Speaker 0 00:00:00 Everyone and welcome to the 75th episode of the Atlas society asks. My name is Jennifer Anji Grossman. My friends call me JAG. I'm the CEO of the outlet society. We are the leading nonprofit organization. Introducing young people to the ideas of mine, ran in fun, creative ways like graphic novels, animated videos. Today we are joined by our very own senior scholars, our founder, David Kelly, and, uh, all the economists and Instagram and press your scenario. Richard Salzman for our monthly current events discussion, which we'll be covering a number of current events from an objectivist philosophical perspective. Um, we are also going to save some time for questions at the end of our session. Um, but you can go ahead and start typing those in no matter what platform you are watching us on zoom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, just use the chat section and start typing in your questions. So today we're going to cover three topics, the human infrastructure bill curiously named, and we're going to get into that a new book out by Jonathan Rouch the constitution of knowledge and the instruction by a attorney, the attorney general to examine parents interference with school boards, uh, as potential domestic terrorist activity. So thanks for joining us and Richard, if you'll get us into our first topic.
Speaker 1 00:01:46 Great. Well, thank you all for joining. Uh, this first topic, uh, has to do with what I would classify on what those in Washington, then also we're classifying as the debate over a human infrastructure bill. Now, this thing is supposed to be three and a half trillion dollars. Now it is over 10 years, but that's still a lot of money. Three or four months ago. They agreed to a $1 trillion bill as a min fully enacted yet or signed in that had to do with what's called traditional old school, call it tangible or physical capital. What most people would think of as roads and bridges and tunnels and airports and waterways and things like that. The reason I think this is an interesting topic is, is, uh, two things. One, the American people like infrastructure. They usually don't like the transfer welfare state where people, especially if people are getting something for nothing, if they're freeloaders, but this idea of well, if government is going to spend money on anything, at least fill the potholes, at least make it easier for me to get in and out of the airport.
Speaker 1 00:02:48 You know, they at least, uh, fix the water you in Flint, Michigan, which has been killing people for for years. And so, uh, this is another example, a very interesting when I think of status using language, that really doesn't mean what it means. They've done this with the word liberal, they've done this with the word progressive, and now they're doing it with the word infrastructure government really does often do physical infrastructure badly. That's why it's often called crumbling infrastructure, but this more recent iteration is really worse because it, the three and a half trillion is not infrastructure in the traditional sense at all. They're just calling it that, but they at least have the good graces of calling it human infrastructure. And of course, human has a good word to their humanitarians out for all who can be against human infrastructure. So, so what is it it's often also called soft infrastructure, not hard like cement and roads.
Speaker 1 00:03:43 All right. So here's, what's in the bill two free years of community college for everyone. So that's soft. That's not really hard. It's just that soft stuff. That alone is 108 billion. Here's another one childcare universal pre-K for zero to five-year-olds that one's 450 billion. Another part of it expanding Medicare now covers hospitals, doctors, uh, Bush added the prescription drug benefit. Now they want to add dental hearing and vision. So you see soft stuff. This isn't cement. This is a contact lenses who could be against that. Uh, here's another one, the extension of the child tax credit. So the more kids you have, the more money they'll give you. Um, here's one, I couldn't believe this one's in there. Cut and regulate pharma prices. So price controls on pharma, uh, using Medicare to tell pharma companies how much they can charge for drugs. Now, why would that be in a spending plan there they're including it in here and saying, well, it will save Medicare $450 billion.
Speaker 1 00:04:51 See, so that's part of the three and a half trillion as well. We're going to save, save for 450 billion by not paying pharma as much as, as they deserve 225 billion for paid family. Leave 12 weeks, 12 weeks. The government will pay you to, uh, go home either for medical or, um, uh, whatever child reasons. And the last really is green, new deal stuff. There's, uh, many hundreds of billions. I haven't figured out exactly how much combating climate change, that's it. And there's like five or six different major things in here. Uh, basically trying to turn the economy into a reliance almost entirely by 2030, believe it or not, that's only nine years from now using a wind and power, uh, wind and solar power, um, paid for how raising corporate tax rates back up from 21 to 26, raising personal income tax rates, backdrop, raising capital gains tax rates, backdrops.
Speaker 1 00:05:51 So that's it for the gory details, but I wanted to give you some of the details to give you a sense of what they're trying to do here. This is an expansion of the welfare state of the kind Americans typically don't like, except for the goodies, of course, and it's not this kind of tangible infrastructure. And I think they're doing this, frankly, as a kind of backdoor way of getting things like price controls on pharma, green, new deal type stuff, and, uh, all the kind of stuff that, uh, you know, for the most part they aren't really good at anyway, but might be sold. Now, politically, this is interesting because if this passes and it's not clear that it will, it will probably quite emboldened Biden the Democrats and even the squad, the squad being the more left wing part of the party, because they're really pushing this three and a half trillion on the other hand, if it does not pass and that's possible because there are two holdouts.
