Imagine if Microsoft created substandard products and was able to force all working Americans to pay for them, whether they used them or not, and to force its unsubsidized competitors to only offer products that were essentially similar. Would that be anti-competitive?
Of course, this is not a description of Microsoft—a company that has achieved dominance by offering superior products in a free market—but of our public school system. How ironic, then, and yet how proper, that Joel Klein, the vicious and economically ignorant man who tried to destroy America’s greatest company, should now be appointed head dictator of a true monopoly [“The New Chancellor: Meet the New Boss,” News, July 30].
The taxpayer- sponsored sex conference at SUNY-New Paltz is instructive for the light it sheds on the issues of public education and free speech.
The first amendment protects the rights of private citizens to express ideas without fear of being stopped by government-initiated coercion. Public education, on the other hand, uses the threat of government-initiated coercion (i.e., taxation) to confiscate money from private citizens in order to promote ideas that they may not agree with, indeed, ideas that they may well consider to be false and vicious. Thus, contrary to the claims of New Paltz president Roger Bowen, the dissemination of ideas in publicly funded schools is not only not protected by the First Amendment but is an indirect violation of the first amendment rights of the taxpayers.
For example, because of this situation, a person such as myself, who actively works to promote the political ideas of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and Ayn Rand, is forced to also spend a portion of each day working to promote the political ideas of Karl Marx and his intellectual heirs. This is one reason among many why education, as well as all other fields dealing with the dissemination of ideas, should be and must be made private.
In his letter to the editor praising the legislation passed by President Clinton “protecting” 1.7 million acres in Utah from development, William H. Meadows of the Wilderness Society claims that this and similar acts of legislation have made each individual US citizen an “owner” of 623 million acres of land. Using this same reasoning, if the government were to forcibly expropriate all land and private property, he could claim that each citizen would then own all the land and property in the entire country.
Of course, when a government expropriates property, whether in the case of the US government expropriating a piece of land or a Communist government expropriating an entire economy, the exact opposite is true: each citizen becomes completely deprived of the prerogatives of ownership, and is left economically powerless to determine how the land, or any other commodity, is used.
Mr. Meadows also says that US citizens have a “duty” to the unborn to use the coercive powers of the state to prohibit the development of various wildernesses by special economic “interests.” In fact, the citizens of a free country have no unchosen duties to the unborn. The government of a free country, on the other hand, does have a moral and political obligation to protect the economic rights of its living citizens. In the case in question, this means that the US government has an obligation to sell off its vast land holdings in the West and in Alaska so that they can be put to whatever use the citizens most desire.
In the debate over the proposed MTA fare hikes, New Yorkers should not lose sight of the fact that they are being forced to pay for the use of our subway system indirectly through taxation, as well as directly through (soon to be increased) fares. Given the failure and collapse of Socialism around the world and the wretched state of the socialized sectors of our own economy, it is not surprising that our transportation system is both expensive and crumbling.
The solution is obvious. Privatizing the subway would both decrease its cost and radically improve its quality.