Sunday, May 21, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #116 “The Hoax Of Government Control”

image           Being dependent upon government is a cruel hoax: good for politicians and bureaucrats, but over the long (and often even short) run, terrible for the recipients.  As a stark example, consider our Native Americans.  We can start with an observation by Henry Ford who, although certainly not my favorite person due to his social views, said something that all people should have emblazoned upon their thought processes: “Anyone who thinks people can prosper by relying on the government should talk to the American Indian.”  Fact: Native Americans have the highest poverty rate of any minority group in our country.  That comes as a result of having been controlled by the federal government since the early 1800s.  Their lands are held in “trust” for them by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA (which most Native Americans refer to as “Bossing Indians Around), which has a budget of $3 billion per year.  The Bureau of Indian Education spends $850 million of that money per year on educating 42,000 students, which comes out to more than $20,000 per student per year – while the national average is about $12,500 per student.  So money is not the problem.  And, by the way, those two government agencies have about 9,000 employees, which pencils out to one bureaucrat for every 111 Native Americans still on a reservation.

           What is the answer?  End the trust system and government supervision, and bring in Liberty!  As everyone knows, trusts are generally only used for children and incompetent adults.  So that represents the low regard our system holds for Native Americans.  Instead, transform the system slowly but steadily to disband these “protective” federal agencies and let the various tribes begin to make their own decisions  (Can you imagine having a Bureau of Irish Descendants’ Affairs?!  What arrogance, and how transparently silly!).  Let Native Americans pursue and enjoy the benefits of the Free Enterprise System.  Institute a system that allows the tribes and/or individuals to own their own land, which they then could improve, sell or use as collateral for loans to underwrite start-up businesses.  Today, even though reservations contain about 50 percent of all of the potential uranium reserves and 20 percent of oil reserves in our country, Native Americans are prohibited from pursuing their development.  And if they try to do things like that with their land, it takes 49 steps among four different federal agencies, thousands of dollars in application fees and about four years to get government approval.  Furthermore, they should be empowered to take over the education of the children still remaining on reservations.  It might in some ways have been justifiable in the early 1800s to give Native Americans “special government care,” but not today!  Not now!  Instead give them Liberty!  What do they have to lose?

* Taken from The New Trail of Tears by Naomi Schaeffer Riley

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration, and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!




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Friday, May 12, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #115 “Liberty Requires Foreseeability”

judge-jim-gray-1024x686        As has been said several times in this series, Liberty does not at all mean that “anything goes.”  Instead, Liberty implies responsibility which, in turn, means that we must have laws which are enforceable and enforced. So what is the purpose of the law?  Of course there are many, but one of the main purposes can be answered with one word: foreseeability.  Obviously every action cannot be litigated, but with foreseeability, we all will generally know that if we act, or don’t act, in a particular fashion what the likely legal result will be.  

            So that is where attorneys come in.  Attorneys study the laws and the past recorded cases that have been adjudicated in the courts which can be used for our guidance.  Then attorneys both give advice about possible future actions, as well as opinions and strategy about how they believe present disputes about past actions would be resolved if they were to be litigated.  So by and large, our Justice System is working.  Yes, it could always be better, faster and less expensive, but in most instances it is providing the necessary foreseeability for us and our system to thrive.   And this, in turn, promotes a society in which Liberty can also thrive and people can prosper.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration, and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Monday, May 8, 2017

Liberty in Action in Nepal

UntitledI simply had to share this with my “2 Paragraphs” recipients, because it demonstrates what Liberty is doing in Nepal.  Please read the enclosed explanation from my friend Ron Kohut, who is instrumental in bringing this clinic into being, and take a look at the YouTube video.  You will once again be impressed and gratified what the private sector can do and is doing!  Big time thanks to each one involved, and if you would like to learn more, feel free to contact Ron.

