ENDOW Bureaucrats Show Ignorance on Economic Calculation

By Bradley Harrington

“Without economic calculation there can be no economy. Hence, in a socialist state wherein the pursuit of economic calculation is impossible, there can be — in our sense of the term — no economy whatsoever.” — Ludwig von Mises, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth,” 1920 —

WTE3 Column #77 Illustration -- Economic CalculationImagine the following scenario: You are the owner of a firm that produces widgets, and you are considering expanding your production. Business has been pretty good as of late, and you’re having a hard time keeping up.

In order to successfully meet that increased demand, you need: More employees and more widget production. What are the various factors you have to consider in order to ramp things up and achieve the next successful plateau of widget production?

Just some of it: (1) What will it cost to hire more employees? (2) Will those costs be more than offset by increases in production? (3) How much more inventory of materials will be needed? Are price breaks available for increased levels of stock? (5) And, should those price breaks, if significant, be applied to increase your profits per widget, or should you actually drop your prices to spur increased production even more?

These types of questions confront every business owner, and the process of engaging in these considerations is known as “economic calculation.”

“Economic calculation,” however, presumes that such information is available; what happens when it’s not? What happens when government interference in one or more of your factors of production — price controls, say, on one of your widget’s physical components — makes it impossible for you to determine what those prices will be next week or next year? What happens when you’re no longer able to assign values to the complicated structure of variables such calculations demand?

Then your ability to plan has been subverted right at the root — and, if that subversion is significant, you’ll find yourself unable to determine whether such moves will lead to any profitability or not … Causing you to hold off on your expansion plans until that information can be acquired.

Now, this might seem like elementary Economics 101 to many of us, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who are completely ignorant of such principles. Like Wyoming’s “Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming” (ENDOW) bureaucrats, for instance, who, after their latest state meeting in Laramie on Dec. 11 (and with a Governor’s report due on Dec. 31), are busily preparing themselves for manipulating the following sectors of the state economy:

“Broadband development, workforce training and expanding commercial air service received the most favorable votes. Improving higher educational attainment, fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem and emphasizing computer science in K-12 education all received a significant number of favorable votes as well.” (“ENDOW final report has lots of work to go in final weeks of preparation,” WTE, Dec. 13.)

Clearly, the ENDOW bureaucrats regard such sectors of the economy as manageable by government — and, when coupled with Gov. Mead’s proposed “$37.5 million appropriation for continuing ENDOW,” it’s clear our state government is setting itself up for an increased presence in all of these factors of production.

Such machinations, however, by further muddying the waters of economic calculation with more government controls, will have the exact opposite effect: They will further destroy the possibility of even engaging in such calculations at all.

Indeed, on the basis of sound economic theory that has been demonstrated both ideologically and historically for the last three centuries, such controls will simply breed demands for further regulations and controls, this time applying to the secondary factors of production that are impacting the primary areas already under regulation.

Yet the so-called “mixed” economy — the government’s “Never-Never” land of a concocted hodgepodge of freedom and controls — is not a “third” solution at all, but merely an explosive mixture of mutually-contradictory principles that must inevitably either establish a complete command economy, Soviet-style, or repeal the controls.

So, while ENDOW bureaucrats couch their pending interventions in terms of “economic diversity,” what’s really happening? You, the Wyoming citizen, are being set up for economic manipulations that will merely continue to wipe out your ability to engage in economic calculation … To say nothing of the loss of many of your other choices and freedoms.

And, in the absence of such information: Again, where will you acquire it? The Soviet Union got its “economic calculations” from the Sears catalog, but such an escape presumes that there’s an actual market economy, somewhere, capable of producing such a catalog.

When we’ve succeeded in wiping out the market economy here that made producing such catalogs possible, however, who will be producing one for US?

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on December 18, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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A Voluntaristic Approach to Promoting American Values

By Bradley Harrington

“A dictatorship is a gang devoted to looting the effort of the productive citizens of its own country. When a statist ruler exhausts his own country’s economy, he attacks his neighbors … Statism NEEDS war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production.” — Ayn Rand, “The Roots of War,” 1966 —

WTE3 Column #76 Illustration -- Uncle Sam and Lady LibertyLast week, I discussed the means by which our military has become “an often-aggressive vehicle for interference in international affairs,” and said that it’s time we “return to a policy of strict self-defense as needed” instead (“Self-defense is the only valid motive for military operations,” WTE, Dec. 3).

