Q&A: —“What are your thoughts on universal public education being provided by the state.”—
(1) Education provides both offensive and defensive benefits.
So (a) Offensively, it increases the possibility of productivity (a commons).
And (b) Defensively it reduces crime(loss), insurance(restitution) and welfare (prevention) costs. (Humans are really expensive things.)
While we probably teach largely the wrong things today, and that we teach them poorly, (not enough repetition of basic operations), that does not mean that we cannot teach the right things.
After Defense (external), and Law and order(internal), education is probably the most important offensive and defensive capability a group can add to the commons.
So I am pretty sure education needs to be mandatory in order to avoid externalizing costs of failing to educate (prevention) on fellow shareholders (citizens), due to loss, restitution. ( Same with driving a vehicle without insurance. Or driving aggressively. You’re exporting risk onto others. ) Failing to educate is just like failing to respect property. It’s just more indirect.
Now, if you have the right of exit, and your offspring have the right of exit, and you leave the market (territory), that’s not the case. But then you lose the benefits of being a member of the market (territory). So it’s your choice. It’s pretty hard to find a market that will allow entry of an uneducated person. It’s just going to force costs on shareholders (citizens)
(2) So if education is both a necessary good, and a moral obligation, then the question is only (a)whether universal provision by the state is a necessary or preferable, and (b) whether the monopoly provision of it by the state is necessary or preferable.
Well first we have to answer the externality question.
Does universal provision by the state solve the problem of the costs of loss, restitution, and prevention? Well yes. It does.
Does the scale of that provisioning convey any price benefits? Actually no. Because the bureaucracy consumes a disproportionate amount of the funds, without any measurable positive impact, and arguably negative.
Does universal education using the same curriculum have positive or negative consequences. Well the answer is that any education must provide some minimum: reading, writing, basic math, basic personal accounting, basic principles of contract, basic principles of the economy. Basic principles of natural law, basic principles of physical laws. Note that I’ve included no mythology in that list. No justificationism.
Does universal education need mythology? Well I think that teaching anything antithetical to natural and physical law, antithetical to contract, accounting, mathematics, and reading (the common tongue), is something that exports costs onto others through the propagation of falsehoods.
Can I teach my own children mythology at home, or in religious school? Of course you can. If it is taught as spiritual, as faith, as psychology, but not in conflict with physical, natural, contactual, mathematical, literacy, or rhetorical, grammatical, and logical truth.
There are no ancient texts that cannot be translated into ratio-scientific language as necessary and possible traditions of the time. There are no normative family and cultural traditions that cannot likewise be explained. There is no harm in prayer, ritual, and faith, even if there is harm in conflating spiritual(experiential) and truthful(testimonial). It’s very hard to argue with the sermon on the mount. And it’s not hard to state that them miracles are fairy tales meant to educated us on how we should aspire to behave toward one another.
So like anything, when we want to produce a private good (education) for common goods (costs of loss, restitution, and prevention), then the market will succeed at providing some goods (private education, church education, public education) just as it will succeed at providing other goods (private health care, church health care, state health care), and many other goods (private investor banking, commercial banking, credit unions, and state treasury support).
So the problem we have had in the past, is not the failure to understand this problem, but the failure to require truth, while preserving faith. Because man does not live by truth alone unless he lives in a large primitive tribe where he is saturated by information supplied by peers and there is no meaningful information available to him that is not shared by those peers. Even in those circumstances we require faith in order to ease the various sufferings, and to cause the community to unite in celebration of the service of the common good.
Ergo, we must warranty all speech, products and services against error, bias, wishful, thinking, suggestion, pseudoscience, and deceit.
And we must warranty the minimum (not ultimate) services that an individual must possess in order not to be a burden on others such that he invokes moral hazard, and by invoking moral hazard, creates the incentive in the commons to abandon perfect-care of the commons. This is a profoundly important issue: preservation of the incentive to preserve and expand the commons.
And as long as one warranties minimum provision, no falsehood, and treats myths as necessary goods as long as they do not violate the natural and physical and contractual and logical law, then there is no reason we cannot provide public (insured education), private education(market provided education), and community education (church, etc),
My suggestion, as always with regard to the professions, is (a) that I don’t believe anyone that is not a grandmother or grandfather should teach anything to anyone. Otherwise we have a person without life experience conveying the necessities of surviving life’s experiences. (b) that it’s the teachers who are paid, not organizations, and that the teachers contribute some part of their fees to the maintenance of the organization. And that organizations that desire capital investment can lend against future earnings. And that we can only lend against future earnings if the citizenry is to insure the loan. These are the terms by which teachers can teach, schools can form. Not in the interests of the school owners, but in the interest of the teachers and the students.
I think all education should be paid for as deductions from future earnings (payroll fees). And current costs covered from the treasury. Why? Because it’s an investment that produces guaranteed returns, if we keep honest statistics on the performance of different degree programs and their classes. (Early childhood ed is a very bad investment, right behind Sociology). Then universities and schools will not charge money for the modern equivalent of “indulgences” which they give people paper in exchange for participating in nonsense for years, all at the public expense.
In university, paying teachers directly and separating teaching and researching staff, and paying them accordingly. (the way oxford and Cambridge were started)
We can let the market regulate education by using the courts to punish people who teach untruths contrary to natural, physical, contractual, and logical laws. If we did this in just one generation we would change the world for the better nearly as much as we changed the world with greek reason, British science, and enlightenment literacy. Truth is as important an innovation as were literacy, reason, and science. It’s just unfortunate that it took us this long to discover what it means.
So that’s my position:
Private(wealthy), civic(middle), and public(lower) institutions for the purpose of education, paid for out of future earnings, teaching the minimums, requiring warranty, and separating spirituality and myth from action and truth.
What will rapidly occur is that government schools will rapidly improve else the stigma close them, and as usual the wealthy will innovate and the rest benefit.
The Propertarian Institute