Good intentions are not enough, we must also have good outcomes.

Right now, there are literally thousands of people protesting in the streets all over America about the daily harassment from hundreds of “good intention” laws that police use as excuses to force confrontations.

Social distancing and mask mandates are just another example in a long line of well intended, but poorly conceived and inconsistently enforced policies that always come to harm the most vulnerable communities.

Govt is always reluctant to give up power it can use for unearned influence, especially when it’s enforcement is arbitrary and subjective.

As mask wearing loses popularity, and people see less actual benefit as well as less social benefit, the community members who are already empowered will feel comfortable wearing them less or abandoning them altogether. This will naturally grow until an unspoken consensus will be reached with most people simply not wearing masks even though they are still legally mandated.

As fewer and fewer people wear masks voluntarily, businesses will enforce their wearing less and less both for employees and for customers, police are disinclined to rigidly enforce unpopular laws, and eventually, even county health departments will back down and simply ignore widespread scofflaws.

As a social stigma on mask wearing balances back towards disinterest, disenfranchised communities will find themselves unevenly targeted for enforcement, as ardent advocates for mask wearing continue to vocally call for increasingly harsh enforcement (to counter the widespread “lawlessness”) while also quietly and privately dismissing them.

This will place the disabled, communities of color, LBGT+, poor and disenfranchised residents at a disadvantage in their own businesses and communities.

The longer the mandate stays in place, while people decline to comply, the more corruption and graft will grow around abuse of power in enforcement. When the county health department can shut down your business at a moments notice because customers violated a rule that no one is following, and due process is completely thrown out the window, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room if any reputable, but corrupt, individual makes threats and demands.

When you can be arrested, and prosecuted, for not following a rule that no one else is following, you similarly have little wiggle room if extrajudicial demands are made on you by corrupt law enforcement.

This is why govt mandates are always bad. Govt enforcement of even the best intentions will fall most harshly on those without power.

Voluntary adoption of any best practice is the best way to safeguard all of our rights and all of our health.

If you read all this and rolled your eyes, or quietly called “bullshit”, please take a moment to think back to those thousands of people protesting in the streets all over America and the daily harassment from hundreds of these “good intention” nuisance laws.

If even one person is harmed from a mandate, where have the good intentions gone?

We would never discourage anyone from wearing a mask if they wish, we hope that everyone is informed of unlikely, but real, risks associated with use.

Be kind, wear a mask if you want, mind your own business, keep up all good habits equally.

#ThinkLibertarian

Resources to learn more: 

Covid Is About to Become the Newest Excuse for Police Brutality

https://www.thenation.com/article/society/coronavirus-police-brutality/

‘That’s abysmal’: NYC politicians outraged after NYPD reveals 81 percent of social distancing arrests have been minorities

https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-social-distancing-enforcement-20200508-taominwawrhtlajdqjqf5gbdce-story.html

Early Data Shows Black People Are Being Disproportionally Arrested for Social Distancing Violations

https://www.propublica.org/article/in-some-of-ohios-most-populous-areas-black-people-were-at-least-4-times-as-likely-to-be-charged-with-stay-at-home-violations-as-whites

DeWine “safety working” groups favor campaign donors

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

– Milton Friedman

It sounds reasonable at first. Create “working groups” to gather experts in different industries, such as restaurants, salons, and gyms, to form customized plans that best protect workers and customers.

Sounds good? Right?

The problem is, these are all heavily regulated businesses, some with hundreds of hours of required training and safety requirements. Each of these businesses are licensed by the state in multiple different ways, each held hostage at this time by an arbitrary and unlawful designation as “non-essential” from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Governor, disallowed to be open, generate revenue to pay employees, bills, rent or income.

It cannot be overstated the tremendous amount of influence the ODH and Governor’s office hold over these Ohioans and their future ability to run their business without harassment, interference and corruption.

These working groups are simply not needed, the ODH and county health departments have already shown a willingness and zeal for creating and enforcing “social distancing” rules, mask requirements, and surely more regulations to come in time. Local police have shown a willingness to enforce these rules, and businesses are already forcing them on employees and customers alike.

