To All UP Students: Education is NOT a Right!
“The right to life, e.g., does not mean that your neighbors have to feed and clothe you; it means you have the right to earn your food and clothes yourself, if necessary by a hard struggle, and that no one can forcibly stop your struggle for these things or steal them from you if and when you have achieved them. In other words: you have the right to act, and to keep the results of your actions, the products you make, to keep them or to trade them with others, if you wish. But you have no right to the actions or products of others, except on terms to which they voluntarily agree.” — Dr. Leonard Peikoff, from Health Care is Not a Right.
First, let me open this blog by reminding protesting University of the Philippines students that the taxpayers are not your slaves! I am outraged by the worsening level of liberal indoctrination and Marxist idiotation of our so-called “iskolar ng bayan” (state scholars). With their so dangerous, so ignorant a belief that they are entitled to a free and/or subsidized education, they are simply asking the government to steal from Pedro in order to serve the needs of Juan.
The video link below shows a number of UP “red shirts” from Baguio campus who call on the new administration to increase government subsidy for state universities. Hundreds of UP students wearing red shirt march to the campus’ historic Oblation to air their opposition to the state university’s plan to impose tuition increase.
A lone cop isn’t able to stop the students from expressing their collective outrage in front of the landmark statue, which is the symbol of service and heroism in the country. As a male student mounts a banner on the outstretched arms of the famed statue, the rest of the enraged students collectively shout “Edukasyon, edukasyon, karapatan ng mamamayan” (Education, education, a right of all citizens). The male student who puts up the banner then speaks into the megaphone. “Tayo ay tunay na iskolar ng bayan. Tayo ay maninindigan, magiging kritikal, mapangahas, at mapanuri sa sistema ng ating lipunan.” The banner attached to outstretched arms of The Oblation read: “FIGHT FOR HIGHER STATE SUBSIDY.”
This student protest is indeed a symbolic one. It is their way of reaffirming the underlying message of The Oblation, which has “served as a symbol of the spirit of dedication of the University of the Philippines to the ideals of service to our people and of loyalty to the cause of human betterment.” The statue of service and heroism is the masterpiece of well-known Filipino sculptor Guillermo Tolentino, whose order was to concretize the second stanza of Jose Rizal’s “Last Farewell” into a solid work of art, which would embody the ideals and purpose of the state university. The second stanza of Rizal’s historic poem read:
“In fields of battle, deliriously fighting, Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret; Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily, On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom, If the home or country asks, it’s all the same–it matters not.”
The creator of the symbolic artwork described his masterpiece:
The completely nude figure of a young man with outstretched arms and open hands, with tilted head, closed eyes and parted lips murmuring a prayer, with breast forward in the act of offering himself, is my interpretation of that sublime stanza. It symbolizes all the unknown heroes who fell during the night. The statue stands on a rustic base, a stylized rugged shape of the Philippine archipelago, lined with big and small hard rocks, each of which represents an island. The “katakataka” (wonder plant) whose roots are tightly implanted on Philippine soil, is the link that binds the symbolized figure to the allegorical Philippine Group. “Katakataka” is really a wonder plant. It is called siempre vivo (always alive) in Spanish. A leaf or a piece of it thrown anywhere will sprout into a young plant. Hence, it symbolizes the deep-rooted patriotism in the heart of our heroes. Such patriotism continually and forever grows anywhere in the Philippines.
However, this is not my interpretation of The Oblation. The very first time I laid my eyes on that legendary statue, I saw a man of selfish heroism, whose only service and duty is only to himself, and who regards service to all as the most evil form of self immolation. I saw a man of purpose and of vision and not an object of social sacrifice. I saw an unbroken soul who knows his purpose— and that purpose is the commitment of his life to the highest form of virtue, which is man’s pursuit of happiness. I saw a man struggling against slavery and any form of social immolation. He does not want to be reduced to a mere slave. He wants to be free, to be left alone, and to go on living according to his will and rational ideals. No, the human soul that is being symbolized by that statue is not an object of social sacrifice. He’s an iconic symbol of individual heroism. With his outstretched arms and open hands he is all alone— and he embarks on the greatest battle a man of rational mind and of purpose could ever fight: the struggle of the individual against collectivism.
