Self-Esteem is out and a Useful Education is in at Schools in Perth, Australia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 26th, 2013

Week in Review

I’ll never forget this classic episode of Gomer Pyle – USMC.  Sergeant Carter was feeling old.  Which depressed him.  Gomer wanted to help him recapture the vigor of his youth.   So on a long march Gomer emptied Sergeant Carter’s pack and filled it with straw.  Late into the march his men were fatigued.  But not Sergeant Carter.  He was fresh as a daisy.  Until he went into his pack and saw it was filled with straw.  Which made him feel old and depressed again.

Gomer’s mistake was making the pack lighter instead of heavier.  For if he completed the march and learned he had carried a heavier pack than everyone else he would have felt strong again like in his youth.  For making it through things when they are hard builds confidence.  Even if you fail once or twice along the way.  This prepares you for whatever the future has in store for you.  But making it through something because you had it easy or never faced criticism or suffered a failure doesn’t really prepare you for anything.  But extreme frustration as you are unable to handle adversity.  Or recover from failure (see Students to learn about failure by Bethany Hiatt posted 5/25/2013 on The West Australian).

One of Perth’s most prestigious and academically successful schools is cutting back on praise and rewards for students.

It has concerns that society’s focus on boosting self-esteem leaves many struggling to cope with failure on leaving school.

St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls wrote to parents explaining why it introduced strategies this year to minimise praise, reduce reward stickers for participation and provide work that was deliberately too difficult so students could experience failure.

Junior school head Julie Quansing-Rowlands said the prevailing wisdom in schools for many years had been that building up children’s self-esteem would lead to high achievement.

But recent research showed this simplistic approach backfired.

Over-praising meant children were less able to cope with disappointments they faced later in life…

Heaping praise on students also gave them a false sense of their ability and led to a sense of entitlement…

“We’re beginning to understand that it actually damages children to constantly praise them, constantly tell them they’re special and build up their self-esteem,” he said.

“New research is demonstrating that it’s not self-esteem but self- respect and self-control that really are the best predictors of how well kids are going to perform in high school…”

WA Primary Principals Association president Stephen Breen said schools and parents had probably gone too far in puffing up children’s self-esteem by praising everything.

“As a consequence, a lot of kids don’t accept criticism,” he said.

This is what liberals did to the American public schools.  Ruined them by trying to build self-esteem instead of preparing our kids for life.  Which has fed into an entitlement mentality where kids today expect life to be handed to them without having to work hard to get ahead.  That’s why so many go to college and get worthless degrees.  Because they just expect to get a good job when they graduate. Even though they learned no marketable skills in college.  But they had a good time.  And have the student loan debt to prove it.  Which they’ll never be able to pay back working a service job that they could have gotten without a college education.

If you’re looking to move and you have kids you may want to consider Perth, Australia.  For I hear if your kids go to school there they’ll learn how to work hard.  They’ll earn good grades.  Maybe a bad one or two.  But they will be able to complete a degree program at a college that will have real market value.  Preparing them for the real world after school.  No matter what life throws at them.  So they won’t be coming back home to live in your basement.  But they will have you move in with them so they can take care of you in your golden years.  Because your parenting and a good Perth education allowed them to achieve more in life than you did.  The way it should be.  Not having future generations achieving less than their parents.

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FT94: “It’s hard to fool smart people. Which explains the Department of Education.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2011

Fundamental Truth

The Fewer in the Minority Ruling Power the Richer Each will Be

Not everyone can live like nobility.  Those privileged few who have more than the masses.  Throughout history it’s always been an elite few in power.  A minority rule over the masses.  Why?  Because the masses can only support a select few in a life of plush luxury.

Let’s do a simple exercise.  Take a group of 10 people.  Let’s assume they each earn $30,000.  Not a lot.  It’s enough to get by on but they’re not going to enjoy many luxuries in life.  Now let’s assume one of the ten assumes all power.  Promotes himself to king.  Or herself to queen.  Doesn’t work anymore.  And taxes everyone’s earnings at 35% to support the royal family.  That leaves only 9 people working.  Each now has only $19,500 after taxes to live on.  While the royal family enjoys $94,500.  Which is 485% more.  And it’s tax free.  Because the king is the taxman, too.  Pretty sweet, eh?

