Sunday, April 29, 2018

Does Jefferson’s ‘Wall’ ‘allow religion in government?’

In apparent response to observations made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (Justice Alito says country increasingly 'hostile' to 'traditional moral beliefs'), Ron Prykanowski of Ewing, NJ wrote in a 3/20/17 ‘Feedback’ letter published in the NJ Star-Ledger (not available online):

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito recently said the U.S. is entering a period when its commitment to religious liberty is being tested. People vilify those of faith and cite Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” as the basis for their anger. I have come to conclude that this is the most overused and least understood of his many quotations.

Contrary to the modern interpretation of his “wall of separation”, Jefferson did not want federal interference in our religious freedom. That “wall” was directed to keep government out of religion, not the other way around. The theory that if we allow religion in government we will become a theocracy is irrational.

On the face of it, this makes no sense. Who today does not interpret the “wall of separation” to mean precisely “to keep government out of religion?”

But if we allow our laws to be informed by religion—to “allow religion in government”—then America is no longer a secular nation. What exactly does it mean to keep government out of religion if not to keep religion out of our laws? A secular government is one that is neutral regarding conscientious beliefs, neither imposing anyone’s religious, agnostic, atheistic, or any other personal belief systems by law.

The proper approach to the issue of church-state separation has been provided by presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Ted Cruz. In 1960, JFK said in a speech:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of presidency in which I believe — a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group, nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation, or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

But let me stress again that these are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.

My emphasis. Kennedy concluded not by pledging to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Catholic Church, the Bible, or some other religious text or authority, but the Constitution of the United States.

Likewise, a Milwaukee townhall question asked of then candidate Cruz for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination by an audience member identified as Thomas went as follows:

QUESTION: Hi, Senator Cruz.

My question for you is, how and why does your religion play a part in your political decision-making? Don't you think it should be more of a moral belief and not something that can interfere with your decision-making when you're making decisions for all religions in the United States?

CRUZ: Well, Thomas, thank you for that question.

Listen, with Me, as with many people in America, my faith is an integral part of who I am. I'm a Christian, and I'm not embarrassed to say that. I'm not going to hide that and treat it like it's something you can't admit publicly and acknowledge. It's an important part of who you are.

But I also think those in politics have an obligation not to wear their faith on their sleeve. There have been far too many politicians that run around behaving like they're holier than thou.

And I'll tell you, my attitude as a voter when some politician stands up and says, I'm running because God told me to vote - to run, my reaction as a voter is, great, when God tells me to vote for you, we'll be on the same page.

(LAUGHTER)

CRUZ: And so, listen, I'm not asking you to vote for me because of my personal faith with Jesus Christ. I'm asking you to vote for me because I've spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, fighting to defend the American free enterprise system, and we need a leader who will stand up every day and protect the rights of everyone, whether they're Christians or Jews or Muslims or anyone else. The bill of rights protects all Americans. It protects atheists. That's the beauty of the bill of rights, is that we have the freedom to seek out god, to worship and to live according to our faith and our conscience, and I think the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a unifying principle that can bring us together across faiths, across races, across ethnicity. And we need to come together behind the unifying principles that built America.
The emphasis in those statements are mine. Both affirmed unequivocally their views that religion is strictly a private matter. Both pledged unequivocally not to allow their religion into government. Both recognized that there is nothing unifying about allowing anyone to bring religion into government and imposing his believes on everyone else. Contrary to Prykanowski, to bring religion into government is the precise definition of theocracy.

Many conservatives peddle the notion that America guarantees “freedom of religion, not freedom from religion”—or, in Prykanowski’s words, “to keep government out of religion, not the other way around.” A few minutes of thought will tell you how utterly absurd—and dangerous—that statement is. In fact, you can’t separate “of” and “from”. Indeed, the very first lines of the First Amendment makes this absolutely clear. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”—freedom from religion—“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”—freedom of religion. Not only does the First Amendment tie “from” and “of” together in the same phrase, it establishes the logical hierarchy. It essentially states that without freedom from religion, you can’t have freedom of religion. The first is a vital precondition of the second.

As I argued in an article for The Objective Standard, Freedom Of Religion Demands Freedom From Religion:

Properly understood, the right to freedom of religion means not only the right to embrace your own religious (or non-religious) principles, but also the right not to have others’ beliefs forcibly imposed on you and the right not to be forced to support or disseminate religious ideas—as when government seizes your wealth to finance the propagation of such ideas. Without freedom from religion, you can’t have freedom of conscience. 
In a political context, freedom means the absence of initiatory physical force or coercion. Those who promote the idea that there is no freedom from religion undermine the First Amendment, reject the separation of church and state, and seek to impose their religious beliefs through government force.

If by “allow religion in government” Prykanowski means allowing religious persons to serve in government positions so long as they respect and protect everyone else’s right to their beliefs, no matter how different they are, then he is right that this does not mean America “will become a theocracy.” But the right of religious people to serve in government has never been questioned by anybody. In fact, the only reference to religion in the U.S. Constitution is the clause in Article VI, which forbids a religious test as a condition for any individual to hold public office. So Prykanowski can only mean one thing; to reject the stands of Kennedy and Cruz and Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers and allow public officials to govern and serve and make law according to their religious beliefs rather than the constitution. And that, my dear Ron Prykanowski, most definitely does bring us to theocracy.

Related Reading:

On Religion, The First Amendment Works Both Ways

My Commentary on Church-State Separation

America Was Not Founded as a Christian Nation

What Does Freedom From Religion Actually Mean in Practice?

Why We Need Freedom From Religion

To Keep Government Out of Religion, Keep Religion Out of Government [This 2012 post is in response to a similar letter from Ron Prykanowski]

Related Viewing:

The Separation of Church and State By Onkar Ghate

Friday, April 27, 2018

QUORA: ‘Given that I live in a capitalist society, how can I avoid having my labor exploited?’

QUORA: ‘Given that I live in a capitalist society, how can I avoid having my labor exploited?

I left this answer:

The answer is simple: Avoid exploiting employers for a paycheck.

