Prager University’s Hypocrisy on Government

prager u.jpg

Prager University produces short videos arguing for conservative political positions.

Before I begin this article, let me quickly say that Prager University has put out some very good videos in the past, particularly regarding basic economics. That being said, on many occasions I’ve been downright disgusted with material that the platform has put out. Besides endorsing opportunist frauds like Candace Owens, Prager University routinely endorses using government force to achieve ends it sees as in the common interest of Americans (i.e. collectivism). However, like most statists, they never really explain why the government is justified in using force to achieve their desired ends but not the ends of their leftist opponents.

Earlier today, Prager University released a video that was hosted by General Chuck Wald. The video sought to explain why America spends so many tax dollars on the state of Israel and why it ought to spend more. The video is below for those interested, but to sum it up, Wald argues that America ought to provide funding to Israel because it is a peaceful, democratic ally in the Middle East. Funding Israel serves both Israeli and American national security interests.

I will not be arguing whether or not General Wald’s assertions in this video are true or false. Wald could very well be correct in his assertion that money given to Israel will help achieve ends that are beneficial to both Israel and the United States. However, even if his assertions are true, the pertinent question is, should Americans be required to give their hard-earned money to the government of Israel whether they like it or not?

If we were having a discussion about abortion, I have no doubt that Dennis Prager and his team would speak out aggressively against it. In fact, you don’t have to imagine. Lila Rose of Live Action has previously done a video for Prager University about Planned Parenthood, and in the course of her video, she emphasized the injustice of the fact that Americans are forced to fund Planned Parenthood whether they want to or not.

However, comparing Rose’s video to Wald’s puts Prager University in an interesting position. On one hand, they argue that American citizens should not be forced to give money to an organization like Planned Parenthood against their will. However, they turn around and argue that Americans should be forced to fund the military activities of Israel whether they want to or not.

Tell me Prager University. Why is the government justified in using force to make American citizens fund the state of Israel, but not the activities of Planned Parenthood?

My guess is that their answer would be that Planned Parenthood is a deceptive and immoral organization, responsible for the murder of millions of unborn children, while Israel is a free democracy whose furthered existence benefits all Americans. However, if we were having a discussion with a liberal, they would undoubtedly tell you just the opposite. The liberal would say that Israel is an oppressive, apartheid regime that cruelly abuses the Palestinian people, while Planned Parenthood is a just organization that provides healthcare to women and leads to lower crime rates in America.

There is no doubt that there are many people who agree very strongly with Prager University or with the liberal in my example above, but that’s the point. While many people disagree about what the government should do with its power, they all agree that the government should have the power to force its citizens to fund things against their will. This is why I have over and over reminded people that the same government that has the power to give you everything you want is a government that has the power to take everything that you have.

I’ll say again that my purpose in writing this article is not to argue against the state of Israel or to argue for Planned Parenthood. I’ve made my stance on abortion very clear in this video series, and I’ve on occasion touched on the Israel/Jewish Question. However, the problem that Prager University does not seem to realize is that when you argue that the government should have the power to force its citizens to fund endeavors they disagree with, what consistent argument are you going to give as to why it is unjustified in pointing a gun at you and forcing you to fund something you disagree with?

As much as I deplore anti-Semitism, I do not think anti-Semites should be forced to give their money to fund the activities of Israel. As much as I deplore many forms of Zionism, I do not think Zionists should be prevented from donating their own money to Jewish causes. Regardless of how strongly you may believe you are right in your assertions, whatever position you take, you must first justify why it is that you and people who agree with you are justified in using force against others, but those who disagree with you are not.

While I share the same values as many of my conservative friends, this is a question I believe all conservatives seriously need to consider. I believe once they do, they will see that Libertarianism is the only position that can be consistently lived out in society. All statists want to use force against others. They just don’t want others to use force against them.

I hope you can see the problem.

And that is my 2 cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

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The Left’s Love of Islam (and How to Debunk it): October Patrons Exclusive Teaser

In this month’s patrons exclusive video, I discuss the topic of Islam and why leftists seem so in love with it. Islam is not known for being friendly to feminism, LGBTQ+ issues, and other progressive causes. However, as a totalitarian ideology, progressives and Muslims are united in the desire for an all-powerful state. I’ve taken the time to briefly describe what I believe is the quickest and most effective way to debunk Islam.

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Is Government the Lesser of Two Evils? An Anarcho-Capitalist Response to Minarchism

Many small government libertarians claim that while the existence of government is unjustified, it is the lesser of two evils. Although I think there is a place for the lesser of two evils principle in the discussion about liberty and government, I do not believe it has the force to justify minarchism. I explain why in this video.