Speaker 1 00:06:44 One is a Senator mansion from West Virginia, a Democrat and another one, the one from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, they are both against this and there, interestingly, they said they're against it because they're against the U S government making people more dependent on government. So they're actually naming, uh, I would think a good philosophic argument against doing this. Uh, the other reason of course, is that mansion's from West Virginia and that would kill the coal industry. The coal industry would basically end if this were passed. So I think it's a good current events topic, precisely because it may determine the power of the Vita ministration, at least through to the next, um, uh, midterm elections. But I also wanted to highlight it because I think you're going to see more and more of this over the coming years where the government is really expanding beyond all reason. And, and yet they still feel the need to package it in ways that, um, are acceptable, at least in terms of rhetoric and words to the American people.
Speaker 1 00:07:45 Um, I looked up by the way, there's not a lot of literature on this, but if you look up soft infrastructure structure, and if you look up human infrastructure, it's funny. Cause it's not really something economists are spending much time on, so they're skeptical of it. But however, there is in the history of economics and in fact, a Nobel prize winner, I said just wanted to make this point. Gary Becker won the Nobel prize in the early nineties. He's from the university of Chicago. And he came up with the concept of human capital and he was trying to distinguish it from plant, you know, in equipment and factories and things like that. And it's actually a legitimate concept because it deals with things like people's education levels, their skill levels on the job, how much they know how much experience they have, that kind of thing.
Speaker 1 00:08:33 And that is legitimate. You, you can speak in terms of building up cultivating people's human capital, but you can also speak of eroding it. And the last point I really want to make here is these so-called investments in human infrastructure that the Congress is talking about. This is the same Congress that has given us public schools, which are eroding human capital to a massive extent, massive illiteracy rates, massive innumeracy rates. People cannot read and calculate. It is just atrocious. The dropout rates are high. So in other words, they're already on record, very badly handling quote unquote, human infrastructure. Now, other things that are included in this concept are things like, uh, the law, uh, courts, the prisons, uh, even things like museum and baseball parks, I've seen included in cultural things, uh, included in what they call human infrastructure. And, and, and still the record has been very bad when government has touched these things, they've usually, uh, hurt them very badly. So I just wanted to make people aware of this terminology, this language, it isn't just budget busting stuff. It's kind of this philosophic take on trying to get people to endorse a massive spending on what's considered human and what's considered infrastructure, but it is government doing it and doing it very badly.
Speaker 0 00:09:53 And also just giving, uh, labels that the media can use to, uh, to propagate the, you know, approved official version of, of what they're trying to do. Um, it is interesting though, when you mentioned all of the green energy subsidies, that it is notably missing any, uh, nuclear power development, which actually would be hard in such infrastructure. Um, but, uh, and would go a long way to, uh, to reducing carbon emissions. Uh, and I think probably would include bi-partisan support, but I think that's perhaps, um, more symptomatic of, of where the democratic coalition is, uh, right now and the kind of, um, emotional commitments that are driving it rather than a real focus on truly progressive politics. David, you have some thoughts.
Speaker 2 00:11:02 Yeah. I just wanted to add something on the political process and a strategy to what Richard has said. My understanding is that, um, initially they got to 3.5 trillion by limiting the duration of certain programs. And that is an awful gimmick because it once enacted those programs will not be terminated, right. I don't know what the record is, but the record of programs actually ending on time is pretty slim. So, um, but along those same lines, the, uh, the, I understand there's been a debate among the people who are trying to lower the cost of the bill, um, because of mentioning as cinema, uh, between taking more of the programs and limiting them in time. So you reduce the price. They're only good for two or 3, 2, 3 years, instead of all 10, um, as opposed to just people. And I think mansion's one of them will want to make these means tested, not open to the entire population.
Speaker 2 00:12:12 And this is a strategy that's been going on since the new deal, when Roosevelt created social security, um, it was on the Facebook to deal with poverty, um, older people in the great depression, but he made it universal. And he said, actually, I have, I'm going to read you what he said. Um, by someone who said, you know, the economics of this is not just going to be horrendous. She said, well, I guess you're right about the economics, but those taxes were never a problem there. Payroll taxes of economics, there are politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions, uh, which were so Pang for us. We put those contributions there. So it was to give customers illegal, moral, and political, right. To collect their pensions, uh, and by recruiting everyone, uh, where those taxes in there and universal coverage, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program at the same thinking is going on. There's a mantra in welfare hacktivism of the program for the poor is a poor program because it won't get political support. You make everyone dependent and then they will come to expect it. Yeah. Um, so I also would ask Richard your discussion about it. You wouldn't capital reminds me of a basic theme from Atlas shrug that the mind is the driver of everything else that we have. It's the ultimate resource. And in some ways, human capitalism, most important kind, right? It's a source of financial capital infrastructure, capital, heart capital.
Speaker 1 00:13:51 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:13:53 Let's see. Right.
Speaker 1 00:13:56 Yes, very much so. And that's why within the human capital or a debate, the biggest part is education. And, uh, and so if people aren't, if they are educated, if they, and they gained skills, so that's like practical application of education, that's considered a building up of human capital. And, but, but the data are unmistakable that in the U S if that's a measure, that's a main measure. It's eroded enormously now, but, but it's true, David, like if you take Silicon valley, you could say, well, there's brainiacs out there doing great things. And their human capital hasn't been eroded. That's true. I'm just saying that a large swath of the population has had their human capital eroded. That's probably contributing to, uh, lower incomes and the inequality of income and wealth that the leftist worry about. But also I would be more even cynical and say, well, these also the broad voting populations that are giving us the welfare state, they see they're uneducated.
