The Independent Institute’s Vicki Alger educates Americans about the fact that the Department of Education burns money without actually educating anyone.
Although the San Francisco Bay Area isn’t know for its conservatives, it’s home to two phenomenal conservative think tanks: The Pacific Research Institute (PRI) in San Francisco and The Independent Institute in Oakland. It’s the latter the concerns me in this post and that really deserves to be celebrated today.
The first reason the Independent Institute concerns me today is because it’s celebrating its 30th Anniversary tomorrow night with a splendid Gala for the Future of Liberty. It’s going to be a fun and intellectually stimulating event. The honorees are Yeonmi Park, who escaped from North Korea; Vernon Smith, an economist and Nobel Prize winner; and Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. P.J. O’Rourke will emcee the event. I’m lucky enough to be attending. Yay! I love a birthday party that’s more about great ideas, which expand my mind, than about cake, which merely expands my waistline.
The second reason to celebrate the Independent Institute is because the thinkers in this think tank have realized that there’s an up-and-coming generation of young people who are ready to break free of the stifling Leftist orthodoxies with which they’ve been raised. While older Millennials may be too deep into Progressivism and the Social Justice Warrior ethos to reach, the younger end of the Millennial generation and the post-Millennial generation are trending conservative. This means that they might be open to new ideas.
With that in mind, the Independent Institute put together a clever, entertaining, and thought-provoking set of videos in which a Big Gov guy cheerfully, and in the name of love, stalks, obsessively controls, and completely stifles a bright young woman. The series is appropriately called “Love Gov.” You can find all the videos here, but this one is my favorite — and it’s especially relevant now that the Democrats are lining up behind fully socialized medicine:
The third reason to celebrate the Independent Institute is that I haven’t forgotten how, three years ago now (or was it four?), Mary Theroux, an Independent Institute Board Member and Senior VP, gave a talk about the fact that the US government was spying on everything we said and storing it away in warehouses for later mining should it decide to focus its gimlet eye on us for some reason. Because I deeply respect Mary’s knowledge and intelligence, I knew she was telling the truth. And yet a small part of my brain kept saying, “That can’t really be happening, can it? That’s just to banana-republic-ish and Orwellian.”
Well, time has shown that this small part of my brain was an idiot. It is really happening — the government is listening and the Obama administration did weaponize the data it collected for political purposes both before and after last year’s election. That’s how it came about that Samantha Powers, a UN Ambassador who would never have any need to unmask the names of American citizens talking with foreigners, was unmasking American names at a rate sometimes exceeding one request per day.
The fourth reason to celebrate the Independent Institute is because it arranged for one of its fellows, Vicki E. Alger, to come talk to a luncheon group with which I’m involved. Vicki’s specialty is education — more specifically, federal involvement in American K-12 education — and that is a very hot topic now. After all, when a fifth grade teacher in Tallahassee sends a note home with students explaining that the teacher is to be addressed as “Mx Bressack [sic]” and that, in an appalling attack on grammar, Bressack further demands that the children call Bressack by the plural pronouns “they, them, and their,” you know American education is veering wildly off course. [Read more…]