-Jim Gray

____________________________________________________________________________________

From: Ronald Kohut
Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 3:52 PM
Subject: Nepal

Dear friends,

This video, which is focused on the work of the NRH’s, explains better than I can the work that you are making possible through your generosity. I am amazed that we can together accomplish so much from so far away. Our ability to do so is, in large part, as a result of 26 years of devoted and tireless spade work by Olga, Som, and the rest of the NYF family.
I had dinner last night with Olga and Som at Olga’s home in Sausalito. Olga lives in Sausalito six months a year and in Kathmandu the remaining six month. At 92, Olga is still going strong. You will see Olga and Som in this video. They both have the most unbelievable stories to tell…the rewards of long  lives devoted to the betterment of the lives of others.

During dinner, I learned that the NRH is still on schedule to open on July 15th. We may be traveling to Nepal in November. Anyone interested in going should let me know.

https://youtu.be/84xaK2P5UNE

All my best,

Ron




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Monday, April 24, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #114 “Liberty Is In Our Bones”

James-P.-Gray             According to our Declaration of Independence, Constitution’s Preamble, Statue of Liberty and many other icons of our history, Liberty is in the bones of our great country In fact, as accurately stated by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, our great nation literally was “conceived in Liberty.”  So this is not some marginal or philosophical issue, it is the foundation for our country.  But do we actually care today?  Is it still really important to us?  If so, do we stand up and protect it when we vote, or when in our daily lives we see people with ostensible authority over us or others overstep their bounds?  Or do we meekly surrender our Liberty because of yet another restriction thrust upon us at airports by the TSA, or our rights to Free Speech because it might “hurt the feelings” of the listeners, or in our right often simply to be left alone by government and other people?

Let each one of us resolve right now – today – to make Liberty a big part of who we are and how we act.  As citizens of this great country we certainly have many rights that are deprived to many people of other countries.  But we also have responsibilities.  What are those?  To vote, to serve on juries when called upon and also to pay our taxes.  (Yes, as a Libertarian I believe taxes are much too high, but that is an issue for a different column.)  But we also have a responsibility to “make the system work!”  That means, among other things, we should step up as individuals when we see that government or other entities are depriving Liberty either to us or to others who are not able to stand up for themselves.  Benjamin Franklin famously said that any people who would compromise a little Liberty for a little more security deserve neither.  With today’s threats of terrorism directly resulting in increased government surveillance and intrusion, as well as so-called “Freedom From Speech” zones, these are also the “times that try men’s souls.”  How will historians write about how we stood up for the Liberty that is our heritage?  The Founders of our Great Country, and our descendents, are counting on us!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration, and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Saturday, April 22, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #113 “My Act Back Then Was Not Based On Liberty”

gray       This past April 8, I “celebrated” my 25th anniversary of having publicly spoken out against our nation’s failed and hopeless policy of Drug Prohibition.  But my position at that time was really based only upon pragmatism, not philosophy.  At that time while looking back over my own experience as a criminal defense attorney in the Navy, a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, and a trial court judge for almost nine years, I had concluded that we were simply churning low-level drug offenders through the criminal justice system for no particularly good purpose, but at great expense of time and resources.  Furthermore, even when we occasionally arrested, convicted and incarcerated a big-time drug dealer, the same illicit drugs were still plentifully available on the streets in the same neighborhoods within at least a week.  Why?  Because other dealers simply and rightly saw it as an employment opportunity.  In addition, I also had concluded that all of the violence and corruption – and beheadings – in Mexico, for example, had literally nothing to do with drugs, they were all caused by drug money.

Only later as I started thinking as a Libertarian did I also conclude that this was also a matter of Liberty.  For example, the government should have as much ability to control what I, as an adult, put into my body as it does what I put into my mind!  It’s none of the government’s business!  But if, for example, I drive a motor vehicle under the influence of, you name it, marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine or alcohol, that is – and should be – a crime.  Why?  Because now I am putting your safety at risk.  So the answer is to hold adults accountable for their actions, but not what they put into their bodies.  Accordingly, now I am fully convinced that we simply must repeal Drug Prohibition both for pragmatic as well as philosophical reasons!  Again, why?  Because the criminal justice was designed for – and is quite good at – protecting us from each other, but is not designed for – and is truly not good at – protecting us from ourselves.  Thus, in this important area like in so many others, Liberty brings the best results.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration, and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #112 “Could Greed Be Good?”