In any temporary emergency, this arrangement makes sense. Over time the additional safety burdens will naturally relax on their own, as the public perception of danger decreases well behind the curve of actual danger. The public will be the first to stop adhering so strictly to the safety guidelines, police will grow tired of enforcing unpopular rules that show less and less benefit and eventually the health departments will relax their stance when they find themselves without easy enforcement. (This is how a free people manage themselves.)

These working groups serve three purposes, first they empower member business owners above their peers and grant political rewards for cooperation with unlawful govt influence, the second is to place an emotional and practical distance from the real source of the rule-making and enforcement, along with finger pointing and blame, and the third, most importantly to Mr DeWine and Mr Husted, this incentivises future donors to contribute to their political ambitions and those of their surrogates.

While proposed for crafting “non-binding” recommendations anyone familiar with the scope creep of govt committees knows how quickly these become mandates backed with govt force. Even if they tried to poll all possible members of an industry they can’t account for all concerns or business structures, and will naturally favor their own “expertise” from their own businesses over non-participants. Over time such groups wander from their original intention and begin pushing pet policies that benefit their individual members and place burdens on current and future competitors. Needless to say, while self-regulation is the goal of any open market, a regulation committee that is openly backed by obvious political influence cannot operate properly as a moderating mechanism for any market. The politicians, and opportunist business persons, will always lean heavily on the levers to favor their own agenda.

If this sounds sinister or paranoid look at recent events, look at history, look at the donor lists and “working group” members and decide for yourself. There are plenty of examples of “good intentions” that go horribly wrong, where even seemingly benign “advisory” groups create new bizarre burdens on small business. There are many more examples of politically motivated committees designed to carve power out of lucrative industries. 

Our political masters have seized on an opportunity to flip our world upside-down, re-write the rules of our society and they are taking full advantage. Make no mistake, while the coronavirus may have precipitated a health care crisis, the Governor and his cronies are creating an economic and political disaster to elevate their own interests long after this virus has been defeated.

Over 1 million Ohioans have been forced out of work, left to a broken unemployment system, without income for 4 or more weeks and forced to choose between food and rent, begging for help. These are our neighbors, friends and family. This might be you. They are increasingly desperate. They may agree to any govt condition that lets us get back to work and avoid being evicted, foreclosure or going hungry.
The coronavirus has not sickened or caused the death of enough Ohioans to cause this second calamity. This second disaster is entirely man-made, and crafted as a power play writ large against our entire state.

I call on all liberty minded Ohioans to stand against obvious and subtle power grabs, wrapped in the guise of public safety.
If you cannot protest in public, protest online.
If you cannot take time away from work or family, write a letter to the local newspaper pointing out this abuse of power and trust.
If you can afford it, donate, if you have the time, volunteer, if you have the will Run for Office.
We cannot sit back and hope for the best, we must take action, even if only to prevent our family and neighbors from needless additional suffering.

Stay vigilant and be safe.

#ThinkLibertarian

DeWine Forms Working Groups for Next Reopening Phase
https://woub.org/2020/05/02/dewine-forms-working-groups-for-next-reopening-phase/

Dozen Members of DeWine, Husted’s Ohio Economic Advisory Board Are Campaign Donors
https://tennesseestar.com/2020/05/05/dozen-members-of-dewine-husteds-economic-advisory-board-are-campaign-donors/?fbclid=IwAR02omnAVjla9JS1WFwrqU-

It’s That Time Of Year

Once again we reach that time of year where we are given the privilege of participating in the governance of our communities.  Once again candidates promise the voters things they can’t possibly deliver.  Once again voters believe them.

Also, once again, you will be told that you only have two choices, Republican or Democrat.

Once again, that is a lie.

I have never seen anywhere outside of police state efforts directed solely to limit voter’s choices at elections.

The State of Ohio has already knocked the Green Party off the ballot and tried to knock one of our own candidates off but were thwarted by the Ohio Supreme Court (thank you Rob Bender).

I’ve no doubt they will try again in 2020.

The only way to stop that is to make our voices heard and on Tuesday, November 5th, we will have the chance to do just that.

