Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Students Fight Back, Swinging Blindly part 2

By Zach Foster
Continued from Part 1

One organization vanguarded by young Marxists is the multi-campus group Students Fight Back, and these students have been making a lot of noise.  They make themselves seen around university and community college campuses and often recruit new membership from the promising pool of students struggling with unemployment, family issues, or those who are just beginning to rebel against their parents.  They gain popularity by telling struggling students the things that they want to hear, as if these laundry lists for “social justice” can be realistically achieved.  The majority of Students Fight Back members actually believe in these laundry lists.  One set of goals that they have been shouting about is the Ten Points of Unity and Struggle, deceptively used as a front to fight attacks on education, but whose actual purpose is the destruction of capitalism.

1.      “Education is a right.  Stop budget cuts and tuition hikes.”

Most of this is reasonable.  Budget cuts do tend to be harmful to education in the long run, mostly because they are made carelessly.  It is also ridiculous how universities have been slashing budgets and raising tuition at the same time.  It is understandable that everyone is going through a hard time economically.  To do one or the other is called compensating for hard times; to do one AND the other is called robbery.

However, the statement that “education is a right” only goes so far.  Education is indeed a right.  The right to own property is also a right.  In this case, Students Fight Back is making the grievous error of mistaking entitlements for rights.  A right is the public recognition and sanction of one’s ability to do something.  An entitlement is something that is provided to an individual.

While every American citizen and resident has the right to an education, the only education anyone is entitled to is a high school education.  That means that from Kindergarten to the end of high school, the state will provide a public school education to children who aren’t home schooled or in private school.

While every citizen and resident has the right to go to college, none are entitled to having an education provided to them.  Those families who have the monetary ability to pay for tuition will send their adult children.  Young adults supporting themselves will pay for their own education through working one or more jobs and possibly taking out student loans.  Many ease their burden through vigilantly pursuing scholarships.

A false sense of entitlement is a destructive thing to carry around because it is contagious.  It is this mindset that undermines workers who toil for a worthwhile existence by creating among their peers a culture of professional welfare recipients.[1]

It is also ludicrous to say that budget cuts and tuition hikes target students of color.  This is a false statement because these financial burdens affect the entire student body.  Every student (or their sponsor) pays for these tuition hikes.  It is a lie to even imply that only students of color, not white students, come from blue collar or humble backgrounds and face financial hardships.

2.      “Stop U.S. wars and military recruitment in our schools.”

Quoting some biased statistics of U.S. military spending, Students Fight Back has demonstrated that its members know how to count, but what does this have to do with education?  Only the comment about military recruiters on campuses has any relevance to the greater topic.  Given that many Americans have anti-war sentiments, it seems reasonable that they would take issue with military recruiters recruiting students, at least during times of war.

If students organize and petition the faculty and board of governors at their schools, they could probably secure their freedom from military recruiters.  However, this possible ideological victory only applies to private schools.  Public schools, especially community colleges and state universities, have no say regarding military recruiters as long as they are run by government money.  If a school can manage to run strictly on state funds (not allocated by the federal government) and private donations, then they could have moral standing in keeping the federal military services off campuses.  However, given that they would run on state funds, they would still have to allow recruiters from state military organizations: the Army and Air National Guards.  The logic is quite simple: accept government money, then accept the government.  To be free of government intrusion, even just from the military, then colleges and universities must operate exclusively on private funds.  This reasoning also holds true for any students receiving any kind of government welfare.  If they really want to be free from Uncle Sam, they must go all the way or not at all.

Despite the hardships of deployment to combat zones, military service has benefitted countless young people.  The military lifestyle gives structure and discipline to those who grew up without it.  It instills values of selflessness and team work much better than any labor union or socialist organization, and it also helps individuals set goals for self-improvement.  Most veterans—many of whom came from blue collar or humble backgrounds—do not regret their service at all, even during times of war.

Regarding the comment about troops dying in Wall Street’s wars, that comment is reminiscent and probably a substitute to the slogan “no blood for oil.”  The elites and the economic fiction called “the bourgeoisie” would find their motivation to pursue Middle Eastern oil plummeting if oil was allowed to be drilled from America’s vast untapped oil reserves.  Sensible as this course of action would be, it remains unfulfilled in the name of environmentalism. Economics professor and Soviet defector Yuri Maltsev says it best: “[these kinds of environmentalists] are like watermelons… green on the outside and red on the inside.”
Continued in Part 3: Free speech is a right? DUH!

[1] Child care loopholes lead to easy money.

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