Rothbard Fan on the Indian Supreme Court

Three judges of the Indian Supreme Court, a body not known for its intellectual rigor and philosophical consistency, issued a ruling earlier this week upholding the Right to Education Act that was not intellectually rigorous and philosophically consistent. As I wrote in this City Journal piece, the 2010 law had school choice advocate initially all excited because it included a voucher program for poor kids in order to deliver on its promise of a free and compulsory primary school education to every kid in India. One can quibble with that promise, but everyone thought that at least the country had picked the right mechanism for delivering it. That enthusiasm died quickly when it became clear that the program was accompanied with a bitter poison pill requiring private schools to set aside 25 percent of their seats for poor, voucher kids. Not just that, the schools would be required to meet all kinds of new regulations such as: creating minimum playground space, maintaining prescribed teacher-student ratios, hiring credentialed teachers, and paying salaries equivalent to those of unionized public school teachers. Private schools would also be barred from holding back low-performing middle-school students and would be required to use a government-prescribed curriculum and government-approved texts.

 A consortium of private schools challenged the 25 percent reservation requirement on grounds that the vouchers would not cover their entire education costs, causing many of them to even shut down, thereby decreasing – not increasing – the options of poor kids. But the Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, did not buy this argument. That’s bad enough. What’s even worse is that though it upheld the set-aside for non-religious private schools that don’t receive government aid or are “unaided,” it exempted minority “unaided” private schools, thereby creating a double standard.

But such blatant inconsistences are not what’s interesting about the ruling. What is interesting is that the dissenting judge actually quoted Murray Rothbard on the evils of government education in his opinion. By name. He said:

Mr. Murray N. Rothbard, an eminent educationist and professor in economics, in his book, "Education: Free and Compulsory," cautioned that progressive education may destroy the independent thought in the child and a child has little chance to develop his systematic reasoning powers in the study of definite courses. The book was written after evaluating the experiences of various countries, which have followed free and compulsory education for children for several years. Prohibition of holding back in a class may, according to the author, result that bright pupils are robbed of incentive or opportunity to study and the dull ones are encouraged to believe that success, in the form of grades, promotion etc., will come to them automatically. The author also questioned that since the State began to control education, its evident tendency has been more and more to act in such a manner so as to promote repression and hindrance of education, rather than the true development of the individual. Its tendency has been for compulsion, for enforced equality at the lowest level, for the watering down of the subject and even the abandonment of all formal teaching, for the inculcation of obedience to the State and to the "group," rather than the development of self-independence, for the deprecation of intellectual subjects. 

I am of the view that the opinions expressed by the academicians like Rothbard command respect and cannot be brushed aside as such because, much more than anything, the State has got a constitutional responsibility to see that our children are given quality education. Provisions of the statute shall not remain a dead letter, remember we are dealing with the lives of our children, a national asset, and the future of the entire country depends upon their upbringing. Our children in the future have to compete with their counter-parts elsewhere in the world at each and every level, both in curricular and extra-curricular fields. Quality education and overall development of the child is of prime importance upon which the entire future of our children and the country rests.

Regardless of what one thinks of Rothbard, can using him to warn of the dangers of a public education whose goal is to produce good, compliant, state-loving citizens rather than free-thinking individuals be all that bad?  Can one ever imagine even Justice Clarence Thomas using Rothbard to attack public schools in this country?

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  • Paul.||

    Mr. Murray N. Rothbard, an eminent educationist and professor in economics, in his book, "Education: Free and Compulsory," cautioned that progressive education may destroy the independent thought in the child and a child has little chance to develop his systematic reasoning powers in the study of definite courses

    Public School Teachers: *squinting* So what's the complaint?

  • Tman||

    Can't we just make them all watch "Free to Choose" and "Waiting for Superman" and call it a day?

  • A Serious Man||

    Mr. Murray N. Rothbard, an eminent educationist and professor in economics, in his book, "Education: Free and Compulsory," cautioned that progressive education may destroy the independent thought in the child and a child has little chance to develop his systematic reasoning powers in the study of definite courses

    That's a feature, not a bug, of public education. The whole point is to instill in kids "progressive values" and a love of the collective, hence the hostility towards homeschoolers.

