Is schooling about padding the pockets of unions, about indoctrinating our children, about dominating taxpayers and parents, or about educating a child to the parent’s satisfaction?
The problem with any government monopoly service is that once it realizes that it commands the violent power to force its customers to obey, the government service providers forget that they are supposed to be acting like a servant—serving paying customers.
Inevitably, power corrupts, and government servants transform into petty tyrants. They, after all, can exploit “legitimized” police power to fund their service and enforce their edicts. Taxpayers must donate regardless. Parents must submit their children nonetheless. Children must suffer the tyrants’ abuse.
The free market has a simple remedy for an abusive service provider. The parent picks up her child, cancels the service, and takes her money and child to patronize a different provider. The donor withdraws his contributions and reinvests them in a more service-oriented charity. And if a better service doesn’t yet exist, they invest in teachers to create a new one that matches their values and goals.
And because of this, service providers in a freed market either remember that they serve their customers at their customers’ pleasure, or they cease to exist — the most important lesson of the market, which not coincidentally is wholly missing from government lesson plans.
The Pelletiers were customers of, and (coerced) donors to, their local Timberlane school. They were upset because they believed the school was abusing their child. Whether you agree or disagree that it is “abusive” to mask a child throughout the school day for an entire school year to arguably reduce an already infinitesimal risk to children is not relevant to our exploration here. The Pelletiers do believe that. And, do I have to remind the reader, we are here talking about their child and their money?
A free market in schooling would have precluded any kerfuffle. The Pelletiers would have taken their child and their money to a school that better matched their family’s values, their risk assessments, and the tradeoffs that they were willing to make for their child. We would not be wasting our time worrying about tyrants trampling minority rights nor wondering when they will set their eyes on our rights.
But because we still live under the archaic, oppressive government schooling system, the Pelletiers did not have that free-market option. They could only travel to their school board to petition their masters for relief for their child, a petition that they already knew the tyrannical Karens were sure to deny. These government service monopolists have the arrogance to believe that they know best for the Pelletiers’ Kayla and that they should overrule the parents with the force of law.
Critical to the outrageousness of this story, one must remember that tyrants far too often demand a show of obsequence when they grace their commoners with their presence. And so, despite no one wearing masks anywhere else in the town, and despite there being only thirty or so, other commoners spread far across a high ceilinged auditorium with 938 seats.
The school board Karens insisted that any parent appearing before their majesties must wear a mask — even (and you must appreciate the Kafkaesque absurdity here) those parents who were asking for relief from the mask mandate imposed on their child. The order was pure Submission Theater, to remind the parents who is Ruler and who is Peasant.
Delores Umbridge (or Kim Fuhrer, or Kim Farah, or whatever name this particular tyrannical Karen goes by) directed her police thugs to threaten the Pelletiers, who were sitting in the back row — not six feet, but 20 feet, from the next nearest attendee in the nearly empty auditorium. Either the Pelletiers submit to her Glory, or they would be arrested.
The father, Nolan, is not a parent to bully; a tall, powerful tradesman, he is, after all, also the Chairman of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party. He saw no reason that he should falsify his status, to say that he had a “disability,” and thus need not wear a mask as long as he and half the parents attending sat in a distant, segregated, and cordoned off “Disability Section” which Delores always seemed to relish regularly mocking.
And so, Delores (Oh, I mean Karen – Darn it, it’s Kim, right?) had this father of two, this industrious small business owner, this proud contributor to Plaistow of 17 years, arrested, chained, kidnapped, and caged, to face charges that might steal the product of his labor and restrict his ability to ever again be allowed in Her presence, should he want to again (probably uselessly) petition her for relief for his child.
Look at this problem!
Instead of enjoying an easy, free-market solution, we must endure a gigantic political battle over whether “all children, parents, and donors” must follow Delores’s demands or whether children like The Pelletiers’ have any right to an exception. We must argue whether a bulwark of the community should be threatened, jailed, and extorted because he refused to bend the knee to a petty tyrant just so he could plea in her uncaring ears for his child.
These silly, unnecessary public battles will escalate in number and intensity until we separate school from state.
It is ironic that the school board politically arrested this father this week. Just this week, the education subcommittee in the NH House offered a brilliant solution: All families, regardless of income, would be eligible to take their children, and their children’s schooling dollars, to the schooling provider of their choice. Bingo, Bango! Problem solved!
That would obviate all political battles over masking children, over indoctrinating children that they sin simply because of their reproductive organs or the color of their skin, over siccing the FBI on protesting parents as “domestic terrorists”.
With so many avoidable political battles, we desperately need a law like this HB 607 that allows families like The Pelletiers to escape from their small town tyrannical Delores Umbridges’, while it enables those same school boards to focus their “service” on those parents who submit to their values and preferences.
You don’t submit? Great! Here’s your child; here’s your money; go with god. And in this way, neither minority families nor school boards would have to fight, despite divergent goals for the children.
Unfortunately, HB 607 is not yet law, but we can urge our House, Senate, and Governor to restore parental rights. They’ll have to ignore the profits, power, and preferences of cronies, busybodies, and little Deloreses. But by so passing, they would ratchet down acrimony artificially created only because diverse families are needlessly being forced-fit into a one-size-fits-few monopoly government service.