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Policy Debate step 1 - Convincing my partner

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Wheylous Posted: Thu, Sep 15 2011 9:58 PM

I am in a policy debate league where each year we argue over a specific federal government policy. This year, we have space exploration and the USFG funding it more.

In previous years, I was miffed by the constant "Capitalism Kritik -> Need Communism" arguments because 1) I disagreed, 2) they were hashed.

Coming to AnCap, I am now less against point 2. I would like to run a novel  "State Kritik -> Need AnCap"

The problem is that my partner of two years considers himself a "rationalist", and today when I brought up the topic by having him watch GeorgeOughtToHelp, he said that he would not argue for a stateless society.

He said that the video over-simplified things.

His claim: without public school, he would not be able to afford an education, and would therefore be uneducated.

He said that it's OK to force people to pay for public education because public education is so beneficial and has such high returns that it erases the fact that you're taking people's stuff.

I began trying to argue with him but his ride came and he had to leave.

My question is "how do I respond in the strongest possible manner?"

Here is what I have so far:

- I read http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/25451.aspx and did not find too much of the same stuff applicable. Clayton's food example with grocery stores is not easily applicable because the product is cheap.

- There are websites which offer free schooling: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/home.aspx

- The same website offers a private education for around $15,000 for K-12.

- Free courses: http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/200-free-online-classes-to-learn-anything

- Free worksheets: http://www.schoolexpress.com/

- The Internet is full of so much free information

- Government crowds out private investment in the education market

- Voluntary tuition of younger students by older students

- Do people really learn that much from school anyway? Most people waste public education.

- There are libraries that people can use to learn

- Making class size larger by having big lectures of 50+ people would decrease cost.

- Churches taught people before (is this true?)

Thanks!

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hashem replied on Thu, Sep 15 2011 10:46 PM

1. If the market wanted it, they would do it. After all, it's their money the government uses.
2. If the market wants it, and government regulations make it hard/impossible, then the government is immoral and anti-economic.

The government is a mafia by definition and in practice. They impose their "services" on you according to their whim, at your expense, whether you like it or not. In the first place, if the premise for a government is that it protects us from crime, then this government is intrinsically absurd. And since the government is a criminal organization, there's no reason to expect it to provide better protection than a market that was allowed to function (obviously, there's every incentive for it to provide the opposite of security, that is, an ever stronger grasp on the economy). And since they are therefore the perfect stranglehold on the economy, then the more we reduce their reach the more effectively the economy can operate.

Who knows how we'd be taking advantage of space right now if the government wasn't diverting trillions of dollars to their dumb agenda. We'd certainly be doing it for less money, if we'd even need space at all considering the technologies we could use if the government stopped making them illegal.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Sieben replied on Thu, Sep 15 2011 10:51 PM

Here's a debate I did before I left ddo (because of trolling f~ckheads). It explains how debate is broken.

The problem for you is that anarchy is an asymmetric argument. It is volumetrically larger for you to prove anarchy than it is for your opponents to argue against it. This means you cannot win even if you are right.

Choose a different burden.

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I think you should either argue against the state or against public education  - the two are each so dogmatically entrenched that to debate both of them at once is an Herculean task. 

With that in mind I think that for the public education debate you should assume a minarchist state with no public education as the basis of your argument.  Then you can focus on some of the following points:

- Schooling is not the same as constructive education.  The vast majority of busy-work done in public schools is not retained by the students and will never be utilised in their lives.

- With a (relatively) free market in place, a lot of the vocational training would shift to apprenticeships and on the job training.  This would mean that the education of the young would be directed to employment in the market, rather than dependence on the state.  Currently a combination of subsidised schooling, labour laws (especially minimum wage), and general taxation and interventionism prevents this development.

- Socialising and monopolising a good raises its cost and lowers its quality.  Education is no different, and is in fact worse than other goods since it perpetuates its own popularity through statist propaganda.  The advent of the internet has lessened private education costs astronomically.

