Separation of School and State

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I agree strongly with the sentiments in the following video. Sheldon Richman argues powerfully for state-free education.

My two cents: Only parents can be responsible for the education of their children. No other person, not me, not a state authority, not even a school teacher or administrator, can feel anything close to the responsibility the children’s own parents feel. In cases where the parents are negligent, the answer is not to try and substitute parenthood with something else like public education, but to bring in a new set of parents.

A free market, unfettered by government regulation and meddling politicians, would allow our society to experiment and find the best education solutions for our children. The solution will look something like the mess we have for how we get our food, our shelter, our clothing, and everything else we rely on day-to-day. If we simply allow interested parties (the parents) to participate selfishly, securing for their child the education they think they need, then competing interests will align.

A for-profit school has been taboo in our culture. Why? I cannot tell. If a school or education system provides benefits, then those who receive those benefits are willing to pay. If the cost of producing those benefits are less than the revenues received, then we should encourage the production of that education good or service. In other words, not only should we allow people to profit from education, but we should encourage it, and discourage any education system which cannot maintain itself simply by tuition or other sales of its education products.

This would mean most universities and colleges would collapse, along with almost all of the primary and secondary schools across the country. Why? Because parents would never be willing to pay full price for these services, because these services are simply not valuable enough.

More importantly, we should rebuild in our culture the idea and practice that fathers bear the primary responsibility of managing the child’s education. That education should occur principally in the home. I believe we should elevate that to the highest ideal, and then we would see fathers spend more time at home and take jobs that allow them to spend more time at home. Mothers. of course, also play a significant role in education, and should also spend as much time as possible with their children, especially when they are very young. We should stop finding ways to separate families and replace the missing parents with the state.

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15 Responses to “Separation of School and State”

  1. The Simple Minded View « Dr Kwame M. Brown: Move Theory Says:

    […] I recently read one of the most poorly thought out articles I have ever seen on education.  I would have responded to this person’s post, but he never approves my comments because he is only interested in his own view.  That’s not how we get down here at Move Theory, so I will give you his here, it is called “Separation of School and State”. […]

  2. jleeger Says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for your blog. I was forwarded your blog by a friend of mine. I’m having trouble understanding this post, though.
    I can tell that you value the highest possible education for children of American families.
    Only 29% of Americans have a college degree. How can parents who may not have an understanding of education be truly responsible for educating their children, or making the best decision regarding education?
    That said, what is the true “value” of an education? From my experience, the value of education varies significantly depending on the socioeconomic class you’re in. People in lower SE classes (who also usually do not have a history of higher education) tend to value trade-skills over higher education. People in middle-high and high SE classes tend to highly value higher education. People in very high SE classes value it as a marker of status (for instance, by going to an ivy-league school), but education itself is not as important as business knowledge, social connections, etc.
    In many of the best companies these days a Bachelor’s degree (with a certain GPA) is required for consideration. For instance, Google requires a 3.0 GPA in an applicant’s bachelor’s degree. If people within a certain class find no value in paying for general education or higher education, who fills those jobs?
    In this way, recommending pay-for-performance grade schooling creates and sustains a class-divided society.
    But our democratic republic in America is founded on the idea that “all men are created equal.” So equal opportunity should be afforded to all men. The pay-for-education proposal does not give all men equal opportunity.
    Josh

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Your faith in mankind is really pathetic. Let me explain what I mean by that, and why it’s important.

      When I was in Korea, I saw families from the lowest income levels, with the worst histories imaginable manage to get their kids educated.See, in Korea, the parents sacrifice everything for their children. There is nothing more important than kids in that culture, and it shows. When the parents set their sights on getting their kids into a decent college, or at the very least, having more opportunity than they had, and when the parents are willing to give up almost everything to do so, they rarely fail.

      In America, we have this idea that unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you can’t get anywhere in life. In reality, America has the highest social mobility of any country in the world. If you are born poor, you have the highest probability of becoming rich here in the US.

      If the parents feel like book-learning isn’t as important as learning a valuable skill, that’s not for me to veto. I’m not the parent. They are. They know their kids better than I do. They know their neighborhood and family history. If the best hope for their child, in their mind, is to get a job working on cars, then let them get their child ready to work on cars.

