Libertarians for the most part are reasonable and logical people. Although some views may be extreme, they are at least mapped out and discussed to their logical conclusion.
However, there seems to be an exception to this when it comes to views on education.
A recent video from Anarchyball declared that public school is child abuse because students are “threatened and shamed to conform.”
Libertarian Party Vice-Chair Arvin Vohra suggested, “Guys, we shouldn’t speak badly of rapists. Many people rape, and they vote. If we attack them, they might not vote libertarian! That’s how some of you sound when you suggest we pander to public school ‘teachers’ and members of the military welfare complex in order to not lose their votes.”
The Pholosopher added to this trend (of conspiratorial rhetoric towards education) by creating a video on five ways that schools brainwash children through reciting the pledge of allegiance (and comparing it to the Hitler Youth), and claiming that these students learn in prison-like environments.
The problem is that these arguments sounds like something straight out an Alex Jones rant; I am baffled that libertarians just blurt them out as if they are objective truth.
I would not suggest sacrificing principle for the sake of selling ideas to the general public, but these ideas are just plain false and make teachers out to be pawns of the government.
I currently teach in the Special School District, where my focus is on teaching children with emotional and behavioral issues, but I also have backgrounds in music education and elementary general education.
When I see libertarians, most of whom have no experience working in public schools, calling educators abusers and comparing them to rapists, it’s infuriating.
Anti-education arguments appear to fall into the trap that I see so many libertarians fall; that if something is state-funded or administered it is inherently bad and violent, and anything involved in it has to be contributing to the evil.
These libertarians have a commonality with leftists who believe that anyone complicit in fighting privilege or racism is inherently contributing towards it.
For an ideology that declares itself to be one of logic and principle, these statements come across as a cop out for actually talking to educators and seeing how a classroom is run.
Teachers don’t want to turn every kid into a perfectly sculpted robot who can parrot every lesson with accuracy and it is not common practice for students to all be taught in the same way year after year.
So, in an effort to dispel the myths and falsehoods that have appeared in recent libertarian rhetoric, I am going to write a series of articles explaining common practices in teaching and the reasoning behind each practice.
Not every teacher is abusing children or teaching for the sake of creating obedient citizens for big brother to use in future elections and legislation. I would go as far to argue that many teachers aren’t politically involved enough to have that be even an afterthought in their career.
We need to be better as libertarians and striving to constantly improve our ideas, let’s start with the thing that sparks the most boogeymen: education.
* Luke Henderson is a composer, economics enthusiast and educator in St. Louis, MO. He is a budding Libertarian, joining the party in 2016, and has contributed to Being Libertarian and The Libertarian Vindicator, in addition to being an editor for the Libertarian Coalition.