How Times Have Changed

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jeff Jacoby, in an interesting piece against public education, starts off by quoting from the '92 platform of the Democratic Party:

Freedom of education, being an essential of civil and religious liberty ... must not be interfered with under any pretext whatever.... We are opposed to state interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children as an infringement of the fundamental ... doctrine that the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures the highest type of American citizenship and the best government.
As you've probably guessed by now, that would be the 1892 Democratic platform. Later, Jacoby adds the following:
Wondrous to relate, the platform also warned that "the tendency to centralize all power at the federal capital has become a menace," blasted barriers to free trade as "robbery of the great majority of the American people for the benefit of the few," and pledged "relentless opposition to the Republican policy of profligate expenditure."
The rest of the Jacoby article is worth reading, too, although it would have been a far better case for the end of public education had it also dealt with the gross violation of property rights used to fund this travesty. But I suspect that this is because Jacoby is more concerned with the fact that non-Christian values are being transmitted through public education than he is with individual rights in general.

But give the man credit. Unlike most religious conservatives, there is no call for the religious right to commandeer this huge state propaganda mill for the purpose of bringing government-enforced prayer back to the public schools.

Heck. It's nice to see a conservative advocating small government for a change!

-- CAV


Burgess Laughlin said...

As a long-term student of Objectivism, I do not oppose "big government," nor do I support "small government." The essential (causal) issue in evaluating a government is the issue of rights. Is the government acting to protect rights or to violate them?

There may be times--such as during total war, rather than WASTE, a War Against a Single Tactic Eternally--when government needs to expand enormously, in its military in particular. In such times, "big government" would be good.

As a subject for dispute, I will leave "big government" to conservatives. As usual, they miss the point. The right path is the one Gus Van Horn has chosen: To identify protection of rights as the essential issue in evaluating a government's actions.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thank you for driving home the essential point here, Burgess.

Galileo Blogs said...

Might I suggest a solution to WASTE? It is EGGAD, which stands for "Enemy Glows Green After Dark."

Walter Williams gets credit for this formulation of a proper military strategy.

Gus Van Horn said...

EGGAD, I like it!

Didn't know about that, so I googled it and could only find one reference to it, and that was in an online forum I could not reach.

Wanted to link to the source, but can't. Humph.

Galileo Blogs said...

Well, I am revealing my age now...

In the early 1980s, Walter Williams had a weekly column that appeared in our college campus newspaper. This is pre-Internet, so you may not be able to find it on the Internet.

In it, Williams held a mock interview of himself as if he were running for President. One of the questions that the interviewer (Williams) asked himself, the mock Presidential candidate, was:

"Mr. Williams, what would you call your defense strategy if you were President."

Mr. Williams answered:

"I would call my program of superior military offense and defense EGGAD. That stands for Enemy Glows Green After Dark."

I am quoting from memory, but it is pretty accurate. I laughed so hard when I read this, that I never forgot it!

I might add that this was when the Soviet Union was making its last-ditch effort to intimidate the West. For example, the Soviet Union was protesting our installation of medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe. I remember many students taking the Soviet line in demonstrations, some of them explicitly saying, "Better Red than Dead."

You can imagine how refreshing it was to read then the stand of "candidate Williams" in favor of military strength.

Gus Van Horn said...

Well, then, you're not that much older than I am. I was in college during the mid to late eighties, so you won't be hearing any smack from me about your age!

It was the same with that Thomas Sowell quote I tossed out the other day about the Swedes writing Chinese classics. That quote was so funny it instantly burned itself into my memory, but I had to find it in a book to make sure I had it right....

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I posted on the same article a few days ago.
Disagreed with Jacoby on one major issue; he emailed back....follow the thread below.

Gus Van Horn said...

He is right that the government segregated schools in the first place, but he doesn't go far enough.

Segregation is morally wrong, but it is not the purpose of the government to enforce morally right behavior. It is to protect individual rights. It does so by protecting the rights of anyone to enroll their children in any school they want, even if it is segregated (and by not stealing their money to finance a "free" competitor).

So I hold that the government should not have actively desegregated anything that wasn't part of its legitimate purpose. (Obviously, desegregating the military was proper.) What should it have done, then?

Get out of the business of ENFORCING white racism.

An aspect of Jim Crow that few appreciate is that it government laws often forbade private association (as between tenant and landlord, if the landlord wished to "mix races" in an apartment building he owned). Such laws should have been taken off the books.

Had that occurred, free market forces would have eventually eroded the economic barriers to black success that existed throughout the South as those who weren't racists profited and those who remained so did not.