4 Things You Probably Never Knew About John Stuart Mill
, 20 May 2016
Brief introduction to Mill followed by four interesting facts about his life and thought
"Mill himself had a rigourous education, though he was mostly self-taught. ... He believed that well-educated people are best equipped to conduct themselves in a moral fashion in society, and so he advocated for state exams which all people would have to master up to a certain level. Mill was not an advocate for public schooling; he believed that it infringed on people's freedoms to force them to go to one state-approved set of schools. Instead, he advocated for a voucher system which would give people greater choice in which schools they could go to."
Against Sex Education—A Letter to The Humanist
, by Ralph Raico
, Feb 1974
Letter to The Humanist
criticizing Mary Calderone's views on sex education in public schools, presented in an interview in their May/June 1973 issue
"Furthermore, there are political reasons why sex education should not be permitted in the public schools, based on the existence of compulsory school attendance laws and use of tax money (by definition, money taken by force). In the present circumstances, a sex education program would be an imposition upon a captive audience of a process designed either to change or to reinforce certain sexual values, the whole thing being paid for by money taken also from those who disapprove of those values. Pending ... the repeal of compulsory school attendance laws, sex education courses in the public schools are a totalitarian infrigement of individual rights."
Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism
, by Jim Powell
, The Freeman
, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including his early life, editorship of The Freeman
, and notable books and essays
"Nock assailed one of his favorite targets, compulsory government schooling, which promoted 'superstitious servile reverence for a sacrosanct State. In another view one saw [government schooling] functioning as a sort of sanhedrin, a leveling agency, prescribing uniform modes of thought, belief, conduct, social deportment, diet, recreation, hygiene; and as an inquisitional body for the enforcement of these prescriptions, for nosing out heresies and irregularities and suppressing them. ...'"
Related Topics: Frank Chodorov
, Economic Freedom
, The Freeman
, The Freeman
, Henry George
, Thomas Jefferson
, H. L. Mencken
, Albert Jay Nock
, Franz Oppenheimer
, Franklin D. Roosevelt
, The State
, Woodrow Wilson
, World War I
America's Most Persecuted Minority
, by Murray Rothbard
, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report
, Aug 1994
Tells the history of post-millennial evangelical pietists (PMEP) or neo-Puritans and their crusades to ban pleasures such as liquor and smoking
"... since it would be clearly unconstitutional to outlaw the Catholic Church, the PMEP substitute was to try to force all children into a network of public schools, the object of which was to inculcate obedience to the State and, in the popular slogan of the day, to 'Christianize the Catholic' kids, since Catholic adults were clearly doomed."
Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman
, by Milton Friedman
, Brian Doherty, Reason
, Jun 1995
Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
"I used to argue that I could justify compulsory schooling on the ground of external effects. But then I discovered from work that E.G. West and others did, that before compulsory schooling something over 90 percent of people got schooled. The big distinction you have to make is between marginal benefit and average benefit. The marginal benefit from having 91 percent of people in school rather than 90 percent does not justify making it compulsory. But if in the absence of compulsory education, only 50 percent would be literate, then I can regard it as appropriate."
Related Topics: American Enterprise Institute
, Friedrich Hayek
, Frank Knight
, Ludwig von Mises
, Mont Pelerin Society
, Richard Nixon
, Ayn Rand
, Ronald Reagan
, Murray Rothbard
Can Mayors Solve School Problems?
, by Joseph Bast, Matthew J. Brouillette, Michigan Education Report
, 16 Apr 1999
Argues for tuition tax credits after examining recent and potential changes at the Chicago and Detroit public schools
"Ultimately, a mayoral takeover of schools is a short-term Band-Aid. Something more fundamental is required when only one-third of the students entering the ninth grade are able to graduate, and of those who do, fewer than one-half can read at the eighth-grade level or solve sixth-grade level math problems. The really substantive and lasting changes that are needed will occur only when families are empowered with the ability to leave a failing school and choose another."
Childhood Ends at Puberty
, by Charley Reese, 15 Apr 2006
Recounts the early life of Benjamin Franklin and argues for ending formal basic education by 13
"... we do young people a grave injustice [when] we keep them confined in the world's most ineffective public education system. ... To stretch out for 12 years so little knowledge is ridiculous. Basic education should be finished by the age of 12 or 13. ... Compulsory-attendance laws are another dumb idea. If parents had to face the prospect of living with their own children, instead of dumping them into the public school system, they'd make a better effort to teach them good manners. Without compulsory-attendance laws, a school could set standards and send home any student who failed to meet them."
Freeing the Education Market
, by Sheldon Richman
, Mar 1993
Examines the effects of compulsory public education on literacy rates and suggests market alternatives
"Before 1850, when Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to force children to go to school, literacy was at 98 percent. ... The schools were, at the very least, supposed to teach children to read. If after nearly 150 years of compulsory, governmental schooling, the literacy rate is lower than it was when parents freely saw to their children's education, what has been the point of 'public education'? ... The most revealing feature of public schooling is compulsory attendance. ... Nothing is less suited to an environment of learning than compulsion. The very idea of compulsory learning is ludicrous."
