Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Has a Rothbardian Infiltrated the Department of Education?

By Robert Wenzel

Candice Jackson has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

This could be fun.

The left is going absolutely out of its mind.

Annie Waldman at ProPublica just wrote:

Although her limited background in civil rights law makes it difficult to infer her positions on specific issues, Jackson’s writings during and after college suggest she’s likely to steer one of the Education Department’s most important — and controversial — branches in a different direction than her predecessors. A longtime anti-Clinton activist and an outspoken conservative-turned-libertarian, she has denounced feminism and race-based preferences. She’s also written favorably about, and helped edit a book by, an economist who decried both compulsory education and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The economist Waldman refers to is Murray Rothbard but leaving the story there she attempts to give the impression that Rothbard is a racist, opposing the Civil Rights Act and all.

What she neglected to point out in her story is that when Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City in 1969. Rothbard wrote in his publication, Libertarian Forum, a cover story endorsing the Mailer candidacy. In the endorsement, he hailed Mailer's call to free from jail Huey Newton, the co-founder of the Black Panthers (emphasis in original)
Mailer's other positions flow from his basic libertarian insight. He is opposed to compulsory fluoridation of the water supply and  he favors the freeing of Huey Newton--both libertarian positions in the freeing of of the individual and the community from the boot of the state. (p.17)
In another piece from Libertarian Forum, in a  comment titled, Notes On Repression: Judicial Fascism,  he called out Judge Julius Hoffman for his treatment of Bobby Seale, the other co-founder of the Blank Panthers, during the trial of the Chicago 8:
What kind of a "free country" is this when a man is forced to accept an unwanted lawyer? Then, when Bobby Seale proceeded to defend his case anyway, Judge Hoffman had Seale gagged and shackled in court, to form a sight strongly reminiscent of Nazi or Soviet "justice". Finally, when Seale tried to escape his bondage and protest his treatment, Judge Hoffman quickly sentenced the prisoner to an unprecedented four years in jail for "contempt of court." (p.73)
Some racist. In fact, Rothbard was always about the individual against the state.

He most certainly objected to the Department of Education when he was alive and would have cheered a hardcore libertarian getting into the inner sanctums of the Department to tear it down.

In the end, it's clear Waldman knows this. She writes:
Jackson’s inexperience, along with speculation that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will roll back civil rights enforcement, lead some observers to wonder whether Jackson, like several other Trump administration appointees, lacks sympathy for the traditional mission of the office she’s been chosen to lead.
Waldman also notes that:
 Jackson takes over an office that has been responsible for protecting students from racial, gender, disability and age discrimination for decades. Under the Obama administration, the office increased its caseload.
Of course, as any Rothbardian knows, this government micromanagement just distorts the economy and is in the end not beneficial for even those it claims to help.

Waldman knows that Jackson understands this also:
In 2009, Jackson co-wrote a Christian country song with her father and brother, called “Freedom, Family and Faith.” The lyrics had an anti-government tinge: “Some politician wants our liberty/ They say just trust me, we’re all family/ I’ve got a family and hey, it’s not you/ Don’t need Big Brother to see us through.”..
During her senior year [at Stanford], Candice Jackson penned her objections in an op-ed, contending the university “promotes racial discrimination” with its practices.
“As with most liberal solutions to a problem, giving special assistance to minority students is a band-aid solution to a deep problem,” she wrote. “No one, least of all the minority student, is well served by receiving special treatment based on race or ethnicity.”...
In another article Jackson penned for the Review during her senior year, entitled “How I Survived Stanford Without Entering the Women’s Center,” she condemned feminism on campus.
“In today’s society, women have the same opportunities as men to advance their careers, raise families, and pursue their personal goals,” she wrote. “College women who insist on banding together by gender to fight for their rights are moving backwards, not forwards.”
As for Jackson's Rothbardian connection it appears very deep: Waldman reports:
After Stanford, Jackson “exchanged conservatism for libertarianism,” she later wrote. She did a summer fellowship at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a free-market think tank in Auburn, Alabama, according to an institute publication. The institute was reportedly founded with money raised by former congressman and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul, and is a leading hub of contemporary libertarian scholars.

While at the Institute, Jackson provided editorial assistance on a book of collected essays by the institute’s co-founder, economic historian Murray N. Rothbard. A charismatic figure who devoted his life to ideas, Rothbard died a few years before Jackson’s fellowship...

Rothbard’s 1999 book, “Education: Free and Compulsory,” advocated for a voluntary education system, denouncing government-mandated schooling. Currently, all U.S. states require students to attend school until they are at least 16 years old.

“To force these children to be exposed to schooling, as the State does almost everywhere, is a criminal offense to their natures,” wrote Rothbard. “In any case, the instruction has almost no effect on these children, many of whose hours of life are simply wasted because of the State’s decree.”

This was not Jackson’s only connection to Rothbard’s work. She also wrote two papers analyzing his theories. One essay compared his philosophy to that of libertarian novelist Ayn Rand. In the other, she wrote that his 1982 book, “The Ethics of Liberty,” “shines as a monumental achievement, meeting Rothbard’s goal of setting forth ‘a positive ethical system … to establish the case for individual liberty.’”
Jackson could be Trump's most interesting "regulator." She is going to have to be careful because the left will be gunning for her but she should take a lesson from Ron Paul and not be coopted by the system.

And she should read Rothbard's important essay, "What is to Be Done?" which is chapter 1 in Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard, Rothbard is just brilliant here on how a libertarian should and should not compromise.

 Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of  EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics, on LinkedIn and Facebook. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.

(ht Christopher Barcelo)


  1. Wow!! Welcome, Candice, to the belly of the beast...to the swamp that never seems to get even modestly drained. A bright ray of hope, perhaps, in an otherwise dismal group of Trump Administration appointments.

  2. More like the belly of the beast has invaded a Rothbardian. Will be co-opted or will accomplish nothing in all likelihood.

    1. Boo, Dexter! Truly, that attitude is a non-starter. Don't you realize how far we've come? I'm an old man. When I look back at my twenties, I was the ONLY person I knew who even had HEARD of libertarianism. C'mon man, you gotta TRY.

  3. ─ Has a Rothbardian Infiltrated the Department of Education? ─

    Be careful who you consider a "Rothbardian". Trumpista loverboy, Eric Bolling, called himself a "Rothbardian libertarian" about 2-1/2 years ago during his Saturday morning Fox News show "Cashing In" while debating Objectivist Johnathan Hoenig (who is no longer a guest of that show). It was, of course, a total and complete LIE.

  4. We understand the interconnection of governmental issues, power and benefit. The Common source Agenda is not for advanced education to self-serve, but rather to "walk the discussion"