We have three endorsed candidates running for offices in Franklin County in this election: Tricia Sprankle, running for City Attorney in Gahanna, Jennifer Flower, running for Prairie Township Trustee, and Rob Bender, running for Reynoldsburg City Council for Ward 3.

If you live in these communities you can help put these three into office, but only if you actually vote.

To quote a line from Babylon 5, “If we don’t create the future, someone else will.”

Ken Holpp, Communications Director, FCLPO.

Enough Already!

It’s been a rough weekend around here.  In the span of just a couple of days we’ve had two, two, mass shootings leaving in its wake dozens of families now having to think about planning funerals for the ones they lost rather then spending the time with them that they never will again.

And already the gloves have come off.

Almost instantly, people from both sides of the gun control issue have begun shouting their views and pointing their fingers and raging against each other.

Can we not stop for just a moment and let the families grieve before tearing at each other’s throats?

But I’m not here to talk about guns.

I’m here to talk about people.

I’ve watched in recent years as the rhetoric in our country has descended from civil debates to the level of drunken bar room brawls. Politicians, in their bids to gain support, constantly paint “The Other” as the source of society’s problems.

“If you have a different skin colour and espouse different views, you should go back to where you came from!”

“If you have a different skin colour, I’m going to call the police every time you walk your dog through MY park!”

“If you protest MY President I’m gonna jump out of my truck and punch you repeated in the face! I don’t care if you are 61 years old!”

Seriously? Is this who we’ve become?

We can debate guns until we’re all blue in the face, and I’m sure we will, but that’s going to solve our problem. The only way to solve our problem is to start treating people like people again.

We need to recognize the mental health issues that drive people to commit these acts and address them before hand…and that means getting involved in each other’s lives. Get to know the people who live around you and talk to them and with them. Treat everyone with the same kindness and compassion that you wish to be treated with.

If everyone did this, maybe you’d see incidents like ths weekend’s go down and possibly even stop altogether.  And the beauty of it is no governments need apply.  People being kind to people, people looking out for each other, people caring for each other enough to step in when they see a potential problem requires no special funding, no special agencies, no government oversight.  Just simple human kindness.

It’s time those who wish to lead us preach hopes and dreams and not hate and fear because hate and fear can only lead to violence.

And I’ve had about enough of that.

That’s my two-cents.

Ken Holpp, Communications Director, Franklin County Libertatian Party.

Government Laws Are Not Contracts

Reprinted with kind permission from Mises.org

Despite what you were taught in school, governance is ugly; in all forms, and at all times. Don’t believe me? Attend a meeting of a local governing entity. You will find the council — omnipotent by vote, omniscient by delusion — seated before you at the table. All night long, they’ll bicker and battle all the while proposing and dissecting plans and schemes with shouts and pounding shoes; Khrushchev moments indeed.

This is the reality of man lording over man, and it’s been that way for eons. Ugly, just plain ugly. And it doesn’t matter the span or purpose of the governing entity. This ugly reality holds equally true for the fist-fighting Taiwanese legislator as for the insult-hurling band booster. Power corrupts at all levels.

One other aspect of governance appears to be consistent at every level: the broader the scope of the proposed plan or idea, the further they reach beyond the stated bounds of the entity, the more receptive a hearing that the entity’s council will give to the idea. Everyone dreams grandiose dreams, whether during solitary reflective moments or while monopolizing the public microphone. But it’s the bully at the public mic, entertaining the media and sparse audience, whose dreams we must fear.

Given that these aspects are inherent in the essence of power, the issue is not how to improve systems of governance, but how to control their scope.

Because enforced contract law and full property rights are the foundations of freedom, governance systems should be based on enforceable contracts that defend property rights. The concepts of general welfare and public good have no place in such systems, as the intent of those ideals is to break contracts and trespass on property.

Governance — government — must be limited in a manner that is akin to a legal, binding contract, where rights are understood and unchanging. While a contract-based system will not change the ugly aspects of the lording class, it will limit the effects that the omnipotent and omniscient have on your pursuit of happiness.

The best way to compare the current systems of unbounded authority with that of contract-based systems is to attend meetings of a homeowners association and meetings at a local township hall. Both entities have documents that define the span and purpose of their respective assemblies, yet only the contract-based system shows any real restraint. Certainly, both dream of utopia, but only the homeowners association must accept the inherent realities of signed agreements.