What would such policies amount to, in practice?

Foreign Aid: Today, we spend billions of dollars yearly on military and economic foreign aid to other countries, and for what purpose? To have a “good” guy in power? As we’ve seen, that hasn’t worked out well for us, as our geopolitical engineering has always been rife with unintended consequences.

No, in addition to draining our treasury, foreign aid merely props up the reign of the thugs instead, who use our money to entrench their own rule; the poor peasants certainly never see any of it. We need to end it all, and the faster the better … For why would an allegedly “free” nation seek to plunder the wealth of its own citizens in order to fund the operations of sundry collectivist despots abroad?

Treaties and Alliances: All such international agreements need to be reviewed — and, where proper, discarded. It’s not our job to maintain a division of Marines in support of Japan at Okinawa, for instance, nor is it our job to “protect” Western Europe, through NATO, from communist attack.

If we determine that there IS an actual war that needs to be fought against an enemy somewhere in order to guarantee our national interests, then we need to prosecute that war as rapidly as possible, obliterate the enemy completely, and cease military operations in that theatre. Why would a supposedly “friendly” nation seek to station its troops in most of the countries around the world?

The United Nations: And if it’s the prosperity of the international collective we are seeking to obtain, why would we ever think we could achieve it through joining the United Nations? Here we have an institution, allegedly devoted to the ideals of peace, liberty and individualism, that includes Red China — responsible for the execution of more than 70 million people — as one of its Security Council members. Isn’t that a bit like putting the town’s leading criminals in charge of the local jail? And what would you expect to happen to crime rates, should such a policy be followed?

If it’s communism or terrorism we’re after, perhaps we should be looking at the ways we both legitimize them politically and fund them internationally — and not just through foreign aid but through such vehicles as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund as well.

Then, we can ask ourselves: Why would a purportedly “peaceful” nation ever spend its time or money in funding its own enemies? How would such a policy ever ensure our own interests, or make us safe from attack? We need to drop out of the U.N. and kick its headquarters off our soil as soon as possible.

So, in summary: In the last 50 years, we’ve blown trillions of dollars, ineffectively fought dozens of wars and wasted hundreds of thousands of lives in global machinations that have blown up in our faces every time we’ve tried them.

None of it, furthermore, has resulted in any kind of operational “good” that could ever possibly justify such actions. Through our own collectivist blundering, we’ve created most of this mess ourselves — and then we wonder why enemies confront us everywhere we turn?

In the midst of such “practical” attempts at currying favor, we’ve forgotten the lessons of our own Revolution: That it was our ideas, not our military might or foreign aid, that has always functioned as the source of American Exceptionalism.

So: Were we truly interested in spreading liberty and individualism, instead of merely just talking about it, what could the United States do to achieve such ends?

Duplicate the policies of our youth: Get out of the “entangling alliances,” quit funding our enemies, and once again function as a beacon of hope to oppressed people everywhere. Get rid of our crushing economic controls here at home, and watch the world’s thinkers and dollars flow here to realize their greatest rates of return.

After all, that’s exactly how it worked the first time we tried it.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on December 10, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Self-Defense Is the Only Valid Motive for Military Operations

By Bradley Harrington

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none …” — Thomas Jefferson, “First Inaugural Address,” 1801 —

WTE3 Column #75 Illustration -- Endless WarLast week, I discussed the virtue of military service as it pertains to protecting and defending the values of the United States, and I said that such service was not a “sacrifice” but “a profoundly selfish act rooted in the desire to protect the ideas of our society and culture” instead.

Just because the idea of military service is honorable, however, does not guarantee that the men and women who sign up for it will be deployed for the proper purposes, or on sound principles of conduct.

And, sadly enough, neither has been happening in our military for quite some time now — and the impacts on our culture, both domestically and internationally, have been profound and far-reaching.

Let’s start at the beginning: When is it proper for a society to deploy its military? In self-defense, when it’s under attack or the threat of attack. As when the United States entered World War II against the Axis Powers after Pearl Harbor.

And when so attacked, our military is justified in taking whatever actions are necessary in order to wipe out the enemy. In World War II, we toppled three dictatorships: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan. You mess with the bull and you get the horns. Sorry, end of story.

