• Sean II

    “I surely support the introduction of vouchers. And I do support the state financing of vouchers fro general tax revenues.”

    His silence on the confederate monument question is deafening here.

    • Damon Chetson

      I do not understand why libertarian principles suggest vouchers *at all* as a libertarian policy objective. When I see libertarian support for school vouchers, or privatized prisons, or against climate change, I have to think to myself: what are libertarians really after? Because SURELY libertarians would not want to use the machinery of politics to fund money to themselves and theirs.

      http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona-education/2017/03/30/arizona-taxpayer-funded-vouchers-benefiting-students-more-affluent-areas/99707518/

      • Lacunaria

        It’s the “liberty” part. Vouchers give people more choice and increases competition, leading to a better product, without taking more from taxpayers.

        Public schools get money per student, so nothing is being taken away from D-school children if A-school disabled children utilize ESA more.

        The taxpayer also isn’t paying more, so it’s misleading to characterize ESA as subsidizing the “rich” because they were already subsidized at the A-schools. They are just choosing different A-schools now.

        If you think that A-school disabled children are getting too much taxpayer money, then that is a separate issue.

        • jstrummer

          Well, I don’t agree with any of this. But this isn’t libertarian. On libertarian grounds, there’s nothing “pro-liberty” about taxing people to provide vouchers to people so that they can send their children to schools.

          This is really a dumb response.

          • Lacunaria

            It’s a differential argument for liberty. Getting the government out of education is not an option, so the question is whether it is more libertarian to let parents influence money being spent on their child’s behalf or not.

  • stevenjohnson2

    “But my main point is, I guess, to warn against dismissing the comprehensive school arguments out of hand and too readily.”

    Yes, this bold stand for integrated schools is breathtaking in its vigor and resolution. And this is particularly true considering who it is addressed to, and the time this was sent.

    • HermanStone

      Can’t tell if this is sarcasm, and if so, what it’s getting at. All that’s needed here is to show that Buchanan did NOT support official racial hierarchy or segregation. He’s calling for integration and extolling the benefits of racial and cultural intermingling. The fact that he isn’t shouting down every form of bigotry loudly from the mountain tops isn’t all that relevant.
      Or I could be misreading you.

      • HermanStone

        Well I apologize for spoiling the joke, something I only did because I did t want to presume too strongly that we had a disagreement. That being said, I do respectfully disagree, so let me briefly push back on your comment.

        I concede that a segregated voucher system doesn’t appear to be a deal breaker here, and I only plead that, well, that doesn’t show anything obviously terrible. In the eyes of its advocates, it’s not a deal breaker for public schools either, as they are in practice largely segregated.

        My main gripe is that you are observing him refer to the “…evils of race-class-cultural segregation” as well as the “potential benefits of… exposure to other races, classes, and cultures” and not concluding that he is calling for integration and extolling the benefits of racial and cultural intermingling. It seems unambiguous.

        • stevenjohnson2

          I must repeat that it entirely ambiguous whether the admission that a voucher system is capable of segregating students in various ways was meant as a sad concession (to the Laws of God and Nature?) or as a selling point. Therefore it is impossible to read Buchanan as calling here for integration. Buchanan’s main point was not the desirability of integration of various kinds.

          Buchanan wanted reforms that would leave various forms of segregation. Other people who want to reform public schools do find the prospect of various forms of segregation a deal breaker. For many that is biggest problems with voucher proposals.

          • Theresa Klein

            It seems pretty obvious to me that he’s saying the potential for segregation would be a downside, not a benefit. But that it’s not completely a dealbreaker doesn’t mean he’s pro-segregation. Most voucher advocates also concede that it might produce some increase in segregation, but that wouldn’t be the end of the world. Saying that it’s ok to have some segregation if it overall results in a net benefit is not equivalent to advocating segregation. You’re still chalking it up in the minus column not the plus column.

      • HermanStone

        Also, the “main point” passage that you quote is not saying that you need to make a case against integration. It’s acknowledging that liberals have a point when they advocate a common and universal educational experience for all. He wants to make sure that classical liberals don’t dismiss that claim.

        • stevenjohnson2

          Your final sentence is correct. I disagree that can be read as an unambiguous call for integration and praise for the benefits of racial, class and cultural interminging.

          • j_m_h

            But there is no reasoned “unambiguous call for for integration” that can be made by anyone. The simple fact is that EVERYTHING has pros and cons. You seem to want to claim conclusions simply not in evidence — which I guess might be why (I assume here) you must take something of an absolutist position: unequivolcal support shouted from the roof tops or someone must clearly be against something.

      • Jason Brennan

        MacLean made a bunch of accusations against Buchanan with exactly zero evidence. She also apparently didn’t think to look into other archives. Now we find a document written later in another archive that contradicts her story.

        Your side is full of liars and incompetent hacks.

        • stevenjohnson2

          1. Buchanan supported vouchers despite the possibility that it could produce a system so badly segregated that it would have a US version of Eton/Harrow on top. Given the lack of context, he could even have been covertly signalling this was a feature, not a bug, in vouchers. This does not contradict her story, not even the straw man version.

          2. There’s no date on this, so standing up as a defender of scholarly standards here is comic, not convincing.

          Aside from that error, the implicit demand for documentation the Buchanan posse is making suffers from two problems. First, the really important documentation is the financial accounts, and the claque has never pretended to offer evidence MacLean has that wrong, not even by their low standards for “evidence.”

          Second, the real power of propaganda lies in its power to disorient, foster unconscious assumptions and drown out alternative positions. These things are not documented in any ordinary sense of the word. Any approach that reduces all questions to simple documentation is clueless.

          • Theresa Klein

            Without knowing who this was addressed to and when it was written, it is not properly good evidence at all.

            Well, surely taking a statement out of it’s complete context is something that Nancy MacLean would never, ever, do.

            Given the lack of context, he could even have been covertly signalling this was a feature, not a bug, in vouchers.

            Of course, the enemies of progressives always talk in secretive coded language that means the opposite of what they are literally saying. It’s all part of the conspiracy. Somewhere along the line, I seem to have lost my code book, but I’m sure that I can get Jason Brennan to send me a copy – via the secret libertarian dark net or something.

          • Damon Chetson

            I mean what stevenjohnson2 said. I’ve read the Maclean book cover to cover. It is not perfect. It is true in its general outlines. Of course, libertarians like to believe their ideas exist beyond their historical context. What Maclean argues is that Buchanan was a man of his times, and she provides documentary evidence to support it. Students of Buchanan don’t like it because first they think she’s calling their teacher a racist and second they think she is calling them racists. I don’t really care what was in Buchanan’s heart, and neither does she. What I care about is: which side was he on. And he defended the existing power and economic structures that privilege middle and upper middle class whites.

          • AngryCrank

            For anyone interested, here’s where it’s from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/09/01/georg-vanberg-democracy-in-chains-and-james-m-buchanan-on-school-integration/?utm_term=.0d11b0f47539

            An exchange in the early 80s requesting Buchanan to write an introduction to an edited volume on school vouchers. Buchanan declined.

          • Sean II

            Well, there you go.

            If I’m a Lefty what I say here is: “Wow, you found a note where Buchanan is arguing, wanly, against school segregation at the height of the busing debate, by supporting a policy that would be much slower and less sure than the thing actually being tried when he wrote it. Although this doesn’t prove he is a racist, it certainly doesn’t prove he’s not.”

            If I’m defending MacLean in particular I say: “Looks like Nancy’s not the only person who know how to mine and deceptively stage a quote.”

          • AngryCrank

            “Although this doesn’t prove he is a racist, it certainly doesn’t prove he’s not.”

            That’s certainly true, I suppose – though I would question the utility of a definition of racist which included “advocates for slower and less-sure policies of desegregation”. But this is ultimately just a reflection of ones place in the broader culture war with regards to “identity politics”. And I guess that’s been your point all along.

            I *would* argue that, given the context of the letters, the above accusation about this (possibly) being coded propaganda can be put to rest. It was a private letter turning down an offer to participate in an edited volume.

          • AngryCrank

            That is to say, which side one has chosen in the identity politics Kulturkampf.

        • Sean II

          Steve’s got a point though. Timing and context are relevant with a thing like this.

          For say the 1950s, that letter is downright liberal.

          But if it comes from the 1970s, a time when polite opinion favored busing to force the issue of school integration, you could read it as a case of “of course but…”

  • HermanStone

    “…[W]e need to… …support the state financing of… …race-class-cultural segregation that an unregulated voucher scheme might introduce.”

