Tag: homeschool

Consent Matters: Non-consensual School Funding is Wrong

Arvin Vohra | Vice Chair of The Libertarian Party

Consent always matters. Even if it’s something considered good, even if it’s something demanded by religion or sense of duty, consent always matters.

For example, it’s generally considered good for married couples to have sex. In many religions and cultures, it is virtually considered a moral obligation. Perhaps because of this, for centuries marital rape was not considered a crime. As late as the 1980s in America, in many states it was considered legally impossible for a husband to rape his wife, or vice versa.

Today, thankfully, we’ve started to understand that consent always matters – even in marriage. We’ve understood that marital rape is possible, that it’s morally unacceptable for the same reasons that any other rape is unacceptable: consent matters.

I imagine this may have been very difficult for some men to hear. A husband accustomed to forcing himself on his wife, who thinks it’s normal, even a moral obligation, does not want to be compared to some back alley rapist. But rape is rape. We recognize that marital rape is wrong for the exact same reasons that stranger rape is wrong. We now realize that having consensual sex with a stranger is far better than having nonconsensual sex with a spouse.

Today, we have many people who are like that husband of the past who didn’t get that consent matters. They are trying to do a thing that they think is good. It may be trying to educate kids, defend the country, etc. Like sex within marriage, most people agree that it is a good thing. But done without consent, that good thing becomes bad.

Today, government schools, charter schools, and vouchers are done without the consent of those being charged. Those who have not consented to pay for those programs are being forced to pay anyway – not only without their consent, but often over their strong objection.

It’s not an issue of democracy, or law. When democratically elected representatives passed laws making marital rape legal, or failed to pass laws against it, marital rape was still wrong. And no matter how popular nonconsensual, theft-funded schooling is, it is completely, absolutely, morally unacceptable.

The ubiquity of this nonconsensual funding does not make it okay. It makes it worse. Rape is always bad, but more rapes are certainly worse than fewer rapes. 100 million rapes is worse than 100 rapes. The fact that so many parents use government schools, unconcerned that they are funded by force, that so many teachers work there, similarly unconcerned, makes it worse, not better. The fact that so many kids are being indoctrinated into thinking that it’s okay to steal, as long as it’s for what you believe is a good purpose, makes it even worse.

This isn’t a battle that will be won at the policy level. Today, a democratic voter referendum would probably support tax funded schooling, just as a referendum in 1810 would probably have supported slavery, or one in 1890 might have supported marital rape. This battle, like those battles, must be fought on moral battlefields and cultural ones. Our job is to change hearts and minds. Change them, not pander to them.

We must have faith that even when people are doing evil, some part of them wants to do good. The husband accustomed to raping his wife may have wanted to do something right, and just didn’t get that what he was doing was wrong. Changing that mindset didn’t come from pandering and sweet words, but from intense and controversial discussion, and a massive cultural war.

Non-consensual funding is morally wrong. It’s certainly not necessary in education; in a world with free online education, theft funding schooling has gone from morally wrong to patently absurd. Let’s change this toxic mindset, with the simple concept: active consent is necessary before you take someone’s money, no matter how good you consider the purpose. And participating in system that acts without consent, that acts over the objections of those being robbed, is always morally wrong.

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“Liberty is For Everyone” – An Interview With Libertarian Party Vice Chair Candidate Joe Paschal

By Spencer Kellogg | United States

Joe Paschal is a construction manager in the heavy industrial sector where he lives in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Mr. Paschal is running for Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Party. His platform promotes local governance, free-market economics, and school choice.

 

71 Republic’s Spencer Kellogg spoke with Mr. Paschal by phone and he discussed a range of subjects from the tobacco industry and homeschooling to bitcoin and the environment:

On School Choice:

We homeschool all our kids. In the old days, a community would get together, and they would pay for school and decide who would come teach their children. It was funded by local people and it was a common agreement and they controlled it. If the teacher wasn’t doing their job, they’d get a new one. Now, the federal government mandates what we’re teaching and it’s more of an indoctrination than it is an education. If we want to make a difference in public schools, then we should stop sending our kids. The school gets money for every child enrolled. If you stop sending your kids to those schools, you’re essentially not supporting that system. If you don’t like the state in your life, then don’t give them a reason to be in your life.

