22 Responses to Controversial Truth episode 5

  1. Woodsoul says:

    Hey guys, thanks for another fun show! As usual I agree with about 99% of what you said, but … yes, there’s a but 🙂 …

    You started out saying you’re not anarchists, and you ended the show explaining why a little bit. I, as an anarchist, will have a go at trying to win you over to my side. 😉 When Robb says that government should be “beaten back to small”, I think it represents an unfortunate attitude, where aggression rules the day, and it us versus them, and State is still there as some external entity that fights us, and we need to fight back.

    As an anarchist, I feel we should be able to solve our collective problems (infrastructure, vaccination and disease control, environment and climate control) on a voluntary, cooperative basis. Government for the people, by the people, really! Let’s work together, and stop the aggression. The change in culture that anarchism seeks to promote (increased cooperation, solutions based on voluntary community) seems quite different from what the libertarian minarchists seem to promote (often portrayed as social darwinism with every person for himself, fighting the rest).

    But I think we agree that a change of culture is needed, where individuals take on more responsibility. I’d just like to see that extend to responsibility for the community and the realization that we need to work together to fix our problems, to flourish and to prosper!

    Next thing, you mentioned that schools are drowning in bureaucracy. That’s true, but it’s not the unions’ fault, but the legislature’s: see this TED talk, a href=”http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/philip_howard.html”>Four ways to fix a broken legal system (also deals with health care, and even the loss of jungle gyms you mentioned last week).

    For a school system that works really well, look to Finland. I think there are two reasons it works so well: (1) it’s publicly run by homogenous community that supports it (see below), and (2) it pays teachers really well, honors them, but demands excellence from them in return.

    Now, I hear you object, is the anarchist really saying that a government-run education system is something to emulate?! Hear me out: the Scandinavian countries are of a small enough size, and has quite participatory democracies that they kind of approximate voluntary associations based on consent. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s not too bad either (as a Dane, I should know).

    “Hey, Dane, what are you doing listening to a podcast about America?” I hear you ask. Well, I live here while taking my PhD at one of your top universities. I don’t think what works for the Nordic countries will work at the scale of the USA, but if you built communities voluntarily of the right sizes, you might look to them for ideas of how to foster social cohesion.

    Final point for today: I’ve long been a fan of a guaranteed basic income (within a community of the right size): it provides a safety-net for the disabled and the elderly, etc., and there’s no incentive to cheat (like Dave’s tenant perhaps did), and every incentive to work on top of it (you can only get more income), plus it’s super cheap and easy to administrate.

    • dduley says:

      Thanks Woodsoul…now I am convinced more than ever the FBI will be raiding my house and computer because of this damn podcast…;-) Just kidding! Good info and let us digest this. We will certainly bring it us on a future podcast and than again for sending this info! Keep sending us great stuff…we appreciate it!

  2. Glen Nagy says:

    On previous podcasts you said there was a good chance of hyperinflation in the future. You also said people should pay off their mortgages as soon as possible. This makes no sense to me. If I can lock in a $200 000 loan for 30 years at below 4% interest why would I want to pay that off early? Wouldn’t I be better of buying assets with any extra money that will increase with inflation? My $1000 a month payment won’t seem like such a big deal in a hyperinflationary period when my house is valued at $10 000 000 and it costs $200 for a gallon of gas, which is what would happen with hyperinflation.

    • dduley says:

      Hi Glen…you are 100% correct. From a pure financial management standpoint paying for a “fixed” rate with hyper inflationary dollars is the text book thing to do. HOWEVER, for my paranoia of “the rules changing” during such a crisis I would like for my primary home to be paid for as soon as possible so I am not subject to any of the “shuffling of the deck” that will most likely happen when the sh*t really hits the fan. I am NOT doing this strategy for any of my investment properties and will follow the rules according to your analysis for your exact stated reasons. This is just a peace of mind strategy for me. I want my “basics” paid for ASAP…shelter, transportation, food, etc and out of the debt cycle so I know I at least own some assets free and clear. Since the bailout of banks followed no true, sustainable financial I simply do not want my primary home subject to some weird shift or policy change that adversely affects me….since during a crisis like that contracts will be broken all over the place (just see the bailout of GM)

      • Glen Nagy says:

        I can understand that Dave. I would really like to hear you and Robb talk about the banking system. I have been looking into how money is created in a debt based banking system like we have and the more I look into it the less sense it makes. I would especially like to hear your thoughts on:

        North Dakota is the only state with a surplus and the only state with a state owned bank. That bank was probably the only bank making loans to businesses from 2008-2011. I know there are other factors like natural resources, but other states have oil too and don’t seem to be doing as well.

        your thoughts on “The American System” of Henry Clay and how ironic it is that China is growing their economy by basically using “The American System”

        The Fed and the debt based monetary system currently used. The fact that if the US paid off their debt the money supply would basically disappear and the economy would come to a halt.

