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Education, Free & Compulsory

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What is it about today's school system that so many find unsatisfactory? Why have so many generations of reformers failed to improve the educational system, and, indeed, caused it to degenerate further and further into an ever declining level of mediocrity? In this radical and scholarly monograph, out of print for two decades and restored according to the author's original What is it about today's school system that so many find unsatisfactory? Why have so many generations of reformers failed to improve the educational system, and, indeed, caused it to degenerate further and further into an ever declining level of mediocrity? In this radical and scholarly monograph, out of print for two decades and restored according to the author's original, Murray N. Rothbard identifies the crucial feature of our educational system that dooms it to fail: at every level, from financing to attendance, the system relies on compulsion instead of voluntary consent. Certain consequences follow. The curriculum is politicized to reflect the ideological priorities of the regime in power. Standards are continually dumbed down to accommodate the least common denominator. The brightest children are not permitted to achieve their potential, the special- needs of individual children are neglected, and the mid-level learners become little more than cogs in a machine. The teachers themselves are hamstrung by a political apparatus that watches their every move. Rothbard explores the history of compulsory schooling to show that none of this is accident. The state has long used compulsory schooling, backed by egalitarian ideology, as a means of citizen control. In contrast, a market-based system of schools would adhere to a purely voluntary ethic, financed with private funds, and administered entirely by private enterprise. An interesting feature of this book is its promotion of individual, or home, schooling, long before the current popularity of the practice. As Kevin Ryan of Boston University points out in the introduction, if education reform is ever to bring about fundamental change, it will have to begin with a complete rethinking of public schooling that Rothbard offers here.


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What is it about today's school system that so many find unsatisfactory? Why have so many generations of reformers failed to improve the educational system, and, indeed, caused it to degenerate further and further into an ever declining level of mediocrity? In this radical and scholarly monograph, out of print for two decades and restored according to the author's original What is it about today's school system that so many find unsatisfactory? Why have so many generations of reformers failed to improve the educational system, and, indeed, caused it to degenerate further and further into an ever declining level of mediocrity? In this radical and scholarly monograph, out of print for two decades and restored according to the author's original, Murray N. Rothbard identifies the crucial feature of our educational system that dooms it to fail: at every level, from financing to attendance, the system relies on compulsion instead of voluntary consent. Certain consequences follow. The curriculum is politicized to reflect the ideological priorities of the regime in power. Standards are continually dumbed down to accommodate the least common denominator. The brightest children are not permitted to achieve their potential, the special- needs of individual children are neglected, and the mid-level learners become little more than cogs in a machine. The teachers themselves are hamstrung by a political apparatus that watches their every move. Rothbard explores the history of compulsory schooling to show that none of this is accident. The state has long used compulsory schooling, backed by egalitarian ideology, as a means of citizen control. In contrast, a market-based system of schools would adhere to a purely voluntary ethic, financed with private funds, and administered entirely by private enterprise. An interesting feature of this book is its promotion of individual, or home, schooling, long before the current popularity of the practice. As Kevin Ryan of Boston University points out in the introduction, if education reform is ever to bring about fundamental change, it will have to begin with a complete rethinking of public schooling that Rothbard offers here.

30 review for Education, Free & Compulsory

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Peterson

    I read this in the 1980s and remember it VERY fondly. I have referred to it myself and many others to it since. It is not to be missed by anyone serious about education reform. This history is very little known, but so important and counter to most of the myths about government education or the needs and reality of a free society. It may well be one of the key books to set Andrew Coulson on to his very productive track on this issue. See his book on this subject to, as well as his wonderful docum I read this in the 1980s and remember it VERY fondly. I have referred to it myself and many others to it since. It is not to be missed by anyone serious about education reform. This history is very little known, but so important and counter to most of the myths about government education or the needs and reality of a free society. It may well be one of the key books to set Andrew Coulson on to his very productive track on this issue. See his book on this subject to, as well as his wonderful documentary video 3 part series: School Inc. https://www.cato.org/schoolinc