Speaker 1 00:14:57 People are also passing the laws and getting us the politicians that shackle the producers and shackle, uh, the best and the brightest. So they're still the best and the brightest are still out there, but it's not due to Congress spending money on public education. And actually, if you look at the performance in 2020 a rule of law, it was really the rule of law endlessness and emptying the prisons. I mean, it's such audacity for them to come here in 2021 and say, we need to spend three and a half trillion dollars on human capital because the last year has been spent running down the, the justice system and the police, the police or police law enforcement and stuff is considered part of human capital. If you look at the literature that that's, well, they're, they're saying defunded. Um, so I'll, I'll leave it at that.
Speaker 0 00:15:47 I know we're going to move on to the next topic and also wanted to leave questions, um, for, at the end. But there were a couple of questions that came in just on this topic. David Walden on Facebook loves the analysis of the concept human infrastructure. He says his only concern is with it's possible, uh, underlying premise and its potential for collective ownership. So that was, uh, interesting. I don't know if you have a comment, Richard, otherwise, Scott has a question for you, uh, is part of the problem that there hasn't been any noticeable, bad consequences for big government spending ever since the bailouts, uh, is capitalism's growth absorbing some of the pain.
Speaker 1 00:16:37 Yeah, that's a good question. I think when an economy stagnates, when it grows less quickly, when there's less opportunity, when there's people deciding to leave the labor force, because it's just not a dynamic economy, I think that's not as visible to people because it's not like a collapse, you know, crises and collapsed mass unemployment get people's attention, and then they start, or, or, or these days when inflation is going higher and higher people are more likely to say, wow, uh, government's messing up. How has government messing up? But it's also possible. And I think actually quite likely for these burdens of government to be basically slowing down the economy and causing it to stagnate in ways that are definitely, that is the impact that is largely the impact, just not as noticeable to people, but when, when they complain about things like, well, my wages are stagnant and not really getting ahead. And it seems I'm falling behind where my parents were. These kinds of broad based kind of vague complaints about the state of the economy that, that is due in large part to these increasing burdens of government. Uh, I would put it that way, Scott,
Speaker 0 00:17:42 Right. David, you have introduced an interesting topic for our current events.
Speaker 2 00:17:50 Tell us about it. Well, we're going to take a giant leap now from legislative, uh, shenanigans in Congress to, uh, philosophy into the deepest reaches of philosophy of victimology. Um, I want to talk about a new book by Jonathan Rouch. Um, uh, well-known public intellectual currently at Brookings who published a book this summer called the constitution of knowledge. Uh, it's beginning of a huge amount of attention, lots and lots of reviews. Um, and it's very timely indeed, because it deals with the, uh, um, epistemological, uh, basis for a lot of the are polarized politics and culture. Um, he argues that contending parties both on the left and the right, um, have basically lost any interest in truth. Uh, you know, in previous episodes of polarization complaints about polarization, going back to the sixties when Randy was writing about it, people were fighting over principles, which ones were true, but Rouch his point is that no one cares about truth anymore.
Speaker 2 00:19:02 Uh, on the right now, he says there was, and this is a quote, the deployment of disinformation on an unprecedented scale by Trump is troll armies, foreign governments, conspiracy mongers, and a conservative media ecosystem, which was increasingly detached from reality based norms. And however, on the left there's cancer culture, which is a kind of religion, uh, less concerned or not at all concerned with truth, but only with egalitarian rectitude, um, regardless of evidence debate or truth. So the result in, in Russia's view is that we're in a call, it kind of cultural at this mythological crisis in which people have lost their sense of their ability to tell true from false. And, um, uh, no one trusts any, any information including others from experts or on social media or whatever. So Rausch is defending, um, what he calls Abrash the rational alternative, um, what he calls the constitution of knowledge.
Speaker 2 00:20:13 Uh, he uses that term. It, um, in ruder highlight a really deep analogy. He draws between three and three enlightenment innovations. One was the free market, um, based on individual rights and open trade. The second was constitutional republics, um, replacing aristocracies kink chips, et cetera. And the third was, um, rational inquiry, um, as reflected in journalism and rushes on feel and science. So this analogy is not new, but, um, I think he develops it in very, very interesting depth. Oh, what ha what these three things have in common, the economic realm, the political and the cognitive is that there's systems of peaceful cooperation among people. Um, and they are structured. Cooperation is made possible by certain rules that are widely accepted, um, certain procedures, certain values, and an interplay of competition and watch operation, uh, in case of knowledge, um, I'm gonna read you an extended quote from him.
Speaker 2 00:21:33 Uh, cause I think this states his main thesis better than I can says our gut, our, our conversations are meeting mediated through institutions like journals and newspapers and social media platforms. And they rely on a dense network of norms and rules like cruise on lists and fact checking. And they depended on the expertise of professionals like peer reviewers and editors, and the entire system rests on a foundation of values, a shared understanding that there are right and wrong ways to gain knowledge, those values and rules and institutions do for knowledge, what the U S constitution does for politics. They create a governing structure, forcing social contest station into peaceful and productive pathways. And so I called them collectively the constitution of knowledge, whether that is really elegant, powerful, and, um, a well-needed reminder that not everything goes to just melodically, just as we have a constitution that limits what government can do, even though it's less and less limiting.
