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September 2017

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Modern Conservatism is an Utter Failure

I just had this published in The Daily Caller which you can find here or you can just keep reading…

It is time to admit it; modern conservatism is almost a complete and utter failure.  The long march towards ever expanding and unrestrained government and the corresponding reductions in individual liberty show no sign of slowing.

In fact the best that might be said in defense of the modern conservative movement is think how bad it would be if they hadn’t been there.  This is little solace.

Yet the fact remains, other than communal ownership of assets, much of what the socialist and communist parties desired in 1900 has become reality in one form or another.

The universities have been almost completely lost and the intellectual rot is beginning to seep into even the hard sciences.  Public K-12 serves as indoctrination for the 50 million young minds that are forced to trudge along that assembly line of mediocracy.

And the most painful aspect of this hundred year butt-whuppin is on most issues the conservative position is the correct one; i.e. the facts overwhelmingly support the conservative thinking. 

Nobel Prize winner in economics, Friedrich Hayek's main lament at the end of his life was how little his ideas had been adopted and implemented in public policy.  Milton Freidman, another Nobel winner in economics and a genius by most accounts, has had how much influence in actual public policy and the design and implementation of the laws they create? 

Did they influence thought?  Without a doubt.  Were they generally right?  Again without a doubt.   But it sure seems little has actually been turned into reality.  The national Libertarian political party has existed for 46 years and its influence on actual policy/legislation has been next to zero.

Today’s conservative movement seems to employ a lot of folks in pretty cushy jobs, prints some magazines, hosts some websites, publishes various books, and puts on conferences until the cows come home – for those who don’t know, conferences and seminars can be big time money makers.  Sadly, its primary purpose seems to have become a self-propagating jobs program for those lucky, skilled, or connected enough to rise to the top. 

I guess someone needs to say these things but what about actual accomplishments?  What about spreading the cry of Liberty?  What about adherence to the Constitution?  What about learning the truth from The Road to Serfdom, Capitalism and Freedom, or for that matter The Fountain Head, and plotting our collective course with this in mind?  As even the Koch brothers have admitted, they have got a very poor return on their investments of hundreds of millions of dollars in trying to actually implement conservative/libertarian ideas into actual public policy.

Yet even many evolutionary psychologists will agree, much to their chagrin, “conservative” ideas and actions produce far more success than any alternative.  The real world operates on very conservative principles.  Look around you, the facts are overwhelming.

This is not to say broad swaths of the country don’t accept the truth of conservative thought.  They do but have found it difficult to find a remotely reliable political vehicle to put these beliefs into concrete action. 

What is truly frightening is that the facts all support a conservative/libertarian system yet in spite of all evidence we continue expanding upon political and governmental systems which have never worked long-term in the history of humans.

Think about it; the side that has logic, reason and facts on their side has been getting their butts kicked for over a century.  There must be a reason for this and it would seem the sooner we discover it, the better.  Not for anything as base as politics, but for the very real reason of helping us survive as a species and in the process protecting this wonderful home we call earth.

There are a number of contributing factors to this process.  First, organizations behave almost like a living entity once they are formed and thus will always fight to survive and grow.  Think of the school of a school of fish or the swarm of a hive of bees.  The school isn’t really a physical “thing”, it is just the composite of all the individual fish, yet it “lives” regardless of what may happen to any individual fish. 

Organizations are the same and this thing we call government is simply a very powerful non-profit organization and thus it behaves as such.  Note that it behaves this way almost independent of the individuals which make up the organization at any point in time.

As this organization lives it will of course attempt to capture at least one political party.  It would be almost unimaginable for this not to occur; this is the organization of governments and what do political parties fight to control?  Government.  In fact it will attempt to spread its influence across all political parties.  As certain as gravity.

Thus these incredibly powerful organizations we call government have a very real bias towards growth and expansion.  They also use their collective will to ensure at least one major political party is owned by them.  This is the reality we all face. 

But is this process sustainable for the long-term or does it grow and grow and grow until there is a catastrophic failure?  Self-correction doesn’t seem to be possible and as the last 100 years have shown, it is quite impervious to the reality on the ground.