It’s good to be in the royal family, yes?  You bet.  But let’s see what happens if more people join the royal family from the kingdom of 10.  As summarized in the following table:

As the number of people working decreases and the number of those not working increases, the money per Royal eventually drops below that of the subjects.  So what do we learn from this little exercise?  The fewer in the minority ruling power the richer each will be.  Ergo the ruling elite must be a small minority.

Kids are Taught that Free Market Capitalism is Killing the Planet and the Polar Bears

This is politics.  And it’s been this way since the dawn of civilization.  In the days of kings minority rule was relatively easy.  But it’s been more difficult since the advent of representative government.  Because you just can’t rule by decree.  You have to win elections.  By getting the people to vote ‘yes’ to working harder.  And paying more taxes.  So those not working can live a plush life of luxury.

Of course you can’t say things like this and expect to win elections.  You have to parse the truth a little.  And by ‘parse’ I mean lie.  You make up a bunch of stuff that sounds important and worthy of doing.  Such as saving the environment.  And battling global warming.  All of which takes a bigger government to regulate the economy to save the planet.  And a lot of taxes to pay for this government.  So how do you do this?  By scaring children in public school.

The earth has warmed and cooled long before man ever put carbon in the atmosphere.  Glaciers have moved thousands of miles before man ever burned coal or created the internal combustion engine.  Oceans have risen and fallen long before Al Gore moved into his oceanfront mansion.  No matter.  For the ‘scientists’ at East Anglia have massaged the data to get the political results they set out to get.  And they say it’s now a fact that man is killing the planet.  So a world government must take over the world’s economies.  To save the planet.  So a select few can live a plush life of luxury courtesy of the labors of others.  Like Al Gore.  But you don’t tell children this.  No.  Instead you show them pictures of polar bears in ‘danger of drowning’ because they’re swimming in water.  Which they are wont to do.  In search of their food.  No matter.  Man is melting the polar icecaps.  So the kiddies are upset.  Because free market capitalism is killing the planet.  And the polar bears.

The Goal of the Department of Education is to make Good Democrat Voters

We constantly have to spend more money on public education to make our kids smarter.  Which must mean our kids graduating from public education aren’t very smart.  But they do know that free market capitalism is killing the planet.  And that global warming is melting the polar ice caps and killing the polar bears.  So they’re learning something.  Just nothing that will improve their test scores to the level of the Asians or the Indians.

Interestingly, this decline in American education coincided with the rise of the Department of Education starting in 1979.  Before then the U.S. led the world in math, science and engineering.  Because our kids were smarter than kids everywhere else.  But then the great dumbing down began.   Multiculturalism.  Diversity.  Outcomes-based education.  Emphasizing the importance of not making anyone feel bad.  Rather than emphasizing the virtue of excelling.  And, of course, indoctrinating them into global warming.  Instead of learning math, science, engineering and capitalism, the social sciences took over the curriculum.  And one fake science.  Which explains why we are now playing catch-up to the Asians and Indians.  When prior to 1979 we played catch-up to no one.

FDR’s New Deal failed.  LBJ’s Great Society failed.  And made the economy a mess in the Seventies.  Liberalism was debunked in the Eighties.  Thanks to Ronald Reagan.  But thanks to the Department of Education, a coordinated assault on our most impressionable was underway.  Keeping the spirit of liberalism alive.  And the size of government grows.  Because they lie to our kids.  Many of who grow up believing these lies.  And vote ‘yes’ to working harder.  And paying more taxes.  So those in the nobility can live a plush life of luxury.

Perhaps the Time is Right for Another Ronald Reagan before Liberalism Sinks the United States into Third World Status

It is hard to fool smart people.  Which explains the Department of Education.  Whose goal is not to make our kids smart.  But to make them good Democrat voters.  So those in government can continue to live like nobility.  And prevent another great ogre like Ronald Reagan from rising again and freeing the people from their oppression.

Which has never been more important as those not paying taxes has reached a tipping point.  And we no longer have the money to support the nobility.  Something has to give.  Perhaps the time is right for another Ronald Reagan to rise and free the people once again.  Before liberalism sinks the United States into third world status.

