Philosophy and Education

A few days ago I happened to read a few articles that tied together to emphasize a point to me, it happens like that once in a while. I was reminded in my readings that the state is a great propaganda machine that keeps the masses confused and misinformed. Most people get their “history knowledge” from the movies! if we love liberty and truth, we must move to fight that sorry state of affairs.

I would like to share those three things that I read the other day and what they said to me.

First, I read this by a young artist:

(5)  -Philosophy and education – As a society we have all been completely betrayed by the public education system and the mainstream media.  We have been given false values, irrational principles, destructive examples and have been led completely astray to the point where it is difficult to make sense of the world, which ultimately results in unfavorable and dangerous behavior.  A good many people in the world have fallen victim to this deception, but most people snap out of it quickly when they are able to make sense of reality.  This is where philosophy and education come in, because the damage that propaganda has inflicted on our minds is actually fairly easy to reverse, and today with the internet people are now able to teach themselves any subject, any time, at any age and usually for free.  So we do have that ability to advance philosophy and have widespread education even in this world today where we are still limited by the current system and its failures.

I mulled this over and realized that he might well agree with me that the forces of liberty are winning the war of ideas. We are winning the war of ideas due to the internet. Ron Paul helped a lot, but the internet is the super highway that we use to spread our ideas. We have huge and important sites like but we have millions of independent liberty lovers writing blogs or making tweets that teach and re-enforce the principles of liberty. We have to hope that the truth will win out if people can be exposed to it. Plus, we do have all sorts of internet based educational opportunities.

I was reminded of the quip attributed to  Mark Twain where he said that he did not let his schooling get in the way of his education. I hope a lot more people in our age do as Twain did and not let public schooling get in the way of their education. I also hope that a lot of people follow the advice of the Taoists and others when they tell us that a lot of education consists mainly in unlearning the false things we have in our head.

The same day I read the above quote by the young artists I happened to see a link in a tweet to another great internet resource for liberty,; where I read this by the always great David Gordon:

Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) based his political philosophy on a simple insight: slavery is wrong. Few, if any, would dare to challenge this obvious truth; but its implications are far reaching. It is Rothbard’s singular merit to show that rejecting slavery leads inexorably to laissez-faire capitalism, unrestricted by the slightest government interference.

If we reject slavery, then are we not saying that each person owns his own body? Just what seems immoral about slavery is that some people, the slave owners, have the right to control the bodies of those under their domination. The owners can tell the slaves what to do and force them to obey if they refuse to comply.

One might at first think that this point has little relevance to modern society. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States in 1865; surely it does not tell us very much of practical importance today to reiterate that slavery is wrong.

But are we not moving here too quickly? If the essence of slavery is forced labor for others, it is a very present reality today. When the government takes part of what you earn in taxes, it in effect forces you to labor for the state. Just as the slave does not get to keep what he produces but must surrender it to the master, so must the taxpayer give up part of what he makes to the government. One might object that someone can avoid being taxed by refusing to work, but this is hardly a viable alternative. A slave system in which slaves could refuse to work, at the cost of not being supplied with any provisions, would hardly strike us as much of an improvement over simple slavery.

And the income tax is far from the only area in which the state acts as a slave master. …

How can we compare a democracy with a system in which a master compels others to labor, regardless of what they want? In a democracy, an individual may not be able to do what he wants, but the majority of the people make the rules.Rothbard argues that this circumstance leaves the essence of slavery unchanged. In a democracy, the majority acts as the slave master. So long as the individual cannot exercise full control over his own body, he is to that extent a slave. The fact that he, along with his fellow slaves, has a share in determining what he will do still leaves him unfree. Democracy, in Rothbard’s view, is a system in which each person owns a share of everyone else. It is merely a variant of slavery. The choice cannot be evaded: one must either favor self-ownership or slavery.

In many books and countless articles, Rothbard carried out his defense of self-ownership to its full logical, if controversial, conclusion. If you own your own labor, you cannot be compelled against your will to support the state, even if it confines its activities to protecting rights—other than, of course, the rights it violates by extorting resources through taxation. Further, people in a free society are at liberty to establish competing agencies to protect themselves: they need not confine protection to a monopoly agency.

So far the self-ownership principle has been presented as an obvious truth of common sense, but Rothbard was not content to leave matters at that. In arguing for self-ownership, Rothbard relies heavily on a point of fact. Everyone is in reality in control of his own will. If I obey another, I must always make the decision to do as he wishes; and the threat of violence on his part should I follow my own course leaves the situation unchanged. I must decide whether to accede to the threat. …

Typical of Rothbard to cut to the heart of the matter. Governments are slave masters that convince their slaves that they are not slaves but that they want and need the masters to mistreat them. The rulers use all sorts of propaganda and their public schools to indoctrinate the masses to believe in the myth that governments are “good” or at least “necessary”. Rothbard did much to expand the political philosophy that it is always and everywhere illegitimate to aggress against the innocent.


And then on the same day I read the following quote by Hayek:

All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest. Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.” ~ Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty

It is obvious that our job in this revolution is to spread truth and the ideas of liberty. We need to talk about the ethics of liberty, about political philosophy, about real economics, about morality, about our real history, and about tactics. Most of all we need to help people get interested in finding the truth themselves. There are many great writers out there writing today. There are many classics written by great minds in the past. People need to be induced to take the time to read and think — and I know that is hard in our fast paced world, but it is essential that people take time to think.

Many of my fellow citizens, educated in government schools, think that the argument for liberty is an argument against organization. They know well that our modern industrial world with 7 billion people has to have organization.  They have been deluded by the propaganda of the state. We are not arguing against organization but rather we are arguing against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization. The monopoly of the State in other words.

And why are we arguing against the monopoly on the legitimate use of force by the State? The State is nothing but force, violence, and oppression. The State in all its many forms is mankind’s biggest enemy. We have handed over power to the few who become the ruling class and that power corrupts. They grab ever more power over us and become ever more corrupt. We must break that cycle and use voluntary cooperation among humans. It is the only way to peace and prosperity.