Which brings us to the core, fundamental problem and that is one of paradigm.  Politics, in fact most of government and what used to be called the soft sciences operate on a paradigm of belief; a paradigm where one’s opinions actually matter in some real, physical sense.

As the last 100 years have shown, one can’t win an argument based within a paradigm of belief.  Everyone can have an opinion and thus what’s accepted as “true” is more based on the direction and intensity of the folks holding these views than any fundamental reality.

Hundreds of years ago The Scientific Revolution ended this type of childish thinking for what are now called the hard sciences.  The only way conservative thinking can end this hundred year butt-whuppin (and save the USA, our species, and the planet) is to quit fighting within this obviously false paradigm. 

A paradigm shift in its truest sense is what is required.  The same thinking and insights which drove The Scientific Revolution need to be now spread to all areas of our lives.  

When this occurs, the quest immediately switches to one of searching for the truth, regardless of where it leads, not pushing this or that conservative or liberal view-point.  We are not little gods and thus we don’t get to define the truth, but rather hopefully discover it.  Rather than attempting to force every event through your mental template (be it right, left or in-between), this rids oneself of the template.  

The conservative and libertarian folks out there can either embrace and help spread this new paradigm and watch things they know to be true flourish and spread across the land or they can continue their present, proven, losing strategy.  I hope my fellow Americans will step to the plate since I doubt we have another 100 years to get it right.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education. 

Confederate Statues are Just the Beginning

Just had this one published at The Daily Caller which you can find here or you can just keep reading ;-)

David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright once noted “I look back on my liberal political beliefs with a sort of wonder - as another exercise in self-involvement - rewarding myself for some superiority I could not logically describe” 

At the age of 60 he meet first conservative thinker.  Upon closer examination he discovered that most conservative thoughts were based on real-world facts while “Liberalism is a religion. Its tenets cannot be proved, its capacity for waste and destruction demonstrated. But it affords a feeling of spiritual rectitude at little or no cost.”

Sadly, he captures the reality and emotional allure of modern liberalism.  You don’t have to defend your beliefs since those holding opposing beliefs aren’t just wrong, they are morally inferior.  This thus proves those holding the proper views must be morally superior.  It can logically be no other way.

Mamet’s “rewarding myself for some superiority…” and “affords a feeling of spiritual rectitude at little to no cost” is simply his attempt to capture the inherent “logic” of this bi-polar moral paradigm.  And it is truly cost-free.  All you must do to have this moral superiority is to think the right thoughts.  Or at least let others tell you what these right thoughts are and voilà, you are morally superior.

But for those true believers, it is not the right ideas which makes one morally superior but rather that holding these ideas is simply an outward expression of actually being physically morally superior.  It is in the blood.  Thus your very presence has with it a moral and “human” superiority; “you” at your most biological basis are superior.  Thus one would logically have to conclude that most of your beliefs and ideas are also morally superior, especially as reinforced by a large group of similar thinking people.

Even more, not only are you morally superior to most of your present day citizens, you are morally superior to all who have lived before you across the globe.  The logic of your position demands this be the case. 

  1. All who do not think the right thoughts (these being ipso facto evidence of the moral superiority which generates such thoughts) are morally inferior, thus proving your moral superiority.
  2. No one in the past remotely thought these right thoughts.
  3. Therefore everyone in the past is morally inferior and you are morally superior to all who have lived before.

Those who think the right thoughts are thus the pinnacle of human advancement!  That’s a pretty good return on a cost- and effort-free investment.  Think of it.  If you accept these thoughts you are the finest example of human-kind to ever walk the planet.  If this thinking is coherent in any fashion this must be the case.

This thinking must therefore drive one to practice Presentism.  This is “the application of current ideals and moral standards to interpret historical figures and their actions.”  Liberalism and the morally superior position upon which it rests demand it be so.  It can’t logically be any other way.

So if all who came before you are morally inferior then the entire past must be reexamined.  Right now it is Confederate statues but it will not remain so; it can’t.  Based upon its own logic this complete and total reexamination of history will find all those who came before as moral inferiors.

Obviously suppression of other ideas and even violence is not just called for but ethically sanctioned as the morally superior attempt to fight back against the forces of darkness.     

