He delivered this controversial address to Hillsdale College students and faculty during the fourth seminar of the Center for Constructive Alternatives, "Education in America: Democratic Triumph or Egalitarian Disaster?"
There has been a great deal said in recent months about corruption and pollution in the environment. Nearly all of the Cassandras predicting dirty death for humanity have confined themselves to the natural environment. Beer cans, glass bottles, scraps of waste paper, bits of plastic, cigarette and cigar butts, and a thousand variations of trash now strew the countryside, litter the highways, float on and foul the rivers, and mingle with industrial waste and sewage in an horrendous flood of ill-smelling, shabby looking, bad tasting, toxic impedimenta which are choking our water supply, coating our lungs, and driving us willy-nilly to the belated recognition that something may be wrong.
Since pollution has become popular in song and story, I want to adopt it as my subject, also. But my concern arises from corruption of an entirely different part of our environment.
Perhaps I can best define my target area by referring to a recent book by John Kenneth Galbraith, entitled The New Industrial Elite. In this chapter to the Galbraith literary portfolio, a considerable amount of time is spent in excoriating industrialists who are engaged in a practice Galbraith calls the corruption of the environment. He isn’t talking about industrial waste. He is talking about the presumed ability and practice of many men in business to produce the kind of output from their endeavors which essentially creates the demand for an enlarged and continuing output—something like the idea of creating conditions which can be cured only by the product put out by the fellow creating the conditions.
If this be environmental corruption, then I would like to point to a place where it exists on a large scale. There is an agency which has overtly and conspicuously engaged in the practice of corrupting our intellectual environment for many years. The institution to which I refer is the government school system, from pre-kindergarten to the most advanced university offering graduate education.
The major characteristic of almost all institutions of higher learning in this country is now the characteristic of government dominance, funding, and control. Although the educational edifice originally came into existence to meet a market demand, virtually every primary and secondary school, and virtually every college and university, has sought perpetual life through processes involving government intrusion and support. And so it works out that government institutions of learning have an output approved only by government institutions of learning. The market may or may not approve; it doesn’t matter. Backed by government and enjoying prestige that is unsurpassed, even in the halls of legislation and the military, the educational edifice becomes both judge and jury over the admissibility of its own product.
This is intellectual corruption. It is comprised of a number of corrupting practices, and I will take them up in turn.
1. Laws Regulating Institutions of Higher Learning
Each of the 50 states of the United States has laws on its statute books respecting educational institutions. Additionally, there are federal laws which overarch the individual state scene. Compliance with these laws is, of course, mandatory if one is to attempt to operate any kind of an educational institution. Some primary schools, nearly all secondary schools, and a large number of colleges and universities are simply instruments of government and operate without explanation or apology in this category. The fact that laws structure them is not at all strange since they are instruments of the law.
But there is a portion of the educational market that operates outside the government structure, free to rise or fall because of the manner in which such institutions attempt to satisfy market demands.
In respect to private schools, the laws of the state of Colorado provide an excellent example of what is generally true in the other forty-nine states. I refer to Colorado because of familiarity. Rampart College was organized under those laws. A “private” school is a proprietary school. The Proprietary School Act of 1966 in Colorado defines the matter in Section 3 (2): “‘Proprietary school’ means any business enterprise operated for a profit or on a non-profit basis which maintains a place of business either within or without the state…”
Further definition is provided in Section 3 (3): “(i) Private colleges and universities which award an associate degree, a baccalaureate, or higher degree, and which maintain and operate an educational program comparable in terms of academic standards to the state colleges, junior colleges, or universities referred to in paragraph (h) of this subsection. The fact that credits are transferable to a state college, junior college, or university referred to in paragraph (h) of this subsection shall be evidence that the educational programs are comparable.
“(j) A private school which provides a basic academic education comparable to that provided in the public schools of the state.”
It is made clear by the foregoing that the standard to which any private school must adhere is the standard set forth in the state schools.