On Corporate Governance:

I came up a millwright. I was a boilermaker and a welder. I worked in sawmills and paper mills in Virginia and worked my way up from there. I’ve worked hard, I’m a blue-collar man. I have no problem with free markets but when the free market controls the government it isn’t a free market. The corporations are writing the laws and they own the lawmakers. If you look at the EPA regulations big corporations want them. It keeps the startups and little guys out of business because they can’t afford to operate and compete. I’ve worked in the oil and gas sector. It’s not that I’m against big business but you won’t have a free market until the governments not involved in it.

On the Regulation & Centralization of The Virginia Tobacco Industry:

The 10-acre tobacco farms of Virginia folded because they were only allowed to grow so many pounds of tobacco per acre of property by mandate of the federal government. They could grow 50,000 pounds but if they only had poundage to grow 20,000 pounds, then they can only sell 1/2 of their potential output on the market. If you live in Virginia, you probably know of Bailey’s cigarettes. They’re made by Mac Bailey. Mac Bailey has 900 acres of tobacco in Mecklenburg & Charlotte counties. That pushed the small farmer further down and further down until it got to a point where they didn’t think it was worthwhile to raise tobacco. Those farmers end up selling their tobacco poundage to somebody like Mac Bailey and then that person buys up all the poundage for the whole county. That’s not a free market when the government is regulating it to the point where only a few people can afford to do business.

His Favorite Quote:

It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. – Sam Adams

On Liberty:

My mother was a Goldwater republican. My step dad never really liked the government. He was drafted into the army, which was something he never wanted to do but he served because he didn’t want to break the law and become a draft dodger. When he got out of the army, he refused to vote anymore. To use an old Mark Twain adage: “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let you do it.” He never trusted the government. He always paid his taxes, but he hated it. I came from a family that believed “leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.” We’re not judgmental type people.

I was homeschooled. History was always interesting to me. At 16, I read the Magna Carta. Then I read the Constitution and I would go to places like Monticello and learn about Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Patrick Henry. Virginia history and early American history are one in the same. All of that formed my political beliefs. It wasn’t until I got older and started having children that I got involved in politics. I realized I could either sit on the bench and complain all the time or go out and do something myself. My biggest mission is to teach people that liberty isn’t just a choice for a few people, it’s for everybody. From the person who digs ditches all day to someone that owns a major corporation. Liberty is Liberty.

On the American Dream:

I’ve been to Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Afghanistan, Dubai, Mexico. There’s good and bad in all those countries. In South America, for example, the energy bills are nothing because it’s a state-owned utility. It’s regulated to be cheap for the people but that sets prices and that creates two classes of people; the working class and the oligarchs. If you’re at the lower level, there is no chance for you to climb up. There is no free market there. Even though we have our issues, there’s always a chance that a poor person can climb up. If you look at someone making minimal wage, they can buy a little piece of Bitcoin every week. A little bit here, a little bit there. In 10 years they could become a millionaire if they work hard to get there. In those other countries, it’s almost impossible to do.

On Cryptocurrency:

I like the premise and I know there is some opportunity there. I don’t know if I trust an online based currency like that because I’m not sure how secure it would be if something were to happen. The way the NSA controls our internet and we don’t know when we’re being spied on or if they’re listening to this very conversation. Let’s say we have another great depression, the market dropped drastically and we had a run on the banks. This happened in Greece, when the economy went bust, they began freezing their assets from private citizens, so they couldn’t get their own assets. My fear is if something were to happen, economically in the world, how would we be able to benefit from owning an online currency? I still think hard currency has a lot of value. Gold and Silver has a lot of real world value. It makes people comfortable because they can hold it in their hand.