But where does it lead?  All tyrants believe themselves to be morally superior.  It can be no other way.  Some like Kim Jong-un take it a step further and reach again, the somewhat logical conclusion they are more god-like than human.  And they act accordingly. 

The further this thinking spreads, the more the pain that’s racing our way.  We too should act accordingly.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is also President and founder of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.EICEnterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world primarily through K-12 education.

The Tragic Madness of K-12

It is that most heartbreaking time of year again as the new K-12 school year begins.  Just over 50 million children will be attending that assembly line of mediocracy called the public school system.

According to The Nation's Report Card the following are the percentages of 12th graders who score at proficient or above in:

  • Geography 20% - that’s an 80% failure rate!
  • Mathematics 25% - a 75% failure rate
  • Reading 37% - a 63% failure rate
  • Science 22% - a 78% failure rate
  • Writing 27% - a 73% failure rate
  • US History 12% - an astounding 88% failure rate!

Tragically, for minorities and the poor the results are far worse.  How can one expect citizens to make wise and informed decisions if they, after 12 years of public education, remain so ignorant on such a range of issues, to say nothing of the incredible loss of human potential these results represent?  How long can a free people survive with decades of these results? 

What is so heartbreaking is that it needn’t be so.  Every President since Kennedy has hatched a plan to “reform” the failing public education system as has pretty much every governor during this same time frame.  That’s almost 60 years of multi-level governmental “education reform”. 

That same President called for putting a man on the surface of the moon and 8 years and 56 days later we did just that.  One would think creating and then executing the technology required for lunar exploration might be just a little tougher than teaching children to read. 

Yet most 4th and 8th graders are not proficient in either math or reading.  Ask yourself, how can an organization whose only purpose is education not be able to teach children of average intelligence to read in an 8 year time span?!  Kennedy and NASA got us standing on the moon in a similar span.

Yet the results speak for themselves.  Don’t blame the teachers.   The country is filled with hardworking, dedicated and loving teachers, administrators, para-pros and volunteers.  For the most part they labor mightily to succeed.  But none have the power to unravel the mess the public education system has become. 

Sure the teachers unions are resistant to change but they are not the primary reason for these failures.  Just because an organization might not be part of the solution does not necessarily mean they are the cause of the problem. 

Don’t blame lack of funds.  We spend more per pupil than almost any other country in the world.  For most states, public K-12 consumes around half the entire state budget.

When you have a dedicated work-force, plenty of money, and decades of effort striving for improvement and you still get these results you must look beyond the basic tools.  The problem at this point must be in the very design of the system.  And of course that too is where the solution must lie.

As for guidance on system improvement we need look no further than our everyday lives.  Over these same 60 years we have seen remarkable progress in almost every area of our lives, save government and education.   You would be hard pressed to find a single product, out of hundreds of millions, which hasn’t improved by orders of magnitude in the past 60 years yet the average 9th grader 60 years ago was far better educated than one today. 

So what is the difference?  K-12 public education has been built on a top-down, “we know best” design.  All these other products are built on a system that has been extraordinarily successful throughout the history of mankind. 

And what is this system design?  Free people freely interacting with other free people.  Obviously for K-12 this would occur in some sort of state-regulated environment.  This design has never failed.  It drives the improvement of every product and service that has ever existed.  The facts are overwhelming.

Yet far too many people fight these system changes as they allow their preconceived biases to blind themselves to this mountain of evidence.  Remember that just because we have “government funded” K-12 does not necessarily mean government must also run the schools.

Changing K-12 system design will unleash the wisdom of millions as the power of free people freely interacting with other free people transforms public education.  Every student will gain as will every teacher.  It’s guaranteed to work and doesn’t cost an extra dime. 

What moral and honorable reason is there for not making this change right now?  What moral and honorable reason is there for fighting to keep the same old failing system?   What moral and honorable reason is there for retaining a system which destroys millions of young lives before they have even had a chance?  What moral and honorable reason is there for keeping a system which is putting the very future of this great country at risk?  I can think of none.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is also President and founder of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.EICEnterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world primarily through K-12 education.

A Subversive Idea - The End of Race

We will never end the scourge of racism until we rid ourselves of the failed "scientific" thinking it is based upon.  The very first step in being a racist is classifying individuals based on a handful of visible physical traits - sadly it is almost universal.  That still doesn't make it right or correct.

