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TAKE THE OFFENSIVE, Part X

How to weaken & destroy the main source of anti- freedom & anti-self-defense funding, improve public education, and stop government indoctrination centers.

By Russ Howard

 

The following is a paraphrased NRA Alert: "The National Education Association, America's largest teachers' union, has long been a shrill proponent of restrictions on our right to keep & bear arms. On July 3rd 2000, NEA launched a petition drive for gun owner licensing, registration, waiting periods, 'ballistic fingerprinting', & mandatory storage. No mention of targeting violent criminals or enforcing existing gun controls. The attack on law-abiding gun owners, mirroring Gore's platform, was not met with complete approval at NEA's convention. One teacher said, 'Rather than gun control, we need parental control & responsibility.' Another said, 'metal detectors are more useful than gun control to protect schools...[Let's] control TV shows, video games & movies that promote violence.' NRA will watch any attempts to use public schools for a political agenda. To oppose NEA's petition, call 202…, write to…, or email NEA's President at..."

No wonder we're losing.

Would President Reagan have insulted your intelligence by asking you to get on your knees, write Comrade Breshnev a letter, and whine about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?

Might as well light candles, hold hands, and sing Kumbayah. Pleading with sworn enemies of freedom and decency does nothing but squander our time, energy & money, and it demoralizes us on top of it all.

There are countless things we can do that are far more effective and satisfying. Teach someone how to shoot, for example, or write a letter to a newspaper. But much of what we do is intrinsically defensive. Defense is essential, but the problem with always being on the defensive is that by & large the best we can do is not lose more than we already have. Taking turf, new or old, is out of the question. Unless you're on the offensive as well, sooner or later you'll lose more turf and never get it back.

To utilize our true potential as a movement, we must be flexible. Question the "rules" of the game. Engage in unconventional political warfare, step outside the paradigm of our struggle and redesign it to our advantage, search for weak points, for opportunities to make the enemies of freedom pay for attacking our rights. Teach them, through pain, that it's not worth it. Often most effective, while not neglecting the defense of your own primary issue, is to find & exploit other issues that serve as the enemy's Achilles' Heel, to weaken him financially and destroy him politically, at the very least keep him so busy defending himself that he can no longer attack your rights.

There are struggles we should be part of that will have profound, long-lasting benefits for the cause of liberty, that are not directly gun rights issues. Educational choice is one.

FIRST: IDENTIFY & FACE THE PROBLEM

Government school unions have long been one of America's foremost enemies not only of constitutional liberty and decent values; but of decent-quality public education itself.

  • Government school unions spend vast sums of money to protect their monopoly; and to protect incompetent teachers from being fired, from having to compete, and from facing performance-based pay. In the mammoth L.A. school district, something like 100 teachers were fired over a 10- year period for such behavior as rape, indecent exposure, etc., while not a single teacher was fired for incompetence.

  • Much of the union money goes, directly and indirectly, to elect anti-self-defense politicians and to promote gun control. · The government school unions are the lifeblood of the Democratic Party, which is completely in their pocket. Few Republicans are willing to cross them either. The L.A. Daily News recently referred to their influence as a "reign of terror". Destroy the G-school unions and the cause of freedom advances by light years.

  • Because government unions are run by leftist ideologues, because parents have little effective influence on G-schools, and because of the nature of government institutions and the type of personnel they attract, many G-schools increasingly serve as ideological, spiritual, and even sexual indoctrination centers, whose daily mission is to brainwash kids with anti- American, collectivist, socialist, and even racist propaganda, give condoms to kids as young as 11, urge kids to be "open minded" and explore sexuality, get kids to snitch on parents who own guns and on "abusive" parents who dare spank as a form of discipline, force parents to put "hyperactive" kids on dangerous mind-altering drugs, punish kids who support the 2nd Amendment, protect violent bullies from expulsion, and generally undo the influence of such subversive institutions as families, churches, synagogues, & Scout Troops.

