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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Seventy Nine Years Ago This Was America

Unknown Author

Editor's Note:  This piece was sent to me by a friend via e-mail.  And this piece is by an Unknown Author.   I found I couldn't copy and paste the pictures, so I had to adjust some things, and since this piece wasn't intended to be an article, it was a bit disjointed, so I've had to paraphrase, add content and adjust some of it for readability, but I can claim very little to this touching piece.  

It will become obvious this was originally written some years ago.  All the Doolittle Raiders have  now passed.   The last Doolittle Raider was a Dayton Ohio boy,  Richard Eugene Cole, Doolittle's co-pilot, who died on  April 9, 2019.  He was 103 years old.  America is passing away along with it's heroes.   I saw the movies discussed here and I still find them emotional, along with The Longest Day and I've just again watched Band of Brothers.  Even after all these years I'm still moved at the courage and sacrifice these men made. 

My father was in seven major invasions, an uncle had his ship blown out from under him by a Kamikaze, and another fought in WWII and Korea.  After Korea he was never the same. 

With the understanding this is the work of the Unknown Author - This Was America.  RK

Unfortunately today's children will never be taught history of WWII.  During the 3-1/2 years of World War II that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, an event that "woke" a sleeping giant, the one Admiral so feared saying: 

 “I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.”

His fear was justified, and  here's what, "We the People of the U.S.A.", produced to combat both Germany and Japan, the two greatest military powers in the world of that day:

  • 22 aircraft carriers
  • 8 battleships
  • 48 cruisers
  • 349 destroyers
  • 420 destroyer escorts
  • 203 submarines
  • 34 million tons of merchant ships
  • 100,000 fighter aircraft
  • 98,000 bombers
  • 24,000 transport aircraft
  • 58,000 training aircraft
  • 93,000 tanks
  • 257,000 artillery pieces
  • 105,000 mortars
  • 3,000,000 machine guns and
  • 2,500,000 military trucks

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and, ultimately, conquered Japan and Germany.  It’s amazing what America did in those days.   

Many of you already know the story of Jimmy Doolittle's raid on Japan, but for those who are sketchy on it,  here's the story, and finally, the update on those heroes.


The text below references the movie “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. ”There is a second film made in 1944 that details the “show” trials of the 11 airmen that were captured & tortured by the Japanese titled “The Purple Heart.” Three were executed as war criminals, a fourth died in captivity.

They bombed Tokyo 78 years ago.  They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States.  There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.

Now only none survive. 

After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around. Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised.  Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an air-craft carrier. 

This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.

The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle,who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet,knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.

But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan.  The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.And those men went anyway.

They bombed Tokyo and then flew as far as they could.  Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died.  Eight more were captured; three were executed. Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia .The Doolittle Raiders sent a message from the United States to its enemies,and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.

Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes,models of bravery.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon.In the movie-theater previews for the film,  MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story........"with supreme pride". 

Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year.  In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets.  Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.

Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the re-union city.  Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.  Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac.  The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.

There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders,they would open the bottle, at last drink from it,and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.  As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.

What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria,and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions.  He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.

The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts!

There was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface,had nothing to do with the war, but that was emblematic of the depth of his sense of duty and devotion: "When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day.  He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife, and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning.  He did that for three years until her death in 2005."

So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain:  Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.The events in Fort Walton Beach marked the end. It has come full circle;  Florida 's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission.The town planned to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor,including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.

Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice?They don't talk about that, at least not around other people.But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week ,and if you should encounter any of the Raiders,you might want to offer them a word of thanks.I can tell you from first hand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date --sometime this year -- to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy.  That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. 

The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.  They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. 

And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.

Juan Williams says girls charged with felony murder in death of Uber Eats driver were just looking for a 'joyride'

Usually you don't bring a stun gun to a joyride' 

P&D Today By Rich Kozlovich


Wars and “Following the Science” are Sure Paths to Tyranny

Richard M. Ebeling Richard M. Ebeling  – March 30, 2021 @ American Institute for Economic Research

In the first press conference of his presidency on March 25, 2021, Joe Biden announced that he had set a target of administering 200 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine before the end of his first 100 days in office. In an earlier statement before the press, Biden said that it might be safe enough for the government to permit gatherings at people’s homes to celebrate the 4th of July. Listening to the man who occupies the White House, it seems that our lives and how we live all depend on Joe Biden. 

Some in the media have focused on the president’s recent stumbling up the stairway ramp while getting on to Air Force One, and wondered if at the age of 78 Biden can successfully put one foot in front of the other. Others have suggested that without the written scripts prepared by his White House staff and projected onto a teleprompter or the notes in front of him at a podium, the president seems unable to always articulately say a handful of words without a gaffe or getting lost and confused in his own thoughts.

If anything goes wrong in the Biden administration’s policies for directing and planning our lives, no doubt a fallback position for some of our enlightened political paternalists likely will be that it is not the principle or practice of government-designed social engineering that is fundamentally flawed. No, it’s just that, unfortunately, a man too old with some cognitive disabilities wasn’t quite up to overseeing the national tasks to be done, and which are capable of repair and improvement when the “right hands” are at the helm of government. 

The EU Comedy of Confusions and Contradictions

Across the Atlantic, the European Union (EU) is mired in contradictions, confusions, and member-nation conflicts about lockdowns, vaccine safety, and national distributions of existing and projected supplies of the vaccine. At first, the EU member governments declared that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and effective. Then, some of them announced that its use might cause serious side effects and halted inoculations. This was followed by new statements that any such side effects were less of a risk than not having the injection.

EU governments have been bickering among themselves over the allocations of the vaccine supplies among the member nations, along with disagreements of how much of the vaccine should be shared with poorer and less developed countries in other parts of the world, and also whether AstraZeneca manufacturers have shortchanged the European Union compared to doses available to and taken by the British across the English Channel in the United Kingdom. 

Whipsawed by their governments about whether or not to trust taking the AstraZeneca vaccine, those same governments are “shocked” that a good number of their own citizens, particularly in places like France, for instance, have chosen not to have the vaccination. At the same time, large stores of the vaccine are “discovered” in warehouses as the very moment that various EU spokesmen appear before the press in near hysteria over the claimed short supplies of AstraZeneca being provided by the manufacturing facilities. 

Fearful of supposed “third waves” of Covid-19 cases, countries like France and Poland have imposed new partial lockdowns. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, declared that Germany would have to again tightly shut things down over the Easter weekend to prevent a new outbreak of the coronavirus. When German state governments and large crowds of demonstrators around the country adamantly opposed such renewed drastic steps, Merkel had to go on German television and reverse the severity of the announced lockdown, while at the same time publicly apologizing to the German people for so arrogantly presuming to tell them how to celebrate such a widely recognized and shared holiday. 

Classical Liberalism was an Inoculation Against Collectivism

For more than a year, now, we have been in the grip of a massive “new wave” of a dangerous and deadly ideological virus that has the names political paternalism and social engineering. It is often pointed out that the current coronavirus crisis is the first of this magnitude and global dimension since the infamous Spanish Flu from 1918 to 1920, during which estimates say that tens of millions of people, worldwide, may have died from that earlier virus. 

But it is less often highlighted that a political virus of government control, regulation, restriction and planning enveloped all the major countries of the world at about the same time, a little over 100 years ago during the First World War. After the 25-year European-wide war between, first, revolutionary and then Napoleonic France against Great Britain, Imperial Russia, Prussia, Spain, and some other minor countries that ended in 1815, a number of leading nations, of which Britain was preeminent, “inoculated” themselves against the all-dominating state through classical liberal reforms that recognized individual rights, personal and civil liberty, the sanctity of private property, the freedom of enterprise and mostly unrestricted international trade and investment, which were all bolstered by formal and informal institutional restrictions on government spending, taxing, borrowing, and the printing of paper money through introduction of constitutional limits and national gold standards.  

Several leading European countries along with the United States and Canada in North America seemed to be successfully “immune” from the virus of collectivism in its various permutations into the second half of the 19th century. But under the external appearance of political and economic “health” with widening liberty and growing prosperity, new variations of this dangerous ideological virus were infecting even the social bodies of the freest countries in the forms of increasingly aggressive nationalist and socialist ideas.  

Symptoms were noticed and warned about by a few, by such “social diagnosticians,” for instance, as Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) in Great Britain and William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) in America, and Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916) in France, and some others who are less well-known but who were no less clear in their stated fears. (See my articles, “Herbert Spencer on Equal Liberty and the Free Society” and “Paul Leroy-Beaulieu: A Warning Voice About the Socialist Tragedy to Come”.) 

World War I Replaced Liberty with War and Welfare Planning

If government planning only had been a wistful socialist dream before 1914, with the coming of the First World War every one of the major belligerent powers in Europe soon imposed price and wage controls, production restrictions and planning targets, regulations or prohibitions on almost all goods imported or exported, and ended the gold standard to turn the handles of the monetary printing presses to fund the huge costs of what became a long and destructive four years of war. Personal freedoms and civil liberties were restricted or denied in the name of winning the war. See my article, “The Lasting Legacies of World War I: Big Government, Paper Money, and Inflation”.)

Looking back at the consequences of the First World War, the German liberal economist, Gustav Stolper (1888-1947), observed in 1931 in the pages of Foreign Affairs magazine:

“Just as the war for the first time in history established the principle of universal military service, so for the first time in history it brought national economic life in all its branches and activities to the support and service of state politics – made it subordinate to the state . . . Not supply and demand, but the dictatorial fiat of the state determined economic relationships – production, consumption, wages, cost of living . . . At the same time, and for the first time, the state made itself responsible for the physical welfare of its citizens; it guaranteed food and clothing not only to the army in the field but to the civilian population as well . . .

“Here is a fact pregnant with meaning; the state became for a time the absolute ruler of our economic life, and while subordinating the entire economic organization to its military purposes, also made itself responsible for the welfare of the humblest of its citizens, guaranteeing him a minimum of food, clothing, heating, and housing.” 

War is a Deadly Virus for Spreading Bigger Government

The countries that were before 1914 still fairly and widely free in terms of economic liberty and personal freedom saw after World War I the collectivist virus’s residue remaining in the social and policy system of ideas, ready to reemerge with its virulent effects at any time. In his insightful, but seemingly neglected study of The British Political Tradition (1983), historian William H. Greenleaf (1927-2008) explained in volume one of this work, on, “The Rise of Collectivism,” that once infected with the bigger government virus, it is never fully expunged from the affected society: 

“It was the Great War which marked a sea-change . . . and which saw an alternation in respect of government control of a degree that beforehand would have seemed quite impossible and would have met with invincible opposition if suggested . . . The enduring impact of war on collectivist development is clearly indicated because the reversion is never to the status quo ante bellum .  . . Although there is at the end of hostilities a decline from the extreme heights of government expenditures reached during the war itself, this fall stops at a level higher than that prevailing during the pre-war period. A substantial residue of the increased wartime activity remains . . . 

“This appears to result from the operation of three factors. First, there is an obvious and continuing impact in respect of debt commitments, payment of war pensions, and the like. Secondly, there are important fiscal effects of war concerning the level of taxation which is acceptable . . . New types of taxes are introduced and everyone gets used to the higher level of payment than was previously thought possible or desirable . . . 

“And thirdly, there is a general loosening of restrictions hitherto imposed on government activity . . . The state had come to control directly or indirectly a great part of the economic process; the enormous wealth and taxable capacity of modern industrial society now stood revealed. Why should these possibilities not be exploited to abolish poverty? . . . If tanks and bombers can be produced in many respects regardless of expense, why should not this later be the case for schools, hospitals, and houses?” 

