with dozens of workers waiting to quit. In at least one administrative office in Zulia state, human resources staff quit processing out the quitters, hanging a sign, ‘we do not accept resignations,’ an oil worker there told Reuters.” (“Workers are fleeing Venezuela’s state oil company, radiating pain through the country’s already crippled economy,”  “The Business Insider,” April 17.)

Anyone want to start up an office pool on how long it will take Venezuela to adopt the principle of Directive 10-289’s Point One explicitly, and actually OUTLAW workers quitting their jobs?

And, speaking of Venezuela:

■ In response to a murder rate of 18,000 people per year back in 2011, Venezuela, in 2012, instituted a ban on the private ownership of firearms as well as bans on private purchases of firearms and ammunition. And, now? Venezuela’s murder rate comes in at well over 27,000 people annually, an increase of 50 percent while population has only increased by 9 percent — and Caracas is now listed as the second-most violent city in the world.

■ And, in 2017, “Prices in Venezuela rose 4,068 percent in the 12 months to the end of January [2018], according to estimates by the country’s opposition-led National Assembly, broadly in line with independent economists’ figures.” (“Venezuela annual inflation at more than 4,000 percent,” “Reuters,” Feb. 7.) And, now? “Inflation in January alone was 84.2 percent … The monthly figure implies annualized inflation of more than 150,000 percent and that prices will double at least every 35 days.”

■ And, also in 2017: “Zoo animals in Venezuela are being stolen and eaten as the country sinks further into a food shortage crisis, local police have said” (“Venezuela crisis: Zoo animals stolen and eaten amid food shortages,” “The Independent,” Aug. 17). And, now? “Disturbing footage showing a malnourished man butchering a dog in the street has been shared to highlight the dire economic state in Venezuela.” (“Horrific footage of starving man butchering dog in the street shared to highlight food crisis in Venezuela,” “The Mirror,” March 6).

Well, there’s plenty more where that came from including parents abandoning their children at orphanages because they can no longer feed them — but we’ve seen enough to ask ourselves, in shocked horror: WHAT is going on in Venezuela?

Well, Dear Readers, I’ll give you that answer in one word: Socialism.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s what a native has to say: “We have experienced hyperinflation. We have people eating garbage, schools that do not teach, hospitals that do not heal, long and humiliating lines to buy flour, bread and basic medicines. We endure the militarization of practically every aspect of life.” (“How socialism ruined Venezuela,” Rafael Acevedo, “The Mises Institute,” Oct. 13, 2017.)

And, amidst all of those abominations — what have we got going on, right here in the United States?

Socialism is all the rage in the colleges and coffee shops all across our land, touted by many Millennials as the supposed “system of the future” for mankind. And who can forget 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, himself an avowed socialist, hailing Venezuela as one of the places in which “incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger”? (“Close the gaps: Disparities that threaten America,” Aug. 5, 2011.) (Of those Millennials, by the way, 55 percent of them had a favorable opinion of Sanders.)

Maybe what all of these “useful idiots” really need, is a one-way flight to Caracas — assuming the airports still work there, that is. Or, short of that, maybe our high-school students, so eager to take to the streets to protest “injustice,” will decide to hold their protests on the steps of the Venezuelan embassy instead?

For, as Venezuela spirals down into debilitating chaos and destruction, we should remember that what went for Cuba, Russia and North Korea goes for Venezuela, too.

And, of course, it goes for us here in the United States as well.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on April 29, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Wyoming “WIN”: It’s a Great Idea, Actually, and I’ve Erred

By Bradley Harrington

NOTE: As mentioned in my previous post, this is the correction column to the misdirected rant I penned the previous week. — BTH

Crowd funding concept“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” — Alexander Pope, “Thoughts on Various Subjects,” 1727 —

Well, Dear Readers, it isn’t very often that I screw up, but it does happen on occasion — and, when I do, both integrity and good journalism demand that I own up to it and correct it afterwards.

As in when I made this claim while discussing the Wyoming “WIN” (“Wyoming Invests Now”) initiative last week, for instance:

“So, while the bureaucrats have become quite adept at pointing to the short-term gains in ONE sector of the economy that happened to have benefited by their interventionism — McGinley Orthopedics, in this case — they fall flat on their faces when it comes to explaining the losses such policies create in the REST of the economy over longer-term periods of time.” (“Wyoming ‘WIN’: Little more than old wine in new bottles,” WTE, April 15.)

