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January 2017

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Insights on Racism from Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand generates strong emotions from all side but she certainly nails racism..

"Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage--the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors

Racism claims that the content of a man's mind...is inherited; that a man's convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman's version of the doctrine of innate ideas--or of inherited knowledge--which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man's life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination."

And from her 1977 speech at Ford Hall Forum entitled, Global Balkanization:

There is no surer way to infect mankind with hatred--brute, blind, virulent hatred--than by splitting it into ethnic groups or tribes. If a man believes that his own character is determined at birth in some unknown, ineffable way, and that the characters of all strangers are determined in the same way--then no communication, no understanding, no persuasion is possible among them, only mutual fear, suspicion, and hatred,. Tribal or ethnic rule has existed, at some time...in every period of mankind's history. The record of hatred is always the same.

 

In summary, when in doubt always follow the truth... there are only individuals and they are not defined by the color of their skin or where their most recent ancestors are from.

 

A Plea to Betsy DeVos and President-elect Trump

Foreword – I don’t really like the method I am proposing in the following but I have over 30 years’ experience in re-organizing businesses and can state with absolute certainty that this country’s K-12 public school districts simply do not have the ability to transform in any meaningful manner.  It just isn’t possible. 

If we want to finally fix the failing K-12 public education system and help save every child whose heart beats today, we must take action.  Yes, God bless the school choice movement but their impact over the past 25 years as a percent of all K-12 students has been minuscule.  The solution is in changing the system and brute force and blackmail seems to be the only possible method to do so. 

jc

A Plea to President Trump

And so the Trump revolution begins.  If President Trump truly wants to make America great again he must address the sad state of K-12 public education.  It is both the cause and the solution to many of this country’s problems.  Positive national transformation is simply not possible without fixing K-12.

As an experienced manager you know one should always focus on why rather than who when addressing this or that failure.  Don’t blame the teachers.  This country is filled with hardworking, dedicated, and loving teachers, administrators, para-pros and volunteers.  They are not the problem.

Don’t blame the unions.  Yes, unions are always resistant to change but not being part of the solution does not mean they are therefore the source of the problem.  Rather the problem is K-12’s basic top-down system design.

On a per-pupil basis we spend more money on K-12 education than any other country on the planet.  Yet the fact remains most 8th graders are not proficient in either math or reading.  Only about 25% of incoming college freshmen are prepared for college, just 4% for blacks.  And few wake up the day before high school graduation and decide to attend college.  Most of these kids have been on a college-track for years and these are the results?!  What of those who weren’t on a college-track?

And the poorer one is, the worse it is.  The schools poor kids are forced to attend are a national and moral disgrace.  Their lives are being destroyed before they even have a chance.  And sadly far too many of these kids have black and brown skin.  If you don’t want opportunity to continue to be rationed by parent’s zip code, then the Trump administration must act quickly and boldly.

You must act quickly because you are only 7 years old once.  Most studies show if a child is not performing at grade level by 5th grade the odds are they never will.  Far too many school improvement plans act as though the goal is the school, not the students.  Plans taking 10-plus years to even begin to implement are a joke to every child whose heart beats today.  These supposed “improvements” will not impact a single one since they will have already moved far down that vast assembly line of K-12 education. 

You must act boldly because the present clearly isn’t working.  President Trump, in your business experiences you have witnessed the wonders of the marketplace.  How free people freely interacting with other free people can quickly and profoundly transform any area they touch.  Education is no different.

On average this country annually spends around $11,000 per pupil on K-12 public education.  In many inner-cities it is often more than double this.  Please push for introduction of a bill which forces any state that accepts federal education dollars to change the method(s) used to fund K-12. Rather than funding the education establishment, force the states to fund children instead.  The bill will require states accepting federal education dollars to give sole control to the parents to determine how and where these education dollars are spent, of course in some sort of state-regulated environment.  As icing on top, this won’t cost an extra dime.

This one simple change, which could be implemented right now, 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.

There are a couple models for this.  At the federal level a similar tactic was used in the 1984 highway bill which forced a national 21 year old drinking age; so what we are proposing is not new or unique and has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

At the state-level we have a model in the effective state-based regulation of beverage alcohol.  This country has one of the best regulated alcohol markets in the world while also being the most dynamic and innovative.  The same can be done with K-12 public education.  Let each state become a laboratory in democracy and watch the transformation happen before our eyes.  Leave it to the states to decide how to do it; the law will simply demand they must if they want to continue to receive federal education dollars.

The only way to fix a failing system is to change the system.  It is within your power to unleash the wisdom of millions by ending the failing, top-down, “we know best” system design of K-12.  Replace it with freedom.  Replace it with true opportunity.  Perhaps go for the whole enchilada and get rid of the entire Department of Education in the process.  It is a remnant of this failing system.

