Every time I look at the Mises institute website I see something more dishonest than the last time. They alone seem to have a monopoly (not real capitalism!) on posts that completely detract from reality and continually attribute human characteristics to the non-living entity that is the state. It boggles the mind that they unceasingly take the actions and prejudices of individuals and place them on the state as if the state was a being that had its own thoughts and consciousness.
This post by fellow Canadian Mike Reid from the Institute takes the unmitigated horrors that were perpetrated against First Nations children, and seeks to blame it all on the state. The state, he contends in the article, is the source of the racism and brutality that was carried out on them. To quote him exactly he says the following:
The great antifascist scholar Ludwig von Mises warned that government schools are an inevitable source of ethnic conflict, because dominant nationalities can use them to indoctrinate children from other cultures, pulling them away from their parents and communities. In Canada, this was explicitly the aim of the Indian residential schools, which sought to “kill the Indian in the child.”
Yes, this is exactly what happened to the First Nations peoples. But according to Reid, this was all done by the the state. The state was responsible for the atrocities carried out against First Nations children. He is literally attributing carrying out acts of racism to the state and not the policies made by people, and the people in the schools who beat children and ridiculed away their culture. He does this by quoting Mises, “…government schools are an inevitable source of ethnic conflict, because dominant nationalities can use them to indoctrinate children from other cultures…” This completely implies that this racism and religious persecution could never happen in a private school. He points directly to Mises’ claims about “government schools”.
This is absolutely incorrect and is outright stupidity. Essentially he is claiming that private schools would never carry out any kind of racist activity. Despite the fact it is well documented that private schools have a history of excluding and (even if enrolled) persecuting Jewish students. This of course was not limited to Jews in any way, many races have been discriminated against by private schools. This is a complete logical fallacy, taking all these aspects of racism and persecution and applying them only to state run/owned schools. This is just outright completely dishonest.
Reid takes a truth and twists it into what he wants it to mean. Here is a prime example:
“The goal was to take kids away from their disobedient, barbarian parents and make them into submissive, civilized British subjects.”
In actuality this was the opinion of the racist Canadian public. The state is only as racist as the people who run it. The policy of “kill the Indian in the child” is a reflection of the social attitude that was held by the people of Canada at the time (in many cases still does). This was not the state’s opinion, the state doesn’t have a consciousness, it was the opinion of the public and the people running the government.
In the next paragraph of the post he admits it was the opinion of the people of the country by saying, “Many Europeans believed it was their own destiny to dominate this wild land, and the natives’ destiny to disappear or assimilate.” (Yea, its called Manifest Destiny.) Yet he continues to assert that it was the state that did it, as if a private school would not have. As if racism in a school could only exist if the school was public.
There are private schools in Canada right now that are Jewish schools that teach that non-Jews are lesser people. There are private Islamic schools in Canada that teach that Jews are sub-human. But this apparently can’t exist according to Reid because racism can only come from the state, when it pertains to education at least. At no point in the article does he show any reason or evidence that this would not have happened in a private school. It relies completely on pointing out how the state carried out racism, without showing how or why a private school would have done differently. This is a complete act of intellectual dishonestly.
This dishonesty is taken to an even more disgusting level when he out right blames the state for the actions of Christian fundamentalists. He says, “The state hired clergymen to run the schools (partly because they were cheap to hire), and as a result many former students identify their awful experiences with missionary Christianity rather than with coercive government”. The claim here is obvious, a priest or reverend didn’t molest or beat children, a state employee did. While these “holy people” were carrying out stripping children of their indigenous religion for the sake a spreading Christianity, it was actually carried out by the state. This is an outright absolute lie. I would be surprised if Reid himself wasn’t a Christian fundamentalist.
In addition, he blames the child molestation and abuse on the state, as if the state molested children and not the “holy people.” Perhaps he could have looked at the rates of regular teachers/administrators with sexual abuse against children as in comparison to religious teachers/administrators. No he doesn’t do that because its obvious it wouldn’t back up his claim it was all the state’s fault.
While we’re on the subject of religion and the state; I’d like to point out how the state doesn’t force people into religion because it has happened in the past. Its commonly claimed by Mises followers like Reid that states always use religion to control people. The Soviet government never used religion at all. In fact they were constantly criticized by the West (and people like Reid) for being repressive towards religion. Criticize a capitalist government for being religious and blame it on the state, then criticize Communist governments for being secular and blame it on the state. Typical Libertarian/Market Fundamentalist garbage, the state is dammed if it does, and damned if it doesn’t. This is an obvious paradox and they can’t see it right in front of their eyes.
Near the end of the post Reid outright contradicts himself. He claims that First Nations societies were “socialistic” collectives, but then turns right around and claims that Native people taught their children to be “radically independent” and had “anarchic, voluntary societies”. He is completely inconsistent with his opinion of what First Nations were and has absolutely no clue as to the material conditions in which the First Nations lived.
When referring to the living standards of the people he says, “In other cases, families were simply starving because of the socialistic control of their lives.” Actually the material conditions of their existence changed. Collectivism was their mode of survival and worked for them for thousands of years. Many of the Nations (or tribes as others call them) were nomadic, the moved around constantly following the movements of particular animals and the growth of certain plants, their food source. This becomes impossible to do when you lock people into a reservation and steal the rest of the land. You can’t be nomadic hunting and gathering when the land you did it on becomes private property. A right according to the likes of Reid. The theft of hunting and gathering ground is what caused it. Not to mention that their trade was cut off because of the reservation system.
As per usual for the Mises Institute, slandering any kind of collectivism is more important than being academically honest. This is nothing new for Mises followers or market fundamentalists. They always ignore the really existing material conditions. They rely on simple statements on a situation without acknowledging the events or conditions that lead up to the situation.
This post by Mike Reid was simply ridiculous. He transplants human will and consciousness onto the state which has none of these things. The state is like a gun. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. States are not racist, people in a state or running a state are racist. This was a completely dishonest attempt to place the crimes of White colonizers, White society and the various Churches involved completely on government. I detect a ton of “White guilt” on Reid. Rather than having to apologize to the First Nations people (which the country did) he dumps all the crimes on the government, that way White people and religion didn’t do it.
The fact that he teaches anthropology at the University of Winnipeg is a disgrace to the school. Manitoba’s second largest public university. Wait, working at a public university? What a hypocrite right? I hope working for a state school doesn’t make him racist and molest children. Because that’s what they do according to him.
Mike Reid Mises.org Article