Edit: I wrote this article two years ago and whilst celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day today I was reminded of it. I want to introduce this article to a new audience, with the addition of a terse excerpt from a primary source regarding the history of compulsory education in the U.S. This excerpt is Article 7 in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, and its parties are the Sioux nation and the U.S. federal government.

In order to insure the civilization of the Indians entering into this treaty, the necessity of
education is admitted, especially of such of them as are or may be settled on said agricultural reservations,
and they therefore pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female, between the ages of six
and sixteen years, to attend school; and it is hereby made the duty of the agent for said Indians to see that
this stipulation is strictly complied with; and the United States agrees that for every thirty children between
said ages who can be induced or compelled to attend school, a house shall be provided and a teacher
competent to teach the elementary branches of an English education shall be furnished, who will reside
among said Indians, and faithfully discharge his or her duties as a teacher. The provisions of this article to
continue for not less than twenty years.

It has been nigh eighteen years since Murray Rothbard has passed away. While I am saddened that I never got to see his liveliness in person, his vivacity is ever present in his writings. He does not simply dust off forgotten tomes, and regurgitate the thoughts found thereof. He combs the catacombs of political, economic and historical literature in order to craft an amalgamated gem of new scholarship. Education Free & Compulsory is a finely woven wonder, of this caliber.

If you care in any shape, way, or form about education, you will read this book. I assume anyone engaging in modeling literacy, reading my ramblings, will fall into the aforementioned category. There is a problem with education in the United States. It is not subtle, nor can it be gleaned by a cursory glance at the situation. The problem is systemic, fundamental, and at the root. Radical change is the answer. Should the production of education be a voluntary or compulsory enterprise?

Rothbard’s detailed history of compulsory education, backed by the threat of kidnap or murder, is a devastating kritik. Any human with moral tendencies should find the history to be revolting, page after page. Rothbard is relentless. For those wary of having to spend months on end to finish a book, fret not. Rothbard is able to expose the crimes of coercive education within the boundaries of fifty pages. His concision in a work of this magnitude shames any dormant laziness in this aspiring writer. His tenacity is especially appreciated in light of his accomplishment being before the digital age. I have no excuses.

If I have as yet left the reader unconvinced, allow me to humbly present the utmost blow to forced education that I have ever witnessed. An analogy that grabs the sun with its bare hands and smashes the ant of involuntary education.

One of the best ways of regarding compulsory education is to think of the almost exact analogy in the area of that other great educational medium- the newspaper. What would we think of a proposal for the government, Federal or State, to use the taxpayers’ money to set up a nationwide chain of public newspapers, and compel all people, or all children to read them? What would we think furthermore of the government’s outlawing all other newspapers, or indeed outlawing all newspapers that do not come up to the “standards” of what a government commission thinks children ought to read? Such a proposal would be generally regarded with horror in America, and yet this is exactly the sort of regime that the government has established in the sphere of scholastic instruction.

If one knows the mayhem brought about by red terrors in varying ‘communist’ (State Socialist) countries, this notation will send a shiver down one’s spine.

“Read nigga, read”. – Immortal Technique