Yes, it IS true that when government plunders resources from the taxpayer in order to pay for “economic development” schemes — such as Wyoming’s ENDOW initiatives, for instance, now on track to steal about $45 million from all of us — that this reasoning would apply.

In the case of Wyoming WIN, however, that reasoning is completely invalid, because WIN is not a normal “economic development” scheme, based in taxation like ENDOW, at all … Which is what I THOUGHT it was, and what prompted last week’s rant.

OK, so … If WIN’s NOT a tax-based “economic development” scheme — what IS it instead?

A pretty darned good idea, actually, when it comes right down to it … Which actually ROLLS BACK government regs … Allow me to explain:

■ In 2012 Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the “Jumpstart Our Businesses Startup Act” (“JOBS”), which was intended to ease restrictions and regulations on small business capital investments.

In particular, Title III of that Act, or the “Crowdfund Act” as it is called, wiped out many of the securities restrictions placed on capital investment — and, in 2015, the Securities Exchange Commission approved that Title III ruling, which became effective in 2016.

■ At that point, Ed Murray, our former Wyoming Secretary of State, promoted legislation that would piggyback upon these federal easements and allow Wyoming companies and investors to take advantage of those restriction relaxations. This push, in turn, resulted in legislation (passed by the State Legislature in 2016) that essentially rewrote the Wyoming Uniform Securities Act and replaced most of it with legislation supporting the easements.

■ And that Act, in turn, is what created Wyoming “WIN” (WS 17-4-203) — the “intrastate crowdfunding exemption,” which exempts such investments from the normal mass of SEC regulations and other gobbledygook.

So, just what IS “crowdfunding,” anyway? Webster’s defines it as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”

Well, that sure sounds like the “stock market” and “day trading” to me, practices we’ve had around for a while … But the point, here, is that the stock market continues to suffer under all the SEC regulations, whereas many of the “crowdfunding” opportunities now have those regulations softened or eliminated.

So … NICE! An actual paring back of government! Something, as most of you Dear Readers know, that I’ve been pushing for many years now. Well, here’s a good example of it.

Yes, there’s STILL some restrictions to those exemptions in the new Wyoming Uniform Securities Act, such as ceilings on dollar amounts and whatnot —  restrictions that, most likely, need to be relaxed even more.

But, nothing’s perfect, and let’s get the facts straight this time: Wyoming “WIN” is NOT an “economic development” scheme based in taxation at all, but an actual rollback of stupid and stifling federal government regs regarding investment practices … An “enterprise zone,” if you will, regarding crowdfunding and other investment opportunities.

So … OOPS! Yep, I screwed up bigtime. That’s what happens when you jump without looking first.

Therefore, Mr. Buchanan, when I accused you last week of supporting “government ‘economic diversity’ operations based in financial thuggery,” that accusation was based upon false information and a flawed premise, and I therefore retract it.

And, Mr. McGinley of McGinley Orthopedics: When I strongly implied that you were the recipient of looted funds — well, that didn’t happen, either.

And, Dear Readers: I’m sorry to have relayed bogus information. Now you have the proper facts, and I would ask that you accept my apologies as well.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on April 22, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Wyoming “WIN”: Little More Than Old Wine in New Bottles

By Bradley Harrington

WTE3 Column #93 Illustration -- Oops!NOTE: This column contains severe errors, which I was not made aware of until after its publication — errors which stemmed from my failure to adequately research the nature of the Wyoming “WIN” program. I am including this column here because (1) The points it makes in regard to taxpayer-funded “economic development” programs remain as valid as ever, despite the fact that Wyoming “WIN,” as it turns out, does NOT fall into that category; (2) The correction column, the next one in these blog posts that I ran in the WTE the following week, wouldn’t make any sense without reference to this piece first; and (3) Contrary to popular “journalistic” opinion, I believe that errors should be noted and retracted in just as prominent a fashion as they were originally ran. Therefore, Dear Reader, should you read this piece, I would ask you to also read the correction column next! — BTH

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” — Henry Hazlitt, “Economics in One Lesson,” 1946 —

Governments throughout history have always made attempts to violate the Laws of the Universe, for a variety of reasons — and, one and all, they have always failed.

They keep trying, however — and, for the latest local bureaucratic attempt to do just that , we need look no further than right here:

“A Casper company became the first example of how a new program could help small and medium-sized Wyoming businesses access capital and grow. Wyoming Invests Now – or WIN – is a crowdfunding investment opportunity exclusively for Wyoming residents and businesses … Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, whose office administers the WIN program, said it’s a historic step and an important piece of Wyoming’s economic diversification strategy.” (“Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan kicks off WIN program,” WTE, April 11.)

