The poor get poorer and the rich get … gone

JISHOU, HUNAN — The problem we face today, says Mike Lofgren in The American Conservative, is not a widening gap between rich and poor, but that the super-wealthy choose to stand aloof from society at large. The rich are the new secessionists, Lofgren argues. Rather than be part of society and do “good works,” as Andrew Carnegie did with his millions, today’s billionaires seek only to suck more money from the 99% who don’t really have much of it. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Most remarkably, this thought-provoking and incisive essay is not the product of a wide-eyed progressive or a McGovernite liberal, but a conservative who served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. A conservative writer who thinks logically! Truly a dying breed. Lofgren compares America’s ultra-rich — which he notes include Republic presidential nominee Mitt Romney — to the upper-class British living in colonial India. They lived in India, but they were not a part of ...

From the peanut gallery: abolish compulsory education 22

JISHOU, HUNAN — Recently, I wrote a reaction to the Christian rightwing hijacking of the Texas Board of Education, and the anti-public education views of one of its members. A visitor named Joey swung by this week, and left this comment: That a functioning democracy requires, first, a well-educated, literate public and, second, a public that shares the same knowledge about the history and political philosophy of the nation is the basic thinking of any statist, when public schools are to serve as the chief means to achieve this homogeneity of thinking. It’s no wonder there are parents and organization already determined to abolish public schools by opting out from compulsory education. It’s an effective way to fight tyranny, particularly the tyranny of the majority. You will note that Joey has nothing directly to say about the Texas BOE, but definitely agrees that public education is a Bad Thing. I don’t, though I am a critic of public education. My reply was this: Excuse me? You need to read up on some history. One of those “statists” who favored public education was Thomas Jefferson. George Washington also recognized the need for a well educated public. Read his farewell address. So, ...
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