by Benjamin Marks, Economics.org.au editor-in-chief

Editor's rant to those concerned about the combativeness of Economics.org.au»

Government schools teach fascism perfectly. It is time that think tanks, business and parents achieve the same success at their end.

For all its drawbacks there is one thing that government schools — including the so-called home and private schools that implement government syllabus — excel at. The constant discussions on the different ways government can interfere in schooling have all neatly managed to gloss over it.

What government schools have had immense success in is their ability to provide first-hand experience of what it would be like to live under national socialism. The examples they give for national socialism are extremely personal and distressing, giving the alert and inquisitive student much prodding and responsibility. No better wake-up call for students is possible.

I am not talking about where national socialism is discussed in the syllabus; the merit of it is far more subtle and lastingly impressive than that. It is not limited to the history syllabus; it pervades every subject, even sport (in the sports syllabus students learn about how government can help make people healthy). Nor is it limited to the syllabus, for its features can be found in every aspect of government schooling, from teacher training to funding and compulsory attendance laws.

The realistic nature of the exercise has gone so far that it is barely noticed. Indeed, most students fail to realise that there is anything to learn from it. That is how successful it is. No student in a government school would imagine bringing the perpetrators to justice, or that there is any justice to be done. It is just one of those great selfless acts, where the participants sacrifice themselves for the good of the demonstration and experiment. Such are the lengths that keen students go for the sake of science. Surely, there is no better way to defend the values and freedoms of our government than to demonstrate how oppressive yet popular it could be in a controlled environment.

However, there is one thing about national socialism that government schools have failed to teach students. It has failed to stipulate how to identify national socialism. To be fair, this is not the job of government, but of business and other voluntary organisations.

National socialism can be identified as a central coercive authority in charge of the socialisation of resources. So all government is national socialism, even if it has different connotations associated with it. Looking at what an action is, rather than what subjective values people attach to it, compulsory attendance laws are abduction or kidnapping, compulsory curriculum is most closely synonymous to brainwashing or indoctrination (though these terms are too generous to the stupidity of students) and compulsory financing is theft.

There is some teaching of capitalism against national socialism in schools, as a national socialist author explains:

[A] minority set of business interests sold their values and perspectives to the rest of society. The selling of these values has been so successful that most of us have taken them on board without any sense of having been brainwashed. Take, for example, the current case of the Young Achievers program where Australian high school students spend twelve months learning how to make a profit by starting up a company. Most of us tend to view this activity as unproblematic. Yet imagine for a moment that we change the subject so that students spend twelve months learning how to establish and run a trade union. Such an educational activity is likely to be widely denounced as biased, one-sided and “inappropriate”. Yet what has changed? In both cases a set of economic interests seek to have their values inculcated in the young. That profit over[!] community appears more acceptable is only one indication of the nature and effects of propaganda in our democracies. [Andrew Lohrey’s introduction to Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy, UNSW Press, 1995, pp. 6-7.]

There we have it. The young have been “brainwashed” to accept “business interests” in government schools. Oh no! To think that propaganda of “economic interests” could be successfully “inculcated” and “sold”. God save us.

Many think tanks pretend to advocate free markets. Some want government to be more flexible and allow more competition through a voucher system. Those who want a voucher system still have no objection to government control. Either the free market is preferable to government or it is not. Proponents of vouchers ought to quit their dilly-dallying and take a stand.

It is not without reason that free (correction: tax-funded) schooling is one of the ten key steps towards total communism put forward in The Communist Manifesto (the other nine we pretty much have as well).

We have seen that government schooling is national socialist and communist. Now we will see why it is bad. This will only be short, unlike school. In fact, the time it takes for the school bell to ring is all you need.

Because government does not allow or severely restricts competitors, it is difficult to educate against government. Suppose government was wrong; but this is blasphemy.

But suppose government was right. There would then be no harm in having it freely compete in the marketplace without any tax-payer funding whatsoever.

