What is unschooling?
Unschooling is a philosophy and method of education that encourages and facilitates a child’s natural curiosity, recognizes and adapts to individual interests and learning methods, and abandons the institutional method’s emphasis on standard curricula and grading.
The adult’s role in unschooling is that of facilitator. The adult must closely observe the child, providing materials and experiences that take advantage of the child’s unique learning style. Those unfamiliar with the method may view it as a “hands-off” approach to education, whereas those who practice unschooling know that far more work and involvement go into it than in the standard institutional model.
Why is this important to Utah Liberty Alliance?
When we discussed and decided upon our project’s focus areas, education was the first thing suggested. Our mission is to bring about a free society through education. One insidious aspect of the State is that it manages to convince its victims that they are not victims at all, and it does this in part through its public education system. As political journalist Justin Hayes recently explained in his article “How I Learned to Love the State,” public education may fail our children, but it definitely does not fail the State. It is strikingly effective at producing a subdued citizenry, a lackluster army of mediocrity, perfectly tailored to inconsequential careers in industrial and information age jobs in highly regulated industries that provide the State its steady, predictable stream of tax revenues while discouraging anything radical or free-thinking.
Scientists have found that it takes just 10% of a population to espouse a belief or viewpoint in order for those ideas to be adopted by the majority of that population. Is it any surprise that over 90% of American children are enrolled in public education?
Also, ULA calls for abolishing the state income tax. In a state where the majority of the income tax goes toward keeping its wasteful and corrupt education system afloat, privatizing education would go a long way toward making the abolition of the income tax a reality.
What do we plan to do about it?
In keeping with our use of agorism as half of our two-pronged strategy, we plan to promote unschooling as a superior alternative to public school. We hope that ULA will be a forum and resource for helping parents and mentors be successful with this method. As was mentioned recently in our forum, we have registered u4pe.org (Utahns for Privatized Education) as the future home of our efforts. I encourage anyone concerned about their children’s education to participate in this effort.
“It seems to me that we have two choices. We can continue stumbling along with our coercive system of schooling and continue to fight our children’s instincts, using drugs or whatever other means we must to dampen their cries for freedom. Or, we can adopt what to most people today seems like a radical, even crazy approach to education, but which to hunter-gatherers seemed like common sense. This radical approach is to let our children educate themselves, while we provide the conditions that make that possible.” — Peter Gray
As I read this article about Utah families struggling to find an adequate supply of Adderall, a drug used to alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, I couldn’t help but ponder the blaring irony.
In the article we are given an example of an entire family – 2 parents and 4 children – dependent on a mind-altering substance, frantically searching “every pharmacy in town” for any sign of the drug.
Here is the irony: all you have to do is remove the “Stamp of Legitimacy” given to Adderall by the State, and suddenly anyone who buys, sells, or manufactures this drug is a criminal. This family would be torn apart – parents hunted down and caged, children deemed “wards of the state”, separated, and given over to foster care. All because we’ve given the State the power to tell us what we can and cannot put into our own bodies along with a monopoly on violence to enforce it.
There’s another mind-altering substance out there that has been proven to improve the quality of life for many people, but has not been granted the State “Stamp of Legitimacy” in most places.
It’s called Cannabis.
There are thousands of non-violent “criminals” in prison at this moment, thousands of broken families out there, because they dared to handle Cannabis, one of the mind-altering substances the state hasn’t approved (yet). But by all means, step right up and get your (FDA-approved) Adderall and complain about the drug companies and government when there’s a shortage.
And don’t get me started on the government “protecting” us from the pernicious evils of – *gasp* – raw milk.
Groups such as the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera are feeling “lucky” to be receiving millions in “Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP)” tax money next year to help fund their financially faltering organizations. Of course, when it comes to State welfare, luck has nothing to do with it.
It is a foregone conclusion in modern America that the arts must be supported with tax dollars; otherwise, how would they survive? The underlying — but always unspoken — assumptions associated with this view interest me more than the assertion itself. For example, it is assumed that the arts are valuable. This raises several questions. Which arts are valuable? Who decides which arts are valuable and which are not? We know from a logical examination of human action that value is subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes.
In 1965, the federal government created the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and answered these questions for us: public funding “must ultimately serve public purposes the Congress defines.” On its surface, this makes sense. Public funds should serve public purposes. However, there are two problems with this. First, the funds aren’t public. The money Congress has to throw around is extorted from a minority of the population under threat of further property confiscation and jail time, with the promise of violent force in response to any resistance. These victims do not get to choose what the money is spent on. Second, there is no possible way for Congress to decide what is a “public interest”. Interests are subjective and individual. No interest can serve each individual’s purposes. Every expenditure must be made at the expense of something else.
So if Congress (or some other body of elected officials) is to decide what is in our best interest as far as art is concerned, what factors do they consider while making such sweeping and presumptuous decisions? To answer that, let’s look at a case study. Reagan had planned to eliminate the NEA upon entering office in 1981. What changed his mind? Those put in charge of a task force dedicated to the job stacked the group with such figures as Charlton Heston, good friends of Reagan who were able to convince the higher powers not to eliminate federal funding of the arts. To answer our question, then: State entities in charge of determining which arts serve public purposes consider the same factors that guide every decision they make, and those factors are special interests (particularly corporate interests).
