Jeff Yoak's Reviews > Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families

Separating School & State by Sheldon Richman
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's review
Feb 13, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: read-in-2011, physical-on-hand, abandoned, probably-never-read-again
Read on February 12, 2011 , read count: 1

I only got through forward, introduction and a couple of chapters. I hate books like this.

I agreed with everything I read in this book. That can be OK in a book if it can help with greater integration or something, but this is an example of one of those books that does pulpit-pounding preaching to the choir. It Godwin's Law-s itself in the first few pages and blasts the opposition with turns of phrase and arguments that aren't even that clever.

No one could possibly be convinced by this book. It would be hopelessly alienating to anyone who believed in public education or who even was unsure on the topic. It won't do anything to change the world. I don't know why such books are read or written.

I imagine that this book is popular with Objectivists. The person who put it my hands is one and the person who put it her hands is one. We Objectivists make this mistake over and over again. We build inward-looking communities with no challenge and then celebrate work like this. We enjoy being spoon-fed lines such as that the literacy rate was higher before the institution of public education was created and we pass such things back and forth. The first time someone reasonably intelligent comes along who is well informed, but disagrees, and challenges such a notion by saying something like that the time that is being celebrated not only disqualified a large slave population but also limited to little or none the education received by the poor and that if you limit the analysis of public education to those children of wealthy people today the literacy rate is essentially 100%, we either tend to fall back arguments of dishonesty or fundamental claims that public education requires force and initiating force is evil.

Initiating force *is* evil and that is the basic reason why school and state should be separated. But every single person who believed that after reading this book believed it before... and they don't understand it better. The prospect in reading a book like this is to gain a more nuanced understanding of the matter so that applying the notion that the initiation of physical force as evil isn't a mere deductive matter, but one that can be seen in the particulars in this particular space. I grant that I read only a very limited amount of the book because its style so annoyed me, but it wasn't headed in that direction. Rather it was headed toward simple demagoguery with an already aligned audience.

May re-write this after I have coffee. :-)

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