Saturday, June 26, 2010

Butchering the Sacred Cow

"This will not be done because Americans do not really want major spending cuts. To demonstrate my point, let us consider America's sacred cow, tax-funded education. ... That would mean expenditures in the range of $800 billion a year. If we assume that about 80% of these expenditres are funded by governments at various levels, we are talking something in the range of $600-$650 billion a year. ... There is also nothing that says that a government has the moral authority to coerce parents who hold to one view of education, or one view of how the world works, to subsidize the educations of other families, whose children attend schools that teach a view of the world closer to that approved by the subsidized parents. To say this is to announce one of the most hated heresies of the modern world. I mean 'heresy' in the good old-fashioned way that is was meant in the Middle Ages and in virtually any society prior to the Enlightenment. This heresy involved calling into question the legitimacy of a priesthood, self-appointed and self-policed, which gains its money from the civil government. ... The modern priesthood is the educational establishment in each nation. Tax funding goes to those institutions that have been certified as reputable by the priesthood. ... The state regulates educational establishments, even including home schools, in order to preserve control over the content and methodology of education. In earlier centuries, a similar oligarchy was run in conjunction with state funding and also state coercion. Churches policed the society, including the morals of society, by means of a monopoly granted to them by the civil government. ... The modern educational system is far more compulsory than churches were in New England in 1665. The school bus system is indicative of just how compulsory it is. On this point, read my story of the two buses. ... In the modern world, anyone who suggests that all tax money should be withdrawn from the funding of educational programs is regarded as a crackpot. I am such a crackpot. I believe that the state does not have a moral right to compel parents to support other people's educations. If it were my decision, I would shut off the funding by the state for every school in the [US], including the military academies. This would add something in the range of $600 billion to the private sector. Governments would not be able to persuade parents and others to hand over their money at the point of a gun from one person in order to subsidize the education of another person. ... In order to discuss tax-funded education, I want to change the topic from tax support of educational institutions to tax support of churches. The logic that I am about to present applies equally well to both forms of institutional arrangements. But the public is unwilling to accept the logic of the disestablishment of churches when it is applied to disestablishment of education. ... Politicians rarely give much thought to the fundamental issues of life. They are too busy getting elected and reelected. They cannot devote the time necessary to sort out fundamental truths from fundamental errors. ... To allow this year's majority in the state legislature to set standards for what should be taught in the churches is to grant them too much power to shape the thinking of the voters. ... The politicians will use the power of civil government to extend the public's acceptance of those political views and political conclusions that are favored by the present majority in the legislature. This will turn politics into a battle zone between rival churches. ... Competition is basic to progress in every area of life. ... The public is kept from hearing new ideas, better ideas, and more effectively preached ideas precisely because congratations are not in control of the purse strings. ... It is worth noting that within five years of the decision of the Massachusetts government to cease funding the Congregational churches of the state, the government began funding local schools", my emphasis., Gary North at Lew Rockwell, 12 June 2010, link:

Certified? Like the PCAOB and CPAs? Monopoly? Sounds like Saudi Arabia. Political choice? Why do politicians like Keynesian economics anyway? Are government "economists" really priests? Five years. How interesting. Within four years of the Fed's creation we were in World War I.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What an interesting idea to remove state funding from education. I've argued this idea for ages with my liberal parent.

His argument was that it's a social investment for society to educate people. If we left the majority of the society ignorant then crime would be much higher and the culture would be coarser.

Hmmm...

Church definitely has been the moral enforcer at different points in history. It's interesting that our founders specifically forbade the establishment of a state religion. They knew of the damage the church had done in Europe.

I wonder if having many denominations changes the dynamic? Maybe it's "moral competition"...

Churches should compete on having the best moral code! Spiritual Olympics!

"Within four years of the Fed's creation we were in World War I." Very interesting.

Independent Accountant said...

Anonymous:
WWI started in 1914, one year after the Fed was created. Almost from the outset, Woodrow Wilson schemed to drag us into the war, portraying Kaiser Wilhelm as a monster. Wilhelm was a lot of things, but Hitler he wasn't. Absent the Fed our welfare/warfare state could not exist.
We have replaced our various religions with a new one, "Statolatry".

IA

Anonymous said...

We have replaced our various religions with a new one, "Statolatry".

Indeed.

Ubu said...

When watching/hearing the Ken Burns "Civil War" series, perhaps the high point of documentary film making, I was struck by the poignancy, intelligence and cogency of the letters written by the young soldiers to their families back home. Today's students couldn't write that well if you tripled their already over-stuffed budgets. A farm boy with a 6th grade formal education in the 19th century writes (and thinks) more clearly than a Harvard graduate today.

Independent Accountant said...

Ubu:
What you say is true. However you are victim of "selection bias". When you read Civil War soldiers' letters, you only read letters by those who could write and were selected by Ken Burns. That said, I have often been surprised with the ignorance of graduates of our "better" colleges.;

IA

Ubu said...

Agreed, the sample size is likely not representative.