Analysis of Liberal Oppression II
Education, welfare, and pensions
In Part One we examined four instances of the cruel domination of leftist hegemony in Socialism, in Big Government, the War on Middle-Class Culture, and the War on Religion. As I wrote:
To paraphrase Marx, it is high time that the ordinary middle class sets forth an indictment of the current ruling class, and enumerate the vile oppressions and dominations and injustices it has created during its rule of about 100 years.
Now let us continue with:
Education. The notion of child education — extending now into young adulthood — is so universally accepted and celebrated that you wonder what humans did before universal childhood education paid for by taxes. Clearly, the whole point of education is for adults to get a hold of children's minds. That is what is behind the alleged Jesuit claim: "Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man."
Charles Dickens famously represented the schools of his age as vile prisons of mental torture and physical abuse, for which the solution was... what, exactly?
The father of the "common school" in the United States, Horace Mann, predicted in the 1830s that the government school would reduce crime by 90 percent.
Well, we know how that worked out. In the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting in Florida we discovered that, in order to reduce crime statistics, police and education bureaucrats determined, as recommended by the Obama administration, not to put criminal-suspect children into the criminal justice system. And then one day a kid shot up the school. Way to go, bureaucrats!
What we have, in modern government education, is the elite running a system to educate children according to the elite’s model of how children should be educated. But there is not the least effort to discover how the actual parents of the children want their children educated, least of all poor parents.
Or even a double-blind study to compare different models of education with outcomes by race, class, and gender.
So let me ask you: what do poor and minority parents want for their children? Frankly, I haven't a clue, except that I've heard tell that many charter schools are oversubscribed, and that many minority parents like the high-discipline KIPP academies.
Look, this is not surprising. The ruling class thinks of education from inside its liberal bubble as a preparation for a creative and well-connected life, culminating in college and a master's degree and entry into government administration and political activism. Anything else is not that interesting to the rulers.
Plus, of course, since education is a government monopoly, it is almost impossible to change it. To implement an education system that would respond to changing times and to parents you would need a fee-paying market-based education system. But any idea like that terrifies people.
My model for education would be mothers in the neighborhood getting together to teach their kids the basics in co-operative schools, and an end to child labor laws. Yep, why not get Junior running spreadsheets at age 7? However, I would draw the line at allowing children to operate power equipment: some fun things must be reserved for adults. For the poor? Billionaire-financed KIPP academies. Most kids would quit school at 12 or 13 and become interns and apprentices. Anyone wanting to go to college would have to crawl over broken glass to get there. And no student debt, because that just encourages colleges to jack up fees and hire administrators.
That is the only way to end the injustice of liberal-dominated education.
Welfare. The current welfare system is a pension scheme to reward supporters of the government; both the actual welfare clients and the bureaucrats and vendors that benefit from the system. That is all.
Otherwise we would have to come to the uncomfortable notion that the whole idea of government welfare is to break up the families of the poor, and make sure that the poor never rise up into the working class and get a job. And certainly never rise to compete with the middle class for jobs, housing, and good schools in the tonier suburbs.
In the good old days, welfare was run by charities and by mutual-aid associations. There was a strong notion that you only helped people that helped themselves. The charities had a ABCDEFG system. A is for Affliation: who is responsible for this person? EFG is Employment, Freedom, God.
Really, what else would you expect? Government is an armed minority, using taxes to reward its supporters. What does government care of decency, responsibility, self-respect? As long as the punters are voting for our guy the system is working. That's how a politician thinks.
But here is the real injustice. Imagine what happens to the welfare recipient in a place like Venezuela, presently going down the tubes. What is life like for the welfare classes in Venezuela right now? For some reason I read nothing in the media about that. The fact is that if you repose upon your government benefices you are remarkably ill-prepared for life when the government runs out of money. And it is when the government runs out of money, dear lefties, that people turn to the Man on the White Horse, the evil fascist.
Government pensions. Half a century ago, Peter Drucker (I think) observed that defined benefit pensions (that define a pension from the salary earned over the years) could not work because it is impossible to predict 30 years in advance how much an employee should pay in order to enjoy a defined pension at age 65. Anyone that organizes a defined-benefit pension is allocating the risk of providing the future pension to somebody in the future. For instance just this week it was announced that in Seattle, the city employee pension funds made a series of mistakes in investing their funds. So who takes the loss? The city employees? The managers of the pension funds? The insurance companies providing liability insurance to the pension fund managers? The taxpayers?
In fact, while corporations have abandoned the defined-benefit pension plan for "defined-contribution" plans in which the employer just puts funds into an employee pension account the government is still going strong with the defined-benefit plan, all the way from Social Security to the notorious California government employee pension fund, CalPERS, that is likely to cause the State of California to go bankrupt. Actually the defined-benefit pension plan is the perfect fit for politics because it offers glorious vistas of wealth -- way off in the future when other people will have to deal with the fallout.
Obviously defined-benefit pension plans are a monstrous injustice, what I call "generational injustice." They promise a wonderful cornucopia for people now, but require somebody in the future to cough up real cash in order to make good on the promises.
Next up: Housing.