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Libertarian Says Poor Kids Can Stay At Home Or Work Instead Of Going To School

Yesterday, I wrote about the kooky ideas of Jon Roland, a Libertarian candidate for Senate in Texas who wants to replace schools with militias of children, and then make those militarized kids obsolete with killer robots. In response to that article, some people have suggested that I was being unfair, using just one Libertarian to suggest that Libertarians in general ascribe to bizarre, irrational ideas.

It’s worth pointing out that I am not the only person who has observed that Libertarians tend to be a wee bit out of balance. Just a few days ago, the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Nevada resigned, declaring in disgust that the Libertarian Party is “infested with idiots”.

The thing is, there are plenty of other Libertarian candidates out there who are proposing programs of abandonment of education that are quite similar to Jon Roland’s ideas – and they aren’t all from kooky Texas either.

libertarian governor pennsylvaniaKen Krawchuk, for example, who is running with the Libertarian Party for the position of Governor of Pennsylvania, proposes doing away with public schools entirely, having parents pay for private schools instead. Krawchuk’s idea ignores one important piece of reality: There aren’t enough private schools to teach all of America’s children. In many places in Pennsylvania, public schools are the only schools in existence. In other places, the only private schools are weird Creationist academies run by religious extremists. Close the public schools in these communities, and all the kids will be forced into science classes where they teach that the earth is only six thousand years old.

Besides that, Krawchuk’s educational plan would exacerbate economic inequality by converting what is now a universal level of education into a luxury affordable only to some families. If parents are forced to pay directly for their children’s education, what would happen when their parents became unemployed? The children in such families would be forced to stay home, unschooled, at the very same time their parents would be trying to look for work.

What about the working poor, those families who, under Libertarian abolition of the minimum wage, have parents working full time, but earning only enough for food and shelter, with nothing left over to pay for private school fees? Krawchuk suggests “non-traditional alternatives, such as homeschooling, apprentice programs, cyber schooling”.

In other words, Krawchuk’s Libertarian education plan is to offer the very best education to the children of well-off families, while other people’s children…

1. Become child laborers
2. Try to learn by sitting alone all day, surfing the Internet instead of going to school
or 3. Sit at home all day, or roam the streets, obtaining whatever “education” they can from parents or peers who are themselves struggling for survival

It’s true that Ken Krawchuk’s educational proposal does not include Jon Roland’s details of children’s militias and robot armies, but fundamentally, the two Libertarian plans are the same: Destroy schools and let American children fend for themselves.

Krawchuk’s policy of societal abandonment isn’t limited to children, though. Krawchuk also wants to eliminate the legal protections that prevent corporations from killing consumers in order to make a profit. Krawchuk would replace environmental and workplace protections with “voluntary regulations”. Deadly implements in the workplace, and toxins like mercury and arsenic in our food would become legal under Krawchuk’s Libertarian plan, with corporations simply asked to please try not to be so nasty, unless they really want to be.

Libertarians who are wondering why their political party has failed to gain widespread support don’t need to resort to conspiracy theories about the New World Order, or old complaints about ballot access. There’s a more simple explanation: Americans love their children, and want to survive.

7 comments to Libertarian Says Poor Kids Can Stay At Home Or Work Instead Of Going To School

  • Tor

    This gem is particularly delicious…

    “Best of all, when parents pay for their own kid’s educations, they can see the light at the end of a very expensive tunnel. Certainly educating their own kids is expensive in its own right, perhaps even requiring a second mortgage. But once that loan was paid off, they’d be DONE with it. That’s much better than the alternative they face today, which is having to pay the property tax not only when they’re 40 years old, but also at 50, at 60, 70, 80, 90, on and on forever, not to mention higher and higher assessments with every passing year. ”

    Like, did it not cross his mind a lot of people can’t afford k-12 education? I guess they could just take out loans eh?

  • Bill

    Even if we set aside the very good arguments raised here regarding the inequity of requiring the poor to pay for their own educations, we’re still left with one unbeatable reason for public education. I hate to sound like a tea partier, but “as our forefathers understood,” a democratic republic can survive and work only if the electorate is reasonably well-educated. People who believe in ghosts, magic, and a flat earth, who aren’t capable of doing arithmetic, or of reading, and who don’t know any history, aren’t capable of forming sound opinions regarding our country’s direction. Thus, it is the responsibility (and self-interest) of a democratic republic to assure a baseline level of education for all its citizens. Without that, we might as well just cancel elections and hold seances instead.

    I have been paying property taxes, largely to support public education, for some 25 years now, even though my own kids have long since completed their schooling. It has never once occurred to me that this is unfair, any more than it is unfair that I have to stop at red lights. I’m happy to fork over the money because…like everyone else who actually believes in civilization…I choose not to be surrounded by drooling idiots.

    • Bill

      Krawchuk himself may be an excellent example of why citizens should be required to have some formal training in arithmetic. From his web site: “There are many things we can do to improve education, but increased state funding is not an answer because money is not the problem. A study by Standard & Poor’s show that one-third of the best performing schools receive less than the average funding, while the one-third worst receive more than the average funding.” Krawchuk fails to point out, of course (and probably fails to grasp) that the data he cites disproves his own argument, since it means that two thirds of the best-performing schools receive more than the average funding, just as two thirds of the worst-performing schools receive less than the average funding. Sounds to me like money is indeed the problem!

  • Bill

    Another Krawchuk gem from his web site: “Sections 3 and 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution protect our religious freedoms, something that all Americans take for granted, except perhaps Branch Davidians and people of Middle Eastern descent.” I can only assume that, if elected governor, Herr Krawchuk would feel it his Libertarian duty to start rounding up people of Middle Eastern descent…because Freedom!

  • RE: “Krawchuk suggests “non-traditional alternatives, such as homeschooling, apprentice programs, cyber schooling”.

    In other words, Krawchuk’s Libertarian education plan is to offer the very best education to the children of well-off families, while other people’s children…

    1. Become child laborers
    2. Try to learn by sitting alone all day, surfing the Internet instead of going to school
    or 3. Sit at home all day, or roam the streets, obtaining whatever “education” they can from parents or peers who are themselves struggling for survival”

    Many public common schools are already doing apprentice and home e-learning, so I think you’re making the same mistake as Krawchuk namely firing off without knowing what’s actually going on.

    Homeschools are doing well in the US and spreading, though this may be a big issue in PA.

    Libertarians are against taxation and should stick to that on this issue IMHO. They’ve proposed funding common schools with endowments so there is little need for taxation and/or exempting those few with a moral objection to taxation. Makes sense to me, and I think people should stick to that discussion instead of these ( at best) side issues of how the common schools are doing.

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