I don't think I agree with Rothbard when he says: "It is obvious, therefore, that the best type of instruction is individual instruction. A course where one teacher instructs one pupil is clearly by far the best type of course. It is only under such conditions that human potentialities can develop to their greatest degree."
It's been my experience that I don't really know something unless I teach it to others. That aspect of the learning process is missing in individual instruction. Smaller groups might be the way to go as far as really getting things stuck in people's heads. Although, earlier in the essay he talks about areas where formal instruction is unnecessary.
"Now it is clear that for a large segment of his general education, he does not need systematic, formal instruction. The space is almost always available for his physical faculties to develop and exercise. For this, no formal instruction is needed. If food and shelter are provided for him, he will grow physically without much instruction. His relationships with others-members of the family and outsiders-will develop spontaneously in the process of living. In all of these matters, a child will spontaneously exercise his faculties on these materials abundant in the world around him."
It's been my experience that many people are unqualified to have children, but they do anyway. (I'd be happy to argue about my opinion concerning parental qualifications on Thursday.) Those people who procreate recklessly and dangerously put children in environments where they don't spontaneously learn to interact socially with others.
I'm going to have to agree with Camilla by skeptically examining the following claim: "Obviously, the worst injustice is the prevention of parental teaching of their own children. Parental instruction conforms to the ideal arrangement. It is, first of all, individualized instruction, the teacher dealing directly with the unique child, and addressing himself to his capabilities and interests. Second,
what people can know the aptitudes and personality of the child better than his own parents? The parents'daily familiarity with, and love for, their children, renders them uniquely qualified to give the child the formal instruction necessary."
My parents love for me was within one standard deviation of the norm, but all the love in the world couldn't help them teach me calculus, or sanskrit. They didn't know those things. That's kind of a left handed argument, because the government never tried to stop my parents from teaching me anything they knew. I'm not sure why Rothbard is so upset here.
Oh wait, I do see where he gets his pants in a twist. "The only logical alternative to parental "ownership" of the child is for the State to seize the infant from
the parents and to rear it completely itself. To any believer in freedom this must seem a monstrous step indeed. In the first place, the rights of the parents are completely violated, their own loving product seized from them to be subjected to the will of strangers. In the second place, the rights of the child are violated,
for he grows up in subjection to the unloving hands of the State, with little regard for his individual personality."
There are undoubtedly instances where idiot breeders teach their children to be racist, willfully ignorant, superstitious, sociopaths, and the world would be a better place if a benevolent dictatorial faceless bureaucrat, or batman, would swoop in, take the children away, punch the parents in the gonads, and try and repair the damage done, but Thomas Jefferson disagrees: "It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of the father."
I disagree too, and so that I'm not hypocritical, I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon looking for parents who are raising their children "wrong", tell them how I feel, and then not confiscate their children from them and educate them properly against their will.