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Compulsory education is slavery

Texas state Representative Wayne Smith wants to make it illegal for parents to miss parent teacher conferences, in order to encourage more parental responsibility.

As homeschooling parents, we're not worried about missing any parent teacher conferences. (Though according to the old joke, if you talk to yourself you only have to worry about yourself answering back...)

In a free society, free citizens can never be told what to do, where to go, when to be there, etc. The only exception to this is when a free citizen steps outside the law, by violating another person's right, and thus loses his freedom to the extent to which he took it away from someone else. (In older times, the term "outlaw" meant someone who had literally been deemed outside the protection of the law because he had chosen not to abide by the law.)

If we're telling grown parents where to go and when to be there, aren't we taking away their freedom? Of course we are!

But we crossed that line long ago. We tell the children where to go, right? We force the parents to make their children go to school. We've been violating the liberties of parents and children through compulsory schooling for almost one hundred fifty years.

The founders of the United States knew that the free market (the organic institution you get when you respect God-given liberties) furnished the best possible education. Until about 1850, every one of them was privately schooled, either through a private institution or at home. Literacy was near universal, and love of liberty reigned. Then some people who wanted to take away liberty decided it would be a good idea to have a centralized, universal education system so that all children could be educated in the same values. The result is over a century of indoctrination, and a society that is less educated and less interested in liberty. In fact, amazingly, lots of people see forcing children to go to school as being essential for liberty. The founders would've disagreed.

A book you might like to read on this subject is John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education. You can buy the book, or read it for free online at the link provided. I promise it will open your eyes.

You might also like to know that Thomas Jefferson explicitly declared it to be wrong and inconceivable to violate the liberty of parents and children through compulsory schooling:

"It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father." (Note to Elementary School Act, 1817.)

Of course, in a free society, uninterfered with by criminal force (whether exercised by the state or others), people have natural incentives to see that their children receive the education they find to be most fitting. But the state has eliminated an enormous number of incentives for this. Chalk up Representative Smith's idea as yet another misguided attempt by the state to correct a problem caused by itself. The solution is less government, not more, Mr. Smith. Government IS the problem.

In earlier posts, I've proved that taxation is simply another name for stealing. Compulsory funding of education means robbing people to educate children. What kind of lessons does this teach? What kind of lessons does it teach when the children themselves and their parents and all of their neighbors have their liberty violated for the sake of this education? As an answer, think how many people (maybe even you, dear reader) will react negatively to this essay, asserting that the state (or society) does in fact have a claim to the lives of its citizens -- perhaps we should say its "subjects" -- and the right to violate their liberty in these ways. Yes, compulsory education teaches its lessons well.

Has God entrusted you with the authority to command other people what to do? I don't think so. Don't support the government doing so in your name.

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