Skool Daze

Today is an exciting and scary day for most children: the first day of school. Students experience apprehension mixed with embarrassment mixed with joyful expectation. Yet, in many schools, something very disturbing also takes place today: teachers collect all of the newly purchased school supplies from each child and put them into a box, to be later distributed according to need. This often marks a child's first exposure to collectivism.

Like much of socialism, this act of redistribution is motivated by benevolent intentions: poor children may feel embarrassed and inadequate when they compare their school supplies to those of their classmates. Yet there is a certain amount of pride that children get from owning their own materials - a pride that is lost when individual property is taken away for the good of the group. This pride often translates into a respect for the piece of property itself: a child is much less likely to mistreat his or her own property than "unowned" or collective property. Economists call this the tragedy of the commons.

There is another, albeit often unforeseen, effect of this policy. Children who are taught at a young age that private property can rightfully be taken for the use of the group are less likely to protest such redistribution in the future.

I suspect that this technique is stressed by university professors who teach education to future elementary school teachers. In this article, Robert Nozick examines the phenonomenon of why so many intellectuals oppose capitalism. The anti-capitalist mentality of these professors is passed on to future elementary school teachers, who then pass it on to schoolchildren through these kinds of methods.

Parents who find this practice disturbing should let their schools know. College students who are interested in education and friendly to capitalism should realize how vital their roles are in our society.

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Micha, As someone who tries

Micha,

As someone who tries to spread ideas about freedom, I often wonder how much more difficult the task is made by the school system, which engrains collectivism, group-think, and followership from the first day of kindergarten. I have high hopes for the home-school movement as a way to break loose of this indoctrination grip that the public school system has on the minds of young people.

To a certain degree, I think that the college environment is much less detrimental than the K-12 environment, simply because there exists a semblance of diversity of thought and choices for type of education. I was essentially brainwashed in govt schools coming out of high school, and it was only the fact that I was an engineering major and didn't get too much liberal arts during those four years that gave me a much needed break from the constant indoctrination I got in K-12 to allow me to think for myself.