If you’re regular listeners to The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze, you’ve probably heard by now that the Ramirez family is soon to grow by one.
Here’s an interesting concept:
How ironic is it that the people who claim that little Baby Ramirez isn’t a life (just because s/he is hanging out this side of the womb right now) and thus doesn’t deserve the most precious of our rights, is the very same crowd that will turn right around and claim that that same child—once s/he makes it out of the womb—deserves a free ride to college.
Because after all, it’s a human right.
Echoing the sentiments of such a mindset, the president recently announced a proposal entitled “College Promise,” in which community college would be free of charge. It’ll cost 80 billion dollars, 20 of which the states will have to front. He doubled down on this plan during his State of the Union address last night.
In his most recent piece, Blaze Contributor Salvator La Mastra aptly illustrated two of the three fundamental flaws in this approach:
First, that it is a budgetary nightmare in a country already mired in unimaginable debt and future liabilities.
Second, that by virtue of being “free” the plan devalues the inherent value in pursuing an education in the first place.
To expound upon La Mastra’s piece, I intend to show you that there’s a third flaw, and its converse is perhaps the greatest driving force behind big government programs like this one:
Education is not a human right.
You heard me right. (No pun intended). However, since quite a chunk of modern society thinks it is, we get boondoggles like College Promise.
Here’s the deal. We Americans have a right to exactly three things, with a few subcategories therein:
Life: that no one can take your life from you arbitrarily; thus granting you the right to protect yourself and expect protection from the authorities (i.e. police, judicial system) if that right is infringed upon.
Liberty: that is, unless you are harming someone else or infringing upon their inherent rights, you technically have the right to do as you please.
Pursuit of Happiness: since your life is a protected right, as is your liberty to live relatively as you’d prefer, you also have the right to decide exactly what within all that freedom will make you happy. For some, it’s sitting behind a desk all day running numbers for a tax firm. For others, it’s guiding fishing expeditions in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. You get the idea.
You don’t have a right to commodities within that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
There’s a reason why the Founders thought it’d be wise not to guarantee commodities under the “pursuit of happiness” concept. Just think of the Pandora’s box if they were. After all, everyone’s idea of happiness is different. Is it really fair (or feasible) to guarantee the happiness of some through things like free college, while sticking everyone else with the bill?
Using the same logic, wouldn’t we then have to do something for those whose happiness doesn’t include going to college? Say, cut them a check for the cost of the college they decided not to attend?
Obviously the concept of the “pursuit” versus the “guarantee” of happiness has been perverted as of late . . . and really, for quite some time. (Think, free birth control and free cell phones, for example.)
If a populous can be convinced that it’s a human right to be able to engage in procreative activities without the potential burden of the resulting kiddies, or that it’s a human right to own a cell phone (something most Americans didn’t even know would exist prior to 1973) . . . then it’s not difficult to see how so many people believe education is a human right.
After all, it sounds logical, no? To pursue happiness, one obviously needs higher education.
Meet—in no particular order—Steve Jobs, Oprah, Bill Gates, Wolfgang Puck, Walt Disney, Tom Hanks, (who, incidentally, went on to play Walt Disney in the film “Saving Mr. Banks” ), Ralph Lauren, and Jim Carrey . . . to name a very few.
Obviously, not everyone has the chops to invent a new computer, become a film giant, or run a clothing empire—but that’s beside the point. A college education, while helpful for many, does not have a monopoly on happiness and success in life. What people like Jobs or Disney had isn’t taught in the classroom, and there isn’t enough funding in the world to change that reality.
Indeed, obtaining a basic set of skills needed to operate as a successful individual is something that, in a civil, moral society, we SHOULD care about providing to our children. But it still doesn’t make it a right. And it certainly doesn’t it make it something the federal government is supposed to provide.
Think of it this way. The two African American students attempting to register at the University of Alabama in 1963 didn’t have the right to a college education as a “human right.” What they did have the right to was the option of pursuing an education regardless of their color. That’s pursuit versus outcome.
We are simply, and wisely, guaranteed the pursuit, not an outcome, of happiness. And we should champion a society that protects, and not degrades that paradigm.
The next time you find yourself cheering on the latest commodity to be declared a right, remember this: today they’re paying for what makes you happy—but what goes around comes around.