- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Hobgoblin of libertarian ideology

Posted by: Barry Stoller on October 10, 1999 at 17:33:42:

In Reply to: Anti-intellectual culture & state education. posted by Gee on October 08, 1999 at 12:09:45:

: This thought, that the great majority sifted via a government near monopoly in education are deliberately raised to be uncritical and to venerate 'success without education' as offered by sporting, acting and popstar role models, [has]... an amazing parallel with libertarian / free market / objectivist thinking.

Funny, why did Robert Nozick bring up Wilt Chamberlain in order to 'prove' that modes of production are not social relations? Why did Ayn Rand claim that 'running' a coal mine was akin to writing a symphony? Libertarians are addicted to using artists and athletes as examples in their sweeping pronouncements that labor exists only in discrete, isolated instances!

: Wherever you find such texts you find almost parallel criticisms of state education - with the most virulent accusing the state of monopolizing state education and thus denying choice to those less well off (by forcing a 'contract' between state and taxpayer) and in generating a Dewey influenced education culture inimical to independent critical thinking, in filtering history and other subjects to fit with state preferences. Even less 'extreme' criticisms accuse state education of resulting in the above afflictions via incompetence, bureaucracy and very weak influence of parental choice as compared to 'vote with feet' private education or even voucher based handouts.

Let me get this straight. Those who are 'less well off' (gentle term!) would be better served if their education was thrown entirely to the vagaries of the 'free market'? 'Parental choice' if left to the dictates of the 'free market' would be the same as 'consumer choice' of health care: very, very limited. Under existing social relations, the only party that can 'vote with their feet' are the owners of property---and to claim the same of the unpropertied is a travesty. The choice of the poor when confronted by prices their labor cannot match: take it or leave it!

Concerning the so-called libertarian criticism of the state, who are they trying to fool? Libertarians, requiring the protection of their private property, are the staunchest defenders of the state in the ideological universe! Where there is private property, the badge and the billy club are not far behind.

The 'state' is the hobgoblin of libertarian ideology. Libertarian ideology posits that the state is something outside social relations, an intrusive force, an elite answerable to no one other than itself. But the state is nothing more than the superstructure of already existing social relations. Presently the state is the apparatus of the capitalist minority. In communist society, a new one will become---for a period---the apparatus of the proletarian majority. Once---and only once---class antagonisms are resolved, class barriers are broken, and all citizens share the work and the management of the surplus that work produces, will the state begin to evanesce.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup