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November 10, 2002
Some thoughts from the LA/LI conference

Yesterday was day one of the Libertarian Alliance/Libertarian International conference at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place. I attended, but had not expected to get anything from it to say on this blog. However, Professor Christie Davies (author of among many other things this) proved me wrong.

Davies, who was a last minute replacement speaker, talking about Equality, mentioned how raising the school leaving age has increased violence in schools, by imprisoning frustrated low IQ man-boy hulks who then take it out on their teachers. Do you know, he asked, which state in the USA has the most school violence? We didn't of course, and he told us the answer: Hawaii. That's because the many Japanese people living in that state, fanatical about the virtues of education no matter what, have caused the school leaving age to be eighteen, no less. The other ethnic groups, not sharing the Japanese passion for education, are the ones directly responsible for this distressing statistic.

One other thing. During the Q&A after Davies' talk, he had an interchange with Sarah Lawrence (of Taking Children Seriously), who had been the first speaker at the conference, but who had talked about the similarity between political and parental tyranny, along the lines of a publication soon to be available on line from the Libertarian Alliance. They talked about education vouchers. And I discovered that I think I oppose the idea of education vouchers. This is because vouchers will necessarily involve the government roaming the land, deciding what is and what is not a school. And the less of that they do, the better. If the vouchers people ever get what they want, look out home schoolers. In fact look out any place where the people there think they're doing education, but which the government does not now control.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:10 AM
Category: Home education

Lets suppose an implausible but possible "best case": the government decides the definition of "education" is up to the parents and rather than giving vouchers, gives straight up cash-in-hand without even a requirement to itemize and justify purchases.

Q. where is the money *coming from*?

A. those same parents, as taxes - after much of it has been frittered on the actual mechanics of tax collection and allocation. Private charities are only able to deliver pennies in the donated pound to their intended recipient; is the government any more efficient? I doubt it.

All that any tax-and-spend plan amounts to in the final accounting, is welfare for government employees.

Comment by: Julian Morrison on November 10, 2002 06:36 PM

I agree with Julian.

Every child already has access to "free" (paid for by the taxpayers) education in the public schools. If parents want their child to be educated some other way, that's fine, but then they need to provide it without my tax dollars.

My daughter attended parochial school for k-6 grade. They had an "awards mass" every six weeks, when report cards came out, to recognize kids who'd made honor roll. I remember once hearing the principal speaking sternly to the kids, telling them that the teachers said they weren't doing their homework and so forth, and that their parents were paying good money for their education and they needed to justify that. I can't see vouchers supporting the same argument.

Comment by: Laura on November 12, 2002 11:32 PM
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