It is a fundamental application of the law of supply and demand that to forcefully limit competition will tend to result in a worse quality service at a higher cost. Government school supporters deny the truth of economics, yet they pretend that it is a good idea for economics to be taught in government schools.

Government schooling is detrimental to the poor. It limits the ability of charities and entrepreneurs to provide superior services. It provides disincentive for poor people to work or get a good education. But even if government schooling was useful for the poor, it does not follow that it should be compulsory for the rich (or the poor).

All this brings us to a crucial point that clinches the case against government schooling. Almost no government school students, graduates, teachers or administrators previously understood anything of what is said above or even bothered to consider it.

Teachers and others might be sincere, but they are not sincere enough. They have good intentions, but murder and manslaughter differ, yet someone has still been killed. This is all beside the point anyway, for we are talking about quality of education, not whether an uneducated fellow means well.

So pack your kids lunches and make sure they eat healthy food. Ask them how their day was. Encourage them to do their homework. Limit the number of hours they watch television. Talk of the importance of a quality education and how lucky they are to live in a free country that has such an intelligent population. Take care to wash and iron their uniforms. Be proud your child is going to school. He is your child, after all. Read the newspaper; show your kid that you are interested in current affairs. Hear about how former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard is an uncompromising defender of free markets. That’s the way, accumulate a library and display your university degrees prominently. Show them how well you have learnt from history, unlike everyone else in history, and explain to them why tyranny can’t happen here.

Government schools teach fascism perfectly. It is time for business, think tanks, parents and other voluntary groups to achieve the same success at their end. And students need to take some responsibility for their own learning too. They do not need to read extensively, complete a course at university or even read a book. All they need to do is be a bit more inquisitive of their immediate surroundings. If only government schools were as demanding as I am.