That this is to be made compulsory is revealed in Article 21 (124-21-3) of the constitution which says: “Awarding degrees—notwithstanding the provisions of Section 31-20-5 C.R.S. 1963, or any other law to the contrary, no person, partnership, corporation, company, society, or association doing business in the state of Colorado, shall award, bestow, confer, give, grant, convey or sell to any other person a degree or honorary degree upon which may be inscribed, in any language, the word ‘associate,’ ‘bachelor,’ ‘baccalaureate,’ ‘master,’ or ‘doctor,’ or any abbreviation thereof, except a state college or university, private college or university, or a seminary or Bible college as defined in Section 124-12-2, and except a school, college, or university which offers courses of instruction or study in compliance with standards prescribed by chapters 28, 91, or 102 C.R.S. 1963.”
It will be stated that laws of this character are for the purpose of making certain that standards in our educational establishments are maintained at a high level. But there is far more to this set of provisions. What is clearly shown is that the standard, which has already been established, is that provided by government schools.
And thus, all educational courses and all recognition in either credits or degrees must be in compliance with those standards.
Now, if government were not engaged in education as an active participant, one might contend that the purpose of the government is merely that of overseer or judge; that it is going to provide a set of standards, and all schools must measure up to them. Government schools which compete with private schools are to provide the standards for all schools. The policy becomes punitive when the law goes on to specify that if a degree or credits are awarded which are not comparable to those offered in a government school, the perpetrator of this act shall be judged guilty of a misdemeanor and shall pay a fine of not more than $500, spend six months in jail, or both.
Let me draw a comparison. Let me suppose that the government goes into the grocery business and sets up grocery stores (which it is doing). But in addition, let me suppose that the grocery stores owned and operated by the government set up a structure of standards which is made mandatory on all grocery stores operating in the market. If you are in the grocery business, you must confine your grocery operation to the procedures the government invokes in its own establishments, or suffer the consequences.
If this were done, it would be clear that government grocery operations were engaged in controlling their own environment so that the only kind of grocery service you could expect would be identical to any other kind of grocery service. By this process, the government could make certain that no competing, marketplace grocery would be able to offer superior products. In fact, customers would not be able to detect the difference between a government grocery and a privately owned grocery.
Look at the innocent appearance of the phrasing that suggests that when degrees or credits are accepted by government schools, this establishes that the degrees or credits are comparable. Let me suppose that the government takes over General Motors and begins to manufacture automobiles. And in addition, it sets up standards applicable to the entire automotive industry. Then Chrysler or Ford, in producing a car, must submit the car to government-operated General Motors for its approval. If GM approves, then the competing vehicle will be sold. Otherwise, those manufacturing competing vehicles are guilty of misdemeanors and may suffer punishment.
Here is certainly an interesting example of the way in which governments, and specifically government-owned and operated institutions of learning, protect their own environment. They are able to demand comparable performance from their competitors. And if the performance is not comparable, the non-conformer can be punished.
2. Tax Support of Institutions of Education
The characteristic of all taxation relates to the loss of choice experienced by the taxpayer respecting his disposable income. The characteristic of any market system is that customer choices are made known to the entrepreneur so that he can anticipate market conditions for the future and produce more or less of any given good or service. Government schools, which are supported in whole or in part through the process of taxation, do not know, nor can they learn, the degree of acceptance or rejection of their product by normal marketplace methods.
In order to convey to a tax-supported enterprise that its good or service is being rejected, positive political action must be undertaken. This is never true of a market system. If an individual doesn’t like a product or an educational program, he simply refuses to purchase it any longer. He doesn’t have to take his valuable time and energy and commit them to organizing mass demonstrations, securing blocs of votes, voicing political fulminations, and the like. He simply takes his patronage elsewhere.
