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Monday, September 17, 2007

Chavez' 'New Citizen' and The Real Meaning of "Public" Education

The below report is a perfect illustration of the evil of public education. The philosophy underlying Chavez' brazen takeover of private education in Venezuela is identical in principle to those who advocate for public education in the United States. As he explicitly states: "Society cannot allow the private sector to do whatever it wants." In other words, individuals cannot be allowed to freely decide who should teach their children. Apparently, only the "state" can decide what is best for your children (the "state" of course being Chavez and his brother). More broadly, his statement exposes the essence of Socialist philosophy, i.e., the rejection of the independent mind and the abrogation of individual rights in favor of the violence, conformity, and misery of a collectivist dictatorship. Hillary and her ilk must be pleased to have found a new friend in South America.


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened on Monday to close or take over any private school that refuses to submit to the oversight of his socialist government as it develops a new curriculum and textbooks.

"Society cannot allow the private sector to do whatever it wants," said Chavez, speaking on the first day of classes.

All schools, public and private, must admit state inspectors and submit to the government's new educational system, or be closed and nationalized, with the state taking responsibility for the education of their children, Chavez said.

A new curriculum will be ready by the end of this school year, and new textbooks are being developed to help educate "the new citizen," said Chavez's brother and education minister Adan Chavez, who joined him a televised ceremony at the opening of a public school in the eastern town of El Tigre.

The president's opponents accuse him of aiming to indoctrinate young Venezuelans with socialist ideology. But the education minister said the aim is to develop "critical thinking," not to impose a single way of thought.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blame the Government, Not the Market, for Exorbitant Health-Care Costs

By Alex Epstein
September 13, 2007
Irvine, CA--The New York Times reports that employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have increased by 6.1 percent this year--not as high as last year's 7.7 percent increase, but still far ahead of wages or inflation--and that since 2001 they have increased by 78 percent.

"These statistics will be used by the advocates of collectivized medicine to say, once again, that the 'free market' has failed, and that we need some form of government-controlled 'universal health care' scheme," said Alex Epstein, a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. "But the truth is the opposite. These skyrocketing premiums are testament to the huge destruction that the government's massive control of healthcare to date has already wrought.

"Health-care is one of America's most controlled and socialized industries--beginning with the fact that we are all forced to pay for one another's health-care through Medicare and the government-induced third-party-payer system. In the name of the individual's 'right' to health-care and the government's 'responsibility' to provide it, the government has reached its tentacles into every facet of medicine, from how many doctors are allowed to be licensed to which medical professionals may perform what procedures, to what procedures insurance companies must provide on their plans. Is it any wonder that health-care is a mess?

"Observe that in the fields that are left free, like the computer and electronics industries, over time the cost of any given product generally goes down, not up. If medicine were left free, with individuals responsible for paying for their own care and insurance, and America's businessmen, doctors, and educators liberated to offer it at all different price points, we would see quality and price improvements like those for flat-panel television sets. Indeed, we already see this with the few realms of medicine that are left free; laser eye surgery, for example, has improved dramatically over the years while prices have fallen. We could see such developments with medical care as a whole--as soon as we agree to take responsibility for our own health, and get the government out of it."