We are lectured ad nauseum about how conservatives are anti-science, moralizing crusaders who are unable to use pragmatism to solve social problems. Then, when a socio-economic problem is addressed applying solid, accepted scientific principles, progressives lose their heads. Jon Tevlin, an accomplice of the progressive/socialist wing of the Minnesota Democratic Party, is a shining example of this soft-headed, anti-scientific approach. He posits human beings are not animals. He completely rejects sound, scientific principles that when applied argue the dangers of government intrusion in socio-economic affairs. Then, he transfers his prejudices about people into the motives and intentions of another person. It is astounding to watch his backward attempt to smear yet another woman who has conservative ideas.
In March 10, 2012 Star Tribune, Jon Tevlin’s article, ‘Tevlin: In Rep. Franson's district, 'animals' are also known as constituents,’ the writer opens with this, “When Rep. Mary Franson compared people who get food stamps to animals in the wild, beholden to humans who feed them, she was being blissfully ignorant of a growing number of people who live in a certain region in Minnesota. Namely, her neighbors.” The last time I checked, our biological scientific community accepted the premise that humans are in fact animals. That is why they use mice, rats, and monkeys for clinical trials of drugs. If humans were actually vegetable or mineral beings, this would be of no use. We’d be testing drugs on begonias or slabs of granite. So, Tevlin’s first premise that human beings are not animals, but something else entirely, is just plain anti-science.
Let’s pretend he distinguishes ‘wild’ from ‘domesticated’ animals. Human beings are born without knowing the social constructs around them. We use scientific principles espoused by such luminaries as B.F. Skinner and Ted Thorndike to in effect ‘train’ children in language, behavior, and social interaction. They used animal models to experiment and explain their ideas. However, it was the things people did with children and other human beings that first informed their efforts.
When we promise a child a treat to get through the grocery store without throwing a tantrum, we are using a ‘taming’ principle to teach children to delay gratification and behave in public. Our very use of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are little treats that cause the brain to stimulate neurotransmitters of satisfaction during our social interactions. People in relationships gratify one another to bond using positive and sometimes negative reinforcement on one another. These are simple, widely accepted and universally applied conventions that humans use to ‘tame’ each other. So when Franson compares human to animal behavior, wild or otherwise, it wasn’t quite the stretch Tevlin suggests.
So, Tevlin’s little rant about Franson’s comparison is absurd, unless Theologian or Shaman Tevlin has another theory about human existence and behavior. That wouldn’t be helpful anyway.
Instead, let’s look at the comparison Franson used that has progressive/socialists so up in arms.
“I'll read you this little funny clip that we got from a friend. It says, 'Isn't it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps, ever.
Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.”
Given our little exercise in scientific inquiry into the origins and behaviorism of human beings, the quote isn’t as stinging as Tevlin would have you believe. However, Tevlin and his ilk aren’t done with their anti-scientific smearing of a woman who happens to be conservative. No. Not by a long shot.
Tevlin continues, “The assumption behind Franson's logic is that people who get assistance do so because, like animals used to being fed, they get lazy.” Lazy? Really? Perhaps Tevlin is new to the American English language but using a thesaurus I had to go through quite a few words to get from ‘dependence’ to ‘lazy.’ ‘Lazy’ is sloth, goldbricking, or lack of initiative to do work. ‘Dependence’ is the reliance on other people or things. They aren’t synonyms. So how did Tevlin manage to equate ‘dependence’ with ‘lazy?’
Well, we can assume that he relies on his own world view of human beings. As a collectivist, he presumes there are herds of people who are simply incapable of taking care of themselves and so government must warehouse them. These people are too stupid and, his word, ‘lazy,’ to better their own lives and the society around them. Therefore, since he has such sad, warped view of humanity, so must Franson.
Franson’s illustration via that little comparison is quite different. Animals, including humans, shouldn’t be warehoused and caged using behavioral principles. Human beings shouldn’t be dependent on government programs because it causes them to change their behaviors in ways detrimental to themselves and society. She was profoundly correct by pointing out the absurdity of the Department of Agriculture’s policies that fail to apply sound scientific principles to different programs.
I’ll use an example that can be found in the real world of cages that progressive/socialist experiments have created.
Let’s take a single woman with three children. She is a nurse who works in a doctor’s office. She was hired for a set number of hours, I’ll say 30 hours per week, at a certain rate of pay. Because of her situation, she gets state-aided health care coverage, childcare assistance, and a childcare tax credit of a couple thousand dollars a year. She struggles, but this job allows her time to care for her children.
The growing practice causes the office administrator to offer this woman more hours and a hike in pay. Being a responsible person, she goes home and does a basic cost-benefit analysis of her financial situation. Even though the increase in hours and rate of pay would lead her to produce more and advance in her job, she finds state and federal assistance would end. In addition to this, she would have less time to spend with her children. She decides to forgo the promotion.
She is in the progressive/socialist cage of government dependence.
If she took the promotion, her production and standard of living could increase over time. Her skills set would become more advanced. Her job satisfaction would grow. Her contribution to the rest of society would add to the sum total of our economy. But, very reasonably, she forgoes this potential gain because the government has dictated she gets “benefits” as a government dependent.
If she takes the job with more hours and better pay and advances her financial position, the government will now tax her for that personal growth. Instead of a hand up for improving her situation, progressive/socialist experiments punish her.
This is the reverse of any scientific principle known to man. According to wingnuts like Tevlin, human beings are supposed to embrace ravaging government taxes and run screaming from financial incentives like subsidies to not work. Progressive/socialists are actually using ANTI-scientific principles in their social engineering schemes.
And they wonder why it isn’t working.
The nutty Nancy Pelosi stands before the camera and pronounces that unemployment insurance is the best thing for the economy. Paying people to not work will increase productivity through ersatz demand. President Obama demands higher taxes on oil companies because in his pseudo-scientific world, that will lower the costs of gasoline. The daffy Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants higher taxes on people producing more so she can bail out losers on the economic playing field.
So, it is no wonder anti-scientific partisan hacks like Tevlin assail conservatives about insights into human nature. People like Jeff Blodgett and Jon Grebner of Alliance for a Better Minnesota weren’t drawn to Franson’s comments like hyenas toward blood. They are a pack of feral dogs that set upon her because she pointed out an important socio-economic principle which is anathema to their false economic narrative. Their principle is founded on the idea they know what’s best for you and so they should manipulate us at will. Economics is a social science however, and one principle, based on scientific discovery holds.
We get more of what we reward and less of what we punish.
They cannot let people start thinking in those basic, scientifically sound terms. It will strip them of their power over us and return to a market that grows and improves the human condition. They cannot abide that abdication of their power. Collectivists, like Tevlin, must then attack people who point out the truth. Even if they must abandon basic science and common sense, they must silence people like Franson.
But that won’t change the scientifically discovered principles of human behavior. Not one bit.
Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com as "Tevlin's Anti-Scientific Approach to Economics"