Untitled          In his book No They Can’t – Why Government Fails but Individuals Succeed, John Stossel again poses the question “Could greed be good?”  Remember how much criticism Ayn Rand received when she openly wrote and stated that Greed is Good?  Well, they are both right.  The problem really comes from their choice of words, because they have negative connotations.  But both writers are discussing is that when people act (legally) in their own financial self-interest, basically everyone wins.  A great explanation of this reality comes from the definitive essay entitled “I, Pencil,” where author Leonard Read explains how so many different people provide us with pencils by harvesting wood, graphite and clay powders for the pencil’s lead, and rubber and metals for erasers, and then transporters, advertisers and merchants all act in their own economic self-interest (i.e. greed) to provide the finished product, even though they do not really work with or even know each other.  Thus it should be readily apparent that government is not able to do nearly as good and effective job at supplying goods and services as individuals acting in their own economic self-interest.

So why should we expect government to do a better job than private individuals or companies at delivering the mail, building or repairing highways, or providing good schools or quality healthcare for reasonable prices?  The answer is that government should be used in some areas like K through 12 education to set minimum guidelines, and others like building or repairing highways to issuing contracts and then monitoring the operations to ensure that specifications, quality controls and prices are met.  But otherwise government should leave these matters for the Free Enterprise System, where individuals will be free to act in a “greedy” fashion.  In other words, John Stossel and Ayn Rand were right: in this context, Greed Really is Good!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion.   And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Monday, April 10, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #111 “Housing Crisis? Try Liberty!”

images     On page B3 of the Sunday, March 19, 2017 edition of the Los Angeles Times, there were two stories bemoaning the unaffordability of housing in California.  So the lawmakers in Sacramento have been springing into action by proposing more than 130 bills that try to “tackle” the issue.  Included in these is a bill that would provide a fund of $100 million of taxpayer money to help build housing for teachers, who otherwise would not be able to afford to live in their school districts.  But the only law we really need to employ is the law of supply and demand!

Think about it this way.  If you were an investor, why would you invest in building apartment buildings if the rent was being capped by rent-control laws which would keep you from being able to get a maximum return on your investment.  You would put your money elsewhere – which directly results in a scarcity of apartment units which, in turn, drives up the rents.  Even worse, if you were an investor who already owned apartment buildings that were subject to rent control, you would do everything you lawfully could to convert your units into condominiums – or parking lots – so that you could get a stronger return on your investment.  And if that isn’t enough, these serious but foreseeable problems have been compounded by the fact that about 25 percent of the cost of building new homes, apartment buildings or condominiums is spent attempting to comply with basically unnecessary government regulations.  This is what has fueled the unaffordability of housing!  The resolution: Employ Liberty!  Reduce government involvement and allow the market to satisfy the demand, and this government-generated crisis will be a thing of the past.  In other words, get the government out of the affordable housing business, and let Liberty handle it.  That is what works!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #110 “Depriving Liberty Brings Obligations”

rsz_judgegray     Without question, there are times when some people should/must be deprived of their Liberty due to things like criminal convictions or mental health issues.  In what situations and for how long that is to occur are issues for a different day.  But when the State does take people into its custody, it has an absolute obligation to do its best to protect every one of them from harm, and to provide them with competent medical care, treatment and services as needed.  And, yes, sometimes that means they should receive better treatment than they would receive on their own on the outside. Nevertheless, in the last few decades many jurisdictions in our country have failed to live up to these fundamental obligations.

To begin with, the largest “mental health” institutions in most local jurisdictions (including Orange and Los Angeles Counties) are their local jails.  Too many times the mentally ill are routinely shoved into cells and either denied proper care or overmedicated simply to keep them from “causing trouble.”  To my lasting regret, there were some times during the middle 1980s where I could see that this was happening with defendants who were appearing in my own courtroom when I did not intercede.  And suicides from those mentally fragile people are not uncommon.  In fact, it is estimated by the Huffington Post that about one-third of more than 800 jail deaths in our country between July of 2015 and July of 2016 actually were suicides. Whose fault is this? Bluntly, it is our government, and if it is not working, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  So please take these issues into account when you are voting or talking to your local officials.  Some things are too fundamentally important in a civilized society to be ignored or left to others.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at JudgeJimGrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.

