May 28, 2012
Charlotte Allen and George Leef on why sociology is disreputable:
In examining those courses, we found very few indications that students were introduced to ideas about the causes of inequality or policies to deal with it that reflect free-market or public-choice perspectives. (Public-choice theory proposes that the bureaucrats who administer social programs are motivated largely by their own self-interest). Overwhelmingly, the courses take an approach perfectly in keeping with left/progressive beliefs about the causes of and cures for inequality. The textbooks and assigned readings are almost invariably by leftist authors. Students almost never encounter well-known conservative critics of leftist conceptions about inequality such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Martin Anderson, or Charles Murray.
Students are, however, likely to encounter the Communist Manifesto and books by devout socialists Barbara Ehrenreich and Frances Fox Piven, of whom more here, here and here.
Thomas Sowell on the big lies of politics:
The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run. Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government. There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.
And maths shows that even if the left could take everything those terrible rich people have, this still wouldn’t balance the books.
Sowell again, on class war rhetoric versus tax revenue:
After [Secretary of the Treasury Andrew] Mellon finally succeeded in getting Congress to lower the top tax rate from 73 percent to 24 percent, the government actually received more tax revenues at the lower rate than it had at the higher rate. Moreover, it received a higher proportion of all income taxes from the top income earners than before. Something similar happened in later years, after tax rates were cut under Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and G.W. Bush. The record is clear. Barack Obama admitted during the 2008 election campaign that he understood that raising tax rates does not necessarily mean raising tax revenues. Why then is he pushing so hard for higher tax rates on “the rich” this election year? Because class warfare politics can increase votes for his re-election, even if it raises no more tax revenues for the government.
And relevant to the above: How to optimise your class war rhetoric.
As always, feel free to add your own.