Speaker 2 00:22:47 Um, just a short digression. If, if we have a moment, uh, rug eruptions, invocation of the enlightenment was a very welcomed, um, point and there in some other books in that, um, in that, on that theme of Steven Pinker's enlightenment now, is there another recent example? Um, it's very gratifying to me because years ago, um, we had the idea that, uh, of analyzing the cultural issues in terms of an environment and the remaining environment in enlightenment or modernist, um, culture, opposed by pre-modern deservative views and post-modern left wing views. Um, I wrote about this in an essay called the party of modernity. Um, so anyway, I'll rush so far so good, but there's a worm in this apple and it's, uh, it's a really, really big one. Um, in the core chapters, he tries to provide, um, the underlying illogical basis for his views about how knowledge candidates should operate.
Speaker 2 00:24:02 Um, on one hand, he buffers frequently to this as the knowledge base, or I'm sorry, the reality based approach to intellectual community discovery, um, debate and so forth. But he also says that humans have no direct access to the objective world, independent of our minds and senses, well, this, anyone who knows anything about the history of, of this knowledge, this is the dead gateway. This is a standard idealist argument. We have to use our minds to grasp reality. Therefore it's not reality. We'd grasp, uh, Iran wrote about it. Um, uh, it's an objectivist insight. Um, uh, it goes on instead of considering not to be knowledge, to be an independent grasp of reality of facts. In reality, we should think of knowledge. And again, I'm quoting him as a set of propositions or claims or statements which had been validated in some way, and which have been there by shown to be at least conditionally true to that is unless Dumont, well, you put, you put these points together. What he's doing here is rejecting, but in philosophy is called the correspondence theory of truth. The idea that statements are true because they correspond to facts of reality. And instead in talking about, you know, propositions that have been validated by some process, um, he's embracing, what's known as the coherence theory, truth is, uh, emerges from the coherence of propositions and the agreement among those who have advocated and provided evidence and back and forth. But from an objective standpoint, this is a rejection of the primacy of existence,
Speaker 2 00:25:58 Irrational epistemology. I'm certainly recognizes that knowledge, um, is, has to be acquired through observation and inference in accordance with valid rules and methods of inquiry. We're not saying that, uh, we are, we believe in, in objectivity or in what's called realism, uh, because reality somehow just directly imposes itself on us. Now there's a process involved in that process has to follow certain methods and rules, but what makes those, the proper methods of rules to use is that they aren't connected to the world. They are justified rationally. They are the right rules to use because they worked to the goal of discovering facts of reality. And that gets lost grouches, um, account. Um, another short digression I mentioned along the way, this is another tip-off. He mentioned his heroes are David Hume. And, um, and in the 20th century called popper, uh, besides whom with offering an, uh, unreviewable argument, um, against, um, an irrefutable argument that, and these are his words showed no prediction or causal attribution can never be certain, even in principle.
Speaker 2 00:27:24 Well, if you've read whom you're saying way more than that, and you're saying we have no rational basis at all, for any belief that actual connection between cause and effect, it's all just habit. And simply he has, uh, um, are used to, we can't even in perception, we don't grasp reality. You have no belief, no grounds for believing there's an independent reality. So Kim was much, much worse, um, than that. Uh, so then unification of the correspondence theory is one problem with a Rocha's you the second one? Um, second major one is that each he describes knowledgist socially constituted, um, to pick just one striking example. Um, another quote as the cognitive network transcends the contributions and even the cognitive grasp of any of its participants, it becomes a hive intelligence, a social mind. This is the death. Now this same as a disaster. Um, it, it, it takes the legitimate insight that, that we share knowledge and learn tons of stuff from each other, but it turns that into, you know, it's a rejection of individualism in favor of a collective mind, and that just first of all, um, undermines any coherent, defensive, objectivity, and truth, but it also feeds directly into the postmodern views that underlined the cancel culture, your posts.
Speaker 2 00:29:06 I mean, he embraces the worst ideas of modern 20th century philosophy and ignores the failure of that philosophy to justify rational knowledge, which opens the door to attacks on objectivity the postmodern view on the part of many thinkers that he doesn't even mention, Karl Marx, um, uh, nature, a Jerry MACUSA and many others who are the architects of what is now canceled culture. So, um, that's a pretty harsh critique. Um, and despite that I do recommend the book. He's one of the best writers today. Rob is in my view, and he's got this great ability to combine cultural commentary, just really narrative, very fascinating, innovative, and highly readable way. I mean, I've learned a lot from him, just his analogies with the knowledge and the political constitutions, and even on the underlying of this module, I've taken the task support, uh, E I'm picking out certainly the central themes, but he, he doesn't, he's not a card pairing, um, rabbit anti realist.