I have just one question, which will immediately take us to the core of the issue: “To paid for by WHOM?”

And the answer, as it always is with government “economic development” schemes, since government only has what it takes from us first, is: YOU, the taxpayer, who else?

And, if that’s the case, then we have a problem — for what we’re really doing here, through the force of the state, is SHIFTING resources not actually CREATING them — which adds absolutely nothing to our economy.

Bureaucrats keep trying to square the circle, however, and they’ve become expert at pointing to the so-called “gains” — like this attempt, for instance:

“Folks that believe in a company or idea or new technology,” Buchanan said, “are now able to fund startup businesses and allow them to raise capital in a way that’s much more accessible, but also, importantly, allows them to realize at some point in time, hopefully, a return on their investment.”

The extent to which such “investment” opportunities are funded by government, however, is the extent to which the money to pay for them has to be extracted from the taxpayers first, and here’s where all the “economic development” bureaucrats in the world always trip up when questioned on it: “What would the taxpayers have done with that money if they’d been permitted to keep it?”

And the answer? Spent it on other things, or course, such as a new washing machine, or some more groceries for the dinner table, or possibly vehicle repairs, or maybe some new shoes for the kids, or possibly savings in the bank.

In all of these cases, economic expenditures which would have been made by the taxpayers got short-circuited instead by bureaucratic theft, and none of those transactions ever materialized.

Which means: That all those sectors of the economy, which WOULD have been invested into by the taxpayers had they been allowed to keep their money, experienced downturns in their productivity as a result instead. Sorry, folks, the money’s got to come from somewhere.

So, while the bureaucrats have become quite adept at pointing to the short-term gains in ONE sector of the economy that happened to have benefited by their interventionism — McGinley Orthopedics, in this case — they fall flat on their faces when it comes to explaining the losses such policies create in the REST of the economy over longer-term periods of time. Losses which, arithmetically speaking, must at least equal the “gains” of the so-called “beneficiaries.”

In truth, however, there’s a net loss there as well — for plundered dollars never produce as well as free-floating dollars seeking their greatest rates of return. And that’s a surprise?

So, while the bureaucrats can talk a great game about their “investment” opportunities, Henry Hazlitt’s lesson kicks in and gives us the truth of the matter: Those are actually long-term losses, for the best the bureaucrats could ever hope to do, with their taxpayer funds, is fill the hole they created by the original confiscation.

And one more thing, Mr. Buchanan: “Investments” are what PRIVATE capitalists do with their surplus wealth. Government “economic diversity” operations, based in financial thuggery, do not qualify, any more than a bank robber’s vacation to Tahiti could ever be considered as an “investment” into that local community.

So, in the final analysis, what does all of this say about Wyoming “WIN”? That it’s little more than old, economically fascist wine in new interventionist bottles, meriting nothing better than to be poured down the nearest drain.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on April 15, 2018. FURTHER NOTE: There is no link here because this column was removed from the WTE’s website due to its errors, errors already noted above. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Government’s Justification: Protecting Individual Rights

By Bradley Harrington

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.” — James Madison, “Virginia Ratifying Convention Speech,” 1788 —

WTE3 Column #92 Illustration -- James Madison Federalist QuoteOnce in a while I’ll get asked a really good question by a reader — and, this time around, it’s this:

“Please write a column in detail outlining your manifesto on how our country’s government should function. Respectfully, Mac Jones.” (“Letter,” c/o the WTE.)

I’d be happy to do that, Mr. Jones. Your question, however, can only be answered properly in the context of the answer to a more fundamental question still, which is: “What is the PURPOSE of government?” Why do we even have it at all?

Once we answer that question, then we’ll be in a position to outline government functions — since those functions will be based on and rooted in the fulfillment of that purpose.

And, when it comes to the purpose of American government, the “Declaration of Independence” makes it clear: That “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” Governments, in other words, derive their just functioning powers from their stated mission of protecting individual rights.

This is an extremely important point to grasp, and it simply cannot be overstated: The purpose of American government is to protect individual rights. PERIOD!  So, as we determine the proper “functions” of government, that’s the standard we’ll be applying.

So, now, let’s ask ourselves: Just what functions of government are essential to the protection of individual rights? And that question, in turn, leads to: What forces are capable of aggressing upon them, and what institutions are required to prevent such aggressions from occurring, or to adjudicate their occurrences afterwards?

