University Education is a Human Right

Gay State Girl asks:

RL: In many other countries in the world, university education is either very cheap or even completely free. And it’s often high quality too.” I take serious issue with free university education. You yourself have placed a lot of emphasize on the importance of high IQ’s and have said many people shouldn’t go to college. I can understand that although the college experience is very much a right of passage in American culture. But why should someone of a lower IQ pay taxes so that some pompous ass can get a bunch of advanced degrees in some invented liberal arts field at a first rate university with state of the art equipment and end up contributing nothing to society while they continue to work menial labor jobs for the rest of their lives and get no respect for it. You still haven’t answered my question.

We do things for you; you do things for us. To me, this is the socialist motto. The working classes (and everyone else, by the way) pays for university education through their taxes. That university education is available to them also, by the way, if they wish to take advantage of it. In states around the world where there is free university education, I’m not aware that working class people complain much along the lines that GSG is. In fact, show me one country where working class folks complain about paying taxes for universities they don’t use. I’m not aware of a movement like this anywhere on Earth. I think GSG is being disingenuous here. She comes from an upper middle class or even wealthy family. They are hardly working class. I think she resents having to pay for liberal arts jerkoffs at university, and she is projecting her Don’t Tread on Me crap onto working class people. What we are really looking at here is You help us out, we help you out. Working class folks help the university bound go to college, and university grads, with their high paying jobs, give quite a bit of their income via taxation to help working class people take care of their needs. Ideally, university education ought to be free through the graduate level in a socialist society. The idea of having to pay for a public education is perverse and sickening. When I went to college around 1980 and again in the early 90’s, it was mostly rich people going to university. Obviously, this is because it costs a bundle to go to college in the US. Sure, there are grants and whatnot, but I could not make use of them, and my parents had to shell out a ton of money so I could go to school. They were just regular middle class people. Why should they break the bank to send their kid to college? Fuck that. So in bourgeois society, the rich and well-off tend to go to college, while the poor and working classes do not, despite all the loans and scholarships and Pell Grants and whatnot. The price rises higher and higher every year. This can only be based on a “university education is a privilege, not a right” model.

University Education is a Human Right, If You’re Smart Enough

In a free public education model, unfortunately, there would be a limited number of seats. Those seats would go to those with the best grades. Or you could test to get in. The highest ranking scores in grades or entrance exams would get in. This would mean that universities would be full of the smartest kids but not necessarily the richest kids as they are today. That means less intelligent kids don’t get to go to college. We could amend this by saying that if one’s grades and or entrance scores were too low, you could pay full tuition and go to college anyway and see how it goes. This model may run into funding problems. Ideally, university education ought to be based on an ability to pay, sliding fee model. Ability to pay and sliding fees will never work in bourgeois America, because Americans side with the rich and the rich have always run this country from Day One. The rich will not support a sliding fee model for university education and will say that the people going there for free or at reduced rates are an “entitlement program” or welfare program that needs to be cut. Nevertheless, a sliding fee model has many advantages. I’m wondering if any sane country anywhere on Earth has not been completely controlled by the rich such that they could implement an ability to pay model for university education?

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0 thoughts on “University Education is a Human Right”

  1. Lindsay, I believe you come from an upper middle class background as well.
    I have stated that I have no problem paying taxes for public education even for higher education so long as it is available to everyone including the intellectually disabled and that everyone is ensured the same quality of education. but you have said that some people have no business pursuing higher education, of which I agree to a certain extent.But why must everyone pay the same taxes if they or their children is not ensured of the same quality of education?
    Again I have no problem paying taxes for public education and in doing so, while simultaneously independently educating my children, I will be ensuring that other people’s children receive a quality education while I take the burden of my children’s education off the taxpayer.
    I have no problem paying taxes so that other people receive a quality education but the government has to be open to different kinds of learning styles. I myself did not value the high school social experience and would have preferred to get my diploma through distance learning and dual enrollment through a community college but the school system was not open to this so I resent having to pay taxes for a system which forced me into a situation that I was uncomfortable with.

