Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Lies of LearnLiberty.org

You may have spotted their videos on YouTube or you may have a particularly stupid friend who posted a link on Facebook. But if you haven't heard, LearnLiberty.org is the latest snowjob from the folks who brought you the Tea Party, the TSA "harassment" meltdown, and all those sales of terminally boring bodice-ripper Atlas Shrugged. It's a collection of brightly designed "information" videos full of earnest pedagogy and total falsehoods. But what makes it stand out from the same you'd get from watching Fox News is the palpable disdain for the viewer.

'Cause these just aren't lies. They're shallow, half-assed lies.  Here, give this a spin and see if you don't feel like Prof. Suckpuppet is pissing in your face and calling it rain -


Aside from being astonishingly out of touch - how much did you make this year? - this is just plain lazy. Watch it again and pay particularly close attention to the numbers displayed. Go on, I'll wait.

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See that? The line of the graph for the "top 20%" shows average incomes raising a mere 4,000 from 48,000 to 52,000 in the arbitrary timespan.

So, leaving aside the fact that this data is twenty years old, I got a question - when the fuck has fifty-two grand ever been considered "wealthy" in America!? I'll grant up to around 1750, that would be a lot of Sterling but today it doesn't even rank up there with the nicer suburbs. LearnLibertardery.org has so little respect for you they can't even make up convincing numbers!

And speaking of unconvincing, here they are blaming corporate malfeasance on regulation.


The best thing I can say about this is they're being a little honest. "Our paymasters are so wedded to the system that any 'change' you vote for will be co-opted! Better not to try at all!" Which they then follow with some forced rationalization about how these same Weyland-Yutanis totally couldn't screw you without support from Big Gub'mint. It's not like they have legions of slick lawyers, market-tested PR campaigns, private security forces...

Jesus, do I really have to say it? I probably do, libertarians being painfully narrow-minded and blind to all subtext - if you are in a society where power and influence are dependent on money, removing the democratically elected filter will not change a fucking thing! You dumbass!


Protip: Only a liar would try to defend a claim by Mitt Romney. Anyone can see the guy is a disingenuous clown with a nervous disorder - unless they believe Obama is an Islam-Commie from Mars in which case they're too stupid to bother with. And again, the argument is as intellectually lazy as you can get. I know, it's for YouTube and all, but that shallow reasoning of, "A corporation has people in it, ipso dildo Corporation = People!" leaves the door open to all sorts of rhetorical hoodoo. There's the obvious - a communist state is made up of people, so it can't be all bad and why don't we give it a shot? - to the ludicrous - al Qaeda was made up of people, therefore terrorists are people too!

Ya heard it here first folks. By their own logic, LearnLiberty.org supports terrorism.


"Peak oil totally isn't happening! Look at some numbers!"

There are all kinds of flaws in this argument but the most glaring is that fossil fuel is by definition a finite resource. Serious debate on the matter isn't if we're running out, but when. And that's not even taking into account all the non-supply factors that affect energy prices - consumption, speculation, and revolution all impact the price of oil on the global market. But some YouTube professor pulling numbers out of his ass to scrub that all away in favor of some Panglossian fantasy is par for the course with LearnLiesBadly.org...


Oh God! It's like Christmas and Santa brought me a strawman! Except the strawman is a real man - I think - and happily recounting the sort of utterly false malarkey that'll get you banned as a misogynist on most internet forums. "Chicks don't make as much 'cause they don't get real jobs! They all wanna be teachers and nurses and shit!"

First of all, if you've worked in engineering or IT, you know that's bullshit. Straight up, without even a nugget of truth. Second, "humanities" don't mean teacher. I have a humanities degree - English and Psychology so by Professor Permavirgin's logic I'm doubly useless - and I write code from 9 to 5. And when you factor in Graduate degrees, which this doesn't, you get an even clearer picture of, "Yeah, women are paid less because of a sexist culture."

But the biggest insult to U the viewer isn't even in the videos but tucked away within LearnLiberty.org's website right here. While the rest of the site has been meticulously scrubbed of their names, there's the Koch named stamped on not one but two separate internships offered by this website that's just so aw shucks concerned about liberty and stuff.

Even my mom knows who the Koch brothers are at this point. Their sleazy history is such public knowledge that anyone who isn't so stupid as to assume guns don't kill people would question anything those two would have their name on, yet there it is in an otherwise meticulously scrubbed site. Have they been squirreled away on their private pederasty boat so long that they're unaware of this? Or do they just not care?

I'm sure they lack awareness - wealthy Americans are uniformally stupid creatures - but this entire project smacks of outright contempt. "Just stick 'Liberty' in the name! Then the suckers will believe it!" And it wouldn't be half as ugly if you morons didn't keep proving them right.

24 comments:

  1. "Only a liar would try to defend a claim by Mitt Romney." That sort of inane logic doesn't really help make your point.