Well, we need a military, to protect U.S. citizens from foreign aggression; and we need the police, to protect ourselves from the criminals; and we need a court system, to provide for the adjudication of contractual and other disputes.

And that, Mr. Jones, is just about it. That’s ALL the government needs to be doing to protect our individual rights; those are the only institutions required to fulfill that purpose.

And, since government in its present form functions on the basis of collectivist taxation, which is rooted in the use of force, it therefore follows that any OTHER “functions” of government — such as “welfare” wealth redistribution or economic regulation — actually violate the stipulations which make proper government possible! Right?

(Sidebar: Once government has been pared back to its legitimate function of protecting man’s individual rights, it’ll be possible to end this collectivist farce of taxation once and for all. For further discussion on this topic, see “Morality ends where a gun begins,” WTE,  Feb. 17, 2017.)

So: What does all of this mean? That most of what is considered as “government,” today, needs to be wiped out completely, as those programs and policies attack the very freedoms government functions are intended to protect.

“Social Security”? Sorry, it’s not the government’s job to be your Big Daddy and plan your retirement. “Welfare”? Sorry, the government has no right to steal money from your neighbor and hand it to you. “Education”? Sorry, that isn’t the government’s job either.

No, far from “protecting” our freedoms, such approaches achieve the exact opposite effect, adhering instead to a principle the Founding Fathers understood quite well: That, it’s unrestrained government itself that poses the biggest threat to our individual liberties.

So, “in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” (James Madison, “The Federalist No. 51,” 1788.)

I would submit, therefore, Mr. Jones, that in order for the United States to achieve a true consistency with its own moral-social-political principles, all of these “multitudes of new offices,” along with the “swarms of officers” sent out by them to “harass our people and eat out their substance,” need to be gotten rid of — and the faster the better.

For, as it sits right now, what we now have instead is exactly the kind of government “functions” Madison warned us of, “the gradual and silent encroachments of those in power.”

Yet no man nor no society can function in the midst of conflicting principles for long; and, given the degree to which such encroachments have been made over the last several decades, I don’t think it’s alarmist at all to state — when it comes to these needed corrections — that the continued survival of our future liberties hangs in the balance.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on April 8, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Public School “Educations” Now Qualify as Child Abuse

By Bradley Harrington

“When applied to conceptual material, memorizing is the psycho-epistemological destroyer of understanding and of the ability to think. But throughout their grade and high-school years, memorizing becomes the students’ dominant (and, in some case, virtually excusive) method of mental functioning.” — Ayn Rand, “The Comprachicos,” 1970 —

WTE3 Column #91 Illustration -- Conformity HazardNow that we’ve had an opportunity to consider the intellectual foundations at the root of our taxpayer-supported public schools — as well as the “social adjustments” both Mann and Dewey sought to obtain through them — let’s consider the impact such “progressive” educational policies have had on the minds of our youth.

And, of all of them, the worst by far was the introduction of Dewey’s “Look-Say” methodology throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

The English language is not pictorial in nature, as is Chinese, but that’s exactly how the “Look-Say” method demands words be taught: Not as an integrated unit of one or more phonetic sounds, but as “whole words” to be considered strictly as primary and irreducible absolutes.

Since such methods violate the nature of the English language right at its core, however, it didn’t take long for “Look-Say” to decimate the nation’s reading abilities as well, to the point that by 1955, Rudolph Flesch’s “Why Johnny Can’t Read” became a runaway bestseller.

Ignorant of the facts, however, “Look-Say” teachings continued to thrive … And, by 1983, things had degraded so badly that the National Commission on Excellence in Education was reporting on the “tide of mediocrity” engulfing our schools, and had this comment to add as well: “For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach those of their parents.” (“A Nation at Risk.”)

Remember, as you read this, the critical role that being able to read plays in the educational process, by virtue of its ability to transmit future information. Take away that ability and that entire world is walled away forever.

The greatest threats such reading “instructional” methods pose, however, are primarily epistemological in nature. Since language, itself, is a code of visual-auditory symbols designed to translate concepts into concretes, damages and attacks to conceptual systems seriously interfere with the thinking process itself, thereby impairing the student’s ability to function on a conceptual level (which his or her nature as a functional human being demands).

