Liberty Schools

The Libertarian Party: An Introduction

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If you have heard of the Libertarian Party but are new to what it really means, this is for you. I have written down a few introductory concepts behind it so you can get a feel for what the party is all about. In a government with a two-party system, it is nice to have a third option, and you may be surprised by how many alternative political parties actually exist.

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Libertarians are the skeptics of the political system. Generally speaking, the Libertarian Party promotes as little government inference with capitalism and a skepticism of the political system itself. They believe a minimalist government is ideal. They believe in the free market economy and a “night-watchman” state, meaning the government will only intervene when necessary, but otherwise stay out of it.

 

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Right-libertarianism

Right-libertarianism came about in the 1950s in the United States and is the usual concept of Libertarian that people associate with the party. They believe strongly in self-ownership as well as the non-aggression principle, meaning that free market capitalism and private property is the way to go. The government will say out of private matters. The idea is the state violates the concept behind the non-aggression principle. The principle itself is an ethical stance that sees property as personal and not something that the government should have any say in what anyone does with it.

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Left-libertarianism

 

Left-libertarianism is less common than right. They believe that the Earth’s natural resources belong to everyone and no one person or group can claim an exclusive right to them. Land must not be overly taken or the owners should be taxed for it. They are almost the antithesis of the right side of things, thinking that capitalism is “wage slavery” and that the state should not allow as much private property as they do.

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Anarchism

While libertarians may disagree that they do represent a form of anarchy, the truth of the matter is that there is an element of anarchy involved with libertarianism. Since anarchy believes strictly in autonomy, and they oppose any economic authority or government involvement of private property, an anarchist’s values do somewhat align with libertarians. The difference is that libertarians do not want to totally eradicate the government, but do support the government having less to do with private citizens. Anarchy follows the thought that a central government on the whole should be eradicated and instead have groups of citizens monitor for the rights of others.

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Civil Liberties

The Libertarian ideals encompasses the promotion of free thought and civil liberties. They were huge proponents of women’s suffrage since before the women’s rights movement there were many laws that specifically discriminated against women, something that libertarians are completely against.

They are also big promoters of the freedom of religion, almost verging on being anti-Christian and anti-clerical seeing that religions do run the risk of harming people’s civil liberties. But mostly in modern times, the thought is that people are free to follow whatever religion they want so long as the churches are not obligating their patrons to do certain actions or limiting their ability to do things.

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Thoughts on Property

The right-libertarians think of natural resources as first come, first serve. They do not need anyone’s permission to take the property and have the freedom to do with the land what they choose. Meanwhile, the left-libertarians say that you cannot claim natural resources for your own, but need to share them with others and the community.

They do seem like opposing viewpoints, but regardless, the government does not have control over the property itself and it is left to the people themselves.

 

The Top 7 Conservative Colleges in the United States

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When we typically think of college, we think of the liberal arts. There is a lot of left-wing propaganda flying around and most students at a liberal arts school will inevitably dabble with pursuing left-wing ideals. So it does ask the question: do conservative colleges exist in such a liberalized system? The answer is yes. While most universities and colleges do still hang out with the more “liberal” side of liberal arts, there are still a number of colleges and universities in the United States that adhere to more conservative thinking. Here are just a few examples to peruse. Keep in mind, however, that often conservative is associated with Christian. The problem here as far as libertarianism goes is that many Libertarians are also not in favor of religion. That is not always the case though and keep an open mind when looking through these.

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  1. Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale College is a private, non-sectarian liberal arts college with a long history of patriotism. The college was founded before the Civil War. In fact, more than 400 college students from Hillsdale fought for the Union in the Civil War. It was also the first college in the United States to actively prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, or religion. It also does not accept any federal or state subsidies, limiting the amount of control that the government has over the university.

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  1. Brigham Young University in Provo, UT: This well-known university boasts itself on its extremely conservative Mormon ideals. All students who attend this college must be Mormon. That said, the curriculum is state-of-the-art as are its sports teams. All while adhering to conservative values and ideals.

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  1. Texas A&M University in College Station, TX: This conservative university is a public research university and is the fourth-largest university in the United States. It is secular, but has a reputation for being both socially and politically conservative. There is also a strong military tradition in the university as well as political groups. The school is so conservative that there was a petition to ban leftist speakers from campus.

 

  1. Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA: The mission of Liberty University is “Training Champions for Christ,” so it is definitely a conservative Christian university. It holds socially conservative views and is a good choice for Baptists. Chapel is required for all students at least three times a week.

