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.
Ken 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.