The great thing about living in a capitalist society—to the extend we have a capitalist society (see Crawford below)—is that you are free to choose your associations based on your own self-interest. This includes your economic associations. Since nature imposes upon man the requirement to work to survive, capitalism is good (morally and economically) because it gives you the freedom to choose the best deal for your labor among many options. If you don’t want to be “exploited”—i.e. work for someone—you can create your own job by starting your own business.

Of course, then you run into the problem of having the labor you expend in building and running your business exploited by your employees for a paycheck and your customers for a product. But at least you can then exploit them back, by expecting labor from your employees and payment from your customers!

By now the absurdity of the question is obvious. A capitalist society is by definition the opposite of exploitation; that is, it is a system of universal voluntary cooperation. Unlike socialism—the forced exploitation of all by all—capitalism is based on voluntary trade, not slave labor and profiteers on slave labor. Under capitalism, you can just say no to “exploitation”—to any trade, association, or cooperation that you deem disadvantageous or “exploitative”. Try saying no to a socialist program—say, to Social Security, in which case you’ll end up in prison; or to collectivization (government takeover) of your farm, in which case you’ll end up dead.

Capitalism won’t relieve you of the necessity to work, any more than capitalism can relieve you of the effects of gravity. The law of gravity and the law of work or die are both irrevocable laws of nature. What capitalism will give you is freedom from physical coercion from any source, and the right to keep the product of your labor. Capitalism is voluntarism. Socialism in all of its manifestations grows out of the barrel of a gun.


Related Reading:

Who are the Real Job Creators? Hint: It's Not the 99%

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

QUORA: How do investment bankers justify earning 7 figures?



The sub-text to the question included the following:
I guess my point would be, is there any sense of guilt from receiving a disproportionately large monetary compensation from society or do investment bankers truly believe that market forces determine fair compensation. Or do investment bankers not think about why they should get compensated and it is just a money grab. I'm trying to wrap my head around why we reward financial engineers more than actual engineers and if this is a good thing or not.

I left this answer, edited for clarity:


The answer is in the question: They earned it.


To earn money is to net a gain through one’s own productive efforts and in voluntary trade with others. “Society” doesn’t compensate. “Society” is not an entity that thinks and analyzes and then “decides.” Society is an abstraction. Only the individuals that make up society decide, each through his own choices on his trading decisions. How much one earns is a reflection of the cumulative value his work creates for others, as determined by the individual[s] who voluntarily trade with him. This principle applies equally to all productive individuals at all economic levels, from landscapers to investment bankers.


Who “decides” how much to compensate investment bankers? Anyone who trades with them. How should investment bankers justify their compensations? By saying simply, “I earned it.” No one should ever feel guilty for what they earn, in any field, no matter how much that is—so long as he actually earned it, rather than merely appropriated it by fraud or deception or force.


Why do financial engineers make so much more than so-called “actual” engineers? Perhaps it’s because the job of investment bankers—the raising and successful allocation of capital—is so much more valuable, or perhaps because good investment bankers are much rarer than engineers. Whatever the reason, the only way that fair compensation can be arrived at longer term is through the cumulative choices of individual traders operating within a free market (which is why we should strive for a fully free market rather than the mixed economy—part free market and part unfree (government controlled) market—that we have now).


Related Reading:


In Pursuit of Wealth: The Moral Case for Finance—Yaron Brook and Don Watkins


Atlas Shrugged—Ayn Rand



Monday, April 23, 2018

Education Apples and Tax Oranges

Teacher strikes was the subject of a 4/14/18 New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial. Education funding and trickle-down economics: a cautionary tale writes:

Among the six states that made the largest cuts in per-student funding between 2008 and 2018 are the four states where teachers have walked out this year.


Oklahoma's obscene 28-percent cut topped that list. Kentucky was third (15.8), Arizona was fifth (13.6), and West Virginia was sixth (11.4). Every state in the top 10 has a GOP-dominated government. Oklahoma and Arizona cut income and corporate taxes during that period.

The Star-Ledger continues, “Others will follow - experts predict the wildfire [the strikes] will soon spread to Mississippi, Idaho, and Georgia.”

So the fuse has been lit. The remaining question is whether some governments will concede how their tax cuts and trickle-down fallacy caused a brain drain that could doom their states for decades.

I left these comments:

Oranges and apples.

The “trickle-down fallacy” is a fallacy. There is actually no such economic theory as “trickle-down economics.” The premise makes no economic sense. “Trickle-down” is a political smear used to disparage tax cuts and to distract from the real issue; the protection of politically powerful factions dependent on government’s taxing powers, including the monopolistic government education establishment, from private individual choice and accountability. Tax cuts are about people keeping more of what they earn, and spending it as they, rather than government officials, see fit.

The schools should be private. Then the market--the cumulative voluntary choices of millions of individual consumers, competition among educators, and the laws of supply and demand--will determine the appropriate pay levels of teachers based on qualifications according to the school’s standards and/or the students’ needs and parents’ judgements. Then we wouldn’t have this conflict between taxes, much of which is unjustly levied against people with no children in the government schools, and the teachers’ paychecks and other school needs. Then education funding wouldn’t be dependent on politics. Then educators will be accountable in a real way--to their customers, just like any private enterprise, rather than government bureaucrats. Now, that would be a much “keener” way for “society” to treat “its children.”

If teachers’ pay is a political football, don’t blame tax cuts. It’s only because schools are coercively tax funded to begin with.


Related Reading:

"Trickle-Down Economics": Anti-Capitalists' Insulting Portrayal of the "Common Man"

An Open Letter to Katie B. On Education Funding

Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Letter: ‘Vouchers Will Hurt Public Schools.’ So?

Here is an excerpt from a letter that appeared in the New Jersey Star-Ledger on 3/17/17 opposing a federal school voucher bill:

Vouchers will hurt public schools

The proposed federal school voucher bill (HR610) in Congress will divert funds away from public education and will ultimately have a catastrophic effect on public schools.

A true democracy requires an educated public and the public school system is the most effective way to achieve that goal.

Jeanne Perry Califon
A typical argument advanced by defenders of the government (public) school establishment against school choice is that it will “divert funds away from public education and will ultimately have a catastrophic effect on public schools,” as this recent letter put it.

To which my answer is—So?