 




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Monday, April 3, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #109 “The Liberty To Fall Down”

Untitled           Back when I was growing up, our family rule was for my sister and I to be home in time for dinner.  Otherwise, we were mostly on our own.  So we learned to make forts, climb trees, invent games and wrestle with our friends, all the while learning by our experiences to control and reduce risks in whatever we happened to be doing.  Yes, sometimes we fell down, but we learned from our missteps to be more careful the next time.  In fact, starting with kindergarten, I was walking about a mile to school along a busy street either with others or by myself (I was simply told to be careful and always to cross the busy street with the crossing guard). And through all of these activities, all of us lived to tell about them!

Today in many ways we have gotten away from that approach.  Our children mostly play only in organized sports practices or games, they are “safely” driven everywhere and are only allowed to play on monkey bars if there is foam rubber padding on the ground beneath them.  And it is virtually child abuse to let them walk to school by themselves!  But that is a shame.  Statistics show it is no less safe today for children to walk to school than it was when I was growing up.  Furthermore, losing this Liberty to Fall Down has resulted in fewer young people realistically being able to calculate risks in the business world or elsewhere in their lives.  Unfortunately, this has also been accompanied by a rise in concern that our children could be injured by “micro-aggressions,” so that we must be detect “trigger warnings” so we can protect these “snowflake” children from melting into a puddle if anything goes wrong by creating “safe places” to which they can retreat (from the real world).  All of this is summed up by the quote: “All the worry in the world doesn’t prevent death, it prevents life.”  So let’s ease away from some of the protections, and let our children (gradually) learn to grow up in Liberty.  It’s a better way, more fun and also a better result!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration, and to further the discussion.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at JudgeJimGrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Sunday, March 12, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #108 “The 10th Amendment — For Liberty”

judgejimgray_ocregister            Harsh reality: most politicians (and voters) are outcome oriented, which means that they often first make up their minds about what their goals are and then try thereafter to justify those outcomes with doctrinal support.  Accordingly, when politicians are out of power nationally, they tend to support the 10th Amendment, and when they are in power, they tend to ignore it.  As I hope (probably in vain) that everyone knows, the 10th Amendment expressly provides that all powers not delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are reserved to the States and to the People.  So, for example, conservatives argued during the Clinton Administration that the federal government could not command the states to enforce a federal regulatory gun control program.  The feds could try to enforce it themselves, if they so chose, but the states could not be commanded to cooperate.  (See the 1997 United States Supreme case of Printz v. United States.)  But now that conservatives are in power, liberals are now “seeing the light” and arguing that the 10th Amendment supports their establishment of so-called “sanctuary cities,” where the feds cannot command state and local governments to cooperate with the federal government’s immigration programs.  Liberty is consistent and agrees with both arguments.  In fact, Liberty would expand them to cover the federal government’s inability to command state and local governments to help enforce federal marijuana laws.  (The Supreme Court has made it clear that federal law can prohibit marijuana under the commerce clause [See Angel Raich v. Ashcroft.], but it still cannot command the states to help enforce those federal laws.)

