G. Johnson for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper

G. Johnson for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper


1. It is by no means so fantastic as may at first appear that such a step would noticeably affect the size of families. one explanation of the lower birth rate among higher than among lower socio-economic groups may well be that children are relatively more expensive to the former, thanks in considerable measure to the higher standards of education they maintain and the costs of which they bear.

2. Essentially this proposal – public financing but private operation of education has recently been suggested in several southern states as a means of evading the Supreme Court ruling against segregation. This fact came to my attention after this paper was essentially in its present form. My initial reaction – and I venture to predict, that of most readers – was that this possible use of the proposal was a count against it, that it was a particularly striking case of the possible defect – the exacerbating of class distinctions – referred to in the second paragraph preceding the one to which this note is attached.

Further thought has led me to reverse my initial reaction. Principles can be tested most clearly by extreme cases. Willingness to permit free speech to people with whom one agrees is hardly evidence of devotion to the principle of free speech; the relevant test is willingness to permit free speech to people with whom one thoroughly disagrees. Similarly, the relevant test of the belief in individual freedom is the willingness to oppose state intervention even when it is designed to prevent individual activity of a kind one thoroughly dislikes. I deplore segregation and racial prejudice; pursuant to the principles set forth at the outset of the paper, it is clearly an appropriate function of the state to prevent the use of violence and physical coercion by one group on another; equally clearly, it is not an appropriate function of the state to try to force individuals to act in accordance with my – or anyone else’s views, whether about racial prejudice or the party to vote for, so long as the action of anyone individual affects mostly himself. These are the grounds on which I oppose the proposed Fair Employment Practices Commissions; and they lead me equally to oppose forced nonsegregation. However, the same grounds also lead me to oppose forced segregation. Yet, so long as the schools are publicly operated, the only choice is between forced nonsegregation and forced segregation; and if I must choose between these evils, I would choose the former as the lesser.

For example

The fact that I must make this choice is installment loan location Nevada a reflection of the basic weakness of a publicly operated school system. Privately conducted schools can resolve the dilemma. They make unnecessary either choice. Under such a system, there can develop exclusively white schools, exclusively colored schools, and mixed schools. Parents can choose which to send their children to. The appropriate activity for those who oppose segregation and racial prejudice is to try to persuade others of their views; if and as they succeed, the mixed schools will grow at the expense of the nonmixed, and a gradual transition will take place. So long as the school system is publicly operated, only drastic change is possible; one must go from one extreme to the other; it is a great virtue of the private arrangement that it permits a gradual transition.

An example that comes to mind as illustrating the preceding argument is summer camps for children. Is there any objection to the simultaneous existence of some camps that are wholly Jewish, some wholly non-Jewish, and some mixed? One can – though many who would react quite differently to negro-white segregation – would not explore the existence of attitudes that lead to the three types; one can seek to propagate views that would tend to the growth of the mixed school at the expense of the extremes; but is it an appropriate function of the state to prohibit the unmixed camps?

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