  • Money is not the problem. Even ten years ago, per-student spending was three times what it was in 1960, pupil-staff ratios had dropped in half, and government school teachers made 50% more than the average worker, yet performance steadily worsened.

  • Since then even more money has been thrown at the problem. Next year California will spend well over $8,000 per student, more than most private schools. The more money we throw at government schools, the worse they get.

  • There are many fine teachers who support constitutional liberty, but they don't control the G-school unions, and they never will.

SCHOOL CHOICE & VOUCHERS

Various educational choice plans have been proposed in the past 40 years to improve public education. The debate has primarily centered on vouchers, which would take some of the per-student money now spent at government schools and let parents spend it at the school of their choice. Private & home schooling would expand, kids would get better educations, and the worst G- schools would have to compete, shrink, or disappear. The better G-schools need not fret. Parents happy with their schools can leave their kids where they are.

Other educational plans have been proposed, including innovative concepts where parents would actually be paid bonuses based on standardized tests of their kids' performance. From here on I use the terms "school choice" and "vouchers" loosely to describe any plan that lets parents direct public education dollars to the school of their choice government, private, or religious or that rewards parents based on the educational progress of their children.

To see how school choice harnesses the power of competition and free enterprise to improve education, consider this analogy to the current government system:

Suppose the government taxed everyone heavily to support a government-owned car manufacturer, and gave everyone a new car every so often. None of the workers could be fired, their pay depended solely on seniority, and so performance-based pay was strictly forbidden. If you didn't like the quality or style of your "free", one-size-fits-all G-car, you couldn't just take your money to another car company like you can now, because they'd already have your money. Few but the wealthy would cough up another $20,000-$50,000 for a "private car". So you lobby the government to improve quality and offer the style you like (good luck!). The answer would always be some version of "we need more money" (fewer cars built per autoworker, higher pay, nicer factories & buildings, etc.). Every decrease in quality would be hailed as evidence that we need to put more money into the government's car manufacturing monopoly. Imagine what cars would be like.

Naturally, the G-school unions adamantly oppose vouchers, accurately perceiving them as a threat to their reign of terror. The teachers unions prevent you from spending your kid's share of public education money at the school of your choice. They're your employees, but they say you can't be trusted to choose a good school. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, 4 out of 10 G-school teachers send their kids to private schools. The unions spent 16+ million dollars against California's 1993 school choice initiative, outspending proponents by an order of magnitude. They killed it with ease at a time when few citizens understood the concept. But times have changed. Polls show increased support, and new initiatives will cost far more to kill.

THE OFFENSIVE

It's time for the self-defense civil rights movement to support school choice and tuition vouchers:

  • School choice will improve public education by enabling parents to send their kids to better schools, by forcing government schools to compete, and by giving parents an alternative to government indoctrination centers.

  • Even if voucher initiatives lose, G-school unions will have to spend hundreds of millions fighting them, money that would otherwise be spent directly or indirectly to destroy our freedoms. Ideally, voucher initiatives should be run in EVERY primary, soaking up teachers' union money that would otherwise be spent in general elections.

  • Once vouchers are winning, the G-school unions will be irrevocably weakened if not largely destroyed, taking with them the anti-freedom groups' biggest financial base and the largest built-in source of institutional demand for government meddling in schools.

  • School choice will not hurt good teachers. The current system demoralizes teachers by not rewarding excellence. Educational Choice helps good teachers by restoring safety (violent students can be expelled), cutting red tape, encouraging innovation, shifting money from bureaucracy to teaching, creating jobs, and promoting systems that reward excellence. On the other hand, bad teachers will have to improve or get other jobs.

  • Do yourself, the children of America, and your rights a favor: Support educational choice. Get informed, write letters to the editor, volunteer & donate to campaigns. For more info, go to http://www.schoolchoice2000.net or http://www.38yes.com.

