Statist claim: The Poor Won't Be Educated


In a free society, where all schools are private, how will poor children be educated?


The best response I have seen from this is from Practical Anarchy, which begins by pointing out:

The great lie of the statist society is that the ignorant are educated, when in fact they are made even more ignorant.

And then, the response examines whether or not a democracy with public education is reflective of the general (or majority) will or not, examines both cases, and finds a free society to be superior in either case.

Whenever I talk about getting rid of public schools, the response inevitably comes back – automatically, it would seem, just like any other good propaganda – that it would be terrible, because poor children would not be educated.

A person will raise this objection with an absolutely straight face, as if he is the only person in the world who cares about the education of poor children. I know that this is the result of pure indoctrination, because it is so illogical.

If we accept the premise that very few people care about the education of the poor, then we should be utterly opposed to majority-rule democracy, for the obvious reason that if only a tiny minority of people care about the education of the poor, then there will never be enough of them to influence a democracy, and thus the poor will never be educated.

However, those who approve of democracy and accept that democracy will provide the poor with education inevitably accept that a significant majority of people care enough about the poor to agitate for a political solution, and pay the taxes that fund public education.

Thus, any democrat who cares about the poor automatically accepts the reality that a significant majority of people are both willing and able to help and fund the education of the poor.

If people are willing to agitate for and pay the taxes to support a State-run solution to the problem of education, then the State solution is a mere reflection of their desires and willingness to sacrifice their own self-interest for the sake of educating the poor.

If I pay for a cure for an ailment that I have, and I find out that that cure actually makes me worse, do I give up on trying to find a cure? Of course not. It was my desire to find a cure that drove me to the false solution in the first place – when I accept that that solution is false, I am then free to pursue another solution. (In fact, until I accept that my first “cure” actually makes me worse, I will continue to waste my time and resources.)

The democratic “solution” to the problem of educating the poor is the existence of public schools – if we get rid of that solution, then the majority’s desire to help educate the poor will simply take on another form – and a far more effective form, that much is guaranteed.

“Ah,” say the democrats, “but without being forced to pay for public schools, no one will surrender the money to voluntarily fund the education of poor children.”

Well, this is only an admission that democracy is a complete and total lie – that public schools do not represent the will of the majority, but rather the whims of a violent minority. Thus votes do not matter at all, and are not counted, and do not influence public policy in the least, and thus we should get rid of this ridiculous overhead of democracy and get right back to a good old Platonic system of minority dictatorship.

This proposal, of course, is greeted with outright horror, and protestations that democracy must be kept because it is the best system, because public policy does reflect the will of the majority.

In which case we need have no fear that the poor will not be educated in a free society, since the majority of people very much want that to happen anyway.
The same argument applies to a large number of other statist “solutions” to existing problems, including old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, health care for the impoverished, and other forms of welfare.

The answer to "Who will take care of X?" is always people that care about X. A free society just removes force from it. (DBR)

Private Charity vs. the State

Like any business in a free society, private charity would be competitive. This is a good thing, because the competition is for efficiency and effectiveness. What does that mean for a charity?

The customers of a charity are its donors. They want to see results - that when they give money to feed the starving, they get fed, and there's not a bunch of administrative overhead that directs money away from the needy. If they don't see that, there'll be another charity willing to take their money. How to choose which charity to donate to? Check their past results.

The customers of a state program are, well, nobody. They're hardly accountable at all. Their overhead can be ridiculous and still they run. They don't have competition - there are private charities that do some of the same things, but they don't get extorted taxpayer money given to them.

Which system would you trust, if you had a choice? Which one do you think would be more effective and efficient? (DBR)

The trend is toward home-schooling, especially since online curriculums are widely available and distance learning has become commonplace. [HB]

Related: Who Will Build The Roads?