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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Unschooling vs. Big Government Liberalism: Joel Schlosberg's Critique of Kozol

Joel Schlosberg has a great individualist anarchist critique of Jonathan Kozol's statism. It's the kind of thoughtful criticism we might expect, given Joel's background as an admirer of Kozol's work in alternative education back in the days before he became a mainstream big government liberal.

One can also question the limitations of wanting all schools to be like well-funded, affluent public schools, even though that would address the most blatant problems faced by poor schools, such as 40 kid rather than 20 kid classrooms. Even high schools that are nice, affluent, with small class sizes and supposely attention to the intellectual needs of students, can be a total waste of time and life for all involved.

A similar critique can be made of those who advocate a national health system like that of the UK, or a single payer national insurance system. It seeks to leave the present medical establishment intact, with its license-enforced white coat priesthood, its institutional culture of large top-heavy hospitals, and its model of service provision based on expensive patented chemicals, high-tech diagnostics, and cutting; the only difference is that the current medical establishment will be entirely funded through a more efficient public financing system, rather than only mostly funded through an inefficient and piecemeal financing system.

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Blogger Charles Pooter said...

Of course the obverse is also true. Conservatives here in the UK argue for reform of monolithic state institutions like the National Health Service without also taking on the assumptions you mention that underlie the current system. That is something a conservative or even a "vulgar libertarian" would never do.

October 04, 2005 12:27 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Good point. Mainstream "liberals" and "conservatives" are both part of the same corporate center, and advocate slightly different mixes of the same centralized, hierarchical institutions.

The decentralist fringes of left and right, on the other hand, probably have more affinity for each other than for their ostensible allies at center-left and center-right. I see the homeschoolers and gun rights people trying to accomplish much the same thing as organic farmers and radical unions like the Wobs.

Both "liberals" and "conservatives" agree on the need for a corporatist economic system with a large measure of federal subsidies/regulation and strategic planning by the central banking system, and an interventionist political-economic policy on a global scale. The difference is the "liberals" want Paul Krugman at the helm domestically, and international political-economic policy made by somebody like Tom Friedman or Jeffrey Sachs.

October 04, 2005 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to quibble too much, but the NHS is a state programme, not a corporation.

- Josh

October 05, 2005 2:54 PM  

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