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Re: [bostonatheists] who is interested in social justice? And why libertarians are not

From: William J S.
Sent on: Sunday, February 3, 2013 6:47 PM

I suppose I am more than a little curious as to why my views on the matter, matter.  But I'll bite.  Bethany, knowledge is a public good.  It is an essential public good, as essential as fresh air and national defense.   As passionately as I feel about the replenishment of fresh air and the mounting of a formidable national defense I am more passionate about the need to invest in public education as a key and fundamental way to influence the Weltanschauung, grow the economy and promote social equity.  Knowledge is power.

Nevertheless, my answer to your specific policy question, is no.

Given my passion for education, and an informed citizenry, why not support your proposal?  In the end it is the pitting of the presumed "haves" against the "have nots" it implies, but probably not for the reasons you may immediately think.  Let's put aside the Liberal vs. neo-Conservative paradigm of MSNBC vs FOX.  The most positive outcome (I'd like to define it as the maximization of knowledge) will be for all those that seek education to be able to consume of much of it as they are able such that the well of knowledge be replenished at a minimum, and preferably vastly expanded.  I will add that "able"in this context is not the classical economic sense of "they have the money" but rather in the sense of capacity to learn and have the transformative capacity to turn learning into knowledge.

Therefore, no I would not support the intuitively well intentioned Robin Hood approach because the social consequences are negative.  My measurement is admittedly derivative of value hedonism - "Value Knowledgism" let's call it - because there would be less cumulative knowledge produced for all to consume that is non-excludable and non-rivalrous.  Why not construct education policy such that all those that seek education to be able to consume of much of it as they are able?  Why rob from Helen to pay Harriet?  

Let's instead try a fun thought experiment that is potentially counter intuitive, but when examined may have more positive social consequences if were to be enacted as policy.  Would you support a redesigned funding system for public schools, allowing the state to mandate what each district spends per pupil, even if this means taking federal Department of Education funding away and spending that money in needier districts unable to meet the minimum due to their lower property values? 

Do you know how much of the proposed $68.9 Billion of DOE funding for FY 2013 is not directly tied to the maximization of knowledge?

Thank you for the thought provoking question.

William





From: Bethany <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, February 3,[masked]:14 PM
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] who is interested in social justice? And why libertarians are not

William, you said: "My empathy for the hungry leads me to teach them how to fish, and that includes providing all the means necessary to do so.  Ironically enough, it is what I would have them do unto me."

Would you then support a redesigned funding system for public schools, allowing the state to mandate what each district spends per pupil, even if this means taking 'local' property taxes and spending that money in needier districts with lower property values?




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