Speaker 2 00:30:29 He actually seems to believe in truth and the possibility of objective knowledge, but, um, and so he wanders around these issues. The problem is I think, a lack of philosophical depth, but he says a lot of interesting things that despite the underlying, you know, uh, problems, um, are worth doing, uh, you know, just anyone who's interested, um, will gain something from the book. However, having said that, I will say that of all the reviews, I've read a bit of all of them, but no one mentioned the underlying that this double honorable problem. And so my final, um, point and takeaway is that our culture needs objectivism desperately desperately because what I'm, what I was pointing out, it, it, it's not rocket science. I mean, yes, I'm at this small, just I've written about this. Um, but anyone who's read on random understood wouldn't understand these, these problems. Um, I was actually put onto this book by Ramy strata, um, who sent me some very valuable notes. I'm sorry, you couldn't be with us today, but, um, and the, but we are among the only ones who seem to have the ability to see what, what once you see it is so obvious. So this is a plead for the value, the value of philosophy for understanding, and hopefully all three culture. So
Speaker 0 00:32:12 Thank you, David. All right. We've got, uh, about 25 minutes left, so I'm, and I do want to leave some time, um, at the end for discussion and some questions I might even pull in a few of the many, many questions that, uh, that we get every week on Instagram, but Richard, you, um, brought to our attention one last topic, which is, I think the, uh, the good news is that there are a lot of parents, uh, across the country that, um, have had a much more immediate opportunity to observe what is happening with their kids curricula, uh, because of all of the remote learning. And, um, they are not liking what they're seeing. They're also objecting to, uh, this particularly, uh, stringent policy in so many areas of the United States, which is, um, at odds with what is going on in most of the rest of the world with regards to masking children in schools, without a lot of evidence that it is working.
Speaker 0 00:33:28 Um, and, uh, very, very little evidence that, um, children are at risk are particularly, um, culpable in spreading the virus. And so as a result, parents are, are objecting to it, but, um, as they are rising up across the country, going to school boards, getting more involved and, um, voicing their concerns, we are now, um, seeing a pushback from, um, the federal government who is saying that, you know, all of the priorities that they might have in terms of, um, tracking down, uh, real threats to, uh, to our security as citizens, uh, that, that parents are now potential domestic terrorist threats. So Richard, tell us a little bit about this from your perspective.
Speaker 1 00:34:19 Yeah. Thank you, Jack. And I, I want to thank David also bringing us up. So I think we're going to speak to this equally. It just a couple of things. There's something called the national school board association, and they're an association of a bunch of school boards and the, I think there's 14,000 last time I counted 14,000 separate school, public school districts in the U S they wrote a letter to Biden saying after all this pushback from parents, um, you need to, you need the SIC, the FBI on them. Uh, they are domestic terrorists. They're violating hate crime laws. I'm quoting from their letter. It's about a six page letter. And there isn't really much evidence in there of actual, uh, physical harm done to board members, not even threats, of course, threats are wrong as well. These are just highly vocal parents who are coming to school board meetings, as Jack said, and those differently complaining about their kids being indoctrinated in CRT and other things.
Speaker 1 00:35:15 So we've had current events panels in the past on CRT. So you can refer to those, but I think it's this reaction by the school boards themselves and particularly the Biden administration. That's interesting. So that was September 29th, the six page letter where the school boards were asking for government intervention against the parents and, and October 4th, this had to be coordinated only five days later. The attorney general Merrick Garland, um, wrote a memo. It was released to the FBI saying, uh, within 30 days you need to meet with these groups and identify these dangerous people and go out into the hinterlands and, uh, get on this, uh, which is very interesting. Now, just today, 17 state attorney generals rose up against the Merrick Garland approach, and there's been pushback elsewhere. I also noticed today out of the 14,000 school boards, a couple dozen of them have dropped out of the national organization, uh, for the, on the grounds that this is a really bad classifying, uh, revolting parents as domestic terrorists.
Speaker 1 00:36:27 And this group that's lobbying America. They are literally asking for use of the Patriot act, use of hate crimes laws. I had to look up today what hate crime laws are. I didn't realize how specific they were. And, and indeed going back to 1968 on hard to believe actually the federal government, uh, the justice department has a website on hate crime laws. And in the beginning, it was the hate toward people on the basis of race. Well, you can imagine 1968, any crime that was coupled with racial, obviously racial overtones and other things. Those were the original hate crimes. Uh, and you would get extra time for adding that to your crime, but it's been supplemented subsequently by sexual orientation and a whole bunch of other things, as you can imagine, but what is not in there is a hate, you know, and you're a school board member.
Speaker 1 00:37:18 There's no, there's no special category of protection for school board members. So I don't think it's an issue of whether the FBI will or will not come down on people, uh, whether there'll be any pushback. I think this is such an overtly authoritarian scare tactic to make people basically shut up. I don't think it's any different than jailing. All those people. 600 of them. I think they jailed for the ninth, January six riots. Um, that's okay to prosecute those people cause that was rioting, but they've many of them have been, uh, not charged with anything and they're still being held. So there's a kind of intimidation factor going on there. And I think it's likewise what these parents, I think they're basically trying to get the parents to shut up and not object to what's being taught and, and people like Terry McAuliffe, who's running for governor in Virginia now, you know, is on record basically saying that parents should not have a say in the public school system as to what the curriculum could be.
Speaker 1 00:38:14 So that is very much the view. Their view is stay out of it. This is our job. Yeah. If you want to take your kid out, take your kid out, but it's going to, we're still going to get your tax money. You know, there's no voucher system that's really been adopted. Uh, I would just leave it as, as an economist. I know that socialism is public ownership of the means of production. And I think the basic problem here is we have public ownership of the means of instruction. W we, we, we, we all seem to be against socialism on the right, but, but even on the conservative side, they will not oppose public education. I, I think it's not a silver bullet, but we have to get rid of government schools and, and that's all these boards are, these boards are attempts to oversee how the government schools are being run, but, but just as you would have no voice in the Soviet union, if you went and rallied a commissar meeting, uh, you know, you can't really have parents expecting to get much out of these school boards, they're completely unaccountable. And so I think the, I think the fundamental problem is, uh, that it's public ownership of the means of instruction. Unless we get rid of that, the, the, these are welcomed, but kind of few tile revolts.
