Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Nonsense Fed College Kids

Just a little piece while I work on something else.

My daughter came home yesterday with an assignment from her sociology professor to watch a video called "The Story of Stuff." You can watch it on YouTube, if you have the stomach for it.

I note this because it is emblematic of the nonsense being taught university students all over the Western world. It is full of non-facts, e.g., "we have used up one-third of the earth's natural resources," and pushes relentlessly the idea of limits, limits, limits. It also has the customary jibes at "corporations" and capitalism, and bemoans that government is not doing enough to "protect us."

I don't know who the person is in the video, but she talks gibberish and delivers it in a baby-talk sort of way that I guess is how one must address university students these days.

Nowhere in its anti-capitalist, anti-consumption diatribe does the video mention the power of innovation, e.g., the internet has revolutionized the world without using any appreciable amounts of non-renewable resources. Beyond that, of course, the video and the college professor teaching this absurd class cannot answer one simple question, "Can you name one, one, one nonrenewable resource that we have run out of?" Iron, copper, coal, tin, silver, gold, oil, gas? The video is also full of nonsense about the forests being cut down in North America. It claims that only 4% of the forest cover that existed at the time of European settlers exists today. The US Forest Service would beg to differ, noting that about 70% of the forest land that existed in 1670 remains forest.  In addition, another 7% is in what is called "reserved forest land," and on and on. You can read the report for yourselves.

The universities are hopeless. This all confirms my worst fears that increasingly we are ruled and dominated by people with no idea how wealth, real wealth, is created.

45 comments:

  1. They may not know how to create wealth, but they've certainly figured out how to destroy it while making sure they get a larger share of whatever is left.

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    1. "They may not know how to create wealth ... "

      Actually. "They" do.
      ________________

      Two positions at any American University come up on (admittedly I'm a little ungeeky) Mozilla or whatever stands in as a US University Level Professorial recruitment site.

      Albert Einstein and Vince Lombardi each send applications in for what were - before Lombardi's app appears - two "teaching" positions.

      (It occurs I'm plagiarizing Diplomad's "Hugo Chavez Schrödinger's Cat" post but then that was a while back, this is now & who knows now anyway.)

      Anyway, both Albert and Vince demand "half of whatever sum portends to whatever."

      Fortunately nowadays we've to hand the obvious solution

      Crowdsourcing.

      Arkie

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    2. He knowes how to make it but pisses it away...

      Tom Steyers, that hedge fund billionaire in San Francisco, will one day be looked at as the joke of his generation. He gloms onto whatever ridiculous liberal--excuse me, progressive--cause is out there.

      Politicians are lined up at his door to take his millions. Whatever stupid cause he supports is their mantra.

      He is a science denier in the extreme when it comes to global warming--excuse me, climate change--but it makes him feel powerful to be able to buy the servitude of Dem congressmen.

      Delete
  2. Well that's the whole point to these Lexus-Liberals. They want to restrict what YOU want to do, while obtaining special consideration (i.e. cash from someone else) for what THEY want to do. "Twas always thus!

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  3. Matt, the Seventh ReaderMarch 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I had to write a response to this kind of video for a management course that I recently completed. It was an on-line course, so I was able to see what the other students wrote. For the most part they supported the nonsense about "income inequality" whereas I was nearly scathing in my response to it.

    To my pleasant surprise, the professor did not take umbrage at my heretical view of a sacred leftist tenet. In fact, I aced the class (as I had expected to do) despite the fact that I engage in economic thoughtcrime.

    I am pursuing a second degree, this one in accounting. The school requires some business management courses that don't seem to have much to do with accounting. Whenever possible, I take such courses on-line rather than sit and listen to leftist tripe in person.

    While I have heard some fellow students express unhappiness with the far-left preachings of some professors, they seem to be in the minority. For the most part, the average 20-something looks to the government for answers to every problem. And one of the things that they perceive is that we all don't get a "fair share" of what other people have earned.

    Don't even get me started on the requirements that some high schools have that students must do "community service" in order to graduate. My wife and I are thinking of homeschooling our son.

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    1. Matt, good for you for speaking your mind! Business courses often don't have much to do with business anymore and accounting can be the same depending on how it is taught. If the accounting thing interests you over time, I recommend looking into forensic accounting. Not as cold a subject, though often more stiff.

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  4. Your daughter's next assignment will be on this Ed Asner cartoon:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIrSvMv-WZY

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent videos that show how value is created...

    I, Pencil: The Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYO3tOqDISE
    I, Smartphone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Ze_wpS_o0

    The former was based on a 1958 essay. The latter was a recent remake, with a more relevant technology for the young folks... whom can REALLY use this important lesson, as clearly noted in this post.

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    Replies
    1. 'I Pencil' is excellent!

      V
      (Reader # 1502)

      Delete
  6. The narrator does remind me in speech style of the host of "Baby Signing Time", though this narrator's intended audience is probably less mature.

    But I would also say, why aren't wealth creators braving the media and politics?
    We're all too comfortable.