The entrenched public school establishment—the teachers unions, public school administrators, school boards—do not own the public purse. Those dollars belong first to the taxpayers, each as individuals. To take by force a taxpayer’s money, allegedly for education, and then deny that person the right to direct it as she chooses is a cruel fraud.

The dictatorial monopoly we call the “public schools” exists as it is only by force of taxation and compulsory school attendance laws. Why should that be? Why should an entrenched and powerful political faction have sole power to impose their educational philosophy, teacher training, and school administration methods on the rest of us? The question every public school apologist should be asked is; Don’t you believe that, given the choice, taxpayers and parents would voluntarily send their children to your schools, and voluntarily pay for them? The answer is obvious.

The public school establishment does not and should not have first claim on Americans’ education tax dollars or their children. If we must have tax-supported education—and at this point Americans overwhelmingly believe that every child should be guaranteed the financial means to a K-12 education—it does not automatically follow that tax-funded education must be provided by a government-backed coercive monopoly free from parental choice, taxpayer oversight, and entrepreneurial innovation and competition. The taxpayer and the parent should have first claim on how her education tax dollars are spent and on the course of her own child’s education, respectively. It is incredibly arrogant and laughingly absurd to claim that “the public school system is the most effective way to achieve . . . an educated public.” A public school that parents willingly choose not to send their child to should lose its public funds, and if that school must close or merge with another public school to survive, so be it. No public school has an inherent right to exist if liberated parents “vote with their feet”—their tax dollars.

More tellingly, the reference to “a true democracy” as the fundamental reason for government schools spills the beans as to the true purpose of the government schools—political indoctrination. But the schools should not be about directing the future voting choices of its students. The basic purpose of education is to prepare the child to be an independent, thinking, rationally critical adult capable of understanding and dealing with reality so as to give him the intellectual power and self-esteem to make his own life the best it could be. The capacity for properly analyzing political issues is of course a derivative of being an independent thinking adult. But Ms. Perry’s focus on “true democracy”—what I call Democracy Fundamentalism, the opposite of constitutional republican democracy—all but acknowledges that political indoctrination, not education, is what largely motivates the public school monopoly defenders and lies behind the opposition to school choice. How else to explain why the young come out of America's schools with a bias toward collectivism/authoritarianism/socialism? A properly educated young adult—the independent thinker—will implicitly gravitate toward the politics of individualism, liberty, and capitalism. The statists will not have that. They recognize that the independent, self-responsible adult will demand that his freedom to direct the course of his own life is the enemy of statist power of the individual. Thus, the virulent, fanatical opposition to school choice.

Greed also is a significant motivator of the anti-choice reactionaries, as it does for defenders of any coercive monopoly. The reactionary defenders of the public schools want to maintain the dictatorial monopoly not just for financial reasons but also in order to protect their lock on Leftist political indoctrination, and thus the statists’ political power. This makes it all the more urgent to break the public school monopoly through school choice. A free market is the only genuine mechanism for holding educators accountable, by virtue of the ability of parents to leave one school for another and the freedom of education entrepreneurs to offer a diverse array of competing alternatives. A broad and robust school choice option is a major step toward a genuine free market. Universal school choice through tax credits and/or education savings accounts* would legally recognize the moral right of every taxpayer to sponsor the education of any child—be it her own, a grandchild, a child of a low income household, a special needs child, gifted child, etc.—based on the voluntary choice of the recipient child’s parent or guardian. The choice could be a charter school, a private school (for-profit or non-profit), the homeschool option, or even another public school.

The ability to provide a better education alternative to their local public school should not be exclusive for wealthy parents. Nor should middle or lower income parents who do try an alternative have to endure the crushing hardship of having to pay double—once for the public schools they do not use, and again for the educational alternative they try to give their children. The universal school choice movement is the answer.

-------------------------------------------------

[* NOTE: I personally do not approve of vouchers because of the potentially deleterious effect they would have on private schools accepting the vouchers. See my article Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits?]

Related Reading:

Real School Choice Depends on Free Exercise of Individual Rights

Modern-Day George Wallaces in Reverse

School Choice Doesn’t ‘Discriminate’; It Expands Opportunity Through Liberation

Contra Congressman Donald M. Payne, a ‘For-Profit Model’ is Just What Education Needs

The Educational Bonanza in Privatizing Government SchoolsAndrew Bernstein for The Objective Standard

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Producers and Morality: Fake News About ‘Ayn Randism’ from The Weekly Standard

Via Anoop Verma’s For the New Intellectuals Facebook site I found this article from The Weekly Standard, How Hillary Clinton Is Like Ayn Rand. Ethan Epstein notes remarks made by Hillary Clinton in India, in which she claimed “that the areas she won represent ‘two thirds of America’s gross domestic product’,” inferring that people outside those areas are morally inferior. He then jumps too “What I find particularly interesting is the bizarre strand of Ayn Rand-ism in Clinton’s sentiments.” This paragraph sums up the article:

In other words, Clinton’s remarks represent nothing so much as a bizarre strand of Ayn Randism. Clinton, like Rand, seems to be suggesting that “high GDP” people—a.k.a. America’s “producers”—people don’t just have more money than the rest of us. She’s saying they’re better people, too. And as for the Trumpian masses out in low GDP America? What a bunch of “takers!”

I left this comment @ For the New Intellectuals:

Where are the fact checkers at The Weekly Standard? Rand’s view on moral virtue as it relates to economics is that productiveness relies on moral virtue, but that the absolute quantity of any individual’s wealth or level of economic achievement is not the measure of that person’s moral virtue. This view permeates her writing, both fiction and nonfiction. Clinton’s inference is idiotic. But it is not Rand’s view.

-----------------------------------

When Rand spoke of “producers,” she spoke of people who “go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him” (P. 25). In any of Rand’s writings, I know of no instance that says or implies that the extent of a person’s achievement is the measure of his morality. Certainly, there is nothing about Objectivism that’s measures morality in terms of dollars. Dollars earned are a measure of value created, for sure. But not morality. Moral virtue as it relates to economics consists of doing the best one can, honorably, in the productive field of one’s choice, within the context of all of one’s life goals and values. Rand understood “productive work” to mean

the consciously chosen pursuit of a productive career, in any line of rational endeavor, great or modest, on any level of ability. It is not the degree of a man’s ability nor the scale of his work that is ethically relevant here, but the fullest and most purposeful use of his mind.
Emphasis added. This comes from Rand’s definitive statement on morality, The Objectivist Ethics. Her novel Atlas Shrugged is full of wealthy villains (Orren Boyle, James Taggart) and virtuous producers of modest means and ability (Eddie Willers, Jeff Allen). At best, Ethan Epstein doesn’t know what he’s talking about. At worst, he’s deliberately misrepresenting Rand’s moral philosophy—or, in today’s lingo, peddling “fake news” about Rand and her moral philosophy.

Related Reading:

Eugene Robinson’s Disdain for the Working Class, and Distortion of Ayn Rand

"Money-Makers" vs. "Money-Appropriators"

On Ayn Rand's Dishonest Critics

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Pruitt’s Real Value

The New Jersey Star-Ledger devoted an entire editorial to blasting Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. After tarring Pruitt with corruption charges the Star-Ledger turns to Pruitt’s “real damage”--a list of regulation rollbacks starting with withdrawal from the Paris Accord and scuttling of Obama’s Clean Power Plan. “Pruitt's greatest sins of all: his sadistic treatment of the planet and contravention of the EPA's core mission.”

I left the following comments to Don't overlook Scott Pruitt's real damage, slightly edited:

Pulling America out of the Paris Climate Accord and phasing out the Clean Power Plan makes Pruitt a great EPA administrator. Both are aimed at strangling productive Americans’ economic well-being. The Paris Accord forcibly redistributes Americans’ wealth to the rest of the world to “atone” for Americans’ great economic success, while simultaneously strangling the driver of that success, America’s fossil fuel industry. The Power Plan forces Americans away from reliable energy, mainly fossil fuels, in favor of unreliable “clean” energy. Since energy is the industry that drives every other industry as well as our lives, it is really an economic poverty plan.

As to the rest of that list, I don’t know enough about the technical/scientific issues to make a judgement (“scientists say” appeals to authority don’t work with me).

The real problem is “the EPA's core mission” as conceived by Environmentalism--to “save the planet” from human living. Humans survive by reshaping the planet to human benefit through industrial/technological development. Pruitt brings a balanced perspective that values human life over unaltered nature. I trust his humanist perspective over Environmentalism’s naturalist concept of the EPA’s “core mission”. Pruitt is not pro pollution. He is pro-human life, crafting policies that balance the economic harm from pollution controls and the negatives of fossil fuels against the benefits of industrial progress and the reliable energy so vital to it.

You can have economic progress while reducing pollution and focussing on true threats to human health. Pruitt has reigned in the EPA’s dictatorial, life-hating, constitution-shirking, rights-violating “green” activists within the EPA. Pruitt is great for human health, flourishing, and freedom.

------------------------------------
The Environmental Protection Agency should be concerned with preserving and improving the human environment, not “saving the planet.” Scott Pruitt's real value is that he understands this. As
Mollie Hemingway reports for The Federalist:

[Pruitt] is demanding scientific rigor for agency work.

Pruitt is not some anti-environmentalist * but someone who wants the EPA to do what Congress charges it with doing to improve the nation’s environment. So he awarded $100 million to upgrade drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and began an effort to eradicate lead poisoning from drinking water. He committed additional funds to deal with the EPA’s botching of the Gold King Mine release that polluted Colorado and Utah. 
There are poor ways, average ways, and shrewd ways to tackle the constitutional problems that arise from the administrative state. Many Republicans either don’t realize the problems of an unelected bureaucracy’s power, or fail to combat those problems effectively. Pruitt is in the final category, demonstrating competency and a devotion to rule of law. And he has the courage that so many of his GOP peers lack, not being intimidated by the normal media frenzy that intimidates other Republican appointees.
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* [I distinguish between ideological Environmentalism (upper-case "E") from casual environmentalism, which people may conceptualize as simply recycling or planting a tree, not anti-humanism.]


Related Reading:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Time to End All Government-Funded Climate Change Research

When President Trump cut funding for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the climate catastrophists went nuts—literally. The New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized, Deranged man attacks climate change funding with budget ax. The editors profess concern for controlling pollution. But its main concern revolves around climate change.
Donald Trump's effort to kill nearly one-third of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's budget, including climate research, and all climate funds to the United Nations leaves no doubt about where we, as a nation, stand.
My emphasis.

It’s becoming easier and easier for anyone who values facts over public opinion to discover how mild and manageable global warming/climate change actually is. Much if not most of climate change—the jury is still “out” on this—is not related to human activity Decades of failed predictions of increasing weather extremes is based on pure speculation, not demonstrated science. We humans are much safer from climate dangers than ever before. Living on Earth has dramatically improved during the very time when catastrophe was supposed to strike, thanks to the reliable, economical, increasingly clean “frenetic pace” of burning of fossil fuels. Increasing CO2 levels have many benefits. Despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on “alternative energy” subsidies, fossil fuels are still the most vital to human flourishing.

Yet, as more and more people come to understand the truth that the climate change catastrophist scenario is hogwash, the climate fanatics get more hysterical. Now, dissenters are not merely “climate deniers.” Now we can add a new pejorative, “deranged.” As the climate catastrophists’ case thins out, their insults get heavier.

The Star-Ledger seems most concerned with Trump’s cuts in climate change research funding. It worries that “This is a White House that lifts its talking points straight from ExxonMobil.” But this begs the question, why should we trust research generated by government?

Government funding of science is by definition politicized—the funding must come through politicians, after all—and EPA climate science research is probably the most politicized of all, thanks to the Left statists. The cabal of government funded scientists becomes “The Establishment,” which is then self-servingly peddled as the “The Final Authority.” Climate catastrophists question the work of dissenters if even one dollar of their funding comes from the fossil fuel industry. Fair enough. But if fossil fuel industry funded research is questionable, shouldn't research funded by politicians be even more vigorously questioned? At least the industry funding is voluntary, not taken by force from taxpayers.

It’s about time the Climate Establishment got completely cut off from taxpayer funding. The Star-Ledger claims that “A solid majority of Americans believe the effects of climate change are already occurring, and are driven by human activities,” implying that climate change is a major concern for these Americans. Let the Star-Ledger and its ilk set up a GoFundMe page and make up the EPA cuts with voluntary contributions. That will be a much better measure of the American public’s concern about climate change than any vaguely worded public opinion poll. It would be much more objective if the EPA relied strictly on privately funded research in the same manner as climate catastrophe dissenters do, giving equal consideration to all research. Then it could get a better cross section of informed opinions than it can by continuing to pit its EPA established “Establishment” against dissenters it brushes aside as “deniers” and “deranged.”

As MIT Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences Richard Lindzen observes in a letter to President Trump, “Calls to limit carbon dioxide emissions are even less persuasive today than 25 years ago. Future research should focus on dispassionate, high-quality climate science, not on efforts to prop up an increasingly frayed narrative of ‘carbon pollution.’ Until scientific research is unfettered from the constraints of the policy-driven UNFCCC, the research community will fail in its obligation to the public that pays the bills.” I submit that this will not happen until the public stops being forced, through taxes, to pay the bills. It’s time all climate research is evaluated on a level, unbiased, un-politicized playing field.

Related Reading:

Bill Gates, Capitalism, Socialism, and Climate Change

Full MIT Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences Richard Lindzen’s Letter to Trump Urging Withdrawal from the IPCC

Powerline Blog on Lindzen’s Credentials

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Insidious ‘Left Behind’ Argument Against Charters

Regarding Charter schools are expanding to new turf in N.J. and bringing the same bitter debate by NJ.com’s Adam Clark (See my post of 4/11/18;‘Investing’ of ‘Resources’ In Education Is Up to the Taxpayer), there is one argument against charter schools and school choice that I find particularly pernicious. The argument was repeated here;

"No matter whether you are talking suburban, rural or even urban, sometimes the issues are the same," [Garden State Coalition of Schools executive director Betsy] Ginsburg said. "What is the impact on the students who are left behind in the traditional public schools?"

Just on its face, this is surely an indictment of the government’s monopolistic education establishment, a.k.a. “traditional public schools”; a blatant admission of their inferiority and failure. Why else would students who remain in the traditionals be considered “left behind?”

But that’s not the worst of it. There is something more sinister lurking in that rationalization against charters--an educational egalitarianism. The “left behind” argument basically implies that achievement is a zero-sum game; that the success of one student comes at the expense of the failure of another. This leads to the mindset in “the students who are left behind” that their own educational success is not tied to their own efforts but is instead dependent on bringing down the higher achievers; that opportunities for others for a better education must be crushed in order for “the students who are left behind” to have a chance; that all students must be mashed together so all can move along at the same pace regardless of individuality, with no one being allowed to excel much beyond the average.

This is a psychological war on self-esteem, the fuel that drives motivation to go after a successful and fulfilling life. This “left behind” argument orients the child toward others and away from himself, instilling in him a vested interest in the failure of others. What other result can one expect, when you’re essentially telling “the students who are left behind in the traditional public schools?” that his failure is all the fault of charter school students’ success? This is a prescription for envy and resentment, rather than admiration for and motivation to emulate, the higher achieving students. It’s a self-esteem killer, and thus a motivation-killer, that has to at some point result in hatred of achievement and achievers (the same envious mindset that underpins the “war on income inequality”).

This “left behind” argument against charters specifically and school choice more broadly is not about education or educational opportunity. It is not about lifting students. It is an undisguised attack on educational improvement and excellence. To what end? To preserve the monopolistic education status quo. It is devious and greedy.

All children have the capacity to excel educationally—that is, to become independent thinking lovers of learning, each to the extent of her abilities. To “excel” does not mean in relation to others, but in relation to the individual child’s unique potentialities. Not all students will reach their potential, whether because of the failing of the kid or the teacher or the curriculum or the educational philosophy or parental neglect. But that is not a problem that can be resolved by denying other children their opportunities; i.e., by educational egalitarianism. Success is not a zero sum game, and no child should ever be held back for the sake of others not being “left behind.” To suggest that any child should is a hateful moral abomination.

The war on charters and school choice is a war on educational excellence. Rather than pit child against child in a war on self-esteem, expand school choice to all children and all parents. There is nothing sacred about traditional public schools. Whether through tax credits or full, unrestricted Education Savings Accounts,* education tax dollars should follow the student, whose course is directed by the parent/guardian. If the traditional public schools can’t compete in the entrepreneurial environment, let them fold like any private enterprise that can’t draw customers voluntarily.

* [I support the complete separation of education and state, a free market. But as an interim solution, universal school choice within the context of the current education tax regime would be a huge improvement.]

Related Reading:

Are Parents Capable of Properly Educating Their Children in a Free Market? (See also comments below.)

Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits?

Newark's Successful Charter Schools Under Attack—for Being Successful

Education in a Free Society—C. Bradley Thompson for The Objective Standard

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

‘Investing’ of ‘Resources’ In Education Is Up to the Taxpayer

Charter schools are expanding to new turf in N.J. and bringing the same bitter debate. That is the title of a New Jersey Star-Ledger article published on April 5, 2018. Adam Clark reports:

Deep in South Jersey, on the sprawling grounds of a summer camp surrounded by rolling farmland, Upper Pittsgrove Township is about to have something in common with the state's big cities.


The Salem County town, marked by cornfields and country roads, will soon play host to a charter school -- perhaps the most visible sign yet of the controversial and far-reaching expansion of school choice in New Jersey.

It's also the newest chapter in the ongoing debate about the future of New Jersey's public schools, one that centers on whether it's better to invest in traditional schools or let families vote with their feet.

Supporters say a charter school in South Jersey farm country could be a step toward closing a glaring inequity in the state's rural communities, where families don't have access to charter schools and can't afford private academies.


But critics worry the expansion of charter schools -- long clustered in urban areas to serve low-income families with poorly rated schools -- will only exacerbate the declining resources of traditional public schools.

I left these comments, slightly edited:

Year after year resources are drained from taxpayers, parent and non-parent alike, to fund a bloated “investment” into the government education monopoly. Now that parents gain some small measure of choice in directing the flow of some of their own education tax dollars into schools they judge to be better options for their children, reactionary defenders of the monopoly have the nerve to object to “declining resources of traditional public schools?” Why is it “investment” when a dictatorial education elite spends the money according to its agenda, but not when “families vote with their feet?”

Charter schools are a start. Universal school choice would liberate every parent and taxpayer to direct the flow of their own education dollars to the schooling of their choice--charter or traditional, private or public, profit or non-profit, including homeschooling. The “resources of traditional public schools” belong first and foremost to the individual taxpayer, who has first moral claim on how to invest it. The entrenched public school establishment, including the “teachers” union and their “progressive” political allies, exists in its current monopolistic form and draws its power because of governmental force--taxation and truancy laws. That’s morally wrong. This coercive establishment has no inherent or automatic claim on any individual taxpayer’s education tax dollars. Every dollar of the per-pupil cost of tradition government schools should be directed to the education facility of the parent/guardian’s choice on behalf of her own child.*

Educational choice is a moral, pro-liberty imperative in the same way and for the same reasons as the Abolitionist, Women’s Suffrage, and various Civil Rights (e.g. Black, Native American, Gay Pride) movements of American history.


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* [I want to add, for the record, that I favor a complete separation of education and state. That means no education taxes and no government-run schools. It means no government “oversight” except in instances of objectively provable child neglect. It means a completely free education market.

[I would usually make this disclaimer in my comments, even as I argue for the half-step of tax credits or ESAs. But the NJ Star-Ledger has a new comment policy that limits comments to 1800 characters. This forces me to essentialize my argument--not entirely a bad thing, given my penchant for wordiness.]

Related Reading:

Charter Schools – Good, but Not the Long-Term Answer

Newark's Successful Charter Schools Under Attack—for Being Successful

Charter Schools and their Reactionary Enemies--Part 1

Charter Schools and their Reactionary Enemies--Part 2

Charter Schools and their Reactionary Enemies--Part 3

Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits?

Monday, April 9, 2018

On TrumpCare’s ‘Cut’ to Medicaid, and Other Matters

From the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Trumpcare blocks millions from drug treatment. Where is Christie?, published last March (2017):

President Donald Trump and Gov. Chris Christie both promised to do absolutely everything in their power to fight the opioid epidemic.

"You cannot let people die on the street, OK?" Trump said in a February 2016 town hall. "The problem is that everybody thinks that you people, as Republicans, hate the concept of taking care of people that are really, really sick and are gonna die. We gotta take care of people that can't take care of themselves."

He repeated that promise after he was elected, as did Christie, who vowed to devote the remainder of his term as governor to the anti-opioid cause.

I left these comments, edited for clarity:

So what’s the problem? Trump and Christie are a couple of welfare statists—kindred spirits of the Star-Ledger and the Democrats. They have no problem with forcing other people to pay for their idea of “taking care of people.”

They’re just not as extreme as their more Leftist comrades would like.

TrumpCare (ObamaCare without Obama) will preserve the Medicaid program in its immoral forced wealth redistribution form. The problem is, the Left welfare statists are so wedded to government handouts and hateful of productive people that they can’t stomach any suggestion of any cuts to any redistribution program. Trump merely proposes to “cut”—which usually means to reduce the growth rate of (all of these welfare state systems automatically grow each year)—Medicaid and hand the money to the states, so they can prioritize their Medicaid spending within some semblance of budgetary restraint like any productive household has to do.

What’s wrong with that? Plenty, according to those who have never given a thought to those who are forced to foot the bill. TrumpCare will simply roll back some tax and spending increases put in by ObamaCare. But increases are always good. “Cuts” are always bad. No matter what. You have no right to what you earn. But the sky’s the limit on taking others’ earnings if you “need” it. “More people on the dole—the more the better.” That’s the more consistent Left’s mantra.

Related Reading:

Christie’s Insurance Mandate is a ‘Teachable Moment’

Don’t Blame Republicans for Failure to Repeal Obamacare—Harry Binswanger for The Objective Standard

Democrats Will be a Lot Less Disappointed in Trump than They Think.

GOP ObamaCare Repeal: The Left Opposes Cuts in Spending and Controls—What’s New?

From RomneyCare Without Romney to ObamaCare Without Obama?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Vaccine Exemption Bill Violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, Fairness

New Jersey law mandates childhood vaccination against infectious diseases like Mumps, but allows for religious exemptions. The legislature is currently advancing a bill that would make it harder for parents to exempt their children from the mandate on religious grounds. The state’s Assembly Health Committee voted 7-3 in favor of the bill, which now goes to the full assembly.

As Susan K. Livio reports for NJ.com, current law “requires only that parents send the school district a letter stating vaccines violate their family's religious beliefs.” Among other added requirements, the new legislation updating the law (A3818)

says parents who want to claim a religious exemption must submit a notarized statement to the school explaining how permitting their child to be vaccinated "would violate, contradict, or otherwise be inconsistent" with a [religious] tenet or practice.

The letter must show the parents' request is not solely based on "political, sociological, philosophical, or moral views, or concerns related to the safety or efficacy of the vaccination."

Opponents attending the committee vote were loud and boisterous, claiming the new law would be “burdensome, intrusive and discriminatory, and sharply questioned why the government had the right to judge their beliefs.”

I left these comments:

I oppose exemptions based only on religious beliefs. What about people who object based on rational convictions? As a matter of fairness, why shouldn’t “solely political, sociological, philosophical or moral views” count any less than religious views?

A religious exemption seems to violate the Constitution. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This means the government may not officially recognize or legally favor one religion over others, or any religion over non-religion. What is a religious exemption but favoritism toward religion; i.e., an establishment of religion?

The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment states that “No state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Where is the equal protection in a law that discriminates in favor of conscientious objectors based on religious conviction as opposed to political, sociological, philosophical, moral, or other non-religious conscientious objectors? Coupled with the First Amendment, the principle is clear: The government should never discriminate for or against any individual or segment of the population in the enforcement of its laws when it comes to matters of conscience. Rather, it should protect everyone’s rights, people of faith and people of reason, equally and at all times.

I believe in vaccination, and sympathize with the spirit of the legal mandate. That said, I have strong reservations, on individual rights grounds, about a vaccination mandate. But if we’re going to have one, it should be applied evenly for both constitutional and fairness reasons. Either recognize all conscientious objections, or none.