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Liberal (lĭb’ər-əl), n., One who adheres to the social and political philosophy of (neo) liberalism.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 27th, 2011

Politics 101

The Single Goal of Liberalism is to Transfer as much Wealth and Power from the Private Sector

The Founding Fathers were liberals.  They believed in individual liberty.  Personal responsibility.  The Rule of Law.  And limited government.  Very limited government.  Very, very limited government.  Not something you associate with liberals today.  Which is why we must call the Founding Fathers classical liberals.  Because liberalism today isn’t our Founding Fathers’ liberalism.  In fact, it’s what they rebelled against.  Privilege.

Liberals today are a small sliver of the population.  About 20%.  And they’ve been around forever.  They’ve just had different names.  The nobility.  The aristocracy.  The planter elite.  Those born of privilege.  And who live off of the wealth created by others.  Through inheritance.  Through land ownership.  Or via taxation.  This privileged class does not work.  No.  They get others to create wealth for them.  And their tool is class warfare.

Their single goal is to make government as large as possible.  For the larger it is the more wealth and power they can transfer from the private sector.  And there is nothing more effective for growing government than pitting one group of people against another.  Rich against poor.  Employees against employers.  Labor against capital.  Consumers against corporations.  And, of course, racism, sexism, ageism, whateverism.  Whoever you are they’ll find someone who has discriminated against you.  And they’ll use that to their advantage.  To legislate a new law in Congress.  Or from the bench in the judiciary.

Liberals get us Accustomed to Living on the ‘Kindness’ of Government and Terrified of Losing the Government Way of Life

Liberals don’t see individuals.  They see the group the individual belongs to.  And how they can use one group to agitate another.  To advance their agenda.  To increase taxation.  And regulation.  To grow government.  To extend their power and influence over the private sector.  So secure their position of privilege.

They once called themselves the ruling elite.  And ruled accordingly.  Until the inconvenience of elections.  Representative government.   And a Constitution that limits their power.  Now they have to be stealthier.  And hide who they are.  What they truly believe.  And use the courts to make law that they can’t legislate in Congress.  How do they do this?  By dumbing down our public education.  Changing the meaning of words.  And by fooling us.  By hiding in a ‘benevolent’ Big Government.  A government that protects the poor.  The disadvantaged.  The little guy.  When in fact they use the poor, the disadvantaged and the little guy to secure their position of privilege.  For if they actually helped these people their work would be done.  And that’s the last thing they want.  To lose their expanding powers to regulate and tax.

So they extend their power and control over us.  While telling us it’s for our own good.  And make as many of us dependent on them as possible.  By providing generous welfare programs.  Social Security.  Medicare.  And now Obamacare.  Getting us accustomed to living on the ‘kindness’ of government.  And making us terrified of losing our government way of life.

Liberals Consume Tax Dollars and Benefit from a Growing Government that Increases Taxes and Regulations

Liberals consume tax dollars.  They don’t pay tax dollars.  The private sector taxpayers pay the salary and benefits of all politicians.  Public sector employees.  Public school teachers.  And college professors.  Via ever escalating tuition prices that no liberal ever objects to.  (Unlike rising prices in the private sector.)  Either paid for by rich parents.  Or student loans.  Once backed by the government.  Now issued by the government.

Liberals enjoy generous pay and benefit packages courtesy of the taxpayer.  In return liberals in education advance the liberal agenda.  (Ask a kid to explain global warming and capitalism and guess which one he or she will be able to explain).  Liberals in unions repay that government kindness (such as favorable legislation that restricts competition) through generous contributions from their union dues.  And agitate, organize and vote for the liberal agenda.  To keep the spigot of that government kindness open.

And then you have the guilty-rich.  People who try to assuage their guilt of inheriting their wealth.  Those who made it rich in the movies.  In music.  In sports.  As an author.  Anyone who got obscenely wealthy.  But doesn’t want to be attacked for being obscenely wealthy.  Like those on Wall Street.  And those corporate CEOs.  So they, too, advance the liberal agenda.  While sheltering their wealth from the greedy hands of government.

Then there’re the pseudo-intellectuals.  Those who advance the liberal agenda to sound smart.  Or to be included in the inner circle of the elite.  Those in the mainstream media.  And celebrities.  Who cry out desperately for affirmation.  That they are more than just someone pretending to be someone else.  Or simply someone reporting on the exciting lives of others.