  2. I wasn’t referring to your beloved working class, I was referring to people of a lower intellectual capacity and their families. Why must they pay taxes to ensure a free education to someone else when it is not available to them?
    In Europe higher education is more affordable, but their numbers are far fewer and only a limited amount of people can attend these universities that are subsidized by the government. Your ability to obtain a higher education is determined by the secondary school you attend and after you graduate secondary school, your place in society is pretty much cemented for life. The US higher education system may be expensive but we do have a reputable affordable community college system which accepts anyone with a high school diploma and provides for transfer to more prestigious universities and ultimately social mobility. In Europe and Asia, one must pass an exam just to gain admittance to college.

  3. The college experience in America is not only academic but it is also a social and developmental experience. I can understand why you would deprive a person with a lower intellectual capability a rigorous academic education as they might not be able to perform as well as someone with a higher intellectual capability, but how can you justify depriving them the social experience especially when it is free for someone else?
    For the record, I am completely sincere. Personally, I am from an upper middle class family but I have had my own issues in life and I can relate to these people better than a lot of people who are less wealthy than my family.

  4. Dear Robert
    I agree with GSG. Higher education is not a basic human right. It is an investment. Some invest in a business, others in higher education. Let’s take two 18-year-olds. One wants to set up a restaurant, the other wants to become a doctor. The would-be restaurant owner has to borrow the money or save for it, but the would-be doctor should get his investmet for free? I don’t think so.
    Still, if the government does nothing, access to university will be mainly a privilege of the children of the well-to-do. The best solution is to have a student loan program. Such a program puts every on the same footing and it will deter people from going to university when they are unlikely to benefit from the experience economically. When the talented child of poor parents can’t go to university for financial reasons, their is a waste, and that’s why loans should be available to him.
    If the government pays for higher education, it is a subsidy. Subsidies aren’t necessarily wrong. By subsidizing an activity, you get more of it, and it may be in the interest of broader society to get more of certain activities. Every society that wants to become developed needs some university-educated people. If for some reason, the market doesn’t provide enough of them, then we have a case of market failure which should be overcome by a government program.
    However, there is no reason to believe that in countries like Canada and the US, too few people go to university. If anything, too many go. The more people go to university, the more it becomes necesessary to go to university. If most high school graduates go university, then employers will start asking university degrees for all kinds of jobs which really don’t require a university education. Employers will ask for a degree because it proves at least that the person who has one has enough brains and/or discipline to get a degree.
    In countries like the US and Canada, we now have a situation where young people think, mainly correctly, that they have to go to university simply because so many other people go to university. If higher education does not make people more productive but only enables them to get ahead of people without a degree, then it is a waste.
    Let’s use an analogy. I want to get a certain job and I know that the man who makes the hiring decision is a fanatical car collector. I educate myself about old cars in order to improve the odds of getting the job. Is that “education” useful? If I get the job because of it, it was useful for me, but it certainly ísn’t useful for broader society. By educating myself about old cars, I simply got ahead of someone who didn’t do that, but I didn’t improve my capacity to perform well on the job.
    Now suppose that more and more people educate themselves about old cars simply to get a job. Is that desirable? I don’t think so. When all kinds of young people get degrees in fields like psychology, sociology, anthropology, then we have a similar waste.
    One thing that I have noticed is how little interest many people have in the field in which they got their degree. For instance, I have known people with a degree in French who never, ever read a French book or magazine and never watch a French TV program. Their interest was obviously shallow, but they got their degree.
    Higher education is not a sacred cow. We should analyse it critically.
    Cheers. James

    1. Thank you James.
      And we should focus our government funding and grants in the hard sciences, engineering, computer science, and Economics for the highly intellectual as well as career programs (smaller scale business, education, nursing, hospitality, agriculture, and vocational education programs) for the “less fortunate.” Why should they be deprived of the college social experience simply because they do not meet your standards.

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