On Montana:

I worked in Montana 20 some years ago. I went out and did a project at a power plant. Then I just fell in love with it. Everybody was nice, everybody had guns, and everybody talked hunting, fishing and doing outdoor stuff. 4 Wheelers and ATV’s were riding up and down the street, and it was totally legal. I started researching and found out it’s the 4th largest state in America and it has only a million people in the whole state. The largest city is only 100,000 people. Property taxes are very low. There are zero sales tax on anything you buy. We have a simple tier income tax. The maximum that anyone pays in Montana on state income tax is 6.9%. The way the state looks at homeschooling, you have a right to educate your kids the way you see fit. To homeschool your kids in Montana, you just have to write a letter to the super intendant of the school district in which you live and tell them you’re homeschooling your children and it’s done. There’s no state inspection or testing. On your personal property taxes, you can write off the homeschool amount on your income tax. They don’t mess with you because that’s your right. It’s got some issues but it’s one of the freest states in the country. The biggest issue I have with Montana is they carry quite a bit of federal debt but that’s not even Montana’s fault. Something like 1/5 of Montana is federal land and to maintain that property we have to borrow money from the federal government.

On Automation:

Automation is coming and with a growing population we need to face the fact that there will be less jobs. It’s coming. The first thing most people want to suggest is a Universal Basic Income, but nothing is free and who’s paying for it? We’ve got millions and millions of acres in the United States that are owned by the federal government. If we could homestead that land, then people could stake themselves a few acres of land and have a self-sustaining property and they wouldn’t need to rely on anyone but themselves.

On Monsanto:

People are not sure about the GMO’s that they’re eating. They don’t trust what they’re eating. Don’t even get me started on Monsanto because that’s no free market there. The government protects them. The federal courts protected them when their seeds blew onto a small farmer’s property and then those famers were getting sued by Monsanto for selling seeds they didn’t even plant. The government backed Monsanto in that case. We have to protect our environment and our famers. End of story.

On Big Business:

I support big business and I support the free market. But I also know that we have to protect our environment. I don’t have a problem drilling oil if it’s done responsibly because I’ve worked on oil rigs. I understand that it’s a resource we have to tap but we shouldn’t be dumping it on the ground when we can process it. We have to be stewards as well as business people. Some of the ancaps in our party don’t quite see it that way. They believe the corporations will do good if they have the freedom to good and I’m not sure if I buy into that whole philosophy. I remember about John D. Rockefeller. They didn’t care too much about people or the environment. They cared more about making money and having power.

Child Protective Services Is Abducting Homeschooled Children

By Ryan Love | United States

The relationship between parent and child is a sacred and time held one. It is a foundation pillar of society. It is the right and proper duty of the parent to assure that their children learn the moral, ethical, and educational building blocks of society, and how to employ them to be good and proper members of said society.

Recently, however, there have been case by case examples of the state eroding this sacred pillar. As was the case in Buffalo, New York when a single mother had her children ripped away from her by Child Protective Services for deciding to home-school her children.

This relays to us a very serious problem, particularly for conservatives and libertarians: the state’s power over the individual’s body is simply too great. The fact that the government can, without proper and reasonable suspicion of malice or wrongdoing, take the children out of the arms of a carrying parent is an egregious miscarriage of justice.

The fact that the state can initiate force without any sort of consent by the governed is a dangerous and horrifying prospect, one that has been made increasingly apparent in recent times. This is not the first account of wrongdoing either. All across the country, CPS officials have been flagged for behaving in reprehensible ways. Be it abuse, wrongly removing someone’s children, or placing kids into abusive foster homes, there is little moral basis for the government to take children away from their parents.

For the single Mother in Buffalo, she had her lifeblood, her beloved children ripped away from her simply because she refused to believe that state-sponsored schools were good for her family. She followed every bit of excessive bureaucratic red tape to the letter, and yet, it was all to no avail.