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Moore

    One of the best, shortest, and most devastating critiques of the modern statist education system. Great outline of the despotic origins and goals of the public school system and the importance of keeping the government away from eduation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    To get one thing out of the way: While Murray Rothbard is the father of anarchocapitalism, his views barely shine through in this book. You could easily mistake him for a minarchist, if you only had this to go by, and even then, he held back on trying to proselytize. I see that as a good thing. Why bring up more controversies than you have to? The result is a book that's incredibly informative for its length, and if you're just a bit open for freedom and liberty, you could benefit greatly from r To get one thing out of the way: While Murray Rothbard is the father of anarchocapitalism, his views barely shine through in this book. You could easily mistake him for a minarchist, if you only had this to go by, and even then, he held back on trying to proselytize. I see that as a good thing. Why bring up more controversies than you have to? The result is a book that's incredibly informative for its length, and if you're just a bit open for freedom and liberty, you could benefit greatly from reading it. Rothbard both starts and opens his book with his pedagogic views, which really shouldn't be as controversial as they apparently are. He stresses that because of the different strengths, weaknesses and dispositions of students, a one-size-fits-all approach to education is an absurdity. If you can afford a private teacher, or have the time and the ability to educate your child yourself, that's the best thing you can do; if you can't, then you should be able to send them to a private school that best appeals to you, as the parent (and foremost authority on what is good for your child, definitely more so than a random bureaucrat miles away who has never seen it). A system of compulsory schooling disregards not just the individual nature of the children, boring the children that are competent in a subject and frustrating the rest. It also forces them to spend their time with children that, frankly, may not be good contact, which supposedly serves to teach them "life". Rothbard sadly doesn't expand on this point, but then again, it's such an easy target that I don't hold that against him. Putting children in a room with delinquents and other toxic people and forcing them to get along with them, teaching them to compromise, but not to use their right of self-defense... who thought that was a good idea? Who thought that was a valid life lesson? Yes, this short passage of his really appealed to me. Some of the most venomous people I've met, I've met in school, both as students and as teachers. Years later, I either isolate myself from them, or I hold my ground against them. Both tactics were essentially forbidden in school. Afterwards, Rothbard gives a history of public schools and compulsory schooling. He says nothing against the Jeffersonian view that public schools are necessary so that all children have the chance to go to school, and instead focuses on compulsory education as the true evil. He convincingly shows that the history of compulsory education is one of religious fanatism (as in the case of Calvin and Martin Luther), authoritarianism and state-worship (the napoleonic and prussian model) and, lastly, all-out totalitarianism that would put North Korea to shame. That's not hyperbole. The last tendency was manifested in Frances Wright and Robert Owen, who demanded the state take care of children twenty-four hours a day, for most of their young lifes, with the aim of destroying their individuality. The last part is the only possible interpretation I have for the words of Wright and Owen, quoted by Rothbard: In these nurseries of a free nation, no inequality must be allowed to enter. Fed at a common board; clothed in a common garb...raised in the exercise of common duties... in the exercise of the same virtues, in the enjoyment of the same pleasures; in the study of the same nature; in pursuit of the same object...say! Would not such a race...work out the reform of society and perfect the free institutions of America? The only thing that keeps Rothbard's critique from being absolutely devastating is that he does relatively little to establish the superiority of his own (or even Jefferson's) alternative. So while I don't think anyone (save for hardcore totalitarians) will read this book without at least overthinking their views on compulsory education, I can imagine that they will see no alternative to it. This is why I give this book four stars, not five, but it was a close call.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Rothbard at near peak performance. Excellent short history of the roots of compulsory education in Europe and the U.S. Starts with the theocratic roots, and shows how the same ideas were successively adopted by militarist nationalists, state socialists, and eventually "progressive educationists" like Horace Mann. Pretty slimy business all things considered. Only criticism was that I wish it was longer and extended into the modern period. This is really just an examination of where compulsory educ Rothbard at near peak performance. Excellent short history of the roots of compulsory education in Europe and the U.S. Starts with the theocratic roots, and shows how the same ideas were successively adopted by militarist nationalists, state socialists, and eventually "progressive educationists" like Horace Mann. Pretty slimy business all things considered. Only criticism was that I wish it was longer and extended into the modern period. This is really just an examination of where compulsory education came from. I think I prefer to read historian Rothbard over philosopher or economist Rothbard.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Murilo Silva

    This is a short book (and for some reason the edition I bought was either sized for children or stupid people. I’m sorry, but the size and shape of the book indeed have me angry) divided in three chapters. First of all, it is written by one of the most prominent anarchocapitalists authors of the subject. And you must know that I have a very strong bias against extremist people like them (and communists, and fascists...). Anyways, let me start the review: The first chapter talks about how the stand This is a short book (and for some reason the edition I bought was either sized for children or stupid people. I’m sorry, but the size and shape of the book indeed have me angry) divided in three chapters. First of all, it is written by one of the most prominent anarchocapitalists authors of the subject. And you must know that I have a very strong bias against extremist people like them (and communists, and fascists...). Anyways, let me start the review: The first chapter talks about how the standardized education on public and private schools is a violence towards the students and making education compulsory is a method of control by the State. It is true that Rothbard presents interesting arguments such as that every kid is different, and thus have a group of abilities and preferences that differ from all other kids, so, leveling all children and giving them the same education is a violence to their freedom of developing their mental faculties and exploring capabilities. Parents, those perfect and omniscient creatures, are the ones who should teach their kids as all they care about is the child’s wellbeing and preferences (not at all a gross and equivocal generalization...), or pay a tutor to do so that will best fit the kids individual needs, or pay a private school (which is cheaper than a tutor, apparently) but that’s the worst option because of the leveling. Of course there is some truth to this argument, but it is very much flawed because it presumes the parents to be those perfect creatures. And, in case the parents don’t have the money the pay for those option, they should teach the kids themselves (yes, because if they can’t even afford it, it is very likely that they had great education and opportunities and now have infinite knowledge to pass on to that little ignorant kid). But if they teach them wrong, THAT’S OK, because that’s just PASSIVE VIOLENCE. But if public schools teach them correctly, but standardize materials and make it compulsory, then it’s ACTIVE VIOLENCE (BAD!). Anyways, the authors presente some great philosophical arguments in favor of homeschooling and against standardization of schools, but 70% os his arguments are STUPID (he says, for example, that it’s ok some people to be ILLITERATE, because that’s just how things are...). The second chapter is really interesting because it explains the history of public schools and compulsoriness as well in Europe. Third chapter explores the Puritans influence in New England and how that started public and compulsory schools across the US. In this chapter, he gives too much detail about some influences which seemed like to specific and a slightly irrelevant (for me, at least). Anyways, I recommend anyone reading this book as it presents some perspectives I had never thought about before that are worth the debate, but be prepared to get mad at some scattered dumbness!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Moss

    There are other works that go in greater depth, like, for example, John Taylor Gatto's. But for a quick read, this one hits the spot. There are other works that go in greater depth, like, for example, John Taylor Gatto's. But for a quick read, this one hits the spot.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Peixoto

    History of educational system around the world. Remarkable work. Short but very enlightening.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Táborszki Bálint

