by John Kozy
February 10, 2015
John Kozy is a
retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on
social, political, and economic issues. After serving in
the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years
as a university professor and another 20 years working
as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic
commercially, in academic journals and a small number of
commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest
editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be
found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed
from that site's homepage.
I often wonder what goes through the minds of Americans when they
hear or see the word ‘science.' American culture is totally
irrational, anti-intellectual, and creedal.
Perhaps other cultures
Americans, even supposedly educated ones, believe the damnedest
things. Many believe that immunization spreads disease, that
mankind's activity has no effect on the climate, that evolution
doesn't take place, and, oddly enough, that science will solve all
our problems. Evidence to the contrary doesn't influence these
They are immune from learning.
This creedalism also afflicts our institutions of learning.
Alternatives to what Americans call democracy, even when it
obviously doesn't work, are absent from political science curricula,
very good professors of mathematics are sometimes believers in
creationism, subjects that are totally unscientific are sometimes
A religion in America exists that is
When the Russians launched Sputnik in 1954, Americans went into
crisis mode and began programs to expand the teaching of science in
schools everywhere. But the results have been meager. For the most
part, Americans are no more scientific today than they were in 1954.
A scientific mindset can be characterized as an insistence that
claims be supported by verifiable evidence. Anyone who accepts or
promotes claims that cannot be so supported lacks a scientific
Few in America, even those who hold the
highest offices, have such mindsets.
Recently I heard President
claim that 99% of the world's Muslims do not support the Islamic
jihad. With more that a billion Muslims in the world located on
different continents in different countries, how could he have
enough evidence to support that claim?
The President lacks a scientific
mindset. His claim is nothing more that wishful thinking expressed
an in an attempt to convince the world that the War on Terrorism is
not a religious war.
But much of this anti-intellectualism stems from the true and most
fundamental religion of America. No, it is not Christianity.
Christ was expelled from Christianity in Christendom a long time
ago. The Christ child was removed from his manger and
replaced by a dwarf dressed in a Santa Claus suit.
The worship of
Mammon became the religion of the West.
Christ's 'birth' is now celebrated in an
orgy of commerce. Scientific knowledge is ignored whenever it
conflicts with this fundamental religion. In America, the market is
the altar on which Americans worship their god, Mannon, and
Americans fight wars and engineer regime changes to proselytize the
world. Convert to a belief in Mammon or die is America's marching
Chile, like the other countries with capitalistic market oriented
economic practices, struggled for generations with economic results
that could never provide its citizens with their most fundamental
In 1970, the Chilean people elected an openly socialist government
hoping to finally bring about change. The conservative reaction was
swift. With a large handful of help
from the CIA, a military coup
d'état overthrew the government in September 1973 and installed a
despotic government headed by General Augusto Pinochet who
was not a nice man.
During his short seventeen year reign,
thousands were killed and many simply disappeared. But he made a
significant contribution to Chile's economy. He began the Chilean
Pinochet asked America economist Milton Friedman for economic
Friedman wrote Pinochet a letter to
comply with the request. He wrote that the key economic problems of
Chile clearly were inflation and the lack of a healthy market
economy - standard free market dogma.
Friedman has not come to be known as an
He stated that
"There is only one way to end
inflation: by drastically reducing the rate of increase of the
quantity of money" and that "cutting government spending is by
far and away the most desirable way to reduce the fiscal
deficit, because it... strengthens the private sector thereby
laying the foundations for healthy economic growth."
As the European Union is learning, this
advice takes an economy down the road to disparity, not prosperity.
And so it has come to pass in Chile.
"For 30 years Chile has been a
laboratory for free market economics, with privatized pensions
and even a school voucher system designed by Milton Friedman,
the godfather of Chicago economics, who once described Chile's
success as a miracle.
Yet now Latin America's most
prosperous country may be reversing the experiment, to the
consternation of free marketeers everywhere."
Although the Chilean Miracle has reduced
Chile's recorded poverty rate from 60 per cent to 9 per cent, it has
done so at the cost of unequal income distribution, among the
So it is again obvious that Capitalism
always enriches the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. It
bifurcates societies into haves and have nots which then are always
in conflict with themselves.
That similar results have come about over and over again in history
should have lead economists with scientific mindsets to reject
Capitalism's free market principles. That they have not rejected
them demonstrates that they all lack a scientific mindset.
How could it ever be otherwise?
The inherent contradictions of
Capitalism necessitate this result. In America, merchants are
legally allowed to lie when attempting to sell products and
services. Puffery is a well-established legal doctrine.
Yet what it does is legalizes theft by
deception. Inducing a person to buy snake oil is just as much
stealing as picking his/her pocket.
The "general welfare" can never be
attained in such a nation. Show me the argument that leads to the
conclusion that a nation can attain a state of prosperity by
allowing its people to steal from one another. Yet that is what
American market Capitalism does.
Friedman's reforms in Chile did the same
Four years ago in the state of Arkansas, a businessman who owns a
large number of fast-food franchises ran for governor. A main plank
in his platform was that Arkansas lacked a sufficient number of high
paying-jobs, a problem which he would address. No one seemed to
notice that he could have addressed that problem without running for
office by simply giving his employees hefty raises.
He lost the election and never raised
the wages of his employees. He did nothing. The much vaunted Private
Sector never does anything to address human issues.
No economist seems to recognize that the most effective way to
stimulate an economy in the doldrums is for businesses to hire the
unemployed or increase wages, something the private sector can
easily do but never does. Jefferson was right when he wrote that
merchants have no country. They also have no humanity.
The myths that culture's build on are also those that destroy them.
The world changes but the myths don't. True believers never change.
They are to stand up for their beliefs and they do. And sometimes
Stand up for your beliefs is the worst piece of advice a person can
receive. Better to question them.
Paul Krugman has called
Milton Friedman a great economist
and a great man. Similar things have been said of
Neither is great in any way. Both are purely
Faith, whether in God, the market, war, a specific form of
government, or anything else, is always a mask worn to disguise