'Education Is a Right': The New Gateway Drug

“Education is a right!” That was the mantra of the “progressives” marching a few weeks ago against proposed tuition increases for college students. Implicit in that chant is the thought that college should be free for everyone, after all you can’t charge for a “right.” While I’d love to retroactively wash my hands of my student loan payments, this “belief” doesn’t hold up to scrutiny because it exposes the blatant hypocrisy of those chanting it.

[caption id="attachment_98218" align="aligncenter" width="319" caption="No responsibility at all."]No responsibility at all.[/caption]

To understand this you must first understand what is, in fact, a right. Many wrongly think the Constitution grants us our rights as Americans, that the right to free speech is our “First Amendment Right.” Nothing could be more wrong. The First Amendment does not grant you a right to free speech, it says you are born with it and the government cannot infringe upon it. (Read this for an explanation of this point.)

So, if education is a right along the lines of speech, the government has no business being involved in it in the first place. Yet those seeking a “free” education for everyone do not seek a government-free education, they seek a government monopoly of it. Since education is a human right, the involvement of government can, logically, only serve to infringe upon that right. But that’s not what these people are really about.



Were these protesters of the mind that education is a human right they would not support the concept of the federal government seizing the means by which so many, particularly the poor, exercise that right – student loans. Nothing could be more threatening to a “right” than the government being the arbiter of who gets the means to exercise it and those who doesn’t. But on this, the “progressives” cheer.

More than that, were education a right these “freedom fighters” would seek to break the shackles of the public school system where students are forced into schools based simply on where they live, not their choice or the quality of education. Yet there were no signs decrying the imposition of only one location at which students could exercise this “human right,” and no chants either.

This was about money, entitlement and control, plain and simple. The more the government does for us, the more it can do to us, and these “progressives” seek to do a lot to us.

While these protests have died down for the moment, they will be back once the hangover from the party celebrating the government’s takeover of a significant portion of our health care system wears off because these people do not tire. Like the Terminator, they cannot be reasoned with and they will not stop. Like a fat guy bellying up to the buffet just before closing time, he will take every last shrimp to the point of vomiting and will complain they won’t replenish. No amount is ever enough, and no proof of the failure of their opinions will ever convince them. They believe the only reason their ideals failed to work elsewhere was because THEY weren’t the ones implementing them. THEY can do it!

There’s something to be said for a belief in something so strong that you cannot be dissuaded, but the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Are these people insane? No. They know what they’re doing, and they know why they’re doing it. They don’t seek to make the education system better or more fair – if they did they’d be for choice in it to weed out the failing schools and teachers – they seek control. The control they seek is complete and unforgiving.

“Progressives” choose their battles wisely, and they are chosen very specifically. What better way to get more ears to spread your lies to than to strike out at something so many middle class young adults hate in common – their student loan payments. But motive is important, as is impact. While I hate my student loans, it is not for the return on that investment. I would not be where I am and doing what I do were it not for them, and amassing that debt made me acutely aware of the fact that college wasn’t simply an excuse to drink myself into a Kennedy-like stupor every night, I HAD to work to pay back those loans. That reality helped focus me at a time when I, and millions of others, needed focus. And it worked.

While I grind my teeth as I write that check, I can afford that check and ones for all the other bills I have because of that loan. Would I like someone to snap their fingers and make it go away? You better believe it! The same could be said for my cable and electric bills, but that doesn’t make me want to take to the streets. I went into it with my eyes open, as did every other person in this country who chose to go to college with the help of student loans.

Now the federal government will decide if a student is worthy of help paying for college through the student loan program. If not, the options will be limited and punitive. The government chosen losers will have to either work their way through school, which is good, or parents will have to take out personal loans, perhaps even second mortgages, to help defray the costs. In a time of high unemployment and an uncertain economic future thanks, in large part, to the mortgage mess the government created, is even more personal debt tied to property a good idea?

The system as it existed was not perfect, but students and parents were free to shop around to find the deal closest to perfect for their needs. Now the government holds the wallet, and the keys to your future. When the only hope so many have says no, where do you go from there? There are many people and organizations that were throwing rocks at police a few weeks ago who hope it will be into their waiting arms.

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