Saturday, March 15, 2008

Recognizing the Supremacy of the Free Market

Playwright David Mamet made the news this week with his announcement that he is "no longer a 'brain-dead' liberal." As I read his lengthy explanation of how he determined this, something in it jumped out at me:

For the Constitution, rather than suggesting that all behave in a godlike manner, recognizes that, to the contrary, people are swine and will take any opportunity to subvert any agreement in order to pursue what they consider to be their proper interests.

To that end, the Constitution separates the power of the state into those three branches which are for most of us (I include myself) the only thing we remember from 12 years of schooling.

How interesting that Mamet, a celebrated writer of multiple well-known works, would so casually mention this, as though it were public knowledge: "which are for most of us (I include myself) the only thing we remember from 12 years of schooling."

He is blatantly acknowledging that he remembers very little of his pre-college schooling experience, and he believes most people don't remember much of theirs, either. So what's the purpose of school then? If you don't remember learning anything beyond the three branches of U.S. government, was it really worth your time?

Later in the essay he makes a statement, used in a different context than where I'm going with it, of course, that speaks volumes:

The play, while being a laugh a minute, is, when it's at home, a disputation between reason and faith, or perhaps between the conservative (or tragic) view and the liberal (or perfectionist) view. The conservative president in the piece holds that people are each out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way, as the inevitable abuses and failures of this system (free-market economics) are less than those of government intervention.

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.

Government should stay out of the way, because the failings of the free market are less than those of government intervention....this is also true of education! We've seen what has happened with government-controlled education. The removal of schools from local control so many years ago made things worse, not better.

A free market, where parents are free to choose (with their dollars) how they will educate their children, whether via public-, private-, home-or un-schooling, can do much better than governmental control of education, and can certainly do no worse. Maybe Mamet will come to that conclusion on his own and someday become a mouthpiece for the free market in education. Why not? He's on the right path now.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Now if we could only talk the REST of the world into it too.....:-)