“Following the Science” Leading to More Government Control

And if the current incantation of “follow the science” and the experts who claim to know what science requires and dictates in terms of the social conduct of the entire population seems a new twist on the required role of the state, Greenleaf referenced the growing presumption and insistence in the 19th century that only government and its specialized bureaucrats could manage various matters concerning health. Here, too, was the assertion that the individual’s freedom of choice concerning a vaccination could be legitimately abrogated in the name of a “common good” defined by those in political authority. Explained Greenleaf:

“Once a scientific advance was made there was a growing pressure for government to act on this knowledge and use it as a basis for legislative regulation . . . A good example in the public health field is provided by the activity of the state in respect of smallpox vaccination as a major form of preventative medicine . . . The first formal state action was taken in 1808 when Parliament was induced to set up a National Vaccination Establishment to provide free vaccination at its London stations . . . 

“The moral and constitutional issues involved were revealed in the Parliamentary debate of 1872 about the legal enforcement of vaccination and the continual imposition of penalties for refusal to comply. Lyon Playfair, at the time perhaps the most influential MP with scientific knowledge, demolished an attempt to amend the Bill before the House [of Commons] saying that ‘individual disbelief in a remedy which science and experience had confirmed beyond all reasonable doubt was no justification for relieving the conscience of that individual at the expense of society’ . . .

“There is indeed a kind of general pattern in this particular example. First there exists a social problem, in this case the major scourge of smallpox. A prophylactic treatment is discovered by scientific research. Then government intervened to make the treatment in turn available, compulsory, and more effective. Clearly more and more intervention and powers of coercion are involved . . . In sum, therefore, scientific knowledge could aid or even produce pressure for government action by seeming to give this pressure intellectual justification and provide practical means of implementation.” 

The Rise of Scientism as a Tool for Political Paternalism

Part of the problem in all this, Greenleaf pointed out, drawing upon the frustrations and concerns of those inside and outside of the British government, already in the late 19th century, was to know what was really fact from fiction, what was a serious social matter or one that was only a minor social concern. Once the precedent was established that such things required governmental intrusion and imposition, it developed a momentum of its own in terms of more and more instances in which the claim was made for greater bureaucratic personnel and more authority to act. But how and who was to determine if these demands were reasonable and really necessary? Greenleaf explained the frustrations of one member of the British government at that time: 

“Sir John Simon was one of those administrators who . . . was preoccupied with the need for the national government to legislate according to the precepts of science . . . R. R. W. Lingen (who was a very economy-minded Permanent Secretary to the Treasury during the third quarter of the [19th] century) was once faced with a demand from Sir John Simon [in 1871] for another vaccination inspector and minuted, ‘I do not know who is to check the assertions of experts when the government has once undertaken a class of duties which none but such persons understand’.”

Greenleaf went on to say that what this all reflected was the rise of “scientism,” the belief that the discoveries and methods of the natural sciences were not merely useful parts of human knowledge to assist individuals and associative groups to find better ways of achieving their respective goals and ends. No, it was the presumption that “science” should direct and dictate social action, and since some might not understand or not want to follow “the science,” government had to increasingly impose what that science said was good for them, whether or not such people wished to follow where science was leading in terms of asserted social and economic policy. Such a mindset about science easily and almost naturally manifested itself in an increasingly coercive political paternalism. 

New Waves of the Collectivist Virus in the 20th and 21st Centuries

All of the 20th century was a battle against the viral assaults of collectivism by the waning spirit of 19th century liberalism, with insufficient intellectual and ideological “anti-bodies” of liberty to ward off the infections. Even when the collectivist “pandemics” of World War I, the interwar rise of communism, fascism, and Nazism, the Second World War, and the postwar growth in the interventionist-welfare state seemed to subside and degrees of freedom were restored or preserved, each time the assault has left less freedom in some corners of society, especially of economic liberty. 

But since the beginning of the 21st century, the threats to freedom and the free society have intensified. Following 9/11, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the intrusive, spying, surveillance state has reduced the private aspects of our lives, with things we say, write or do being recorded, watched and classified as being either loyal or subversive – with those in elected or appointed political power determining what counts as being in one category or another. 

The newest attacks on the remnants of liberty now take two dangerous forms, one being the identity politics/cancel culture warriors who want to abolish the meaning of a free, autonomous, individual human being by demanding that each person’s personal and social sense of identity, “rights,” and deservedness be decided and dictated by the racial and gender group to which they are assigned by the “politically correct” new elite of “progressive” political paternalists. (See my articles, “Welcome to Word Tyranny and Cultural Balkanization” and “Save America from Cancel Culture” and “‘Systemic Racism’ Theory is the New Political Tribalism” and “The New Totalitarians”.)

A Tyranny of Science Leading to More Political Paternalism

But this past year has added to this an equally serious threat: a tyranny of science. By saying this, it is not implied that science, rightly understood, is at fault or a threat to liberty. Science is composed of sets of systematic methods of determining the objective nature of the world around us. In the physical, or “natural,” sciences it is an attempt at (with admittedly the sometimes-controversial phrase of Karl Popper’s) “conjectures and refutations.” The “scientific method” has built bridges that do not fall down, enabled men to travel to the moon and back, and provided the capacity to disentangle the DNA of life. It has provided the ability to walk around with the smartphones that most of us have in our pockets, to design and use 3-D printers that carry unimaginable production possibilities and cost savings, and improved upon methods of farming and genetically engineered crops that have enabled hundreds of millions of people to have food to eat who otherwise might have starved. 

No, by a tyranny of science, I mean the dominant political mindset that was seen already in the 19th century, as William Greenleaf explained, with Sir John Simon who believed that government should legislate and regulate and command all that people do and what is to be done to them according to the presumed “evidence” of science. Listen to those declarations of Joe Biden referred to at the beginning of these words. He knows how many doses of a vaccine should be manufactured over what period of time, to inoculate which and how many people by a designated date. Clearly, he and his “scientific” advisors know how to direct and dictate that these goals and targets are reached. All relevant actors in the society, clearly, must conform to and fulfill “the plan.” 