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Why Government Elections are a Farce: https://my2centsvideos.com/2018/10/22/why-government-elections-are-a-farce/

The Doctrine of Double Effect: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/double-effect/

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Why Government Elections are a Farce

vote

Voting Gives Citizens the Illusion of Control

In his national bestseller, The 48 Laws of Power, author Robert Greene opens chapter 31 with the following statement,

“The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets. Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose. Put them on the horns of a dilemma: They are gored wherever they turn” (Elffers & Greene, 1998, p. 627).

This is of course a summary of the 31st Law of Power, control the options and get others to play with the cards you deal.

I am very much a fan of Greene’s book. In a brutally honest fashion, Greene explains the various methods that kings, presidents, tyrants, and con men alike have used to exercise authority over others. While the average reader would undoubtedly find many of the described tactics to be unethical, the purpose of the book is not to discuss questions of ethics but only to explain those activities that do in fact lead to power when practiced.

As a libertarian anarcho-capitalist who constantly preaches against the authority of the state, you may be wondering why I would concern myself with such matters. It’s true that some people may read this book seeking to learn how to control others, but I have found that the information contained therein is also useful for the exact opposite. When one understands the methods that others use to obtain power, they can recognize what is going on beforehand and avoid the snares in which the power seeker desires to trap them.

In this article I’ll be discussing how the election of representatives to government positions is the perfect example of the 31st Law of Power in action. Like every good con, the less the person being conned knows about the subject of the con, the more likely they are to be swindled. In the same way, the more people come to learn about the nature of elections, the more they will come to realize that the government is in fact the source of their problems and not the solution.

As an American, I will be using the history of the Democratic and Republican Parties as an example, but these same concepts apply to virtually any country with a two-party system (which in today’s day and age is most countries).

While the specific political views of the Democrats and the Republicans have evolved over time, they have always been expressed as opposite ends of the political spectrum. The Republican Party is the party of the church-going nuclear family, committed to traditional values and small government. As Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, reportedly said, “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities.”

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, has always painted itself as the party of the common man and of progress. While it has taken many forms, the Democrats’ message has always been some variation of the idea that different subsets of people face different problems, and at least one of those groups of people has an unfair advantage. As such, the government must be given additional powers to correct the imbalances in society and ensure a more prosperous life for everyone. Traditional values are almost certainly rooted in ignorance and ought to be thrown out in favor of new, progressive ones.

Now, assuming both of these political parties actually governed the way they campaign, one would expect a particular pattern in history. Republican Presidencies and majorities in Congress should be marked by lower taxes, reduced spending, and the abolition of government agencies and programs that were deemed extraneous. Democratic Presidencies and majorities in Congress should be marked by higher taxes, increased spending, and the creation of new government agencies and programs that will allegedly improve the lives of the citizenry. But is this what history shows?

Take a look at the below chart depicting government spending since 1790 and projected through 2050. There is a consistent trend no matter who controls Congress and no matter who sits in the White House: increased spending. There may in fact be nominal tax cuts throughout America’s history, but since they aren’t joined by corresponding decreases in spending, these so-called tax cuts cannot be sustained indefinitely. To continue paying the deficit, the government will eventually have to raise taxes or inflate the currency, but either way the resulting effect is less wealth in the hands of the citizens.

federal spending.PNG

Federal Spending Since 1790, Data from the Bureau of Census, Chart Courtesy of the Cato Institute

What about the size and scope of government? How many government agencies do we have anyways?

At the birth of the United States it appears there were only a few. According to the Center for Effective Government, “The first agencies of the federal government were the Departments of War, State, Navy, and Treasury. There was also an Office of the Attorney General” (“A Brief History of Administrative Government”, para. 2). However, today it seems that no one really knows how many government agencies exists.

The Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies states,

“There is no authoritative list of government agencies. Every list of federal agencies in government publications is different. For example, FOIA.gov lists 78 independent executive agencies and 174 components of the executive departments as units that comply with the Freedom of Information Act requirements imposed on every federal agency. This appears to be on the conservative end of the range of possible agency definitions. The United States Government Manual lists 96 independent executive units and 220 components of the executive departments. An even more inclusive listing comes from USA.gov, which lists 137 independent executive agencies and 268 units in the Cabinet” (Lewis & Selin, 2012, p. 15)

Think about it. When was the last time you heard about a government agency closing its doors for the last time? It seems every year a new government agency, program, commission, or some other euphemism for agency is created, but mysteriously the politicians who say they are for smaller government never manage to cut the size of government down.

The bottom line is that no matter who is elected, the result is the same. The government collects more money from its citizens and increases its size and regulatory authority. This may happen slower or faster depending on how the current politicians go about their business, but it happens none the less.

The reason of course is that the government is not some abstract, morally perfect entity that exists apart from the rest of society. The government is, at the end of the day, simply a group of people, and like all people, they act in their own self-interest. However, unlike private individuals and corporations, the government has the power to force the population to pay for its services whether they want to or not.