Thus, turned adrift intellectually and stripped of the ability to self-regulate his or her own learning actions on top of that, what happens to the individual thoughts of our boys and girls? Turned into mush, pretty much, replaced by the current crop of propaganda as dictated by those in power. The “social adjustment” is now complete, for the ability of such students to personally process reality outside of the dictates of the wider society around them has been all but eliminated.

It is by means of such “instructional” processes, Dear Readers, that we foster and encourage “herd” behavior in our children — after all, aren’t we TEACHING that the pack is the source of all morality and intellectuality?

Why are we now surprised, therefore, when our kids abandon their minds and turn to dope, guns and gangs instead? Once the principles of the mind are abandoned, what else could we possibly expect to have happen, but mindlessness?

And wider: Since “education” is the training of a human mind to be able to understand and function in reality, to have the very institutions charged with that task become the purveyors of irrationality and concept-destruction instead, is the worst of all possible inversions. It attacks individual thought itself (which is exactly what it was designed to do).

The state of our “public” schools, which “progressive” teaching methods have turned into literal battlegrounds, has now dropped to the point where attendance in such schools qualifies as actual child abuse. We protect our children’s bodies with “school zone” signs … While we rot their minds with “teaching” methods fit for aborigines?

Parents, would you leap in front of your child’s body to prevent them from being run over by a school bus? How about leaping in front of most of Dick or Jane’s teachers, instead? Or, better yet, how about jerking your kids out of such environments while they still have their brains intact?

Since government takes the money for such “schooling” from us by force, however, whether we want to use their educational “services” or not, establishing a school voucher system would be the primary first step needed to break that monopoly.

And not much more, actually — for, once people are actually free to spend their educational dollars as they choose, the market itself will flush out all the rest.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on April 1, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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School Indoctrination: From the Acorns Grow the Trees

By Bradley Harrington

“The new education must consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys freedom of will … If you want to influence him [the student] at all, you must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than you wish him to will.” — Johann Gottlieb Fichte, “Second Address to the German Nation,” 1807 —

WTE3 Column #90 Illustration -- More School BrainwashingLast week we examined the manner in which the “public” schools, owned and manipulated by government, have become hotbeds of collectivist indoctrination (“Self-realization takes a back seat to school indoctrination,” WTE, March 18), and we examined just a few of those “ideas” and how they’ve been smuggled into our so-called “educational” process.

This week, let’s ask ourselves: How did all of this come to be?

While “public” schools have existed in the United States since long before the Revolutionary War, our educational system, in the modern sense of the term, is generally credited to the work of Horace Mann.

Mann, an educational reformer out of Massachusetts in the early 19th century, argued that “universal public education was the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens” (“Horace Mann,”, and he sought to transform the educational system of Massachusetts into such a model.

With that goal in mind Mr. Mann, in 1843, toured all of Western Europe in his search for such an “educational” system, and concluded that the Prussian model of education was the one to establish here in the United States. He founded such a system in Massachusetts shortly thereafter (1852), and it didn’t take long for it to spread throughout the entire country.

What, in turn, were the principles of this Prussian model? “The purpose of the system was to instill loyalty to the Crown and to train young men for the military and bureaucracy,” according to that same article — and the quote at the top of this column comes from the philosopher most responsible for the establishment of that system in Prussia shortly thereafter.

The Prussian model of education, in other words, was developed to inculcate obedience and servitude, pure and simple, and it was for precisely these reasons that Mr. Mann established such a system here.

Nor was Mann the only “educator” to have that kind of impact on the foundations of our “modern” system — nor even the one that had the most. That “honor,” in the beginnings of the 20th century, is reserved for the efforts and viewpoints of another highly-influential “educator,” John Dewey himself.

And Dewey’s thoughts? “School,” said Dewey, “is primarily a social institution … I believe, therefore, that the true center of correlation of the school subjects is not science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography, but the child’s own social activities.” (“My Pedagogic Creed,” 1897.)

It is Dewey, philosophical “pragmatist” and the leading proponent of the “progressive” theory of education, who was the intellectual father of our educational system as it exists today. It was with thanks to Dewey that our schools began the shift away from “abstract” knowledge to “relevant” knowledge instead — and it was Dewey who, in synch with Mann’s original footsteps, also preached that the task of the schools was not to merely transmit information but to “socially adjust” students as well.

To “adjust” students to WHAT? To their existence as part of a greater collective. What kind of a collective? Well, this is what Dewey had to say about the Soviet collective back in 1929: “… The marvelous development of progressive educational ideas and practices under the fostering care of the Bolshevist government …” (“Impressions of Soviet Russia and the Revolutionary World,” 1929.)