In Ohio, townships can pass comprehensive plans and zoning codes in order to create orderly communities. Zoning codes are supposed to provide hard, fast rules akin to a written contract between community members with township officials acting as enforcers. Yet, zoning codes are perceived by the marginal vote getters and their appointed minions as something else entirely. In the hands of the township officials, zoning codes are, in the words of Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean when referring to the concept of parley, “…more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”

Consider this situation: You moved into an area that is zoned as a conservation district where developments are limited to 1 home per acre, with natural exteriors, and abundant green space. You desired to live in your neighborhood since it is within the conservation district, an area that meets the development standards you prefer. You had assumed that the zoning codes in place would protect you from development based on subjectively lower standards.

After living in your new home for a year or so, you catch a notice in the local paper that your township is considering a proposed development on the fallow farm fields and woods that abut your backyard. So, you attend the zoning hearings to see what will become of your backyard vista. At those meetings you quickly remember the prescient words of Barbossa.

The zoning commissioners are willing to trade homes per acre, natural exteriors, and green space for a donation of an offsite piece of land for a future community park or fire station. Sure, you hold the zoning codes — still in force — in your hands as if it is a contract to be enforced by the township, yet the zoning commissioners and township trustees see that document as the starting point for exactions and extractions; what the developer considers extortion by other means.

You can complain and shout, but the governance system that you have encountered has no consideration for your assumed contract. The commissioners and trustees only care about their grandiose plans for a utopian community. Your long-term vision of your local neighborhood, based on current regulations, just met their long-term vision of posterity; the one where future residents sing praises to the plans and vision of the current ruling elite.

Now, consider the homeowners association (HOA). Certainly, the same taste of power has corrupted the key players. They have dreams too, but their dreams are limited by the restrictive covenant that governs use of the property covered by the association. Sure, they send out a monthly newsletter with words of wisdom regarding how residents should live their lives, but they can’t do anything about it. The concepts of general welfare and public good are not defined on the deed filed at the county offices as purposes of the association.

Now, I’m not saying that some residents will not suffer the occasional annoyance as HOA trustees hold the color pallet against your mailbox to verify the hue of the stain which you applied, but they can’t change the usage of your neighbor’s property from residential to commercial. Nor can they subdivide properties or dig up sidewalks. The HOA members have utopian dreams, but contracts limit their reality to mending fences and mulching entrance ways.

Other than showing excessive exuberance at times, the HOAs are typically indicted in the press when the singular property owner wants to turn his front yard into a memorial for the flag, replete with search lights and a continually repeating sample of Taps. What’s worse, the property owner knowingly agreed to such restrictions prior to purchasing the property. The homeowner, attempting to trample on the agreement, is hailed as the last defender of Lady Liberty herself, while the HOA, defending its contract with all homeowners, is perceived as evil incarnate.

Such inconveniences and annoyances are nothing compared to the damaged resulting from unbounded governance. As you move up the governmental food chain, you will find that each subsequent level reaps more damage, more ills. At the federal level, it is as if no bounds exist anymore. Sure, the separate branches mention the Constitution, but only as a means to pervert its moral authority.

Some will claim that the Constitution is our written contract, binding rule of law, and restrictive covenant, yet its perversion would seem to imply that contract governments, whether constitutional public or anarcho-libertarian private, are bound to fail.

But, not so fast. For the private supplier of governance, the entrepreneur across the street offering a similar service is enough of a threat to keep private governing bodies in line.

On the other hand, the political class simply requires rumblings from the masses. Rumble, and they shall fear. Shout, and they shall bend. Scream, and they shall wither.

The ilk that sit at the head of the table, whether local, state, or national, are most concerned about keeping their power and status. These are not men and women of principles. They are simply power seekers. They will wither and do as told once this great nation says, “Stop! Respect the Constitution.” They would rather flip and flop than risk the next election.

The ruling elite know this, that’s why they utilize a coerced education system to perpetuate their nonsense. Yet, a simple booklet such as the comic version of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom can turn enough minds to shake the tables of power. But, just because many have lost sight of “Don’t Tread on Me,” doesn’t mean all is lost. A little more education, a stronger tug on the collar of the elected, and the direction toward socialism could reverse overnight.

