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Wed Sep 29, 2021, 08:42 AM

How Milton Friedman Aided and Abetted Segregationists in His Quest to Privatize Public Education

Posted on September 29, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. It should come as no surprise the Milton Friedman was willing to get in bed with just about anyone to advance his libertarian anarchist agenda. This post shows how Friedman, even in the era when his economic theories didn’t have much of a following, was nevertheless able to do real harm, here by backing school voucher schemes designed to preserve school segregation after Brown v. the Board of Education.

By Nancy MacLean, William H. Chafe Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke University. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

The year 2021 has proved a landmark for the “school choice” cause as Republican control of a majority of state legislatures combined with pandemic learning disruptions to set the stage for multiple victories. Seven U.S. states have created new “school choice” programs and eleven others have expanded current programs, with laws that authorize taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schooling, provide tax credits, and authorize educational savings accounts to invite parents to abandon public schools.

“School choice” sounds like it offers options. But my new INET Working Papershows that the whole concept, as first implemented in the U.S. South in the mid-1950s in defiance of Brown v. Board of Education, aimed to block the choice of equal, integrated education for Black families. Further, Milton Friedman, soon to become the best-known neoliberal economist in the world, abetted the push for private schooling that states in the U.S. South used to evade the reach of the ruling, which only applied to public schools. So, too, did other libertarians endorse the segregationist tool, including founders of the cause that today avidly pushes private schooling. Among them were Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Robert Lefevre, Isabel Patterson, Felix Morley, Henry Regnery, trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), and the William Volker Fund, which helped underwrite the American wing of the Mont Pelerin Society, the nerve center of neoliberalism.

Friedman and his allies saw in the backlash to the desegregation decree an opportunity they could leverage to advance their goal of privatizing government services and resources. Whatever their personal beliefs about race and racism, they helped Jim Crow survive in America by providing ostensibly race-neutral arguments for tax subsidies to the private schools sought by white supremacists. Indeed, to achieve court-proof vouchers, leading defenders of segregation learned from the libertarians that the best strategy was to abandon overtly racist rationales and embrace both an anti-government stance and a positive rubric of liberty, competition, and market choice.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/09/how-milton-friedman-aided-and-abetted-segregationists-in-his-quest-to-privatize-public-education.html

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Reply How Milton Friedman Aided and Abetted Segregationists in His Quest to Privatize Public Education (Original post)
BeckyDem Sep 2021 OP
2naSalit Sep 2021 #1
appalachiablue Sep 2021 #2
BeckyDem Sep 2021 #3
appalachiablue Sep 2021 #4
Chrisdutch Sep 2021 #5
Kid Berwyn Oct 2021 #6

Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 09:41 AM

1. K&R

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Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 11:31 AM

2. R & K Far and wide

.. And the sad fact of the matter is that improving education was never the true reason for free-market fundamentalists’ embrace of vouchers. As Friedman signaled in that first 1955 manifesto and argued for over a half century, school “choice” was a way station on the route to radical privatization.

The vouchers were a tactic. The strategy they served was to stick parents with the full cost of their children’s schooling and the labor of finding and arranging it.

“In my ideal world, government would not be responsible for providing education any more than it is for providing food and clothing,” Friedman repeated in 2004 what he had long maintained. “Private charity would be more than ample to assure that there were schools available for every child.” He was as frank in addressing a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) four months before his death in 2006.

Said Friedman: “the ideal way [to give parents control of their children’s education] would be to abolish the public school system and eliminate all the taxes that pay for it.” In the real world, this would be engineered inequality so staggering that it would make today’s inequities look modest by comparison.

That is what today’s libertarian billionaire backers of vouchers, with Charles G. Koch in the lead, are keeping from the unsuspecting parents on whom the cause relies for electoral success, now Black and Latino as well as white. Vouchers, like freedom, are a horse to ride somewhere. The destination would shock most people, but soon it could be too late to reverse course...

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 12:00 PM

3. +1. Exactly.

The libertarian brand is as cruel as all get out.

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Response to BeckyDem (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 01:02 PM

4. Cruel and selfish, a con and the ugly truth

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Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 06:39 PM

5. Milton Fraudman

Friedman was a petty, cruel intellectual hustler with a talent for self promotion. He brought an economic viewport developed from him and his father running a low wage garment factory off the rails in Rahway, NJ. In interviews he acknowledged that the place was run "like a sweatshop." During the fifties he and other members of the Chicago School of Economics were consistently under investigation by Congress for taking bribes from various right wing groups comfortable with their "free market fundamentalism." This article doesn't shock me at all.

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Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Fri Oct 1, 2021, 03:26 PM

6. He helped Pinochet in Chile.

Chicago Boys have done all they could to the USA, too.

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