And, in that same book, try this on for size, as Dewey gushes that “you can’t make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society, which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”

THIS from the main intellectual founder of our “public” schools. Remember, also, that the Russian Bolsheviks of the “Soviet Revolutionary World” were radical Marxist communists.

So, Dear Readers, having now taken a short survey of the principles underlying our “public” schools, we are now in a position to answer the question of, “How did our schools become hotbeds of collectivist indoctrination”?

They were established that way right out of the gate, with exactly those purposes in mind, as stated clearly and succinctly by all the “thinkers” involved. From the acorns grow the trees — and this forest merits nothing more than to be chopped right down to the ground, roots, branches, acorns and all.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on March 25, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Self-Realization Takes a Back Seat to School Indoctrination

By Bradley Harrington

“Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty.” — Calvin Coolidge, “Holy Name Society Address,” 1924 —

WTE3 Column #89 Illustration -- School BrainwashingLast week, in an open letter to a local student, I defined “individual liberty” as our “right to our own thoughts and lives, as well as the right to free association” (“5th-grader’s  dreams trigger avalanche of ideas, emotions,” WTE, March 11).

What I DIDN’T tell that young lady, however, because it’s a message best passed along to the adults, is that the school system’s ability to teach these ideas disappeared decades ago, thereby leaving students such as her helpless in the face of what’s replaced it instead.

“Ideas,” if you want to call them that, such as these, for instance:

“With respect to the United States, students learn the unique features of American representative democracy, the constitutional separation of powers, and the rule of law.” (“Grade 9 Civics Syllabus,” Delaware Department of Education.)

And the problem with that statement, which I’m sure most of us won’t even catch or detect? Just one short phrase — “representative democracy.”

Sorry, but the United States was founded as a REPUBLIC, not a “democracy.” Indeed, since we’re speaking of studying the Constitution, here’s what the “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison, had to say about such systems:

“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (“The Federalist No. 10,” 1787.)

No, the Founders, with very few exceptions, were extremely distrustful of “democracy,” as it was correctly perceived that it contained no mechanism to prevent the abolition of the rights of  the minority by an impassioned majority.

But observe what such obfuscations make possible, just a few sentences later:

“Possible reasons for studying civics that teachers will want to explore with students include … teaching students in a democracy how to govern themselves.”

Really? WHAT kind of “self-governance” is possible in a social system where the majority can wipe out the rights of the minority any time it pleases, simply by casting a vote?

And the purpose of such a “civics” course? According to the Delaware Department of Education’s syllabus, that would be: “Understanding how and why governments are structured as they are equips citizens with the ability to navigate their government as they strive to contribute to the public good and seek solutions to public policy problems.”

Observe the tacit and unstated assumption that the purpose of all of our lives is not personal happiness and achievement, but contributions to the “public good” and work on “public policy problems” instead. An authoritarian premise if there ever was one, as it places society ahead of the individual — whereas the great fact of the American political system is that it held the INDIVIDUAL as supreme, with the existence of “society” as a mere means to those ends.

And all of that, simply by changing one word to another … And it’s exactly by means of such intellectual “package-deals” that the minds of our youth are poisoned, most likely for good, by the multitude of collectivist assumptions that have been smuggled into their so-called “educations.”

Now, does this mean that the curricula of EVERY school in the country suffers from such horrible manipulations? Of course not; I’m sure there’s still a few schools, somewhere, that have yet to have their curricula so corrupted. And I’m also quite sure that there’s still a good number of teachers out there that don’t swallow such propaganda.

Can there be any doubt in anyone’s mind, however, that such alternative approaches are now the exception and not the rule? As proof, I offer the goings-on of the campuses of 95 percent of the high schools, colleges and universities in the country.

Nor is this phenomenon of “educational” indoctrination anything other than what we should expect, since history makes it clear — for anyone interested in actually studying it — that collectivist regimes have always used the schools as a means of promoting lies conducive to the demands of those in power.

There’s a reason why Karl Marx made “Free education for all children in public schools” his Tenth Plank, after all, and here you have it. Of what use do collectivists and authoritarians have for independent thinkers who will only end up challenging their rule?

So, now that we’ve defined the problem properly, isn’t the answer obvious? Replace these controls with REAL schools, free-market schools, thereby sweeping such agitprop out with the rest of the trash. Then our kids might actually have a fighting chance at self-realization.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on March 18, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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