So, whether your concept of government is constitutional public or anarcho-libertarian private, contract governments will work. They’ll be messy, the public version will take conviction of the governed, but their scope will not creep onto your property and liberty.

Jim Fedako, Contributer

Hate To Say I Told You So

One of the few perks about being a third party candidate after an election is the eventual collective realization that your campaign was right about most of the things you said, despite the fact this realization happens too late for it to matter. Of course, by “perk” I mean sometimes it’s just nice to say “I told you so” after everyone seemed to ignore your contribution to the political discussion. Whether it happens to be our various stances on an assortment of issues or what we predicted that our establishment, two-party opponents would eventually do if elected (despite what they said they’d do) it’s something third party candidates from local to federal office often get used to in the year after the dust has settled.

Naturally, as the Libertarian candidate for governor of Ohio in 2018, these “I told you so” moments keep popping up as my once-opponent Mike DeWine continues to live up to what I told people he would do and more. Yes, when DeWine said that his Democratic opponent Rich Cordray would raise taxes to pay for road repairs, many of us knew this was just another trick in DeWine’s political bag, as he’s been a “tax and spend Republican” himself for decades. I called him as much at multiple Tea Party meetings last year to little fanfare or recognition. Sure enough, one of DeWine’s first big acts as Governor was to advocate for an 18 cent increase on Ohio’s gas tax. At least Cordray had the courtesy to tell the truth, saying he’d put a bond issue in front of the voters, in comparison to DeWine’s boldfaced lie.

Then there’s the issue of guns, a real soft spot in DeWine’s political record that we tried to exploit in 2018 and once again were proven correct. DeWine has since announced that he’s going to look into a “red flag” law that would take guns away from “high risk” individuals in Ohio — obviously something that he chose not to bring up on the campaign trail. Whatever your stance is on gun rights, even the most vocal criticsknow that “red flag” laws can result in a slippery slope of accusations without merit, as evidenced by several instances in states where these laws have gone into effect.

But DeWine’s eventual turnaround was just another chapter in his 40+ year stint in politics, one that the more politically astute knew was coming after the election. We tried to warn people on both sides, whatever their political beliefs, to no avail. Now both conservatives and liberals have to live with the consequences while we third party candidates can only post eyeroll emojis on social media.

Of course, it’s not just the third party soothsaying that applies to DeWine — there have been plenty of policy positions that I advocated for that have come to fruition in some form or another as well. The state legislature is thankfully taking up criminal justice reform, which has been badly needed in Ohio for decades, especially with the opioid crisis ravaging our state. Republicans and Democrats, perhaps with some encouragement because of the Issue 1 campaign, are looking to treat Ohio’s drug problem as a health issue, not a criminal issue. This was something I advocated for throughout 2018, especially as people across the state told me their own stories about how the opioid crisis was impacting them.

Similarly, Ohio’s medical marijuana program is finally rolling alongslowly but surely, as dispensaries across the state are opening despite the state’s backwards way of doing things. Growers and producers of marijuana products are now somewhat operational, leading to a less-than-largesse rollout of products for patients. This was something I said needed to be fast tracked since the program was approved over two years ago, especially because marijuana has been proven to help fight such things as opioid addiction. Thankfully things are now moving in the right direction, albeit slowly.

Again, this is the bittersweet aftermath of being a third party candidate, no matter what election you run in. You can be right as much as you’d like, but likely no one will realize it until it’s too late. I used to watch Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson talk ad nauseam about the need for criminal justice reform and the benefits of legalizing marijuana in America. The pain of knowing we were right while we didn’t have any chance of winning didn’t seem to phase Johnson, to his credit. But in my case in 2018, I knew I was advocating for policies that would have affected many voters in a positive way, whether they knew it or not. It is this mere sliver of joy that makes telling people “I told you so” after the fact worth it, although I’m starting to hate to have to do it.

