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Thread: The Case Against Socialism

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    The Case Against Socialism

    Seems to be a popular topic... So I will open the issue at hand.

    First off to get all the ad Hominems out of the way. I was a Socialist Democrat, I highly believed in coercion, I have been to meetings of the Socialist Alternative till they eventually kicked me out, because I began challenging their views on the flawed logic. I consider myself a neo-Libertarian, but Minarchism suits me quite well. I am highly conservative socially, and have a strong Eugenist outlook.

    Now I shall first of all Start the case against socialism will one of socialisms fundamental principles - Public Education, and the liberty public education confines.


    "Free Education" is a fairly modern idea that sprung up during the renaissance period; radical proponents started to arise and advocate free education in the late 18th century. This was considered an extremely radical ideology, and was not made compulsory until 1920 in America.

    Today free education is considered an essential human right, and is found throughout developed nations of the world. Countries like Finland have free university, even for foreign students(which the taxpayer pays for). It seems that the world would accept the coercion of taxation, to collectively provide education to the populace as a sound ideology. But let's challenge this accepted ideal.

    Why should people who do not have offspring, let their tax money fund public schools? Are public schools more effective through a centralised government role?


    (1) Under voluntarism, all interactions are mutually beneficial. In other words, all trades leave all parties better off than they were before, otherwise the trades would not have happened. Likewise, the more someone is allowed to keep what they produce or provide, the more incentivised they are to produce or provide in the first place. However under coercion, at least one of the parties will always be worse off than they were before, otherwise coercion would not be necessary.

    In a voluntary market, businesses have the incentive to offer the best good or service at the lowest price, because if they didn’t, their customers will take their business elsewhere. A national education leads to less prosperity, and eliminates both the state’s incentive and ability to wisely allocate the resources that it monopolizes.

    The more of a monopoly the state grants itself over offering certain goods and services, the less voluntary exchange can occur within that sector. The less voluntary exchange that can occur, the more impossible it is to have any market prices. Meaning that it is impossible to know how much these goods and services should cost and it is impossible to know how many, in what quality, and in what form these goods and services should be provided.

    Without market prices provided by voluntary exchanges, the state will inevitably provide a shortage or excess of a worse product or service at a higher price while wastefully depleting the scarce resources needed to produce or provide it.

    (2) As I have stated in (1) risk provides incentives, and that is evident in not only the producer of a product or service, but also in the consumer. Since we are discussing about education, let's discuss how risk could make the producer, and the consumer more likely to be motivated.

    First of all in a free society, the producer that decides to open a private school, is taking a risk, S/he is motivated to offer the best education service to the public then the government, becuase s/he has more to lose. While the consumer will invest inan education to be better off in society, and be able to improve his/her standard of living. In a sense the consumer is taking a risk, because s/he knows with the education, that the producer offers will likely improve their standard of living. Thus they are more driven, and motivated to get their money's worth out of the service provided.

    A government funded program can simply not work in this fashion. Usually when a government project fails, they simply use the failure as an argument to demand more funding. Further more since the service is free children are less motivated in striving to get their money's worth out of it, and their parent's less likely to emphasize this point, because the parents have not taken a risk. Also the government will not know how best to efficently allocate the resources to provide the best education service as possible.

    (3) While egalitarianism, and the wish for a base level standard of living for all human beings is a noble one. However it cannot be fulfilled through the use of coercion. The improvished classes of societies that use public schooling, end up in a proverty trap. The lower class has no choice to accept which public school they send their offspring too, and if the school underperforms it will receive the same government funding as before, infact it could use the argument for more funding, thus more taxation because it is underperforming. If the public schools can not provide the improvished their intended services, and help them to be able to gain a better standard of living, then why should a single entity have the authority to coerce the fortunate into investing the taxpayer's money on a system that fails to meet the egalitarian aims?

    The root of this problem is that the goverment subsidizes the producer, rather then the consumer. Therefore there is no risk for the producer, thus there is no motivation for the producer to improve the conditions. So how can the improvished classes expect to attain a better standard of living if the education system is failing to provide the service it was intended for?