      Being a blue-collar worker in the US is not a bad deal. Yes, you have to work hard; yes, job security sucks; yes, you’ll never make as much money as someone who went to college. But at the same time, you’ll still own a home, a car, a nice TV, a computer, and pretty much every luxury we take for granted today, provided you don’t make stupid decisions (decisions which parents are far more influential in than we’d like to believe.) At the same time, if you’re frugal, you can save money up for the next generation’s college education, or at least tell them that maybe working in the blue-collar industry isn’t the best idea, and the next generation should aim higher.

      Do you see how these things work them out when we put the people who have the most to gain or lose in charge of the decisions?

      I cannot deny that there will always be a system where the rich have access to better schools and teachers. But you know what? The cost of an education is ridiculously cheap when the person is truly motivated to learn. You can go to any library, rent any book for free, paying the occasional 50 cent fine. If you can’t find your book at the library, save up a few hours of wages and buy the textbook online. This is how real people learn: the teach themselves. You do not need a college or university to tell you how to read a book and think carefully. Many people are able to figure those things out without an advanced degree. That’s why we have kids who grow up in ghettos that make better business decisions than the kids who went to Harvard.

  3. jleeger Says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
    I don’t disagree that people from other countries are often more motivated than Americans to gain a higher education and better quality of life for themselves.
    I also agree with you that America can offer a great deal of upward mobility for anyone. That’s the beautiful thing about our country, and the reason why so many people from other nations want to come here.
    And we’re in agreement that there’s nothing wrong with blue-collar living. I’ve known many blue-collar workers who’ve had higher incomes than their white-collar neighbors. You can make a whole lot of money and have a very comfortable and fulfilling life being a general contractor, truck driver, machinist, etc.
    The point of my reply to your post was that what I see as a deep American value – something that has made this country what it is – is the belief in the equality of all members of the society.
    And this is probably the only place you and I disagree. I disagree with the first sentence of your last paragraph – that there will always be a system where the rich have access to better schools and teachers.
    That is the entire point of a robust and well-managed public education system. The point of such a system is that the best teachers are equally attracted to a school in a poor community as they are to a school in a wealthy community. The point is “free” (tax-paid) education for all that is equal across all groups.
    Only that gives everyone the opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful freedom and upward mobility we can have in America.
    Josh

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Josh,

      It is not possible to create a system where the rich do not have any more opportunities than the poor. Because they have command of more wealth than others, they will be able to command more resources, and direct more resources towards the education of their children. The communists tried really, really hard to get this right and even they’ve failed.

      The only way to make such a thing possible is to live in a society where we torture the rich until they are no better than the poor. Have you read Harrison Bergeron?

      I choose liberty over equalization.

      What I propose is really one thing, which leads to two pleasant results.

      First, put parents in charge, even if they are poor. The price of a good education is ridiculously cheap, just like the price of food, so even at their low position, they will still have access to plenty of good education, just like the poor in America can afford to buy meat and vegetables and never go hungry. Of course, they’ll never taste caviar, they’ll never have a four-course meal, but the basic nutritional requirements can easily be met for tens of dollars a month.

      Second, if you are rich, and you do want to help educate the poor, then the solution is not to take parental responsibilities upon yourself. The correct answer is to give more resources to the poor, or lower the cost of education, or both. For instance, let’s say Bill Gates felt like kids needed more education in science, and the reason they weren’t getting it is because poor parents don’t have access to the right resources. Well, Bill Gates could establish a resource center with online videos and cheap science kits. He can hire people to do tours across an area, and invite people to attend for cheap or a very low price. He can hold seminars to help parents understand how to teach their kids science. All of these are things that will empower the poor without distracting from the core parent-child responsibility.

      I think if we embraced the freedom approach, and allowed parents to make choices, but at the same time allowed people to do what they thought was best to support that, our education system would be far superior to any education system in the history of the earth. Combined with technologies available today, there is no reason why our kids all can’t obtain degrees in Math and Physics, while spending only a tiny bit of money to get access to the resources they need.

