Just for the heck of it I recently perused a right wing column about the dangers of socialized medicine. For kicks I replaced every place it said "medicine" with "education." I made a few more changes, but mostly left it as it was. I think it reads perfectly now. For the original you can go here.
Lest We've Forgotten, Education Is Not a Right
By Wendy Milling
The advocates of socialized education have insisted for decades that education is a right. They now feel emboldened enough to proffer the absurdity that education insurance is a right, and they do not bother to make a distinction between the two. "Education is a right, not a privilege," proclaims Sen. Bernie Sanders in a Huffington Post op-ed calling for the nationalization of education. Education has become "a business" instead of a higher calling of selfless service, President Obama ruefully tells the American Teachers Association.
A right is a political principle defining and sanctioning freedom of action in a social context. It imposes a negative obligation-the obligation to refrain from violating the rights of others-not a positive entitlement. Since government produces nothing, for the government to provide goods and services to some, it must first take them by force from others, which is a violation of their rights.
A privilege connotes a benefit conferred upon individuals or classes by virtue of some factor such as birth or social position, as opposed to merit. The criterion by which people receive education is payment. Education can only exist because its suppliers earn profits that justify their initial substantial investments of money, energy, and time. That makes education a business, whether anyone finds this distasteful or not.
Students must pay for their education somehow. Money is obtained through effort; people receive money in exchange for productive work. Sen. Sanders' objection, then, is to people obtaining education because they have earned it. By advocating the redistribution of educational resources, he is seeking to elevate the needy to a privileged class. For education to be a "right," it must be a privilege.
The economics of socialized education are well-known. When free education becomes available system-gamers line up at the socialized education trough, along with genuinely unlearned people who seek more services than are justified for their condition. Demand overwhelms supply, and costs go up. Government then imposes price caps on educational goods and services and limits payments to providers to control the escalating costs. This attempted end run around the law of supply and demand forces the suppliers to cut back on the availability, quality, and quantity of educational care. Again, governments produce nothing. They can decree coverage for everyone, but they have no power to turn this coverage into adequate educational care. Only those who produce educational goods and services can provide them.
Knowing that Americans do not tolerate the impractical, the proponents of socialized education have engaged in all manner of contorted exercises lately to make the unworkable appear workable. They back up their calculations with a secret weapon: The citizen's feelings of guilt. "It's a moral issue," assert the advocates of socialized education. It certainly is, but not in the way they think. It is immoral to steal and coerce. Teachers are not chattel, and taxpayers are not piggy banks to be broken and raided for the next claimant in line.
The advocates of socialized education argue that people should not have to go into bankruptcy just because they are burdened with educational bills they cannot pay. Yes, they should. Bankruptcy does not mean death in this country. It means officially recognized insolvency, which merely puts conditions on the defaulter's financial activity for a specified amount of time into the future. Bankruptcy is a consequence of the defaulter's failure to meet legal financial obligations. The principle at work is justice, the application of cause-and-effect to human affairs.
Those who wish to insure their education have a number of proper choices: They hey can accumulate wealth or credit to pay for educational expenses, they can purchase private education insurance, they can seek employment that provides educational coverage, they can seek a teacher who is willing to provide payment terms or free services, or they can rely on the charity of others. If a person fails to take any of these measures for any reason and he incurs educational expenses he cannot meet, he must enter into bankruptcy. What he may not properly do is claim that education and educational insurance are "rights" to which he is entitled at the expense of others.
Consider the full meaning of such a claim. Millions of working poor will see a portion of their meager earnings confiscated. Educational technologies will not be created when they otherwise would, because there is no economic incentive to develop or produce them. Teachers and other education professionals will work under increasingly primitive and coercive conditions, potentially facing de-licensing, fines, and even jail time for making decisions the government deems too costly or politically out-of-favor.
Students will see the quality, quantity, and availability of educational care evaporate. The gravely uneducated will be denied learning and forced to face the end of their scholarship, because saving their minds is too costly under a system of socialized education. For what noble purpose will millions of people be effectively enslaved or burdened to the point of suffering or death? To preserve the FICO score, credit lines, and self-esteem of parasites.
The next time a socialized education advocate prattles about compassion for those who need educational care, wonder aloud where his compassion is for those whose lives would be destroyed by his scheme.