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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Right wing conspiracy theorists: know your meme

Okay, this is starting to get hilarious. Having presented on conspiracy theories via the internet in the 2008 US elections, it now appears we have the same problem in New Zealand. Regardless of your political perspective, the truth is never partisan and people should really do some research before they fling stories around. This right wing myth started the rounds on Whaleoil after coming off conspiracy theories in the US. Anyone who knows the abysmal pass rates in the US or anything about their schooling system would be immediately suspicious, let alone the rather amusing proposition that Obama is a socialist. Well now it has come to New Zealand:

An economics lecturer at a New Zealand University made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Labours socialism worked, and that no-one would be poor and no-one would be rich, a great equalizer. The lecturer then said, "Okay, we will have an experiment in this class on Labours plan... All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade, so no-one will fail and no-one will receive an A ..." (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home, and more readily understood by all). After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too, so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the lecturer told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2011 Election. These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment: 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. Think carefully before you vote on Saturday 26th November 2011

It is really quite a worry that people can't even research enough to see that this is a conservative myth or find the Snopes article which finds that this myth is probably at least 15 years old. What is even funnier is that every person whose Facebook page I have seen this on has an immediate response of "so what"? And we are supposed to trust the economic analogies of these people?

The moral of the story is be very careful who you get information from this election, as you might be voting on rubbish.

11 Comments:

At 24/11/11 2:44 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Yes, there's another Nat one doing the rounds based on the grasshopper and ant fable but substitutes Mana candidates Minto and Bradford and Greens co-leader Metiria Turei. Pathetic and the analogies don't fit, but effective on the non-thinking who will tend to agree without any external criticism.

 
At 24/11/11 3:28 pm, Blogger Rangi said...

"An economics lecturer at a New Zealand University" (citation needed)

 
At 24/11/11 3:33 pm, Blogger mark said...

RWNJs circulating the same old stupid shit.


http://conservapedia.com/Conservative_parables#Socialism_In_The_Classroom

 
At 24/11/11 4:15 pm, Blogger Mike said...

I agree the story sounds made up but pretty hard to argue with the 5 sentences at the end though...

 
At 24/11/11 4:27 pm, Blogger Mike said...

Also you did not mention that you have changed the first sentence from:

"An economics professor at a local college"

to:
"An economics lecturer at a New Zealand University"

 
At 24/11/11 4:58 pm, Blogger dave said...

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

Wrong. If you socialise private property then everyone has to work. From each according to their work, to each according to their need = socialism.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

Correct: Except under capitalism it is the workers who produce without getting full value of their product, and capitalists who do not produce who get that surplus value.


3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

Correct: Taxes originate in the value produced by workers. What the government does with it reflects the interests of those who control government.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

Wrong: this is how capitalism works. You divide the productivity of the workers into necessary and surplus labor. The workers subsist on the wage and the capitalists multiply on the surplus.

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. Think carefully before you vote on Saturday 26th November 2011

Correct: the 1% 'half' is now aware that the 99% 'half' lives off its work and is no longer prepared to be exploited. Vote for the 99% of workers and not the 1% banksters and parasites.

 
At 24/11/11 5:03 pm, Blogger Carol said...

Mke, I disagree. The hypothetical story ignores the collaborative element in humans and society, and assumes the only motivation is individual gain. People can be motivated by strong peer pressure and demotivated by always being in the losing end in a highly competitive society.

I reckon, in the hypothetical scenario, the students would respond differently to the on-course grades. They would start to work together more collaboratively as they would realise that's the only way to lift their grades.

The students who usually get good grades would be motiviated to repeat the grades they usually get. Students who usually are demotivated because they don't get very good grades would welcome the opportunity to get higher grades.

So the most motivated students would put pressure on others, and the students would help each other to raise their game.

 
At 24/11/11 5:23 pm, Blogger Fern said...

I wonder where the Porirua mouldy houses fit into this theory.

 
At 24/11/11 5:44 pm, Blogger Ovicula said...

Going back to satanic mills wasn't far enough, now they want to take us back to Bronze Age Greece.

 
At 24/11/11 7:12 pm, Blogger Ovicula said...

Given the rubbish that's taught in economics classes anyway, the world would probably be a better place if they all failed. They claim it's science, but most of it is worse than intelligent design.

 
At 25/11/11 4:02 pm, Blogger Phoebe Fletcher said...

You know I'm just quoting off Facebook and I have not changed the first sentence Mike? I state that very clearly.

 

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