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  1. Grove City College in Grove City, PA: A private, Christian, liberal arts college, Grove City College “fosters intellectual moral, spiritual, and social development consistent with a commitment to Christian truth, morals and freedom. Rather than political, ideological, or philosophical agendas, objective truth continues as the goal of liberal learning.” The part of this that would appeal to libertarians is that the college accepts no federal funding, meaning that it operates without any government interference. It is also a great location for budding think tanks as well as a number of conservative clubs, including College Libertarians.

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  1. Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA: This is the newest college on my list, but I don’t feel that it should be left out. It is a classically Christian college, which of course may not be in line with your politics, so keep that in mind. The curriculum culminates in apprenticeship, letting students gain actual practical work experience before graduating.

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  1. Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, VA: Established in 1775, this university has literally been around as long as we have been a country and is one of the oldest universities in the country. The university is still an all-men’s liberal arts college, as it has been since it was founded. Their mission is to “form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.”

 

What Would a Libertarian School System Look Like for Teachers and Admins?

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As I explained elsewhere, the education system for Libertarians is theoretically quite different than the education system that we employ today. The big idea behind it is self-directed learning, meaning the students make their own choices as far as their own education. So how does a self-directing education system work for the teachers and administrators? Here is a hypothetical breakdown of how a libertarian school system would operate.

For the Teachers

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The Parents are in Charge

The first major change is that the parents would be in charge with paying the teachers, like they would a tutor in the current system. The parents would only pay the teachers that their children are signed up with. Since the students pick their own subjects and their own teachers, the amount paid would vary greatly between teachers.

Likewise, evaluations would happen through the parents, approving the success of a teacher and paying them accordingly. The major flaw with this set-up is what the parents are seeing versus what is actually happening in the classroom. If a student is uninterested in a subject matter, he or she could be inaccurately representing what the class looks like, putting fault unfairly with the teacher. In order to side-step this, it should be treated the same as a college course. There is a flat fee for the course that everyone pays, regardless of how well the student is performing or how interested the student is in the subject matter

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Competitive Environment

Another big difference between the libertarian school system and our current system is that the teachers will now be competing for students. Since the more students that sign up for you class means the bigger paycheck you will earn, it would be in your best interest, as a teacher, to perform well. You need to make your class interesting and engaging in order to be successful.

If a student does not like a teacher’s class, it is easy to change to another class. The problem I see here is how the payments would transfer from one teacher to another, unless it is a monthly set up.

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The Teachers Also Have Power

Do not think that the teachers are completely at the mercy of the students and parents, however. The purpose of having a free system, does not mean one party is free, but that everyone is free. So in terms of the teachers, they would have more power to remove students from the classroom than they do at the moment.

If a student is negatively impacting the classroom, the student can be kicked out. Of course, the teacher would lose the payment from that student’s parents, but on a positive note, the teacher will also get a positive reputation for being in control of the classroom and taking education seriously.

Administrators

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School Funding

Schools are also run by a management team. This would not change, since someone needs to be in control of the school. The school administrators would gain funding from what the teachers are earning from the parents. Newer teachers would have to pay a higher portion of their profit to the administrators than more popular and experienced teachers.

There would be no excess in the budget because all necessities would be itemized out and then prioritized based on need. If the parents are pushing for something additional in the school, then it is put on the parents to find the means to achieve it.

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Equipment Fees

Parents would need to pay equipment fees that were appropriate for each classroom. This would be how books would be purchased and classrooms would be maintained. An English class, for example, would require general maintenance, books, paper, and pens. A computer class, however, would be far more expensive due to the cost of the computer equipment.

This will put the financial value on the type of class it is rather than having everything treated equally, since that is really not the case with education an specific classes.

 

What Would a Libertarian School System Look Like for Students?

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Since the Libertarian Party is based on the idea of “liberty” as well as minimalist government involvement, naturally a Libertarian-run school system would look differently than the system that we have today. But what exactly would the system look like? This is completely hypothetical, but this is the idea that I have for how a Libertarian school system would operate.

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Testing

To begin with, let’s take a look at standardized testing. In a Libertarian school system, it would be unlikely that the students will be required to go through standard tests that are mandated by the government. Since the focus is on the individual, you cannot hold other students against each other. Tests may still be given, but perhaps not required, allowing teachers to evaluate their students at a level appropriate for both the grade as well as what fits the students well.