But when taxes appear in support of education, the weary taxpayer cannot express his disapproval of any particular service output. He is compelled to continue to support what he does not approve. Nor is it always possible to organize sufficient mass appeal to dispose of the process that is unwanted. So, if the taxpayer can no longer bear the product he doesn’t want, he must now continue to pay for what he doesn’t approve, while at the same time he seeks out a private institution and pays all over again to purchase what he does approve. Thus, supporters of private institutions of learning are paying the educational bill twice over. This is an interesting example of the manner in which educational structures corrupt their own environment. They cannot feel the pinch of economic rejection of their product. They are immunized against it.
Further, since there are laws that require attendance at primary and secondary schools, or at schools which are “comparable” in output to such primary and secondary schools as the government is currently operating, the taxpayer has really little or no choice in the matter. And by the time we come to higher education, the taxpayer has usually become docile and is willing to comply with whatever rules the government has evoked. It would be hard to envision a more arbitrary and rigid structure than what can be maintained through taxation for education.
But the story of tax support is not ended at this point. Additionally, the government has moved into other areas that are education related. Private as well as government schools may obtain government scholarship funds, funds for building new buildings, funds for research projects, funds for publishing, funds for advice and counsel, and funds for foreign exchange students.
In each of these cases, the taxpayer cannot withhold his support even if his approval is lacking. If he wishes to provide funds in any of these categories himself, in order to encourage the kind of program or service he does desire, he pays for these same things twice; once through government taxation and again through voluntary decision.
By all these means, the educational structures are protected against the input information from the market they allegedly try to serve. Thus, they control their own environment and make it possible to obtain perpetual existence even if their product has lost its appeal and even if rejection is nearly total.
Something more should be said about the one avenue apparently left open to the taxpayer: his ability to organize political opposition in order to bring about a correction.
The political method, except in rare instances, does not correct, it only redirects. So impervious to marketplace signals has the educational structure become that when political effort does culminate in a change of administration, the new administrator simply modifies the program in line with current demands without ever getting to the root of the question. He cannot get to the root of the question within the political structure. His job is to administer the existing structure along possibly more economical lines. Or perhaps he can place greater emphasis upon a given subject and de-emphasize other subjects. But he cannot strike out the tax support. He is in a position well up on the pyramid, and he cannot reach down far enough to dislodge the foundation.
Thus, even when new direction is provided, basic corrections which may be needed cannot even be considered. The environment is controlled. The institution is structured, and will continue to operate as a corrupted structure irrespective of surface changes.
3. Accreditation and Degree-Granting
The entire concept of accreditation is an environmental control concept. At its root is the assumption that the only persons capable of accrediting any student exist within the academic structure. Here is further evidence of the drive to prevent any feedback which might alter existing programs or purposes.
There are two methods whereby institutions of education are accredited. The first of these, the legal method, is revealed in part by the prior discussion concerning the various state laws governing the organization of schools. Additionally, there are accrediting groups which have been established geographically, and are composed of scholars and educationists who grant or withhold accreditation to schools within their stipulated boundaries.
These accreditation groups are not the instruments of government and hence cannot be viewed as mere extensions of the law. However, the personnel having the function of issuing this accreditation or of withholding it, are provided by the institution of learning directly or indirectly and not by the market which the institutions presumably are to serve.
This means that legal approval comes from the government, and scholarships approval comes from governmentally approved institutions. Through the years, the oldest and most prestigious schools have contrived to dominate the accreditation groups so that only professors holding recognized degrees and only educational materials which have approved by these same professors can serve as a base for accreditation.
The equivalent would occur if all customers for a given product were required to accept the quality control decisions made within a given plant or factory.
While it is unmistakably true that those who manufacture a product are usually more familiar with it than are the customers they serve, and hence in a better position to judge superior and inferior attributes, the fact is that no customer need be constrained because of a decision within a given plant whose product he disapproves. If he doesn’t approve of the quality of a good or a service, he signals his disapproval by refusing to buy.
But in the educational edifice this is not possible. The quality is determined within the structure, by men insulated from the market either by the coercion of taxation or by the structure-sustaining accrediting agencies, and any hint of rejection of the product or any complaint about its quality can be relegated to “ignorance” or to “crackpots,” and the matter loftily dismissed.
