Libertarians and Public Education
By Arnold Kling
A reader asks,
Do you believe that it is moral for universities to receive state funds? If so, how would you justify it? As a student that attends a state-funded university, I’ve had to think about this myself.
I remember that Professor Lester Thurow of MIT said that if you were a Marxist living in a capitalist society it would be ok to get rich. Conversely, if you are a libertarian in a statist society it would be ok to take money from the state.
If you believe in free trade, then you believe in free trade with anyone. My wife once argued that I should join AARP for the discounts, in spite of the fact that I disagree with them. I could use the money I save to donate to organizations that fight AARP’s lobbying. That was a rational argument, but I still have not joined AARP.
I don’t have a problem with libertarians using state-funded universities.