    I first read this book a few years ago, then translated it and totally forgot about it. Recently I went through it again to prepare its print publication and I was blown away by how great it is. The fact that it's a really short little book had me thinking that it's not that extensive and elaborate but surprisingly, that is not true at all. The first chapter on the general theory of education deduces perfectly from the characteristics of human nature why any system of uniformized, compulsory edu I first read this book a few years ago, then translated it and totally forgot about it. Recently I went through it again to prepare its print publication and I was blown away by how great it is. The fact that it's a really short little book had me thinking that it's not that extensive and elaborate but surprisingly, that is not true at all. The first chapter on the general theory of education deduces perfectly from the characteristics of human nature why any system of uniformized, compulsory education is doomed to be found wanting by just about every student, the other two chapters deal with the history of compulsory education and demonstrate clearly that its root and the philosophy behind it is pure, explicit theocratic and egalitarian totalitarianism. Rothbard says just about everything that needs to be said about the subject.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I struggled with the decision to write down my thoughts about this book or not. The main reason I didn't want to is that I have many friends involved in public education. These are educated, dedicated, honest people doing their best to improve education in their area. I love and respect them and don't want to offend them. It made me think back to conversations I've had in the past where I took comments personally because I associated myself with an idea or institution being questioned. Specifical I struggled with the decision to write down my thoughts about this book or not. The main reason I didn't want to is that I have many friends involved in public education. These are educated, dedicated, honest people doing their best to improve education in their area. I love and respect them and don't want to offend them. It made me think back to conversations I've had in the past where I took comments personally because I associated myself with an idea or institution being questioned. Specifically, I remember having conversations with libertarian friends who challenged my Republican ideas and traditions. I would get angry and dig in my heels. Later, as I began to read for myself instead of simply watching the news or listening to talk radio, the flaws in my logic became apparent, and I was humbled. This is my long-winded way of saying I saw this book from the eyes of my friends in education and could understand how they might take offense, even though the criticism isn't leveled at them, but at the system they are trying to improve. I avoid the temptation to describe public education in the US as broken. I don't think it is broken. I think (and Rothbard convincingly supports) that free, compulsory education in the US is doing exactly what it was designed to do. I'm not going to expound here. The book is only 50 pages or so and is easily read. Let it suffice to say that every time governments assume control of education and make it compulsory freedom falls. Think of Sparta, Prussia, Russia, Nazi Germany, etc. I know the Nazi connection is overused and often a cover for a lack of evidence, but in this case it is a direct and appropriate correlation supported by the speeches and writings of many of the pioneers of public, compulsory education in our country. One last point I'd like to share is that Rothbard shows the inevitable results of standardizing education across the board. Even if the intentions are good, the more uniform the approach to education, the less educated we will become. Instruction and class tempo will necessarily drop to lower standards. Rothbard doesn't pull his punches. This will be a difficult book to digest if you haven't broached this area of history before, but it is worth the struggle, and it is extremely important. I highly recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    This short pamphlet by Rothbard, which can be downloaded for free on the Mises Institute website, consists of three short essays regarding public education: 1. The Individual’s Education, 2. Compulsory Education in Europe, 3. Compulsory Education in the United States. The first essay deals with the individual's learning process and how and by whom a child should be educated. Rothbard comes to the conclusion that the perfect education can only be the one which takes the indivduals strengths and w This short pamphlet by Rothbard, which can be downloaded for free on the Mises Institute website, consists of three short essays regarding public education: 1. The Individual’s Education, 2. Compulsory Education in Europe, 3. Compulsory Education in the United States. The first essay deals with the individual's learning process and how and by whom a child should be educated. Rothbard comes to the conclusion that the perfect education can only be the one which takes the indivduals strengths and weaknesses into account and thereby accommodates the educational process. He also points out that "only necessity and use for systematic formal teaching arises in technical subjects, since knowledge of them must be presented systematically." The second chapter deals with the history of compulsory state schools in Europe, primarily incented by the endeavour of Martin Luther and the Protestants to impose their believes via state coercion on the children – which in further consequence led to the compulsory and coercive Prussian state school system: a system which became influental as paragon for the Western world. This is also true for the evolution of the public school system in the USA, whose history, from its small beginnings in the Puritan society of New England up to the accruement of the behemoth it is today, Rothbard portrays in the third chapter. Although consisting of merely 60 pages, I can recommend this book to everyone who seeks a short but all the more convincing narrative of the totalitarian history, which gave rise to the modern compulsory and coervice school system – a self-induced plague of almost all countries in the world.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    This had some really interesting philosophical discussions about state vs. family and implications for education. My favorite argument was the stark contrast between sentiment about government involvement in education vs. media. The idea of legally enforced state-run media horrifies many Americans, yet many are fine with legally enforced state-run schools. Both would disseminate information and influence political views, and be subject to government corruption and be used to support tyranny.

