Posted by Brian Holtz at Libertarian Intelligence:
Anti-school-voucher anarchists are often so mired in their anarchist abolitionism that they can’t bring themselves to confront this simple question: would vouchers decrease the entanglement of school and state?
Even an anarcholibertarian like David Friedman has spoken favorably of vouchers as a way to start getting the government out of education — where (bad news!) it’s already completely entrenched. For 89% of K-12 customers, the government already has total control of
- service boundaries,
- inter-district busing,
- admissions policy,
- capital spending decisions,
- textbook selection,
- curriculum standards, including treatment of creationism, the Bible, gay marriage, etc.
- testing standards,
- teacher hiring standards,
- union rules,
- teacher pensions,
- prayer in school,
- pledge of allegiance,
- school uniforms,
- religious calendar and observance,
- zero-tolerance rules for toy weapons,
- campus smoking,
- drug testing,
- PE requirements,
- etc. etc.
With vouchers, the government’s bureaucrats would have much less control over the education industry, and (if done right) not much more control over schools than food stamps gives them over grocery stores. Why is that prospect so horrible for anarchists to contemplate?
Anarchists need to make up their minds about which is more likely to herald the glorious dawn of anarchotopia: a minimal state that shows people how well markets work, or a maximal state that shows people how poorly governments work. Some anarchists seem to fear small government more than they fear big government. The LP is not the right party for anarchists whose plan is for the government to keep growing until it completely collapses under its own weight. There are already plenty of other political parties working on that plan.