School Sucks

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“SCHOOL SUCKS” was originally published as “Education,” Ch. 7 of Murray Rothbard’s For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (1973), first published by Collier Macmillan, and later reprinted by Fox & Wilkes and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

“Until the last few years there were few institutions in America that were held more sacred than the public school. The entire mass of the population has thus been co­erc­ed by the government into spending the most im­press­ion­able years of their lives in public institutions. What inst­i­tu­t­ion is more evidently a vast system of incarceration? The nation’s public schools are a vast prison system for the nation’s youth, dra­gooning countless millions of unwilling and unadaptable child­ren into the schooling structure. Why should we not expect vast unhappiness, discontent, alien­ation, and rebellion on the part of the nation’s youth?

“A crucial fallacy of middle-class school wor­ship­pers is confusion between formal schooling and edu­cation in general. Education is a lifelong process of learn­ing, and learning takes place not only in school, but in all areas of life. Formal schooling is only a small part of the edu­cational process. . . .

“The libertarian prescription for our educational mess can be summed up simply: Get the government out of the educational process. The government has attempted to indoctrinate and mould the nation’s youth through the school system, and to mould the future leaders through operation and control of higher education. Abolition of com­puls­ory at­tendance laws would end the schools’ role as prison cust­o­d­ians of the na­tion’s youth, and would free all those better off outside the schools for inde­pendence. The miasma of gov­ern­ment, of moulding the youth of Amer­ica in the direction desired by the State, would be replaced by freely chosen and voluntary actions — by a genuine and truly free education, both in and out of formal schools. . . .”

Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) was an incredibly influential economist who helped to revitalize the tradition of Individualist Anarchism and is today commonly held as the founding father of Anarcho-“Capitalism.”

Introduced September 2014.

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