Related Reading:

On Mandatory Vaccinations, Protect Everyone’s Right to Object, Not Just Religionists’ Rights

Arizona Governor's "Religious Freedom" Veto Was the Right Move

Two Views on Religious Exemptions from Anti-Discrimination Laws

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mulshine on ‘Lukewarmers’ vs. ‘Jihad on Pipelines’


New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine is a lonely voice of sanity at his employer when it comes to energy and climate change. But he has written some good articles against the tide of op-eds and letters that permeate the Star-Ledger. (You can search my blog for posts citing Mulshine on fossil fuels and climate change.)

In another great article, The 'lukewarmers' show how environmentalists are in denial about denial, Mulshine shines the light (no pun intended) on a new book titled Lukewarming: The New Climate Science that Changes Everything. The authors, scientists Paul C. Knappenburger and Patrick Michaels, argue that lukewarming “is a more accurate representation of the views of those scientists often derided as "climate deniers" because they question the Environmentalists’ “war on fossil fuels.”

Bill McKibben is the leader in the War on Fossil Fuels. His main front is natural gas pipelines, which due to “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) is very abundant these days. Here is a quote from the article:

We already have more than 35,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in the state. Why this sudden rise in protests over a few minor additions to an existing network?

Blame a guy by the name of Bill McKibben. He's an environmental activist who has declared a jihad on all pipelines, period. His goal is to "Keep It in the Ground" - the name for his campaign against fossil fuels.
Translation: Environmentalism is NOT about cleaner industrialization. It is an anti-reliable energy, anti-industrial, anti-humanist ideology that seeks to preserve raw nature at the expense of human improvement of the environment for the sake of man's own well-being. Why else would the environmentalists want to keep fossil fuels, the lifeblood of our advanced way of life, "in the ground?"

If you have any doubts, consider that, until recently, “environmentalists were supporting natural gas production.” Quoting Knappenburger, Mulshine goes on:

"They were in favor of natural gas while there wasn't much of it." The notion was that this was a bridge fuel. But now it's so cheap that the bridge goes on forever."

I would go further. If wind and solar power, the so-called “clean power” alternative to reliable energy like fossil fuels but also hydro and nuclear, ever became as cheap and reliable as the reliables, thye environmentalists would find a way to stop those too. The logic of the environmentalists’ standard of moral value, nature unaltered and unimproved, demands it.

There’s more good stuff in the article. I bought the book Lukewarming: The New Climate Science that Changes Everything, but have not yet read it. I look forward to it.

Related Reading:

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels—Alex Epstein

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the 21st Century—Ronald Bailey

The ‘Jihad on Pipelines,’ New Jersey Front

The Unholy Alliance of the NIMBYs and the Anti-Pipeline Jihadists

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fighting Racism With Collectivism is No Way to Exterminate Racism

Fighting racism. That is the subject of a New Jersey Star-Ledger guest column by Khadijah Costley White, assistant professor in the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers-New Brunswick.

In I've suffered from racism in N.J. Here's one way to fight it, White recounts an encounter with racism as a little girl, with a group of white brats yelling racial epithets at White, who is black.

White casts substantial blame on the media; specifically, how it gives disproportionately large coverage of blacks who commit crimes as opposed to whites. There may be something to it. White is a “media studies professor”. I’m in no position to question this expert. But I think the problem of racism is much deeper than media coverage. I left these comments, citing quotes from White’s article along the way:

“Put simply, racism is the belief that one racial group is superior to another . . .”
That’s a good start. Fundamentally, racism is about group identity.* But then the message gets lost in a swamp of groupism:
There are a lot of measures in society where white people do better than black people - health, education, housing, intelligence tests -- all sorts of measures where whites fare better than black Americans.

Why is that? If you believe that whites do better than black people because there's something wrong with black people -- either culturally, that the way black kids are raised or their parents' values, or if you think that there's something biologically inferior about black people that makes them genetically inferior to whites -- that's just the very definition of racism.

Statistical measures tell you nothing about racism. Statistics are an average drawn among many individuals. I’ve been around long enough—worked with, played with, associated with and observed people of all races and backgrounds in my 69 years—to learn that you can learn nothing about any individual’s racial views by studying statistics. Not everyone is a racist and not everyone experiences racism—or experiences it the same, or deals with it the same. Likewise, you can learn nothing about any individual’s character by looking at statistics. You can learn nothing about the reasons for any individual’s achievement, or lack thereof, by looking at statistics. Or his intelligence, or education, or other “societal measures”. Any judging of individuals according to “paint-with-a-broad-brush” racial group affiliation is racist but, more practically, utterly illogical and useless. Yet that is the implied worldview of the “measures in society” standard the author uses.

I’ve been wondering if the writer is just so indoctrinated into collectivism that she innocently never considered any approach other than groupthink. Or, more is the writer cynically using racism to sneak in a socialist/egalitarian agenda? This statement hints at the latter:
Either you believe all people are equal and there’s something very wrong in our society that makes it so one group fares much better than the rest, or you don’t believe in equality at all.

Groups don’t “fare”. Groups don’t do anything. A group is only a number of individuals. The individual, not the group, is the unit of humanity that actually exists. Only individuals “fare”—think, choose values and goals, work or not, ambitiously apply themselves or not, succeed or fail, flourish or stagnate—each according to her unique personal circumstances, attributes, and above all content of character.

Equality is not a matter to “believe in” or not. It is a matter of recognizing facts. Human nature is such that inequality is an irrevocable natural fact, like the law of gravity. People, as individuals, are unequal in ability, ambition, values, interests, upbringing, moral character, looks, associations, even luck, to name just a few of the myriad respects that people are unequal. Like a huge global blizzard with no two snowflakes alike, what we refer in the abstract as “humanity” consists of autonomous individuals no two of whom are exactly alike. Existentially, humans are unequal. This natural inequality does not mean that people are, qua individual, morally unequal. “All men,” regardless of race, gender, genetic or cultural heritage, etc., “are created equal”—equal, that is, in our basic humanity as beings of reason. But beyond the basics, people differ, starting with the choice to use their reason or not, to think or not. This is why people can only be equal in one respect—the individual rights that guarantee legal freedom to pursue one’s own happiness and to keep and control whatever one achieves in life, so long as one’s actions don’t violate the same rights of others. When left free, their rights protected by government and law equally and at all times, people will always achieve unequally based on myriad factors that have nothing to do with race. Inequality in how we each “fare”—in outcome of whatever efforts we exert—is not wrong. It is a sign of justice.

