Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
If you’re following Arizona politics right now you know that a big issue is Prop 123, which will be voted on next month here in a special election. It would significantly increase the annual distributions from the state land trust to schools and is touted as a solution to settling the lawsuit against the state for underfunding education since the recession.
This happens to be going on at the same time as budget negotiations, and as many critics of Governor Doug Ducey and skeptics of Prop 123 have noted, the Governor and GOP majority in the Lege are not exactly acting with anything resembling humility in advance of asking the electorate to forgive them for failing to fund public education. For one thing, they want to give charter schools $100 million out of a bare-bones budget. For another, they are poised to give $5 million to a think tank led by a libertarian crackpot named William J. Boyes, who hates public schools.
No, seriously, he hates public schools! Per Laurie Roberts in the AZ Republic:
Turns out William Boyes, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, supports the elimination of public schools. In November, Boyes spoke at a conference sponsored by the Mises Institute, about the need for centers such as his to push for a more free market approach in universities.
“We have to change education from K-12 to universities to be more open to … a free market approach,” he said. “We don’t see that at those levels. I think the centers, if they can create departments and programs, can create free market economic thinkers and the more we put out there, the more impact it’ll have in the long run.
“I also think that if we can do the same thing in K through 12, get rid of public education, create private education as a replacement and have a market for education, then I think we really have an impact.”
ASU even provides a link to the Schools Sucks Project, which has a podcast of Boyes’ comments to Mises, entitled The Demise of Government Schools.
As the School Sucks people noted on their podcast page: “It’s always exciting when a prominent figure at an enormous public university – the largest public university by enrollment in the U.S – openly calls for the end of public schooling.”
Here Boyes is, in his own words, hating on public schools:
Link to video in case it won’t play here
Boyles is a big fan of Austrian economics and of its godfather, a lunatic named Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), who has a large following in right wing academia and elsewhere. Over at Mises.org there are several examples of Boyles sharing his thoughts, including the “end public schools” lecture Laurie Roberts cited. Another of them is a talk entitled William Boyes: From Mainstream Academia to Unrepentant Rothbardian, which the announcer describes as “dynamite” because Boyes rejects stodgy mainstream “mathematic economic models” in favor of libertarian unicorn ones.
But what is “Rothbardianism”, you might ask? Well, that is the province of one Murray Rothbard (1926-1995) who was quite the piece of work. Per his Wikipedia entry*:
…Rothbard was the founder and leading theoretician of anarcho-capitalism, a staunch advocate of historical revisionism, and a central figure in the twentieth-century American libertarian movement. He wrote over twenty books on political theory, revisionist history, economics, and other subjects. Rothbard asserted that all services provided by the “monopoly system of the corporate state” could be provided more efficiently by the private sector and wrote that the state is “the organization of robbery systematized and writ large…
…Rothbard rejected mainstream economic methodologies and instead embraced the praxeology of his most important intellectual precursor, Ludwig von Mises. To promote his economic and political ideas, Rothbard joined Llewellyn H. “Lew” Rockwell, Jr. and Burton Blumert in 1982 to establish the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama…
…Race, gender and civil rights
Michael O’Malley, Associate Professor of History at George Mason University, characterizes Rothbard’s “overall tone regard[ing]” the Civil Rights Movement and the women’s suffrage movement to be “contemptuous and hostile”. Rothbard vilified women’s rights activists, attributing the growth of the welfare state to politically active spinsters “whose busybody inclinations were not fettered by the responsibilities of health and heart”. Rothbard had pointed out in his ‘Origins of the Welfare State’ that progressives had evolved from elitist Gilded Age pietist Protestants that wanted to bring a secularized version of millennialism under a welfare state, which was spearheaded by a “shock troop of Yankee protestant and Jewish women and lesbian spinsters.”
Rothbard called for the elimination of “the entire ‘civil rights’ structure” stating that it “tramples on the property rights of every American.” He consistently favored repeal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, including Title VII regarded employment discrimination and called for overturning the Brown v. Board of Education decision on the grounds that forced integration of schools was aggressive. Rothbard also urged the (state) police to crack down on “street criminals”, writing that “cops must be unleashed” and “allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error”. He also advocated that the police “clear the streets of bums and vagrants”, and quipped “who cares?,” in response to the question of where these people would go after being removed from public property.
Rothbard held strong opinions about many leaders of the civil rights movement. He considered black separatist Malcolm X to be a “great black leader” and integrationist Martin Luther King to be favored by whites because he “was the major restraining force on the developing Negro revolution.”[page needed] Rothbard praised Malcolm X for “acting white” through use of his intellect and wit, and contrasted him favorably with the “fraudulent intellectual with a rococo Black Baptist minister style, “Dr.” King”. But while he compared Malcolm X’s black nationalism favorably to King’s integrationism, and for a time praised black nationalism, in 1993 he rejected the vision of a “separate black nation”, asking “does anyone really believe that … New Africa would be content to strike out on its own, with no massive “foreign aid” from the U.S.A.?” Rothbard also suggested that opposition to King, whom he demeaned as a “coercive integrationist”, should be a litmus test for members of his “paleolibertarian” political movement.
Race and intelligence
Both Michael O’Malley and political scientist Jean Hardisty have noted Rothbard’s “praise” of the argument, made in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s book The Bell Curve, that blacks are genetically inferior to whites with respect to intelligence. Both authors quote Rothbard’s remark that intellectual and “temperamental” differences between races are “self-evident”.
O’Malley quotes Rothbard as stating that public acceptance of the book’s thesis “would put a bullet through the heart of the egalitarian socialist project”, by providing an intellectual justification for racial inequalities.
Gosh, he sure seems nice. Rothbard’s good pal Lew Rockwell (1944-), who is also a swell guy**, has lovingly cataloged some of his writings, including a 1970 manifesto against “women’s lib” wherein Rothbard described feminists as “harridans” and “viragos” and gave a familiar-sounding mansplanation of why it is good and proper for women to be denied equality. (TL:dr – Because men are innately superior and also because women, though clearly inferior, are the real oppressors of said men.)
This is all no surprise, as it has long been obvious that white supremacists and misogynists love “school choice” and privatization because they fit perfectly with their goals of racial segregation and keeping women chained to the home. They’re entitled those views, but they can use their own damn money to promote them, rugged individualists that they are.
* Yep, Wikipedia because I figure I’ve only got three decades, tops, left on this earth and I’m not wasting several hours of my dwindling time carefully perusing all the original works of bigoted dicknobs like Murray Rothbard.
** Yep, RationalWiki because see above.