There is a lot of pressure put on students globally, forcing students to take tests and take them well in order to pass onto the next level of school. Students under testing pressure have been reported to suffer from depression and anxiety, which is not benefitting the success of students.

The Subjects

In order to have an education set-up that is better tailored for the success of students. Part of this would be making the selection of subjects optional. Teachers could provide introduction courses in order to demonstrate what the topics and subject covers, but then allow the students to pursue what interests them rather than force them to follow subjects that they would struggle through.

The idea behind this is that students who are more enthusiastic about learning will be more likely to encourage their peers and improve the overall enthusiasm of a classroom. If you have a group of people who are far more excited by their studies, the learning environment will be positive overall.

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Difficulty

Instead of forcing students to take lower level courses that may bore them, students would have the option to freely move to higher levels without having completed the lower level. Likewise, if a subject matter is simply too challenging, students will have the option to move down a level.

The purpose behind this is that students should not be rated with ability by their age. Some students are going to be more advanced than students of the same age while some may be struggling to keep up. This would also alter socialization since students will not be making friends with kids that are the same age necessarily, but instead would be making friends based on similarities and interests.

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Attendance

Attendance would be up to the student completely. They would not be penalized for absences. It is their responsibility to know what they can do to catch up. Students will be obligated to create their own timetables; no one is going to do it for them or tell them when to be and where. The key to this is that no one will do it for them after school is over, so they need to understand how that works now.

This will also breed an interest in school simply because no one is making them go to school. They will go because it is important and interesting to them, with the understanding of what the future career consequences would be if they fail to complete school. If a subject is not working out or is too hard, the students will have the opportunity to make the changes necessary to encourage them to succeed at school. While this may seem too hands-off to some, the concept is that children will learn organization and positive decision making young as well as understand that they have a direct hand in their own education, making them more involved than they are now.

 

Big Flaws of the Libertarian Party

 

I would be lying if I said that there was not any good about the Libertarian Party. There is a substantial amount of good that the libertarian ideals hold and the purpose of it is in the right place. That said, like all political ideals, the party is deeply flawed. I will cover the positive things about the party in another post, but here I would like to go over what is not working about the libertarian concepts and ideals, specifically pertaining to the United States.

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  1. The School System: The idea that a school system could be self-run without a governing body would not work in our society. While that is exactly how private schools operate, the purpose of having public schools was to allow everyone to have an education. Forcing parents to pay and letting the students have complete control of their primary education will result in many children simply not going to school and instead forcing them into the workforce at a young age.
  2. The Property Issues: The concept of property ownership under the libertarian system is a contradiction by itself. The idea is that the government cannot have a hand in property, allowing the land owner free reign. But the concern here is natural resources. While the libertarians are saying that the purpose is to ensure everyone is free, potentially taking away other citizens’ right to having fresh water or other resources is impeding on someone else’s liberty.
  3. Coercion: Along with the normal property issues, there is the concern that the libertarian system could pit land owners against one another. Since property owners would no longer have restrictions, the potential for what someone could do with a property is endless, causing a great amount of trouble and headache that is simply unnecessary. And not having zoning between properties could run the risk of wealthy business owners turning lands into whatever operation they choose, altering how the division of residences and companies relate to one another, leaving an imbalance.
  4. Laissez-faire Economics: The concept of laissez-faire capitalism is that the government cannot have a hand in how capitalist enterprises operate. The problem here is that the result will inevitably be that there is monopoly organizations, where a few people will control the vast majority of the marketplace. In a capitalist system where there is no competition, product development and improvement will stagnate.

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  1. Environmental Concerns: Since the libertarian concept is to have a night watchman state, there are several concerns about what that would mean for the environment. Without any mandates, companies and individuals could easily be readily harming the planet without any recourse. There would be no one monitoring carbon emissions as well as natural resource depletion, meaning the world could be destroyed very easily.
  2. Government Decentralization: Moving the government to a system that is hands-off could easily exacerbate the issues that we are currently struggling with. Officials would have an easy time turning their eyes to something wrong if it was not to their benefit. There would be no one to keep them in check or balance, creating a world of different and worse problems.
  3. Too Much Faith in Humanity: I think that the biggest flaw in the libertarian model is that it assumes that there are smart and good people out there who are capable of taking care of themselves and others. While the government does have a high tendency to over babysit, there is also the group of people who will do nothing without help. Parents would not send their kids to school, people will not pay attention to the environment, and worse. When we only focus on the individual, the community on the whole will suffer.https://youtu.be/ndNVqWwC8k0