Assume for a minute that you had the power to increase your paycheck at will. How many people who had this power would choose not to do so? Or assume that you had the power to create money out of thin air in order to pay off your debts. Again, how many people would choose not to do so despite having this power? Once you consider these questions it’s not difficult to see that when politicians and federal employees seek to further their own interests, the result will inevitably be an increase in the size and scope of the state.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that it is always inappropriate to vote. In short term and immediate contexts, voting can be a legitimate act of self-defense against the state. For example, a voter in a local election may save some of his money in the short term if he votes against a new city project that has been put on the ballot.

However, I am suggesting that voting for “better” politicians can never be seen as the engine by which true positive change will come about. The swamp cannot be drained by utilizing the swamp. True, positive change cannot be affected until the population at large recognizes the government for what it is, the source of their problems and not the solution.

By utilizing democratic elections, governments successfully con their populations into believing they have control over what happens in the country. It makes them believe that the actions government takes were really their choices, and that they can set the country on a new course by voting in the future. However, the choice of who to vote into office is more analogous to that of a prisoner who is given the choice of dying by hanging or by beheading. He may in fact prefer one to the other, but either way he ends up dead.

And that is my 2 cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

Citations:

A Brief History of Administrative Government. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2018, from https://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/3461

A Quote by Abraham Lincoln. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2018, from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/83635-the-legitimate-object-of-government-is-to-do-for-a

Edwards, C. (2013, September 21). Federal Spending and Debt, 1790 to 2050. Retrieved October 22, 2018, from https://www.cato.org/blog/federal-spending-debt-1790-2050

Elffers, J. & Greene, R. (1998). The 48 Laws of Power. New York: Penguin Books.

Lewis, D. E. & Selin, J. L. (2012). Sourcebook of United States Administrative Agencies. Vanderbilt University. Retrieved October 22, 2018, from https://www.acus.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Sourcebook%202012%20FINAL_May%202013.pdf

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Ariana Grande’s Feminist Fail

Ariana Grande is famous for her radio hits about getting pounded so hard that she’s walking side to side, yet she objects when fans sexually objectify her. Now she’s released a song titled, “God is a Woman,” in an effort to broadcast her absurd feminist views. Myself and my elite level patron Nightshift10000, respond to her interview on the Zach Sang show regarding the song.

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Why Capitalism is Awesome (Non-Compete Debunked)

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Economic Freedom Graphs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shanedk/sets/72157646459874723/

The Link Between Lack of Economic Freedom and Wealth Inequality: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2012.00343.x?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false&

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A Discussion with Liberty Doll about Mollie Tibbetts and Self-Defense

I was joined by Liberty Doll to discuss what the murder of Mollie Tibbetts tells us about the importance of self-defense and the right to bear arms. Liberty Doll is a Libertarian YouTuber and has been the recipient of a video in my Beauty AND Brains series.

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Abortion and Libertarianism: Human Persons and Human Non-Persons?

Is there a meaningful distinction between human beings and human persons, and do unborn children qualify as human persons? In this video, I explore the concept of personhood and why it must apply to unborn children.

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Citations/Further Reading:

Klusendorf, S. L. (2009). The Case for Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Singer, P. (1979). Practical Ethics (1st ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Abortion and Libertarianism: Human Beings or Clumps of Cells?

Are unborn children human beings or simply clumps of cells? I contend they are the former, and with all the talk about the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being revisited, it’s important to know why.

Part 1: https://youtu.be/VkDAtX-fZ28

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for -fair use- for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

HARASSMENT NOTICE
It is not my intention to cause the original video creator to receive any kind of harassment or abuse. It is my intention to provide a counter argument to the claims they have made. While I have no control over the feedback you choose to provide, I ask that you avoid any forms of harassment or abuse.

Citations/Further Reading:

Klusendorf, S. L. (2009). The Case for Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Patten, B. M. (1968). Human Embryology (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw Hill

Moore, K. & Persaud, T. V. N. (2008). The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier.

Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981.

Condic, M. L. (2003, May 01). Life: Defining the Beginning by the End | Maureen L. Condic. Retrieved July 12, 2018, from https://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/05/life-defining-the-beginning-by-the-end

Koop, C. E. & Schaeffer, F. A. (1979). What Happened to the Human Race? Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell Company.

http://www.ibtimes.com/cancerous-tumors-are-parasitic-organisms-says-new-study-820989

http://discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/29-are-cancers-new-species-probably-not/

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Debunking BadMouseProductions on the Index of Economic Freedom (w/Esoteric Entity)

At the request of a patron, Esoteric Entity and I address comments made by BadMouseProductions about the Index of Economic Freedom.

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Original Video:

Mike Maloney’s The Greatest Scam in the History of Mankind:

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for -fair use- for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Articles Cited:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shanedk…

http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/m…

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/h…

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-ch…

http://bazardispatch.blogspot.com/200…

https://www.heritage.org/index/about

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