    • dduley says:

      WOW…thanks for sharing that recent report.. Maybe the government is “crapping the bed” everywhere….we were just trying to show some glimmers of hope…maybe there are less than we think! Thanks Kalle!

  3. Glen Nagy says:

    I haven’t been able to find any research that shows ingesting fluoride has any benefit for dental caries. I have found some that show topical application has a small benefit. Robb is a better researcher than i am so maybe he can supply a link to fluoride ingestion helping dental health. I think the fluoridation of water was more because of lobbyists from industries that have fluoride as a waste product they would otherwise have to pay to get rid of if they didn’t sell it to the government to put in drinking water.

    If they were really concerned about dental health they would give out a fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend. The work of Weston Price clearly shows that populations that had adequate fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2 had almost no cavities even though they didn’t brush their teeth or go to the dentist. ( and they didn’t put fluoride in their water!!) I know several vegans who live in cities with fluoridated water and brush with fluoride toothpaste who had a mouth full of cavities because their diet was lacking in fat soluble vitamins.

      • Glen Nagy says:

        I haven’t had a chance to look through all the material but I have about as much faith in fluoride info supplied by the dental association as I have for nutrition info supplied by the american diabetes association. I am sure the welfare department could put out a great report and find alot of experts and studies saying how great welfare is.

        Even if there is some benefit I find it hard to believe that you would think this is a good idea. As with any medical treatment there are bound to be side effects for at least some people. Putting fluoride in the water takes away the right of people to choose what medical or dental treatments they want. I am against the government putting any medication in the water supply. Some doctors want to put statins in the water now, which would be even worse.

  4. Shane says:

    Dave, try not to go to the biggest supporter of fluoride for your information. The ADA, really? Otherwise, love the podcast. Don’t stop.

    • Shane-
      I’m a fan of conspiracy theories, and as folks have alluded there are obvious cost/benefit concerns in the flouridation story…but I’ll still side with this (as I do vaccinations) from the public health perspective. If we gut subsidized sugary foods, maybe we can reel this one back?

      • Glen Nagy says:

        Isn’t putting fluoride in the water a type of mandatory, government paid for healthcare that you are opposed to? I just think people should have to choice whether or not they want to drink fluoride, just as I think we should have the choice whether or not we take statins. Some doctors think statins should be put in the water, I don’t agree with that either.

  5. Tim says:

    On the topic of education, you mentioned that by making the classroom a more level playing field nationally, we are creating a situation in which our students are being outpaced by the rest of the world.

    My family lived in England until I was eight years old (military Dad), and I attended a school off-base which was half British, half American. The school was small enough that there was one class per level (grade) and one teacher per class. That teacher was responsible for every subject, including discipline. What that environment did was create intense competition between the students, even at 5-8 years old. What happened at recess and during swimming or soccer was an extension of the competition going on inside the classroom, and everyone benefited.

    When we moved back to the states, I had to be removed from public school after one year (3rd grade) and put into a private school. I had an almost perfect grade average in every class, but I finished my work too quickly and started causing trouble. I’m certainly no dummy, but a large reason for this was the school environment that I had just come from.

    I did better at the private school because of the smaller class sizes and a more challenging curriculum (which I am extremely grateful that my parents were able to do for me), but was still way ahead of most of the other students.

    Have either of you seen any research or any other example of classes built on competition, rather than a number system? It’s the exact opposite of the current “everybody is a snowflake” principle, but could help drive students to success. I believe law schools use that model (didn’t go to law school though, could be wrong).

    I’ve also had conversations with people who were home-schooling their children, but not in the traditional sense. They did very little teaching. This was in an affluent area of town, but within their 15-20 student group of home-schooled children, there was inevitably one parent who was an engineer, one was a doctor, one a lawyer, etc. So, the engineer taught math, the doctor taught science, so on and so forth. This makes SO much sense, but would require much more community involvement than most parents are prepared for.

    What are your thoughts on these education systems and is there any way that they can be implemented through policy?

    I’m going to research this some tonight and will post any links I come up with.

    Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy the podcast, but what you’re saying makes way too much sense. Typical Robb Wolf.

  6. Tim says:

    After reading that post, I think I should probably clarify a little bit. The school in Britain did use a number grading system, but the material and pace was based on each individual student. This is where the competition came in. When I saw other students moving faster than I was, it was motivation to study, work harder, and catch up. Students weren’t given class rank, but everybody knew who was moving the fastest and who the best students were.

    After some reading, this is similar to the way that classes are taught in Finland, where the priority is for every school to offer a good education based on each student’s pace and needs. Better students don’t attend different schools, they just move faster within the same class and may cover more material.

    If I had stayed longer, I would have taken standardized tests to determine if I went to a trade-focused, college-prep, or other high school. If all the tests from a certain school were deficient, that school’s faculty was reviewed.

    That is much different from a competition-based model which grades students entirely by class rank. That may also have its place, but was a very poor example of the school structure that I was using to frame the discussion, and probably gets more into psychology and teaching theory than questions of policy and fixing America.

