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Free markets and coercive religions: the best of both worlds

The Koch brothers are spending money to get libertarian ideas taught in schools, according to Slate.

The Edvantage, a project of the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, bills itself as an online “curriculum hub for pioneering educators.” The website offers high school teachers and college professors educational videos, articles, and podcasts on topics including economics, history, and philosophy. But as people might expect from a think tank whose board is chaired by billionaire libertarian Charles Koch, most of the project’s economics content features two common themes: vilify government, promote the free market.

For example, teachers using Edvantage can find economics videos explaining how the Environmental Protection Agency is bad for the environment, how sweatshops are good for third-world workers, and how the minimum wage costs workers jobs. Content featuring opposing viewpoints, however, is sparse.

The curriculum according to Ayn Rand; what could possibly go wrong?

According to its website, Edvantage is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, whose core funding areas include “individual freedom and free markets.” Program director Daniel Green said through a foundation spokeswoman that the two-year, $739,000 grant is meant “to further Sir John Templeton’s objective of supporting education about the enhancement of individual freedom and free markets.” In addition to funding free-market initiatives, the foundation—founded by the billionaire global investor and mutual fund pioneer—supports a variety of other causes, including ones related to science and religion.  

That is to say, related to propaganda claiming that religion and science are totally compatible and that it’s just a big poopy myth that there is any conflict between them.

teachers who use Edvantage won’t find much ideological balance while researching content on the website’s economics pages. The educational materials selected by Edvantage for economics lessons are overwhelmingly anti-government and pro–free market. For example, a page of videos and articles on economic regulations includes videos that lament occupational licensing laws, explain how regulations are burdening food truck owners, and argue that free markets regulate product safety better than the government

Because what possible incentive could unregulated markets have to skimp on product safety?

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