  12. 5 out of 5

    pplofgod

    An OK critique of public education from a classical liberal/faux-individualist perspective. It's a good enough book if you ignore the whole "privatization/the market will fix it" crap. An OK critique of public education from a classical liberal/faux-individualist perspective. It's a good enough book if you ignore the whole "privatization/the market will fix it" crap.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Santi-ago

    Very good book, I personally found very interesting his historical analysis of the origins of public education. Also, it was very interesting to take a glance at the ways in which education was imparted before the emergence of compulsory education. The book also explains very well the natural tendency of the state and government towards absolutism. If you are interested in languages, this book will also explain how throughout history states have imposed certain languages to the detriment of othe Very good book, I personally found very interesting his historical analysis of the origins of public education. Also, it was very interesting to take a glance at the ways in which education was imparted before the emergence of compulsory education. The book also explains very well the natural tendency of the state and government towards absolutism. If you are interested in languages, this book will also explain how throughout history states have imposed certain languages to the detriment of others. Nonetheless, the tone of the book reflects clearly the author's biases and values. For example, in the debate on who should take care of kids, the state or the parents, he says that "obviously the parents, since they are the ones who care the most about the kid". This of course conveniently overlooks the fact that many parents are pieces of sh*t. They (1) may not love their kids, (2) they may don't know what's best for them and (3) they may be too stupid to educate them [some even "miseducate" their kids, like religious people or flat earthers]. So yea, in this book you will find some very dumb arguments made on certain topics. There is lots of interesting historical analysis, but the book is very biased in this sense since its objective is to convince people of the importance of freedom in education. Also, the book can come across as a bit outdated, but overall a very thought-provoking book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patrick S.

    A good short book by the master on why education should be done with zero state interference and therefore zero violence to children. Rothbard breaks up the book into three main parts of education - the moral, the historical, and the impact of the state during the modern period. The moral portion is great and is the primary location I would focus in. While his historical section offered some good historical narrative I did find myself disagreeing with some of his evaluation of historical events. A good short book by the master on why education should be done with zero state interference and therefore zero violence to children. Rothbard breaks up the book into three main parts of education - the moral, the historical, and the impact of the state during the modern period. The moral portion is great and is the primary location I would focus in. While his historical section offered some good historical narrative I did find myself disagreeing with some of his evaluation of historical events. They are not widely off but there is some more nuance there. I would have also liked to see more description of the, for Rothbard, modern supporters of state forced education. It is there for sure but I would have enjoyed some more of it. Overall, Rothbard solidly shows that we don't need to force children into compulsory, state education for the moral, historical, and results point of view. Final Grade - B+

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rafael Wendel Cruz

    An interesting book, above all by its historical perspective of the development of compulsory educational systems. I found the authour's perspective important for my view of what an ideal educational system should be, but I didn't find it unbiased at all. It is interesting, though, that the author didn't try to make it sound so, hence, he basically criticizes it all along. I couldn't really form a final word on it, but it is robust for the short-read it provides, and I think it should add up for An interesting book, above all by its historical perspective of the development of compulsory educational systems. I found the authour's perspective important for my view of what an ideal educational system should be, but I didn't find it unbiased at all. It is interesting, though, that the author didn't try to make it sound so, hence, he basically criticizes it all along. I couldn't really form a final word on it, but it is robust for the short-read it provides, and I think it should add up for an interested reader.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Rothbard lays out a solid argument against the reigning theory of compulsory state education. This short book is an important reminder that parents, and not the state, have the primary responsibility and authority over the education of their children. Thus, it is also a compelling argument for homeschooling. One aspect I disliked was Rothbard's criticism of Reformers such as Calvin, Luther, and Beza, which was unfairly critical. Rothbard lays out a solid argument against the reigning theory of compulsory state education. This short book is an important reminder that parents, and not the state, have the primary responsibility and authority over the education of their children. Thus, it is also a compelling argument for homeschooling. One aspect I disliked was Rothbard's criticism of Reformers such as Calvin, Luther, and Beza, which was unfairly critical.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shane Hawk