    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glen Beck had discussed this video a few years ago, and my then-26 year old daughter said "we saw that in high school!" So this "tripe" has been circulating for some time.

    Time to eliminate the DoEducation, for sure.

    Throw out ALL the traitors!

    LibertyGrace'sGrandma

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    Replies
    1. Apparently this video has been around since 2008.

      Delete
  8. I wish I could accuse you of lying and presenting the world in a bad light.
    I highly resent the fact that your analysis of the world is so often quite right.
    It angers me when I see things like the trash in that video masquerading as intellectual thought. It also makes me feel quite helpless.
    My poor kids.

    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete
  9. If they didn't lie they couldn't get any traction at all. In the mid 80s I was an "Environmental Studies" major ...to my everlasting shame. Until I read an interview with a noted environmentalist, the head of some organization I no longer remember. He said the issues were so important that he had to lie to get people worried and involved. Left the program, never looked back.

    Paul

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  10. I'll take your word for it, Dip. I am NOT going to watch that video.

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  11. In many cases you will find that the enviromental scaremongers rely on taxpayer-funded tenures and research grants and therefore promote the 'dwindling resources' hysteria to keep the dollars flowing. In Australia we have the preposterous Professor Tim Flannery who likes to keep the scare campaign going. Along with his other ludicrous predictions he has stated repeatedly that the oceans will rise by many metres and various islands and atolls will be consumed. Funny that the lives in a luxury oceanside mansion like that other clown Al Gore.
    As with so many other things, follow the money. The previous scialist government in Australia was bullied into introducing a 'carbon tax' by the Green lobby. Nobody has yet explained how a tax can reduce 'global warming', as if it could.

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    1. G'day PF,

      I don't think the ALP were bullied into a carbon tax. The bludgers embraced it with open arms as another way of ripping off money from "the plebs".

      And aside from Flim Flam Flannery don't forget the clown from Queensland's James Cook University who keeps telling us the Reef is dying, "Carbon Cate" Blanchett who also sprouts green nonsense while buying beach front property in Vanuatu and ABC Science[?] presenter Robin Williams who assured us we were going to see sea levels rise 100 metres.

      Our American cousins don't have a monopoly on snake oil salespersons.

      Delete
    2. Gday David, perhaps 'bullied' isn't the right word but I'm sure Bob Brown and his eco-loons made it conditional for Green Senate support.

      Delete
    3. "but I'm sure Bob Brown and his eco-loons made it conditional for Green Senate support"

      PF I'd like to be as sure of winning the lottery.

      Delete
    4. Have a look at the costs.
      ww.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5Lda06iK0
      This an outstanding example of unintended consequences and unelected and elected government intrusion into your life and wallet.

      Delete
  12. My sources have procured this video taken at a prestigious US University.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOTKA0aGI0
    James the Lesser

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  13. Julian Simon, a professor of economics at Univ. of Maryland, addressed this stupidity at its source. He offered a bet to the author of "The Population Bomb," Paul Erdman (IIRC) on a number of such resources.

    Erdman tried to welch, but did pay up.

    Simon's idea? That what makes something valuable is man's ingenuity in making it useful. So, adjusted for inflation, a market basket of goods will not tend to increase in price over the long term, absent governmental abuse.

    Green Bear

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    1. I am huge fan of the late Julian Simon. I heard him speak around 1972 or so at UCLA when he addressed the issue of price in determining estimates of remaining resources, and he noted that in all history we have never run out of anything. It was a revelation for me and made me doubt all the environ-limits stuff that was just emerging.

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    2. Paul Ehrlich.

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  14. I hope you showed her the youtube rebuttal:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA93A6FBE9A1E7E3F

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  15. How very wonderful. The old promise of communism and central planning was that it could create material prosperity for all beyond anything Capitalism could ever do. Communism is good because it generates prosperity. Capitalism is bad because it generates poverty.

    But after nearly a century of who knows how many communist regimes have appeared history seems to indicate that communism seems to produce poverty rather than prosperity, at least in contrast to Capitalism. But rather than abandon the ideal of Communism, they'e abandoned the idea of material prosperity as a good thing. Now its poverty (sustainability) that's good, prosperity is bad.

    Poor communism, she's an answer that's been trying to find the right question to hook up with for more than a hundred years, but all those questions have all turned out to be cads. Buts she's a idea, she cannot die, she'll always be looking for her perfect prince charming question to appear.

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  16. I recently underwent some corporate training for a major US company and this video was part of that course. Sadly, far too many of the other participants were nodding along with it and voiced their general agreement at the conclusion. There were only a handful of us who disputed it both in general terms and in the specifics.

    I'm afraid that when it comes to matters regarding economics and markets, the general public just cannot be won over. They've been so conditioned into believing all this nonesense over a generation or more that to suggest any alternative makes you some kind of fringe kook, who they can safely ignore.

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  17. I notice our daughter didn't hear anything about the re-forestation of the northeast. Before the Midwest ate everyone else's lunch in terms of agricultural productivity, the area around Camp David in Frederick County, Maryland was small farms. It's now all secondary growth forest. There are lots of such places in the East.