Joe Biden and his scientific experts know when and for what purposes people should be allowed to meet and socialize for holiday occasions. If Biden and his science advisors decide it’s safe, well, they will allow us to gather with friends and relatives for a 4th of July celebration. While there have been noticeable and cogent criticisms of and demonstrations against the political and scientific presumptions behind all of these declarations and dictates of the government, tens of millions of others have been sufficiently infected with the collectivist virus that they take it for granted that if the scientific “experts” say such and such, then, “of course,” government has to initiate the mandatory or pressuring policies that confine people’s actions and choices to what “the science” says. 

The Corruptions and Crimes of Politicized Science

But what is the reality of politicized science? Rather than allowing the free and competitive market to peacefully and creatively find ways for people to meet and manage the challenge of what has been and is a serious health crisis due to the coronavirus, the entire social and economic makeup of the society has been turned upside down with catastrophic effects on the lives of hundreds of millions of people due to lockdowns, shutdowns, production prohibitions and restrictions and commands, along with governmental dictates about who and what might be permitted as solutions to the epidemic. The government has decided – not you or me – who is to be vaccinated according to their imposed planned rationing and allocation. (See my articles, “To Kill Markets is the Worst Possible Plan” and “Leaving People Alone is the Best Possible Way to Beat the Coronavirus” and “Lockdowns as a Political Tragedy of the Commons” and “Government Policies Have Worsened the Coronavirus Crisis”.)  

In New York, “the science” led the governor of the state to follow a nursing home policy that has caused the deaths of thousands who might otherwise have lived. And the same “science” convinced him, obviously, to hide from view what really was happening, while boasting about his leadership qualities as a politician who “follows the science.”  

The same “scientific” leadership is before our eyes, as was summarized earlier, in the European Union. Are entire populations to be once again locked up or are they to be let free from the restricting hands of government? Is a particular vaccine safe or significantly hazardous, and who is to decide? Do your own nation’s citizens get the prescribed vaccine or is a political decision made to “share it” with others inside or outside of the EU? Do you stand firm that since the science dictates . . .? Or do you go on television and apologize for your lockdown arrogance, even as you mutter at the same time, “But the science says . . .”?

The United States and many other parts of the world are at a political crossroads. Do we succumb to the collectivist virus and liberty continues to perish? Or do the fallacies and follies of those in not just one country’s government, but of virtually all governments, everywhere, finally make a growing number of people doubt and discount the necessity and rightness of those in political power determining the course of human events?

History has the habit of playing tricks on us and very often turning out in ways that many if not most of us could not even imagine. That is why, in spite of how things may look, it is never too late. But if history is to tell a story of liberty rather than collectivism for the remainder of this century, then it behooves as many of us as possible to point out to our fellow citizens that the political emperors who say they are “just following the science,” are really not wearing any clothes.

Richard M. Ebeling

Richard M. Ebeling

Richard M. Ebeling, an AIER Senior Fellow, is the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Ebeling lived on AIER’s campus from 2008 to 2009.

Books by Richard M. Ebeling

Sean Gabb Newsletter, 28th March 2021

 By Sean Gabb,

My teaching is over for a few weeks. Here is the whole series of my lectures on the Decay of the Roman Republic and on the Crusades. My general approach to teaching is that anyone who makes his political opinions overt and continuous isn't up to the job and is insulting his students. However, it's probably impossible to speak for 25 hours without making an implied statement of opinion. You may wish to decide for yourself.

Here is a free copy of my latest book, on the Coronavirus Panic ( My view is that the response has been disproportionate to the threat, but that the changes brought about are broadly favourable to freedom and diversity. At the very least, a year's disruption to schooling has detached a generation from the drip-feed of ruling class propaganda.

Something I will find time to write about is the sudden democratising of the education market. Now that on-line teaching has moved from the fringe to the mainstream, I find myself in bottomless demand all over the world for Latin prose composition and the Ancient Languages at every level. I have classes in Europe, in North America, in Hong Kong and in Singapore. Either this wouldn't have been possible before last March, or I'd not have extended my marketing outreach to go that far.

Whatever the case, the Coronavirus hasn't done me any harm so far, and I suspect it won't do any harm to the world as a whole.

Here are the lectures:

Sean Gabb Lectures January-March 2021

The Crusades

Rome: From Republic to Empire

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Quote of the Day

"If Joe Biden can’t stand up to Peter Doocy are we really supposed to expect him to be able to stand up to Xi or Putin?" - Charlie Kirk

Progressive Parents, Closed Schools

Residents of wealthy, left-leaning communities in New Jersey struggle against the power of teachers’ unions.
Steven Malanga March 29, 2021

While the fights to reopen schools in San Francisco and Chicago have garnered national headlines, some of the most telling battles are being fought in small, wealthy, progressive New Jersey suburbs, where teachers’ unions have flatly refused to return to school, prompting what one local resident described as “chaos.” Parents complain that the intransigence of unions and local officials amounts to a betrayal of progressive values, and they grumble about the lack of support from Governor Phil Murphy, who relied on backing by the state teachers’ union in his election campaign four years ago.

Case in point: Montclair, New Jersey, an affluent bedroom community of New York City, home to many Gotham transplants, including influential media figures from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Nearly 70 percent of adults in the town are college-educated, and median household income is an impressive $126,844, according to the U.S. Census. As is increasingly typical of such suburbs, its residents vote reliably progressive. Fewer than 10 percent of the town’s residents are registered Republicans, and in 2017, 77 percent voted for Murphy against Republican challenger Kim Guadagno—22 percentage points more than he received in the statewide vote. In 2016, 85 percent of residents voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Perhaps because Montclair is so reliably left-leaning, the state teachers’ union, the powerful New Jersey Education Association, targeted it as a place to increase its political clout, as part of a statewide strategy to get union members elected to office. “It’s no longer enough to lobby decision-makers. We must become decision-makers,” the NJEA wrote in a strategy paper. To that end, the union developed a political leadership academy to recruit members for local offices, according to a report by the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey. The “most famous graduate” of that political academy, according to Sunlight, is Sean Spiller, current mayor of Montclair and vice president of the state teachers’ union. Some Montclair parents are angry with Spiller because their schools have remained closed for in-person instruction for a year............To Read More.....