- People would generally be a lot richer under free market conditions and would therefore have to forego a lot less in order to obtain quality education for themselves and for their children.

- Assuming that people will not buy education without the state assumes that there is a complete lack of a culture of education.  If there is such a lack, there is no hope for the state to institute this - how successful are the schools in the worst neighbourhoods?  This is something that cannot be socially engineered by the state, but is in fact worsened by the state through welfare etc.  If somebody doesn't care about education, there is really no way to make them care about it.

- Americans were greatly literate before the institution of compulsory public schooling.

- The era in which America was the least socialistic was also the one in which there was the greatest amount of charity and philanthrophy.  There is no reason to think that this would not be the case in the future, especially if, as your opponent assumes, education is something that the vast majority believes is extremely important.

In general the result would be cheaper, better education without a huge waste of the resources, time and energy of all involved.  Education would be directed to desires of different individual customers, whether it is for employment or to simply to acquire specific knowledge - rather than the random grab-bag of crap forced upon uninterested students by the public schools.

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Anenome replied on Wed, Sep 21 2011 5:21 PM

Certainly, arguing for a stateless society is irrational :P So he's got you there.

But, as for school funding, there's fairly easy ways to destroy it as an argument. First you can reduce his argument to absurdity, about it being so beneficial that it's worth taking people's money.

Then cite the history of education. Schooling before government intervention was more effective and people did it and paid for it without compulsion.

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The other day I stumbled upon this great article on the history of literacy: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001460/146061e.pdf

 

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Sep 21 2011 6:54 PM

You and your refusal to accept that you're an anarchist :P

It's not as simple as you make it sound.

"about it being so beneficial that it's worth taking people's money"

He explicitly said that because we use force to take people's money we're better off than we would be otherwise, and that education more than makes up for the loss of money.

Schooling before government intervention was more effective

Any more evidence than this? (examples)

people did it and paid for it without compulsion.

His argument is that only the well-off could afford education and that he, for example, would not be able to afford one.

I suppose one argument is that if the market needs education, it will find a way to provide it for the workers. When there were no government schools there also really wasn't any need for much education besides reading and writing. It happens to be a coincidence that the industrial revolution gained strength at about the same time the state school systems were being established. Is this true?

 

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eliotn replied on Wed, Sep 21 2011 10:10 PM

"His claim: without public school, he would not be able to afford an education, and would therefore be uneducated."

This claim is too vague.  What type of education would he be unable to afford that he so desperately needed?  How would it leave him, as he said it uneducated?

"He said that it's OK to force people to pay for public education because public education is so beneficial and has such high returns that it erases the fact that you're taking people's stuff."

I see a possible moral double standard here.  Is it right to force people to pay for my food because its so beneficial (so I can live and help people) and has such high returns?  Is it right to force people to pay for something that is deemed "beneficial and has high returns", even if that doesn't affect them?  Also, there is a definite double standard in that government can provide public education, but if anyone else tries this, they are arrested and branded criminals.

The assertion that public education is beneficial can be disputed.  Emphesize the costs of public education, the amount of wealth it takes per student, and the amount of time it takes from someone's life.  Challenge your friend to show how public education is a benefit (to make the problem easier, have him start with himself), worth the stolen money.  Even if he can vouch for himself, that doesn't exclude other people.

Be prepared for the response that it helps you get a good job, often via college.  Jobs evaluate potential applicants on the basis of degrees, simply because they have no other way, as people don't do much.  Employers could easily switch to different, more reliable indicators if available.  Also, you can note how school does not prepare people for a job environment.

Schools are labour camps.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Sep 21 2011 10:34 PM

Yeah, I am thinking of an argument to say that his education hasn't really prepared him for whatever job he will take. For example, high level math is often useless for people, as is art history or European history. You can learn what you need for your trade in maybe 4 years of study (I dare say) with a focused curriculum, which drives costs down.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 12:22 AM

Wheylous:

You and your refusal to accept that you're an anarchist :P

How could I possibly be an anarchist when I accept a legitimate and necessary role for government? :P

Wheylous:

It's not as simple as you make it sound.