Travis Irvine, 2018 Libertarian candidate for Governor

Franklin County Libertarian Party strongly opposes Ohio House Bill 6.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRANKLIN COUNTY LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF OHIO
DATE:  MAY 29, 2019

Ohio House Bill 6 will negatively impact Franklin County residents and businesses by raising electric bills and unjustly subsidizing corporations with taxpayer money. It is for these reasons that Franklin County Libertarian Party strongly urges the Ohio House and Senate to reject this legislation.
House Bill 6 intends to repeal Ohio’s current clean energy Renewable Portfolio Standards and create a new program; the Ohio Clean Air Program.
This bill will increase electric rates for consumers by $1.00 per month to supply The Clean Air Program’s fund. This “Clean Air Fund” would then use its revenue to subsidize two unprofitable nuclear power plants in Northeast Ohio.
House Bill 6 also intends to legislate permission for two coal plants, one in Southwest Ohio and one in Indiana, to charge Ohioans in their regions an additional $2.50 per month fee to ensure the plants’ profitability.
The Franklin County Libertarian Party stands for free market principles, and this bill is in direct contradiction to our beliefs. This bill artificially inflates electricity costs for consumers and businesses. This bill also artificially props up unprofitable energy producers who have spent years lobbying for government subsidization. Taxpayers should not be held responsible for poor business decisions that have led to these four power plant’s financial trouble.
We urge our members and partners in opposition to speak out against this harmful legislation, and we urge legislators to stand against cronyism and vote against House Bill 6 and it’s Senate companion.


Our activism is only possible with your support.

Donate | Volunteer | Run for Office

For The People By The People

Despite its hypocrisy on many levels, the American Government’s stated principles are a great design for managing the necessity of government.  It facilitates a “free market” while keeping the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of its citizens the primary purpose.  We have lost that primary purpose of the American Government.  The American Government is now just a king, his court and the rich “nobility” (aka large corporations) trying to figure out how to make themselves richer.  The average citizen no longer has any rights other than to support the cause of the rich getting richer.

We have been lulled to sleep and distracted by America’s newest scandal (The Apprentice- The Presidential episodes) while the actual pillars that make America great have crumbled only to be replaced by the same system of inequality and injustice America was “created” to avoid.

Every politician in the state of Ohio is among the rich and elite.  In Ohio the estimated net worth of the richest politician was $23,005,561 in 2015 with a median net worth of $3,813,525 (according to opensecrets.org) .  Meanwhile, the median household income in Ohio is less than $55,0000  and the median net worth for US citizens is $81,850 (2014).  This means that from a financial point of view, we no longer have a government of the people.  Our government now serves the needs of large corporations with huge market value and rich political donors, exclusively.  This includes the lobbyist-regulator-lobbyist revolving door.

How can we demand a government provide a free market system that works for and protects citizens when the people who make up the government, financially, only reflect the top 10% of the population?   Didn’t we have a revolutionary war to fight against the tyranny of kings and the filthy rich who tax, extort and abuse everyone else?

Protecting the citizens is not an obstruction to free markets but rather it is the essential essence of free markets.  Our country is knee deep in an economic conflict that will determine if the principles of our country remain consistent for generations to come.  It is imperative that our elected officials truly reflect the citizen population they represent and in 2019, they do not.

In conclusion, we need to return to the small government, representative democracy: for the people, by the people.  That’s what truly Makes America Great! The new “American Oligarchy” run by the unholy trinity of the elite, Big Business and Big government does not make America Great, it makes America suck.  This new oligarchy only serves its own interests and hinders the prosperity of the American people.  It traps the freedom and wealth of America in the top 10% causing the 90% to struggle to make ends meet with subpar wages and the nearly impossible task of navigating through miles of red tape and astronomical fees (with no mention at all of the capital needed) just to start a small business and actually participate in the free markets.  We need to return to real free markets and the small government, representative democracy spelled out in the Constitution of the United States of America. A democracy where WE THE PEOPLE of the United States govern ourselves.

Vote Libertarian!

By James and Jira Simpson, FCLPO At-Large Member 

The Freedom to Reject the Best

Posted to Mises.org 08/08/2006

A new study suggests that private schools are not inherently better than public schools. Surprised? Enough people were such that the study, funded by the US Department of Education, has created a stir in the education arena, as well as in the national news. But I want to argue that the results are meaningless, and for reasons not having to do with the methodology employed in the study.

