Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking for a couple of Libertarians willing to do thankless unpaid work....

Over on Kilroy's Delaware there is information about how to run for school board this spring in the Red Clay Consolidated School District. The post includes residence maps for the two districts that are open.

If there has ever been a year and a situation wherein an articulate Libertarian advocating for transparency and sound financial management would have a shot at getting elected, this is it.

What about it, LPD? Got anybody in that area?


Paul Smith Jr. said...

Larry Sullivan (not Larry Sullivan the public defender) ran at least once for a seat there, but I lost touch with him over the years so I don't know if he still lives in the district or not. I worked with him when he ran one time. (Worked at our day jobs, that is.)

Delaware Watch said...

If Libertarians run for the school board, then I think they should engage in some truth in advertising. They should let the voters they they believe public schools systems are wrong and paying taxes for public education is theft.

They should tell the voters that the chances are likely that will never approve a new spending measure because the idea is not for the government to take on new tasks but to reduce them.

They should say that they will probably oppose any increase in the state's share of funding for the school district because that would be taking government funds for an education system it shouldn't support in the 1st place.

So just be truthful. Tell everyone that you want to eliminate the public school system and think people should pay private schools to educate their children on the open market.

Steven H. Newton said...

The problem is, Dana, that's not the truth--at least not for many libertarians.

What I believe is that as long as we have public schools they should run with efficiency and transparency.

I agree with you that anyone running for school board who believes what your stereotype of libertarians believe should disclose that.

It seems to me that it would probably be better to let people define themselves than for you or me to define them for them. I know from my own experience that every time I have attempted to define what progressives believe in you have not agreed with it.

Delaware, with public school choice and charter schools, already has one of the most libertarian school systems in the nation. Some of our best teachers and administrators are libertarians who believe that competition within the public educational system is often a positive.

Like everyone else, Libertarians running for office will have to answer questions and justify their views.

I don't think it's fair to ask anything else.

Delaware Watch said...

"What I believe is that as long as we have public schools they should run with efficiency and transparency."

Isn't the the most important phrase in this statement "as long as we have public schools."

"As long as"--doesn't that phrase betray that Libertarians would rather not have a public school system funded by tax dollars?

Isn't fair to say that if there were a referendum in DE tomorrow to either maintain a public school system or to scrap it for a private school system that is in no way supported by tax dollars, by far most libertarians would advocate scraping the public school system?

We both know what the answers are to those questions, Steve.

All I'm saying is that Libertarians who run for school board should be up front about that. They shouldn't claim they are for transparent school system when they hide their REAL position about public school system per se behind clever obfuscations like "as long as."

Just be honest. Be proud and run on the Libertarian opposition to publicly funded schools. What's wrong w/ that?

Steven H. Newton said...

I think perhaps that you have been playing "gotcha" for so long that it is going to be difficult for us to have a meaningful conversation. My sentence "As long as there are public schools they should run with efficiency and transparency" was meant in the same sense that I might write, "As long as the US is a republic, we're going to need people willing to enlist in the armed forces to defend her."

I wouldn't be advocating the destruction of the republic with the second sentence, and I wasn't advocating the destruction of public schools in the first sentence.

I have been spending a lot of time with Delaware libertarians over the past two months, and I suppose you would be surprised to know I have found as much variance of opinion on specific issues under that title as you might find, say,

Pro-Life Democrats (Bob Casey Jr.)
Gay Republicans (Log Cabin)

What I have found is a lot of thoughtful, concerned people who actually wrestle with issues rather than trying for an immediate ideological response, and who feel betrayed by a non-functional two-party system.

To answer your question as openly and honestly as I can about a hypothetical referendum on public education: I would not vote to abolish it and I would advocate against its abolition. Some of my libertarian friends would agree, some not.

If you want a good look at my views on public education, you might try reading the two posts I wrote last month on Vision 2015.

Libertarianism in the 21st Century is not the ideology of Lysander Spooner or whoever you appear to have been reading.

I frankly believe that the growing move back toward a libertarianism that is both socially liberal and fiscally conservative, with a resistance to coercion whether it be by statist or corporate bureaucrats is gaining ground precisely because of what progressives and social conservative have in common.

Both groups want to use the power of the state as a weapon of social engineering. Under the pretext of talking about social justice or family values, both groups agree that a powerful national government is the ticket to legislating their version of a utopian America.

Both progressives and social conservatives practice selective outrage over various issues, but when the doors are closed they make deals together that preserves their hold on status quo politics.

Both progressives and social conservatives feel the need to coerce people into making the "correct" choices.

I realize that you will tell me that libertarians want to control people just as much, but that we want to have the private sector do it. On that you're wrong, but I don't have the inclination to prove it to you, because it wouldn't matter if I did. It wouldn't change your stance, and it wouldn't change mine.

So where are we? You have my full permission to keep taking potshots at libertarianism here and in any other forum you'd like. If people are gullible enough to believe what you say, that's an education problem we'll ultimately have to deal with, and I don't think we'll have any trouble doing so.

As I write this, I am realizing that the worst nightmare for progressives and social conservatives would be a genuine movement to build a society based on individual responsibility and the absence of coercion, because that would summarily defeat all the statist and corporatist ideas that come out of our legislatures and leave American citizens free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in their own fashion without your supervision or approval.

The thought that such could ever happen has got to be pretty disquieting.

You may now have the last word on this issue. I don't need it.

Anonymous said...

Very well said, Steve! There is a certain point past which the simpering wallowing gimme gimme gimme of the helpless hapless societal victim class (into which socialist "progressives" seem to put most of humanity) becomes nauseating.

This elitist mindset, which is religious-based for social "conservatives" and quasi-religious for socialists, simply cannot abide personal autonomy, for better or worse, requiring any self-directed personal responsibility attached to it.

"God" or the god-state will tell you what to do...and take care of everything for you while you're at it...or at least tell you that's the case.

The only thing they leave out of their utopian equations is basic human nature...for better or worse. They believe mankind can be "perfected", by whatever forcible means necessary.

I agree with you that the constant "gotcha" games and hyperbolic straw man arguments are quite tiresome and misdirected.

Anonymous said...

Libertarian here.
I would advocate the end of the current system and instead have a system more like food stamps. Means test if you will. The State has an obligation to provide an education, it is not obligated to RUN a school system.

Ain't variety grand?

Steven H. Newton said...

Isn't consistency interesting?

According to our progressive brethren and cistern, we can have all the different private doctors and hospitals we want with the government picking up the tab as a single-payer (which they maintain is not socialized medicine), but....

We can't have the same system available with respect to education, because that would break the government monopoly.