One possible course of action for students is for them to go on a mass strike. They could get an education instead or contribute to society and join the workforce. Their teachers make money, don’t have to attend school and still go on strike demanding more money. Students are far more justified to go on strike: they have far less say in whether they want to attend or what they want to learn, and they do not get paid. Perhaps the author I quoted above was not so far from a good idea.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Acquiescence
  2. Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians
  3. Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
  4. Government Schools Teach Fascism Perfectly
  5. Deport Government to Solve Immigration Problem
  6. The Drugs Problem Problem
  7. Self-Defeating Campaigning
  8. Gittinomics: Economics for Gits
  9. Exclusive Ross Gittins Interview on The Happy Economist
  10. Population Puzzle Solved
  11. An Open Letter to the CIS
  12. Principled Foreign Policy Options: Reinvade or Shut Up and Get Out
  13. WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Political Corruption Exposed!
  14. Feedback please: Is this worth doing?
  15. CIS and IPA Defend State Schooling
  16. A Thorough Review Without Spoilers of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  17. Dead Reckoning and Government: A Proposal for Electoral Reform
  18. Quadrant Defends State Schooling
  19. The MPS 2010 Consensus
  20. Slogans for Property Rights Funeral
  21. Government is Impossible: Introduction
  22. Government is Criminal: Part 1
  23. Exclusive John Howard Interview on Lazarus Rising
  24. Response to Senator Cory Bernardi and the IPA
  25. Earn $$$$$ by Justifying Government Against Anarchocapitalism: Survey
  26. Statism is Secrecy: WikiLeaks vs Economics.org.au
  27. One question the Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the Greens, the CIS, the IPA, Ross Gittins, Ross Garnaut, Ken Henry, Gerard Henderson, John Quiggin, Clive Hamilton, Tim Flannery, Catallaxy Files, Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Phillip Adams, Robert Manne, Michael Stutchbury, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Dick Smith are scared to answer
  28. Libertarian Philanthropists Should Exploit Tax Evasion Convictions
  29. Ronald Kitching Obituary
  30. The Minarchist Case for Anarchism
  31. Libertarianism in a 300-word rant
  32. Economics.org.au in the news again
  33. Libertarianism In An Executive Summary
  34. The Banking Bubble Blow-by-Blow
  35. WARNING: Libertarianism Is NOT ...
  36. Would Anything Possibly Convince You that You Are Living Under a Protection Racket?
  37. An Open Letter to Dick Smith
  38. Economics.org.au at 42
  39. "My boyfriend calls himself a Marxist and votes Labor, what should I do?"
  40. "He says if I leave him due to politics, I should leave the country too."
  41. No Booboisie at Gülçin’s Galt’s Gulch
  42. "Hey, Mr Anarchocapitalist, show me a society without government"
  43. The Three Epoch-Making Events of the Modern Libertarian Movement
  44. Government is Criminal: Part 2 - Methodological Individualism
  45. Government is Criminal: Part 3 - Subjective Utility
  46. Government is Criminal: Part 4 - Praxeological Synonyms
  47. Government is in a State of Anarchy
  48. Limited Government is Absolute Government
  49. Why the 2012 double Nobel laureate is coming to Sydney
  50. Exclusive Oliver Marc Hartwich Interview on Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  51. A Critique of the Opening Two Sentences of the "About CIS" Page on The Centre for Independent Studies' Website, www.cis.org.au
  52. An invitation for ANDEV members to the Mises Seminar
  53. Sell the ABC to Rupert Murdoch: Lid Blown on ABC Funding Disgrace!
  54. www.inCISe.org.au, The Centre for Independent Studies new blog
  55. The Unconstitutionality of Government in Australia (demonstrated in under 300 words)
  56. The Best Libertarian Film Is ...
  57. Launch Southeast Asian Military Operations to Free Australian Drug Dealers and Consumers
  58. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  59. Hoppe's Inarticulate Australian Critics: The Hon Dr Peter Phelps, Dr Steven Kates and James Paterson
  60. Vice Magazine Westralian Secession Interview
  61. Sideshow to Dr Steven Kates' criticism of the Mises Seminar: Davidson vs Hoppe on Adam Smith
  62. The Best Australian Think Tank Is ...
  63. Announcing a new magazine to rival Time and The Economist
  64. The exciting new Australian Taxpayers' Alliance
  65. Neville Kennard Obituary
  66. Contrarian Conformism
  67. An invitation for Dick Smith, the IPA and other Walter Block fans to the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar
  68. Westralian mining legend Ron Manners of Mannkal belongs in The Property and Freedom Society
  69. What would Bert Kelly think of the Mises Seminar and Walter Block?
  70. Bad news about the Mises Seminar
  71. Gina Rinehart Fan Club gives big to Australian political education
  72. Sam Kennard wins North Sydney by-election by unanimous consent
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Many correspondents have expressed their concern that the tone of Economics.org.au is too combative, and that it is not clear who our audience is and why we are so combative. The primary audience for this essay and this note is anyone associated with the CIS, especially those who write on state schooling. (We will deal with every other area in coming weeks.) CIS representatives have been published prolifically in The Australian newspaper and other locations on the issue of state schooling (most recently this). But many times these articles advocate not less government but more. For example, that so-called non-government schools (or students rather than schools) should receive government funding, which is like arguing that since some people receive government handouts, everyone else should equally, or that since the mining industry is taxed more than others, other industries should be taxed more to be brought into line. And this is from a think tank that claims to defend the free market, and to do so radically. So compare the CIS on state schooling and Economics.org.au. Which is more principled? Which is more congruent with Hayek’s suggested utopianism that the CIS claims to follow? Now, are the views of Economics.org.au likely to be published in such a location as The Australian? Well, we hope they will be. We try to make our writings more provocative, more readable, more lively and more principled than anyone else. We think that might give us a chance. We may well be wrong to treat our readers with the respect of giving them the whole truth in unambiguous language. But has the CIS ever tried? As for those who think we should accentuate the positive, this essay on schooling looks at what the current system does right.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5