    Rothbard was an excellent writer. Here he covers topics similar to those explored by John Taylor Gatto but with much better prose. It’s broken down into three sections: what an individualist education looks like, the history of compulsory educational systems in the UK, and the same in the US. Rothbard included a plethora of block quotes from primary sources—all long enough to grasp the full context. Great short book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Yep Rothbard got this one right. The goal of the public school system is to graduate morons who can’t think for themselves so that when they eventually become zombie adults they believe anything the State tells them. Climate change, living wage, universal basic income, Green New Deal, and all moronic things the State is pushing today. School choice is the only way to stop the worship of morons by the public school system.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Josh Schubert

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Rothbard shows the history of public education originating as a tool of Calvinist to undermine Catholicism through indoctrination of children in Europe and continuing in America where it was secularized. Then he lays out a positive vision for education centered around the individuality of students.

  20. 4 out of 5

    pszemeksz

    Despite many critical voices about the public education, people usually don't think about its liquidation and especially about abolition of its compulsion. Rothbard does both and does it well. So if you think that free education isn't good idea, there is a homework to you - read this book. Despite many critical voices about the public education, people usually don't think about its liquidation and especially about abolition of its compulsion. Rothbard does both and does it well. So if you think that free education isn't good idea, there is a homework to you - read this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jared Lovell

    Mostly good with the exception of one really bad, confused chapter.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Iago Seleme

    Good short summary of the history of compulsory education.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ke

    This is more an essay than a book. It's about the history and purposes of public education. I found some references for further reading in the footnotes. This is more an essay than a book. It's about the history and purposes of public education. I found some references for further reading in the footnotes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pulpo77

    A well laid out case against state-funded and compulsory indoctrination.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John G.

    Very short book, only 55 pages but well worth it. I wasn't as interested in the authors political commentary, he's a libertarian, although education policy is indeed quite political. John Taylor Gatto is another and I think more passionate and detailed critic of the educational system and some of what they write overlaps. What I gained most from this book is the idea of the collective/the state against the uniqueness and full development of the individual. That's an important theme, Rothbard kep Very short book, only 55 pages but well worth it. I wasn't as interested in the authors political commentary, he's a libertarian, although education policy is indeed quite political. John Taylor Gatto is another and I think more passionate and detailed critic of the educational system and some of what they write overlaps. What I gained most from this book is the idea of the collective/the state against the uniqueness and full development of the individual. That's an important theme, Rothbard kept hammering on the term equality which put me off a bit, but when he talks of uniformity/standardization versus the needs of the individual, he has my attention. I work in higher education, have obtained a teacher's license and so have spent a lot of my life around the educational establishment and have to agree with Rothbard. Most of the phoney debate about education doesn't even acknowledge the glaringly obvious issue that a great majority of students don't want to be there, aren't going to learn the curriculum and basically are imprisoned for well over a decade. The ways schools operate have very little to do with effective teaching or learning, you can't have a one-size-fits all when it comes to education, don't care how economically efficient it is, doesn't work. I'm starting to see how schools, churches and prisons are strikingly similar in trying to instill obedience and submission as primary objectives, learning is secondary. What is scary is that the educational system no longer seems to educate but rather to process students through the pipeline and it's especially evident here in Texas with the surrender of individual thought and expression to the group or to the state, students are simply meat for the grinder. This is no accident folks, the educational establishment is an enemy to the full and free development of the individual and the educational process has become so incredibly politicized, it has almost nothing to do with learning, all those standardized tests are trying to reduce humans to mechanical beings, to units of measurement, widgets if you will. The last thing a school wants, at least public schools, is for folks who can think and express their own thoughts, that's not good for business. Rothbard really hammers Luther and Calvin in this book, he examines the spirit of Germany and how it was militarized and standardized, this is his most interesting point to me. I think too, a lot of this drive towards STEM and away from arts/sciences/humanities is an attack on free thought and expression too. So, check out this book, anything by John Taylor Gatto, a book called "Killing the Spirit" by Page Smith, "Imposter in the Temple" by Martin Anderson and "Class Dismissed" by John Marsh to gain a more comprehensive understanding of both secondary and higher education. It ain't pretty folks.