Will this be disruptive?  Of course.  But will it literally save this country and millions of young lives?  Without a doubt.  You have had the courage to do what the vast majority thought impossible; please do not avert your eyes to this on-going American tragedy.

And as a secondary benefit, can you imagine your inroads into all communities but especially the black and brown communities if you come with a $11,000 - $20,000 check to be used by parents to educate their children?  You will transform the political realities of the entire country while saving millions of young lives.  You will go down as one of the most transformational Presidents in the country’s history.

I beg you to bring freedom to K-12 public education.  The eyes of 75 million young Americans are upon you.  Please don’t let them down.

John Conlin is the founder and President of End the Education Plantation, www.EndtheEducationPlantation.org.   He started it because he’s seen first-hand the harm being caused by our nation’s schools and believes it’s time to do something about that.   

No Need For Kings

Just had this published in The American Thinker which you can find here or you can just keep reading…

I don’t like royalty.  Never did, never will.  You’ll never hear me referring to anyone as Prince-this or Queen-that.  I just don’t buy it.  Folks from other countries might choose to anoint others as their “betters” and to then bow down before them but not me.  I don’t care if it is governmental royalty, celebrity royalty or political royalty; you won’t see me on bended knee before them.

Perhaps it’s because I’m just some schmoe from fly-over country but the concept of royalty and me just don’t mix.  Royalty is based on an ancient, wrong-headed belief that “it’s in the blood”.  This is patently offensive to me as well as being quite provably false. 

This sick and twisted thinking is what drove and continues to drive the racial and ethnic stupidity that flows throughout this country. 

I am a proud American.  Perhaps I am naïve but I profoundly believe in the creed that all people are created equal.  Not as in the book Animal Farm where some are more equal than others (that’s royalty by another name) but that at our most basic, every single one of us has equal standing simply by our existence.  I’ll leave it to God to make judgements about our individual moral standing, for me we are all equal.  And please, this doesn’t mean we are all equal in our various abilities; that is a spurious argument at best.

One of the most profound moments in human history was the founding of this country on the premise that all people are created equal and that no royalty or ruling class was required; individual citizens could do just fine running their own country.  It was the people who had a government, not the other way around.

And a foundational belief in this equality is the absolute need for all citizens to be equal under the law.  Rich or poor, powerful or powerless; all are to be treated equally under the law.  If this is cast aside then so must the concept that all people are created equal.

If this is cast aside then we really do have royalty, whether called that or not.  If we allow this to be, it unravels the entire basis for this country.  The concept of equal justice under the law is not just important, it is fundamental.  Without it the words of our Constitution are simply a sad joke for those silly enough to believe them.  Is this where we have arrived where only saps like me are duped by this quaint notion?

How am I supposed to sit on a jury and decide my fellow citizen’s fate when I know that our political royalty are held to a different and almost always lower standard?  How can I demand my fellow citizens tell the truth under oath when no such demand is made of our royalty?  Why should I participate in any system whereby my fellow citizens are held to a higher standard than our political royalty?

I refuse.  Others in this country seem bent on anointing politicians as their betters and then rushing to bow down before them.  Screw that.  Although others might be quite ready to freely cast aside the fundamental notion of our individual equality and bow before their “betters”, I will not. 

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

Our political Battle of Agincourt

As I sit here this morning my heart is heavy and I fear for my country, for my grandchildren, for my fellow citizens.  Immunity deals revealed, government-directed late Friday afternoon document dumps, media and government collusion to a degree few imagined; just more drips from what seems to be a never-ending flow of obvious corruption and criminality from the highest reaches of the federal government. 

To any honest observer this entire FBI – Justice Department “investigation” of Clinton’s use and destruction of a private email server is a joke, a charade, a kabuki dance for us deplorable rubes from fly-over country.  The fix has been in from the start. 

The concept of equal justice under the law lays tattered at our feet.  It seems there remains not a single soul in the FBI or Department of Justice whose personal honor has more worth than a paycheck.

When did we lose our freedom?  How did we lose our freedom?  And sadly why are so many quite willing to elevate people to royalty and to then eagerly bow before them?

Shakespeare coined many a phrase about scurvy politicians and cowards and they ring as true today as when they were written. 

But to my fellow deplorables and all who love freedom I offer another piece of Shakespearean wisdom. 

Let this be our cry.  Let this be our roar.  No matter how vile or whether we agree on other subjects, all who fight for freedom will be forever our band of brothers and sisters. 

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Let today be the beginning of our political Battle of Agincourt.  Let us never stop until we stand on the field of victory or lie in piles of smoldering corpses.  And this isn’t about Trump; he has a role to play and his election is important but our salvation lay in the hearts of millions of freedom loving Americans, hero’s all.  Do not look to others to lead; become the leader, grab the reins wherever you may be and make a stand.

