The USDA School Lunch Fiasco

Since the start of the current school year, public school students have been complaining about the new lunch guidelines promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A quick internet search will reveal that students don’t like the food and that when they do like it, there is not enough of it. Many libertarian pundits have rightly pointed out the outrage of the fact that the federal leviathan state has become so intrusive that school lunches is a national issue. Paleo pundits have criticized the guidelines as promoting the unhealthy federal food pyramid diet. While I agree with both of these lines of criticism, they miss the crucial point: the concept of public schooling.

Let us first remark that the very concept of public schooling, from public funding of schools via taxes to compulsory attendance laws, is immoral as it violates the libertarian non-aggression axiom. Thus, the correct moral response is to demand an end to all funding of education with tax payer money and and end to all laws involving schooling. Education should be left to families and then to individuals as they mature. Thus, the school lunch issue would be moot; problem solved.

Thinking about how we got to the point where school lunches became a federal issue, naturally leads to the idea of interventionism. As many have pointed out, government intervention inevitably leads to unintended consequences. These result in further intervention in an attempt to fix the emerging problems. New problems emerge and the cycle continues. Once government decided that education and nutrition was its responsibility, the current school lunch imbroglio was inevitable due to the logic of interventionism.

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