"about it being so beneficial that it's worth taking people's money"

He explicitly said that because we use force to take people's money we're better off than we would be otherwise, and that education more than makes up for the loss of money.

Right, well firstly it's immoral to coerce money, robin-hood style, for whatever cause, even for a good one. We should hardly need any argument beyond that one that compulsory public financing of school is unethical.

I could see room for a law that all children must attend school, as it could be considered a form of child abuse not to provide an education for a kid :P Certainly a mind is developmentally sensitive, and cannot be trained in adulthood as it could in childhood. But I don't think that would justify compulsory theft.

It would place a burden on parents to actually be responsible, and I think that's a good thing.

Wheylous:

Schooling before government intervention was more effective

Any more evidence than this? (examples)

Meh, don't care to do any research tonight so I'll concede that it's hearsay, for now and talk purely about principle :P Suffice to say that if a market for education existed now (as it once did), the schools would have to compete on quality of the product produced, ie: education effectiveness, which would lead to more effective teaching. Instead, we have teachers with tenure who cannot be fired or hurt for doing a poor teaching job. Free market education without tenure where incentives to teach well existed could not fail to be more effective.

Wheylous:

people did it and paid for it without compulsion.

His argument is that only the well-off could afford education and that he, for example, would not be able to afford one.

I'll direct him to Booker T. Washington's autobiography "Up From Slavery." It probably doesn't get more poor than being a newly freed slave, and his account of the desire and hunger for education among newly freed slaves shows that desire trumps cost in education.

An education can be had for virtually any price, only the means to the education would differ.

As for he himself, we would need to examine why school / college is so expensive (mainly due to government intervention), whether that contributes to teaching effectiveness (it doesn't, the highest performing private schools spend far less than the failing public schools, and the school spending most per student is also among the worst performer).

To say that he wouldn't have been able to afford an education without government help is like saying that he wouldn't have been able to afford cheese without government cheese-giving programs.

Gov backing of student loans has the effect of actually driving up the cost of education for everyone, of artificially raising demand. Meanwhile, supply is steeply constrained because there's not a true market for education.

A free-market education would in principle be far more responsive to clients demands (for education), and far cheaper for the schools would be competing for students including price.

Wheylous:
I suppose one argument is that if the market needs education, it will find a way to provide it for the workers. When there were no government schools there also really wasn't any need for much education besides reading and writing. It happens to be a coincidence that the industrial revolution gained strength at about the same time the state school systems were being established. Is this true?

Not quite. The industrial revolution was well under way far before gov schools were introduced. For one thing, compulsory school for children can only exist in a society wealthy enough to provide for basic survival for a full family with the children not working. An exceptionally poor society cannot afford to let children learn rather than contribute to production.

So, full-time schooling for kids is a product of a capitalistic, developed society. Compulsory schooling laws made legal what was already by then happening in actuality as a product of consumer demand. Just as minimum wage laws don't push up the wage but merely fall just under the floor of what the market will support (with some jobs being eliminated by it obviously).

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Clayton replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 1:48 AM

Free education is like anything else that is free, it is a charity. Charitable education was, indeed, done by the church in times past and, doubtless, by charitable individuals (a wealthy woman paying for an obviously gifted poor child she met to receive tutelage, etc.) Government schools are not charitable and they are not free - because they are funded from taxes. "Universal" education - like universal health-care - is the new catch-phrase which substitutes for the more accurate description: government education. There is no magical fairy dust that makes government education better than education provided by private firms with charitable donations (religious schools, schools for the gifted, scholarships, private philanthropy, etc. etc.)