  7. Norcal_Mike says:

    I somewhat disagree on the vaccine and water fluoridation points, but I would point to building codes as a good public service. They can be inconvenient, but natural disasters are not nearly as catastrophic upon life and property in the US compared to other places that get completely wiped out. Building codes and such may be at a point of over-reach at present, but I contend that the basic premise is a good one that saves many lives.

    Another awesome video about the history of money is called “The Secret of Oz” on Youtube.

    Robb, the “people dying on the streets” meme is a non-starter. EVERYONE in the US has universal access to emergency rooms. The problem is that the ER is the only point of access for folks who don’t have insurance or can’t afford to pay cash. I’m conflicted about universal health care because it would provide preventative care that could reduce the large ER costs that get picked up by taxpayers anyway. I conceded that “better” may still fall short of “smart” in this case.

    As my veteran father-in-law says: “you have to either take care of ’em or kill ’em.”

  8. Rachel says:

    How did they figure that a welfare recipient receives $58,000 a year? I and my family (4) are on welfare and we don’t receive near that much. The system is already designed to keep us uncomfortable. We are not living a life of luxury. It does provide some opportunities to help people better their situation, that is if you take advantage of them. I thought your take on the welfare system was a bit off.

  9. Lynn says:

    I was quite surprised to hear you two discussing community-based water fluoridation (really?) and mandated vaccination programs for communicable diseases as govt. successes. See the book, “The Fluoride Deception.” As for vaccinations, I have seen graphs showing that infectious disease rates were falling before the advent of the vaccines that are given credit for their decline. From a quick google search,
    “On the face of it, we cannot help but assume that vaccines have played a key role in improving all of our lives. But looking carefully at the evidence over a longer period of time reveals a different picture of disease evolution and the role vaccines have played. One Swiss scientist that analyzed data over a longer period of time came to a different conclusion of what occurred in Switzerland:

    ‘An analysis has been made of the evolution in Switzerland of mortality due to the main infectious diseases ever since the causes of death began to be registered. Mortality due to tuberculosis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles, typhoid, puerperal fever and infant gastro-enteritis started to fall long before the introduction of immunization and/or antibiotics. The decline was probably due to a great extent to various factors linked to the steady rise in the standard of living: qualitative and quantitative improvements in nutrition; better public and personal hygiene; better housing and working conditions and improvements in education.'[2]

    In that research paper, several graphs of death rates in Switzerland show massive drops in deaths from disease long before vaccinations are introduced. One graph shows diphtheria death rates for children from 0 to 14 years of age peaking at over 200 deaths per 100,000 in the late 1800s. This is followed by death rates decreasing to less than 10 deaths per 100,000 near the time of the introduction of the vaccine in the mid 1930s. There was an apparent 95 percent decrease in diphtheria death rates before introduction of the vaccine. Another graph within the same study shows scarlet fever decreasing from 200 deaths per 100,000 in the late 1800s to virtually zero by the 1930s before drug treatments were introduced. Yet another graph in the study shows typhoid also decreasing from 50 deaths per 100,000 in 1876 to virtually zero by the 1940s when drug treatments were introduced.”

    Perhaps vaccines weren’t, and still aren’t, the saviors of civilization?

  10. J says:

    I appreciate you guys looking for the positive government programs; while some do exist they are exceptions to the rule; I would say that State Park Services would be one of these exceptions.

    While it’s certainly a controversial point, water fluoridation is a toxic substance which is destroying the health of Americans. This is another area in which countries around the world reject the conclusions we’ve come to; China for instance does not allow water fluoridate because their studies show its toxic; instead, China ships their phosphate fertilizer to the US where we add it to our water supply.

    More info here:

    Thanks for the work you guys are doing with the podcast, I listen every week!

  11. Stephanie says:

    Unless we pay teachers more we can’t exactly expect them to be awesome. I agree, tenure is silly and teachers should be expected to teach well and fired for being incompetent, but you’re not going to attract skilled teachers if you expect that much schooling to become a teacher but then have the crazy low starting salaries. ESPECIALLY for science and math, where people who really understand those subjects can make much higher salaries in industry. Only the really idealistic folks are going to still go into teaching, and many of them will quit in a few years because they realize not only do they get paid much less but they have to work much harder than they would in other jobs.

    I mean, you guys are all into capitalism/incentive/free market stuff, don’t you think teacher pay is a major factor? Many of the countries with better ed. systems pay teachers better and they respect teachers more as a profession and provide more mentoring and support for new teachers to develop their practice. Also, basing what we consider “success” in teaching on bubble tests is stupid. Rote memorization isn’t learning and isn’t even useful in 2012 when we have the internet on our phones.

    You said we are too accepting of mediocrity, or something like that. A synonym for mediocre is average according to the inter webs. In any population, the majority of people will be within a standard deviation of average. By definition. Maybe you meant to use a different word. But I found it funny in any case.