The Invisible Asylum

Olympia, Washington, is a microcosm of the problems created by the emptying of mental hospitals.

Christopher F. Rufo Winter 2021 @ City Journal.  Published with permission.  I recommend subscribing, it's free. 
 he story of American deinstitutionalization has become familiar. In a long arc—from President Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act of 1963 to the present—federal and state governments dismantled mental asylums and released the psychiatrically disturbed into the world. Though there were sometimes brutal abuses in the state mental hospitals of the early twentieth century, the closure of the asylums did not put an end to mental illness. If anything, with the proliferation on the streets of psychosis-inducing drugs such as methamphetamine, the United States has more cases of serious mental illness than ever before—and less capacity to treat and manage them.

The question now is not, “What happened to the asylums?” but “What replaced them?” Following the mass closure of state hospitals and the establishment of a legal regime that dramatically restricted involuntary commitments, we have created an “invisible asylum” composed of three primary institutions: the street, the jail, and the emergency room. In slaying the old monster of the state asylums, we created a new monster in its shadow: one that maintains the appearance of freedom but condemns a large population of the mentally ill to a life of misery.

I’ve spent the better part of two years looking at this invisible asylum in West Coast cities. In major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, the scale of mass psychosis is overwhelming, and the inadequacy of the public response is self-evident. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine how public officials could “solve” the problem of mental illness in these places, which are home to tens of thousands of individuals suffering from the “perilous trifecta” of mental illness, addiction, and homelessness. By contrast, the contours of the problem are much more intelligible, even manageable, in smaller cities and towns.

Olympia, Washington—a city of 52,000 tucked between a joint military base and a state forest—is one such place. In Olympia, approximately 250 individuals have become entangled within this broken system of care, cycling through the streets, the local jails, and the emergency ward at Providence St. Peter Hospital. A half-century ago, many, if not most, of these wayward souls would have been institutionalized. In 1962, Washington State had 7,641 state hospital beds for a total population of 2.9 million; today, it has 1,123 state hospital beds for a population of 7.6 million—a 94 percent per-capita reduction.

In the absence of the old asylums, Olympia’s mentally ill are now crowded into a city-sanctioned tent encampment, then shuffled through the institutions of the modern social-scientific state: the jail cell, the short-term psychiatric bed, the case-management appointment, the feeding line, and the needle dispensary. In the name of compassion, we have built a system that may be even crueler than what came before.

It’s 8 AM, and the streets of Olympia are at low tide. After months of coronavirus lockdowns, all the businesses in the downtown core have shut down, with some restaurants, salons, and tattoo shops boarding up their windows altogether. The only people remaining are those with nowhere to go: the homeless, the mad, and the addicted.

Patrol Sergeant Amy King and Officer Patrick Hutnik, who oversee the downtown area for the Olympia Police Department, take me on a tour. The officers are working their morning rounds, rousting awake people sleeping in doorways and asking them to move on. We see a slumped-over man who has soiled himself overnight, a man wrapped in cardboard complaining that his tent got stolen, and three women behind a barricade of shopping carts and filthy blankets. One of the women is tying off her arm with a blue rubber strap but loosens her grip when she sees us; the other two are barely cognizant, blinking at the officers and lifelessly nodding their heads.

The cast of characters in Sergeant King’s world is a difficult one. Hai air-fights through the streets because he believes monsters in the ground want to enter his body. Michael, an old man, calls 911 many times per day but doesn’t qualify as “gravely disabled.” Suburban Gary lives in a broken-down Chevy Suburban full of trash but refuses all offers of housing or services. And John, wheelchair-bound and covered in sores, huffs paint in front of officers because he knows he’s “untouchable”—the hospital will not take him, the prosecutor will not move on his criminal cases, and the psychiatrists cannot send him for involuntary treatment.

Following the downfall of the old regime of state asylums, local jurisdictions have had to create their own makeshift mental-health systems. In Olympia, as a growing population of mentally ill and addicted individuals began to overwhelm downtown, the city council decided to open the “mitigation site,” a publicly funded tent encampment for 150 residents. In theory, the site would provide centralized shelter and access to services; in practice, it functions as an open-air asylum—with none of the protections of the old hospitals.

Brandon, who helps manage the mitigation site for the City of Olympia, tells me that the people arriving here are “in the gutter.” He estimates that 95 percent have a substance-abuse disorder and nearly 100 percent have a mental-health condition. Though the city continues to distribute glossy photos from the site’s opening day, the reality on the ground is grim—open drug use, fighting, crime, and even a tent filled with used needles. Brandon says that “thousands of rats” have tunneled under the site and will chew through the wooden pallets beneath the tents and the plastic walls of the tiny homes. “There’s soy in the plastic,” he explains. “It’s like candy to rats.”

“The city’s police force has nicknamed the mitigation site ‘The Thunderdome,’ after the Mad Max movie.”

By ordinance, the city provides mitigation-site residents with basic social services and some access to care. Sean, a resident recently released from prison in Idaho, landed at the site and got a prescription for bipolar disorder “on the spot.” He shows me a plastic freezer bag filled with bottles of carbamazepine and duloxetine, and explains his predicament: “I found out, after 40 years, that I was bipolar. I lost relationships, job, marriage. Now I’m trying to put everything back together.”

But for most other residents, there is no treatment or recovery—only the punishing routine of the needle, the pill, and the breakdown. The city’s police force has nicknamed the mitigation site “The Thunderdome,” after the dystopian Mad Max movie, because of the raucous nights, with residents yelling, overdosing, and assaulting one another. One former resident said that her boyfriend kept her imprisoned in a tent there, plied her with methamphetamine, and put a knife to her throat when she tried to leave—all under the supposed supervision of city officials.

