Posted by: crudbasher | February 7, 2014

Libertarian Quote About Public Schooling

Something I am trying to do is educate myself on people from the past who have had similar thoughts about education. One good source of this info is a Facebook page called The Libertarian Homeschooler. They are homeschooling their kids and also put up many tasty tidbits from the past. 🙂 Here’s one.

There can be no greater stretch of arbitrary power than is required to seize children from their parents, teach them whatever the authorities decree they shall be taught, and expropriate from the parents the funds to pay for the procedure.–Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine

That’s about how it goes.


  1. You really believe in parental rights? Isn’t the authority of parents just as arbitrary as the authority of the state?

    • Actually if you look in nature, the is no more fundamental relationship than between parent and child. State rights are arbitrary and indeed in the US are derived from the consent of the governed. I’m sure an argument can be made the other way but this is the way I see it. I would still be very interested in hearing an opposing argument.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. An opposing argument could be that arbitrariness is an essential feature of nature. Culture and politics, including government, are some of our instruments to remedy the unfavourable and unfair consequences of nature’s rule. Public education is an attempt to meet the educational needs and rights of all children, to protect children against the risks of poor or ignorent or short-sighted parenting. The practice and organization and policies (etc) of public education leave room for improvement (to put it mildly), but the principle of public education is valuable (to say the least).

    • I love discussions like this because it really causes me to think about things we sometimes take for granted. I clearly understand your argument. I suppose the real question here in my mind is can social engineering outweigh human nature? What you are talking about is creating utopia. A society where everyone is happy and equal and where everything is fair. While I would love to live in that world I think it is impossible. I don’t know you but I would wager even you would agree that utopia is unobtainable. Correct me if I assume incorrectly. Previous efforts at creating utopia have inevitably resulted in starvation, totalitarianism and genocide. This is the direct result of human nature winning. We are corruptible people, and absolute power corrupts. If we can agree on that, then the real question is should we as a society do anything to correct social problems? I am conservative in nature and think that society should be structured to allow people to achieve their maximum potential. Here is where we diverge I think. I think that that potential is different in all people. If you watch the Olympics, you will see people who are competing because of several factors such as hard work, but also genetics plays a huge factor. There is no amount of social engineering that will turn just anyone into an Olympian. Nature wins that one handily (and yes arbitrarily). It is the same in every other area of life therefore equality of outcome is not possible. (I would encourage you to read the satirical short story HARRISON BERGERON )

      Now regarding the worth of public education, it comes down to how much good does it do vs how much harm. In the US we spend vast sums of money on public education. How many children are helped vs how many are harmed? The problem with public education in my mind is it doesn’t take into account human nature. You can’t force someone to learn something. If you try, they will do just enough to pass the test and then rapidly forget it. This poisons the student against learning. Learning should be a wonderful experience but school makes it a chore. You say that there is room for improvement but why? Mass public education has been running for over 100 years. Why isn’t it perfected yet? I would submit it is a good as it will ever be because the model itself is flawed.

      Thank you so much for a fascinating comment and I look forward to reading your response!

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