Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Can't Afford Free

Beef prices have moderated a little but a couple of months ago, my nephew made an awkwardly worded statement about hanging onto to his cows until after the first of the year because of tax issues. But the way he said it, I started kidding him about his cattle being too expensive to sell.

You may be familiar with this Irish Canadian Stefan Molyneux and his Youtube channel.  In the linked video, one of his topics is the proposal for free community college that Obama will make in his State of the Union speech tonight -- which I won't be watching.  It happens to fall on the night when I sort my collection of used canning flats.  Molyneux makes a couple of very good points.

If you want to know why it costs so much to go to a hospital or receive medical treatment these days, consider how inexpensive community colleges are now versus what would happen if we were stupid enough to make them free.  If you dump billions of tax dollars into an industry -- as Molyneux says -- you change the economic nature of that industry.  Why would you think otherwise? 

As I have noted before, driving around rural areas where many elementary school and high school students live in trailer parks and old rundown houses, you see these temples where they go to class with all kinds of amenities and special programs.  Millions of dollars are poured into these districts every year, and it gets spent -- mostly wasted really -- every year.  The same thing has happened in traditional four-year  colleges and universities as well as in the healthcare sector. 

Now, you have people begging for government intervention to control the costs caused by government intervention.  That will work out well.

Another point Molyneux makes is this:  how is it that people are graduating from high school -- after twelve or thirteen years of free government education -- with no marketable skills?  The government indoctrination center has failed to adequately prepare students for any kind of productive work between kindergarten and twelfth grade.  But -- give them two more years, and they will get it right.

When I was in high school learning to type on a manual typewriter, making calls on a rotary phone, and driving a car with a manual transmission, one of the English teachers went on a rant one day.  In response to one of my classmates complaining about having to learn some aspect of grammar or literature, Mrs. Ledbetter said that she agreed with him.  He had no business in her classroom and ought to be out in the shop learning to weld or fix engines or grow corn or something.  She was adamant that we ought to have a vocational curriculum for those with no academic interest, inclination or ability.  As far as she was concerned it wasted her time and theirs for those voc-ed types to be in her Lit class. 

Not everybody is interested in  Shakespeare.  Not everybody is terribly interested in history.  Everybody who isn't mentally handicapped, though, should be able to read, say, Raymond Chandler or Shelby Foote.  A man ought to be educated to the point where he can write a sensible business letter, balance his own checkbook and calculate the area and volume of various simple geometric figures. 

That used to be done rather handily in eight years.  Then came teachers' unions and intervention by state and federal education departments. 

The good news is that there is no way Obama's "free community college" proposal in going anywhere in this Congress, but it is a shot across the bows and probably won't be the last we hear about this idiocy.


  1. As I have noted before, driving around rural areas where many elementary school and high school students live in trailer parks and old rundown houses, you see these temples where they go to class with all kinds of amenities and special programs.

    That's what it's like around here. The utes can be educated and comfortable in much cheaper buildings. Definitely a building construction/education scam going on here. As it always happens when you are spending other people's money.

    Kind of a modern replacement for the medieval cathedral.

  2. It is. You are right.

    If you just teach people to read, they should be able to, more or less, educate themselves. Especially these days with all the resources on the internet. Public schools are retirement plans for teachers.

  3. Outstanding post, Dwaine.
    I concur, it is foolhardy to think that govt. will keep costs down or be able to redestribute wealth without creating higher costs and less liberty.

    It's been proven several times over that socialistic/communistic/fascist types of govt. are massive failures that destroy liberty and economies.
    And yet, because of envy, jealousy and greed there is far too many people, even here in the U.S. that keep buying the snake oil of money for nothin'.

    Some are ignorant of the damaging results while others don't care as long as they get what they didn't earn, be it money, power or both.

    The key to reversing this trend is real education that inspires people to think for themselves, along with all hands on deck to sound the alarm and remain vigilant.
    The number one priority of the GOP, conservatives and libertarians oughtta be to push for school choice.
    It's popular, even among many liberals, and if we get even a halfway decent President in 2016 it's doable.

    Of course, that's not the only thing that needs to be done but it is perhaps the most crucial if our Republic is to have a chance of surviving.

  4. Thanks, Ben. Real education terrifies the "elites".