As they finish their morning rounds and head back to the station, Sergeant King and Officer Hutnik find a disheveled, shirtless man, passed out with his body extending into the street. Officer Hutnik politely wakes him, and the man, known as Angry Marty, begins screaming about zombies and food lines down at the mission. He manically gathers metal piping tubes from the ground and bangs them into a shopping cart. “There is going to be a mob that finally takes over this city!” he screams. “They’re going to kill you! They’re going to kill you!”

Under the current policy regime, this madness has become an eternal recurrence: the officers will see Marty again tomorrow morning, as he suffers through another drug-terror, and they must leave him to fend for himself.

As we head back to the station, we can still hear Marty’s cries in the distance.

“Is that compassion?” Sergeant King asks, disappearing into the doorway.

The Olympia Municipal Jail is the second link in the city’s invisible asylum. It’s a small, doughnut-shaped building tucked behind a Japanese garden, with white and blue stucco walls. The jail has 36 beds, but the city generally won’t hold more than 28 inmates at a time because the old HVAC system can’t handle full capacity.

After checking in at the front desk, Officers Holmes and Esselstrom take me through the facility. They show me the intake desk, the single-stall shower, and the suicide-watch room. They lead me through the narrow hallways and flip open the steel viewing windows, so I can see the men and women inside the cells.

I ask the officers how many of the inmates suffer from mental illness. Officer Esselstrom says that they conduct an intake interview for every inmate and that “at least 90 percent” say that they have been diagnosed with a mental illness or have recently received psychiatric care. The officers explain that they see the same faces, over and over, often for the same crimes. “Some people have 40 different booking photos,” says Officer Holmes, explaining that the officers sometimes play a game in which they listen to the police radio and try to predict who will come to the jail based on the nature of the call, crime, and location.

Hannah is one of the inmates who has returned frequently over the past year. She walks up to the metal visitation grate with some hesitation, but after she learns that I’m not a representative of the courts, she tells me her story in a rapid-fire monologue. Hannah grew up in Auburn, California, and says that she was abandoned by her parents, and then abused by her grandmother. She was diagnosed with ADHD as a preteen, and after a series of fights and “explosive behavior” in high school, she was re-diagnosed as bipolar. She says she got pregnant at 17, then lost the baby when she rolled her car and the seatbelt crushed her stomach—which sent her life into a spiral. Over the next four years, she started using methamphetamine, checked in and out of psychiatric facilities, and then came to Olympia “to start over.”

That plan fell apart, too. For the past year, Hannah has lived on the streets and at the mitigation site with her boyfriend, a man twice her age and “a drug dealer and a pimp.” According to Hannah, they have been involved in a long-running domestic dispute—knives, choking, biting, drugs—and, despite mutual restraining orders, she always goes back to him because “it’s hard to say no when he shoves meth in my face.” Today, she has dirty hair and cracked skin, but it’s easy to see that she was once beautiful. Officers told me that her mother once came looking for her and brought an old high school portrait of Hannah with long hair and intricate makeup—but when the mother eventually found the daughter on the streets, she told everyone that Hannah was her boyfriend’s responsibility and promptly left town. Now Hannah is stuck on the streets and, when her methamphetamine addiction and bipolar disorder manifest as violence, she ends up in the city jail.

Such stories are commonplace. Across the United States, the jails have become de facto psychiatric hospitals. Bruce Gage, lead psychiatrist for the Washington State Department of Corrections, estimates that 20 percent to 30 percent of state prison inmates suffer from serious mental illness. The Monroe Correctional Complex outside Seattle, with nearly 500 beds for the mentally ill, is now the second-largest psychiatric facility statewide; only Western State Hospital is larger. “It used to be called deinstitutionalization,” Gage recently told the Seattle Times. “Now it’s called trans-institutionalization. We took everyone out of the state hospitals, and they pretty much, the same population, ended up in prisons and jails.”

This transition from asylum to prison has reached an astonishing scale. According to a study of 18,000 inmates in the Washington State prison system, 44 percent of inmates were determined to have mental-health disorders and 51 percent to have substance-abuse disorders—and 31 percent had both diagnoses simultaneously. Even the old flagship, Western State Hospital, has become a predominantly carceral environment, planning to accept only “forensic patients” who can no longer be held safely in state prisons.

The irony is devastating: as a society, we recoiled from the old asylums, but we have built in their place a parallel system that serves the same function, often under even more brutal conditions. We have adopted a new moral logic that says, “You have the right to be mad, but if you follow that madness to its logical conclusion, there is a prison cell waiting for you.” Under the weight of a cultural revolution against the asylums and civil rights lawsuits against involuntary commitment, a prison sentence has become the easiest option. The mentally ill get subsumed into the criminal class.

The final link in the invisible asylum is the psychiatric emergency room. In Olympia, this means Providence St. Peter Hospital, home to an 18-bed psychiatric unit that functions as the first stop for people coming off the streets in crisis. According to Sue Beall, the hospital’s director of behavioral health, the emergency psychiatric department receives approximately 500 people a month presenting symptoms of acute mental illness and substance-abuse disorders.

Beall describes the hospital as “overwhelmed.” The number of patients seeking emergency psychiatric care has risen rapidly in the past few years, and the hospital frequently operates beyond its regular capacity, issuing “single bed certifications” and allowing people to rest on cots in the hallways and mats on the floor. The severity of the cases has increased, too. Beall estimates that, as recently as a few years ago, only 20 percent of patients needed inpatient treatment; now that figure is between 50 percent and 60 percent. The result: doctors, nurses, and support staff are “spread too thin” and burning out under the pressure of the city’s “revolving door” of addiction, psychosis, and emergency care. Emergency rooms throughout the region are so pressed with mentally ill patients that doctors have adopted a policy of “treat ’em and street ’em”—that is, get patients medically stabilized and out as fast as possible, to prepare for the next onslaught.