    Since public education has become established within the western world, it may be more preferable to have the government play a minimalistic role within the education system. One option that was proposed in professor Milton Friedman's "right to choose" is to subsidize the consumer and not the producer. The government collects the taxation from the tax payer's and provides every parent an educational voucher. That way the parents have the right to choose where to invest the money, this means that schools that fail to provide the intended services close down, and are no longer funded by the consumer, instead of the government.

    The matter of fact is that, we let the government, act out as a single paternalistic authotarian role, in believing that it knows exactly how to spend the taxpayers money as wisely and efficently as possible. However that is not the case, and if anything public education, and taxation should be brought down to the local government level, and decided on the people within that county.

    (4) As F. A. Hayek stated in his book The constitution of Liberty; «*The very magnitude of the power over men's minds that a highly centralized, and government dominated system of education placesin the hands of the authorities ought to make one hesistate before accepting it too readily.*» That is to say that because the government are providing a service to the masses they are able to use education as a propaganda machine, and encourage their ideals and doctrine onto the populace. This is includes the ideology of multi-culturalism.

    A private education institution is free to set whatever ideals, and idealologies s/he wishes, and the consumer has the right to choose whether s/he wishes to send their offspring to that institution. While public schools end up following a government approved curriculum, which could likely encourage pro-life, and multi-culturalism, or whatever programs the government believes is in the best interest of the children of the state.

    In fact once one realizes the powers and capabilities education can have on one's mind, the more one should be inclined, not to let a single entity, be allowed the authority to wield such a destructive force. It is a curious fact that one of the first effective systems under which compulsory education was combined with the provision of most educational institutions by the government was created by one of the great advocates of individual liberty; Wilhelm von Humbolt, only fifteen yers after he had argued that public education was harmful because it prevented variety in accomplishments, and unnecessary because in a free nation there would be no lack of educational institutions.

    «*Education*» he had said, «*seems to me to lie wholly beyond the limits within which political should be properly confined.*» It was the plight of Prussia during the Napoleonic wars and the needs of national defense that made him abandon his earlier position. The desire for «*The development of the individual personalities in their greatest variety*» which had inspired his earlier work became secondary when desire for a strong organized state led him to devote much of his later life to building of a system of state education that became a model for the rest of the world.

    (5)If we accept the general argument for compulsory education, there remain these chief problems: How is this education to be provided? How much of it is to be provided for all? How are those who are to be given more to be selected and at whose expense? It is probably a necessary consequence of the adoption of compulsory education that for those families to whom the cost would be a servere burden it should be defrayed out of public funds. There is still the question however, how much education should be provided at the public's expense and in what manner it should be provided.

    (6) In recent times the difficulties of this problem have been greatly increased and a reasonable solution made almost impossible by the increasing use fo government education as an instrument of egalitarian aims. Though a case can be made for assuring opportunities for an advanced educationas far as possible to those most likely to profit from them, the control of government over educatiion has in large measure been used to equalize the prospects of all, which is something very different. Though egalitarians usually protest agains the imputation that their goal is any sort of mechanical equality, which would deprive some people of advantages which cannot be provided for all.

    It should be admitted that, so far as education at public expense is concerned, the argument for equal treatment of all is strong. When it is combined, however, with an argument against permiiting any special advantages to the more fortunate ones, it means in effect that all must be given what any child gets and that none should have what cannot be provided at all. Consistently pursued, it would mean that no more must be spent on the education of any child than can be spent on the education of every child. If this were the necessary consequence of public education, it would constitute a strong argument against government's concerning itself with education beyond the elementary level, which can indeed be given to all, and for leaving all advanced education in private hands.

    At any rate, the fact that certain advantages must be limited to some does not mean that a single authority should have the exclusive right to decide to whom they should go. It is not likely that such power in the hands of authority would in the long run really advance education or that it would create social conditions that would be felt to be more satisfactory or just then they they would otherwise have been.

    To Be Continued...

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    The history of Socialism is the history of genocide and political mass murder. Lincoln, Wilson, Hitler, Stalin, FDR, Churchill, Mao, Pol Pot.... All these men, with the exception of course of Lincoln, were all socialists and all notorious political mass murderers.
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