Quote of the Day


Why are we still trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? We are stuck in the industrial revolution model of mass education when clearly it is time to rethink the exercise. What is the purpose of education and how best do we achieve that goal? Much of our current ?warehouse? model was to introduce future factory workers to the concept of showing up on time and following the clock instead of the sun. What purpose does it serve now? If we figure out what we want a high school graduate to know does it matter how the knowledge is acquired? Why not spend all of third grade, all day every day, learning American history. Fourth grade could be Math. How much do you need to ?know? when you can google? These are the questions someone smarter than me needs to be asking.

- a commenter on a Crooked Timber entry

Share this

While I'm not dismissive of

While I'm not dismissive of the motive of this quote (it sounds inventive, which is good), count how many times the word WE appears in it.

Who's this WE?

WE shouldn't decide anything about education. I should decide how much and what kind of education I'D like to purchase for MY children. That's it.

Using the word WE instills the idea that I have any business deciding how others are educated. It's none of my business. It invites the Socialism that's been proven to rot whatever it touches.

While there are certainly people who may be good at making decisions for others, legislating power to others to do so does not ensure those talented people are found or empowered. Allowing people to find and reward these people is more efficient.

What did I just say?

In a world where everyone decides how to educate their OWN children, there might be many parents making the wrong decision. But that doesn't justify empowering politicians to decide anyone's curriculum, nor does it solve the problem. Educational decisions end up being made by the most able politicians, not the most able educators. And their decisions end up being applied uniformly for all - a recipe for disaster.

Parents have a vested interest in finding the best educators for their children. Politicians don't.

I't's entirely possible the person quoted did not mean WE in the way I understood it. It's just an attitude I hear to often to let slip by without commenting upon.

just to play the devil's

just to play the devil's advocate, what would YOU do if you saw a father/pimp educating his daughters to be hookers?

I know this is getting further away from the original post, but this is a point that has always bothered me about Libertarians (in a very broad sense) that they do very little to protect the young and the disabled. I always get the feeling that if you're blind person or an abandoned child it is basically your problem and no one else's.

I think you ask an excellent

I think you ask an excellent question - the right question to ask. I think a devil's advocate is important. Because of you, I'm going to back-off a little from what I said.

I think that the concern is real. So real, that you're not the only one with it. It's this concern that makes people turn to our current "solution", fearing there are no alternatives.

In a libertrian world, however, this SAME concern would be free to persuade the daughter that her father is a bad person, or convince the father that he's wasting his daughter's life.

So, while I said that it's no one's business how this man "educates" his daughter, maybe what I really should have said is that it's no one's right to force someone to educate his child in a certain way - though anyone should be free to weigh-in and express their opinion. You could easily get her ear just by paying her for her time, though the father doesn't have to listen to a word you say.

A libertarian world would have prosititution, but it would have strong charities, free to "rescue" people. The severe nature of the example you raise is almost a guarantee for the support such a rescue operation would garner.

If a man prostitutes his daughter, and it's such a terrible way to live (which I'm sure it is), it shouldn't take much to convince her to stop. If he forces her, he's committing a crime of agression, and can be held accountable.

The answer to Spoonie is

The answer to Spoonie is simple.

A pimp who really wants to educate his child to be a hooker can do that already, and he will. It happens, if only rarely. Public school doesn't prevent that, period, end of story. But the bottom line is that it's a rather extreme example, and a miniscule percentage of fathers will be inclined to pimp their daughters. It hardly justifies ordering an entire society around mandatory attendance in government care for eight hours a day.

What Spoonie is really getting at is the meat of the matter, though--public school is a way of using children to keep tabs on adults. It's a way to "watch" families by watching their children--it's a daily physical and psychological inspection, in a very literal sense, of the family. And advocates for universal compulsory education want it that way. It's interesting to observe how such overtly totalitarian measures can come to be regarded as normal, even necessary.

Most people don't even realize they think this way until it is pointed out to them. How insidious!

By the by, a fascinating

By the by, a fascinating subject is the Bolshevik's use of education in just this way. Lenin and his cohorts, especially during the Russian Civil and Polish-Soviet Wars, found themselves completely at odds with the "backwards" peasantry. The peasantry wanted to continue to associate at home, and eat dinner as families, and work in small groups. The Bolsheviks were repelled, horrified by this counterrevolutionary element and began forcing the rural folk, especially in the Ukraine, to eat in huge groups composed of strangers, and set about trying to dissolve all forms of family and local association not directly administered by the state.

If you think my example is over-the-top, I direct you to Lenin's own words on the subject. True believers always see their own motives more clearly than the fellow travelling dupe, of course, and Lenin said in no uncertain terms that public education was always and everywhere a weapon to be directed at the enemies of the people who wielded it. He was right.

Part of the mission of any state program is to erase from the minds of the citizenry any consideration that life without it could be tolerable. The public school is in this way the ultimate self-reinforcing state mechanism. Most people have to be reminded that universal compulsory education is a very recent phenomenon, and that the entirety of the Western political and literary tradition emerged completely unassisted by mandatory public schooling. And we didn't have problems with fathers pimping out their daughters on every street corner.

Google John Taylor Gatto for

Google John Taylor Gatto for more sage-like info.

no doubt

just to play the devil's

just to play the devil's advocate, what would YOU do if you saw a father/pimp educating his daughters to be hookers?

I saw a solution to this problem years ago that has intrigued me since. It was a law that did not make child neglect a crime, but did make it grounds to sue for custody of a child.

If you see a father educating his daughter to be a hooker, you would have to convince a court that you would be able to raise the child better than her natural father. You would then have the obligation to put your ideals into practice with your own resources, rather than impose your ideals on someone else.

If anyone recognizes the libertarian set of laws that included this one, I would appreciate a URL to it...

Mark