Since the chosen argument is utilitarian, then the destruction of wealth cannot be waved aside. The primary utilitarian argument against government education is that it destroys vast amounts of wealth in the pursuit of a goal that could be achieved a zillion times over at the current price-tag of government schools. Like the income tax, the government school was originally justified only as a way to "help the poorest of the poor." And just like the income tax, it began to climb the socio-economic ladder until it swallowed the lower middle class and even now many in the upper middle class. But why is the general public (including many people who do not have children) being forced to subsidize the education of children whose parents could afford to privately educate them many times over, particularly if government schools were scaled back and the price of private education allowed to fall through increased production and competition?? Such redistribution substitutes the judgment of the social-planner for the judgment of the individuals from whom the taxes were taken and spent on government schools. This reduces rationality across the board which, in turn, impairs the division-of-labor and either increases the costs of production or slows the decrease in the costs of production, thus punishing the poor the hardest. The taxes which ultimately go to fund public schools (particularly those which flow through the hands of the Feds) are collected on the backs of anyone with a job, however destitute and irrespective of whether they've even decided to have children. Yet the benefits go to many in the upper middle class who still opt to send their children to the government schools which, unsurprisingly, are a little more swanky in the neighborhoods where the upper middle class can afford to live.

Of course, no one can quantify just how much wealth is destroyed by government schooling - the losses are unseen. But just because the losses are unseen doesn't make them go away and it doesn't make it any less destructive to rationality in the allocation of resources. And precisely because the losses are unseen and cannot be quantified, it is incorrect to attempt to settle the dispute by weighing the supposed benefits against the speculated costs - such a debate is meaningless jabber. Rather, the correct principle to apply is that of principled caution: First, do no harm.

Finally, I'll quote Frederic Bastiat, the master of refuting populist socialist arguments:

The State is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

 

For now, as formerly, every one is, more or less, for profiting by the labors of others. No one would dare to profess such a sentiment; he even hides it from himself; and then what is done? A medium is thought of, the State is applied to, and every class in its turn comes to it, and says, "You, who can take justifiably and honestly, take from the public, and we will partake." Alas! the State is only too much disposed to follow this diabolical advice, for it is composed of ministers and officials - of men, in short, who, like all other men, desire in their hearts, and always seize every opportunity with eagerness, to increase their wealth and influence. The State is not slow to perceive the advantages it may derive from the part which is entrusted to it by the public. It is glad to be the judge and the master of the destinies of all; it will take much, for then a large share will remain for itself; it will multiply the number of its agents; it will enlarge the circle of its privileges; it will end by appropriating a ruinous proportion.

But the most remarkable part of it is the astonishing blindness of the public through it all. When successful soldiers used to reduce the vanquished to slavery, they were barbarous, but they were not absurd. Their object, like ours, was to live at other people's expense, and they did not fail to do so. What are we to think of a people who never seem to suspect that reciprocal plunder is no less plunder because it is reciprocal; that it is no less criminal because it is executed legally and with order; that it adds nothing to the public good; that it diminishes it, just in proportion to the cost of the expensive medium which we call the State?

 

...

Read the last manifesto of one of the political parties, which they issued on the occasion of the election of the President. It is rather long, but at the end it concludes with these words: "The State ought to give a great deal to the people, and take little from them." It is always the same tactics, or, rather, the same mistake.

 

"The State is bound to give freely instruction and education to all the citizens."

It is bound to give
"A general and appropriate professional education, as much as possible adapted to the wants, the callings, and the capacities of each citizen."

 

It is bound
"To teach every citizen his duty to God, to man, and to himself; to develop his sentiments, his tendencies, and his faculties; to teach him, in short, the scientific aspect of his labor; to make him understand his own interests, and to give him a knowledge of his rights."

It is bound
"To place within the reach of all, literature and the arts, the patrimony of thought, the treasures of the mind, and all those intellectual enjoyments which elevate and strengthen the soul."

...

You see that the gentle hand of the State, that good hand which gives and distributes, will be very busy under the government of the reformers. You think, perhaps, that it will be the same with the rough hand, that hand which dives into our pockets. Do not deceive yourselves. The aspirants after popularity would not know their trade, if they had not the art, when they show the gentle hand, to conceal the rough one.