To reduce the burden on emergency providers, the City of Olympia recently hired a Crisis Response Unit to patrol the streets and build relationships with the most seriously mentally ill. The team—six men and women in matching aqua-blue shirts—is headquartered in an open loft space on the second floor of a downtown storefront. According to program coordinator Anne Larsen, the Crisis Response Unit engages in more than 250 contacts a month, offering case management, referrals to services, and even transportation to medical appointments. Yet despite some successes—a woman placed into permanent housing, another living with her sister on the Eastside—the team spends most of its time managing a population of a few hundred mentally ill and addicted people who continually cycle through their care.

To reduce the burden on emergency providers, the City of Olympia recently hired a Crisis Response Unit to patrol the streets and build relationships with the most seriously mentally ill. STEVE BLOOM/THE OLYMPIAN
To reduce the burden on emergency providers, the City of Olympia recently hired a Crisis Response Unit to patrol the streets and build relationships with the most seriously mentally ill. (STEVE BLOOM/THE OLYMPIAN)

When I arrive in the Crisis Response Unit’s offices, the team is gathered around an old laptop and problem-solving some of their most difficult cases. They’re talking through the file for Eddie, who was living with his mother in rural Pacific County until she couldn’t handle his mental illness, packed him up in an Airstream trailer, and dropped him off on the streets of Olympia. Eddie began hoarding trash in his trailer, increased his drug use, and rapidly deteriorated. Eddie’s sister recently came looking for him and, together with the crisis response team, tracked him down on the streets. They’re trying to petition the court for a Joel’s Law detention—a form of involuntary commitment for drug psychoses—but they have hit a bureaucratic roadblock.

According to the crisis workers, it’s very hard to get any kind of involuntary detention. Larsen says that the Crisis Response Unit requests only one psychiatric hold evaluation per month, on average, because the standard is so high and varies so widely from doctor to doctor. The people on the streets, most of whom have gone through repeated evaluations, have rehearsed the answers that will get them immediately released: “I’m not a danger to myself or others, I know where I can sleep, I know where I can get food.” When I ask the team how difficult it is to get a long-term involuntary commitment at Western State Hospital, their response is unanimous: “Impossible.”

In total, according to the latest available data, designated crisis responders filed 1,599 petitions for involuntary holds in Thurston County, and the courts approved only 411 cases for inpatient detention—and the vast majority of these were for short-term, 14-day holds. To illustrate how challenging it is to secure an involuntary commitment, crisis workers told me that they once found a woman eating a dead rat in an alleyway, but this did not qualify her as “gravely disabled”; the reaction from relevant officials was that “at least she’s eating.”

The mentally ill end up playing a game of cat and mouse with the authorities. Jeremiah, a 32-year-old man in recovery from bipolar disorder and alcohol and methamphetamine addiction, told me that he would run wild in the streets: “I would be screaming at traffic, jumping up and down on cars, yelling and cussing at families, saying their kids are my kids.” At the end of one vodka-fueled bender, Jeremiah passed out on the train tracks and lost both his arms to the heavy steel of a freight locomotive. Even after his accident, the police department and crisis response team spent years trying to get Jeremiah help, following him through a series of short-term emergency visits, psychiatric evaluations, and stints in the municipal jail.

Finally, something changed. Larsen, the program coordinator, pulled every lever at her disposal and organized the entire apparatus of local government to pressure Jeremiah into accepting treatment. It took a massive mobilization—involving a hospital ward, an evaluation center, a jail term, two treatment programs, a halfway house, a street intervention, and a warrant hearing—but eventually Jeremiah relented. I asked him what had changed, and he said: “I called my mom on Mother’s Day from jail. I wanted to do something with my life.”

Jeremiah now stays at a recovery home on the edge of town. When I visit him there, he says that he has been sober for more than a year. “It’s my longest time clean since I was 11 years old,” he says. Jeremiah still distrusts authorities—when I took out my notebook, he asked if I was trying to get him recommitted—but acknowledges that he wouldn’t have gotten clean without the intense pressure of the local government. “Treatment was necessary,” he says, “even if I didn’t like how it came to me.”

In 1961, French theorist Michel Foucault reenvisioned the history of mental illness in his book Madness and Civilization, which documented the role of confinement, morality, and medicine from the Middle Ages to modernity. Foucault yielded some profound insights, but, like his radical-progressive American counterparts, he savaged the practice of confinement without proposing a substantive alternative.

Nearly 60 years later, it has become clear that the liberationists of the 1960s did not usher in a new era of freedom but something far darker. By reducing the entire cultural history of madness to one long progression of brutality, imprisonment, and false care, they laid the political groundwork for deinstitutionalization. At the same time, their insistence that mental illness was a “myth,” that it could be cured by new psychiatric drugs, or that it would be transformed through political consciousness turned out to be wrong.

Today, a consensus is emerging that deinstitutionalization went too far. In Washington State, a bipartisan coalition of legislators has implemented the beginnings of a reform agenda. In the past few years, the legislature has added acute substance-abuse disorder as a condition for involuntary treatment, extended the initial involuntary hold period from 72 hours to five days, and adopted plans to add 844 new inpatient psychiatric beds across the state. The state mental-health budget has nearly doubled in recent years, with widespread support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Do these reforms go far enough? Probably not. Washington hopes to increase its psychiatric bed capacity to 1,763 beds by 2025, or 23 beds per 100,000 residents. While that’s a significant increase from the current baseline, the goal still falls far short of the historical average of 263 beds per 100,000 at the height of the asylum period. Though advances in psychiatric drugs and outpatient treatment could reduce the total need for inpatient beds, it’s illusory to believe that we can operate at 9 percent of the capacity of the 1960s. For anyone who has witnessed the great masses of the mad wandering the streets of American downtowns, it’s obvious that our cultural and legal intransigence against confinement cannot hold.

Frontline workers in the current system understand this reality but hesitate to offer their full-throated endorsement of rebuilding the hospitals. When I ask Sergeant King for her opinion on the need for more involuntary psychiatric beds, she replies cautiously. “I have to be careful. I don’t want my words twisted,” she says, calibrating her language in order to avoid the charge of “criminalizing” mental illness. “I think we were too restrictive in the past, but we’ve swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.”