Through generations this same procedure has created a kind of intellectual incest. Professors tend to support those students who most closely reflect their own points of view and their own thinking. It is always flattering to any professor to find his views echoed. It is natural for him to favor those who will follow in his footsteps and repeat his mottos and clichés. To their credit, some professors have tended to disregard this kind of natural immortality for their ideas, and even to oppose it. But this is rare. Indeed, those with such hope for immortality begin to live with one eye on the pages of histories they hope will be written. Thus, a young man who will carry on the tradition of his professor is a jewel in the rough for the lucky professor who makes this find.
So it happens that our colleges and universities are still reading and debating the ideas expounded by prior authorities. And each generation of professors is as much like the preceding generation as the mold and the material will permit.
The practice of grading is a subordinate procedure that blazes the trail for ultimate accreditation. Only those with the better grades can be admitted to advanced class work. Only those who conform in large measure to the standards provided, or who can be taught to, conform, can secure superior grades.
Thus, the effort to protect the environment of the institution of learning begins with the first rating provided by a teacher.
Parents who look eagerly at report cards and at homework papers encourage the process of preventing correction. Even if they disapprove of what is being taught and how it is being taught, they cannot rejoice over a failure, nor can they reject their offspring who, looking for praise, reveals a high mark. Thus, the parents are caught up in the accreditation process and help to sustain the very insulation that places the educational system beyond their reach.
The grading process in a monolithic system is the method wherein the corruption of education erodes the life of the family with children in school. The student may have a good idea of what his parents like and dislike. But in school he is graded for following the lessons which on many occasions run counter to parental influence. By this process he is led to believe that his parents are “old fashioned” or just plain stupid. This conclusion is inescapable since the parents are merely earlier products of the same institution, and if they do have views derived from actual experience which cause them to differ with the views of the teachers, how simple it is for the teachers to establish that the bulk of all adults are ignorant.
Much of the parental influence that could be of great help in molding future men and women of high character is cut off by the grading method. And when the student obtains a high mark for adopting the view of his teacher, which view is diametrically opposed to that of his father or mother, the rout is complete when the parent praises the child for the high mark.
It will be argued that grades are comparable to salaries and wages. The student who works hard and produces results is entitled to some recognition. But if this analogy is valid, it follows that the student becomes the employee of the educational structure and will, of course, seek the highest wage or salary commensurate with his ability and the availability of the wage. It is doubtless true that the hand that holds the purse strings is the same hand that selects the policy to be followed. In a freely competitive educational system, this could be meritorious. For competition stimulates superior performance, and when rewards are made on the basis of that performance, we have the reality of the market place reproduced in educational channels. In a competing educational system, parental influence could be exerted in the decision to keep the young person in school, to take him out of school, or to transfer him to a school more to the student’s liking. This would provide the same competitive factors that are discernible in the entire market system. But when the educational system has been cast in concrete and the resulting corruption emerges, grades can become subtle means of coercing the free mind into an acceptance of conformity.
All grading must occur either against a fixed standard of excellence or desirability, or against the relative grades which others in the same class obtain. If the fixed standard is provided by the insulated institution, then the tendency will be to move all minds to the acceptance of a predetermined dogma. Whereas if the grading is on the “curve” and is merely a relative indication of the student’s position with respect to his peers, then the grade is meaningless as a test of the individual’s skill or ability.
The ideal to be sought would be to come as close to perfection as possible where precise knowledge is attainable (mathematics, spelling, rules of grammar, the physical sciences), and to come as close as possible to reality, truth, and beauty in areas where opinion, style, imagery, and speculation dominate the field.
In the former case, errors should be and can be corrected. A grade isn’t necessary unless it is desirous to promote students who continue to make errors. In the latter case, a grade merely reflects the views of the teacher as to the nature of reality and truth and his own concept of beauty.
It can be argued that the student should not become a mere reflection of what his parents desire. This is true. The student is an individual, and the purpose of education is to develop his latency, irrespective of his parents.