  26. 4 out of 5

    JoséMaría BlancoWhite

    Rothbard gives us the Libertarian view on education. You may not agree with Libertarians on other issues but on education he hits the bull's-eye. It takes a man with courage to tell things as plainly as Mr. Rothbard tells them, but I'm sure everybody agrees with him sotto voce. Basically "to force into schools children who have little or no aptitude for instruction at all (prevents the education of a child) ... It so happens that among the variety of human ability there is a large number of subno Rothbard gives us the Libertarian view on education. You may not agree with Libertarians on other issues but on education he hits the bull's-eye. It takes a man with courage to tell things as plainly as Mr. Rothbard tells them, but I'm sure everybody agrees with him sotto voce. Basically "to force into schools children who have little or no aptitude for instruction at all (prevents the education of a child) ... It so happens that among the variety of human ability there is a large number of subnormal children, children who are not receptive to instruction ... To force these children to be exposed to schooling, as the State does almost everywhere, is a criminal offense to their natures. ... the instruction has almost no effect on these children, many of whose hours of life are simply wasted because of the State's decree. .. to dragoon them into a school for a formative decade of their lives, to force them to attend classes in which they have no interest or ability, is to warp their entire personalities." Don't think these kids should just be left alone, no. They get education alright. "The passion for leveling an enforced equality proclaims: this is good; let every child be forced to learn about 'life' and be forced to associate with the lowest types of humanity. The envy and hatred toward the potentiality of the better and superior child is apparent in this position." It's true that when Libertarians talk about Freedom they really mean it. Ideas may seem a little over the top, but if you think honestly about them you have to admit that philosophically they are as right as 2+2 are 4. In this little and very readable book you will find a little history of State compulsion in education in Europe (where all things evil originated -so to say) and finally how it got implemented in America. The simple and clear way he puts things clear and lays responsibilities for the state of education is something truly to be thankful for. You get to know more about education in this little book than reading the partisan leaflets written by America's subsidized academics, those demagogues.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    About Murray Rothbard I hear and read so much ecstatic talks I felt ashamed because I never read anything by this great man. This is my first book by him. Reading it I had a shock. There is nothing in it about liberty. But there is much about freedom in the sense used by fanatical bigots when they talk about their freedom of religion and how that said freedom is infringed by people going against racism or anti-semitism. There is also almost no trace of reason or reasoning in this book. It is more About Murray Rothbard I hear and read so much ecstatic talks I felt ashamed because I never read anything by this great man. This is my first book by him. Reading it I had a shock. There is nothing in it about liberty. But there is much about freedom in the sense used by fanatical bigots when they talk about their freedom of religion and how that said freedom is infringed by people going against racism or anti-semitism. There is also almost no trace of reason or reasoning in this book. It is more like the collected rants of a seemingly old man against the changes brought about by the younger generation he simply can't understand. And a huge dose of wishful thinking bordering magic. Maybe this three part essay was interesting at the time of publishing, but the value of today is purely historical so people can wonder in the 21st century how much a libertarian icon can sound like an Islamic State moderate preacher. I don't know if old man Murray was one of those nuts that earn a living by distributing bibles, but he sure sounds like one. The children are some sort of furniture in the patriarchal calm ownership of the parents. Bottom line, this, like all conspiracy theory books, is a book about fear. About sending your god-given asset into the world and it becoming who-knows-what, maybe an atheist, or gay. All this because of the evil stupid kids peddling drugs, sex and rock'n'roll. I mean what's next? Racially desegregated schools? The evil djinn called State might do that for you. By the way: have you noticed how human-like is the State in the mind of old man Murray? Precisely like the devil in the christian mythology.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zinger