Their reign will assuredly be the jubilee of the taxpayers.

 

Clayton -

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Hard Rain replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 3:54 AM

In some places government education already costs more than top-notch private education; yet the standard of the education is so radically different: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzvKyfV3JtE

 

"I don't believe in ghosts, sermons, or stories about money" - Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.
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Wheylous replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 1:42 PM

For the record, this article from LvMI breaks down the argument of "private illiteracy" fabulously:

http://mises.org/daily/1425

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Wheylous replied on Tue, Feb 21 2012 10:39 AM

An old bump, but I wanted to add a few things I had found:

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/education-in-colonial-america/ (careful, this is an old example, and education today would certainly not be what it was back then. Yet this certainly works to dispel the idea that private education didn't and couldn't exist.)

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/can-the-free-market-provide-public-education/

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Feb 21 2012 11:56 AM

I don't think seen anyone point this out, but this might be a useful point to make:

The reason we have classes instead of individual private teaching is because it is typically believed that private tutoring is prohibitively expensive.  However, let's look at the numbers.  Tutors charge all sorts of rates, so let's settle on $60/hour.  Let's suppose a student is studying 5 subjects that require 5 tutors.  For 5 hours of private tutoring a week, that is $300.  For 40 weeks, that's $12,000.  That's what it currently costs the typicaly government school system to "teach" a classroom of students for a year.  Private school is of course however much you are taxes plus whatever the school charges.

Obviously, $12,000 is still expensive for many people (even if taxes were abolished), but two or three students could get together and pay a tutor to teach the 3 of them.  That would cut it down to $4,000!

So throw that at 'em next time they bring up costs!

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limitgov replied on Tue, Feb 21 2012 12:16 PM

its not the market's job, nor is it other people's job to make sure your friend got an "education".  I use that term in quotes because, there is nothing, NOTHING I learned in any college class, that I couldn't have learned online faster and better.

 

Either way, its not our job to make sure you're friend got an education, anymore than its our job to make sure your friend get's "healthcare".

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Wheylous:
The problem is that my partner of two years considers himself a "rationalist", and today when I brought up the topic by having him watch GeorgeOughtToHelp, he said that he would not argue for a stateless society.

Your friend's a poor rationalist. Whatever his arguments for or against a proposition are, he is still liable to contradict himself in arguing for a proposition which violates the ethics of argument.

In argument, there must be a set of certain norms that are implied by the very act of argument such as the acceptance of intersubjectively ascertainable truths (one cannot deny that this is so without affirming its negation to be true). These are norms and they constitute the logic of justifying arguments, ethics. So in resorting to argument, as must again be assumed to exist given the a priori of argumentation (that is, because one has the capacity to argue, he is able to understand what it means to make a validity claim- one cannot argue that one cannot argue), ethics must be assumed to exist as well as all arguments to the contrary would be to assert contradictions.

Contradictions in this manner are not the formal contradictions of logic (where one argues both P and not P, for example) but are made performatively. Statements such as "No one ever does anything", "I don't breathe", "I never argue", "There is no truth" et al would thus be logically absurd if one were ever to propose them in the course of argument because, performatively, these propositions must be assumed to be valid. On the other hand, these arguments could qualify as formal contradictions if one were to write down all the minutiae of what is to be assumed in the course of argument (as in, stating "two perpendicular lines constitute a right angle" is "assumed" as in a geometrical proof).

In arguing, one must assume the private property rights that one has in himself as well as the private property rights the other person has in himself- otherwise, such activity cannot be recognized as argument. As long as there is argument, there is respect for property rights as a matter of ethics irrespective of what one says in their argument (the ability to agree that there is a disagreement is present). So, argument presupposes:

1) the NAP to be valid;

2) the natural (first use, first owned) theory of property rights to be valid. [Any argument to the contrary (one that favors the inititiation of violence- e.g. rape, murder, theft, assault, et cetera) must be unjustifiable since these propositions are contradictory to the ethic by which they are proposed.]