The message of these young students is very clear: they’re asking for the enslavement of the productive members of our society for they believe that the state must provide their educational needs. Their fight for higher state subsidy only means two things: First, they want to be the beneficiaries of “service”, and Second, the productive members of our society must be condemned to serve the good of these social beneficiaries. Where do they think the government will get the money to serve their needs? The government has no magical power to turn a stone into gold, to turn a piece of wood into a loaf of bread. But it has the power to confiscate a portion of the hard-earned money of those who work and produce wealth, which is the power of taxation. It has the power to turn a truckload of worthless paper into tons and tons of paper money, which is the power of printing money out of thin air. It also has the power to mortgage our country and the future of its people to serve the immediate need of our society, which is the power of contracting foreign and domestic debt.
You complain about the country’s huge foreign debt and high tax rates yet you continue to demand more from the government? Don’t you know that more public demands and subsidies means the government will have more power to take everything you value in life? More demands means more state power. Most students of public schools believe that education is a right. They claim that the state must provide their educational needs, but where will the government get the money and the goods to perform this magical job? Who will be sacrificed in the name of free or subsidized education? To all protesting state university students, education is NOT a right! In one of my previous blogs entitled The Seeds of Evil: How Communism Infiltrates Public Universities, I stated the following:
Education is not a right. A ‘right’ means man’s freedom of action in a social context. It pertains only to human action, specifically, to man’s freedom of action. A person is not born with a right to a trip to tour the country’s tourist destinations. A person has no in-born, innate right to a dinner at Manila Hotel, or a free cosmetic surgery at Belo Medical Clinic or a college degree in Nursing or Medicine. Those who argue that every person in these parts has the right to a free education either do not understand the proper concept of right or have sinister political agenda. We cannot have such right to a better and free access to education because the concept of individual rights in a free society does not impose any obligation on other people. The only obligation or responsibility of every individual is to leave his neighbor alone, to not violate his rights, to not interfere with his private life. We don’t have a right to enslave the productive members of our society. Free access to education simply means socialized or highly subsidized education. It means that someone has to be immolated or sacrificed to others. While students in private schools, colleges, and universities pay the ‘agreed’ amount of school fees, student activists would like to be exempted from this obligation. I used the word ‘agreed’ since student consultation is required by the government through the CHED before any tertiary school is permitted to increase its tuition rate. If students activists demand exemption, the question is: who would pay for their “better and free education?” The taxpayers, of course.
Indeed, our state universities are becoming more and more a threat to our country and to the freedom and individual rights of its people.
Since a lot of UP students are ignorant of the proper concept of rights, I have to make a significant addendum to this blog. Knowing the proper concept of rights is very important, as it is the key to understanding whether Pedro has the right to ask the government to steal from Juan in order to serve his needs. Lack of proper understanding of the real concept of rights is bringing the whole country to dictatorship and socialism. We see liberals and leftist protesters asking for exclusive government protection, free or cheap medicines, free health care, free or subsidized food, free access to quality education, and free “everything.” What do you think will happen to a country of freeloaders and free-askers? Do these “little dictators” think that the government has a magical power to create wealth out of nothing? Where will the government get the wealth and goods to provide their needs? In reality, we are not yet considered a free society. A free society means an informed society.
A right is not fundamentally a legal term simply because it is not created and should not be created by a piece of legislation or executive order. A right is not a constitutional creature. It is merely recognized and affirmed by our constitution. But the problem is even our 1987 Constitution has a confused, invalid understanding of the concept of rights. This is the reason why our country is moving towards complete political and economic disaster and collectivism.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides the most accurate and most objective definition of rights:
Rights are entitlements (not) to perform certain actions or be in certain states, or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or be in certain states.