To believe that groups should fare equally is to effectively dismiss as insignificant the lives and achievements of each individual; it’s to say that none of us had anything to do with our station in life. To equalize individual outcomes requires the cutting down and destruction of individual achievers, because by definition, anyone who achieves anything, on any level, in any area of human endeavor, is unequal to those who didn’t achieve it. To equalize racial groups is to cut down individual achievers, based solely on the color of skin. That, by definition, is racism. We should protect individual rights equally before the law. Any attempt to equalize group outcomes, and thus equalize individual outcomes, is utopian—that is, contrary the the laws of human nature—and thus destructive, unfair, and inhuman.

Eradicating racism, however overt or subtle, is a worthy fight—and the subtle kind is the hardest. To identify and oppose overt racism, such as harassment by name calling, is the easy part. To root out and oppose the subtle racism that people won’t openly admit to, maybe not even to themselves, but which may be hinted at in group statistics can not be fought with socialistic or egalitarian outcome-equalizing coercive government policies (We can and should, however, eliminate economic policies that stifle individual upward mobility). The fight against racism is philosophical. If “racism is the belief that one racial group is superior to another,” then individualism is the belief that all individuals should be judged by individual characteristics related to personal choice, regardless of race.

Whatever the media’s role in perpetuating racist attitudes, our deepest convictions relating to individualism versus collectivism is the fundamental issue. To measure group against group is to foster collectivism, which is to foster racism. When you collectivize problems of individuals (“. . . health, education, housing, intelligence tests -- all sorts of measures where whites fare better than black Americans”), it is no surprise when people offer collectivist speculations as to the why (it’s “black culture”, “black parenting”, “black values”, “black biology”)—even from people who, in their private associations, are not racist. I don’t offer collective generalizations, because I’m consciously anti-collectivism/pro-individualism. But when you frame the issue in collectivist terms, people who have not thought things through philosophically—even non-racists—may be drawn to racist, collectivistic broad-brush explanations. Applying the logic of the author's analysis, I’d have to ignore the achievements, the intelligence, the character, the actions, the ideas of each person I meet, and judge the person according to the group the person “belongs” to—according to skin color rather than content of character. That is racism. You can’t fight racism with collectivism, because racism is collectivism. The only antipode to collectivism is individualism.

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* [I prefer philosopher Ayn Rand’s broader definition of 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 (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control.

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.]

Related Reading:

Racism—Ayn Rand

Sunday, April 1, 2018

NJ’s Discriminatory ‘Pay Equity’ Bill Threatens Freedom and Competence

With a new Democrat governor, New Jersey’s Progressives are racing ahead to roll back economic freedom in the state. As Susan K. Livio reports for NJ.com in an article published in the NJ Star-Ledger, N.J. could soon get the strongest equal pay law in America:

New Jersey is now on the brink of enacting the most sweeping equal pay legislation in America.


A "historic" bill protecting women and minorities in the state from workplace discrimination passed both houses of the state Legislature on Monday, and Gov. Phil Murphy has already pledged to sign it into law.

Women working full-time in America in 2015 earned just 80 cents for every dollar that men earned, and at this rate, women won't reach pay equality until 2059, according to a report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

I left these comments, edited and expanded:

“Women working full-time in America in 2015 earned just 80 cents for every dollar that men earned. . .”

I can’t believe Livio is using that statistic, especially in an article for the Star-Ledger. Way back on 7/1/2012 the Star-Ledger Editorial Board said, “The 77-cent figure that’s used by the Obama administration to discuss how much a woman earns compared with a man’s dollar is bogus. It’s wrong to use that number as the basis for any corrective government policy.” (“Gaming the gap: Let's get real about gender and pay”)

The SLEB reiterated that stand often, such as on 1/26/2017, when it wrote that “An oft-cited 77-cent number is a bogus exaggeration.” (“N.J. senator gives rare insight into what a white man thinks about pay equity for women”) Maybe that gap has shrunk to 80-cents—but it’s still bogus. In 2012, The SLEB reported that “when [economists] take life choices into account, they estimate [the gap] at somewhere between 91 and 95 cents to a man’s dollar.”

In any event, statistics prove nothing, including broad-based discrimination against women, even though some employers undoubtedly do. Statistics can’t differentiate between unfair discrimination or differences in compensation based on life choices, productiveness, reliability, or myriad other factors. That’s why statistics rank below damned lies on the scale of honesty. It’s terrible to use statistics, especially bogus statistics, to justify laws. Especially one-size-fits-all laws that violate fundamental individual rights such as the moral right of employers and employees to freely contract on mutually agreed terms.

At best, this terrible law empowers whiners who, failing to get paid what they think they deserve by mutual agreement, to turn to law--the government's guns--to get it by force; or to empower women and “minority” (but not male non-”minority”) mediocrities and achievement-haters to undermine more competent co-workers’ well-deserved raises or bonuses from employers fearing “discrimination” lawsuits.* In effect, this anti-discrimination “pay equity” bill discriminates against competence, ability, intelligence, productiveness, and the good character that makes those qualities possible,

At worst, it is an attack on one’s freedom to make work choices and negotiate compensation terms based on one’s own life choices.


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And if you think you can turn to NJ Republicans to defend individual rights to freedom of contract and association, consider this:

The Senate voted 35-0 to pass the bill. The Assembly's vote was 74-2 ,, with Assemblymen (sic) Michael Patrick Carroll, and Assemblyman Jay Webber, both R-Morris, voting no.

None of the 15 Republican Senators, and only 2 of the 26 Republican members of the Assembly, voted against this bill.

* [I put “minority” in scare quotes because the smallest minority is the individual, and individuals come in all colors and sexes.]

Related Reading:

Collectivist Left on 'Pay Equity for Women'

How Anti-Discrimination Laws Undermine Free Speech

There is No ‘Right to Equal Treatment’; Only the Right to ‘Equal Protection of the Law’

Does rescinding laws banning private discrimination make a moral statement in support of bigotry?

The Right to Discriminate is About Contract, Not Religion