But the ability of a student in school to totally escape influence of any kind is wholly imaginary. Every student will be influenced by his educational experience. By use of the grading method, the student is virtually paid by his teacher to accept the tutorial influence.
While it may be desirable to reduce parental influence on occasion, it can also be desirable to reduce professorial influence on other occasions. By relying on grades within a school structure immune from competition, the professorial influence waxes in all seasons and the parental influence is doomed to wane and ultimately to be eclipsed.
Thus, by the practice of grading, further insulation of the institution within its structured pyramid is provided. The environment is so thoroughly controlled that voices raised in protest fall on deaf ears.
5. Record Keeping
Record keeping has in recent years been developed to the point of becoming an administrative art form. It is the process of keeping permanent data about each student so that reference can be made at any time in the future to the achievements and the peccadillos of the young person. He begins revealing himself to his teachers from the moment he enters the government schoolroom. Many teachers who are not truly qualified in human relations find their favorites and their “monsters.” All this becomes a matter of record. These records are among the treasures held by the headquarters of the educational edifice and can be used as a kind of polite blackmail whenever anyone becomes obstreperous. Further, such records have political usages and publicity potential of such a high order that many cower in fear at the thought of full public disclosure.
Here is another arm of the corruption that has not yet been fully employed, but which could turn even the most vigorous opponent of the mass-culture medium of government-corrupted institutionalism into quivering jelly and supine compliance. There is, surely, no red-blooded American girl or boy who hasn’t on occasion performed some prank, misbehaved, or failed an exam. All this is duly soaked up by the records system, and such information can be computerized, data processed, and fed out at will. This information is guarded as secret. Students have no access to it, nor do parents. If the student transfers to another school, the records go there first before he can be accepted. They are never to be turned over to the student. He gets his grades and a passing mark. Those who supervise him know all the little failures, all the detailed trivial nastiness, as well as all the good points. Nor are the records destroyed when the student finally graduates. Police have access, and so do political officeholders. The student is on his way to becoming an item of public property by virtue of his compulsory attendance at a government-accredited structure which preserves records.
It will be argued that record keeping is absolutely mandatory, for without it the teachers and the administration of the school will be unable to keep track of the student.
Ideally, the teacher must have certain basic information about the student, including his name and other vital statistics. But the student is never the property of the teacher and should not be viewed in that light.
Ideally, the student should never be promoted until he has completed the work offered in a satisfactory manner. When that has been done, records of the day-by-day confrontation are completely unnecessary. When the student is promoted, a note to that effect can be handed to the student and to the responsible administrators. That ends it. If there are intermediate records, they could be handed to the student or destroyed.
If there is some meritorious paper or something in the way of a contribution toward better understanding, such development can be published and thus preserved by any who are interested. Certainly, when the student completes his education within the institution and he is promoted, the voluminous documents that have accompanied his struggle become increasingly useless and futile unless they are to have political significance to others at a later date.
It is the informed man that education is supposed to assist in providing, not a set of well-filled files.
And while some small record keeping is probably unavoidable, the best procedure would be to reduce the amount to the bare minimum and surrender even these records when the student graduates.
By relying on records and on our memories, both of which are prone to attract the distasteful, we acquire successively worse pictures of each other. Error is the process by means of which we learn. All of us commit error. But when the error has occurred and the correction has been made, the fact of error should be forgotten and not memorialized. Record keeping tends to emphasize and make permanent the trivia that motivated progress rather than the progress itself.
Grading and record keeping in combination assist the administration of the institution in making decisions respecting promotion. But the effort is made constantly to keep the individual with his own peer group. He cannot be pushed forward too rapidly, nor can he be held back forever.
