Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Bionic Mosquito Draws Some Bleeding Heart Blood

By David Gordon

The Bionic Mosquito has the idea, unfashionable in certain academic circles, that people who claim to be libertarians should support libertarian positions. On state-controlled education, the libertarian position is simple: it should not exist. Unfortunately, for some “bleeding-heart libertarians,” an uncomplicated answer will never do. The bleeding hearts, here also called “wine spritzer libertarians,” have frequently aroused the Mosquito’s wrath, and this time his target is Andrew Cohen, a political philosopher at Georgia State University.

Cohen claims to be sympathetic to the abolition of public education, but things are not what they seem. He does not oppose state testing of students or state funding for education. Would not these measures allow the state to control the educational system? Cohen then is “against” state schools, but at the same time allows the state to control the school system. The Mosquito appropriately remarks that this combination of beliefs is an example of Leon Festinger’s “cognitive dissonance.”

The Mosquito also notes that Cohen does not condemn state schools in principle. Such schools do, in his opinion, prevent harms. The question then becomes whether they do so efficiently. Again, the libertarian position that such schools violate rights is too simple for Cohen. Further, the Mosquito points out that it is much easier than Cohen imagines to show that state schools are inefficient.
The Mosquito points out that Cohen favors parental licensing, and here I think we have a clue to the source of Cohen’s philosophy. John Stuart Mill also favored parental licensing. Mill in addition supported state tests for schoolchildren and, more generally, talked about harms rather than rights. All of this, I suggest, is no coincidence. Readers of the Mosquito’s post will enjoy Murray Rothbard’s outstanding discussion of Mill in Chapter 8 of his Classical Economics.

The above originally appeared at LewRockwell.com.

1 comment:

  1. Neither the state, nor parents own children, but a tactile intelligence that engages the children must be the foundation upon which the young can mature as sentient free agents. It is the parents responsibility to provide a learning environment to the greatest degree possible, and it does not require an unlimited budget, but rather a well thought out series of intelligent building blocks to develop a child's mind. I would also hope that parents talk to children with a steady intelligence that telegraphs to them that they are worthy, and seek to engage them.

    The vast majority of parents I see when I am out in the public almost never provide a tactile, or engaged intelligence when dealing with the children they bore, but instead they attend their offspring with a crude indifference that is more damaging than mere neglect. The damage that is wrought by parents in the first five years of a child's life is extremely hard to overcome in any learning environment, and most parents can not wait to pawn their offspring off on someone else so their responsibility is eliminated in their own minds. There are multiple reasons that I eliminate exposure to parents and their offspring as much as humanly possible.

    I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I never made the mistake of believing we owned the children we conceived. It is up to the parents to ensure that whoever provides the later learning environment does not seek to mold the child's mind in a manner that takes ownership of the direction in which they will go. The designers of the competing educational entities that exist today have a wide range of political leanings from communist, communitarian, statist, conservative, fascist, and corporatist. It is up to the parents to ensure the children they conceived are free from any strain of propaganda.

    Finally, I can assure you I do not want the state involved in licensing parenting, but the unbound state ultimately wants to eliminate the rights of parenting all together. The air of authoritarian fascism is so thick now days that you don't need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows.