Brian Holtz // Sep 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm
Right on, Mike.
Mr. Blanton, try re-reading the title of this thread. It’s about replacing government-owned schools with tuition vouchers. When Ron Paul was asked point-blank on national TV about closing the government’s schools, he said that wasn’t his position. By contrast, here’s what I told the voters in 2008:
Government owning schools to improve our children’s education is like government owning supermarkets to improve our children’s nutrition. Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, Libertarians would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
You know very well that Bob Smither was a special case. The Texas 22nd is a Republican district next to Ron Paul’s, and in 2006 Tom DeLay’s resignation meant that no Republican could be on the ballot. Saying that Smither might have been able to beat the Republican write-in effort has nothing whatsoever to do with saying that the LP can win in arbitrary 3-way races. But hey, thanks for so dramatically re-confirming how badly you need to distort the truth here. So pardon us for not taking your word for it when you hand-wave about how you’ve allegedly reviewed LP candidate web sites. The fact remains that my 2008 campaign site advocated positions more radical than those of LP anarchists Tom Knapp, Susan Hogarth, Morey Strauss, and Dan Grow. Don’t take my word for it; see for yourself using the Internet Archive.
We’ll just have to agree to disagree about whether it’s a good thing for Glenn Beck to say he’s becoming more libertarian and to apologize for his past disagreements with libertarians.
Brian Holtz // Sep 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm
Paulie, the rancor is coming from people who call it unlibertarian for our candidates to propose tuition vouchers as a way to move policy in a libertarian direction — and who call for disaffiliation of any state LP that endorses such a candidate.
Food stamps haven’t caused grocery stores to lose their independence. The best thing about tuition vouchers is that they offer a dial for reducing school/state entanglement. That dial is already set at 100%, because even though 89% of kids go to government schools, 100% of parents are paying for those government schools.
With vouchers, we could follow the Tom Knapp model of cutting welfare from the top down, by means-testing the vouchers. What’s the analogous strategy without vouchers — close public schools in the wealthiest school districts first?
Brian Holtz // Sep 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm
Mr. Blanton, you were the one who brought up Ron Paul’s campaign in 2008 as an example of a “pretty radical” campaign, even though I quoted him denying he wants to “abolish public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies”. Don’t try to change the subject to 2006 just because you don’t want to compare Paul’s 2008 statements on education with my 2008 statements on education.
You’ll be glad to know that 100% of government schools have closed in every jurisdiction where parents have been given complete control of their children’s tuition money.
I didn’t say you lied about Smither; I just said that you misled readers here by cherry-picking a unique example. Thanks for in effect confirming that.
“Radical” is a relative term. If not being an anarchist makes me a “moderate”, so be it. If disagreeing with Ron Paul and saying that we should end government ownership of K-12 schools makes me a “radical”, so be it.
Now the voices in your head suggest to you that I think I’m a “visionary genius”. I tell you what: if you promise to stop assigning my name to those voices, I promise to stop butting in to the debate you’re trying to hold with them.
Mr. Knapp, I’ll just cut and paste the arguments you didn’t answer: The best thing about tuition vouchers is that they offer a dial for reducing school/state entanglement. That dial is already set at 100%. With vouchers, we could follow the Tom Knapp model of cutting welfare from the top down, by means-testing the vouchers. What’s the analogous strategy without vouchers — close public schools in the wealthiest school districts first?
And this: With vouchers, the government’s bureaucrats would have much less control over
* service boundaries,
* inter-district busing,
* admissions policy,
* capital spending decisions,
* textbook selection,
* curriculum standards, including treatment of creationism, the Bible, gay marriage, etc.
* testing standards,
* teacher hiring standards,
* union rules,
* teacher pensions,
* prayer in school,
* pledge of allegiance,
* school uniforms,
* religious calendar and observance,
* zero-tolerance rules for toy weapons,
* campus smoking,
* drug testing,
* PE requirements,
* etc. etc.
But of course, the issue here isn’t whether every single LP radical or anarchist agrees with David Friedman that tuition vouchers would be a step in the right direction. The issue here is whether LP candidates should be free to agree with Friedman without worrying about Tom Knapp’s “knives” or Marc Montoni disaffiliating any state LP that endorses them.
And lest we forget, the reason for this thread’s article was Mr. Blanton’s question about why big-name libertarians don’t associate with the LP. I cited the LP-radical reaction to tuition vouchers in my answer explaining why Cato keeps its distance from us. The discussion that has raged here since then underlines my explanation. Tuition vouchers are too libertarian for demopublican candidates to advocate, and yet not libertarian enough for the LP. No wonder Cato washes its hands of us.
Brian Holtz // Sep 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm
Readers here can decide for themselves
- whether “a great improvement over government schooling” is a “ringing endorsement” or not; and
- whether a libertarian campaign is “pretty radical” if it denies it wants to “abolish public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies”.
As for me, I’ll just quit while I’m ahead.
Brian Holtz // Sep 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm
You mean, like food stamps gives the government control over grocery stores — where they’re built, who they hire, what hours they’re open, their holiday schedule, etc? In the case of schools, I guess these are counterfactuals that we’ll just have to rely on our readers to evaluate for themselves.
My mention of your “knives” was to draw attention to the fact that you have them — all sharpened up and ready for Libertarians whose reforms you deem non-compliant with your abolitionist agenda.
I would suggest that Libertarians should generally be tolerant of an LP candidate’s proposals for incremental reform if it is supported by any of the leading libertarian think tanks — Cato, LvMI, Reason Foundation, Independent Institute, PERC, PRI, Heartland Institute, Friedman Foundation, and Institute for Justice. It’s ludicrous that LP candidates get excoriated by other Libertarians for advocating reforms that our libertarian think tanks are working so hard to promote.