Perhaps what’s most needed is a renewed theoretical defense of the principles of the asylum—safety, rest, morality, and health—that Foucault and his compatriots demolished. This does not mean a return to the historical practices of the asylum but a revival of the spirit that animated the care and moral reasoning of the old retreats and hôpitaux. It is a moral scandal that our society, which has surpassed the material wealth of the nineteenth century 16-fold, cannot provide an adequate sanctuary for the mad and the unmoored. It’s easy to condemn the horrors of the old state hospitals, but the horrors of the invisible asylum may exceed them.

“Perhaps what’s most needed is a renewed defense of the principles of the asylum—safety, rest, morality, and health.” 

 In my short time on Olympia’s streets, I heard about a litany of abuses and indignities that occurred under our current regime—a disabled man whose feet are rotting off, a woman hunted down like prey, a woman waking up on top of a corpse.

But the neglect is even more heartbreaking. Whenever I consider today’s system, I see the awful silhouette of a young man crumpled across a restaurant ingress, bare-chested and overwhelmed with madness. He introduces himself as Harrison and, revealing a Hindu-style third eye tattooed on his forehead, rattles on about angels and demons. He points to Officer Hutnik and says: “I once cured you of an infection.” Then he picks up an old Rubik’s Cube from his pile and, twitching with feverish intensity, points to the white squares and says, “This is where you can find me anywhere in the universe.”

A more muscular system of care could help this haunted soul. After we say good-bye to him, Hutnik tells me that he remembers Harrison from his time as a correctional worker at the Thurston County Jail a decade ago. “It’s amazing how you see another side of people after they’ve detoxed and gone on medication in jail,” Hutnik says. And this is precisely the insanity of our current system: in fear of “criminalizing mental illness,” we have simply delayed care until the mentally ill engage in explicit criminality. We thus condemn legions of vulnerable people like Harrison to street, jail, or emergency room. Until we rebuild the physical capacity and moral strength to help them, nothing will change.

Top Photo: An outreach worker arrives under Olympia’s Fourth Avenue Bridge to assist homeless people residing there. (KEN LAMBERT/THE SEATTLE TIMES)


Immigration, Part II: Turning America into a Welfare Magnet

March 27, 2021 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty   

In Part I of this series, I explained why it’s absurd to think illegal immigration can be stopped by sending foreign aid to less-developed countries, such as many of those in Central America.

Simply stated, government-to-government handouts have never been a successful strategy for turning poor nations into rich nations. Indeed, aid actually discourages countries from following the recipe that does deliver prosperity.


In today’s column, let’s address Milton Friedman’s famous dilemma about the incompatibility of open borders and welfare.  Like most libertarians, I want to solve the problem by getting rid of the welfare state.  Immigrants are a big net plus so long as they are coming to work and be productive.   Indeed, because of their entrepreneurial skills and work ethic, immigrants from many nations wind up earning more than native-born Americans.  That’s something to celebrate. The American Dream in action!  But will that story of success continue if the welfare state is expanded?

Two advocates of increased immigration are worried. First, Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal recently explained that Biden’s agenda is a recipe for immigrant dependency.

…it is a growing belief on the political left that people should be allowed to enter the U.S. on their terms rather than ours, and that it is our collective responsibility to take care of them if they can’t take care of themselves. Milton Friedman said that open immigration and large welfare states are incompatible, and today’s progressives in Congress and the White House are eager to test that proposition. …Another concern is the left’s determination to sever any connection between work and benefits, something all the more worrisome since it is occurring while destitute foreign nationals with little education are being lured here en masse. …Earlier this month, the Biden administration quietly announced that it would no longer enforce a policy that limited the admission of immigrants who were deemed likely to become overly dependent on government benefits. What could go wrong? …In countries like Italy and France, generous aid programs have attracted poor migrants who are more likely than natives to be heavy users of welfare and less likely to be working. It’s a mistake to think it can’t happen here.

In a column last year for Reason, Shikha Dalmia warned that welfare programs undermine support for immigration.

…economists Alberto Alesina, Armando Miano, and Stefanie Stantcheva…administered online questionnaires to 24,000 respondents in six countries: U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. The explicit aim was to study attitudes toward legal, not illegal, immigration. …restrictionists have succeeded most spectacularly is in depicting immigrants as welfare queens. …In America, over 25 percent of respondents said the person with the  ..immigrant-sounding name would pay less in taxes than he collected in welfare… The study’s findings pose a particular dilemma for Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), who wants to combine grandiose welfare schemes like free health care, pre-K, and college for everyone with generous immigration policies, because the mere mention of immigration reduces support for such schemes. Respondents who were asked about immigration became less concerned about inequality and less supportive of soak-the-rich schemes. …as long as immigrants are seen as succeeding through their own grit, natives may have no real objection to them. What is most likely to sour the public on immigration are the grandiose universal freebies… Immigrants should be wary of Democrats bearing gifts.

Both Riley and Dalmia raise good points.  My modest contribution to this discussion is to provide a practical example.  In his so-called American Rescue Plan, Joe Biden included a huge giveaway program that will shower $3,000-$3,600 to non-rich households for every kid they have.  This is a one-year, one-time handout, but many Democrats (and some Republicans!) want to make these enormous per-child payments a permanent part of America’s welfare state.  If that happens, the incentive to move to the United States almost surely will skyrocket.

Here’s a map I made, showing the annual handout for two children in the United States and the average per-capita income in some nearby nations.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there will be a huge incentive to migrate to America – but not for the right reasons. And my little example doesn’t include the value of any of the dozens of other redistribution programs in Washington.

The bottom line is that we shouldn’t have a welfare system that rewards dependency, whether for people in the country legally or illegally.  And if you like immigration in theory, you should be especially opposed to handouts that will undermine public support for newcomers in practice.

P.S. It’s much better to have immigration policies such as the ones proposed by former Congressman Jared Polis and current George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen.


An FBI So Corrupt It Lets Mass Shooters Rampage Needs To Go

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