As Justice Scalia said in Printz, the federal commandeering of state governments goes against the text, structure and history of the Constitution.  So if we are to be true to our Constitution – and to our principles – we will enforce the provisions of the 10th Amendment regardless of the outcome.  Without question our Founding Fathers disagreed upon many things, and often were forced to compromise on many of them.  But virtually without exception, each delegate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention agreed that the most important duty of government was to protect individual liberties from their encroachment by government!  (The second-most important was to keep us safe.)  As a result, most of them felt that the Constitution was so clear on this point that the 10th Amendment was unnecessary because it was redundant.  Once again, that doesn’t mean that the federal government cannot attempt to enforce its laws on its own. But it does mean that the states cannot be commanded to enforce laws with which they do not agree.  That is a fundamental freedom set forth in our Constitution, and the Founding Fathers are depending upon us, for our own Liberty, to honor it!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Saturday, March 11, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #107 “Liberty Is A Beautiful Thing”

maxresdefault          Recently my wonderful sister sent me a message entitled “When God Shows Off,” which follows below.  I think you will agree that it contains pictures of some truly beautiful creatures.  But in many ways Liberty is just as beautiful and, as the prior 106 editions of this “2 Paragraphs” have tried to demonstrate, achieves far better results than government can in so many things like education, healthcare and the economy in general.  In that regard, Milton Friedman was right: If you think that government can best raise the standard of people’s lives, where have these so-called “Angels of Government” been so far?  And why do we think they will materialize in the future?  Generally, individuals are much better positioned to promote their own interests and welfare than is the government, which is simply made up of other people with their own biases and political goals.

So all of this reminds me of the story in which a farmer put up a fence in an attempt to keep birds from eating the apricots on his trees.  There was nothing wrong with the fence, it simply was the wrong remedy.  Most often the Conservative remedy in that situation would be to put up a sign saying “No Trespassing, and All Violators will be Punished!”  Liberals would respond instead by saying that birds have to eat too, so let them have their fair share.  But Liberty would encourage the farmer to pick his crop earlier, and then let the apricots ripen on their way to market.  Which remedy do you believe is more effective for society?  I vote for Liberty!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.


Probably the most impressive “Pictorial” I have ever seen and perfectly named Too!

WHEN GOD SHOWS OFF  !!!!!!!!!!! 

I simply cannot pick out a favorite !




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Monday, March 6, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #106 “Liberty In Education”

05.david.judgegray.0141711.av                Two easy questions.  First, who is in a better position best to choose where and how a child should be educated, the child’s parents or the government?  Never have I heard any answer except the parents.  Second question, what is the goal of our educational system, to educate our children (What a concept!), or to protect below-average teachers?  (Guess what we are doing today!)  So how should we go forward?

The answer is to empower parents to choose where the government’s money will be spent for the education of their children.  The answer could be public, private, religious, military, vocational, charter, or online schools, or even homeschooling.  Of course this will require monitoring to ensure that  basic requirements are met, and allowances should be made for special needs.  But implementing this system will bring competition into the educational field.  Competition has brought us such things as quality cell phones, computers and automobiles at lower prices, and it will do the same thing for education!  I am a product of public schools, and do not want at all to undermine them.  But they are positioned to thrive, because they already have their institutions in place.  However, if they do not produce, one of two things will happen: either they will get better – to which I say Great – or they will go out of business, which will allow another institution that will produce to come forward – to which I also say Great!

If parents in lower economic areas were to understand the possibilities, they would demand this change to take place.  People in the higher economic areas have had “school choice” for decades.  How is that?  Either they move to a neighborhood that has good public schools, or they pay their child’s tuition at a private school.  But lower economic areas have been caught.  How is that?  Because if teachers are not producing they are inevitably moved to lower economic areas, where the parents neither have the resources to go elsewhere nor the political power effectively to object.  That is why there are so many schools are failing our children in poorer economic areas – and this is as outrageous as it is unnecessary!  But with school choice, or “backpack funding,” parents in all areas will be empowered to effect positive change.  That is what has happened in Milwaukee and New Orleans, and also many places in Indiana and Florida.

In this system the right things happen.  Parents will demand – and receive – excellence; good teachers will be in demand (so they are paid better); many teachers either who have been handcuffed by all of the bureaucracy or have gotten lazy because they were protected from not having to perform will get better; and schools that were top-heavy in administration will start spending  a larger share of their resources on classroom instruction.  So the only ones who lose out are the below-average teachers who are either unable or unwilling to get better.  Thus children everywhere will have better schools – to which all caring people should say Great!  Yet another example of how Liberty Works!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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