Blogs > Liberty and Power > John Taylor Gatto: Against School

Oct 4, 2005 4:10 pm

John Taylor Gatto: Against School

Gatto explains how public education cripples our kids, and why. Superb. Go here to read his powerful attack on the ideology of public schooling.

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Anthony Gregory - 10/6/2005

Or, you can take the view that libertarianism is the real left, and that most self-described liberals and leftists are in fact middle-of-the-roaders, attempting to use conservative (statist) means to achieve libertarian ends.

After all, it was largely the rightwing that gave us the welfare state.

William J. Stepp - 10/6/2005

First, libertarians don't ignore the economic and cultural benefits of more widespread education. We just think these could be delivered better and more affordably with private schools, and without the statist indoctrination that comes with them.
Second, there is no contradiction between being against anti-leftist policies to the extent that they are anti-libertarian, and being against the core values of leftism, compulsary egalitarianism and economic intervention.
It's worth pointing out that historically the War Party has had plenty of leftists, and indeed the big wars the U.S. fought in during the 20th century happened during Democratic regimes.
It's also a myth that the left is consistently pro-civil liberties, as the history of the war on drugs shows.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/5/2005

The "history" of public education systems focuses entirely on (often only putative) politicization, ignoring the economic and cultural benefits of more widespread education. The "analysis" consists of a sort of "original sin" by which some of the initial "bad" views of early educators (and it always amuses me to find libertarians so unqualifiedly against anti-leftist policies, when they are so anti-left themselves) taints the entire world history of public education.

The solution is a combination of early "learn by doing, not by learning" pedagogy (Pestalozzi, among others; Rousseau was a proponent of this as well, if memory serves) and heroic individualism (Rand, of course; the use of exceptional cases to disprove an overwhelming average is characteristic of hard-core Randian writers).

Is that clearer?

Mark Brady - 10/5/2005

Please explain.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/5/2005

...the incessant conflation of "purposes" and "effects" this isn't much more than a sort of Pestalozzian Randism, is it?