Speaker 0 00:39:24 And it's also timely, uh, discussion given what we also have cooking at the Atlas society. Our next publication is, uh, philosophies of educate, uh, education. Um, and, uh, we're taking a lot of that from, um, professor Stephen Hicks works. So it it's showing, I think we're looking at five different schools of philosophies of education, but you're seeing some radically different ones, one, which is saying, you know, we're the experts and you don't really have a say, um, you know, you just have a duty to send your children to us and we'll take care of the rest. Uh, and then the others where people are saying, no, he actually works for me. And, um, and I need to be able to provide feedback. So David, then you're on mute. You're on mute, David.
Speaker 2 00:40:30 Okay. Um, I think Richard covered the issue. I I'm outraged by this. I'm not a parent. I don't have kids. Um, I do live near Loudon county, uh, in Northern Virginia where, which is an epicenter of some of the stuff. Um, but I'll just, I'll just point out the, um, uh, <inaudible> of liberals who are running the school boards and surely most of them hated the Patriot act passed and used it against real errors and are now invoking it in the least plausible, you know, uh, the, the least plausible use you can imagine. And the fact that Biden and Garrick one along with this is just, it's really shocking. It's truly shocking, but I I'll leave it there. And maybe we can turn it into.
Speaker 1 00:41:26 And also D also David, the lack of prosecution of actual physical construction in 20, I mean, it was on our TVs. It was just in front of, in front of us and, and they were, none of them were prosecuted and I recall the vice-president actually raising money to get the, to pay them bail and get them out. Yes, that's right. Uh, it's incredible. Uh, you know, on the surface we say, yes, we want peace and harmony in, uh, school board meetings. But in that original letter to the president, I scrutinized it twice that they didn't name any incidents when there was actually any physical harm done to any, um, or threats to any school board member. There was one particular parent who was wrestled to the ground because he was reminding them that his daughter was raped in this, in the bathroom. And they were claiming that there was no violence on that school campus. So that is like the only incident, but so, so there's a lot of yelling and screaming, but, you know, BLM and Antifa were doing more than yelling and screaming last summer, if I recall there was a lot of artists and there was a lot of looting, there was a lot of cop killing and it's just remarkable. And granted that was Trump's ag a Trump's ag didn't to bill BARR. Didn't do anything. So, and now this ag is cutting. Is breaking, coming down on parents. I agree with you, David. It's outrageous.
Speaker 0 00:42:47 I hope
Speaker 1 00:42:49 Power. I hope they keep it up.
Speaker 0 00:42:51 Uh, Scott is asking, I think you might've just been to that. Richard, what would you say about the double standards in prosecutions? Um, part of the breakdown of the rule of law and the kind of partisan selectivity, which that they're being applied. Uh, I have another question here, uh, asking if either of you have thoughts on, um, the, these sick outs, these, um, one example being, uh, the Southwest, uh, recent disruption hours ins and thousands of flights canceled over the course of two days. Um, and the official story coming from Southwest being well it's air traffic control, and it's, it's the weather. Of course, this was sort of strange weather that only seemed to affect the Southwest and passed over all of their competitors, like something on Passover. Um, and, uh, but I think for, for most of the people watching and heard from the, um, many of the Southwest pilots themselves saying, you know, this was our, uh, attempt to push back and say, um, we're objecting to these, uh, vaccine mandates.
Speaker 0 00:44:17 Um, we'd been flying this whole entire time. Um, you know, if, if, uh, if that population is anything like the American, um, public at large, uh, at least path of the United already has natural immunity, which is a more robust and more durable as we see increasingly by the day then than the vaccine generated immunity. Um, and I thought this was in some ways, I, I know it's very aggravating for people on a frequent Southwest flyer who had their travel plans, um, interrupted, but it also seemed to me as kind of taking a page out of a shrug to say, you know, planes, aren't going to fly themselves and, um, and using their power as creators as producers, um, to, to impact, uh, policy, you have situation. Richard, do you have thoughts on that?
Speaker 1 00:45:22 Yeah, my thoughts are that, and this is, I think very similar to the topic we just discussed, which is parents were revolting in a way. So here's another case of people revolting against what they see, I think, as a government, uh, authoritarianism in this, in this particular case, mandating vaccines. And, uh, it's interesting to me because they're, they're clearly a minority who was revolting, but historically they have been minorities who revolt and who are willing to stand up and take the slings and arrows. And, you know, as they say, if you're not getting flack and major, not over the target bombing and I'm encouraged, I think because if this wasn't happening at all, I would be having the complaint I normally have is why are we surrounded by sheeple? Why, why are no Americans standing up and defending their rights? Goddammit, you know, well here, here are some that are, and I think the good news is other Americans who were biting their tongues will watch this.