  4. jleeger Says:

    I guess the only concern I have is this – how do you guarantee equal access to educational resources in that setup? If it’s market-driven, the teachers will go where the highest pay (or at least, some pay) is…and that will be where the rich are. Creating a governance system that decides what the cost of an education should be (Federal or State regulation of pricing?) seems little different from the current system.

    I’m all for creating a detailed online curriculum for learning, but teachers are still needed to assist in the learning process. Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks for the discussion!

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Why do we have to guarantee equal access to education resources? Let the parents choose what they want and what they’re willing to sacrifice to get it. It’s none of my business trying to make life fair so that no one has any more education than any other.

      You are correct. Teachers will go to where people are willing to pay them the most. But that’s the same for every industry out there. In my field, programmers go to where the money is. Does that mean that companies that don’t pay top dollar don’t get to hire any programmers? Of course not. But it also means that teachers (who aren’t motivated by money, right?) will be willing to work for less as long as it is enough. Price regulations often end up hurting far more people than they were meant to help, because the valuable information that prices convey is lost, and people don’t know whether it’s better to be a teacher or an engineer, or whether Chicago needs teachers more badly than LA.

      Teachers are not necessary. They are nice to have, a luxury, but consider how we got to where we were. Who was Socrates’ teacher? Who taught Einstein the structure of space-time? Who taught Rutherford how to conduct atomic experiments? Who showed Watson and Crick the structure and nature of DNA? Teachers are people like you and I. There’s no reason why everyone can’t be a teacher, and there’s no reason why anyone must be.

  5. jleeger Says:

    We have to guarantee equality through laws because that’s how civilization functions. Without laws, there is no civilization, there is anarchy. That’s one direction I’m not interested in heading.

    I have to disagree with you about teachers. I believe that teachers are entirely necessary. No parent has the time, educational background, or teaching resources to be able to teach their child everything they need to know in order to thrive in today’s world.

    Socrates certainly had teachers of some sort, either in “academic” matters or in a trade. Just because they aren’t mentioned in the writings of Plato (who uses Socrates as a tool, and doesn’t chronicle his life history), doesn’t mean he had no teachers. Einstein, similarly, had many teachers leading up to his ideas about relativity. He did not suddenly formulate the concepts out of thin air. Watson, Crick and Rutherford were very well educated through Western methods pretty much identical to the ones we have today.

    Without teachers, people who are passionate about particular subjects, knowledge is lost. This has already happened a few times in the history of Western civilization – “dark ages.” For instance, each of the people you mention were experts in their field, and not in others. Einstein could not teach you how to fix a car, or the history of Ancient Greece, without extensive reference to other teachers, books, and a lot of time (the teachers, books, and time he spent mastering mathematics). Similarly for Watson and Crick, or Socrates. No one is a master of every subject, nor a suitable teacher for many subjects.

    I’m curious what’s at the base of your argument for the privatization of education. Do you want to stop paying taxes for that, or is it something else?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Your definition of equality under the law doesn’t match what our Founding Fathers laid down and what is enshrined in our founding documents. Equality doesn’t mean we all have the same car, the same house, and the same jobs. Equality means the law cannot distinguish between one of us or another, and cannot one’s rights more than another’s. It is not our job to see that everyone is educated. It is up to themselves and their parents to see to it that they get the food, shelter, education, and anything else they might want or need. If we take upon ourselves the burden of being a parent to everyone, then no one will be happy.

      I have a fundamental disagreement with government. I detest government, the same way you detest people who use violence to achieve their goals. Government is violence. Government is evil. Anything government does, it does by force and without persuasion. When we turn over anything to government, it better be for a really good reason. National defense, enforcement of common laws, etc, are all really good reasons to have government do something. Providing food, education, money, and shelter is not. If we ask government to do these things, then government becomes our master, not our servant.