    This is who libertarians worship. And you wonder why people call you racist. Unbelievable. #NoMoreCharlottesvilles #UntieTheRight

    • A. Alexander Minsky

      Maybe I should get out more, but I have yet to meet a libertarian who “worships” James Buchanan. The discussions I have had with libertarians about the academic contributions of Buchanan have been entirely devoid of bells, incense, or hymns.

      • HermanStone

        Seems to me it’s rare to meet a non academic libertarian who has ever even read Buchanan. I’ve only read a handful of essays, and perused Calculus.

      • Rob Gressis

        He’s joking, A. Alexander Minsky. He’s intentionally misquoted Buchanan, a la Maclean.

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          Thanks. Sometimes the aspergers causes me to interpret things very literally. And there are libertarians who essentially worship Ayn Rand or, to a lesser extent, Murray Rothbard.

          • Sean II

            More recently there were some that even worshipped Molyneux. Though interestingly he seems to have forfeited that with his pivot to alt-rightery.

            Possible lesson: the way you get a libertarian cult following is by insisting all questions have a single unitary answer. The way you lose that following is by saying: “there may be more than one factor involved here…”

          • R.Levine

            Well said. A close friend of mine (of much more deontological bent than I) admitted in one discussion that even if libertarianism were to lead to the failure mode of “one Supreme Leader owning everything via careful non-coercive machination, and using that to deprive everyone else of subjective enjoyment of life”, he’d still find that a morally acceptable outcome. (This should not be taken to besmirch said friend’s character, which in my opinion is admirable on consequentialist grounds in any case).

            At the risk of goating the subthread, has it occurred to anyone else that there seems to be a libertarian preference for over-systematizing, which, _pace_ James Damore, probably relates to its overrepresentation of men?

          • j_m_h

            Is that unique to libertarians cultists? Seems like it’s the bread and butter of modern politics.

          • Sean II

            To an extent, sure. But you gotta admit: there is something about libertarians that makes us especially prone to a pattern:

            Q: “What about X?”

            A: “The market/non-aggression/ A is A”, take your pick.

            Even Marx admitted communism won’t solve the problem of unrequited love.

            I feel like many libertarians would chafe at that and say: “Wrong! Just legalize side payments and you can equalize the affection between any two people!”

          • j_m_h

            True. Just that the relative proportions may have favored libertarians 20 years ago more than now.

            Though I wonder it that’s really a libertarian propensity versus those with (informed or not) an economic view. I know economist by training tend to think everything can be explained by economics.

          • Sean II

            But at least those economists use different econ concepts for different problems.

            The thing a lot of libertarians do is: use the same hammer for every nail.
            NAP!, NAP!, NAP! That sort of thinking.

    • Octavian

      “…”, “…”, “…”
      Now I get it! Maclean’s whole book was actually surreptitiously written in Morse code.

    • Jeff R.

      When he writes of “the evils of race-class-cultural segregation that an unregulated voucher scheme might introduce” it seems to me its entirely possible he’s calling it evil precisely because it won’t deliver the strict segregation he desires, but a mild, mushy form where black and white children are only mostly segregated. We may never know his true views. #Teachthecontroversy

      • j_m_h

        I think anyone who has ever had a class with Buchanan would have a hard time understanding that quote in the light you say. Of course this is exactly wha the subject here seems to be able. How cares about truth or seeking facts let’s just keep pusing our believes and keep claiming and believing we’re being mornal, ethical, truthful and rational.

        Note — I’m willing to leave open the possibility that he was a racists and I just could see it but would have to do a lot more work before I was ready to claim my interpretation of his documented works allowed me to impose claims about such an internal mental state. of anyone else.

        • Jeff R.

          I was being sarcastic, hence the #Teachthecontroversy tag. This controversy is entirely made up. Fabricated. Yanked out of Nancy MacLean’s rear exhaust port. etc.

          • j_m_h

            Sorry guess the meter was broken when I read.

  • Damon Chetson

    Be very careful in selective quoting, from someone who advocates the specific disenfranchisement of black women and the reintroduction of literacy tests in a country where these tests have been used to exclude African Americans from exercising their franchise: “Most poor black women, as of right now at least, would fail even a mild voter qualification exam.”