A new article of mine just went up at Discourse making a more detailed case for school choice. I focus, as I have recently, on how school choice is a solution to the ideological war for control over our schools, including how this problem was programmed into the public schools from the beginning.
Throughout their history, one of the deliberate goals of America’s public schools has been precisely their role in indoctrinating students from our multi-ethnic, multi-religious society in common values and trying to mold a common American culture—as defined and designed by a small number of elites.
But I also discuss the necessity of school choice for improving the quality of education.
Education is an area where personal choice should be regarded as especially imperative. There is nothing more personally important than the choice of how your kids are going to learn, the kind of school environment where they will spend their days, and the kind of values they will be taught when they are outside the home.
School choice is not just about choosing the ideological content of your kids’ education, but perhaps more importantly, it’s about the teaching methods and standards. Most of us, I would guess, care less about the exact ideological flavor of our kids’ school than about whether they’re actually learning the three R’s. I’ve sent both of my kids to a Montessori school where most of the faculty and most of the other parents are well to my left politically—but, particularly at the younger ages, that matters a whole lot less than the advantages of the Montessori method.
Instead, over the past century and a half, we have conducted a great national experiment in total uniformity, where every big fad—“progressive” education, the rejection of phonics, bogus self-esteem boosting, the current obsession with standardized testing—gets propagated either statewide or nationally until it fails. Then after it fails, it remains for decades thanks to bureaucratic inertia.
Finally, I continue to run up the flag for tuition tax credits rather than more welfare-state-friendly vouchers as the best mechanism for school choice.
Meanwhile, over at Symposium, I recently posted a discussion with Jeremiah Johnson about his pitch to absorb disaffected libertarians under the Neoliberal label and logo. The more interesting part of this story is why libertarians are disaffected: the takeover of the national Libertarian Party by an “alt-right” faction.
It is very hard to get a third party off the ground in the American system, and after trying for decades, the Libertarian Party suffered the fate of many small movements. The best, most serious, most talented advocates of limited government and classical liberalism tend to set their sights on breaking into the mainstream, leaving the small party to be taken over by cranks and weirdos. If you think I’m being unkind, you should look up some footage from old Libertarian Party conventions.
This year, however, the Libertarian Party suffered a worse fate. A party of harmless oddballs was taken over by malevolent oddballs: the “alt-right” racists and authoritarians of the so-called Mises Caucus.
Finally, I noted that while I am on vacation—I’ll be back next week—I will be mostly unplugged from the news, just as there is a series of congressional hearings on the January 6 coup attempt. I’ll be delving into all of that when I return, but the latest revelation from the hearings is deftly covered in a Washington Times editorial that I recommend to your attention.