      Yes, I don’t like paying taxes. No one else does either. But I am willing to pay taxes for those things which only government can provide. For instance, I am more than happy to see our military force stronger than the entire sum of military forces across the globe. That’s a position everyone wants to be in, and I’m lucky enough to live in a country where it is true, and I want to keep it that way. I am not happy about paying money, by force, to keep people unemployed or to keep children uneducated. That’s the fundamental issue here: our education system is broken. We are not the best country for education. Our kids are not obtaining the best education. We produce more wealth than any other country on a per-capita basis and yet we don’t have the best education system in the world. Why? Because government is not the right tool to use to educate our kids, anymore than using soldiers to run our companies is a good idea.

      You’ve been living under the false dilemma that either government provides education, or no one gets educated. That’s an absurd thought. Education is a service just like auto repair, medical care, lawn care service, or any other number of things. And yet we don’t have a government program to have someone come out and mow our grass. Why is education different? The fact that it is so important means we can’t leave it in the hands of our politicians and government officials, who have never been known for their pure motives or stellar work ethic.

      Finally, my point is that teachers as a paid class is an unnecessary thing. Our society will get along just fine if we didn’t have 1 full-time teacher for every 30 students. There are other ways to get educated that don’t require teachers, and they probably work better. Have you noticed that the internet is turning into an education resource that is more useful than our nation’s top colleges and libraries? We cannot teach our children and our society that without going to school, you can’t learn anything, because that’s obviously not true. We must teach them, instead, to learn how to learn for themselves, making them independent and sovereign in the process.

  6. Josh Says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I agree that equality does not mean that everyone is equal in ability or possessions. I think I said that above. I believe that “equality” means we’re all given equal opportunity. “All men are created equal” means we all have equal capacity at birth – regardless of race, creed, color, etc. – and should be given equal opportunity to develop that capacity to the fullest.

    I agree too that large government is a problem. But government itself is not to blame, and large government is the result of the same issue – the populace not being involved in governing themselves.

    Government in democratic republics is a representative body elected by the people whose job it is to do what the people (generally) want.

    The problems we’re encountering are a result of people being uninvolved in their government. Then, government becomes a ruling body over/above the populace, and begins telling the people what to do, instead of vice versa.

    So, we need more involvement at the ground level from people who are concerned to make things better – including the education system.

    Taxes should be the fees levied across the populace to allow governmental functions to operate. I agree with you that those should only be necessities to the good functioning of the society – a basic legal system and police force, a military, streets and infrastructure, waste removal, etc.

    You may have swayed me a bit here! If a voucher system leads to greater community coherence and involvement, so much the better!

    I’m believing that the voucher system may not be so bad. The only remaining difficulties I see in it are:
    – The possibility that the populace uses the voucher system mindlessly, and continues the trend of being uninvolved in government. This will result in a more and more hegemonic government, with greater and greater connections between government, business, and religion. All negative in my opinion.
    – Gross discrepancies across various populations within US society. I can’t agree that “everyone is equal” in this society. While everyone should be given equal opportunity, socioeconomic differences create incredible discrepancies in what is perceived of as possible, and therefore what is attempted, in various groups. Refusing to help to educate those groups basically asserts that there should be a large uneducated or undereducated class. That’s dangerous and inhumane in my opinion.

    I’m still not convinced that people can do without teachers. Online resources are growing, but still not up to par with any real educational institution. And there remains to be any decent full-spectrum curriculum that is laid out in an organized fashion (and free) online.

    It’s also interesting that you hate government and say it is at base a violent thing, but the one thing you’ve mentioned you’re willing to pay for via government is an extensive military. Seems contradictory to me.

    Josh

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      If we are already equal in capacity, why do we need to be given equal opportunity? You can’t equalize what is already equal.

      Government is the problem. If it weren’t for government, we wouldn’t have the problems we have with education today.

      It is true that our government represents our desires. Our desires were wrong. Our government was wrong. We can’t all be involved in the government, especially when we spend our whole time trying to comply with insane regulations and an oppressive tax code. Free the people’s time and money, and they will be involved.

      The purpose of taxes is not to support government. Government is not an end. It is a means to an end. The purpose of taxes and government is to protect our individual liberties. When those taxes and the government no longer serve that end, it’s time to abolish the whole thing and start over.