Why is the government granted this right in the first place? Of course, this is not to say that there are not instances in which child abuse does occur. But rather, that there may be better alternatives in addressing the needs of children especially when the interests of the child are at stake. For instance, could not other familial members work to help the kids? Or could CPS be reserved for more serious and heinous allegations, removing their power to take children from parents because they decide to home-school altogether?

What is worst of all is that CPS seems to operate with no rhyme or reason. On the one hand, they are destroying families lackadaisically, on the other they aren’t investigating truly abusive homes to the degree that they need to be. Without the true competition of the market, can we be surprised that CPS and the government at large is failing us? I would say not.

Ultimately, when we look to our society we can see a lot of good. Western Civilization has provided millions-if not billions- with a great and unprecedented quality of life. At the same time, there are many ways in which we can improve. One of them may be reconsidering the power of the State, and how it impacts the lives of families.

The Government is Ruining the Future of Every Student

By Jackson Parker | USA

With the rate of jobs growth increasing around the country, people scramble to equip themselves and their kin to find a job that can support them and their families. The most stressed option to prepare for future employment is, of course, college education. While a degree can provide students with appropriate skills and opportunities for succeeding in the real world, the sword has two sides. The opposing edge ends up becoming the vast amount student debt accumulated with going to school. This debt gained from going to college has skyrocketed since 1980 and caused the millennial generation to be burdened with intense debts rivaling the cost of a mortgage.

With this sharp increase in the prices associated with schooling, many questions come to mind for people who are on the fence about attending college.

  • Why are prices so much higher than when my parents were in college?
  • Why am I being pressured into paying this much money?
  • Who made these prices higher?

These questions are valid and great concerns among today’s current youth and need to be addressed and fixed accordingly. The problems with the current university system and the prices associated come from Big Brother himself. The government has wrenched its hands into the world of postsecondary education in the name of “fairness” and “equality” and has caused a travesty to the current generation of students attempting to afford college.

The federal government has provided a “low-interest student loan service” that has been the main cause of the increased cost of tuition across the nation. This federal service was implemented in order to guarantee low-interest rates and prevent loan discrimination because of bad credit among other things. These federal loans were implemented with positive intentions to help the lower class but, after many years, have proven to hurt them the most.

The problem with these loans is seen when you compare them to traditional loans for a house or other valuable item. When you apply for a loan, the bank or other lending services will evaluate you for their own risk/reward in the deal. The company will check your previous purchases, current qualifications, and adjust your interest rate accordingly to make sure they aren’t taking an economic risk without incentive for them.

The government’s student loans do not follow this plan; they give out as much money as needed, at a set interest rate, to any qualified applicant. Most people would champion this as a positive thing, helping poor or otherwise unfortunate people who need help going to college. This plan overlooks the biggest problem that the government has created. Without incorporating their risk into the lending, the government loses money to defaulting loans without proper interest to make the risk worth it. Since government lending agencies do not discriminate against obvious risks by raising their interest rates, they are saying “everyone is equally opportune for college education.” While this egalitarian statement seems to be for the best, it simply isn’t true, individuals have varying levels of uncertainty to their successes.

While more and more people enter postsecondary education, the value of a college degree inflates while the cost associated with this pursuit skyrockets. All the while, the taxpayer shoulders the risk for these student’s education without knowing anything other than the fact that they are attending college. As majors and past credit history are completely disregarded in the current system, the student debt soars over one trillion dollars and the number of defaulters push over seven million. Many people believe the narrative spread by organizations, such as the NY Times, that college is required for a successful life and you should attend without proper qualifications on the government’s “free” money. But this claim that you must attend college is false, many professions require no college degree whatsoever. Some of them are even in a few of the upper tax brackets and provide for a whole family unassisted.

