Thursday, August 29, 2013

Revisiting the Classics (8-29-2013)

Here, dear readers of Letter of Liberty, is my third edition of the Revisiting the Classics edition.

For this week's Revisiting the Classics, I will focus on some resources on education

"Education: Free and Compulsory" by Murray N. Rothbard: In this classic essay, Murray Rothbard looks at education from the libertarian standpoint and makes a compelling argument against public education.

"On Moral Education" by Herbert Spencer: This classic essay deals with the nature of moral education in light of the issue of education that is alive within the libertarian movement.

"The Political Foundations of Peace" by Ludwig von Mises: This chapter from his classic book Liberalism (which I highly recommend) deals with how to lay the foundations for peace, and he touches on the subject of education. Here he advocates for the total separation of education and the state.

"The Public School Movement vs. The Libertarian Tradition" by Joel Spring: This classic article from the Journal of Libertarian Studies pits the public school movement and the libertarian tradition as enemies of each other.

"What If Public Schools Were Abolished?" by Lew Rockwell: This is a modern-day classic, published just five years ago, but just as relevant for our times and for all times.

"A Real Education" by James Ostrowski: This classic 2001 article shows how the free market system can provide a real education for our children.

"Reflections on Education" by Albert Jay Nock: Excerpted from Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, Nock gives his reflection on State education. I particularly liked this statement of his: "Our system was founded in all good faith that universal elementary education would make a citizenry more intelligent; whereas most obviously it has done nothing of the kind. The general level of intelligence in our citizenry stands exactly where it stood when the system was established. The promoters of our system, Mr. Jefferson among them, did not know, and could not know, because the fact had not been determined, that the average age at which the development of intelligence is arrested lies somewhere between twelve and thirteen years." I also liked this one: "If it had done nothing to raise the general level of intelligence, it had succeeded in making our citizenry much more easily gullible. It tended powerfully to focus the credulousness of Homo sapiens upon the printed word, and to confirm him in the crude authoritarian or fetishistic spirit which one sees most highly developed, perhaps, in the habitual reader of newspapers. By being inured to taking as true whatever he read in his schoolbooks and whatever his teachers told him, he is bred to a habit of unthinking acquiescence, rather than to an exercise of such intelligence as he may have. In later life he puts this habit at the unreasoning service of his prejudices. Having not the slightest sense of what constitutes a competent authority, he tends to take as authoritative whatever best falls in with his own disorderly imaginings."

"Toward Freedom of Choice in Education" by Joseph R. Peden: A classic 1978 article from the now-defunct Libertarian Forum written by Joseph R. Peden, dated but still quite good. Don't forget "Shall The State Educate the People?" by Thomas Hodgskin, which is also included with the article. Look for Peden's article on pages seven and eight and Hodgskin's article on pages five and six.

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