      I don’t believe a voucher system is the way to go. The problem is, thanks to our constitutions, you can’t spend the vouchers however you wish. If I wanted to go to a Catholic school, I couldn’t use the voucher to do it. Only government-approved atheist schools can be used, because that’s the only approved religion today. The only solution is to not collect the taxes in the first place, let people sort things out for themselves, allow market forces to drive prices down and production up, and allow the poor to benefit from it all.

      I think you are overestimating what teachers do. Imagine a teacher is like a sales person. After all, sales people are needed to make a sale, right? You can’t make a sale unless someone tips his hat, warms your hand, and explains what the product is. In today’s world, salespeople are become obsolete. With information abundant, people are relying less and less on sales people in their buying decisions, and more and more on personal research and word of mouth. By the same token, teachers may find themselves outdone by people’s natural curiosity and ability to find all the information they need for themselves.

      You think disorganization is a bad thing. It’s actually a very powerful thing. Let people organize the complex world around us in their own way, and they’ll discover patterns no one else saw before.

      I hate government because it is the embodiment of violence. Nothing it does is done with persuasion. Don’t pay taxes–go to jail. Violate a restraining order—go to jail. Trespass on a military base—get shot.

      I wished we lived in a world where violence were not necessary, but alas, men are not angels always, and require, from time to time, physical violence (arrests, jail, even execution) to prevent their evil actions. Take Osama bin Laden, for instance. How many terror plots is he planning now? Or Timothy McVeigh—our children are safe because he won’t be bombing any buildings soon. Then take the millions of criminals who live around us, who are kept at bay either because they know they will be caught and punished, or because they already have been caught and punished. Take ourselves, for instance. Have we not been tempted, from time to time, to do something wrong, but corrected ourselves for fear of the law?

      I don’t like practicing self-defense, and I am thankful I never have. However, should the time come, I will do it, in the most violent way possible if necessary, despite my abhorrence for violence. If we do not protect our own and each other’s lives and liberty, by punishing those who would take our life and liberty by first taking their life and liberty, then we will have no life and liberty.

      If we lived in a society where everyone, always, respected each other’s rights, we would need no government, no weapons, no violence at all. We would simply live in peace with each other. As a Christian, I hope and pray that day comes sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, i am well aware of the sort of world we live in today.

  7. jleeger Says:

    We need equal opportunity so that society can improve. Without equal opportunity, some creative minds are left in the dust, never to be developed, simply because our cultural structure has determined so based on socioeconomics.

    Equality of ability is not the same as equality of opportunity to develop that ability.

    If it weren’t for government, we also wouldn’t have police, sewage, etc. Throughout history there have been times when government has collapsed, and it never works out very well.

    I see it completely oppositely from you. Get people involved in their own lives and government, and they can free their time up.

    As long as people aren’t involved in government, special interests will be. Businesses and the wealthy will make decisions about laws.

    I don’t think you get anywhere by “abolishing” government. At least not without something to take its place. In which case, it is not abolishment, but change. Abolishment of government is anarchy, which, again, historically, doesn’t work out well for humans.

    Do you currently pay your taxes? The first way to protest is by civil disobedience. So based on what you’re saying, you should not be paying taxes at all. I wish you luck with that course of action.

    The criminals who are kept at bay are kept at bay by the threat of laws (government) and those who enforce those laws (police, who are paid for by taxes).

    While the free market, and disorganization, can be powerful forces, like any powerful force, they need to be guided. Power without guidance is disastrous. A tornado is a good example of that.

    All people live in society with other people. At some level, you have to negotiate with others. To make those dealings fair, you have to have rules for the game. No rules, again, equals anarchy, where the most powerful exploit the others. We’ve had this at different times in history as well, and it doesn’t seem pleasant.

    Finally, all people require teachers in order to learn. Human animals deal with processes that are vastly complex. Children are not adults. In the instance you mention, an adult has already been taught how to research options for themselves. A child has no way, other than the risky way of trial-and-error, of learning the best method for doing anything in life. That is what teachers are for. If all children were to rely on trial-and-error, and seeking out what’s interesting to them, on their own, with no guidance (teaching), they wouldn’t learn very much at all. And what they did learn, would not help them very much in advanced society.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’m having a very hard time following your logic.