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    1. P.S. Your entire argument basically amounts to "they're wrong because, come on, you know they're wrong." I did a google search and got here specifically looking for a rebuttal, maybe using facts or real logic. Instead I got this crap that uses a lot of words in order to say very little.

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    2. I did exactly the same, no rebuttal to be found here.

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    3. Hey cool me too.
      Whole thing drips with contempt as well.

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    4. wow, same here.

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    5. Count me in!
      If anything, I like Learn Liberty even more after reading this post.
      Maybe it's a conspiracy by them Koch bros?

      An example of the "logic" used:
      I have a degree in humanities and I code from 9 to 5. Therefore women are paid less than men due to a sexist culture!

      Wow! Just wow!

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  2. These guys are real live, legitimate professors at highly respected universities. All the funding does then is simply spread their messages to a broader audience. I guess the Koch's owned the Nobel Prize committee and is the reason why any free-market economists, such as Friedman, Hayek, Smith, etc won prizes. Anyone in favor of more free markets must be ignorant and brainwashed by the Koch's, only liberals are smart and care about people. Give me a break, these guys are intellectually honest, unlike you.

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    1. No, they are at "universities" that due to ever-mounting financial issues have "sold" parts of their curricula to these right-wing groups in return for large donations. The "Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University" is not a place of learning, it is a place of highly-skewed propaganda financed by its highly-partisan chairman Charles Koch. What do you say to the article's point that the video calls $52k "rich"? Doesn't that strike you as rather odd, coming from "a legitimate professor at [a] highly-respected university"? Kind of like calling Sarah Palin a "real live, legitimate politician" to me.

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    2. And more moderate economists than pure free market economists ave won the noble prize. Your point?

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    3. Logical fallacy, appeal to authority. But also fight authority.

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    4. Do we not agree that most universities have a liberal slant?

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  3. I actually thought Learnliberty was a joke. Having no adult education I'm not even considered well educated relatively speaking and it makes me want to vomit with rage. I think the "they're wrong because, come on, you know they're wrong." approach is justified as it puts the onus on the reader unlike Learnliberty.org XD

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    1. What? Sorry buddy, logic doesn't work that way - when you attempt to counter a logical argument, you must counter it with logic, not with "they're wrong cuz they're wrong" which is equivalent to saying that's a guy because that's a guy, the actual argument to which would be "that's a guy because in order to be a guy, you must have a selection of physical characteristics, like a penis, all of which, he has." - that's a logical argument - the term "guy" which refers to a human male has a definition and you can point to a person on the street and say this person fulfills vastly more male requirements than female so in all likelihood, he's a guy. This is not a perfect argument, but it's worlds better than "that's a guy cuz that's a guy".

      LearnLiberty gives these logical arguments which are based on in depth analysis of the data available, so any counter argument must show why their analysis of that data or the data itself is incorrect. Their arguments are sound, but if they weren't then the only way for the author of this article's argument of their wrong cuz you know they're wrong, to be a valid argument, would be if every human that watched any video from LL knew the exact same facts and understood exactly the same logic that disproved LL's points, which isn't the case, since LL at least, human as the people that make up the organization are, must watch their own videos before they post them.

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  4. Why is TSA harassment in quotes? It's not even debatable that there have been dozens of incidents where TSA employees have been sanctioned for grossly inappropriate behavior. Do you like... Not understand that issue or something? Not worth a google search? People who call other people fucking idiots should take care not to wind up coming off as one

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  5. They're wrong about women choosing careers unfocused on lucrative returns, but I won't prove them wrong through refuting their evidence and argument, but by trying to tell you that my personal experience is worth more than all the data in the world.

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    1. Then your argument is invalid - once again, logic doesn't work that way - your personal experience is vastly incomplete when compared to the much more complete look that the data they quote shows.

      This is because your personal experience and their data look at the same thing - where women go in terms of jobs, and they have a much more accurate, disinterested look at the numbers, instead of an emotionally connected look at a relatively minuscule portion of the women population.

      Honestly, I'm not trying to make you people look or feel dumb, I'm trying to reduce world suck, as John and Hank Green would put it. Arguments based on emotion and personal experience do not help when attempting to understand macro (or even micro, in most cases) economic and social trends, and public policy is not likely to turn out well if it's based on these incomplete observations of reality which are based in emotion rather than the broader evidence of data like that presented by LL here.

      Thomas Sowell, among many, has done extensive work in the field of inequality among races, sexes, and other categories, and his books like "The Housing Boom and Bust" and "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" and "The Quest for Cosmic Justice" especially, these are all great titles that go into great detail without being boring as conversations on such topics tend to be to the average person.

