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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Public Education: Legal Kidnapping

What is kidnapping? There are different definitions for "kidnap". Answers defines it as, "to seize and detain unlawfully" while Dictionary defines it as, "to steal, carry off, or abduct by force or fraud, especially for use as a hostage or to extract ransom". Basically, kidnapping is stealing a person, these two definitions should have made that more explicit, but that is what kidnapping refers to. These two definitions might seem as identical to most people, but to the eyes of a rational thinker they are very different. The first definition is biased towards the state, the second one is not.

It is important to always remember that what is legal and what is moral are two separate issues, here. The reason why, I think, that some definitions define "kidnapping" as "to seize a person unlawfully" is that the state cannot be accused of kidnapping people. Take for example conscription, more commonly knows as the "draft". The state demands a population group to go into war. If this population group refuses then they will be punished by the state for their refusal, the state will use violence against those who refuse to participate in conscription. The state demands this population group to go into war, possibly die, and if they refuse, they will have violence done against them for disobedience. Under the second definition of "kidnapping" the state practices kidnapping. Thus, if you believe that kidnapping is evil then the state is evil. However, under the first definition of "kidnapping" the state cannot be seem to kidnap, since what it does is legal, for it is the state. This is why I say that the first definition of kidnapping is biased towards the state, it defends the state from being seen as evil. Thus, I do not like the first definition, a definition should be more objective, and my definition for "kidnapping" that I use is the second one, that is, "kidnapping is stealing people".

I oppose public education the way it currently is for many reasons. These include education methods, economics and costs. But my main objection to public education is that it is compulsory. The state demands parents to send their children to a school and if the parents refuse then the state will take their children away from them. This is kidnapping. If it was done by the mafia or by some other person we would not hesitate to call this "kidnapping". But why is it that so many of us are so hesitant to refuse to the situation of what I just described as "legal kidnapping"? Many of us are even uncomfortable to hear people, like myself, describe public education as "legal kidnapping".

One can object to me and say that public education is not kidnapping because parents have a choice. They can send their children to a private school or home school them. But one who proposes such an arguments misses two very important points. If I point a gun next to your head and demand you to give me money I am sure you would say that being able to decide if you want to give money or die is not a choice. To be a "choice" means the person must have the ability to deny the proposal, otherwise it is not a "choice". The state does not give a choice to parents. The parents do not have the ability to deny their demand. Parents must send their children to a school, they have no ability to say "no". This is the first problem with such an argument. The second problem is that private schools and home schools need to be approved by the state. They are not part of the state but they need approval of the state. Thus, even if one thinks that private or home schools are a "choice" misses the point that these schools must be approved by the very same entity that demands their children if the parents do not comply. This will not be called a "choice" by any reasonable person. These two common arguments against my accusation of public education as legal kidnapping fail to refute my argument. There is one more problem. In some countries public education is all that is available. There is no private option.

I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to public education. I see no problem with having such a state program. However, if such a program was to exist it must undergo a lot of radical changes. First of all, most importantly, it must stop being a form of legal kidnapping. Second of all, it should be the responsibility of the parents to educate their children. Third of all, bad public schools should be allowed to fail and good ones should be allowed to prosper.

The first reason is clear as I explained. The third reason I do not want to go into so much now because it will take me off topic. Basically my reasoning behind the third reason is that it is very common for failing government programs to receive more and more money if they are failing. In the market a business that is failing will be allowed to fail. Businesses that do well make more money and prosper. I think a big problem with public education is that good schools have a cut from the government while bad schools get more money thrown at them. This defies all common sense. Bad public schools must fail. The competitive forces of the market should be brought into government schools too so that they can improve their performance.

Now I want to get into my second reason. In general, the people who love and want the best for children are their parents. It is the responsibility of parents to take care of their kids. Even if parents are not the best parents it is still their responsibility. Because even bad parents love their children. I can guarantee you the state does not love children and it will not take care of them as well as parents. How can I possibly believe in this if I see the evil every day that is performed by the state? You expect me to believe that the state will care for children? The state enslaves millions of people for crimes (like marijuana and other drugs) that they should not be enslaved for. The state kills hundreds of thousands of people in other countries that are innocent. The state threw its own citizens in internment camps during the war. The state dehumanizes people on a day to day basis. How can I possibly believe that the state cares about children and it will take care of them if it does not care about human life? I must be a mad delusional person to come to such a ridiculous belief. Forget about the state taking care of your kids. It is madness to entrust the responsibility of children on the state especially if the state is willing to kidnap your kids for your failure to comply.

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