Just as it is impossible for central planners to rationally distribute resources in an economy without the price mechanism of a free market, so is it impossible for central planners to determine which arts are valuable and which are not. If a particular artistic endeavor is unable to survive without public funds, it necessarily follows that not enough individuals in society value it; therefore, allocating public funds to such an endeavor is necessarily a wasteful expenditure as it involves using public funds to support something that the public does not value.
I understand that some may accuse me of not valuing the fine arts upon learning of my opposition to public funding of such. This is a common fallacy employed against many libertarian positions (if I’m against nationalized health care I must be opposed to good health, or if I’m opposed to federal prohibition of marijuana I must favor recreational drug use, etc.). Those who know me, however, know that my passion for the fine arts has annoyed friends and family ever since I was very young. While my brothers blasted ’80s metal, I basked in the invigorating rhythms of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. And I have an unhealthy passion for opera. My idea of heaven is a Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci double-bill.
No matter how vibrant my passion is for opera, though, I could never (and would never) seek to impose that passion upon others. Such a notion is not just impractical but impossible. Just as it is impossible to legislate morality, as the nature of morality requires that it be freely chosen; so is it impossible to legislate artistic taste. If I value opera, I am free to dedicate my own time, energy and resources to its development and proliferation, and it brings me joy to do so; but it repulses me to consider forcing others to do so against their will, just as it would repulse me to be forced to support something like rap music with my money.
I call upon the artistic organizations of Utah to refuse public funding and attempt to stand on their own feet. I realize that this may result in many organizations closing shop, but failure is a necessary part of a free market. To some, this sounds cold. To those with a reverent respect for their art, the word “free” ought to be a source of pride. Artists and those who appreciate their work ought to be disgusted by the thought of disgracing and polluting their work with the ugly stain of political force and intrigue, knowing that even if they cannot convince another living soul of the value of their work, their own love for it is infinitely better than artificial support.
On July 5, 2011, Kelly Thomas was beaten to death by police officers in Fullerton, California. No legal action was planned, and no local media outlets would touch the story — until local bloggers got involved. Their efforts resulted in the first murder charge against a police officer in Orange County history.
Traditional media no longer effectively serve their primary purpose as government watch dogs. The importance of keeping a camera handy and having the courage to record public officials cannot be overstated in these times.
If you see or record State officials (police officers, elected representatives, etc.) engaged in unethical, corrupt or destructive behavior, and local media won’t touch your story, consider Utah Liberty Alliance your resource for getting the word out.
From his quintessential work For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto:
The most viable method of elaborating the natural-rights statement of the libertarian position is to divide it into parts, and to begin with the basic axiom of the “right to self-ownership.” The right to self-ownership asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to “own” his or her own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference. Since each individual must think, learn, value, and choose his or her ends and means in order to survive and flourish, the right to self-ownership gives man the right to perform these vital activities without being hampered and restricted by coercive molestation.
Consider, too, the consequences of denying each man the right to own his own person. There are then only two alternatives: either (i) a certain class of people, A, have the right to own another class, B; or (2) everyone has the right to own his own equal quotal share of everyone else. The first alternative implies that while Class A deserves the rights of being human, Class B is in reality subhuman and therefore deserves no such rights. But since they are indeed human beings, the first alternative contradicts itself in denying natural human rights to one set of humans. Moreover, as we shall see, allowing Class A to own Class B means that the former is allowed to exploit, and therefore to live parasitically, at the expense of the latter. But this parasitism itself violates the basic economic requirement for life: production and exchange.
The second alternative, what we might call “participatory communal-ism” or “communism,” holds that every man should have the right to own his equal quotal share of everyone else. If there are two billion people in the world, then everyone has the right to own one two-billionth of every other person. In the first place, we can state that this ideal rests on an absurdity: proclaiming that every man is entitled to own a part of everyone else, yet is not entitled to own himself. Secondly, we can picture the viability of such a world: a world in which no man is free to take any action whatever without prior approval or indeed command by everyone else in society. It should be clear that in that sort of “communist” world, no one would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly perish. But if a world of zero self-ownership and one hundred percent other ownership spells death for the human race, then any steps in that direction also contravene the natural law of what is best for man and his life on earth.
Finally, however, the participatory communist world cannot be put into practice. For it is physically impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else, and thereby to exercise his equal quotal share of partial ownership over every other man. In practice, then, the concept of universal and equal other-ownership is Utopian and impossible, and supervision and therefore control and ownership of others necessarily devolves upon a specialized group of people, who thereby become a ruling class. Hence, in practice, any attempt at communist rule will automatically become class rule, and we would be back at our first alternative.
We are pleased to launch the only forum specifically for Utah voluntaryists, ancaps and agorists (that we know of). We intend to use the forum to discuss voluntaryist philosophy (even if you disagree), liberty activism, and just have fun.
You can register for an account here. We welcome comments, suggestions and feedback as we work out the technical bugs and moderation process.
Utah Liberty Alliance seeks to bring about a free society through journalism and activism, starting right here at home.
Recent Forum Posts
In development: Utah Copwatch (utahcopwatch.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm
In development: Utahns for Privatized Education (u4pe.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm
Utah juror information
posted in forum Incubator by Nicholas Hooton on April 30, 2012 at 8:56 am