One of the tragic results of that war, however, was our alliance with Soviet Russia, for this ended up resulting — at Tehran, Potsdam and Yalta — in the legitimization of Russia’s takeover of Eastern Europe and its consequent subjugation of 300 million people into abject socialist slavery for nearly half a century.

The repercussions of such folly were immediate and far-ranging: Having committed such an act of treason against our own principles of liberty, individualism and self-determination, we were no longer free, internationally, to seek the obliteration of communism politically or militarily; we could only “contain” it instead.

And that folly, in turn, led us to first Korea then Vietnam, where we were at actual war in both engagements, but not free to prosecute either to successful conclusions (since that would have necessitated taking out the two communist powers, Soviet Russia and Red China, that were behind both conflicts).

Add in the role of “world military power” that the U.S. had thrust upon it after World War II, and the transformation of our military from a preservational force to an often-aggressive vehicle for interference in international affairs was complete. We have now come to view ourselves as global geopolitical engineers.

Such interventions, however, have always had disastrous and unintended consequences: When the CIA’s “Operation Ajax” solidified Shah Pahlavi’s rule in Iran back in 1953, for instance, what did we get out of it? The Iranian Revolution of 1979 … And a government that has fostered and sponsored terrorist activities against the United States ever since.

(Another example: While at war with Iran over our hostages, who did we then build up as our friend? None other than Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who chose to use our wealth to fund the chemical gassing of thousands of his own Kurd countrymen at Halabja in 1988.)

Now, let’s add in another factor as well: While we’re now out there, militarily, in about 150 countries, acting as the world’s (hated) policeman, we’ve altered our rules of engagement to the point where our military men and women now function as little more than defenseless, sitting ducks, with no clear goals of mission accomplishment to speak of, much less a clear definition of who the enemy is or what our purposes are in being there.

So, what has all of this got us? I’d hardly say, taking a look at the state of the world, that it’s been made any safer for liberty and individualism. To the contrary, such policies have made things far worse, and we’ve blown trillions upon trillions of dollars upon such empire-building efforts.

So, what’s the solution to all of this? To correct the original problems:

■ To return to a policy of strict self-defense as needed, thereby disengaging from the military tripwires we’ve set for ourselves all around the world;

■  To abandon the policy of “containment” and to declare that any enemy, communist or otherwise, is subject to annihilation should we suffer attack or the threat of attack.

Such actions would have the impact of greatly reducing our military expenditures, while actually providing us with better security and defense. Then, once again, our military can function as an honorable protective mechanism, with the full blessings from our society that it deserves.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on December 3, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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To Protect and Defend the Values of the United States

By Bradley Harrington

“To those of you who answered the call of your country and served in its armed forces to bring about the total defeat of the enemy, I extend the heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation.” — President Harry S. Truman, “Military Commendation,” 1945 —

WTE3 Column #74 Illustration -- Uncle Sam Protect and DefendIf there’s one thing the radical Left is expert at, it’s manipulating principles and definitions in any way necessary in order to achieve the political objective at hand.

As I was listening to the radio the other day, for instance, an Army National Guard ad touted the virtues of “service” and “self-sacrifice” as motivating factors for getting recruits to sign up. And, a couple of days before that, an acquaintance with knowledge of my prior service (USMC) thanked me for my “sacrifice” as well.

Umm … Well, that’s not quite what happened, and you’re about to read a minority viewpoint.

So: What do we mean, exactly, when we speak of “self-sacrifice”?

Most people understand that term to entail the rejection or destruction of a greater value in exchange for a lesser value or a non-value — that is, that it involves self-negation in favor of providing benefits to the lives of others.

A few, additionally, might grasp that this creed, both as a personal morality as well as a political philosophy, has been preached, to one degree or another, since Plato onward.

That changed forever on July 4, 1776, however, when American political philosophers declared to the world that we, as individuals and not as members of a tribe, had our own rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” independent of whatever good we might or might not be doing for others — and that it was the protection of those rights that served as the purpose for which “governments are instituted among men …”

This is a very important point to grasp, for it inverted the traditional historical philosophical pyramid completely: Instead of holding the collective as supreme, with individual human beings considered as the means to that end, American political philosophers declared that it was the INDIVIDUAL who was supreme instead — and that society, properly structured, should best be the means for providing each of us with the protection of our lives, liberty and property.

