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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Explaining Obamanomics and Socialism

From my inbox, I found a great way to explain socialism:
An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student, but had once failed an entire class.

The class (students) insisted that socialism worked since no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism."

"All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A."

After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who had studied hard were upset while the students who had studied very little were happy.

But, as the second test rolled around, the students who had studied little studied even less and the ones who had studied hard decided that since they couldn't make an A, they also studied less. The second Test average was a D.

No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average grade was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling, all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else.

To their great surprise all failed. The professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder people try to succeed the greater their reward (capitalism) but when a government takes all the reward away (socialism) no one will try or succeed.
The secret to our national prosperity lies within the freedom of the individual. Those who are free to benefit from their own hard work will prosper as far as their talents, their energies, and their motivation will take them. It's human nature to work harder for what you can keep than for what someone else will take.

I don't know if there really was an economics professor at Texas Tech who flunked an entire class. But, the story effectively demonstrates how socialism punishes productivity and destroys the individual's motivation to succeed. As the Obama-Pelosi-Reid administration speeds toward nationalizing everything from banking to health care, keep this story in mind.

Wealth is created in the private sector through productivity. Government cannot create wealth, it can only confiscate it, consume it, and re-distribute it. As government continues to take more from the rich, they discourage the creation of wealth. And, without wealth, there will be nothing left to tax.

Meanwhile, the less wealthy among us are promised greater rewards through government programs. Rather than being motivated to help themselves, they are are encouraged to wait idly by for government aid.

The fatal flaw in Obamanomics is that it both punishes and discourages productivity.

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4 Comments:

Blogger John Galt said...

The freedom of the individual is important to our prosperity, but all of us conservatives need to admit that a large part of our prosperity for a very long time has been through off-loading much of the cost of our way of life onto foreigners and future generations through the sale of debt. Federal debt especially, but not only that; even corporate and consumer debt is really a way of stealing from future generations when there's a Federal Reserve on hand to helpfully devalue the currency so that debts are always paid back in devalued dollars.

3/26/2009 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this one—particularly the final line. "Could not be any simpler..." is a fine capstone on an argument that's presented as a simple story, but is actually a very convoluted and complex system of assumptions, distortions, and manipulations.

So lets take it line by line.

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class.

First, notice that the professor is not named, but the school is. This should make us a bit suspicious, since it lends an air of credibility without being traceable.
Next, notice that this is a story-within-a-story. The author doesn't actually say that it happened. He, or she, says that the unnamed professor said that it happened.

This is interesting for three reasons:
It makes the story harder to debunk. It might be possible to prove that no professor at Texas Tech ever did this, but it's not possible to prove that no professor ever claimed they did.

The effect of this is all in the subtext. You don't stop to think about it when you're just reading the email, but it's there to counter any doubts you might have along the way.
It shifts the point of view. We now are in the position of hearing the professor's own testimony about the story.

The interesting thing, of course, is that we aren't really—we're still just hearing what the unnamed author wants us to believe. So, by actually removing us one more step from the source (by telling us that the author didn't witness this personally) it creates the illusion that we've actually moved closer (to the teacher who did it).
It uses a well-known hypnotic technique. By folding one story within another, it makes it hard for the reader to be clear on the context, which in turn makes the reader easier to lead.
Finally, notice what the dramatic claim actually asks us to believe: that a teacher who never fails a student individually would actually contrive to fail an entire class.

Because it isn't just a matter of circumstances leading a teacher to do something out of character.

The story that follows is the story of a teacher who, because of a political disagreement with students, intentionally creates a situation that will lead to their failure.
This is typical, at one level or another, of many of these emails. It leaves the readers in a liminal state, halfway between truth and fiction, where they are more vulnerable to a misleading argument.

By accepting the story on face value, even while there is ample evidence for rejecting it out of hand, we are already colluding with the author in his deception.

GOP FAIL

4/03/2009 2:55 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

There is not a claim that the story is true..."I don't know if there really was an economics professor at Texas Tech who flunked an entire class. But, the story effectively demonstrates how socialism punishes productivity and destroys the individual's motivation to succeed."

The story may not be true with respect to having actually occurred, but as a parable it makes a good and fundamentally accurate point that socialism is always doomed to fail.

If one is looking for an epic fail he/she needn't look any further than the current totally inept administration.

4/03/2009 10:55 PM  
Blogger robmderrick said...

It is clearly, to me at least, a parable. A way of presenting simple truths through a clever story. Aesop and Uncle Remus did it all the time.

However, the key element is the supposition that it is a simple truth. Admittedly, it resonates. It is not easy to refute because it relies on an assumption of human behavior that seems reasonable but is, by most of us, untested.

However, the thing that struck me most about the story is not whether or not this instance of it ever happened. But rather the fact that the essence of the story, the all pass or all fail premise, is one that I've seen before, and even personally experienced before.

This is the essence of boot camp. If you've ever been to boot camp, or seen a boot camp movie, the premise is that the unity of the group is paramount, and the strength and power of all of you together is all important, and that you are only as strong as your weakest link. The premise, as they put you into situations where you only succeed if everyone succeeds, is to engage everyone in the goal, and ensure that those that are better, for the given test, pull along, train, encourage, cajole, and if necessary, threaten and drag, anyone who falls behind.

It is the essence of "no man left behind". The idea, in the observance if not the breach, is that the cohesion of the team is more important than the elevation of stars and the elimination of the also-rans. "There is no 'I' in team". "We must all hang together or we shall surely all hang seperately".

The last thing I would note is the obvious fallacy in the first line of the story. "... had never failed a single student before..."? Really? If so, then surely this professor has been practicing some form of socialism all along, for as sure as there are people who will earn 'A's, if the game isn't rigged, then there will be some that will not even earn a 'D'. That is reality. Therefore, this fictional professor has been juking his stats, and pushing up the grades of the lowest denominators in his classes, or teaching down so as to make it possible for them to pass. In a pure libertarian world, you can't have winners without losers.

7/16/2009 4:38 PM  

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