Public Education and the Global Failure of Socialism

The above is the title of a speech given by Warren T. Brookes in 1990. That’s right, 1990. Brookes was a Detroit News Syndicated Columnist who died in 1991. If we were to revive him and he saw the world in 2010 – I’m sure he’d have a heart attack.

Obama’s version of socialism – the government buying car companies, taking over insurance companies and the health care system to list just three examples – would no doubt horrify Brookes who lived long enough to see the Soviet Union collapse.

The introduction to the written edition of the speech included this:

The clear consensus was that America is still a nation at risk, and that the education reform movement has only ‘tinkered at the margins.’ Here, syndicated columnist Warren Brookes charges that real reform is impossible until the public school monopoly is broken.

Here is his open:

In the last few months, Americans, especially those of Eastern European national descent, watched with both awe and elation as democracy and freedom reared their hesitant heads above the ebbing tides of Marxist socialism in the Warsaw Pact nations.

It is hard to imagine that just ten years ago, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and those socialist tides were running strongly in the opposite direction, and the waves of communism were lapping at the beachheads of the West.

Though this column started with a big fat negative – let’s flip and consider the good that can happen in just ten years. From the Soviets invading Afghanistan to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1991.

If we do what’s politically possible during the next decade – we’ll be able to write how in 2010 we had Obama et al – and in 2020 we have… (fill in the blank).

So now you know why I continually rail against the failures of our GOP elected officials. At some point supporters of the Republican Party Platform principles will come around to agree with the simple premise that we have to elect more competent people to public office.

Brookes said in that 1990 speech that public education is socialism’s last refuge. He warned that “our own reluctance either to privatize or radically restructure the most socialist enterprise in the Western world” would eventually cause us problems.

It has been suggested that one major manifestation of that reluctance when he says Obama would never have been elected president but for the ignorance of too many young people caused by the public/government-run schools.

Brookes also said:

Some years ago I asked Nobel economist Milton Friedman why it was, given the appalling and obvious failures of socialism everywhere in the world contrasted with the stunning successes of market capitalism, that most American students still graduated from high school with such a surprisingly socialist perspective. His answer was characteristically clear:

‘Because they are products of a socialist system-namely public education. How can you expect such a system to inculcate the values of free enterprise and individual entrepreneurship and competition when it is based on monopoly state ownership, abhors competition, and survives only through compulsion and taxation?’

How indeed. Yet, how can a nation expect to compete in an increasingly dynamic and competitive global market when its most important economic capital, its people and their ideas and talents and energies, are the product of such an obviously failed monopoly enterprise?