Please... please give this American Thinker piece a read and take it to heart.  The longest journey starts with the first step so let each of us take the first step and rid ourselves of this failed  belief.  Racism never ends until we do...

You can find the piece at The American Thinker here or you can just keep reading…

What if many of the things you thought were true simply weren’t?  Could you let go of your old beliefs?  Would you?  What if they struck at the core of some of your most basic concepts of self?  In earlier times people have confronted this unnerving reality, generally as the scientific revolution rolled over their old ideas.  We seem to think we are immune, that everything we know is the truth.

Thomas Kuhn, in his transforming The Structure of Scientific Revolutions argues that science is not a steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge.  Instead, “science is a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”.  After such revolutions, “one conceptual world view is replaced by another”.  It is time for another revolution and this one involves the entire concept of race.

As a scientific fact the black race doesn’t exist, neither does the white or Asian.  There is no race gene.  In the year 2000, when the scientists at the National Institutes of Health announced that they had put together a draft of the entire sequence of the human genome, the researchers unanimously declared that there is only one race – the human race

The Hispanic “race” didn’t even exist until the 1970 census – they needed some classification for “them”.  Here is a subversive idea; what if there truly isn’t any “them”?  What if the whole concept of “them” is simply a creation of our classification?  One can take data and classify it in a myriad of ways, but the classification doesn’t become real in any physical sense. 

 If we treat the idea of race like any other scientific concept; old, invalid thinking must be discarded when new discoveries are made.  Often this demands a profound shift in thinking.  Copernicus's discovery that the earth is not the center of the universe is an example of a similar realization that demanded this type of profound shift.   

In the 18th century Goethe captured this reality when discussing the profound impact of Copernicus’s discoveries:

"Of all discoveries and opinions, none may have exerted a greater effect on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus. The world had scarcely become known as round and complete in itself when it was asked to waive the tremendous privilege of being the center of the universe. Never, perhaps, was a greater demand made on mankind - for by this admission so many things vanished in mist and smoke! What became of our Eden, our world of innocence, piety and poetry; the testimony of the senses; the conviction of a poetic - religious faith? No wonder his contemporaries did not wish to let all this go and offered every possible resistance to a doctrine which in its converts authorized and demanded a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown, indeed not even dreamed of."

The false concept of race is treated much the same.  Ridding ourselves of this cruel fantasy is fought by those on all sides.  Ridding ourselves of this failed theory strikes at the heart of many deeply held beliefs.  Ridding ourselves of this obscenity opens us all to knowledge “which in its converts authorized and demanded a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown, indeed not even dreamed of.”  Free your mind to the truth.  There are only individuals and they are not defined by their skin color.  There are only “them” after we create them.  Here is an idea – why don’t we simply stop?

Whether we like it or not, there is no scientific basis for the concept of race and focusing on a human invention will never solve the problem of racism.  Let the revolution begin.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is also President and founder of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.EICEnterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world primarily through K-12 education.

 

 

 

Government has become just a jobs program

I had the following published at The Daily Caller which you can find here or you can just keep reading… ;-)

As the United States Postal Service (USPS), a quasi-public entity, loses yet another $5.6 billion in fiscal year 2016, I have a suggestion.

I could cut their costs by hundreds of millions with a very simple and relatively painless plan.  Switch all deliveries to every-other-day service.  Some addresses could be delivered Monday, Wednesday, Friday while the others would see service on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.  The impact on the consumers of USPS services, residence or business, would be minimal. 

With this one move hundreds of thousands of unnecessary positions could be eliminated.  Tens of thousands of polluting vehicles would be permanently taken off the road.  This of course will never happen.  Those who call themselves public servants have devised a system where they are pretty much immune from the realities the rest of us face.  Losing one’s job once employed by government?  Generally not going to happen.  Then early gold plated retirement plans follow. 

If present trends continue, in a few decades those of us not in government will see almost no benefit from the taxes we pay, especially at the state and local level; almost all of our tax dollars will be paying for retirement benefits for government workers or pay for current ones.

Modern government, at pretty much all levels, has become simply a jobs program that constantly seeks to increase its members.  And of course 90+% of these members will vote for the Democrat party, the party of government.