Don’t listen to those who say we can’t win because we are outnumbered.  At the Battle of Agincourt the English fought in the mud; many naked and covered with feces from the rampant sickness.  They were outnumbered by at least 3 to 1.  And they lost 400 while killing at least 6,000 Frenchmen.

Never forget that “Cowards die many times before their deaths.  The valiant never taste of death but once.”

And for those who find Trump and us deplorables far too despicable to stand with and fight, I’ll again let Shakespeare provide the response:

“That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

   Let him depart; his passport shall be made,

   And crowns for convoy put into his purse;

   We would not die in that man's company

   That fears his fellowship to die with us.”

 We will let posterity determine the worth of their manhood’s.  Ours will stand long after theirs are but dust in the wind.

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

The Organization as a Life Form

The following was recently published in The American Thinker, which you can find here or you can simply keep reading ;-)

 

Take a few individuals and put them together in an organization of almost any sort and an amazing thing happens.  The organization effectively becomes alive.  It creates a heartbeat of its very own and it, the organization, will fight to stay alive from that point forward. 

This is true of all types of organizations, both for- and non-profit.  Even though the organization is an artificial entity it will mimic a biologic life form.

It will first and foremost fight to stay alive.  It will seek to expand and grow.  It will seek out resources and will fight to retain these resources for its own uses.  It will attempt to take care of its own in all of its actions.

And it will do these things almost regardless of who the individual members are or how often they come and go.  Although directed by living people, the organization has a life of its own in many profound ways.   This isn’t a philosophical position, it is a fact. 

In a for-profit organization all of these organizational drives are tempered by the reality of the marketplace.  They must convince individuals to voluntarily part with their money for whatever goods and services are offered and to do so in a profitable manner.  Otherwise they will cease to exist.  These organizational heartbeats depend on success to survive.

But non-profit organizations aren’t bound by this reality.  And the biggest, most powerful, and most threatening non-profit organizations that exist are government.

The non-profits we call government don’t have to convince people to voluntarily part with their money.  They can force the issue.  They don’t have to provide quality goods and/or services and achieving these goals at a profit or even breakeven is not required.  Thus there are no feedback loops whereby reality can easily alter the path of these non-profit entities.  Effective feedback allows for gradual change and adaptation.  A lack of feedback sets the stage for catastrophic failures.

Government is often said to be inefficient.  It is not.  It is very efficient but its goal is not necessarily what we the people believe.  As an example look at the federal war on poverty.  Since this “war” was declared in 1964, the federal government has spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs.  But only about 15% of the money allocated to fighting this “war” actually makes it to the poor.  85% is consumed by the entity.  The organization is quite effective at keeping resources for itself. 

Analyze almost any government program and you will see how efficient the entity is in retaining resources for itself.  100 plus governmental organizations involved in a single issue?  As they say in the software business, that’s not a bug, that’s a feature!

This is also the reason the non-profits we call government will never be satisfied with the money sent to them via taxes.  From the organization’s perspective (not necessarily the employees but the organization itself), it will always be underfunded.  Always. 

These non-profits generally grow by constantly adding people, either directly as employees or indirectly by making others dependent on their actions and favors.  These individuals will almost always vote in their own self-interest and thus the entity rewards and strengthens itself in a democracy by this constant expansion.

And amazingly, these activities have almost no relationship to the actual people who staff the organization. Some people might hasten the speed of expansion, others to slow it but the organizational entity behaves as it does by its very nature.  The process is much like a honey bee hive where the hive itself (an abstraction really) mimics intelligence and purpose, even though its individual bees have very little of either.

And these people can all be quite moral and “good public servants”, yet the organization will operate as it will.  Swarm intelligence and the self-organization it drives ensure this is true in almost all situations related to government.

We need to collectively understand and accept this very biologic nature of every entity created by this thing we call government.  Every single position, every single bureaucracy becomes another beating heart that will strive to continue and grow.

It is easy to blame one political party for the expansion of these non-profits but this growth occurs with either a Republican or Democrat at the helm.    

We see this most spectacularly in the transformation of the federal government.  Rather than the constitutionally construed federation of states with federal power being strictly limited, the non-profit we call the federal government has expanded to effectively subjugate the states and all citizens.

From an organizational perspective this was to be expected.  In fact it would be shocking if this were not the case.  The federal government has become much like the Ring of Power in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; one ring to rule them all.

For all citizens the ultimate question isn’t whether this evolution is good or bad but rather it is sustainable and can it work long-term?  The answer to this is clear.  Left unrestrained government is much like a kudzu plant.  Sooner or later it is destined to overgrow its environment until it collapses in a catastrophic failure; remember that lack of feedback.  Unless the life of these non-profits is constrained in some way, this process will always occur.

This is neither a conservative nor liberal issue; it is a basic reality of organizational behavior.  These organizations truly live in many profound ways and unless we citizens understand and accept this fact we will never be able to manage them.  We either learn to do so or they will most certainly be the destroyer of us all.

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.