  • fursa||

    Actually homeschoolers were invited to speak to my foundations of ed class today. Not that I want to be a public school teacher .. *shivers

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They invite drunk drivers and former drug addicts to talk about their experiences, too.

  • fursa||

    "creating minimum playground space, maintaining prescribed teacher-student ratios, hiring credentialed teachers, and paying salaries equivalent to those of unionized public school teachers. Private schools would also be barred from holding back low-performing middle-school students and would be required to use a government-prescribed curriculum and government-approved texts."

    What's the point of calling _that_ private?

  • Paul.||

    In this country, that would be called "deregulation".

  • fursa||

    They have to teach the same crap, they have to get the same crappy credentials, they have to maintain the same crappy ratios,all enforced by the same crappy government. But they're private. Defeats _every_ purpose.

  • ||

    Fuck, you're pathetic, Mary.

  • ||

    they can't ban all of us!

    Don't forget stupid, too.

  • ||

    Also ugly. Very ugly.

  • ||

    But how 'bout her daughters, huh?

  • ||

    Not bad. But they are probably retarded like mom.

  • ||

    Retards are the sluttiest, dude. You haven't lived till you've gotten a slutty retard blowjob.

  • Formerly Almanian||

    We call slutty retard blowjobs "numbskull" round these parts.

    OK, I just made that up.

  • ||

    That was supposed to be "sloppy", but oh well.

  • np||

    part of the problem with threaded comments is that when comments are removed for trolling, etc, the replies are left totally out of context, under the wrong thread/parent

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That's why most comment systems will say "comment deleted by moderator" or something similar when one is taken out.

  • ||

    Still, any way you slice it, it's difficult to utilize comment deletion without a thread becoming a word salad.

    I'll take weird comment deletions over an oral belchfest of lichen preaching any day.

    Perhaps we should adopt Anon-bot as an endangered species.

  • Formerly Almanian||

    Makes a lot of sense when you think about it! LOL!

    www.anon-bot.org/endangered

  • ||

    Reminds me of this

  • ||

    Oops, missed the second half

  • Tak Kak||

    It's Dr. Rothbard!

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    In the British world, of which India is culturally - if not politically - a part, titles like doctor for anyone but general practitioners of medicine or dentistry are eschewed.

    Even medical and dental specialists are addressed as Mister in the British world.

    Now considering that Rothbard was a full Professor, a valid criticism is that the learned judge did not refer to him as Professor Rothbard,

  • SouthernAnCap||

    "Even... dental specialists are addressed as Mister in the British world."

    Do I even need to say it?

  • np||

    When Rothbard or anything libertarian shows up in unexpected places, I'm always interested in how they were introduced

    Speaking of Indian: Malavika Nair winning the Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics

  • np||

  • np||

    (now that we have registration, why aren't we allowed more than 2 links? And this invalid comment thing is getting ridiculous)

    Interestingly she also co-authored a paper examining anarchism:


    On the governance of "not being governed"

    The Art of Not Being Governed illustrates that the people of highland South East Asia were not primitive people "left behind" but instead chose their lifestyles in order to avoid the predation of lowland states. This raises the question of how these people who are ungoverned by nation states provide governance for themselves. We explore this question with two related case studies. One examines a nineteenth century Southern Indian banking caste that provided self-governance. The other examines modern-day stateless Somalia.
  • pmains||

    Yikes. $35. I'm interested, but not that interested.

  • Christina||

    The opinion isn't sourced on the Bastiat blog post it came from. (Internet) proof or it didn't happen.

  • Amakudari||

    Uh, I found it. On the Supreme Court of India for the case Society for Un-aided Private Schools of Rajasthan Vs. U.O.I. & Anr. In context it seems pretty obvious this has nothing to do with Indiana.

    The hell?

  • Amakudari||

    Oh, never mind. I just can't reading comprehension.

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