Many people have observed the inflation that has happened inside of the United States, increasing the price of goods. While inflation has happened within the country, the rate of tuition cost increases outdo the numbers inflation contributes. The CPI (Consumer Price Index), the value tracking inflation, has increased 120% over the past 30 years, while college tuition cost has soared 260% in the same time.

The government has been handing out loans to fill the colleges with as many people as possible. These state-run colleges like UT and NYU are run by the government and still require funding. Instead of the government causing an uproar by increasing the property tax on a state level, their solution was a seemingly righteous endeavor that was masked in the shade of “egalitarianism.” By supplying every student who wishes to attend college and strapping them with student loans, these state-run colleges can gain revenue through tuition and other onsite services while keeping out of the local government’s tax plan. However, that does not mean the society isn’t paying for these students to attend school, the money goes straight to the federal budget deficit.

While the government struggles to afford the trillions of growing costs of sending whoever wishes to attend college, they choose to ignore the possible solutions. Other than completely eliminating the lending service to prevent losing further amounts of money, there are other ways we can mitigate the impact of these debts. Evidence has shown that certain majors, especially in arts and humanities, are far more likely to default on their student loan debt. By increasing the incentive for the government to give loans to majors with historically higher default rates, the government can soften the blow of each defaulter. The system will remain a “fair” method to provide loans as intended, but correlated to majors based on independent research in order to mitigate the national student loan debt. For example, business majors typically have the least amount of risk associated with them and therefore should be held at a lower interest rate.

The government needs to put a plan into action soon in order to combat the downward spiral of the increase of student loan debt and cost of tuition across America. By doing nothing, the taxpayers are accepting defeat and masochistically increasing their own debt in the name of “fairness for all.” The student loan debt crisis can be solved with various simple actions all with one goal in common, preventing the government from acting like a seemingly benevolent god. The government has exercised too much power far too many areas of the country, including the education and futures of its own citizens as well as taking control away from the private institutions who are willing to give loans to worthy candidates. By making the government function like a business instead of a charity, or by completely removing it from the equation and letting private industry take care of the people, the massive inflation of the cost of student loans will meet or possibly stoop below the rate of inflation. With this in mind, as a taxpayer and as an American, we all must band together in order to ensure a bright future for our posterity and avoid the malicious cost associated with seemingly righteous governments.

By Banning Best Friends, Schools are Crippling the Next Generation

By Ryan Lau | USA

If each of us was to look back upon our years in primary school, some things that may come to mind include gaining a little more independence from parents or guardians, learning to read and write, and meeting new friends, some of whom we may still be acquainted with. All absolute necessities in our modernized society, it is hard to argue that any of these aspects of elementary education should be drastically altered, but that hasn’t stopped some British schools in the last several years. A number of institutions, including British private school Thomas’s Battersea, where Prince George currently attends, have implemented a total ban on the concept of students having a best friend. Yes, you read that correctly. Essentially, these schools are robbing impressionable young minds of the chance to foster healthy relationship skills in order to prepare them for the real world, while failing to accomplish their alleged goal.

To fully recognize the dangers of this policy, it is first of all important to understand the well-intentioned motives behind it. Child and family psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg recently wrote an opinion piece on the matter. In it, she declared, “The phrase best fried is inherently exclusionary. Best friends shift rapidly. These shifts lead to emotional distress and would be significantly less likely if kids spoke of close or even good friends”. There is simply no way to defend this. Naturally, human beings are exclusionary creatures, which Greenberg will readily admit, given her position. Yet, she draws the exact opposite conclusion than is logical. In many situations, a student may only feel comfortable around one friend. Perhaps that student has been ostracized by the others, or perhaps he simply does not find the other students to be desirable options for a friend. Why on earth would attempting to put a damper on that student’s sole friendship be of any benefit? It simply would make antisocial individuals less social, as they would be receiving negative messages about becoming too close to any particular person.