      “We need equal opportunity so that society can improve”: If you believe in the tenets of the Declaration of Independence, we already have equal opportunity by nature of our own creation.

      Then you mentioned some gobbledy-gook about talent going to waste, as if you had any amount of control over any other human being. Develop your own talents, educate yourself, and encourage others to educate themselves. That’s as far as we can go, because we are all equally sovereign.

      Then you introduce equality of ability. I don’t know why this is relevant. No one has equal ability. We’ve known this as a society since the beginning.

      You mention how government is critical for police, sewage, etc… but you fail to realize that government is not necessary for these things. Millions of homeowners across the country don’t even connect to the government sewage system. Millions more don’t rely on the police for their personal safety. You don’t need these things, any more than someone needs a car or needs to go to college. Government need not provide these things.

      You can abolish the government, and yes, something will take its place. I propose we “abolish” our government which currently caters to every whim and fancy of the population with a limited one that can only provide the basics we need to secure our liberties. The Constitution of the United States is sufficient for our needs. All we have to do is eliminate all the programs and laws that were introduced clearly in violation of the constitution.

      The free market needs no guidance. It is because of the lack of guidance, the fact that people need to determine for themselves what is the best course of action, that it works. When you introduce guidance into the system, you no longer have a free market. You are pretty naive if you do not see how disorganization can be a powerful tool. Yes, tornadoes are bad, but innovation, science, and engineering are very good. So is art and music. These are very chaotic, very “free market” activities that have very little influence from any guiding forces other than necessity and ability. If you think we need a guiding hand to get along, then you’re better off moving to a country where that idea is embraced in their founding principles. Pick any country with a king, or choose some place like North Korea, where the government actively imposes their will on the people. Leave us alone, because we came here to escape oppression.

      If humans required teachers to learn, who were the first teachers? How did we learn about the structure of the atom, about advanced mathematics? Who taught Einstein about relativity, or showed Rutherford the structure of the nucleus? Were their teachers hired by the government?

      Rather than restate your arguments, you would do well to point out the weaknesses in mine. For instance, on the last point, you might show how every piece of knowledge ever learned was taught by a teacher to the student. You’ll have to show me who told Einstein the Theory of Relativity, for instance.

      As you may be aware, the arguments I have made are quite convincing, and so I don’t expect you to have much success.

  8. Josh Says:

    Your arguments are interesting, but not convincing.

    History reveals the results of the situations you describe, and they’re not pretty.

    For instance, many slave populations throughout history have been disallowed from learning. In some instances, those populations rose up to destroy the better-educated upper classes of society, causing a civil war. Most historical accounts show those classes being brutally suppressed. As an example, you can look at any of the slave revolts of Ancient Greece, Rome, or Egypt.

    While we are born equal in ability in general, which is not gobbledy-gook, as you so scientifically proclaim it to be. All healthy human beings have relatively similar levels of ability across any area of skill. For more information, see any book or research study on learning or human skill development.

    Equality of ability is recognized under the Constitution. However, equality of opportunity is not, and is not provided for under our current government. Equality of opportunity is necessary so that all people can have the chance to develop their equal levels of ability to the highest levels possible. This creates a generally more intelligent populace, with greater chances for innovation and creativity. Creative companies such as Google, and Ideo recognize this, hiring intelligent, creative people who come up with elegant and creative solutions to problems together.

    Similarly, history provides many examples of what happens, again, when governments fail. In anarchy, might makes right. Language and higher concepts of rational thinking are usually lost, and slavery and despotic rulers prevail.

    In those situations, sewage and garbage systems typically fail, and, especially in densely populated areas, such as those that most Americans (80% urban or near-urban living) inhabit, resulting in widespread disease.

    Your arguments are wrong, based on the historical performance of the human race in such situations. There is no evidence that human beings would perform any differently in a modern situation.

