This week, I’ve provided examples of how Libertarian politicians, though they seek the support of liberal voters, promote policies that are in stark opposition to liberal values. Education has turned out to be a particularly weak spot in Libertarian ideology. Libertarian politicians are promoting the idea of eliminating public schools. We don’t need to worry about the consequences, the Libertarians say, because children can sit at home on computers or go to work instead of being at school or join militias before they are replaced by killer robots.
Libertarians’ disdain for education seems to have roots in the Libertarian affection for abstract logical reasoning as a basis for political policy. Libertarians love to tell people who disagree with them that they are being irrational. Libertarian philosophy is the only rational basis for political policy, they tell us.
In an example of this prideful rationalism, Andrew Horning, Libertarian candidate for Congress in Indiana’s 8th congressional district, lectures us that, “Politics’ only rational role is to use its inherent violence for the defense of liberties and contracts; and against fraud, real crime, and in general, to oppose aggression or abuse of persons, property, or shared (unownable) resources.”
One of the weaknesses inherent in a political movement that is based upon abstract logical reasoning is that it tends to lead its followers into categorical positions like this one. Horning tells us that rational thinking leads to the inevitable conclusion that politics is good for nothing at all except for protection of liberty and contractual arrangements against aggression, crime and abuse. Every other project in politics, Horning suggests, is irrational.
Once again, education is a weak spot for Libertarians. All we have to do to test the validity of Andrew Horning’s broad claims is to find just one rational purpose for politics other than the one he listed. If we do find one, Horning’s argument falls apart. So, we can ask: Isn’t it rational for people to organize politically in order to establish systems of support for science and education?
We all benefit from a society that is scientifically literate and active, and well-educated in general. We can only reach a limited level of scientific and educational achievement, however, as individuals. For that reason, it makes sense for people to come together, forming political movements to support funding of scientific and educational institutions. Libertarians like Andrew Horning, however, would remove eliminate support for science and education, without any reasonable plan for an alternative.
Libertarians’ repeated political failures largely stem from their inability to come up with reasonable alternatives to political solutions. All they can offer is an abstract political philosophy that fails to deal with the reality of how people actually live. It’s this disembodied nature of Libertarian ideology that makes it so irrational. Logical reasoning only works if it is founded in reliable premises. The Libertarians, having failed to educate themselves broadly, leap to faulty conclusions on the basis of their ignorance.
As they blabber on with ridiculous ideas such as the elimination of public schools, Libertarians unintentionally become living examples of how important politically mustered public support of education is.