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  6. Logic also doesn't have be correct to be legitimate, as one learns in a basic discrete class and as our Libertarian friend here has exemplified. "Much more complete look at the data they quote shows." Really? When even the writer you have dismissed as illogical pointed out that the information given by these LearnLiberty people is outdated? Also, notice that '91 is the cut-off date? Regular people lost a lot during the Reagan years, then it got worse under Bush Sr., and then after Clinton had 2 years in office things got better, as the data shown by these people demonstrates. But somehow this is conveniently despite him, right? His policies, which while not the most liberal were more liberal than those of Bush or Reagan, were incapable of breaking the spirit of independent businesses, yet they failed the regular people of our nation for 12 years straight when they were given a free pass prior to Clinton's administration? Despite their ridiculous beliefs about wealth and how laissez-faire is the way to go, they still realized the need to cite the Clinton years as the best time for regular folk. Learn to think.

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    1. I myself am highly critical of "Reaganomics" but your claim about how regular people lost a lot during the Reagan years is bunk. The poverty rate dropped from 1983 until 1989 by 3 percentage points. And until 1995, during the Bush Sr. and Clinton years it rose again by 3 points. On top of this, the poverty rate dropped 20 percent throughout the 50s, and then the drop stagnated after the War on Poverty began. Plus the Clinton years (especially after 1994-5) were a time of greater economic freedom in America, the only aspect of less economic freedom was in a higher tax rate, which was outweighed by other economic advancements.

      Government aid to the poor is not designed to actually help them. It's meant to trap them, while welfare to the rich (military industrial complex, tax loopholes from an overcomplicated tax code) helps the rich massively. Government is controlled by the rich, no matter what, so if you give government the power to take money and give it to others they're going to use it to the benefit of the rich.

      Plus, it's not like their funding makes the message of these people illegitimate. Many many left wing think tanks are funded by George Soros, who has a bad reputation himself... While the Koch brothers are criticized for funding think tanks (ever thought they may be doing this against their self interest, corporations often love regulation as it kills small competition?) George Soros is the man who "broke the Bank of England". That's huge, Soros with his speculation devalued the British currency and made over a billion.

      I'm critical of libertarians myself, but I'm tired of all this paranoia about some right wing conspiracy. The allegations are often full of double standards (a la Soros) and thinks that two brothers who own corporations supporting libertarianism means that libertarians are controlled is just silly. Meanwhile corporate leaders lobby for regulations because it would have great benefit for them.

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  7. They are wrong because an idiot can look this stuff up and straight up prove them wrong point by point without much real effort. They are right because they paid hansomly for half truths and slanted data , backed by corporations and universities. Look every creationist video i watch has a guy with a phd telling me how stupid evolution is. But a moron can see through it.

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  8. For starters im going to try to compile a list of all their studies, data, institutions and financial backers. Then i bet we will see a trend just like all this crap. Fake schools, shitty professors with fraudulent degrees, and billions in payola. Its always the case with the right wing . Always. I have been following their shit for two decades. Global warming doesnt exist, evolution is communism, all of it.

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  9. For starters learn libery is owned by the institute for humane studies which is who conducted all this supposed research. The institute for humane studies isnt a university, it isnt even a community college. Its a propaganda machine owned by charles koch.

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  10. hi to then author, I have read your peace in the following post have conjured up the very simple explanation for what you are receiving in the back as many people have explained when one has to resort two using High School level insults and poor language to carry your message, I usually am done reading this type of flamer, but in your case, I kept on going. To then pick up that you were not able to construct a valid argument that was based in the facts. My only conclusion is that you are incapable of holding an intelligent conversation on this matter. I am not placing any value judgement on your situation, I am just pointing out an inconvenient truth, for you. Good day.

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  11. Much of the criticism you've recieved is unfounded. While you might not have fully developed a point by point "debunking" of each video it isn't really needed. It is clear that the videos are taking unconventional sideways views of the topics they "disecting'.

    Looking only at the first, for now, it is apparent they are playing fast and loose with reality. Upward mobility exists but nowhere near the the extent they inply. It appears they claimed that 90% of the poor move upward at least one quint. and maybe 50% move from the bottom to the top. That is laughable at best.

    Further, they attempt to do a "case study" approach to being a member of the poor to "explainz how the poor do better over time. This obclures the fact that downward mobility exists and for every person that moves out of the bottom they are replaced by someone else falling into thatgroup. It is the overall financial wellbeing of the bottom 20% that is the issue. The composition of that 20% mught change but it will always be the bottom 20%. Nobody can dispute that the financial wellbeing, the negative net worth, of the bottom 20% has not kept pace with the rest of the quints.

    The size of the pie nonsense is also an attempt to distract from the reality that the pie gets bigger becuz of growth, economy, inflation AND population size. The pie might be a little bigger but so did the number of ppl sharing the pie. The population of that bottom 20% grew while their share of the pie shrank. While the incone pie grows the increased cost of living more than makes makes up for any net gain.

    In summary, these videos ask you to suspend belief in the real world. This blogger could spend weeks disecting each video, but what's the point? The videos are rubbish.

    "Our democratically elected constitutional Republic is presently having some tangible problems that are directly traceable to corporations having too much influence. We better replace it with corporate feudalism."

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  12. Why are all these commenets negative median household income has gone down facts are facts lets compare notes tyt.com vs learnliberty ready set go

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