    It seems ridiculous to have to point this out to you, but no one learns anything without teachers. All of the events that you mention are the creations or teachings of individuals at the end of a long line of learning. Plato wrote about Socrates once Plato himself had already become a teacher. In fact, Plato’s writings about Socrates were Plato’s teachings to his students.

    Einstein had at least one very significant teacher in his life – Max Talmud. Find out more here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Early_life_and_education
    He also went to University, where he had many teachers.

    Einstein’s theory of general relativity, like Plato’s writings about Socrates, was his own conception of how the universe worked, based on what he had learned as a student.

    So, without his prior learning, and the teachers who taught him previously, Einstein never would have come up with the theory. If he somehow had come up with it, imagining things in his mind, he never would have been able to write it in a fashion that would have made sense to mathematicians or physicists, because he never would have been taught, by a teacher, the language of mathematics and physics.

    Uneducated people cannot determine best courses of action for themselves in any complex situation. Mice find their way through mazes because the situation is so simple. There is some sort of stimulus to provoke their movement, and a limited number of solutions that can be tried in a relatively short period of time. Modern systems are so complex that they cannot be discovered in a trial-and-error fashion, without the risk of very dire consequences.

    This is evidenced in the incredibly high number of individuals declaring bankruptcy in our current “free market” economy. The market is hardly free, controlled instead by banks and businesses. And current education does not provide any information about the way economies actually work. For more information (learning) on economies, seek Niall Ferguson as your teachers. You can watch his series “The Ascent of Money” for free on Google Video.

    While a “free market” can be beneficial to creativity, it must be guided by some set of rules that keep people from cheating it. If it is not, we experience things such as the recent savings and loan debacle. That was an event that resulted from a “free market” economy.

    I hope that I’ve addressed your statements accurately, rather than simply restating my previous arguments.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      There is a difference between not having the means to obtain an education, and not being allowed to obtain an education. If I lived in a society where the upper crust outright forbad the lower class from learning things, I too would gladly take up arms. This is, of course, not what I am talking about here.

      “Equality of Ability” is not the equality that the Declaration of Independence proclaims. Of course, some people are more able than others, being born healthy or into a rich family or in a country that afforded freedoms that other countries did not. You cannot make everyone equal in ability, and it’s pointless to try. Harrison Bergeron.

      I understand what happens when governments fail, which is why I believe anarchy is not right. If men were angels, and if they didn’t have the natural tendency towards “might makes right”, then we would need no government at all. Even I myself appreciate the checks and balances on my own actions that government affords.

      Your statement “no one learns anything without teachers” is demonstrably false. Where did the first teachers come from? Did Max Talmud teach Einstein the Theory of Relativity? Of course not. Humans are quite capable of learning new (or old) things without teachers.

      I disagree that “uneducated people cannot determine best courses of action for themselves in any complex situation.” To say something like this makes the uneducated barely qualified as human. You make it sound like they should be taken care of by those who have an education. How is this system different than every unjust class system? I know, for a fact, that if you give a man of below-average intelligence responsibility over something complicated, they will learn a very effective way of managing that responsibility. Were it not so, we could not have factories and janitors who perform their jobs with increasing efficiency.

      Bankruptcy is natural as people take risks, and those risks do not always pay off. The rise in bankruptcy rates today was caused by people like you who felt like the poor and uneducated couldn’t decide what kind of house they could afford so the federal government had to give them loans they could not afford, rather than let them try to navigate the free market on their own. Whatever “free market” we have is a pale shadow to what a real free market would look like, because the federal government so heavily involves itself in every aspect of almost every industry today.

      Your egotism, your idea that somehow you know more about what a person should do than that person, is evidence that whatever education you had actually made you a worse person than you were at first. To think that your pride would allow you to suppose you are smarter, more intelligent than someone else, and that they should be deprived of their right to liberty because they share the same world with illuminati like yourself! My, oh my, your head is so big you cannot see it.

      Why not let people choose for themselves? if they want to spend their money on education, let them. If they’d rather invest it in their business, or their property, or their child’s education, let them! It is not your money, it is not your time. Let people live their lives, and live your life the way you see fit. But the very idea that somehow you have a right to direct any degree of capital towards the betterment of your lessers—how arrogant!

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