ANOTHER ACHILLES' HEEL: MISUSE OF UNION DUES

Employees have options to prevent all or part of mandatory union dues from being used to destroy constitutional liberty:

  •  Don't join. Employees who refuse to belong to the union can get as much as 30% of their dues refunded (the openly political portion).

  • Object on religious grounds. If you have religious objections to paying union dues, you have the right to redirect 100% of your dues to a charity. Often this can be the charity of your choice. For example, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Gun Owners of America Foundation, Pacific Justice Institute, or a church or religious charity. Or donations can be directed to United Way and sub-directed from there to the preferred charity.

Thus, you not only keep up to nearly $1000 a year from being used to destroy America, you can redirect it to help save America, at no cost to you.

Consult an attorney first. http://www.pacificjustice.org/union.html has information on these options. Neither the union nor the employer should grill you about the nature of your religious objection, or give one religion preference over another, but they might, so unless you belong to a church with a "recognized" exception to dues (e.g., 7th Day Adventist), it may be better to refuse to get specific about the nature of your personal spiritual objection. The Pacific Justice Institute will represent employees without charge in matters regarding religious and academic freedom, and freedom of association.

Years ago, a proposal by Arnold Gaunt and myself to bleed anti- freedom warchests by educating NRA members on such issues was rejected as "not a gun issue".

But school choice is a gun rights issue. The enemies of freedom and gun rights get hundreds of millions in support from g-school unions & employees, whose 2nd-rate government reeducation monopoly turns millions of kids a year against their own heritage of liberty, destroys civilized values, and perpetuates poverty, crime, and violence. Vouchers will end that system.

Some will refuse to forward an alert like this because it's not directly a gun issue, or they prefer tax credits to vouchers, or they want to totally end taxpayer support of education, or some other reason that boils down to "I oppose any program that doesn't achieve my perfect solution in one fell swoop", even though their plan has zero chance of significant voter acceptance in our grandchildren's lifetimes. In 10 years, when the NEA/Dems/HCI/etc. are stronger than ever and we're going British by the day, do you want to look back and wish you'd spread the word? The teachers unions won't have any such regrets: National anti-gun petitions are hardly an education issue, yet the NEA is doing one, and all kinds of other anti-gun stuff. Why? Because they know that's their enemy's Achilles' heel, and they understand political warfare.

Unfortunately, the enemies of freedom don't tie their hands behind their backs and play by witless rules. Otherwise, the G- school unions wouldn't be pushing gun control, would they?

Be forewarned: G-school unions may be on an ingenious offensive of their own: Using infiltrators to promote the notion that vouchers will do great harm by unavoidably bringing regulation to private schools. Sound paranoid? Maybe. But G- school unions spend hundreds of millions a year promoting statism, fighting vouchers, etc. It shouldn't surprise us to find out NEA spends a million or so a year hiring folks to peddle that line, or that some G-school types figure it out and do it on their own. Since this article was first published some months ago, I've heard from G-school teachers and the spouse of a G-school administrator, who were spreading such notions. I hardly think everyone who echoes that line is an infiltrator, but I suspect that many have been duped by them.

The notion lacks perspective. A primary goal of school choice is to reduce or eliminate government control. That's why California's current initiative gives private schools strong new constitutional protections against government meddling, and, of course, no private school is required to accept vouchers. Moreover, the more parents with kids in private school, the more voters with a direct interest in protecting private schools from government meddling. To the minimal extent such meddling occurs, parents will tend to patronize the schools that tolerate it least, as those will be the better schools.

Currently, perhaps 95% of students attend G-schools, while vouchers would result in a large number of new private schools. So even if some regulation were to slip through, the argument against vouchers boils down to this: Some government regulation of new private schools is worse than government ownership of nearly all schools.

For boning up on educational choice, KABA has a short Q&A/FAQ I prepared for California's 1993 school choice initiative. The figures are dated, but the concepts are valid. Go to: http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com/Howard and look for the Voucher FAQ.

© 2000 Russ Howard. Republish for non-commercial use only.

 

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