    "Education" is often thought of as the time spent incarcerated in the government schools. This is only one type of education, and as Rothbard points out in this book, it is not a very effective form of education (to put it mildly). The main problem with compulsory education is that mass schooling penalizes individuality and forces everyone on the same conveyor belt. Obviously not the best atmosphere for an individual to develop and pursue their unique talents and interests. Those that advocate Ma "Education" is often thought of as the time spent incarcerated in the government schools. This is only one type of education, and as Rothbard points out in this book, it is not a very effective form of education (to put it mildly). The main problem with compulsory education is that mass schooling penalizes individuality and forces everyone on the same conveyor belt. Obviously not the best atmosphere for an individual to develop and pursue their unique talents and interests. Those that advocate Marxist schools should also read Fredrick Bastiat's essay on the Broken Window and apply the concepts of opportunities lost and what could have been if individual students were not locked up in the government schools for 13 years of their lives. Maybe there is hope for an end of centralized national (or state) education as more of those those neo-con republicans who are starting to realize that ObamaCare is wrong might apply some of that logic to education. It is wrong to force a person to purchase a product or service they may or may not want. There is no authority granted to the Federal government to do such a thing. But maybe applying those concepts to education would be too mind blowing for those comfortable plundering their neighbors to subsidize their children's education.

  29. 5 out of 5

    ziombel

    A good book describing the state education system. Murray Rothbard in his work takes us to ancient Sparta and modern Prussia. It also describes France, England and the USA. With this work you can learn many interesting things about the creation of the state education system. It describes how this system is totally dedicated to educating slaves. //polish Dobra książką opisująca państwowy system edukacji. Murray Rothbard w swojej pracy zabiera nas do starożytnej Sparty oraz do nowożytnych Prus. Opi A good book describing the state education system. Murray Rothbard in his work takes us to ancient Sparta and modern Prussia. It also describes France, England and the USA. With this work you can learn many interesting things about the creation of the state education system. It describes how this system is totally dedicated to educating slaves. //polish Dobra książką opisująca państwowy system edukacji. Murray Rothbard w swojej pracy zabiera nas do starożytnej Sparty oraz do nowożytnych Prus. Opisuje także Francję, Anglię i USA. Z tej pracy można dowiedzieć się wiele ciekawych rzeczy o powstaniu państwowej edukacji. Opisuje jak system państwowej edukacji służy kształceniu całkowicie oddanych niewolników. Polecam każdemu, szczególnie dlatego, że jest udostępniona za darmo: http://mises.pl/blog/2014/06/13/rothb...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    This book is a series of essays. You can read the entire book online at mises.org. The first section was mostly stuff I've read before. The most compelling piece was the idea that sameness, or social equality is equivalent to savagery. Civilization means specialization. Specialization is by definition uniqueness. That individual uniqueness and a free market will indiscriminately expose the inequality with which nature has distributed talent. Schools, historically, have been created by the State t This book is a series of essays. You can read the entire book online at mises.org. The first section was mostly stuff I've read before. The most compelling piece was the idea that sameness, or social equality is equivalent to savagery. Civilization means specialization. Specialization is by definition uniqueness. That individual uniqueness and a free market will indiscriminately expose the inequality with which nature has distributed talent. Schools, historically, have been created by the State to create a uniform society with identical beliefs, ideals, goals, and motives. The State necessarily makes schools (or teacher training) compulsory to enforce this uniformity.

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