The prospect for liberty in my hometown, Chattanooga, and yours is brighter. This assertion rings true despite almost daily reports about the rising police state. A story Monday indicates the TSA, noted for airport screenings, has expanded its domains to sporting events, rodeos, music festivals, highway weigh stations and train terminals using an authority for “administrative searches” which don’t require probable cause.
The claim of a brighter future rings true in the hinterlands when we consider areas such as education, today compressed in its lungs by the deadweight of the state-run school. The public is losing its appreciation of public schools. It is less forgiving of its hum-drummery, its tedium; Americans have long ago disregarded its continuing failures, its spiritual vacuity and atheism. On Monday, the commission of Bradley County rejected a F$14 million property tax hike that would have imposed only F$20 higher tax per year on a house assessed at F$100,000.
Funding for the schooling cartel will end eventually, with economic crises, market meltdowns and credit seize-ups hastening the process. The turn of the public’s mind against tax-funded school organizations is helped every day by digital media. The world of the website and PDF make the world of classrooms and brick buildings seem out of date, needlessly costly.
Web throws classroom out window
In a column today, David Cook writes about the hoopla surrounding Chattanooga’s gig-speed Internet service. He observes that the Internet is destroying the school concept. Like many in Chattanooga, Mr. Cook views EPB’s federally funded Internet system in glowing terms. “Chattanooga has become the 21st century version of a 15th century explorer; way up from the crow’s nest, stretching, squinting, pushing forward to find this new wired world.” The city would be that even without the Gig platform, which deserves credit in boosting the city’s marketing. Web systems, Mr. Cook says, “take education and put it in a choke-hold. Gig-speed explodes the classroom from four walls into something that’s limitless.
“In the 20th century,” he says, “your classroom experience was bound by geography; want to take classes at, say, Stanford University? You had to be there, physically present. In the coming world, classes will be offered across the world, to anyone, at anytime. ‘The Internet is going to disrupt education in a very positive way,” said [Bob] Metcalfe [inventor of the ethernet] ***. It’s like the Gig Tank is one big leaning forward. And the more we lean forward into this coming world, the more we attract the attention, creativity and investment of the world.”
The World Wide Web is making obsolete the classroom, the school, and the university. School systems are one of three strongholds for the American establishment. The other two are news networks and newspapers.
Marketplace will do away with colleges, universities
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, purchased The Washington Post for a paltry F$250 million. Writing about the decline of the newspaper industry, economist Gary North says the Internet will wipe out universities within 50 years.
Newspapers and TV networks, he says, “are bleeding red ink. The third soon will be, as online education enables students to live at home, take courses online, graduate with accredited degrees, and pay $15,000 in tuition, total. A widely accepted estimate is that half of all American universities will go under over the next five decades. It won’t take anywhere near that long. The no-name private colleges will go under first, Cutbacks in tax funding will complete the procedure. Legislators will figure out that they can fire two-thirds of the faculty and replace them with online lectures and low-paid, untenured professors and graduate students to grade written exams.
“All that liberalism will have left is the public school system, K-12. This dinosaur has been caught trapped in the tar pit ever since 1963, when SAT scores peaked. Online education is invading today. The American Federation of Teachers is on the defensive. In 50 years, the suburban schools will be online. Competition will demonstrate that the public school bureaucracies cannot compete.
“Liberalism made entrepreneurial decisions on where the future was headed. The World Wide Web is taking the world in a different direction. It is leaving liberalism behind.
“Liberals call this process of ideological decentralization ‘Balkanization.’ I call it the break-up of a cartel that can no longer compete on the free market.”
The major story about public school testing in the Chattanooga Times Free Press shows the system, despite its vast computing power, is not yielding to the power of decentralization and independence. It is driving toward a unitary form, a single-mold education system controlled by an elite of think tanks and federal agencies.
Dark clouds over the free movement of people swirl over a single locale: That in which civil government is the chief player, the chief squatter. The idea of a free market in Chattanooga and Hamilton County will grow as disappointment with statism starts hitting people’s purses.
The free market is the world’s most democratic non-system and non-institution. Where left alone by civil authorities, it flourishes to provide the greatest service and product to the greatest number of people at the lowest cost. It envisions a world taken out of the hands of a few and put into the hands of many. From the hands of oligarchs and officials and into the grip of the commoner, the workingman, the middle class resident.
Sources: Gary North, “Bad Day for Liberalism: August 6, 2013,” Teaparteconomist.com
David Cook, “City, meet your future,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, Aug. 7, 2013
Ron Nixson, “T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security,” The New York Times, Aug. 5, 2013