Thus, many who could move forward rapidly are kept back and rarely challenged by their educational experience. Others, who are less able, are pushed forward and promoted even while a long way from mastery of their subjects. Thus, their educational experience is largely one of frustration. The grades and the records, combined within a corrupted environment, create this tendency. If the student were viewed as an individual and permitted to move forward under his own impetus, neither the grades nor his records would be important. If an individual could not grasp the material to which he was exposed at a given point, he should remain there until he masters it. If he is not able to master it, he should be dismissed and not promoted.
To be entirely fair, it must be acknowledged that record keeping and the retention of the student within his peer group are most notable in secondary schools. Institutions of higher learning are far more prone to permit the individual to set his own pace and to use his records constructively.
It will be argued that there are exceptional students who are maladjusted, and who with guidance, based upon records of the past, could be assisted in reaching constructive, mature living. Maladjustment is not the province of education, but the province of the medical profession, including psychology and psychiatry. When records are kept by professional medical personnel within a market system, the records are guarded by professional standards which do not admit of political usage. If, of course, the professionals are ultimately reduced to operating within a government structure (a movement presently growing apace), then medical records will also become the property of the political mechanism.
When record keeping becomes a fine art within an insulated educational institution, the environment of the institution is further controlled and possible feedback inputs which could bring needed revisions are discouraged.
All of the foregoing factors culminate in the emergence of something we can call “the establishment,” status, or prestige. When a market system develops prestigious stature, that eminence in itself tends to influence the environment.
Educational structures are inhabited by an elite, trained by the elite, and perpetuated by the elite. Only the elite may validly bring criticism to bear. If criticism ever is brought forward, its weight is felt by some erring member of the elite who fails to conform, but the structure itself is preserved at all times in its ivory tower sanctuary.
This leads to reliance by the elite on authority, whether political or intellectual. The member of the elite who wishes to be credible must cite the proper authorities. If he cites writers or individuals who have not been accepted as part of the elite, what he writes is often ignored or simply ridiculed out of existence. Thus, members of the elite become increasingly incapable of dealing with ideas that are new or challenging. Everything must tie back to those who have been recognized and supported for centuries as part of the prior elite. This assists in controlling the environment.
Further, it leads to the employment of a special language virtually unintelligible to any but the elite. And each discipline develops its own language for purposes of creating both precision of expression and an air of profundity. Thus, it becomes increasingly difficult even for members of the elite, within their respective disciplines, to communicate across the barriers created by their specialized studies. A sociologist must learn psychological terms if he wishes to communicate with a psychologist. A physicist must understand the language of biology and chemistry if he cares to venture beyond his own sanctified area to these separate groves of academe.
This entire process of creating a disciplinary elite creates cultist cloisters like multiple cells in a hive of bees. But the overall effect is to create a structure of enormous strength and rigidity with an increasing air of mystery and profundity.
In actual fact, most of the ideas put forward by men of the cap and gown are essentially simple and easy to understand. But for the language and the ritual embodied in the process, most of the knowledge and much of the dialogue would be common knowledge and common dialogue with an entire citizenry engaged in discussing and absorbing the product. If an institution of learning were running in a competitive market place and not as an arm of the government, coffee houses and lounges in the finest hotels as well as on campus peripheries would echo to the fascinating verbalizings.
But this is not possible when a high elite priesthood of presumed wisdom is enthroned and protected from market feedback. The “mental superiority” of the existing elite passes without general communication or challenge. And once more the tendency is enhanced to shield from either change or development.
If there is an order of priority which libertarian activists should consider, at the top of the list should be the recognition of the necessity to change and develop the educational processes in this country.
What is needed is a total separation between government and schools. The tie that binds the school to the state, and the students to the school, is the tie that binds the student to the state. That tie must be severed.
The government school systems in this country now hold the center of the stage. The final result of this mismating of state and school can only be economic stagnation, moral decline, and human enslavement.
It should be conspicuous to any student of liberty that the time is ripe for decisive action. It is not enough that we know the truth, although knowing the truth is primary. The truth must now be applied if we are to attain freedom.