Finally the young.  The uneducated.  Or poorly educated.  Who don’t understand capitalism, economics, history or public policy.  And they don’t care.  As long as they get something.  Government benefits.  Or fun.  Whether it be sex and drugs.  Or the thrill of protesting.  Anything to escape living in the real world.  Those who just don’t want to grow up.  And become responsible adults.  Like their parents.  Until they start raising a family.  Then they are exactly like their parents.  So the liberals have to get them while they’re young.  And keep them woefully ignorant about the real world for as long as possible.

The Liberal Social and Political Philosophy has the Simple Goal of Securing their Position of Privilege

The liberal social and political philosophy is simple.  Everything they believe, everything they do, has but one goal.  Securing their position of privilege.  Which explains a record of contradiction and failure.  Such as ‘working hard’ to create jobs while the economy wallows in recession due to an unfriendly job-creating environment.  Because of their high taxes.  Costly regulations.  And the great uncertainty of what will come next.

But when you understand their goal it makes perfect sense.  High taxes and regulation extends their control over the private sector.  And recession sets the stage for Keynesian stimulus spending.  Which creates more government programs.  Paid for by higher taxes.  Which is more wealth transferred from the private sector.  Further extending their control over the private sector.

Liberal policy, then, makes perfect sense.  When you understand its goal is to expand their control over the private sector.  To secure their position of privilege.  Because when you do you’ll see that this policy has never been contradictory.  And it has never failed.

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Keynesian Economics and Job Creation just don’t go Together

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 12th, 2011

It’s Competition between Intel and AMD pushing Chip Technology to New Heights, not Government Investment

With Solyndra going belly up after that half billion dollar government investment people have been asking questions.  One of which is how government should invest into the private economy.  Well, here’s one example (see AMD’s Bulldozer Fails To Meet Expectations by Devin Coldewey posted 10/12/2011 on TechCrunch).

The Intel-AMD war has been going on a long time, and I hope it will be going on longer. The last few years have been hard on the underdog, however, with huge growth by Intel in both the low-power and high-performance sectors. The Core 2 Duos excelled, as did the Core i* series, and its most recent consumer series, the Sandy Bridge update to the i*s, is a monster. AMD has consistently lagged behind, though from the other side of the table you might say they’ve been nipping at Intel’s heels quite effectively for years…

Unfortunately, despite the new architecture and insane transistor count (the 8-core 8150 has around 2 billion), performance and efficiency per core just plain isn’t that good. There are a few tests on which Bulldozer takes on Sandy Bridge well, such as those truly optimized for high core counts, but on single-core tasks it gets destroyed.

In other words, government shouldn’t invest in the private economy.  Because, when they don’t, the private economy does very well.

Does any of that techno-speak make sense to you?  If you’re not in the hi-tech industry, or a kid, the answer is probably ‘no’.  But the beautiful thing is that we can enjoy the end product of putting 2 billion transistors on a chip.  That we can understand.  And that it is competition between Intel and AMD pushing chip technology to incredible new heights.  Not government investments.

Obama wants to Raise Taxes on Small Business Owners, the Number One Job Creators in the Country

The most successful companies out there making the things we all want and must have need help from government.  The kind of help only government can give.  That thing only government can do.  Cut tax rates (see Business groups push for business-friendly tax reform by Bernie Becker posted 10/12/2011 on The Hill).

The National Federation of Independent Business, the Independent Community Bankers of America and more than 40 other groups are calling on key policymakers to tackle both the individual and the corporate tax codes together and to end double taxation on corporations.

“By embracing these broad concepts, Congress can move the taxation of business income in a direction that helps ensure that all employers, regardless of how they are organized, continue to invest and create jobs here in America,” the groups wrote to the top Democrat and Republican on both the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means panels.

The Left keep saying businesses don’t object to high taxes and costly regulations.  The Keynesian economists like to cite poll after poll that business owners’ only concern is the lack of demand.  And then interpreting that as meaning that they want government to invest and stimulate the private economy.  But these businesses are saying otherwise.  They’re saying it is the high taxes.

The Obama administration also has, so far at least, spent more time pushing for corporate tax reform, while Republicans like Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, want a more comprehensive approach.

Camp has taken that stance in large part because many small businesses, called pass-through entities, pay their taxes through the individual code and would be left behind in any corporate-only reform.