The authors of Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyzed math and reading scores of nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 500 private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress at the fourth and eighth grades. NAEP was the chosen assessment tool since it is considered to be the national achievement test and is used to assess student academic performance against national standards.

Though the title sounds impressive, the findings simply suggest a conclusion. Nothing has really been proven and no new truths exposed. I could begin by questioning the whole concept of empirical studies that suggest this or suggest that. I could ask, “What truths have been brought to light by any study that is couched in such a vague qualifier?” I could attack all the assumptions that went into the model and then list those that did not. Had I gone that route, I hopefully would have raised enough doubt in the reader that the study would be discarded as worthless.

But the real error here is more philosophical than empirical. Studies such as these simply show that a deeper ill exists, a malaise caused by government interventionism.

Consider Consumer Reports

The popular magazine reviews consumer goods based on a proprietary set of standards. They test, analyze, test, analyze, etc., until they are satisfied as to the quality of the products under review. CR then assigns individual product ratings and notes one product as a best buy. Though most Americans accept CR’s results as being of excellent quality, the noted best buy is not usually the market best-seller. Yes, I will occasionally look at CR prior to purchasing a good, but I almost never buy the best buy. I agree that the CR results are scientifically valid based on their standards, but that doesn’t mean I am in the market for the scientifically valid, CR best-buy product.

Though it may only last six months, I want the new hairdryer complete with the latest features, bathed in the hottest colors. That’s my choice. My preference rank for features and colors is above that for durability. Who is to say that I am wrong? In a free market, anyone. But, they cannot force me to act otherwise.

What would happen if Consumer Reports had legislative and regulatory authority akin to government? We would all be forced to purchase the best buy and we would all spend our lives unsatisfied. On the surface it sounds great to have a leading research organization controlling the market for “the general good and welfare,” but consider your own actions vis-à-vis CR’s best buys.

The same holds for a government-run education system. Even if the federal government mandated a set of standards that were scientifically valid according to the DOE national outcomes, the set of standards and outcomes would not be the standards and outcomes most Americans would choose as acting individuals.

Scientific research can create goods that are bigger, smaller, faster, slower, etc. But just because research can create the good doesn’t mean that there is a market for it. No one wants a hypodermic needle that is rougher, wider, longer, etc. The superlatives associated with improvements and innovations from scientific research are not always desired by consumers.

In education, the best that DOE could be is a truly benevolent authority. It could gather the nation’s greatest thinkers to divine standards of education outcomes and employ the top psychometricians, statisticians, etc., to create assessments that are mapped to those standards. At its hypothetical best, this brain-trust would simply function as CR does in the products market. The assessments would be scientifically valid and could rank achievement and note the educational best buy — based on the arbitrary set of DOE standards. But parents and students, as well as community members, teachers, and radicals, etc., would be unsatisfied; just as the consumer would be unsatisfied having to always purchase the CR best buy.

So, what’s the solution? Simply, let the market reign. [1] A free market system of education would create for those who seek different options a system that encourages the implementation of the spectrum of educational choices — best viewed as experiments, just as each new product, service, store, etc., is a market experiment. The successful experiments become the market standard that new entrepreneurs seek to surpass.

These choices would involve all aspects of education — including pedagogies, methodologies, etc. — which would afford all parents the ability to satisfy their desires for their children’s education. Each idea would be evaluated by the parent, the education consumer, ex ante over the summer according to individual preferences and ultimate goals, and once again ex post at the end of each school year.

Parents would choose their standard of results and they would seek out entrepreneurs who would then hire teachers and administrators that could deliver the parents’ vision. The entrepreneurs would purchase products to implement the vision and the science community would be engaged to improve old products and innovate new ones — all due to the market pressures of the freely acting parents, the consumers. This is the proper direction of improvements and innovations, from the consumer back to the scientist, engineer, researcher, etc.

The standards set by the parent would drive the research that would deliver the product, not the reverse. [2] Currently we have a system where the standards are set by a myriad of governments and agencies — standards no one wants or agrees with — and we have a spectrum of research whose real goal is to drive the standards and grab the tax dollars.