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz)
, The Freeman
, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"Why did states establish compulsory government schools? ... The government school movement gained momentum as politically connected Protestants worked to counter the cultural influence of immigrant Catholic hordes from Ireland and Italy. By controlling school tax money and enacting compulsory attendance laws, Protestants could indoctrinate millions in schools they controlled."
Related Topics: United States Bill of Rights
, Federal Reserve System
, Free Trade
, John Hancock
, Warren G. Harding
, Abraham Lincoln
, Right to Trial by Jury
Is Capitalism Why We Fight?
, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily
, 6 Apr 2006
Critical review of the theses presented in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight
, also inquirying about topics omitted from the film
"Yes, many Americans are historical illiterates. Next question: Why? Answer supplied by me: The greater and greater power of state education. The producers don't seem to understand the connection between the dominance of state education and the lack of even the most rudimentary understanding of history. American children today, in public schools that receive billions of federal dollars, often don't study history. Instead, they have social studies classes, with the result that many young people graduate from college without knowing when the American Civil War was fought."
Les Economistes Libertaires
, by Carl Watner, Reason
, Jan 1977
Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
"Molinari wanted private enterprise to provide all kinds of education, and he was against the establishment of State schools. Nevertheless, he thought that the State has the obligation to impose on parents the responsibility of educating their young. The act of voluntary procreation on the part of the parents makes them responsible for instructing their offspring. ... Passy reprimanded Molinari for his statist position, arguing that to involve the State in education in any way only opens the door to further intervention."
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 4: War
, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 22 Aug 2005
Part of a six-segment series examining The Prince
vis-à-vis contemporary U.S. politics; this article covers Machiavelli's simple advice on war and contrasts it with that of James Madison and Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan
"Even more important than the willingness of the press to play 'follow the leader,' the uncritical populace — 'educated' in government-controlled schools — eats up a steady stream of propaganda. The willingness to believe lies (even after they have been exploded) and to trust government authorities is a testimony to the true product of government-controlled schooling: blind obedience."
On Equality and Inequality
, by Ludwig von Mises
, Modern Age
Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
"... the United States embarked upon the noble experiment of making every boy and girl an educated person. All young men and women were to spend the years from six to eighteen in school ... Statistics show that this program has been put into practice. ... But the success of this plan is merely apparent. It was made possible only by a policy that, while retaining the name 'high school,' has entirely destroyed its scholarly and scientific value."
Piercing through Myths, Lies, and Stupidity
, by George Leef
, Future of Freedom
, Aug 2006
"Throughout the book, Stossel uses boxes containing one statement that's a myth followed by another statement that's true. His first such box in the schooling chapter reads, 'Myth: Educating children is too important to be left to the uncertainty of market competition. Truth: Educating children is too important to be left to a government monopoly.'"
Public Schools Have Flunked Out
, by James Erwin Norwood, Future of Freedom
, Jun 2006
"Force-feeding children the state's prescription for education is more about creating jobs for teachers than about educating students. In any event, no one can be forced to learn anything. Compulsory-attendance laws ... generate resistance and disruption by captive students, who are not interested in ordering from the state's menu."
School's Out: Get ready for the new age of individualized education
, by Daniel H. Pink, Reason
, Oct 2001
"Through most of history, people learned from tutors or their close relatives. ... Not until the early 20th century did public schools as we know them ... become widespread. And not until the 1920s did attending one become compulsory. ... Compulsory mass schooling is an aberration in both history and modern society. "
Self-Interested Defenders of 'the Peculiar Institution'
, by Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal
, 24 Mar 2007
"There were no government schools as we know them before the 1850s. Yet the generation of the founding fathers ... were literate beyond the dreams of most Americans today. How did that come to pass – why did de Tocqueville find America's working class the most literate on earth, when he toured America in 1831 – if 'only government' can make us literate?"
Test your freedom IQ
, The Orange County Register
, 18 Jun 2006
20 multiple-choice questions covering the role of government, free enterprise, taxes, property rights, free speech, religion, civil liberties, transportation, war and foreign policy, the Nanny State, gun ownership, education and immigration
"I would like to attend a public high school that has particularly strong math program and that is located in another part of town, instead of the high school where I'm currently enrolled. ... Good idea, the educational system should treat you as an individual and let you choose your school, although an even better idea is to shut down the current system of public schools and let a free market of private choices emerge."
The Brilliant but Confused Radicalism of George Orwell
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, 24 Jun 2010
Transcript of the Libertarian Tradition podcast of 16 Jun 2010; biographical essay examining the argument that 1984
derives in large part from Orwell's experiences at St Cyprian's, an English boarding school
"... Orwell himself acknowledged, 'everything that happened to me at St Cyprian's could happen in the most "enlightened" school, though perhaps in subtler forms.' The totalitarian essence of the St. Cyprian's experience — the experience of being dominated, bullied, spied on; the experience of being made to suffer pain and to look foolish by more powerful others against whom one had no defense — this could be visited upon a child at almost any sort of school one could imagine. It is, then, the compulsory school experience we have to examine, not just the St. Cyprian's experience, or the early-20th-century British boarding school experience."