And it’s worse than that.  Obama wants to raise taxes on these ‘pass-through’ entities.  To make them pay their ‘fair share’.  Those so called rich people earning $250,000 or more.  These small business owners whose business incomes ‘pass through’ to their private tax returns.  These same people that have risked everything they own to create a business.  And create jobs.  Who are, in fact, the number one job creators in the country.  But many fail.  And lose everything.  These are the rich people that Obama wants to raise the tax rates on.

Public School Education is Bad because Dumbing Down of our Kids is Necessary to Fool our Young Voters

Which calls into question the bedrock of all their policy.  Tax and spend Keynesian economics (see SCHOLAR COMMENTARY by Matthew Mitchell posted 10/10/2011 on Mercatus Center).

Sargent and Sims’s work is particularly relevant today as it explains the way that peoples’ expectations of the future can impact their current behavior. This is reflected in every economics story today that uses the phrase “policy uncertainty.”

Their work came along at a time when Keynesian economic models were facing challenges: There were theoretical challenges by economists like Milton Friedman and Robert Lucas, both of whom have previously won Nobel Prizes, but there were also empirical challenges. Keynesian economics didn’t seem to make much sense of the 1970s when the economy experienced high unemployment and high inflation, whereas it had worked pretty well in explaining macroeconomic trends in the 1960s.

The problem with the faux science Keynesian economics (a social science not a real science) is that it tries to quantify human behavior.  Which is something many people believe we can’t do.  Those in the Austrian school of economics.  Ronald ReaganMargaret Thatcher.  And most economists not wedded to their governments.

The 1970s were the heyday of Keynesian economics.  Even Republican Richard Nixon adopted Keynesian policy and declared he was a Keynesian, too.  Then Jimmy Carter continued many of these same policies.  And how did that work?  You can ask Jimmy Carter.  Who lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide.  By asking a simple question during a presidential debate.  Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Part of these failures had to do with the fact that these earlier Keynesian models relied on people’s naiveté. They worked so long as people could be fooled by government. For example, government-induced inflation might boost the economy if enough producers are fooled into thinking that higher prices are the result of increased demand for their products. Sargent’s work explains how people’s beliefs about the future impact their behavior. He found that if you make modest assumptions about peoples’ ability to understand how policy will affect their future, Keynesian policy prescriptions like short-term fiscal or monetary stimulus don’t work very well.

And there’s your answer to why the quality of our public school education is lagging other countries.  It’s not the money.  It’s the curriculum.  And the dumbing down of our kids.  So government can fool them.  To make them believe bad economic policies are good.  So these young voters keep voting for them.  Which is important to them.  Because once people wise up, they lose their votes.

As Long as there is a Democrat Politician Somewhere there will be a Vote to Buy

The best government policy for investing in the private sector is no policy.  Successful companies don’t need help.  They just need to be left alone.  So they can do what they do best.  Create great things.  And jobs.

Higher taxes do not create jobs.  They destroys jobs.  At least according to those who create jobs.

And the tax and spend Keynesian myth of active government participation has been debunked once again.  By real economists.  This time by the Nobel in Economics winners.  Sargent and Sims.  Thus proving once again that you can’t quantify human behavior.  And that people consider more than the interest rate before spending their money.

So you’d think this would put an end to any further stimulus spending.  But no.  Because stimulus spending isn’t about stimulus.  It’s about getting votes.  And as long as there is a Democrat politician somewhere there will be a vote to buy.

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LESSONS LEARNED #26: “If we need Big Government to protect us from ourselves, then our public schools can’t be the best place to learn.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 12th, 2010

WE ARE WHAT they teach us.  And here is a little of what our teachers taught us.  And a little of what we learned by observation.

WHEN I WAS in grade school, our teachers went on strike.  It was great.  Another week or so of summer vacation.  But I saw a curious thing.  Some of my classmates were carrying picket signs.  And there they were, walking with the teachers.  I could not understand why anyone would want to help to end an extended summer vacation.  That’s all I knew about a teacher’s strike.  I had no idea why they didn’t want to go back to work.  I just knew it meant I didn’t have to go back to school yet.

The signs my fellow students carried said something about making our schools better.  As kids typically don’t like being in school, I couldn’t imagine they thought much about improving the educational system.  Other than greatly shortening the school day.  And school year.  But giving a pay raise to our teachers?  Giving them more benefits?  How, exactly, was that going to make school better?  I mean, if they got more pay and benefits, our education would get worse, not better.  They would just transfer money from the classroom to the teachers.  Unless the city raised property taxes to replace the classroom money that was given to the teachers.  And that would only increase the household costs of these kids’ parents.  Meaning less presents at Christmas.  Couldn’t these kids see the folly of their ways?

Of course they couldn’t.  They were just useful pawns.  They hadn’t the foggiest idea why teachers go on strike.  The teachers told them what to say.  What to think.  And they lied to these kids.  They weren’t striking because they wanted more money and better benefits.  Which they were.  No.  They told these innocent children that they were striking so they could have a better art department.  A better music department.  Better field trips.  That’s why these teachers were on the picket lines.  For the children.  And that every time there were cuts in the classroom, it was because of the greed of their parents who didn’t approve a millage.  Or who bitched about rising property taxes.  It was never their OWN greed.  Never that.

WE HAD A mock election when I was in 7th grade.  It was an ‘exercise in democracy’.  I remember voting for the Democrat candidate.  I don’t know why.  I knew nothing about politics.  I had only recently quit playing with my toy cars.  I was still reading The Hardy Boys mystery novels.  And thinking about the pretty girls in class.  What I don’t remember was spending much time thinking about the presidential election.  But there I was, voting for the Democrat candidate.  Who won in our little mock election.  But how did I, as well as my fellow students, know enough about politics to vote for the Democrat candidate?

Obviously, they taught us what to think.  That the Democrat candidate was the better candidate.  Because he was for the working man.  And cared about the little people.  That the Democrats cared about education.  Not profits.  All these touchy feely things.  Which was about all a kid could understand.  A kid can’t understand monetary or fiscal policy.  The intricacies of foreign policy.  They don’t have a clue about those things.  But kids do know that they should play nice.  And that’s what the Democrats are all about.  Playing nice.  And providing political muscle for the teachers’ unions in exchange for votes.  And obedient little minds of mush that will one day become voters.

I HAD A speech/debate class in high school.  Our teacher used the latest in progressive teaching methods.  A lot of touchy feely stuff.  Feel more than think.  We often did these exercises where the class as a whole debated the pros and cons of a particular position.  One day we went through a list of five or so.  I found the last one interesting.  It was about a ‘death ray’.

I had recently watched a program about nuclear weapons.  I learned that the size of their warheads was a function of the accuracy of the weapons.  They needed a big radius of destruction to guarantee the destruction of the target.  This is true for all weapon systems, conventional or nuclear.  The less accurate they are, the bigger the destructive force required.  (Whereas smart weapons today can have smaller warheads because they can be steered onto target.)  The more accurate the weapon, the less destructive it can be.  The less collateral damage there would be.  Less civilian dead.  The lesson described the ‘death ray’ as a weapon of pinpoint accuracy.  Based on what I just recently learned, I thought that it would be very interesting to discuss the pros of such a weapon.

When we finished discussing the position before the ‘death ray’, he said something like it was obvious that no one would argue for such a weapon system.  So there was no point in discussing it.  And then, as an afterthought, he said “unless someone does” with a condescending smirk.  I raised my hand.  I began to make some positive points.  He cut me off.  There was to be no discussion in favor of any weapon system in his class.  Turns out he was anti-war.  Free speech was one thing but not when you disagree with the program.

TWO BOOKS THAT that stand out from high school that were required reading are The Grapes of Wrath and Johnny Got His Gun.  You couldn’t find a couple of more depressing books if you tried.  The Grapes of Wrath was about the plight of a family who lost the farm during the dust bowl of the Great Depression.  In it you learned that bankers were evil.  Rich people were evil.  That Big Business was evil and exploited the poor.  Whereas poor people were virtuous.  And only poor people helped other poor people.  That Big Government was good and helped the poor people.  That FDR’s New Deal was good and helped the poor people.  That unions are good and protect those who Big Business exploits.  You get the picture?  Democrats good.  Republicans bad.  Because the Democrats take care of the little guy.  And evil bankers and fat cats are all Republicans.  Or so we were taught.

