Each 'Cue Card Libertarianism' entry forms part of a series intended to introduce newbies to the terms used (or as used) by local libertarians. The series so far can be found archived here, and here, and the Introduction here.
This entry seems particularly relevant today.
“A tax-supported, compulsory educational system
is the complete model of the totalitarian state.”
– Isabel Paterson, 'The God of the Machine.'
EDUCATION: The system of compulsory, taxpayer-funded education is another prime example of the state performing the opposite role to its proper one, i.e. initiating force against its citizens, rather than protecting them from it.
It forces children from their parents; it forces a curriculum on children with or without the parents’ approval; it treats the child’s mind as the property of the state; it forces people to pay for the education of other people’s children.
New Zealand’s public education has followed in the path of the United States: beginning with educating children to submit to the collective feelings of the group, rather than to develop their own minds ands use their own independent judgement – i.e. it teaches them to value 'consensus' before truth, and 'fitting in' above facts.
Peer pressure and politics are now important than good pedagogy. “Humanities” subjects have been hi-jacked by the purveyors of fashionable political viewpoints, and even the sciences have been infected with irrational nature-worship and notions like "Maori Science," ie., myth.
A recent Minister of Education even claimed that science is not even concerned with the discovery of truth.
The travesty of education being perpetrated by the state currently is nothing short of criminal. Taxpayers paying more and more to get less and less -- more money spent, to fill the heads of more and more young New Zealanders with mush.
Despite governments doling out increasing election bribes on the state's factory schools, the 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey figures estimated “close to 1 million working age adults in New Zealand lack the literacy and numeracy skills needed to function in a modern workplace.” That makes nearly 1 in 4 New Zealanders who are functionally illiterate.
It's clear what we have is neither free, nor a system of education.
We're left to deduce (as we must with all government spending binges) that education isn't a function of the money that's thrown at it; what matters more is what that money is spent on.
What it's been spent on in recent years is bullshit, mush and toxic swill -- and the seven-lesson inculcation of servitude.
“Education in the government's factory schools is pumping out an
ever-increasing number of functionally illiterate and unemployable
youths - good for nothing beyond stuffing a ballot box."
- Peter Osborne
The 'liberal' view is that all that is wrong with state education can be fixed with more money, better staff-student ratios, greater control of curriculum, more qualified teachers and more paperwork. But as more and more money spent on education, results have shown that more of the same just produces more and more failure.
The view of conservatives on the other hand is generally that public education needs to be made more “efficient.” More testing, more efficiencies, and better 'delivery' of education is the answer they say.
Neither of their answers are working.
Libertarians however maintain that public education is already all too efficient at the very thing it was designed to do: it has been ruthlessly efficient at delivering the government’s chosen values.
While the numbers of students able to read and write diminishes with each new generation, after many generations of indoctrination at the knee of the state we now have several generations who are 'culturally safe, 'politically correct and totally unable to think-- ‘good citizens’ unable to use the brains they were born with, unthinkingly compliant in every respect with the values in which they've been totally immersed; braindead automatons to whom group-think is good, forty-two percent of whom are unable to read a bus timetable or operate a simple appliance.
That delivering the government’s chosen values is the goal of the government’s education system can be seen not just by the facts from history, but by their dismissive reaction to ongoing failure in what many parents consider is the actual purpose of education—reading and writing.
In previous decades, the government's chosen values included banning the speaking of Maori in schools; speaking Maori in schools now however is fast becoming compulsory, along with the teaching of the ordained versions of Te Tiriti and the inculcation of the ideas of multiculturalism and the inferiority of western culture.
Governments and their values change, but their use of their factory schools for indoctrination doesn't.
The government's most recently chosen values include “sustainability,” "fairness,” “opportunity” and security." We know that because Helen Clark said so when the current curriculum was being developed. Orwell would have recognised all these words, as he might the rigid orthodoxies of what passes for teacher training.
"What happens in our schools is a very big part of shaping the future of New Zealand," Ms Clark acknowledged in her speech, admitting perhaps that this is the way governments make subjects out of citizens. Libertarians agree with Ms Clark's statement, which is precisely why we want governments away from the schools and away from control of curricula.
Both Liberals and conservatives endorse state control of schools and of curricula, and they both seek to be the state. Libertarians don't.
Rather than delivering new generations of New Zealand's children to be indoctrinated into servitude and their heads filled with mush, we say instead it's time for a radical rethink and a wholesale rejection of NZ's educational establishment – a rejection of those who've sucked up taxpayers’ money, and (in the only measures parents care about) produced only failure .
It's time for a permanent and constitutional separation of school and state, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of church and state.
Even the critics of state education, however, cannot imagine life without it, simply because they’ve never known anything else. They would have the same difficulty grasping the possibility of removing the state from the production of clothing if, all their lives, the state had exercised a coercive monopoly in that field.
Libertarianism holds that the removal of the state from education is a reform needed more urgently than most; and that all education should be private, non-compulsory, and paid for by the parents whose children are receiving it.