Speaker 1 00:46:22 We'll, we'll see, this will at least be inspired by and maybe moved to move themselves and see how it's done, so to speak. And, uh, and that's why these examples are very good. If you can, if you can identify them as such, I didn't really like it when the Southwest chairman kind of begged off and wasn't willing to say that that's why his pilots were doing that. But the other thing you'll notice is a certain famous, wealthy people are doing it. So Kyrie Irving in the NBA, for example, stood up and said, I'm not going to be forced to do this. And, and his view was it isn't an issue of medical. I'm not going to discuss my medical conditions. I am just against the idea of government forcing me to do something and going back on its word, I mean, Biden said he wouldn't have mandated vaccine. So now they're dismissed as people who can afford to take time off, right? Because they're multimillionaires and other people are saying, I can't lose my job. So I have to bow down to this. But so I think these examples are good symbolically. I just don't know if they're going to be enough practically to reverse these policies, but all else equal. I'm glad to see the revolts and I hope they grow.
Speaker 0 00:47:29 All right. Uh, Dean Scoville asks the big question. What is the Progressive's end game? Do they imagine anything other than the seating of world control and culture to the Chinese? So is, and is there an end game, you know, or is it just a question of people being kind of locked in their tribal? Um, you know, not necessarily rational, but their, um, partisan world view, um, or the postmodern ideology and not thinking too, uh, about the practical consequences. I mean, after all, if you reject an objective reality, then, uh, why would you take into account and objective consequences to your actions? So I don't know, David who's on mute, uh, or if Richard has any thoughts on, on that.
Speaker 2 00:48:31 Yeah. I would have been watched advocacy and the growth of government, um, over many decades. Now, I, I think relatively few people, at least in Congress anyway, or who were active in electoral politics actually are explicitly advocating some end state like total socialism or for that matter total subjection to, uh, China. Um, and, and in the same way, I mean, the objective is, and many libertarians tend to be a little bit unusual in thinking, yes, we can envision a totally free society, but the reality, but we're not on politics. The reality is people tend to want to push in one direction or the other. And within a broadly defined scope of what's considered politically possible. And some people are at the edges, like the progressives in the democratic party. Some people are at other edges, not, not enough in my view, pushing against the growth of government. Um, but it's, I, I think it's all about movement and direction of movement, um, at the operative level. So that just, uh, an observation, I don't know where to go with it.
Speaker 1 00:50:02 I have, uh, I, I met, uh, similar to David's view on that. Um, but here's how I put it as starkly as I could put it. I can put it the Progressive's from what I can tell the, studying them these many years, as opposed to the liberals, both words are really wrong, but the Progressive's are really against progress. That that will sound weird, but they're not, I don't want to, they don't actually want to tear down the, uh, economy or the American way so to speak. I wouldn't even call them, you know, Soviet styles, Stalinist, although AOC sounds that way every once in a while, I think they really are truly those kinds of people in Atlas shrug, who said, you know, stop the world. I want to get off. Don't change anything, stop this dynamic, changing bustling capital. I can't stand it. I just can't stand it.
Speaker 1 00:50:58 And so no more new energy, no more new technology now. And it's weird because they call themselves progressive, but you can count on them calling themselves the opposite of what they really want. But, so that's what I think they want. I really think they want stagnation predictability. That's why they're big on the social safety net, anti risk, where a mask, no climate change drives slowly. I hope the weather doesn't change. I mean, on every level, when you think about it, it's not really, it sounds to us who are really progressive that they're anti-progress, they are, they don't want to move ahead like we do. And that makes us sometimes think, wow, they want to tear the whole thing down. No, they don't actually want to tear the whole thing down to us. It seems that way because they're in our way and we want to build nuclear and then skyscrapers and stuff. They don't they're anti-growth, they're like no growth that Jay John Stuart mill said this years ago, the steady state, remember David, the steady state, just mediocrity today. I'll just leave it at that. It's, it's, it's something as boring and as pathetic as that, it's not more dramatic than that, but it's definitely not progress. It reminds me of a brand incessant, uh, the divine right. Writer, stagnation Bakley. Right, exactly. I wish I had yes, the divine right of stagnation. Was that, was that Nate? Nathaniel. Branden. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Selfishness. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:52:32 Uh, maybe our gremlins can put that into the, into the chat here. Um, all right. One more question. Uh, David Walden asks if either of you have thoughts on the use of federalism as an offensive strategy for use against the rising power and scope of Leviathan.
Speaker 1 00:52:56 Well, I would only say, I'm glad we have federalism because you can move from state to state to escape some of the tyranny of if that's all you mean yes. To the max, uh, like these AJS AGS today, the 17 AGS who stood up against that, that's an act of the states come by, or, you know, we were under Santas in Florida saying, no, we're going to be a free state and we're not gonna put up with this. So yes, all else equal. If the U S did not have a Federalist system, the would probably spread more quickly. And that's why, by the way, from Washington, they're trying to nationalize everything. The school systems common core, I really think their attempt to defund the police is not really to get rid of police it's to get rid of local police, in which case they'll substitute national police. Uh, the Capitol hill police, if you know, are now national, they're all over the country. Uh, presumably defending Nancy Pelosi, for example, in San Francisco. So they're already adopting a national police force, so we are losing federalism, but I think it is stopping the speed at which the authoritarianism is coming because you can move with your feet.