Johnny Got His Gun is an anti-war book.  It’s about a U.S. veteran of World War I.  Joe Bonham.  He lost about every part of the human body you could.  And yet they kept him alive.  I read it in the 10th grade.  Young and impressionable, I saw the folly of war.  War hurt good, young men like poor Joe Bonham.  (Incidentally, the name ‘Bonham’?  It’s from the French ‘bon homme’, good man.)  A pity only the anti-war crowd read it.  Apparently no one read it in Germany or Italy or the Soviet Union.  Maybe if their citizens did read it World War II would not have broken out.  Thankfully for the free world, though, men did serve in the armed forces despite what happened to poor Joe Bonham.  And they saved liberty.  And the burning of books did not spread further.  And books like this, because of men who did pick up a gun, remain in the public school curriculum.

Of course, you know why they (the public school teachers) are anti-war, don’t you?  It’s simple.  Any money spent on the military is money not spent on them.

I HAD AN electronics teacher in high school who was really cool.  He let us drink coffee in class (or, should I say, cream and sugar with some coffee).  He’d send a student across the street to buy donuts to eat with our coffee.  And he taught us how to build little black boxes that could unscramble scrambled television.  He was also a pretty good teacher.  A PNP transistor symbol?  The arrow was P-N (peein’) on the base.  (An NPN transistor symbol pointed away from the base.)  The resistor color code?  Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.  The whore.  (Hey, this stuff was funny when you’re only 16 years old.)  He even set up an interview for me at an electronic repair shop.  He liked being a teacher.  But he enjoyed doing concrete flatwork, too.  One of those things he did to pay the bills while in college.  And kept doing after college.  And that’s what he did during the summer, the peak of the construction season.  And made good money doing it.

MY MOM WORKED as a volunteer at my grade school.  She got to know the teachers pretty well.  She even went to their homes.  One lived not too far away from us.  I went with her once or twice.  Talk about surreal.  Seeing your teacher outside the school.  Acting so un-teacher-like.  Wearing something she doesn’t wear to school.  Having fun.  Laughing and joking.  And seeing her being a mom to her own kids.  That was weird.  We treated her politely and with respect in school.  Her kids whined “maaaa” at home just like I did when I was at home.  My teacher was just a normal person.  Human, almost.

But what really struck me then was that though they lived in the same general area as we did, they had more.  Bigger house.  With nicer stuff.  A newer car in the driveway.  More presents under their Christmas tree.  And in bigger boxes.  It was a ‘blue-collar’ neighborhood.  Her husband was a ‘blue-collar’ worker.  Just like my dad.  But my mom volunteered.  My teacher was, well, a teacher.  The ultimate second income in a two income family.  Good pay and benefits.  And no child care to worry about.  Teachers are off when their kids are off.  Holidays.  Breaks.  Snow days.  And, of course, summer vacation.  It just didn’t get better for a working mom.

IT IS INTERESTING that people become more conservative with age.  They may start out Democrat.  But after working awhile or raising a family, they often become Republican.  Not all of them.  But a lot.  The net number of people changing from Democrat to Republican far exceeds those changing from Republican to Democrat.  If there are any.  Other than for political reasons (in a desperate attempt to get reelected by switching parties).  That’s why the Democrats depend on the youth vote.  Because the youth vote is an uninformed voted.  They haven’t been deprogrammed yet.  They still toe the party line.  Because they don’t know any better.  Yet.

As we work and live in the real world, though, away from the insulated life of home or the college campus, things change.  We get older.  And wiser.  Less naive.  Less idealistic.  Less ignorant.  That’s why there is a net change from Democrat to Republican.  We grow up.  And start thinking for ourselves.  And try as they might during our public school indoctrination, we stop being sheep.  Eventually.  We strop bleating their mantra.  ‘Big Government good.  Private sector bad’.  Why?  Because we see that public school teachers and government workers live a lot better than we do.  This privileged few, this ruling elite, continue to take from us and respond with condescending arrogance when we complain.  Angry that we don’t mind our place in the lower strata of society.  Where we belong.

And they are nervous.  They can only maintain their elite status as long as we pay for it.  The more we learn, though, the less we are willing to support this aristocracy.  And they know it.  So they try to keep us dumbed down.  For an educated constituency is the greatest threat to Big Government.  And the public school system.  This self-proclaimed aristocracy.

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