Furthermore, the very concept of justifying one's arguments implies persuading others to accept the plausibility of one's argument without resorting to initiating violence. It is not only contradictory as a matter of action, to assert aggression, but it is also contrary to the science of justifying arguments.

So now we move on to the actual contents of the argument as you have so handsomely summarized it for us.

Wheylous:
He said that it's OK to force people to pay for public education because public education is so beneficial and has such high returns that it erases the fact that you're taking people's stuff.

This statement of his, if left at this, is not an argument per se but a value judgment. There is nothing scientific here for us to analyze. There is no objective method of understanding what "high returns" are in the context of justifying public education over not-public education. We can objectively state that one is able to produce at a greater capacity with an appropriate education than without it, but there is no way to assert, as a matter of quantity, that public education is preferable to not-public education. This stems from the nature of economic calculation. Since the means of public education are socialized (Chicago cannot sell its public schools to New York) in public education, one cannot tell what returns it is making on the supposed "investment" of these goods in public education. In short, there is no possible way to calculate returns, much less make a judgment as to whether profits or losses are being made in this "investment." Also, there is no "investment" being made, properly understood (i.e. voluntarily deferring consmumption of economic resources for future production purposes)

On the contrary, we can infer that since all government bodies by definition depend on the use of aggression in order to sustain, these institutions would not exist on the market (the institutions, not the function they serve) as markets involve the voluntary interactions of individuals.

As a matter of argument, we can now analyze his second assertion that "it is OK to force people to pay for public education" is a, likewise to asserting that "people never do anything", an ethical absurdity (although, asserting the former would still be slightly less ethically absurd than the latter as we shall see).

To see why, we refer to the "Golden Rule of ethics", Kant's categorical imperative, which states that any norm must be universalizable. Norms cannot specify groups or classes of people unless the difference is ingrained in the nature of things and are acceptable by all. Taking the norm "All redheads must perform 100 jumping jacks every Sunday" would be met by opposition because it cannot be accepted by all for simply formal reasons. In analyzing your friends proposition, he must state that all people must be taxed in order to pay for education, otherwise his proposition would fail to meet universalization qua taxation.

However, in asserting taxation as a norm, your friend performs a performative contradiction once it’s recognized that taxation is theft. This is an easy enough proof- ask him what happens if he were to refuse to pay his taxes and nothing short of the state using varying degrees of force to seize his property would be the answer, and this is the definition of theft if the status of the state as "legitimate" is ignored or, more precisely, if any person acts in a like manner outside his capacity of an agent of the state. So he argues that taxation (theft) is justified. Our next step is to ask him whether it is justified for you to steal from him.

If he says yes, by doing so he argues:

1) I have property rights in my body (by the virtue of my being able to speak on my will);

2) I don't have property rights in my body (as it may justifiably be claimed as property by others who have property rights in their bodies by virtue of being able to seize my property at their will).

Contradiction made in universalization- not a norm, by definition. If he says no, he argues: 

1) Theft is justified (when done by the state);

2) Theft is unjustified (when done by the not-state).

Contradiction made in universalization- not a norm, by definition. 

So public education is ethically unjustified because the state is ethically unjustified because taxation is unjustified because taxation is unjustified because theft is unjustified because aggression is unjustified because it is contradictory and, in conclusion, we can see that public education is economically, argumentatively, and ethically indefensible, insofar as your friend has argued.

Public education, as it is now understood, could reasonably compared to slavery, but that can be left for another day.

