Neal McCluskey piqued Harriet's interest with this comment. Harriet commented here on McCluskey's objection to college support. McCluskey responded here. Harriet is mulling a rebuttal.
Cato initiated the most recent iteration of the ongoing discussion with a forum on college costs. A Professor of Education rose in defense of her employer: The Education Optimists: New Tune, Same Stupid Key and Neal McCluskey addressed these objections here. Harriet left the following comment on the professor's blog. It has not survived moderation (evidently--as of 2009-10-09-1837 GMT it has not appeared).
I would add a few comments on the language used in this discussion.
1) You call educational freedom "the freedom not to be helped by the government".
"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"--Mao Tse Tung
"Formal Models of Authority: Introduction and Political Economy Applications"
Rationality and Society, May 1999; 11: 115 - 138.
Aside from the important issue of how it is that a ruler may economize on communication, contracting and coercion costs, this leads to an interpretation of the state that cannot be contractarian in nature: citizens would not empower a ruler to solve collective action problems in any of the models discussed, for the ruler would always be redundant and costly. The results support a view of the state that is eminently predatory, (the ? MK.) case in which whether the collective actions problems are solved by the state or not depends on upon whether this is consistent with the objectives and opportunities of those with the (natural) monopoly of violence in society. This conclusion is also reached in a model of a predatory state by Moselle and Polak (1997). How the theory of economic policy changes in light of this interpretation is an important question left for further work.The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition). The State (government, generally) cannot subsidize education without a definition of "education", but then students, parents (in the case of pre-college education), teachers, and taxpayers are bound by the State's definition. Tax-supported tuition "help" comes at great cost, in money, in time (e.g., the expansion of required core curricula, the proliferation of classroom-required occupational licensure), and in the opportunity cost to society of the lost innovation which a competitive market in education services would generate.
2) "Ideological" is an uncomplimentary way to say "systematic" (the antonym is "scatter-brained").
3) "Simplistic" is academicese for "stupid". William of Occam cautioned long ago against unnecessary complications. To people of an instrumental bent, simplicity is usually a virtue.