Illinois Politicians Want to Mandate All Schools Teach LGBT History

P. Gardner Goldsmith | August 7, 2018
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In his landmark 1994 book, “Separating School and State” economist, philosopher, and historian Sheldon Richman argued that public, tax-funded schools not only resulted in inferior educational output compared to private schools, they were prime examples of how government, by forcing everyone to pay, pits people against each other in constant battles over how the money will be spent.

Today, the Illinois government is showing us that Sheldon Richman was spot-on correct.

The Illinois Senate is looking at a bill called S.B. 3249 and the House is looking at its equivalent, H.B. 5596, both of which will mandate that all public schools include “lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and trans” (LGBT) history in their curricula.

From the Senate bill:

Provides that, in public schools only, the teaching of history of the United States shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State. Effective July 1, 2019.

First of all, on a practical level, wouldn’t a top-down-thinking, politically oriented person simply want to mandate that the contributions of LGBT people not be excluded in the teaching of history, rather than mandate that the roles and contributions of LGBT people must be included?

What if, hypothetically, there were zero contributions by LGBT people, or what if the ratio of contributions were so low as to comprise just 1 percent of what could be taught in a year? Is that sufficient? How much is sufficient?

What if it is a gay man whose contribution is taught? Does that mean a lesbian woman’s contributions must be taught, even though that might exclude a major historical lesson about something else? What is the proper balance when pre-designating that certain “kinds” of people must be included in history? And who determines what is enough?

Certainly, the answer is that the parents and kids won’t decide, and, as state mandates increase, even the teachers won’t be able to decide. It will be dictated by the central governing authority – dictated to everyone.

One size fits all.

But isn’t that precisely the opposite of the lesson LGBT advocates try to teach when it comes to sexual attraction? What if the state were to dictate to everyone the kinds, ages, genders, professions, sizes, and personalities of those they could date? Would that be enough for everyone to see that perhaps, just perhaps, it’s a bad idea to get the government involved with education?

And that brings us to the principle of the matter, which, in turn, sheds light on the effectiveness of all government education programs.

Simply put, on principle, it’s not ethical to force people to pay for “services” – any services – one prefers. It’s no more acceptable to force someone to pay for what I might like if I get a gang of a hundred people to threaten my neighbor to hand over his cash. This also has the practical effect of making everyone who pays feel as if he or she has a vested interest in how the money will be spent and how the system will be run.

Heck, it’s certainly possible that lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people are not getting the attention they deserve in history texts, and it’s perfectly justified for LGBT people to become angry if their taxes are being used to fund an educational system they believe is giving short shrift to the roles LGBT people have played in history.

By the same token, it’s perfectly reasonable to see how a straight couple might not want their child exposed to that kind of information, or that they might think other information takes precedence in a curriculum.

And so in Illinois we see the politically correct, “social justice warrior”, version of what has plagued government-run, taxpayer-funded schools since they were adopted in a widespread manner in the US starting in the late 19th Century. It is the problem of non-choice.

This problem of mandates and coercion not only presents the ethical hitch of forcing someone to pay, it funds a non-competitive system that, the larger it is, gathers more potential to harm a large number of people, even as it becomes virtually impervious to competitive forces. Without competition, there is no incentive to do better, to offer a better product for less.

Is it any wonder why Illinois has some of the worst schools in the U.S. and is seemingly stuck at the mid-point for educational quality nationwide?

The politicians simply will not learn from history -- be it a history populated by straight, or gay -- that forcing people to pay for something doesn’t yield quality results, and it puts everyone into a political boxing ring, where they fight over how the tax spoils will be spent.