There are many reasons to hate libertarians, all of them valid, but the most compelling reason is their totally misplaced self-assurance. Libertarians walk around sure they have gained access to the book of secret knowledge, while everyone else is staggering around in primitive darkness. In reality, modern libertarianism is mostly just window dressing for the oogily-boogily that comes from the Left. Libertarians start from the same misplaced beliefs about the human condition, but seek a different end.
A good example is this post from Reason Magazine (clown horn) celebrating the start of National School Choice Week. According to their website, it is “a week of celebration to raise public awareness of the different K-12 education options available to children and families while also spotlighting the benefits of school choice.” Reason Magazine is a big fan of school choice, so they are doing some celebrating of their own, promoting various studies about the glories of school choice.
Nowhere is the magical thinking of modern libertarianism more evident than in the area of education. While they don’t go so far as to embrace magic dirt theory, like their Progressive counterparts, they do believe in the magic of location. For example, the first bullet point of that post says, “Eighteen empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the gold standard of social science. Of those, 14 find choice improves student outcomes.”
Without reading a single study, anyone with the least bit of math and science knows that these studies are nonsense. There’s simply no way to net out certain immutable facts about the human condition, to isolate the effects of choice. For example, smart parents, who invest in their children, are much more likely to take advantage of school choice programs than dull or indifferent parents. Parents who like learning and value knowledge, will have kids who like learning and value knowledge.
The only way you could really test these various education theories, including school choice, is to do a twin study. One twin is ripped away from his parents and placed with some dullards, who are happy to send him to the local public school. The other twin is ripped from his parents and placed in a home with high parental investment and access to school choice. Then maybe you could get some useful data. That’s monstrous and no one would ever agree to anything close to it, so it will never happen.
Another point on the list states, “Ten empirical studies have examined school choice and racial segregation in schools. Of those, nine find school choice moves students from more segregated schools into less segregated schools.” Since we know the number of parents seeking to send their kids to majority black schools rounds to zero, this is actually a point against school choice for most people, but the modern libertarian has slugged down the multicultural ambrosia, so they can’t follow their own arguments here.
Look. Education is a function of biology. Smart kids tend to have smart parents and dumb kids tend to have dumb parents. Intelligence correlates with things like parental investment, peer selection, community involvement and so forth. The reason the kids at the school in the white suburb do better than the kids at the ghetto school is they came from better parents. Their parents built a stronger community, invest in their children and passed on their intelligence and social fitness to their kids.
The amusing part of the whole school choice debate is the Left fully understands what’s really going on here. Middle-class white parents want to avoid subjecting their kids to vibrancy. They will accept some of it, as long as the vibrancy has to pass through a filtering mechanism to weed out the really vibrant. The Left gets this, while libertarians and conservatives are drunk off their own fumes. If there is such a thing as “systemic racism” it is school choice. Everyone gets this except for the advocates.
This highlights the fundamental flaw of libertarianism. It’s the same flaw that has made Buckley-style conservatism utterly worthless. They accept the Progressive premise that there is no such thing as biology. People come into the world as amorphous blobs that can be shaped into proper citizens with the proper public policies and civic institutions. Once you take the egalitarian pill, the world stops making sense. From there it is an endless search for the right set of policies to make everyone equal.
The fact is, there is no fixing the schools. John Derbyshire brilliantly made this point in his global best seller We Are Doomed. Tens of billions have been poured into every conceivable education scheme. None have done anything to address the achievement gap and none have done anything to mitigate the inheritance gap. The best way to become a smart, educated person is to be born to parents who are smart and well educated. The schools can do nothing to make this happen.
That does not mean schools should be ignored. Public education, like public health, is a thing we expect government to manage. Instead of flushing billions down the drain fighting biological reality, vocational schools and the availability of jobs for people on the left side of the curve is the answer. No society can tolerate an excess of idle men, so fixing the schools in the ghetto means giving all those idle men something to do other than make babies, who will follow in their path. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.