We are witnessing a growing battle over public education curricula, with parents decrying the adoption of the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and the cultural Marxism that has become de mode in academia and amongst woke-pedagogues, revolts against and hostile takeovers of school boards that have embraced the “systemic racism” narrative, and now Florida’s state Board of Education prohibiting the teaching of CRT in public schools.

The reactions from Left and Right are pretty much what you’d expect, of course. The liberty-minded, on the other hand, face a bit of a quandary. At least superficially.

The problem is that a libertarian might first think to decry the government’s heavy hand in debarring certain subject matter as much as it decries the fundamental inaccuracies and questionable (at best) provocations put forth by Nikole Hannah-Jones (the 1619 Project’s founder), Ibram X. Kendi (a leader of the “antiracism” movement), and the many others who preach a doctrine of unequal treatment as a counterweight for past sins.

However, our society and nation aren’t particularly libertarian, founding principles notwithstanding, and our educational system, running off public funds (as in you don’t have a choice about paying those taxes) and a monopoly (yes, it’s a monopoly – you can’t spend those dollars on a private school), is pretty ****ing far from any libertarian ideal. In fact, the best a libertarian could aspire to is the introduction of some degree of choice under the premise that tax dollars will continue to fund public education (the goal would be backpack funding, as is the norm in the Nordic nations.

Thus, when we assess the matter of states dictating what should and shouldn’t be taught in public schools, we land on the reality that they already do this. Public education curricula are already being managed by the government, and as long as public education continues, this will be the case (whether it be local, regional, or state-level management).

This changes the calculus, and the aspiration to teach as close to the unbiased truth/reality as possible should be paramount. All the de mode that I noted above doesn’t even remotely align with that aspiration. Moreso, they actually teach the judgment of individuals by the color of their skin, which in all but some new (and quite Orwellian) revisions, is the very definition of racism.

Wrong on the facts, wrong on the philosophy, wrong on the morality… why would we wring our hands over the debarring of its teaching? Again, we are not discussing a statist intrusion into a libertarian system, but rather a decision being made within a statist structure. From that perspective, we not only find no violation of liberty in a decision to debar the teaching of an unsupportable retconning of American history and a worldview that advances race-based divisiveness, anger, envy, and inequality, we find reasons to support such a decision. Remember, we are talking grade- and high-school, not college-level academia where adults (whose brains are fully formed) can study and argue these matters. We are talking about the facts and values being taught to children, and to teach them to judge both themselves and their fellows by the color of their skin will reverse decades of progress in race relations and societal improvements. And, to make a distinction, I am speaking of the inculcation that this is how kids should see the world, not the existence of CRT as an academic field of study or consideration.

I offered this view on social media yesterday, and got “rebutted” by someone who asserted that “your reality isn’t the same as others. Everyone has different experiences especially in America.” To truly grasp both the nature of this argument and its insidiousness, we need to reference a corrosive idea at the heart of all of this: postmodernism. More specifically, the post-modernist precept that all truths are subjective, that there are “my truths” and “your truths.” Note that the critic implied “truth” where he wrote “reality,” and then conflated “experience” with “reality.” Yes, indeed, we all have different experiences. That doesn’t make truths relative, because experiences are not truths. It is true that if you stand in the rain without an umbrella, you will get wet. So will the person standing next to you, no matter his past experiences or other “realities.” It is true that, if you teach children to judge people by the color of their skin, you are teaching them to be racist. It’s as wrong as the segregationist teachings in the Jim Crow era. I have no problem with the state deciding not to make this the primary and secondary public education curriculum. Nor should you.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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