Rights dominate most modern understandings of what actions are proper and which institutions are just. Rights structure the forms of our governments, the contents of our laws, and the shape of morality as we perceive it. To accept a set of rights is to approve a distribution of freedom and authority, and so to endorse a certain view of what may, must, and must not be done. (Emphasis mine)
The following are the categories of rights:
A right to life, a right to choose; a right to vote, to work, to strike; a right to one phone call, to dissolve parliament, to operate a forklift, to asylum, to equal treatment before the law, to feel proud of what one has done; a right to exist, to sentence an offender to death, to launch a nuclear first strike, to carry a concealed weapon, to a distinct genetic identity; a right to believe one’s own eyes, to pronounce the couple husband and wife, to be left alone, to go to hell in one’s own way.
A “right” is a moral principle elucidating and warranting a man’s freedom of action in a social context. The categories of rights above show that rights are only limited to man’s rights to his LIFE, LIBERTY, PROPERTY, and his PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. The concept of rights excludes and rejects man’s right of force and compulsion. UP and other state university students’ demand for a free and/or subsidized education is tantamount to a right of compulsion and force; that is, by granting the government the power to redistribute wealth and confiscate the wealth of those who work and produce in order to serve the interest and the needs of those who don’t. We have all the right to work and achieve our goals in life, but we don’t have the right to ask the government to provide us jobs by sacrificing private businesses and companies.
The legendary and most touted “right to free education” simply means the government must sacrifice a particular sector of our society in order to serve the welfare and the needs of a certain beneficiary sector. This is because the government has no depository of unlimited amount of goods and wealth. The government is not a productive agency, but an agency that relies on forced and not “voluntary” taxation, which is apparently an oxymoron. The student protesters’ demand for “free education” would only enshrine or establish institutionalized theft wherein the government plays the role of an ever benevolent Robin Hood by robbing the wealth of the productive members of our society in order to serve the weak, the not-have, or less privileged in life.
Let me reiterate that the concept of rights does not include the right of compulsion and coercion, directly or indirectly. The worst form of coercion or extortion is the one being performed by the government in order to perform what is called the “greater good” or the “common good.” This is what is happening in most socialist slave pens on earth- in Cuba, in North Korea, in China, in Veneuzela and other dictatorships where the governments provide free health care, rationed or subsidized food, free education, etc.
Again, the “right to education” or “free access to education” enshrined in our 1987 Constitution is an INVALID CONCEPT for it negates the Law of Identity and the Law of Causality. The framers of our Constitution dismissed the fact that the government is not supposed to be a “Robin Hood” agency, but an agency which has the sole duty to protect our individual rights and to safeguard this country against invasion or against internal threat. The framers of our Charter forgot the fact that before there can be something to “redistribute”, there has to be a definite source of wealth. They simply did not understand the relation between production and distribution. The constitutional right to”quality education at all levels” and “accessible education” is a puerile fantasy that is never grounded in reality. Such a right is an invalid concept and a floating abstraction.
The question really is not whether our students have the “right to quality education at all levels”, but whether there is such a fantastical “right.” I am primarily against this notion- that the state, according to our semi-socialist Constitution, has the eternal duty to “protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels” and “to make such education accessible to all”- simply because it is against economic and political realities and because it will only lead to our own collective destruction. In fact, it would be a great idea if the government really had the power to create wealth out of nothing. But this is not the reality. Reality tells us that the government is the most dependent entity on earth. It depends on our physical and mental ability to work and produce wealth. Thus, the concept of “free access to quality education” is a highly onerous mortgage on a not yet existing wealth, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to deliver it.
Ayn Rand, a Russian-born American philosopher, once wrote:
A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)
The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.
Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.
She further wrote:
The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.
Yes, by asking the government to serve and provide your educational needs, you are inadvertently contributing to the complete destruction of this semi-socialist nation. Like what Socrates said: ”
“No trace of slavery ought to mingle with the studies of a freeborn man. No study pursued under compulsion remains rooted in the memory.”
- VIDEO: “Right to welfare”… I know this is what most people here want.
More videos on public education:
Related blog articles on the concept of right: