The Libertarian Alliance, Home Education, and Liberty: a strategic perspective

Sean Gabb

The Libertarian Alliance believes absolutely in the right of people to educate their children in their own values – whether these be of their family, their faith, their community or themselves. So far, the British State has not interfered with this right, and Britain is one of the most liberal environments on Earth for home education. In this respect, we are much luckier than Germany – where home education was outlawed by Hitler in 1938, or even many American jurisdictions.

This liberal environment may be about to change, with the acceptance of the Badman Report by the British Government. This will bring in compulsory registration of all home educators, together with inspection and control. These will not at first be very burdensome. But they will form a precedent for more and more burdensome regulation, until the right is effectively abolished. Action now means not negotiating a compromise with the authorities. This will simply concede the principle of regulation and buy a little time before effective abolition. We must oppose the very principle of regulation, and raise such a storm of opposition that the authorities back away from this attempt and are forced to wait at least a decade before trying again.

For this reason, WE MUST ACT NOW. The Libertarian Alliance makes no claim to leadership in this campaign. As said, we believe absolutely in the right to home education. The President and Director do have children of their own, and are interested in home education as an option. But we have limited resources, and there are home education movements in the United Kingdom with far greater organisational abilities in this area.

This being said, we do wish to make our own contribution. Here, then, are some of our writings on home education.

1. Our news release of the 11th June 2009. This sets out the nature of the threat, gives our summary response, and provides names and addresses of the politicians concerned for those who wish to write to them.

2. An essay by Sean Gabb from 2004, which sets out the main arguments for home education.

3. “Home Schooling: A British Perspective” by Sean Gabb. Written in 2004, this was published in an American book in 2005. It explains at some length the present legal status of home education, and looks sympathetically at the arguments in favour of home education.

4. Professor John Kersey, “The Belgian State versus Home Schooling: The Persecution of Dr Alexandra Colen and Dr Paul Belien”, 2006. This provides an interesting and chilling case study on what happens in a country where home education is formally legal, but subject to state regulation.

5. David Botsford, “Compulsion Versus Liberty in Education, X: Home Education in Britain”. Published in 1993, this sets out another case for home education, written from a libertarian perspective.

6. David Botsford, “Ivan Illich and the Deschooling Movement”. Also from 1993, this continues the case against forcing children to attend schools, whether state or private.

7. As background to libertarian views on education in general, w e would recommend all the essays in our “Educational Notes” series.

Whether or not you are a parent with children of school age, whether or not you live in the United Kingdom, our New Labour Government – even when shambling round like the political equivalent of George A, Romero’s zombies – is set on destroying yet another ancient freedom in this country. If that attempt is successful, it will form a precedent for attacks in other countries. Please do take this matter seriously.


Sean Gabb


The Libertarian Alliance


  1. I totally agree. The state school system would like to finally eradicate competition, especially competition which shows how badly the majority are educated in state schools. The school curriculum is now almost wholly given over to propaganda, and they hate children to slip through their grasp.

    This is the state, yet again, trying to force itself into the family and between children and parents. They will search high and low for an incident of parental abuse and use it as justification. They will target the religious views of many homeschoolers. If they can create the link in people’s minds between homeschoolers and child abusers, they can snatch whatever kids they like. This is their intention.

  2. Trooper is right. the corollary is that if parents can’t bring up their children in the way they desire to, then those children are actually state-property.

    Perhaps GramscoFabiaNazis actually believe that all children are state property: it would not surprise me that this is the deduction from what they say.

    It is of course a logical conclusion of socialism, that children are not actually the property of their parents, but the property of the State.

  3. There is no doubt that if the Bastards encounter serious resistance on this one, they will mercilessly use the Abuse Narrative in the public arena- and they control the media remember. Opponents will need to put as much effort into gaining media access and some level of hegemonic support- there may be some hope of this from either the Conservative or even Lib Dem parties.

    Counter-arguments need to be well thought through and convincing to the ordinary person. The Bastards will say, “we are not accusing all homeschoolers, but the minority of abused children need state protection.” I think one good answer to this is to say, “education is no indicator of abuse, since we are told that abuse is widespread despite the overwhelming majority of abused children being school attenders. If the government wishes to protect children from abuse in the home, then a compulsory inspection scheme for all children should be introduced. An education inspection is not the same as an abuse inspection, just as one does not have restaurant hygeine inspections in order to accidentally stumble upon children being abused in their kitchens”.

    Or something like that, anyway?

  4. Then Sean, how do we get to be that thing? I know of course that the BBC ought to be abolished, but “we have not the facilities” to take the surrender of so many people at once (aka “A bridge Too Far”…)

    One way might be to try to increase the number of home-educated children as fast as possible, so that the “problem of home education” becomes administratively unmanageable for the bureaucracy.

Leave a Reply