Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

26 September 2009

Tides Foundation Screed Against Capitalism in Schools

The Tides Foundation is closely associated with Obama and many of his close advisers. It has put out an incredibly distorted DVD called The Story of Stuff on Capitalism, the actions and purposes of the American government, and on the environment. A friend, Paul Cohen, directed my attention to it on 22 September and this afternoon I watched a Glen Beck show in which he discussed it. That such a viewpoint is supported by the Tides Foundation, with its close connections to Obama and friends, should be most frightening. It is still more frightening because the government-run schools are using this widely to indoctrinate our children, just as Hugo Chavez is now indoctrinating the children of Venezuela in its public schools!

Basically, it says that the purpose of government is supposed to be to take care of the people, but instead government is the shoeshine boy for big corporations, which are so big that of the 50 largest economies of the world, 48 are corporations and only two are countries! The purpose of the corporations is to destroy the planet, using up all of America's resources and those of the rest of the world. Then the corporations poison us all with toxins, but many people have to work amid the toxins for them for almost nothing and without health care because they are desperate due to the destruction of the planet! Goods are designed to break quickly so they have to be replaced. Advertising indoctrinates us all into becoming consumers by telling us we suck if we have not purchased the most recently produced stuff with all its arbitrary, useless changes. We are then inundated with trash, about 4.5 pounds each per day. Getting rid of it, further exposes us to toxins and damages the earth with landfills.

It tells our children they must join the environmentalists in ending the use of resources, fight for stronger labor unions and labor protection laws, fight for health care, to end the use of all toxic materials, to end advertising, to close landfills and shutdown incinerators, and join in other socialist goals.

Glen Beck pointed out that its claim that the U.S. only has 4% of its original forests was likely to mislead children. Many of them would conclude that rapacious corporations cut down 96% of all forests and they were never to return. In fact, more forest since colonial times has been lost due to lightening than to lumbering operations. And in both cases, the land usually is replanted. Actually, we have as much forest land now as we did in 1900, and since the 1960s the forests have been improving in terms of health and tree size.

Annie Leonard, the narrator, also claimed that after 9/11 when George Bush might have asked us to grieve and pray, he asked us to shop. Actually, he did ask everyone to remember the dead and to pray for them, those who loved them, and for the United States. He also asked us to not give victory to the terrorists by disrupting our way of life. There was a sharp fall-off in the economy and he did want us to return to business. It was a serious problem, since many businesses did fail at that time. Beck also objected to this statement.

Let us revisit the claim that only two countries have economies larger than 48 corporations. The two biggest countries in GDP are the U.S. and Japan as of 2008. The next largest is China with a GDP of $4.4 trillion. According to Annie Leonard, 48 corporations have revenues in excess of $4.4 trillion! Incredible!!!! It turns out that Walmart is the world's biggest company with revenues of $379 billion. That is big, but China is more than $4 trillion bigger! Maybe she means there are only two countries with tax revenues that put them in the top 50 organizations with respect to revenues. Then Walmart and ExxonMobil have more revenue than does the Japanese government, but not nearly as much as Germany, France, Italy, or the U.K. Spain and Russia have government revenues exceeded by only a few of the largest companies in the world also. Again, the statement is false. Telling lies to our children in government schools should not be tolerated.

The presentation to the children also claimed that one-third of the world's natural resources had been consumed in the last 3 decades. We long ago finished consuming all of the world's oil according to many of the predictions of the past, so such assessments are rarely worth anything. Unless, of course, you simply wish to scare our children.

40% of U.S. waterways are undrinkable. I would be surprised if the percentage of undrinkable waterways was not pretty high in colonial times. Plenty of waterways have parasites and harmful bacteria in them naturally. The children are supposed to assume that all the undrinkable waterways cannot be drunk due to toxins put there by corporations. There are toxins put in the rivers by corporations, but the scale of their responsibility for this statistic is being exaggerated.

The U.S. has 5% of the world population, but consumes 30% of the world's resources and creates 30% of its waste. It also creates most of its medical advances, which should be cut back to 5% of all medical advances allowed by this logic. Apparently, the U.S. is supposed to use or contribute no more than 5% in any category of production, use, and creation. Hogwash. Besides, we have greatly extended the lifespan of people throughout the world, helped to end slavery around the world, and served as the example to many countries to get them to protect property rights and to allow their people some individual rights and more economic rights. I suppose we were only supposed to make a 5% contribution there also.

If everybody consumed at U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets. Five planets were shown. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, then we could assume that everyone was as inventive and productive and we would develop many more resources. The size of the resource pie is not fixed, as is usually assumed by socialists.

There are over 100,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today. This is presented as though it is a bad thing. Is it not marvelous how inventive we humans are?

U.S. industry admits to releasing over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals a year. Wow, U.S. industry is dumping more than 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals a year into our air, land, and water! Well no. The EPA so-called "release report" is really only asking industry what they are making or using, not what they are disposing or allowing to escape. So, copper, silver, nickel, cobalt, chromium, fumed aluminum, and other metals are included even though the copper becomes copper wire, silver becomes jewelry, the nickel, chromium, and cobalt go into metal alloys, and the fumed aluminum is captured in a matrix of other materials. Urethane and styrene are counted as toxic, which they are when in short chain lengths, but after manufacture into a product, they are in a long chain form and pretty inert in most cases. They go into packaging, cushions, car dashboards, sealants, rubbers, etc., and are not much of a safety threat! Ethylene glycol is listed and is used in anti-freeze, but do not drink it, please. Lithium carbonate is listed. Eat a wee bit and it will make you a bit mellow, but do not use more. It is used to treat depression. Also it is used as a fluxing agent for ceramics and a ceramic enamel ingredient to coat aluminum. The products are not dangerous, but the amount used is counted by the EPA. Isopropyl alcohol is also listed. Yes, you should not drink your rubbing alcohol. Ammonia, used in cleaners, is also counted. Again, do not drink your cleaners. Of course, many of the chemicals listed are truly nasty, but they are handled as such and recycled in processes and less and less is released with time. But, it is all counted in this EPA "release" report whether it is released or not or is released in a harmless form.

Our children are told that it is bad that: The average U.S. person consumes twice as much now as 50 years ago. National happiness peaked in the 1950s. We spend 3 - 4 times as much time shopping as Europeans do. The U.S. house size has doubled since the 1970s. Happiness peaked in the 1950s because they were so obviously better than the war years or the Great Depression years before that. Everything most people think is good, is clearly bad in the eyes of these Tides Foundation-supported socialist environmentalists. Clearly, people must not be left free to determine for themselves what is good for them. We need strong leaders to force us to do what is right.

Every garbage can we put out on the curb is filled with stuff that it took 70 other garbage cans worth of stuff to make. Among this garbage waste is, no doubt, the earth that was moved to get to the nickel, silver and copper we use. Given the track record above, I have little confidence in this statistic as stated and implied.

So, this is the view of Capitalism and America that Obama and his allies want our children to have. I believe this is most revealing and very, very threatening. But, this is just the kind of shenanigans one should expect that government-run schools operated by members of one of the most socialist unions in America would lend themselves to. This is very blatantly socialist propaganda worthy of a Hugo Chavez or a Joe Stalin, with a thin, thin veneer of polish. It also fits in nicely with the Cult of the Personality many schools are developing for Obama.


Not A 'Socialist' said...

Okay first of all, you don't see people replacing quality time spent with family and friends with the acquisition of material goods as problematic? Well, that's fine- you're entitled to your own views and opinions. The thing I have a problem with is your abuse of the term 'socialist'. Clearly you've never met one or even seen an objective definition of the word.
"...ending the use of resources, fight for stronger labor unions and labor protection laws, fight for health care, to end the use of all toxic materials, to end advertising, to close landfills and shutdown incinerators..." These are not 'socialist' ideals.
Socialism is defined by The Princeton WordNet as: "1. a political theory advocating state ownership of industry
2. an economic system based on state ownership of capital"
Expressing whether or these ideologies are in line with your own is great. More power to you! If you don't want these ideas implemented in your government, then speak up please! But, defining the term according to your own personal perception is not exactly being "objective". You cannot paint everyone whose ideals you disagree with as 'socialists' and still call your writings 'objective'.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

It has been common since the fascist socialist version of socialism became so discredited in WWII to try desperately to define socialism in such a fashion as to exclude the fascists who sought extensive control over capital, the economy, and businesses without actually taking on the problems of ownership of all of the capital and the risks associated with that ownership. There are many very poor definitions of socialism as a result. It is true that most modern dictionaries say the socialism is the ownership and control of capital and the means of production, but what really does it matter who owns it, if the owner has little actual control to couple with his risks and earlier investment? This is a very academic issue, with no real practical significance. Mussolini and Hitler both thought they were socialists and many of the people they most admired were widely regarded as socialists.

That version of socialism which has the most traction in America is fascism, since we Americans have plenty of property as individuals and have a strong desire to keep it. It is much easier to gain the power to exercise controls over the owners of capital than to actually take over the ownership of the capital. Whether the socialist version is communism/Marxism or fascism, the individual is enslaved by the collective, or at least in its name and some sort of redistribution of the goods and services is claimed to be the purpose, even if it is poorly achieved in fact.

I believe people should be free to choose the relative amounts of family time they wish to have and the amount of time acquiring material goods or financial security. The socialist way is to decide these things at the government level and then force the people to live one-size-fits all lives. As I have pointed out, one of the effects of socialism seems to be to cause the people to despair and turn massively to drink. This would seem to indicate that more family time is probably not the usual outcome of socialism or the extensive government controls you may advocate.

The aims of the socialists do evolve and in the present time they have come to seek control over production by asserting that production is critically damaging the environment. The bogus anthropogenic global warming catastrophe claims are being used as a mechanism to shutdown production and to acquire control over capital and labor as a more accepted route than the actual takeover of ownership. The game is still to acquire near complete control of the People by the state in the name of the collective needs of the people.

Strange that you should assert that I have never met a socialist. Of course, socialists do like to claim that other factions of socialists are not real socialists, so I cannot claim to have met those you would accept as socialists. I did have bull sessions with Socialist Workers Party people organizing Vietnam War protests on college campuses and discussions with several college faculty members who thought they were socialists, but who knows what their credentials really are?

I am entitled to more than my own views and opinions. I am entitled to my sovereign rights as an individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One of the great things about Capitalism and the free market is that I can define my values and manage my life in accordance with those values and yet function well in the market trading and associating with others on an item by item and issue by issue basis. There is room for many people who have different values. The only value excluded is the desire to use force to make other people accept your values and live their lives in accordance with your values. I am primarily at war with those who would use force, usually through government, to abridge my right to life by making me waste it in pursuit of their values, rather than mine.