by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Responding to my recent Corner post on the anti-homeschooling Left, George Mason University professor Don Boudreaux penned an excellent letter to the editor at Cafe Hayek. …
… “In the case of government schooling, the specialists who operate this system are shielded from market forces. Government arranges for their ‘customers’ to be captive and for their pay to be disconnected from how well or poorly the children under their charge are educated. Government-school administrators’ prosperity depends not on educating children but on playing politics. As such, the specialized skills acquired and honed by government-schooling administrators have little to do with teaching and almost everything to do with politicking.
“The fact that so many Americans, who rely more and more upon specialists in most areas of life, now are turning to homeschooling is strong evidence that the specialized skills of government-school administrators are not ones that make these schools sources of true learning.”
I’m glad Professor Boudreaux brought up the rise of technocratic “specialists” — another term for what James Burnham famously described as a new class of “managerial elites.” …
… Movement conservatism, formed as it was by its opposition to global communism, often resists thinking of politics in class-based terms. … This is understandable insofar as Marxist analysis, in its most dogmatic form, is deterministic and essentialist on the question of class, holding that all human relationships, social arrangements, and historical developments can be reduced to class and class alone. But particularly in our contemporary moment, American politics and culture are incoherent without some recognition of the reality that we do, in fact, have a distinct “ruling class” (as do all societies everywhere, in some way, shape or form), and it is largely composed of a trans-institutional bureaucracy of managers. These form a set of technocrats — inhabiting elite institutions throughout the culture, from corporate human-resources departments and academia to the federal government itself — who have taken it upon themselves to plan and “administer” the social, cultural, and economic functions of modern society.