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Big Government Is Still Young by Alberto Mingardi

I am reading Charles Murray’s By the People. Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission. By the way, it is quite an engaging read.

Right at the beginning of the book, Murray struggles to give some measure of the extent of increase in government involvement with everyone’s life.

Here’s a passage:

Until the 1930s, the federal government remained tiny. The federal budget of 1928 totalled $38.0 billion, expressed in 2010 dollars. …

Of that total budget in 1928, $9.4 billion went to defense. Of non-defense spending, another $9.4 billion went to repayment of the national debt and $9.0 billion went to pensions and the Veteran Bureau. That left $10.2 billion for everything else — all the expenses associated with the White House, the federal judiciary, and the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Labour, Interior, the Post Office, and all the independent agencies of the federal government.

Expressed as per capita spending in constant dollars, that $10.2 billion amounted to 1.0 percent of comparable federal spending in 2013. Think about it: one one-hundredth.

Murray has quite a few similar “facts from the past” that turn out to be rather surprising for the contemporary reader. To me, the most striking thing is how fast government expansion was accomplished. I fear we very often forget that.

In Western countries, most people today think pensions are a most common feature of human life — and yet human beings had compulsory savings and pension systems for a minuscule fraction of their history.

If government grows fast, however, culture changes fast too. The sense of entitlement takes root easily in society.

For one thing, looking back makes us think that big government is not inevitable: after all, government was capricious, tyrannical, arbitrary during most of human history, but it never was this intrusive and expensive.

For the other, it is remarkable how easy we get used — perhaps, we become addicted? — to new government programs, and how strongly they can permeate society and change culture.

First published at © Econlog. Reprinted with permission.

Alberto Mingardi

Alberto Mingardi

Alberto Mingardi is Director General of Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy’s free-market think tank.

Women and Pornography – update from Whole Women Weekend

I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s weekend retreat yesterday, Whole Women Weekend, and had some eye opening experiences that I wanted to share. Yesterday, I connected deeply with many women. My second workshop had only eight women, but they opened up and shared their raw, unfiltered experiences with pornography.

Lately, I have been so focused on the research. In the many news interviews I’m doing, they want to know the research. In the dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill, they want to know the research. In preparation for the major Summit we are planning for leaders next month in Orlando, I am trying to present the research to equip leaders with the “strongest” messaging arguments.

Gratefully, there is a lot of research today backing up our claims that there is a public health crisis from pornography.

We have incredible tools at our side. But, as I started my usual presentation spouting off these statistics — I saw deep pain in these women’s eyes. They knew what I was talking about because they have lived just what the research proves. I stopped my presentation and the eight of us were able to talk for the two-hour block. The experiences of all of them proved everything we argue.

Quick video sharing my thoughts after the event last night.

Women also struggle with addiction.

The reality of betrayal trauma is real.

Pornography destroys real intimacy in relationships and drives a wedge between husband and wife. It may seem to “spice” things up at first, but it is certain to lead to emptiness and disconnect.

It often leads to the user acting out – either with other women or by force and agression.

It is so closely a part of the story of those who are prostituted/trafficked.

It perpetuates feelings of shame, disappointment, depression, low self-esteem.

It leaves a huge open void in your spiritual life.

Each of these women pleaded for help, healing and understanding. My heart is full of both sorrow that we couldn’t just take it away, but also with gratitude that there is a movement swelling and saying NO MORE.

Thank you for being a part of these efforts. Thank you for not ignoring this public health crisis. Thank you for helping us oppose policies that facilitate exploitation. Thank you for supporting our efforts to bring the leaders together. Thank you for educating others around you.

I saw so much pain yesterday, but also witnessed powerful hope.

Sincerely,

Dawn Hawkins
Vice President & Executive Director | National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Places with More Marijuana Dispensaries Have More Marijuana-Related Hospitalizations

In a first analysis of the impact of marijuana dispensary locations on health, researchers mapped California hospital discharge data that had a primary or secondary code for marijuana dependence or abuse to patients’ zip codes. Then they cross-referenced the data to the number of dispensaries in those zip codes.

Hospital marijuana codes increased from 17,469 in 2001 to 68,408 in 2012 in the state. More than 85 percent were coded as abuse rather than dependence. Nearly all (99.2 percent) were secondary codes, meaning patients were hospitalized for something other than marijuana (like someone hospitalized with internal injuries after crashing while driving under the influence of alcohol.)

“Each additional dispensary per square mile in a zip code was associated with a 6.8 percent increase in hospitalizations linked to marijuana abuse and dependence.” The density and location of dispensaries paralleled the density and location of liquor stores, which tend to be located in areas with lower household income and lower educational attainment.

Read Science Daily summary of the study here.