If we are to liberate ourselves from this unhealthy intellectual and economic corruption, then a number of steps could be taken. First and foremost should be the recognition by every young American of school age that education is not merely a matter of buildings, books, and the support of a professorial elite. Education is where you find it. Life is the great educator, and there is no experience of life which does not help us roll back the darkness of our own ignorance.
As a libertarian, and believing profoundly as I do that I have no right to make any decisions for any person other than myself, I want it clearly understood that in the remarks I am about to make, I am not trying to tell anyone what to do. I am only setting forth the obvious. What you decide to do is your business. Those who favor state domination of our lives have no such inhibitions. Their purpose is the accumulation of power, and although philosophically their position is windswept and sterile, they are able to obtain a cohesion among other statists.
We cannot and we should not accept any kind of political leadership and, consequently, we do not tend toward cohesion. The intellectual position of the libertarian is superior, and our strength and viability are found in our very lack of submission to a political standard-bearer. Nonetheless, a great gain can be attained when libertarians generally agree on the desirability of a course of action and individually volunteer to do all possible in the furtherance of such a course of action.
Now it is clear that the government school system operates in an intellectual vacuum. It is outmoded, cumbersome, corrupted, coercive, and stupid.
And I say this because I favor education, not because I oppose it.
We need to accept a long-range program—one that will take possibly five to ten years to complete—in which the best intellects and the finest minds of our young people evaluate the desirability of withdrawing from all state-run educational operations, insisting that a separation be made between school and state. This is an event I fondly hope to see take place, for it is coming. It must come.
The government-run educational structure is presently in turmoil. Its difficulties are so conspicuous that teacher strikes and taxpayer revolts relating to the schools are now common occurrences. Attempts are being made to placate disillusioned parents who wish to provide private education for their children, by recommending tax rebates. Another remedy proposes that students, rather than institutions, be subsidized, and that thereby government schools would be required to compete for tuition money on the same basis that private schools must compete.
But none of these upheavals or patchwork propositions offers any solution. Most of the existing ferment in educational channels is simply the futile effort of dedicated teachers to make a dysfunctional corruptive system work, or merely the bubble and froth emanating from a rabble, organized or unorganized, in its effort to win the power struggle.
The purpose of the libertarian is not to attain power, nor to see it shift into other hands, but to work toward the dissipation of all concentrations of power. The student who wishes to participate in this revolutionary concept of educational liberation is not being enjoined to picket, or to try to take over, and certainly he is not being encouraged to use violence upon any person or property for any reason. Rather, the libertarian who intends to be effective in this area will undertake to provide for his own education, in his own way, in his own time, and at his own cost.
Should any appreciable number of students elect to join hands in this endeavor, I believe I can predict the outcome. Provided a clear and concise explanation of the reason for the withdrawal is communicated and publicized, that withdrawal will have this ultimate effect: Instead of a fractured, fragmentized society, there will be a tendency for persons of various economic and political views to draw together here on common ground.
Businessmen and property owners now have complained with louder and louder cries of anguish respecting the increases in taxation for educational structures, can surely rejoice when they see prospects of their taxes being reduced.
Parents who have been objecting to the influence of certain professors and the general decline of the educational product will have to applaud when their offspring are freed from what the parents consider to be baneful influences.
In short, libertarian action in a total rejection of authoritarian and decadent educational processes, can have and must have a profound effect for good. For it is the government school system, with all of its attendant pomp and circumstance, its pantheon of professorial elitists, and its billions of dollars of annual expenditure, that has been a prime factor in producing the schisms and the fragmentizing of the American dream.
Let me repeat: The tie that binds the school to the state, and the student to the school, is the tie that binds the student to the state. What is needed now is the total separation of the student from all government schools.
You are the key factor. A future of love and beauty, with man as a dynamic, creative being, aspiring to unimaginable heights, is now dependent upon your courage and your dedication to the concept of liberty.
The costs may be high. They should be weighed carefully. But the peril to liberty at this juncture calls for the utmost in personal valor and dedication.
Do you really mean to be free? If you do, I have suggested a program of action that could turn the tide.