Thoughts On Campus Speech 2: Why Libertarian Kids Get the Most for their College Money

I hear Conservatives lamenting all the time that their kids can't get a good college education because academia is dominated by Liberals and liberal assumptions.  I think just the opposite is true.  Leftist parents should be asking for their money back.

I have spoken on campus a few times about topics such as climate and regulation.  One thing I have found is that students have often not heard the libertarian point of view from a libertarian.   I have done any number of campus radio station interviews as a climate skeptic, and I have similarly found is that the students I talk to have a very muddled understanding of what skeptics believe.  In most cases, I was the first skeptic they had ever talked to or read - everything they knew previously about skeptics had come from our opposition (e.g. what Bill McKibbon says skeptics believe).  This is roughly equivalent to someone only "knowing" why liberals believe what they do from Rush Limbaugh.   My son encountered a college woman last week who despised the Koch brothers, but actually knew almost nothing about them and had never actually seen their work or read their views.  Harry Reid and others she considered authorities said the Kochs sucked so suck they do.

This is just incredibly unhealthy.  Living in an echo chamber and only encountering opposing or uncomfortable positions as straw men versions propped up to be knocked down.  What a crappy education, but that is what most liberal kids get.

Not so my son the libertarian.  He is forced to encounter and argue against authoritarian ideas with which he disagrees in every class and in every social interaction.   Not just in economics and domestic policy -- there is still a lot of interventionism and authoritarianism taught in foreign policy and even in history.  Name one US president from academic lists of great presidents who did not get us in a war?

  • Richard Harrington

    Home-schooled children tend to have even less perspective. Education is about placing students into situations where they can learn critical thinking (I'm not sure that schools can teach critical thinking, but they can foster it). Critical thinking requires an understanding of multiple points of view.

  • jon49

    @Harrington,

    It depends on the home-school parents how many ideas they are exposed too. You can say the same for children in government schools. If the parents don't talk to their children then they won't be exposed to many different ideas.

    Properly home-schooled children should be reading primary sources for history by the time they reach high school age or before. How many kids at school do this?

  • Daublin

    "Education is about placing students into situations where they can learn critical thinking...."

    A critical child is not going to do well in a real-world public school.

  • JKB

    Critical thinking is just the trendy term for studying. It is not taught in K-12 and increasingly isn't taught at the universities. It invites to much freedom of thought.

    The factors of studying:
    1. Provision for Specific Purposes
    2. The Supplementing of Thought
    3. The Organization of Ideas
    4. Judging the Soundness and General Worth of Statements
    5. Memorizing
    6. The Using of Ideas
    7. Provision for a Tentative rather than a Fixed Attitude toward Knowledge
    8. Provision for Individuality

    Homeschooling may or may not help the child develop the skills of study depending on how it is developed, but we know that the wasted days in the classroom with hours of homework ensure that the child doesn't have the time.

  • herdgadfly

    It seems to me that a balanced mixture of liberal, conservative and libertarian faculty would be ideal for exposure to all ideas and philosophy but that is not happening in many places, if at all.

    Perhaps having some allies conversant in Libertarian ideas would be helpful for your son's mental outlook.If so, he just might want to consider George Mason or Florida State which receive the largest slices of Charles Koch's annual contributions to over 100 colleges each year. Schools willing to bend to the right toward free markets get more money then those who will not.

  • TruthisaPeskyThing

    I would disagree. I find home-schooled children to have more exposure and more understanding of divergent view points. In public high schools -- and in most private schools -- the view point that dominants the student's thought process is his or hers peers. What is popular -- what is trendy -- in the peer group, that is the limited view point of publicly educated high school students. On the other hand, the peer group is much less of a dominating factor for home shcoolers. They encounter a wide variety of perspectives from interaction with adults. The social interaction of a home schooler is more diverse than the social interaction of a publicly eduated child. Of course, any one can find counter expaamples, but I find the preceeding concluison to be generally valid.

  • joe

    Name one US president from academic lists of great presidents who did not get us in a war?

    how about eisenhower

  • Harry

    That was a needlessly unfair shot at Rush and Rush listeners, Coyote. One should not assume that everything Rush listeners know about liberals issues from Rush's lips. Some Rush listeners are tolerant of libertarian ideas, and some of them, I would argue many, are capable of drawing reasonable inferences without Rush's help.

    Now, I have heard Rush argue against some "libertarian" ideas, and he has questioned the political efficacy of the libertarian movement, however that may be defined. I can understand how some libertarians may be upset with what they may view as inconsistency.

    I am glad Coyote has spoken on campuses, and it does not surprise me that he has opened some minds, we hope many.