On Ayn Rand, Public Education, and Welfare
- From my Formspring account. I was asked the following question: “What can you say about those who are UP students/grads but read and follow Ayn Rand?”
What can I say? Nothing. I believe you missed the point, and I get your point or what you’re trying to imply. Welfare is already given under the current system. What I mean
to say is that this is something that had long been embedded in our political system and mindset. It’s already part of our politics and society.
To our intellectuals, welfare and welfare programs and services are part of the functions of government. They believe the proper and most important function of the government is to redistribute wealth through government-created welfare services (education, health care, medicine, transport, housing, etc.)
The creation or establishment of UP more than 100 years ago is one of the many realizations of our past leaders’ and intellectuals’ welfarist and socialistic mindset and aspirations. Our past and present intellectuals and leaders inherited, and still sustain, that mindset. This is evidenced by the creation of more than 100 state colleges and universities across the country.
But we can’t cheat reality. Ideas have consequences. Welfare state or socialism is an idea. Every statist idea requires money or funding, regulations, and the limitation or even destruction of some of our freedoms. Did you ever read UP president Alfredo Pascual’s vision statement? He proposed to increase corporate income tax and other taxes in order to finance his academic agenda.
It’s good that the public education debate, which I started a few years ago, is now opening the minds of young intellectuals and people who understand the power of ideas. There are now people, young and old, who call for the abolition and/or privatization of UP and other SUCs.
Now, it’s good to know that there are UP graduates and students who read the works of Ayn Rand. Are they guilty then of contradictions? This is what I’d like to address.
Since welfarism or some socialistic programs and measures are already part of our political and economic system, what’s the proper thing or action to do then?
First, we have to understand our social, political and economic realities. That means we have to know the proper political and economic system for our society (or for every society). Do we want individual freedom or statism/government controls)? Do we want a society that redistributes wealth or spreads the wealth around- or a society that allows individuals to pursue their goals and whose only proper role is to protect rights?
Second, we have to understand that welfarism, which is usually characterized by redistribution of wealth and government controls, has evil consequences, like the limitation or even abrogation of some of our rights, economic regulations, etc. This means that we have to know the effects or impacts of more government powers on our lives, freedom, rights and future. Finally, we have to make a moral judgment. This means we have to choose between two alternatives. It’s either-or. It’s either we choose freedom or statism. It’s either we choose a free society or a socialistic slave pen wherein everybody is enslaved to everybody.
Since welfarism is already part of our system, how should we make a moral judgment? We have to oppose this idea, system or mindset. We need to know the proper role of government. That’s why this is a very complex issue, and I addressed this issue here.
And since welfare programs and services are guaranteed by our political system, it’s OK to receive welfare so long as you oppose it and all forms of welfare programs. Since UP is already part of our realities and system, those who oppose it have the moral right to study there. This is because they are not morally guilty. The morally guilty are those who continue to remain parasites and who ask for more welfare and government dole-outs.
Since you’re impliedly talking of Ayn Rand’s idea of welfare, I’d like to tell you what she said about someone who receives government welfare.
Here’s what Rand said about the morality of accepting Social Security, unemployment insurance or similar payments in a 1966 (or several years before she received the so-called welfare) article for The Objectivist newsletter:
“It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.”
Her statement is very clear: “Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty”, while “the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money.”
Ayn Rand also wrote the following in “The Question of Scholarships,” The Objectivist, June 1966:
“The recipient of a public scholarship is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism. Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have. If this sounds like a paradox, the fault lies in the moral contradictions of welfare statism, not in its victims. “The same moral principles and considerations apply to the issue of accepting social security, unemployment insurance or other payments of that kind. It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.”