The Outstater

September 2, 2021

THE PHRASE “Going to Hell in a hand basket” dates to the Gold Rush. It refers to men being hand-lowered in baskets down mining shafts to set dynamite. That’s what it feels like these days, and some of us have had enough.

We’ve read the analyses of how America is failing. We all see the signs. The question is what we’re going to do about it.

Members of Indiana’s ruling political class have decided what they’re going to do about it is stoke fears. That’s not leadership, that’s a cynical traveling medicine show.

They are big right now on telling us that our children are being lost to Critical Race Theory. True enough, but not even Indiana’s conservative legislators want to discuss the most logical solution, e.g., assigning dollars to students (and by proxy their parents) rather than to educrats.

There are detailed blueprints on how to do this. One is Student Based Budgeting (registration may be required). Individual schools with bizarre curricula and inept teachers are allowed to lose students, to fail. The rest of us could send our children (and the tax money budgeted for their education) to classrooms where the priorities are math, history and English.

Again, though, the pattern is to bemoan the problem, not affect a solution and stir up the woke.

A better example is Estonia. Yes, we’ll wait for you to find it on the map. There have been few more downtrodden places on earth, a nation built on sand, gravel and sea mud occupied in turn by the Roman Legion, the Vikings, the Nazis and the Red Army. 

But when modern Estonia finally elected its own government, it did so wisely. One of its first prime ministers, Mart Laar, read Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” and implemented a courageous free-market reform plan. 

The World Bank now classifies Estonia as a high-income country. It is a full member in the European Union and the Eurozone. Public debt there is only 9.5 percent of GDP and unemployment is 5.3 percent, well below the EU average.

An Estonian’s purchasing power has increased 400 percent over the last two decades, says the Foundation for Economic Education. Life expectancy has moved from 66 years to 77 years. It has a flat tax (undistributed profits aren’t taxed) attracting companies from throughout the world. Crime is negligible.

Let’s get out of the hand basket and elect some Mart Laars. — tcl


Journalism Off the Rails

THERE’S NOT MUCH SENSE in criticizing the narrative-pushers who call themselves journalists these days. What works best is to ignore them; everybody else is. Nonetheless, you might find this comparison of journalistic approaches interesting.

The first is the Indianapolis Star’s guidelines for gathering “news” published last month. The second was written in 1914 by the first dean of my journalism school.

The Indianapolis Star Pledge

The Walter Williams Creed



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