Where socialists and libertarians meet

The central tenet of libertarianism is a compelling one: People create their own destiny based on merit and effort. Especially when it comes to economic success, the idea that merit and effort equate to actual rewards is a pretty compelling one. [1]

Which is why I think public schools should be mandatory (no vouchers), and not based on regional funding like property taxes.

At least, if you’re going to ethically be a libertarian.

Consider Dayton. Right now, the school systems here are funded primarily by property taxes [2]. Residences in Dayton proper have a lower average property value than residences in some of the suburbs (Oakwood, Centerville – I’m looking at you). This means that kids in Dayton schools have less money per capita for resources than kids in the suburb of Centerville.

This difference can be quite stark; in one instance that I personally saw it was the difference between computers in every classroom and kids having to share textbooks because the school couldn’t buy enough.

Yes, it’s possible that a child’s talent could let them succeed despite those disadvantages. It’s also possible that anyone on the Olympic sprinting team could beat me if they had a ten second handicap.

But that’s not succeeding based on merit and effort. That’s an uneven playing field.

Until the playing field is level, espousing libertarian economic policies is ethically bankrupt.

More tomorrow.

[1] IMHO, there’s quite a few people (myself potentially included) who think they’re better than average, but are not. These people tend to support libertarianism because they believe they’d do better – but are wrong.
[2] Yes, it’s more complex than that; it’s simplified for clarity.

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