This was the first time a political revolution had been based on an idea — the idea of liberty — instead of merely on the accidents of war and conquest, and it didn’t take long for the new nation’s military to find recruits eager to protect and defend that value from those who would aggress upon it. Not as an act of “sacrifice,” but precisely as a profoundly selfish act rooted in the desire to protect the ideas of our society and culture.

So, to all of the moral philosophers out there, who seek to turn my service into some kind of mawkish collectivist “sacrifice,” let me state it clearly: I joined the military to protect and defend the values of the United States. Period!! “Sacrifice” had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Nor was this “sacrifice” nonsense part of our military vocabulary for the bulk of our history. In Truman’s commendation message for the veterans of World War II service above, for instance, observe the goal of that military service: Not “sacrifice,” but “the total defeat of the enemy.

Translation: To protect values, not to give them up. To defend freedom, not to wipe it out. To preserve our culture, not to negate it! And, in return for that service, Truman extended “the heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation.”

To claim, as the radical Left is doing, that such honorable goals and actions now consist of “sacrifice,” instead of the protection of values they represent instead, can only be viewed as an attempt to obliterate those values. To, literally, define them out of existence. For, once the idea of “service” has been stripped of its legitimately honorable connotations, what words or concepts are left to denote the values represented by such an action?

And if that isn’t “manipulating principles and definitions in any way necessary,” then nothing qualifies.

And, the political objective, in this case? What else can it possibly be, but the emasculation of our armed forces? If the Left can successfully convince potential military recruits that there’s no longer any value in defending liberty and individualism — that their “service” is to now consist of “self-sacrifice” and that those values don’t merit protection any longer — then aren’t they, in essence, attempting to strip us of our right to self-defense?

And that’s an action, Dear Readers, that should be setting off red flags all over the place.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on November 26, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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Push for Gun Control Lacks Understanding of the Facts

By Bradley Harrington

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined …” — Patrick Henry, “Virginia Ratifying Convention,” 1788 —

WTE3 Column #73 Illustration -- Explain ChicagoIt isn’t often that one comes across a piece that so neatly summarizes the major errors of gun control proponents, yet letter-writer Janet Cunningham accomplishes that and more with her recent anti-gun submission, “America needs to work to reduce gun fatalities,” (WTE Letter to the Editor, Nov. 15). Errors in strong need of being challenged.

For instance, in discussing recent mass shootings, Cunningham states: “It is time (and way past time) to talk about and to act upon the rampant gun violence in our country.” Which means — gun control, in a nutshell: “… the president and our legislators won’t stand up to the National Rifle Association and enact some common-sense gun regulations.”

And how, I wonder, will such laws work?

We all know that gun-control laws, by definition, keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. But how is it, exactly, that such laws will prevent the thugs from obtaining them? After all, by definition, don’t criminals violate the laws? Isn’t that what they do, isn’t that that what makes them criminals?

So, since criminals will still be able to get and use guns whenever they feel like it, but now there’s no more good guys, other than police, who are armed any longer, doesn’t that put the law-abiding citizens at an ever greater disadvantage? Aren’t such citizens, in effect, now stripped of their right to self-defense? Haven’t THEY, at that point, had THEIR rights legislated out of existence? While the thugs, who violate such laws with impunity, are all armed to the teeth?

To see this principle in practice, one need merely observe the streets of Chicago — where, just yesterday as of this writing, “A man killed Tuesday — marking the city’s 600th homicide this year — was among five people shot in a 7-hour span of gun violence on the South and West sides.” (“Man killed in year’s 600th homicide shot Tuesday in Chicago,” “CBS Chicago,” Nov. 15.)

And, last year in Chicago: “The year, so far, has been steeped in blood. Shootings — 1,177 as of the Friday morning before Memorial Day — are up by 50 percent for the year. Two hundred and thirty-three people are dead.” (“A weekend in Chicago,” “The New York Times,” June 4, 2016.)

Yet, in both Chicago as a city and Illinois as a state, a concealed-carry permit entails: “a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card”; “16 hours of Concealed Carry firearms training provided by an Illinois State Police-approved instructor”; “must have not been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving the threat of physical force or violence to any person within the past five years”; and “must not have not been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the past five years,” to name a few of the stipulations.

Plus $150.00, of course, to allow you to exercise your “right” to own and carry a gun. Oh yeah, provided that “no objections are filed by law enforcement.” (“Checklist: Illinois concealed carry license requirements,” “The Chicago Tribune,” Feb. 28, 2014.)