There are scientific winners in the field of the delivery of quality, basic education, such as Direct Instructions, etc., but we know a significant number of parents, teachers, and administrators don’t give a hoot about reading, writing, and arithmetic. They want affective learning — the feel-good, Progressive educationist-babble currently in favor — and long for the ideal child, the product of the latest version of Trotsky’s proletarian paradise .

I disagree with them, but their solutions may actually end up being correct, or they will fail. Only a market can show whether a solution is right or wrong.

That said, we have to keep in mind that Consumer Reports creates valid ratings that we mostly ignore, and we are all better off because we continue to make our own choices. Our individual wants drive improvements and innovations to provide for our greater satisfaction. Why should education be any different?

Notes

[1] The free market is the only economic system where we can disagree yet live peacefully. My wife likes Coke while I prefer Pepsi. In fact, I’d rather drink a glass of baking soda than a glass of Coke (OK, a little hyperbole for effect). Due to the free market in soft drinks, my wife and I can live happily ever after. Under interventionism, or plain socialism, the fight becomes which bland flavor will be served by the scowling apparachik wearing a faded Babushka. Choose freedom every time.

[2] Certainly a scientist could act as an entrepreneur prospector and create a product even though no current desire exists. But if they fail to meet future needs, they will suffer financial loses. The current system does not discipline the scientist since government purchases the product whether the education consumer wants it or not.

Reprinted with kind permission from original source.

Posted to Mises.org 08/08/2006

Endorsement for Thomas for LPO Executive Committee Chair

My fellow Ohio Libertarians, we have found ourselves at a new moment in the history of our state party. For the first time in a long time our foundation of volunteers, members and candidates did not implode or vaporize after a major election.
We did not turn on each other with sharpened knives, bicker over fault or point fingers over mistakes made. We did not disappear into the mist of disappointment or compromise our principles for the promises of opposition rhetoric. We have stayed the course, stayed true to our ideals and shown that our courage is more than convenience.
We have calmly reviewed our lessons learned, assessed our strengths and weaknesses and identified where we need focus.
This may seem a minor accomplishment, however, I can assure you it is a monumental tribute to the momentum we have gained and the confidence we have grown. Both for ourselves and the silent witnesses still on the sidelines.
At the core of this achievement is a quiet and resolute leadership. An unwavering commitment to showing up, working harder and assuring that mundane details are in order.
It is with this accomplishment in mind that I am privileged to endorse my friend and mentor, Harold Thomas, for re-election to the role of Chair for the Libertarian Party of Ohio Executive Committee.
It has been my honor and benefit to learn all I can from Mr. Thomas and pay forward his patience, persistence and perspicacity.
When things were at their darkest, Mr. Thomas provided a clear and simple plan, steps for accomplishing growth and building that allowed even our small group to seem like giants. We were emboldened to keep coming back, keep asking “What’s next?” and take seriously our own big ideas. Without the certainty of Mr. Thomas’ support and sounding board of experience, I do not think our investments would have matured as well, or at all.
Mr. Thomas has demonstrated an unswerving ability to collaborate, coordinate and conduct business in a professional manner with all measure of amateurs, dilettantes and gadflies. (I do not use these terms as rebuke for any missing qualities of fellow colleagues and activists, I found myself having fallen through portions, or the entirety, of their definitions over the past 3 years. We have each grown with honest guidance, and given the space needed to spread our wings.)
Mr. Thomas has diligently laid the groundwork for new initiatives and endeavors that put our principles into action and demonstrate the practical benefits of our philosophy.
I encourage each LPO Central Committee member to seek qualities for the role of Chair that reassure our volunteers, donors and candidates, strengthen our alliances internally and without, and communicate clearly when times are good and times are hard.
We have a new kind of opportunity ahead of us, to keep steady our momentum, double down on our investments and prove to ourselves we are here to stay and working to win.
Safe journey.

Michael Sweeney,
Chair, Executive Committee, Franklin County Libertarian Party Of Ohio

Co-Signed,
Chad Harris, Vice Chair, Executive Committee
Pat Hoffman, Treasurer, Executive Committee
Ken Holpp, Secretary, Executive Committee
John Stewart, At Large, Executive Committee