Anyone who isn’t a member of one of these jobs programs is a sap for playing along.  They are so confident they don’t even hide their true intentions.  Take the decades long so-called War on Poverty.  At the federal level only about 15% of the money supposedly spent to alleviate poverty actually makes it to the poor.  The other 85% employees a lot of folks.  Even granting them a wide berth for incompetence, this is obviously the true goal of these programs.  No organization truly devoted to helping the poor would consume 85% of its money before helping any poor person.  It is not logical to assume anything else.  

Or how about Veterens Administration hospitals?  Why on earth would we duplicate the entire physical hospital system just to create hospitals solely for veterans?  If it were about quality care for veterans it would make much more sense to simply cover their treatments/cost through present providers.  Veterans would see much improved service and accessibility, all hospitals would become more efficient, and the rest of us would save a ton of money.  That is not done because it would violate the true objective of the VA hospital system, a government-run jobs program. 

Our how about our public schools?  In most states K-12 public schools consume at least half the entire state budget.   According to The Friedman Foundation for Economic Choice, since 1950 the number of K-12 public students has increase by 96 % while the number of administrators has increased 700 %.

Colleges and universities?  The number of non-academic employees at U.S. colleges and universities has more than doubled in the last 25 years, vastly outpacing the growth in the number of students or faculty.  The New England Center for Investigative Reporting notes that universities and colleges collectively added 517,636 administrators and professional employees, or an average of 87 every working day for the last 25 years.

The IRS might add 16,000 new employees to deal with ObamaCare.  I’m a cynic so I’d have to guess it will take even more to repeal ObamaCare.  Across the country small towns that once got along with volunteer fire departments now have staffs of 10 or more paid firefighters.  The small town where I grew up, present population of under 2,000, now has over 6 police officers.

Allowing drivers licenses for illegal immigrants in California will “require” the hiring of an additional 1,000 employees.  War on drugs?  Jobs program.  Tough on crime?  Jobs program.  Tax the rich?  Jobs program.  Pretty much any increase in government spending?  Jobs program. 

Even the military has devolved into a jobs program.  There are over 1.3 million actively enrolled and 800,000 reserves yet it was difficult to staff 250K troops in the Middle East.  What are the other almost 2 million folks doing and what is the true purpose of the military anyhow?

It’s a scam that will sooner or later overwhelm us all.  Poverty reduction, help for veterans, or public safety; these are just feel-good cover to further expand the employment/voting machine.

It is an organizational reality that groups of individuals organized together in some fashion will take on many biologic traits; the primary one being fighting to continue in existence.  This is especially true when the individual’s income is dependent on this organization.  These organizations will all do this without anyone consciously directing it; it is simply the organic nature of organization.  There is no escaping it.

For-profit organizations are disciplined by the marketplace; it they don’t create more value than they consume, they aren’t long to last.  For a lasting for-profit business, $1.00 of input MUST create more than $1.00 in return.  There is no other option.  This is the process of creating wealth.  This positive return drives economic growth and makes us all collectively wealthier.  And it winnows the winners from the losers.

Governments at all levels are immune from these restrictions.  In fact government operates just the opposite; $1.00 of input almost always has a negative return, turning that $1.00 into $0.60 (or less!).  Thus the immutable reality is the more government takes, the poorer we all become.  Governments don’t create wealth, they consume it.  For profit-organizations drive economic growth and wealth while government steals both growth and wealth for the benefit of a chosen few, its members.

These governmental organizations will not contain themselves; it is not possible for them to do so.  The organizational biologic reality is each will behave in its self-interest even if it is not a conscious plan.

Much like an uncontrolled parasite, government is slowly killing the very entity that keeps it alive.  Think this is exaggeration?  Just the federal government today takes, borrows and spends an amount equal to the size of the ENTIRE US economy only 32 years ago.  Include total state and local government expenditures which are over $3 trillion and well over $7 trillion each and every year is sucked out of economy.  That is about the size of the entire US economy only 20 plus years ago.

Can this trajectory continue?  I think not.  Whether a government worker or not, we knowingly let this proceed at our own peril.  It will end poorly for all of us.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is also President and founder of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.EICEnterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world primarily through K-12 education.