Speaker 0 00:54:04 Yeah, that, that's, that's a good point. I think also that there is, uh, a more concerted effort with like Americans, for tax reform or friend groups NorQuest working on doubling the number of states that, that do not have, uh, an income tax and, um, no finding other ways for states to be more competitive. Um, I know our friends at the Goldwater Institute for example, are looking at various state constitutions and trying to use, leverage them to, uh, enact reforms, um, at the state level. So, and to end it out, we have a question from Jay LoPaire, who is the chairman of the board of the Atlas society and who will be joining me tomorrow. I hope that some of you who are in our, um, in our, the Atlas society asks community have found a way to get yourselves on to clubhouse. If not, then please check out the events section of our website.
Speaker 0 00:55:12 And we will give you an invite because we are doing two sessions on clubhouse every week, every Tuesday, uh, our senior fellow Rob Krasinski is having a discussion. And then, um, on Thursday is we're rotating some of our senior scholars, uh, with guest appearances by people like Jayla pear, who tomorrow we'll be talking about, um, objectivist business ethics and how it's helped him overcome various, um, crises and obstacles, uh, and, uh, and thrive in both his concessional and business size. And so, uh, David, this one's a question for you regarding the Rouch book is the defense of free speech and thought an effective first step, um, and platform for civil discourse that creates an entry point for the pursuit of truth, uh, an entry point to advance the epistemology and ethics needed for further progress.
Speaker 1 00:56:17 Um, yes, absolutely. Uh, without freedom of speech, uh, eat.
Speaker 2 00:56:23 Nope, no real progress is possible. Um, and so
Speaker 2 00:56:32 I think that freedom of speech to defend it thoroughly, you have to believe in reality, uh, because if you just are a skeptic, then there's no reason to listen to anyone else because your view is as good as anyone else's or theirs is as evil as, as anyone else's. So, um, but that said many people, um, do have been willing to defend freedom of speech and institutionalize it as we did in our, our, uh, in our constitution and in many, uh, charters of universities and so forth and in the free press. Uh, and what it does is it allows these debates to go on rents at one of the signs when, when it's time to rebel is when three speeches ended when we can no longer fight with ideas, but only with arms, um, now. And, um, and now respect, I will say that, um, w I think Roush is very good, even in the parts of the book that I was predicting in arguing that about how important it is to keep open discussion as a counter, to call, uh, confirmation bias that happens in small groups of echo chambers and reinforcing people reinforcing each other.
Speaker 2 00:57:53 And that, what, what makes the growth of knowledge really possible is that ideas get challenged. They get challenged, um, peacefully without guns normally, hopefully. Um, but they, they get challenged and that brings up points, none of us as individuals might've thought of. So that's great. Um, and I think that is the only way to advance philosophical ideas, because we don't have open discussion if we can't challenge people who disagree with us, um, the game's over. Um, so I think it is both, you know, we count on as advocates and intellectuals and theorists, we count absolutely on the freedom be, make our based. Are you, um, without fear of, of, uh, suppression. So thanks, Jay. Great question. Okay.
Speaker 0 00:58:48 Um, and as I mentioned, uh, please tune in to my conversation with Jay tomorrow. Richard, maybe you tell us a little bit about the conversation that you have scheduled next week. You are going to be taking over, uh, the host seat here, um, in your conversation with Steve pink, cranky
Speaker 1 00:59:12 Steve hanky for the Cato Institute as an absolute monetary expert. And I've known him for decades, and he's a, uh, advocate of sound money. And he teaches at Johns Hopkins. He's taught there for many years, but he's also got some opinions on cryptocurrencies, which will interest this audience, I think. And, uh, he's just fabulous and, uh, uh, hard to get interviews. So I'm glad we got them Jack. He'll be great. Richard, we got them, the society know that.
Speaker 0 00:59:44 Uh, all right, well, thank you. Thanks everybody for joining us. I want to particularly thank, I saw a lot of the comments coming in from names. I recognize not just from this forum, but from, um, our roster of donors. So I really want to thank you, not just for spending time with us and helping to make these sessions lively, but I want to thank you for having the integrity to say, you know, I'm really enjoying this constant content. I know that, uh, that their time and their knowledge and the contributions aren't free. And so I appreciate you guys taking the responsibility to say, yeah, I want to make a tax deductible donation to the society. So you can do that on our website. There's a donate section on. And so those of you who I've already recognized, I know that you are donating, um, J Lopera and our other trustees are going to be matching any increase in donations.
Speaker 0 01:00:46 So say, usually give $50 a year. Maybe this year we'll give a hundred. And, uh, and that will net us $150. So I appreciate that. And I also want a, uh, another reminder to all of those who are either you're in the Southern California area, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, uh, to consider joining us for our gala. It's coming up in two weeks and one day we're having a reception on the third. So that is in two weeks. I am going through my outfits, and this is an option that I'm considering gala. So, uh, so yeah, we'd love to see you there. As you guys know, we're going to be honoring Peter teal, and we are also going to be having former lucky to founder of Oculus as a speaker. You have all of senior scholars, senior fellows joining us. We have our trustees and we have other special guests named, take a look at our host committee. You want to meet some of those folks, please consider joining us. And if you can't join us, maybe send us a little something, so it can bring a student in your step. So thanks everyone. And, um, I will see you tomorrow and we will see professor Salzman next week.
Speaker 1 01:02:12 Thank you everyone.