Yet, somehow, the thugs of Chicago have plenty of guns; there’s something out there shooting all those bullets, at any rate. I wonder how many of those thugs bothered to tramp downtown and cough up the $150.00 for that privilege? Meanwhile, the law-abiding citizens who are foolish enough to frequent such areas of attack are limited to dodging the bullet streams when it comes to “self-defense.”

So, Ms. Cunningham, you can talk all you like about how your “common-sense laws” are “meant to lower gun fatalities in our country,” but the facts of reality make it clear that it’s THE EXACT OPPOSITE which is the case. “Gun-free zones” actually ATTRACT crime.

Oblivious to such facts, however, Cunningham goes on to claim that “no other country in the world kills its citizens at the rate we do in the United States. SHAME on us.”

Actually, according to the “United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime” statistics, we don’t even come close: Our murder rate per 100,000 of population is 4.88, while El Salvador tops the list at 108.64. Honduras rates a distant second at 63.75, and the socialist paradise of Venezuela rates third at 57.15 murders per 100,000. We’re not even in the top 25.

So … “Shame on US,” Ms. Cunningham? Or shame on YOU? I’d suggest you go down to the gun shop and buy at least one or two weapons of your own while you still can.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on November 19, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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The American Revolution: “The Liberation of the Human Mind”

By Bradley Harrington

“What built this country … Is business. But business thrives in what kind of environment? In an environment where it’s left alone.” — Yaron Brook, “Wyoming Business Alliance Speech,” Nov. 8, 2017 —

WTE3 Column #72 Illustration -- Yaron, Brad and Barbie

Yaron Brook with Brad and Barbie Harrington

It isn’t often that Wyoming’s intelligentsia gets inoculated with a healthy dose of  laissez-faire-style liberty and individualism, but — in the person of Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute — that’s exactly what they got last Wednesday [Nov. 8]. Given our current political and economic climate, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Nor did Brook, the keynote speaker for the Wyoming Business Alliance’s “Dynamics of Change” conference held at Little America this week, mince words or waste time, getting right to the point:

“No system in human history has done more to benefit mankind — to bring us out of poverty, to create a fantastic standard of living — than capitalism has,” he told several hundred people at the event. “So, I want to talk about the benefits of greater freedom, greater capitalism and the greater adoption of markets, rather than growing government as the solution to every problem we face.”

“300 years ago,” Brook asked, “before the establishment of this great country, what were people’s average incomes? What did they make? What was the average level of wealth of society?”

“The United Nations,” he said, “defines extreme poverty as making under $3 a day. And yet, if you look at the population of Europe and the United States, before there was a United States in the 18th century, what percentage of the population was making less  day? About 95 percent. Almost everybody was extremely poor, by any definition, 300 years ago.”
“Indeed,” Brook continued, “if you look at wealth and income for the last 10,000 years, it is amazing how stable it is. For 10,000 years, human beings have made about, or under, $3 a day. And yet, something miraculous happened: We went from this flat curve, and suddenly everything went up through the roof … And suddenly, look at us — we’re rich. Everybody in this wonderful country is rich, by the standard of $3 a day. How did that happen?”

With thanks to two events, as Brook explained, both occurring in 1776: The Declaration of Independence, which he defined as “the most important political event in human history” — and the publication of “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith, “the first popular book of economics articulating the case for why markets work.”WTE3 Column #72 Illustration -- The Yaron Brook Show

YARON BROOK’S PODCASTS:
www.blogtalkradio.com/yaronbrook

“There’s a direct connection between the Industrial Revolution and the founding of America,” Brook continued. “It’s not an accident that they both happened about the same time … Who did your life belong to, before the Revolution? The king, the tribal leader, society … But, for the first time in history, the American Founders declared that your life belongs to you.”

With those declarations, Brook said, and by getting government out of our lives, the creation of the United States laid the politico-economic foundations for all of the innovation and wealth-creation that was soon to follow.

“And that,” Brook stated, “explains the prosperity we have in the world today … When you give people the freedom to produce, anywhere in the world, they build civilization … The American Revolution liberated the human mind.”

By providing several other historical examples, such as Hong Kong, Brook pounded the point home: Wherever people are left alone to be free and to deal with both the positive and negative consequences of their actions, skyscrapers rise where before there was little more than bare rock.