While leaving these detrimental effects on certain individuals who struggle to make friends, the implementation of such a policy will not help anyone, because the changing in language is entirely ineffective in denoting the true feeling behind a connection or relationship between two friends. If two best friends in grade school are forbidden from calling themselves best friends, it may jeopardize their closeness, as children of that age are incredibly susceptible to believe every word spoken by an authority figure. Yet, even if the school’s policy does convince them to change their terminology, this does absolutely nothing to change the underlying friendship. Though Greenberg claims that rejection of the term best friend will result in inclusion, removal of a simple word does absolutely nothing to prevent the same two people, now called close instead of best friends, from forming a deep bond and not wishing for others to join that bond (this is not a bad thing, as will be explained). Just as the acceptance of various politically correct terms for minorities and disabled people have done absolutely nothing to fight the legitimate issues that these people face, changing the name around a friendship will do absolutely nothing to fight an allegedly poor behavioral pattern.

Furthermore, the alluded to exclusionary tendencies of the term “best friend” are actually quite beneficial for children. As I have previously stated, we are all naturally exclusionary. It is neither unfair nor wrong that we like certain individuals considerably more than others. Drawing a parallel, it most closely resembles the prospect of selecting a spouse. It is no simple task, one that requires full certainty and trust in one singular individual, but where does this trust come from? Ultimately, it originates from the skills learned in grade school when deciding which person, if any, that a child considers to be his or her best friend. When selecting a spouse, one does not have a number of close girlfriends or close boyfriends that are to be decided between. (If so, that is an entirely separate issue, and I pray it does not need a lengthy explanation, but in the days where Greenberg’s proposal sees even marginal public support, I fear it one day may). The individual has one committed relationship which eventually turns into a marriage, due to the fact that he or she has excluded all other men and women from this category. Thus, the inherent categorization and exclusion by human beings is in no way a purely negative attribute.

Yet, after reading this, many will argue that a best friendship is unlike a marriage, as it does not have to be exclusionary for it to be successful. Though this is true, common knowledge dictates that the greater number of people within a circle of close friends, the lesser the focus on each individual, and in many scenarios, that is exactly what a child needs. The benefits of having a best friend have been documented time and time again, and simply put, Greenberg and others sharing her opinion have no tangible data backing any successes of an environment without best friends.

Moreover, Greenberg’s incompetency does not stop at the simple point of not having data. In fact, she shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the very concept of the term best friend. In her piece, which can be found here, she suggests that “If kids have best friends, does that also imply that they have ‘worst friends’?”. Clearly, Greenberg does not have a solid grasp on the concept of a friendship hierarchy. Going back to the example of a wedding, the best friend of the bride and groom will likely become best man and maid of honor. Good friends will become groomsmen and bridesmaids. Most friends will simply be invited to the event, but without any special classification. If someone is liked less than the regular friends, they are simply not invited. They are not given a special invitation or title denoting their inadequacy, as doing so is entirely unnecessary and frankly rather cruel. A friendship hierarchy works much in the same way, with classifications for a best friend, close friends, and any other categories that an individual chooses to implement. People do not have “worst friends”. That’s simply called someone who isn’t close or isn’t a friend at all. We cannot possibly expect to like each individual we meet to the point where we consider them friends, but abandoning this hierarchy would suggest that to be a possibility.

Indubitably, these schools are stepping well beyond a reasonable line of control. By literally deciding for the students who they should befriend, and what level of connection that they should have with these people, they are implementing an advanced form of thought control and restricting the individuality of these budding young minds. In doing so, children are being taught that preferences are wrong, that everyone must be treated identically, and that it is unfair to have a special connection with someone. None of these are remotely good scenarios, and it must be halted with a great sense of promptness. The success of impressionable children is at stake. Bring back the best friend, bring back closeness, bring back healthy relationships. It is far too important in an increasingly social life to ignore, and this dangerous agenda must be stopped before the impact on the children becomes too severe.