(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series details a future in which humans have colonized the entire galaxy, which is ruled by a great Galactic Empire. Hari Seldon, an advanced social scientist, calculates that the empire is in terminal and unavoidable decline into chaos and anarchy. Convinced that the catastrophe cannot be prevented, Seldon sets up two Foundations at the opposite ends of the galaxy in order to preserve human knowledge and technology. The mission of these foundations: to shorten the period of barbarism, eventually restoring order, peace and prosperity.
Much of the rest of the series concerns how the initially tiny First Foundation faces one “Seldon Crisis” after another over the course of many centuries. The Foundation knew that their founder, Seldon, had the ability to peer deep into the future. Whenever the Foundation faced an existential threat, they knew that it had been anticipated by Seldon, and that it had a solution. They just had to figure it out. Upon the resolution of a Seldon crisis, a holographic recording of the long dead Seldon (see picture above) would appear to explain how he had calculated the situation would play out, congratulate them for overcoming the crisis and urge them on. The Foundation emerged from each crisis stronger than ever.
The last few years of the parental choice movement feel like a crisis. The ballot loss in Utah was quite a blow. Sunshine patriots deserted. Teacher union stooges in Congress began the process of pillow-smothering the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Articles proclaimed the death of the private choice movement.
I’m feeling pretty spry, for a dead guy.
There will be further Seldon challenges in the years ahead, but I am ready to call this one over. In fact, I think the best is yet to come.
I am half-expecting Robert Enlow to discover a dvd from Milton Friedman recorded in 2006 congratulating us on surviving, telling us that he knew we would figure it out, and urging us on to still greater things.
Here is what Milton and Rose Friedman said in 1996 when they started our Foundation.
“We have been involved in many attempts to introduce educational vouchers – the term that has come to designate the arrangement we proposed. There is a distressing similarity to attempts made over three decades and from coast to coast. In each case, a dedicated group of citizens makes a well-thought through proposal. It initially garners widespread public support. The educational establishment – administrators and teachers’ unions – then launches an attack that is notable for its mendacity but is backed by much larger financial resources than the proponents can command and succeeds in killing the proposal.
We have concluded that the achievement of effective parental choice requires an ongoing effort to inform the public about the issues and possible solutions, an effort that is not episodic, linked to particular legislative or ballot initiatives, but that is educational. It requires also the cooperation of the many groups around the country who are devoted to improving the quality of our schools, whether governmental or private.”