And your links and economic arguments should absolutely, at the very least, allow your friend to doubt that public education is superior to private education. He seems to be referring to formal education alone, when making the contention (but, obviously, there would be no concept of what constitutes a "formal education" if it wasn't defined by the state), but here at the Mises website, for example, education is advanced totally free of charge and is above and beyond what would have been offered in most AP classes (American history, economics, philosophy, politics) in high school if they were offered at all. People must be capable of learning (the negation of this would be contradictory as causility must be acquired and understood) and in fact do so all the time by reading, playing, and arguing on internet forums. I've read that most jobs can be learned in less than a few hours as education offered by public school is unnecessary for the performance of most jobs (for example, I was never tested, in applying for work at a minimum wage job, the whereabouts of Luther's original posting of his 95 theses). And I believe you're right in saying that churches educated before public schools were introduced (the reasoning being: If the people can't read, then how will they read the Bible?).

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

 

If I had a cake and ate it, it can be concluded that I do not have it anymore. HHH

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Malachi replied on Sat, Feb 25 2012 2:15 PM
I think thats the most concise explanation of argumentation ethics I have ever read.
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Malachi:
I think thats the most concise explanation of argumentation ethics I have ever read.

 
Wow! What a complement! Thanks, Malachi- I really appreciate it!
 
I guess I should link to Hoppe's articles regarding the subject and recommend A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism as starters for the most enlightening explanation of the subject as well. So:
 
Argumentation and Self-Ownership (exerpeted from TSC; maybe EEPP, but I haven't read that yet)
A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (esp. Chapter 7: The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism is Morally Indefensible)
Breakthrough or Buncombe? (a few libertarian responses to Hoppe's UJPPE article, with a response to these critiques by Hoppe at the end; annotations by -I think- Kinsella.)

 

If I had a cake and ate it, it can be concluded that I do not have it anymore. HHH

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A relevant MP3 to the topic of government run schools is this:

http://mises.org/media/1437/The-Economics-and-Politics-of-Education-An-Interview-with-Robert-Murphy

My long term project to get every PDF into EPUB: Mises Books

EPUB requests/News: (Semi-)Official Mises.org EPUB Release Topic

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Anenome replied on Sun, Mar 4 2012 4:30 AM

There's a lot of assumptions built into his reply. We clearly need to go to a deeper level.

Wheylous:
His claim: without public school, he would not be able to afford an education, and would therefore be uneducated.

Seems to be based on that assumption that private schools are more expensive and public ones cheaper. But when you look at elementary school costs, the terrible public schools spend much much more than the best private schools. And places where the most money per child is being spent, namely DC, also has among the worst performing students.

Secondly, he can't know how the cost structure would change if public education wouldn't exist. We would argue costs would go down considerably due to mass participation. Similarly, he can't know how much more wealthy society would be if it weren't siphoning off tax money to pay for schools. He and/or his parents may have been wealthy enough to send him to school no problem.

A lot of the cost of schools is due to the limited numbers of them, accreditation controlled by the government. Get a free market for education going and you'd have competition for students, meaning the result would be the best combination of price, product, and efficiency.

Wheylous:
He said that it's OK to force people to pay for public education because public education is so beneficial and has such high returns that it erases the fact that you're taking people's stuff.

This assumes that either fewer people would be educated to the same extent in a free market for education, or that enough people wouldn't be able to afford it that the same outcome would occur. Neither of which is certain and quite likely the opposite. In the 19th century, when we did have a market for education, we still had nearly universal education. So where exactly is the basis for his claim? If anything we'd have much better education because today's Dewey system is focused on socialization instead of the, say, Montessori goal of rational conceptualization, of teaching students to think.

Beyond that, he's rationalizing away an evil means with a supposedly noble goal. No good goal can redeem an evil means.

Wheylous:
He explicitly said that because we use force to take people's money we're better off than we would be otherwise, and that education more than makes up for the loss of money.

Mere speculation. But the root cause, again, is his sense that the world owed him an education, a subconscious collectivist conviction, that he wouldn't have been able to stand on his own two feet and achieve what he has in a world more individualist than the one we're in now. It is the fear of a person raised passively in our current system. The him that might've existed in an individualist world might've been proactive and achieved a far better education. You simply can't say either way, so it's somewhat irrational to claim certainty of his particular conclusion. We therefore talk in moral terms over inductives.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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