Peer-Reviewed Study Affirms the Reality of Porn Addiction

Contrary to recent claims, pornography addiction is no illusion. A recent peer-reviewed study that appeared in the journal “Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity” affirms the reality of porn addiction, and supports the addiction model. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation contends that this information is of vital importance for both medical professionals and those affected by porn addiction in order to facilitate accurate treatment and healing.

Years ago, those who struggled with alcohol and drug addictions were belittled as having a weak character instead of a disease that necessitated treatment and rehabilitation. Now those who face addictions to sex and pornography are being similarly maligned by recent studies that allege that their enslavement to sexual stimuli is not true addiction. The study “Sex Addiction as a Disease: Evidence for Assessment, Diagnosis, and Response to Critics” exposes the truth that sex addiction follows the same patterns as drug and alcohol addiction.

This study states that, “the realities of addiction in our country and in the world must be faced. One of these realities includes accepting natural or process aspects of addiction, such as sex, food, and gambling as integral to the disease processes just as chemicals, such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”

Instead of isolating those who struggle with porn or sex addiction, it is time to begin focusing on offering them the resources they need. To learn more about the research related to the harms of pornography, visit PornHarmsResearch.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: Names of Men who ‘Covered Up’ UK Pedophile Ring Released

PARENTAL WARNING: Gaming is Coming to America’s Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Education is partnering with the gaming industry to bring their products to the classroom. This effort, like textbooks, can become a billion dollar industry.

If every public school in America integrates gaming into the public school curriculum what will be the positives and negatives?

In her column “Transforming Education Beyond Common Core: Crony Capitalists Promote Gaming in the Classroom“, Dr. Mary Grabar writes:

It is true: the technology can offer promising results in many applications, for example in medicine or flight simulation. But the overall thrust [of the U.S. DOE Games for Learning Summit] was that games provide advantages in “cultivating dispositions” – games for “social change,” as the name of the group and festival indicates. As for such subjects as history, one wonders: can we really go back in history, or just the history that the game designer decides to create for us?

[ … ]

One of the reasons for the widespread opposition to Common Core has been the cost of buying new Common Core-aligned textbooks.  But the speakers enthused about replacing textbooks with games, and not only to teach such subjects as science, but also history and civics.  Games would “transform” education, taking the idea of “flipped classrooms,” where students watch videos at home and do homework in class, to a whole new level.  Virtual reality and augmented reality would produce amazing results.

The U.S. DOE Office of Educational Technology website states:

Video games are important learning tools that provide immersive, interactive, and creative spaces for students to learn and explore in the 21st century classroom. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the proven power of digital games for learning and is committed to fostering the broader adoption of high quality games in schools and informal learning settings.

What are the pros and cons of this growing edu-entertainment complex?

Perhaps it is important to note the Department of Defense experiences since introducing gaming in 2002. In the column “Playing War: How the Military Uses Video Games: A new book unfolds how the “military-entertainment complex” entices soldiers to war and treats them when they return” Hamza Shaban writes:

According to popular discourse, video games are either the divine instrument of education’s future or the software of Satan himself, provoking young men to carry out all-too-real rampages. Much like discussions surrounding the Internet, debates on video games carry the vague, scattershot chatter that says too much about the medium (e.g. do video games cause violence?) without saying much at all about the particulars of games or gaming conventions (e.g. how can death be given more weight in first person shooters?).

I recently had an extended conversation with John Jorgensen, founder and CEO of the Sylint Group, and USAF Brigadier General (Ret.) Charly Shugg, Sylint’s Chief Operations Officer, on where we are on cyber security and where we are headed. Both John and Charly understand that technology is ubiquitous. It is present, appearing and found everywhere. As technology expands so does the possibility of those with the necessary skills to use it for both good and evil.

The more we tune in, turn on and hook in to technology the greater the threat to individual privacy and freedom.

Gaming is becoming mainstream in education. But are we creating an environment where public school children will become addicted to gaming, if they aren’t already? One example of game-addiction is that of Clifford Davis. Davis, who lived with his mother,  in 2005 killed her, had sex with her dead body, then lured his grandfather to his mother’s home and killed him. John Jorgensen was called into the case to determine the sanity of Davis. He did a forensic study of Davis’s computer and found that Davis gamed 16+ hours a day. Jorgensen said that Davis became one of the characters in one a the games, a woman. Davis took on this female character’s personality. Gaming may have played a role is Davis’s bizarre and deadly actions in 2005.

The greatest threat is when a gamer takes on the values of the game, which are not necessarily societies values. What happens if your child or grandchild is required to become part of the edu-entertainment complex? Will your child become a character in the game or not?

That is the question. Time will tell.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

White House OSTP: The White House Education Game Jam

USA Today: White House “game jam” lures top video game developers

Wolf Sharks, energy drinks and learning standards: Reflections from White House Education Game Jam

Toward a better culture of games