I once attended a chess exhibition where the, at that time, reigning U.S. Champion, Alex Shabalov, played all comers simultaneously. The prize for anyone who could defeat him was $500. Anyone forcing him into a draw gained $300 for their personal use. Since he wanted as much practice playing Black as White, he alternated between the two positions in each of his matches. He played against 40 or so people, and no, the club owner did not pay out a single thin dime. there was something of interest that happened at one of the tables though. One player managed to take him beyond 30 moves, which I am led to understand is in itself impressive. This one player began so strongly that Shabalov actually pulled up a chair and spent the majority of his time at this one table. I looked over at Larry the club owner, and asked him if he was nervous, as it appeared to me that Shabalov might be in trouble. He laughed, and told me the skinny. The fellow playing Shabalov was one of Ohio's top ranked players, but not in the same league. He went on to explain that he simply read a few books on openings, and that Shabalov was merely being careful, so that he wouldn't blunder and lose the game due to some unforced error. He also added that once the game progressed past the point where merely studying from books would help, Shabalov would finish him off quickly. Guess what happened. When the challenger moved past his learned chops, the game was over within about 5 moves.
When ever I get into a debate on the topic of economics with some of the good people I know, I can always tell when their debating chops come entirely from reading and then parroting propaganda they've been fed. One of the most laughable of all of the standard lines is the ubiquitous, "Unions built the middle class," statement. The statement ignores history that a vibrant middle class existed several decades prior to the start of the union movement in our country, the fact that in those nations where the union movement started sooner, their development of a vibrant middle class was delayed by decades when compared to that development taking place here. It also ignores the fact that even at the height of union activity here in America, union participation in the private sector never grew beyond 12%.
Unions very well may do good things for their members, but people who are not members of those unions are all most always damaged by the results.
Rewriting history is nothing new however. We have all been taught in our governmentally run education system several things that are just not true. In this video, John Stossel takes on a few myths. As repeating history is a danger for those who choose not to learn, I find it somewhat disconcerting that we have allowed a false history to be taught with such regularity in our schools.
Franklin Roosevelt's policies did not pull us out of the great depression, they prolonged the agony for a full decade, where if we had just allowed the free market to work, it would have ended much sooner. Unemployment at the time never actually reached double digits until Herbert Hoover instituted the first of his stimulus packages. Unemployment remained at double digits until America entered WWII. Even after the war, our economy did not begin to come out of the malaise until the Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, and his return to free market principles.
Part of the allure of accepting the mythology necessary to buy into the Keynesian school of economics is the belief that you really can be granted goodies from the public largess without consequence. Politicians get elected by making promises to enough small groups of special interests so that they may reach a coalition of at least 50%. Most of us know intellectually that the best answer for our country will be that rare individual who will stand up and campaign on a promise to eliminate all government subsidy, period. Unfortunately, such a person will never get elected. It is just psychologically more comfortable for people to believe that accepting the small economic discomforts which a free market system levies as a signal that change is needed can be permanently postponed.
The lens of history has been crystal clear on this point. The pain of ignoring market signals can never be put off indefinitely, and postponing the discomfort for a later date has always magnified that pain in an exponential fashion. Tweaking our education system to turn it into a Socialist reeducation system will not help either. As a matter of fact, now that we are on the beginning cusp of Ben Bernanke repeating Richard Nixon's practice of monetizing the debt, Barack Obama repeating the worst Keynesian spending binge since Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, Barack Obama repeating the disastrous policy instituted by Jimmy Carter in Iran, with even more egregious forms of dhiminitude in Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Bharain, and God knows where else, I would say that getting the history right for future generations is even more important than ever.
If you have kids in school, I would make it a point to involve yourself at the local school board level to see that the curricula matches reality, lest your children join the long line of people who so confidentially know facts that just are not true.