Home education: I was going to do it, ‘cozz it matters…. in a week or so, but….

Bishop Hill got there first. I was tipped to it however by Landed Underclass, who declines to visit the David Semple thingy, but anyway Bishop does it well enough.

David Davis

The point about home education is that

(a) you can teach a child what matters, like all the proper history and suff that “They” don’t want you to know, and

(2) also real facts, sort of, er, about reality, like Darwinian evolution and Christianity which are not mutually-exclusive, and

(3) the Nazis scumbag-school Gramsco-Marxian State-buggers can’t re-indoctrinate it (the child-object)  for you while it is away from you.

I have home-schooled children in the past. One boy got a maths GCSE aged 13. Another one may go to Wellbeck coll and do an RAF thingy.

Libertarians ought to be in favour of home education, I would have thought. Am I right?

UPDATE:- The Devil also quotes David Semple (who has had the benefit of the finest education that money can – or even can’t – buy, and therefore ought to know better) saying this:

“Collectively, as a society, we have a responsibility to our children – who are not the property of their parents and shouldn’t be treated as such.”

I have nothing constructive to say about that, sorry.


  1. Is there any chance that a fellow Worcester alumnus, when claiming superiority over the state in the art and science of schooling, could employ some of his own (formidable, naturally) education to the formation of proper scentences so as to avoid invalidating his message?

    (I hope to God I haven’t made any mistakes in the comment…)

  2. The libertarian child requires an autonomous education: one where the child chooses the content and method of learning; this includes giving the child the choice of whether or not to attend school. It would be terribly hypocritical for the libertarian parent not to grant his/her child this liberty.

  3. Robert,

    Good point: trouble is this… When wrighting here, I tent to let my blogging-sentence-construction-software run “in the background” these days, as it were.

  4. Yes education matters, and the freedom to get the education that suits you matters so home educaiton or more correctly education other than at school sure does matter.

    Please continue to pay attention we hope that the current review will result in protecting the right to HE freely.

  5. When the State finally fails to do even what it’s supposed to do (that’s when we really should worry) then all that will be left will be home-education.

  6. Dave:

    It hardly matters.

    As Karl Popper said, provided that children are helped to learn reading, wrting and math, they can (and do) learn the rest for themselves (especially these days, with the Internet).

    The “Twelve Year Sentencing” of innocent kids is a mere device to accustom them to authoriarian indoctrination; and to prefabricate them into elements of “The Workforce” for hierarchical employment. And “baby-sitting.”

    Educational “Shopping Malls”; Home Schooling and Small Schools; Internetting.

    They can lose the rest, for all that I (or the kids) could care… We’ll be much better off without them.



  7. As a student of the Open University, I have to say that what Tony has said has quite some merit. I knew even as a young comprehensive school lad that the most important things were literature, prose and numeracy. The reasoning skills come with time, according to the ability of the individual, although reasoning is surely somewhere around 50/50 nature and nurture.

    As for the OU, from my perspective as someone interested in education and epistemology, I think it has massive potential for the future.

    Due to its distance learning nature there is pretty much zero fraternity and grandeur, but it is generally accepted as a standard benchmark for HE undergraduate course material and assessment. In fact many module leaders in some of the UK’s best campus universities lift much of their content from OU courses.

    It’s also good if you enjoy your own company, and prefer to study alone. I’ve been to several campus universities over the years, but I wish now that I’d started with the OU in the beginning. After all, in the cool air of a quiet night, there is nobody to compete with but yourself.

  8. Tony:
    They probably, these days, don’t know what it means (I know some of them, believe me…)

    It may amuse you to know that the windows password on Chris’s laptop which he last used before he died was:


    Yep, that, in one string. You could say it was probably fairly “strong” although i can’t think why he’d need it. The machine died about 4 months ago finally. He was kind enough to say to Sean that it could be passed on to us for LA use etc.

    But, you’d be appalled at how they prescriptionally-direct the poor teenagers about how to _write essays_, and _what to put_ in _each paragraph_ , and _how many_ paragraphs there must be, for the _marking scheme_ to _work_ …

    They learn “PES”, “MYPPI”, and “SPS”. then if they can procrusteate the speciofied bits of knowledge or State-Opinion into the right paras, using the right number of words, and makiing the paras just the right length, they will get an A*

  9. People whom I teach English and History to, usually get rather worse grades than they were expecting. but they come out being able to write properly, and argue from factual research.