“Where does the human mind function best? When it’s free,” Brook said. “Fewer authorities, fewer regulations, fewer controls … Freedom from being told what you can and cannot do … We’ve lost that sense of imagination, of what’s possible for human beings.”

Nor did Brook fail to resurrect the morality of wealth-creation from its current sorry state, as he addressed the business people in the room: “What is making money reflective of?” he asked. “The creation of values … Values that other people value, at a greater amount than what it costs you to produce … You, as businessmen, are making the world a better place every time you make a profit.” You could have heard a pin drop.

By applying the lessons of the American Revolution to our current political and economic woes, Brook succeeded in changing the entire terms of the debate: Instead of discussing ways to grow government, he challenged us to consider unlimited government as the main problem.

And that, Dear Readers, is exactly where that debate needs to be.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on November 12, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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LCCC Bond Boondoggle Should Be Blasted Right Out of the Sky

By Bradley Harrington

“The right of property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” — Arthur Lee, “An Appeal to the Justice and Interests of the People of Great Britain,” 1775 —

WTE3 Column #71 Illustration -- Blast That LCCC Bird!A long, long time ago on a planet far, far away, there once was a kingdom where people were hungry.

Not everybody was hungry, not even most, but a few people were — and this distressed the King, who wanted all his people fed, and the King surmised this was not happening due to the greed of those who had things when it came to the needs of those who had not.

So the King decreed that extensive food markets were to be erected, in order to provide food to those who could not or would not provide it for themselves.

The King further pronounced that to support these food markets financially, all subjects within the realm were to pay a King’s tax to in order to fund them.

So, hungry people could now eat — and at well-below-market-rates, a small fraction of what it actually cost to feed them, in order to ensure the hungriness would go away. Real costs that were again borne by subjects who had the money to be taxed.

Issues of constantly recurring expenses kept cropping up, however, as the buildings aged and required upkeep — plus, in a few of the districts experiencing population growth, additions to the existing food market structures were becoming necessary as well. And all of that cost plenty of money, too, so the King found it necessary to decree more taxes on his subjects.

But rumbles of discontent were beginning to be heard throughout the land, so the King came up with a very shrewd plan: He packaged the additional taxes as voting propositions on owned property, and let his subjects decide how much they wanted to be taxed.

That way, the King figured he’d still hit jackpot at least half of the time, and the new method made it look as though everybody actually had a “voice” in their political affairs. It also gave the King the moral and political leverage to push forth his plans in the face of any opposition, for all he had to do was mention the “starving subjects” and everyone else fell in line, fearful of being branded as advocates of hunger.

Still, even with his propaganda campaigns, the King found it necessary, several times, to physically seize the properties of those who refused to pay the tax.

And the rest of the kingdom? They shut their traps, paid the King’s taxes, and everybody lived happily ever after.

                                                                      ■■■■■■■■■■

Here, in America, the supposed “land of the free,” most of us would laugh at such a fable, for we know that free-market production works much better for “feeding the people” than oppressive taxation … Don’t we? After all, don’t food markets of all shapes, sizes and varieties dot our lands, and not a one of them owned by a government?

And shouldn’t we here, in the alleged “home of the brave,” also have issues with the unstated assumption that our lives are to be held, through force, as in hock to the state — where our time, money and energies are doled out as bureaucrats and “authorities” see fit? No truly free man or woman would EVER accept such a flawed premise as a precondition for societal membership … Would they?

And if it’s wrong to coercively hold some people as responsible for the “welfare” of other people through state-subsidized food markets, wouldn’t that same reasoning apply to any other purpose as well? Isn’t it still the same fallacy?

Most of us can see these things clearly regarding food markets; when it comes to our schools, however, all such consistencies of thought leap out the nearest window.

So, regarding Tuesday’s special election on Laramie County Community College’s $30 million bond issue, I’d suggest blasting this boondoggle right out of the sky. I am not my brother’s keeper, nor does this tax hustle even remotely begin to address the true problem LCCC suffers under: Government ownership.

Were we really the free citizens of a so-called free nation, as we all like to claim we are, wouldn’t we have turned this entire state-run scam of “education” over to the private sector decades ago? Wouldn’t we have known that this would be the best way to improve service and reduce costs?

And, if we don’t, maybe it isn’t only our kids who need educating, but us parents as well.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.

NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on November 5, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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