The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise
, by Milton Friedman
, 16 Nov 1991
From keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after Friedman's admonition against Nixon's drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the observable, predicted results
"... the war on drugs is destroying our inner cities. But if I were to ask ... what is the next most important factor that is destroying the inner cities, I suspect a great many would agree with me that the next most important factor is our defective educational system, the terrible schools in our inner cities, schools which do not teach, but which are essentially places to keep kids off the streets for a certain number of hours a day. ... There are a few loopholes: private schools to which parents can send their children if they can afford to pay or, in the case of parochial schools, if they have certain religious views."
The Education Debate We're Not Having
, by Scott McPherson, 15 Nov 2006
"All this handwringing over the best way to pay for public schools distracts us from a far more important point: that we are dealing, first and last, with a broken system — and one that is inherently defective. Rather than patch it up with more money, we ought to try a different approach. Few dare speak of it, ... but an alternative to public schools does exist."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 3
, by Jacob Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Oct 2006
Describes Franklin Roosevelt's executive order confiscating gold and nullifying gold clauses in contracts, its constitutional ramifications and subsequent related history
"By the 1930s, most of the United States had been under systems of public (i.e., government) schooling for at least three decades. After years of such indoctrination, ... most of them nevertheless now deferred to the wisdom of federal officials to deal with such complicated subjects as economics, depressions, and monetary policy. ... The additional value of the public-school indoctrination was that it effectively immunized federal officials from having to bear responsibility for the consequences of their own wrongful conduct."
The Progressive Era, Part 1: The Myth and the Reality
, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom
, Feb 2006
Examines various aspects of Progressivism's "much darker tale", tracing its roots to 19th century Unitarians and pointing out Progressive support of prohibition and segregation
"According to Samuel Blumenfeld ('Why the Schools Went Public'; Reason Magazine, March 1979), the public-school movement that swept Boston during the 1840s was led by Unitarians such as Horace Mann. While Mann and his followers pushed government education at the expense of private schools, they were able to form coalitions with Calvinists and the Christian Protestant pietists, who saw public schools as a way to 'train' the children of Catholic immigrants who were pouring into the country from Ireland and southern Europe."
The Sphere of Government: Nineteenth Century Theories: 1. John Stuart Mill
, by Henry Hazlitt
, The Freeman
, Jan 1980
Critiques Mill's ideas on what are the "necessary" and "optional" functions of government
"'... Those who need most to be made wiser and better, usually desire it least, and if they desired it, would be incapable of finding the way to it by their own lights ... Education, therefore, is one of those things which it is admissible in principle that a government should provide for the people ... With regard to elementary education, the exception to ordinary rules may, I conceive, justifiably be carried still further ... It is therefore an allowable exercise of the powers of government, to impose on parents the legal obligation of giving elementary instruction to children ...'"
The "Value" of Public Schooling
, by Jacob Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Nov 2006
Examines public schooling, first comparing it to military boot camp and the draft and then discussing indoctrination
"There are two major values of public schooling, from the perspective of government officials. One, ... the means by which government officials can slowly but surely ... mold the mindsets of children into one of conformity and obedience to authority. Second, public schooling enables government officials to fill children's minds with officially approved political, historical, and economic doctrine."
What Do You Call Someone Who Wants to Get Their Hands on Your 5-Year-Old?
, by Vin Suprynowicz, 3 Feb 2007
"Even though these unpleasant and very costly outcomes track perfectly with the growing amount of time kids have spent in government-run 'schools' over the past 70 years, most Americans will look at you like you're nuts if you posit any CAUSAL relationship between these problems and locking our kids up in mandatory youth propaganda camps for ever more hours, days, and years."
What's Wrong with Public Schools?
, by Sheldon Richman
, Separating School & State
, 25 Mar 2005
Excerpt from chapter 2 of Separating School & State: How to Liberate Americas Families
"The compulsory funding of schools creates a distinctive attitude in school administrators and teachers that is not found in owners of shoe stores and other private enterprises. The people who come into the shoe store are potential customers, free to walk out without buying. In contrast, the citizens of a school district are taxpayers, who have no choice but to pay their tax bills. Sure, they can move to another jurisdiction. But they face the same compulsion there. Unsurprisingly, the school authorities treat the taxpayers differently from the way that a shoe-store owner treats his customers."
W(h)ither Public Schools?
, by Sheldon Richman
, Separating School & State
Chapter 1, made available online on tenth anniversary of the book's publication; discusses how even mild "public school" reforms are treated as "deadly threats", why a new vision is needed and the role of the family in educating children
"In the United States, the schools first insulted the Catholics. Later, religionists fought secularists over evolution ... Today, advocates of sex education and condom distribution battle with the advocates of abstinence. Those who would pray in school fight with atheists. So-called liberals want Huckleberry Finn removed form school libraries, while some fundamentalist Christians are uneasy with The Wizard of Oz and The Diary of Anne Frank. How can these disputes be resolved without someone's values being shoved down someone else's throat? They cannot. Public schools make those disputes insoluble."