Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Who works for whom?

In perusing the news this evening, I came across two items that are mildly related. The first is a heartening op-ed about a Montana homeschooling bill. (Hat Tip: Daryl Cobranchi)

The editor at the Missoulian gets the concept of government working for the people EXACTLY right. He uses this understanding to shred a bill that would've required home educators to jump through a number of hoops to stay on the good side of the law. The editor correctly states that the law assumes both that citizens are responsible for satisfying the demands of government and that public education holds final responsibility for educating children. He also correctly states that these are flat-out wrong. So, if you love liberty, go read this editorial. You'll get a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside.

Now, on to item number two, an article about state colleges requiring that their students have health insurance.

My first problem with this is that college students are adults. They're 18 and over, they can vote for the president, they can bear arms in the name of the president, they can have sex, they can get married, they can get abortions, they can enter contracts. They're adults. They can do all of the above, but they can't be trusted to decide whether health insurance is worth it? It is an adult's right to choose whether or not to have insurance. The fact that schools are dictating this sends a clear message: you are still children. Then again, so do they're other in loco parentis actions, so that's nothing new.

My second problem is that most schools aren't even trying to use in loco parentis to justify this. The first reason that the article states for requiring students to have insurance is that uninsured students costs the schools too much! As Daryl is fond of saying, IAATM. (It's all about the money.)

Seriously, I thought the universities worked for their students. I was under the apparently-wrong impression that students paid the schools to provide them an education. Apparently, it's the student's job supply the school with butts to put in seats and then not cost the school too much. Gee, I'm glad I got this cleared up now.

The thing that I often ponder whether is whether all our leaders (and civil servants and journalists) think that the citizenry should help fulfill the government's vision or are there some who think that the government works for us?

The article about the state schools reinforce my fear that, in the national psyche, government is the master and the citizenry its servants. In that light, the Missoulian editorial is even more heartening. There is hope.

TOPIC: Education