Libertarianism is a political philosophy that extols maximum political freedom and autonomy of the individual, including the ideals of individual choice, freedom of association, and ownership rights to private property free of government confiscation.
Libertarianism views modern governments, with their reach and regulation of society, as an evil to be curtailed. Libertarians question why a government should be allowed to take their money (note the sense of private property) and give it to others in the form of welfare programs, research grants, health insurance and benefits, provision of a pension, and education. (Especially education.)
Libertarianism decries the law-making and regulatory power of government that attempts to guarantee the safety of food, the fairness of markets, financial and otherwise, the efficacy of medicine, the solvency of banks, the management of money and capital, accident-free workplaces, disease control, … it’s a long list of the many roles and responsibilities government has taken on.
A libertarian wants government out of people’s lives.
A worthy goal perhaps, but libertarianism has never caught hold of the American imagination because it is impractical for the world we live in.
Libertarianism would restrict government to the functions of foreign relations and defense, the only two functions for which it sees a collective effort necessary.
Persons such as the Koch brothers* extol the virtues of libertarianism. But that is not the goal they seek. If it was, they would not support school choice programs, which take the public’s tax dollars away from public school systems and hand them over to private operators of charter, religious, prep, segregation, and other academies not controlled by democratically-elected school boards.
Libertarianism denounces ‘government schools,’ but it does so because it pronounces that education is the responsibility of parents, not the public. True Libertarianism would end school taxes and place the burden upon parents to obtain and pay for the education of their children. True libertarianism would recognize the right of ‘choice’ as a parent’s right to not educate their children at all.
This is not the intention of the Koch brothers or other wealthy philanthrocapitalists who seek to control the population in order to enhance their wealth and satisfy their ambition. But libertarianism forms a useful mask for their true intention to erode the rights of ordinary people, to become the barons of competing fiefdoms (remember the Devos’ quote that “money is how we keep score”), and to roll back the New Deal that FDR ushered in.
Education is a key battle for the new American Feudalism. What education reformers push is not a libertarian call for individual rights in totality; it is a diversion of that libertarian-despised ‘confiscation of wealth,’ also known as taxes, and choosing who will use that wealth for the provision of education to the young.
The feudalists are winning. The idea of parental choice is appealing to the libertarian streak we all possess in some measure. What is lost in the volume of the debate over the choice options of charters and school vouchers is that parents are not choosing to fund their child’s education themselves. They are content to allow that to remain an obligation of the public.
Divide-and-conquer is a time-tested strategy for winning wars. It is also the strategy the uber-wealthy are using in their maneuvers to usher in a new era of feudalism in America. Charter supporters, charter opposers, parents looking for a good school, defenders of public education, journalists, teachers, and even politicians are being divided in the education debates. Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) is not discussing authentic debate over policy; he is recognizing the deep divisions being created in American society as people no longer care about truth in an objective sense. It’s about identity and winning, an approach to life and career espoused by Jacksonville’s current mayor, who likes to proclaim that “I win,” as he exchanges tweets with Richard Corcoran, the current education commissioner of Florida, whose hatred for Florida’s public schools is unbounded, who has made it his mission to see that a large majority of Florida’s children will be in charter and private schools.
To control education is to program the minds of the upcoming generations. That is why the privatization of America’s schools is a key objective of the uber-wealthy, the new American Feudalists.
That is why public schools, true public schools, remain a threat to their dreams.
In an upcoming post, GOT will explain the danger of public school systems to their goals.
The first post in this series, The New American Feudalism, which is an overview of the phenomenon.
*David Koch recently died so perhaps GOT should not use the phrase ‘Koch brothers.’ However, as David was a partner with Charles in pursuing the new American feudalism, it is useful to refer to both brothers as the feudalistic spirit of David remains with his brother in pursuing their agenda.