What It’s Like To Be a Libertarian In a Socialist Classroom; And How We Can Fix It

Not long ago, I would have identified as a Liberal – a staunch one at that.

It’s not as though this was an abnormality within my social surroundings. Even in the most conservative of Canadian provinces, the utilization of both cultural, and economic Marxist philosophy is more than apparent in our public school system (which I involuntarily partake in, just as a reminder).

I think it is important to note that my high school social studies class is described as “a course which encourages open dialogue and the spread of multiple perspectives”. At face value, this seems to be an accurate claim. Virtually every day we are asked to provide our opinions on governmental policy, from foreign policy to market regulation. We expect to have our opinions respected when we speak, and we give others that same respect. Of course, the claims of “open dialogue” is simply intended to produce a false sense of security to both students and parents alike.

Within the first week of testing, I was asked to deliver to my teacher a paragraph explaining why internationalism in government is a “positive occurrence,” and how the United Nations helps to prevent global conflict. Whether you identify as libertarian or not, the entire notion of a government-funded organization (public school) being able to spew such one-sided rhetoric without consequence should spark outrage; at least among those who are morally consistent.

I don’t necessarily believe that teachers should be prohibited from expressing their opinion in a classroom (a teacher is just as much an individual as the rest of us, and should have his/her rights protected under my country’s constitution). Where I object, is when any individual, teacher or not, utilizes the “monopolistic megaphone” that is government to spread their political ideology.

This is a pertinent topic, and I believe it is the most important issue that us Libertarians must realize if we truly wish to restore the ideas of liberty that the Founding Fathers of the United States envisioned. When I stand up in my – mandatory – social studies class and express the opinion that government ought to be minimized to its most basic form, I do not want a teacher (who is hired through that same institution) to be given the power to silence my speech or tell me that I am wrong – nor should you.

One of the arguments that got me started researching the liberty movement was the idea that individuals should possess the ability to resist tyrannical government. Whether that was in the case of gun rights, or just self-preservation in general, most Libertarians make it a point to remain ideologically consistent (or I would like to think so, at least); assuming we are truly uniform in our politics. The lack of justification for indoctrination through coercive measures, is obvious, and should not be a debate; regardless of whether you are an anarcho-capitalist, minarchist, or constitutional libertarian. Parents deserve to have dominion over their child before the state, and children deserve to live in a society that is free of governmental aggression. Individuals deserve to live as they wish, as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others, just as the Founding Fathers of the United States envisioned over 200 years ago.

Image source: LockerDome.

* Ian Bruce is a 16 year old high school student currently working to spread the message of liberty to his many peers. He has contributed to many of his local Libertarian rallies in and around Fort McMurray, Alberta, and aspires to someday be involved with politics at the provincial level.

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