Monday, March 8, 2010

En garde! Taking on the Trolls

Even if you are of strong character and sound mind, trolls have the ability to knock the wind out of you. We bloggers know there are trolls out there, they get into our blogs and stubbornly fire away at everything we might stand for.

Why should we be so surprised? In a way, we pick the fight with them by taking a stand against the status quo. If we know what the law school crisis is, we try to fix it by informing others and making sure that the snake-oil salesmen out there don’t fool you with their claims.

I recently read an extraordinary feature by a writer for the Sacramento News & Review, R.V. Scheide. It’s about the current public education crisis in California:

Scheide got the progression of what you have to go against if you are going to fight against the status quo these days: 1) Ronald Reagan; 2) Howard Jarvis; 3) Ayn Rand; and 4) Milton Friedman. The trolls have their way of thinking, and they will never give in. They are fiercely loyal and will essentially fight to the death.

They will tell you “never give a sucker an even break.” And if you are a recent JD graduate who can’t get a job, to them you are a sucker. There will be no civil effort to fix the problem as far as they are concerned. It doesn’t matter how much you argue or how much you isolate a substantial, destructive problem and identify it. Their creed is to make sure you stay at the bottom.

I mention Ronald Reagan because he was the one who originally led a political campaign against education, not when he was President, but when he was Governor of California (1967-1975). He believed that universities were harboring Marxism and should therefore be starved out of money, and maybe even eradicated altogether. His biggest enemy was UC Berkeley, where protesting against the Vietnam War had heated up to boiling point. If you want to know why tuition in law school (or any school) has continuously gone up over the years, Reagan’s attempt to crack down on universities and public funding for them was a powerful cause for the conservatives who have shaped this country for the past 30 years, since Reagan became President.

Howard Jarvis appeared on the California scene shortly after Reagan served out his term as Governor, but his tax revolt (which was the essence of his famous Proposition 13, which the voters affirmed) cut property taxes in California which were funding the public education system. The spirit of this tax revolt appears the same today as it did then: it presents itself as a grassroots movement, but in essence, it gulls the grassroots into supporting the interests of the wealthy.

And please don’t buy into the stuff you read about Ayn Rand, for example, that her Atlas Shrugged is the most important book since the Bible. Rand is a warped, pernicious thinker, angry at the world, believing through a twisted logic that religious, spiritual people are leading the planet towards death. She is the heart and soul of the conservative movement, even though she is a staunch atheist. She practically condones criminal behavior if you are among the elite of the world. She espouses a circular, tautological philosophy attracting young people by the droves because of its angry tone.

And Milton Friedman, who stood by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s side at the beginning of his first term, is one of the chief voices of the Libertarian Party and the Chicago School of Economics. He would just as soon auction off the departments of the Federal Government to the highest bidder: I often wonder what would happen if the Mafia bought the Department of Justice. He tells you there is no such thing as fat cats, and that the free market is the only way to structure a society. He has successfully taken the 19th-century version of anarchy and wrapped it in sheep’s clothing. The wolf that jumps out to eat you will be those wealthy “fat cats” that will make sure you remain jobless, unless you get down on all fours and service their needs (to put it mildly).

I realize this is California stuff, but it is apropos of the issue at hand. If we are trying to preserve the American experiment in Democracy, every voice shall be heard, even if the trolls are going to yell at the same time. Trying to solve problems with logic will make you vulnerable to their guile, but stand firm and right with the truth. Expect a fight, but it needs to be fought.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! Your post has been up a while and no trolls! LOL. Passionate post and expressive of a view with which I do not agree, but with which I sympathize. Rand is no philosopher; and is a piss-poor writer. She is also an embarrassment to many Libertarians. Hayek, Freidman, the "Chicago Boys": I am a fanboy. Economically, the destruction of California's educational system was stupid in every way. Educational levels drive property values. One of the prime directives for a true conservative is: maybe we shouldn't do it. Had the people hesitated in 1978-79 on the Jarvis vote ... . That wasn't conservativism; that was cheapskatism. The above-mentioned economists have been rolled into the cheapskate appeals book. They are about markets; the voters were about rolling up the carpet -- "I got mine." Markets work. Read the Scheide piece in terms of price(s). The grading, the altered behavior. Read what the people did, not the story about what they did. Below the "meaningfulness" is a story about markets and price and how markets work.