Here’s Robin Hanson on education:
School can have people practice habits that will be useful in jobs, such as showing up on time, doing what you are told…figuring out ambiguous instructions and accepting being frequently and publicly ranked…Schools work best when they set up [a] process wherein students practice modern workplace habits.
what the bourgeoisie has installed as its number-one, i.e. as its dominant Ideological State Apparatus, is the educational apparatus…it is by an apprenticeship in a variety of know-how wrapped up in the massive inculcation of the ideology of the ruling class that the relations of production in a capitalist social formation, i.e. the relations of exploited to exploiters and exploiters to exploited, are largely reproduced. The mechanisms which produce this vital result for the capitalist regime are naturally covered up and concealed by a universally reigning ideology of the School, universally reigning because it is one of the essential forms of the ruling bourgeois ideology: an ideology which represents the School as a neutral environment purged of ideology.
And here’s Harry Braverman from 1974:
It is…not so much what the child learns that is important as what he or she becomes wise to. In school the child and adolescent practice what they will later be called upon to do as adults; the conformity to routines, the manner in which they will be expected to snatch from the fast-moving machinery their needs and wants. (Labor and Monopoly Capital, p 287)
Robin would, I guess, reach for the holy water and crucifix on learning this, but his idea is an orthodox Marxian one.
I don’t say this to embarrass him. Quite the opposite. I do so to point out that Marxists and libertarians have much in common. We both believe that freedom is a – the? – great good; Marxists, though, more than right-libertarians, are also troubled by non-state coercion. We are both sceptical about whether state power can be used benignly. And for both of us, the ideal is a withering away of the state. In these regards, Marxists probably have more in common with right-libertarians than with social democrats; Unlearning Economics has charged right libertarians with being “lazy Marxists.”
Of course, there are obvious differences between us – not least about the causes of poverty and historical nature (and definition!) of capitalism. My point is simply that we have some things in common. However, whereas Marxists have engaged intelligently with right-libertarianism, the opposite has, AFAIK, not been the case – as Robin and Bryan’s ignorance of the intellectual history of Robin’s theory of schooling demonstrates. This is perhaps regrettable.