    Their parents don’t thank me for it at the time.

  10. Dave:


    Of course, the “Epistemology” which Chris was referring to was Randian “Objectivist Epistemology.” There are much better Objectivist Epistemologies, like Karl Popper’s, Alfred Tarski’s, Imre Lakatos, C.S. Pierce, and Michael Polanyi (ferinstance).

    Time you spend at:


    will be fascinating for you, and richly rewarding.



    PS: Your students need to know their way around this stuff.

  11. Dave:

    Oh yes I do!

    I was suspended six times from Dulwich College, and “asked to leave” _twice_.

    Then I went to Geelong Grammar school, and was offered the alternative of being beaten in the showers by the House Prefects, or beng “Asked to leave” two weeks before my Matriculation exams.

    I received a standing ovation (my first!) on the day I left.



    PS: Why the “Mania for Credentials”??

  12. I’ve never been a Grade A student, or that is to say quite sparsely. It is a tricky situation, when those who rote learn the syllabus get higher marks than those who have critically mastered it, but I think the only real conclusion is that people complete these things in order to get their achievements on paper, to become ‘qualified’.

    For me, it all comes down to the principle of certification. It could well be the case that after years of private study, a person has more economic knowledge that a M.A. Economics graduate. But when they both go for the same job, who has more ‘qualification’?

    One has a signed document from a chartered institution, whereas the other must say something like “here, I wrote this essay about everything I know, and that proves my skills” or “can I just quote to you, word-for-word, the entire text of Human Action? ”

    But considering things like this, I fear David is all to often right when he talks about a coming Dark Age. I mean, if a civilisation actually forgets the reason behind academia, it certainly doesn’t look good for the future.

    And Anthony my dear fellow, I have been subtly ‘asked to leave’ from time to time, usually for motives oh so transparent. My responses, at once so emphatic yet so cogent, are reserved for the ‘Honouring William Jefferson Clinton’ archives. 🙂

  13. Certification is certainly useful if you want to work for the Man, and I have Grade A qualifications coming out of my ears which in the past have served me well in this respect.

    But now I run my own business, for which I needed zero qualifications, in the field which they said was worst my worst subject at school, and it is far more satisfying.

    My suggestion for rescuing our world is that the masses should, en masse, cut off the corrupt mega corporations and institutions of oppression who hold our governments by the short and curlies at their roots: stop shopping at, slaving for and being brainwashed at the work houses and slave conditioning institutions; start operating and supporting small businesses, home education, local cooperatives. Starved of the succour that people devote their lives to giving them, the fat cats and their puppets and machinery of oppression would wither overnight. Movement is all that is needed.

  14. I agree with what you’re saying there Imogen, but I think the only way that is possible is by it being facilitated by something on a mega-corporation level, or at least with similar characteristics.

    Exactly what that would be, I don’t know, but I’m convinced that mass economic civil liberation must have some sort of media through which to travel.

    We need more, better, people. .-)

  15. A mega-corporation to combat the mega-corporations, you mean? Could it be something like this: “the Transformers are divided into two factions, the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron. They are able to “transform”, rearranging their bodies into common or innocuous forms, including vehicles (the most commonly known form), devices or animals. Beyond that, they can displace mass (i.e. shrink and expand), combine with one another, and apply synthetic flesh” (Thanks Wikipedia).

    I’ll let you know if I think of a sensible answer later 🙂

  16. I suppose I think it’s good to fight Megatron, but it would be quicker and easier just to stop serving him breakfast, lunch, and dinner, elevenses, drinks … He’ll probably get mad for a little while, but soon he’ll simply be hungry, and then he’ll have to get a proper job!

  17. Imogen:

    In the arly ‘Eighties, I was PA to the Chairman of the Alangate Group in London. We provided every kind of skilled temp to 400 of the best firms in London, on a “Self-Employed” basis.

    We invoiced the clients for services, and the people received theiir money every week, witth no deductions. We had over 10,000 people on our books. If they were boed with job, we switched them towards another better one elsewhere.

    Half of our people were Australian and New Zealanders. Clients couldn’t get enough of them!

    The Special Office of the Inland Revenue declared war on us, our people and our clients with million pound tax demands and court actins and threats of criminal prosecution. They blackmailed a few of our HQ staff to inform. They threatened our blue-chip clents with in-depth tax investigations of all the directors and their families. They instructed clients to use our services, then t refuse to pay our invoices, with written IR indemnities if we sued.

    And all this was happening under the Thatcher regime. Lord Cockfield said w were just “tax-dodging.” Thatcher’s Cabinet members rceived briefings from us and did nothing to stop it.

    My chairman eventually had a face-to-face meting with J.C. McMahon, the Chief Inspector, and asked him why he was doing all this.

    He replied that he was doing it at the behest of the International Labor Office in Geneva, who wanted everyone to be employees, with the right to join a union. The staff unions refused membership to self-employed people… All the other big agencies had people on PAYE, and were losing staff and business to us, so they grassed us up to the Revenue to put us out of business as competitors.

    He told the chairman that the IR firmly intended to put the company out of business, “so that you can’t afford your fancy lawyers and advisors.”

    My chairman had already sold the business to Blue Arrow (Norman Tebbitt, direcor), and they ruined it and let him have it all back for a song. So he had millions already. He didn’t “need” the money, let alone the hassles. He just liked helping pople to get work done and make some money. Eventually he packed it in and went on to be a business advisor. I used to go to his home in Surrey and there was a covered heatd swimming-pool. I built him a computer just like my BigBoard, and he’d play Crowther and Woods’ text “Adventure” and phone me up at 3 in the morning asking how to get out of “the little maze of twisty passages, all alike.” (smiles)

    And invoices were paid directly into a business account in Canada, where I was non-resident at that time….

    “Thatcherism” is “the free market”???

    You guys have got to be kidding wih all this “ZaNuLab” stuff… I’m freer now than I was then. So is Alan…



  18. It’s a good story, Tony, and I believe you, but I don’t understand whether you’re arguing with me or against me, or something different … ???

  19. My biographer,

    May a revelation of peace continue unbounded into you

    May the stars of foreign worlds endure to guide you

    And may your ways be Green and Golden.

    See, we’re not all that bad!

  20. Pah! Fine words Megatron, but do you think you can deceive me again? I know that all the goodness went out of you long ago, when you ended the Golden Age of Cybertron with your crazed lust for power and the domination of planets. But this time I stand in your way, to protect these home-educating kids from your evil plans.

  21. I shall continue with my evil plans, as you call them, and through your revelation of goodwill I will be halted by your presence, for at once Optimus Prime, do we not come frome the same creator?

    Let me pass.

    Were we not made in the same format?

    Yes I desire the planets, and I shall have them, but it cannot be done through your goodness alone.

    When I have them, I shall receed, and me and you will become one.

  22. I’ve told you before, it’s over between us. We may come from the same Creator, but our hard drives were never compatible. Now your circuits are corrupted, your systems are melting down, and I will crush your metal head to atoms and blast them back to the dark planet from whence you came.

  23. Your reign is over, Megatron. Freedom is the right of every sentient being.

    Autobots, transform and attack!

  24. Your over-engineered undercarriage weighs you down, Megatron! Skulk away, then, like the coward you are; try to recharge your corroded batteries, but I will be waiting for you, and I will expose the toxic core beneath your shiny metallic exterior. For the name of your kind, Decepticon, is no accident. You have tried to seduce us all with your hollow offerings of power and shiny metal things, but I know that in truth your plan is to rip the soft heart out of every human child and replace it with your mass produced circuit boards, to enslave them in eternal bondage as half-Human, half-Decepticon shadow beings to work in your factories of doom.

    Know this, Decepticon: I and my loyal army of Autobots will not rest so long as you and your rust-ridden ilk stalks the Free Earth.

  25. Yes I am over-engineered, I’m the product of bizarre alien technology!

    You love me really Optimus Prime, which will make victory all the more sweet.

  26. “Peace through tyranny!”
    “Everything is fodder”
    “Lesser creatures are the playthings of my will.”

  27. I never loved you, Megatron. That night we spent together meant nothing to me. Nothing. You had transformed yourself … I thought you were David Hasselhof …

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