    Further, don't believe it when they say the teak forest in Thailand is gone. Its problem is that after much exploitation (one of the things that keeps the Chakkri family (the royals) in money, all the trees are too small and young to be cut. But wait another fifty years...

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  18. Conservatives made a tremendous strategic error when they focused on politics and left academia and popular culture for the left to conquer and distort. It is almost impossible to fix the mess now, given the huge numbers of ill-educated, quasi-illiterate citizens we're left with.

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  19. One of the problems I've recently been dealing with is the concept of credentials. My daughter reads nonsense on the internet and makes the assumption that the author is an expert on the subject matter. I've been trying to teach her that this isn't necessarily so and to ask about the education and background of the author.

    The Story of Stuff is a product of Annie Leonard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Leonard). Note that her bio doesn't indicate any science or economics background at all. Like most of the "activists" I've ever known, my guess is that Ms. Leonard is clueless...

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    1. "One of the problems I've recently been dealing with is the concept of credentials."

      Acquaintances of mine have been voicing such sentiments - for long enough I usually have "scheduling conflicts" when soirees are in the works. But I did notice this:

      http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2014/03/leiter-lambasted-a-case-of-the-left-eating-their-own.html

      Ark

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  20. Ayn Rand said that the communists boasted that they'd be so efficient that one factory would produce a whole nation's shoes. When that failed, they'd be spruiking walking barefoot. See that sort of thing everywhere now.

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  21. Does her prof not know that Paul Ehrlich lost his bet with Julian Simon on resource scarcity? Sorry, stupid question.
    The easy oil, vast artesian pools of the stuff, is found and on the way to being used up. That leaves 90% to get to and fracking gets us availability about the total amount of oil used in the last century - leaving a huge amount for the next tech advancement. President Bumbles will probably screw it up, but this is an opportunity to hurt two of our enemies - Russia and the (Wahhabi terrorist funding)Saudis.

    If she doesn't mind is flunking the course, perhaps your daughter could school the sociology prof on reality. You didn't mention why she is taking the course - mandatory distribution?

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    1. "The easy oil, vast artesian pools of the stuff"-essentially that is what the early "tar" sands of Alberta were. Before they were exploited they were leaking into the Saskatchewan River-Oh NO! mother nature was polluting the river.
      By removing the petroleum products from the sand and organic material then replacing the cleaned sand, the site is like a huge remediation project, actually leaving the place "cleaner" than nature provided and reducing river pollution.
      Newer extraction methods do not even require removal of the sands, and still the watermelons whine.

      Delete
  22. "Conservatives made a tremendous strategic error when they focused on politics and left academia and popular culture for the left to conquer and distort."

    The draft and the Vietnam War filled universities with draft dodgers who just stayed on. I have read about lefties who went to work for the VA "counseling " kids returning from Vietnam. Major Hassan was doing the same thing for kids coming back from Afghanistan.

    My daughter, who graduated last May from U of Arizona was taught (I saw the "study guide") that the Silent Majority of the 60s were white people who refused to accept the Civil Rights Act of 1964. No mention of Vietnam and Nixon. She was also taught that western settlers were taught how to farm by "Native Americans." Those were the Plans Indians who were hunter gatherers. One of her textbooks was on "Whiteness Studies."

    It didn't take and she is more conservative than I am (if possible). We had dinner last weekend and decided we are libertarian.

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    1. S.C. Gwynne's Empire of the Summer Moon is a good antidote to the hoohah over the peaceful Native Americans pastoralists.

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    2. T.H. Fehrenbach's "Comanches" is another good antidote; basically, once they got the horse, the Comanche turned into the Native American version of MS-13. They even kicked the snot out of the Apaches - how bad-ass is that?

      Another excellent antidote is Michno's "A Fate Worse Than Death" - an encyclopedia of 19th century captivity narratives, and not for the faint of heart or easily nauseated. So much for those peaceful, nature-loving pastorialists ...

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  23. Australia today has more forest than it did at the comencement of European settlement, Aboriginals nolonger annually set fire to vast areas of forrest in order to generate grassland.

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    1. Actually I have been doing further reading on this and it turns out to be the same in the US. There is now more land under forest than there was in the mid-17th century. The US forestry service apparently does not count private forests.

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    2. SE New England has many woodlots bounded by stone fences - the farmers headed west to regions where you could grow things besides rocks.
      Many years ago, when it was still worth subscribing, The Atlantic had an article on the reforestation of New England.

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    3. Now, the New England animal lovers are over run with deer and other critters. Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

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    4. Further down my valley is an area where the trees were extensively felled for building materials in the later 19th century. Almost every site has now been reforested, not for harvesting but for soil conservation.According to photographic comparison from then to today there is between 20-30% more forest and aside from horse farms native wildlife is booming.

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    5. Anonymous is correct. I was looking at a view of my hometown (Melbourne, Australia), made in 1855. From the same viewpoint today, you can hardly see a thing, because there are so many more trees. Mark Steyn has also written about how many more trees there are in his part of America now, as more efficient farming (i.e. smaller) allows once-cleared land to return to forest.

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