By Bradley Harrington
“America’s great social, political and innovative strength is in decentralization. But that strength, the American spirit, is shackled to disastrous effect in the field of education, where the key tenets of socialism, central planning and state monopoly prevail.” – Tom Shuford, “The Wall Street Journal,” 1996 –
If you ever want to find out just how tightly people are wedded to their pet preconceived notions – then find a big, fat, beefy cow, give it a good, swift kick, and observe the reactions.
Last week, I kicked over the sacredest of the sacred cows – the statist notion of “public,” tax-supported, government-approved “education” – and reader reactions were both predictable and illuminating.
One writer, for instance, “Jockey44,” opined in the WTE’s comments section that “this part of the Libertarian mantra is, ‘parents should have control of all funds expended for their children’s education.’”
Correct, actually – just as, and for exactly the same reasons, parents should have “control of all funds” expended for their kids’ shoes, toys, clothing and food. Or did “Jockey44” want to make the claim that parents who are smart enough to know what to feed their kids aren’t smart enough to decide on how they should be taught?
Or… is it, instead, that “Jockey44” doesn’t believe that parents have the ability to determine the content of their kids educations – and, therefore, shouldn’t be allowed to determine their dinner ingredients either?
In either case, the collectivist premise at work – that our kids’ minds belong to the State – is obvious, is it not? Why not just say so?
Not satisfied with such a brazen display of authoritarian intent, however, “Jockey44” goes on to challenge the economics of private schooling as well: “He [Harrington] gives financial facts. As if our children can be quantified in dollars and cents. They may be facts, but they don’t reflect the real world.”
Uhhh… excuse me, but… don’t facts, by definition, “reflect the real world”? Isn’t that what makes them facts?
But this kind of intellectual sloppiness is “par for the course” for the authoritarians, who generally don’t pay too much attention to logic, facts and reality. And particularly not when those pesky facts invalidate their pet collectivist meanderings.
Sorry, “Jockey44” – the Dept. of Education’s own figures make it clear that private educational costs average out at two-thirds of those of their state-mandated counterparts, and all the wishing or evading in the world isn’t going to alter that by one penny.
As for “quantifying” our children in “dollars and cents”… it appears, instead, given the instructional methods employed by our “public” propaganda camps, that “Jockey44” would prefer to sell our kids’ minds down the river… for “free.”
And more: “I, as a property owner and parent contributed, through property taxes, about $900 toward education in this county in 2013. No one, flat no
one, can give even just one child a year’s worth of education for that amount even if home educating.”
The fallacy here lies in assuming that it is only property taxes that support the government-approved “educational” system. This is most assuredly not the case, as anyone armed with a calculator and two figures – the total amount Wyoming spends on the secondary school system and the number of taxpayers in the state – can readily determine for themselves. Darn those pesky facts.
Another critic, “Kowboy Kush,” in reference to my having pointed out that “free education for all children in public schools” is Plank Ten of Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto,” thought it might be the height of hilarity to state: “Don’t look now, but there’s a Red under the bed!”
When should we look, “Kowboy”? Ever? Or should we only wait until the Reds are no longer just “under the bed” but also occupy prominent positions in the media and political system? No answer.
The fact is, of course, that neither “free education in public schools” nor those prominently-occupied positions in our culture are limited to Reds only: authoritarian control-freaks of all stripes and varieties advocate such systems and occupy such positions.
Who knows? Maybe, after “Kowboy” has had a good giggle, he might serious up long enough to do a little research on both Marx’s Ten Planks as well as Hitler’s 25 Points… and discover to just what extent all of those precepts have been enacted into law into in the United States as well.
Complete that study, “Kowboy” – then let’s see how hard you laugh.
Having gone out of my way, repeatedly, to state my fundamental principles for examination, it gets a little tiring to witness so much evasion in that arena.
When, I wonder, will you people step up to the plate and state yours?
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.