Sunday, August 8, 2010

Right To Education

 A poster on the Ron Paul Forums asked the following questions regarding a recent Right To Education law passed in India and against which many of the schools have issued complaints.  The law basically says that even private schools shall now be required to reserve 25% of their space for local (read poor) students and shall not be able to do any screening for admissions; nor will the schools be able to exercise any disciplinary action over such students, according to the article that was quoted, though no cite was given.  There are, however, plenty of pages on the issue, this being one of them.

The following captions the original post along with my responses.
Originally Posted by prmd142 View Post

Hi, I'm an Indian and a regular reader of this forum. I'd like input from you (not as Americans - I know nonintervention and stuff, but as libertarians) on this issue.

Where I stand:
How can the government interfere with how private schools are run! As if government run public schools were not pathetic enough. Is this what democracy means? There is a huge population (in other words, large number of votes) in India which is poor or worse. Government guarantees them admission to private schools with no strings attached in return for votes. There is no political party which will stand up against right to education bill, coz who doesn't want to come to power! The debate between parties is never whether right to education is right or wrong but how should it be implemented. The working middle class will now have to pay for these people's so called 'right' to education. Is there any way the middle class can protest when they do not have as many votes.
India, like most of the rest of the civilized world, is headed for disaster precisely because of this sort of thinking and its attendant behavior. Mark my words on this.

I would also point out that "right to education" does NOT equate to the right to be provided with an education. It only means a right to access as one's means may allow. So if you come from a poor household and have not the means to send your children for an education, you are shit out of luck. That is another ugly little truth about the seemingly cruel nature of life, but its unpleasant face makes it no less true. Furthermore, just because that truth may strike one as cruel and unfair, it does not follow that it is indeed so. Going further still, it is not within the right of one person to impose his will upon another simply because he perceives some injustice. That is the root of all the social evils of the world - a mob forcing its will upon the rest because they believe that it is for the greater good. Since when does initiated force and robbery serve the good, and where is it established that the "greater good", assuming it can even be determined, is the arbiter of the legitimacy of "state" monopolized force?

Can the will of the majority overrule the basic rights of others?
Depends on the basis of your question. In terms of moral principle, no. In terms of actual practice, of course, because most people are morally bankrupt and are therefore willing to apply illegitimate force upon others or tolerate third party application of such force. This is especially true if the outcome benefits them at the expense of others, which is to say that many people are more than happy to accept "free" gifts.

Furthermore, the answer depends in part on the political system in question. In failed states such as the Soviet Union, the central government could do whatever it wanted to whomever it wanted any time it wanted for any reason it wanted to the degree it wanted and by the means it wanted or at least by that which it could get away. Arbitrary rule, which lies at the very core of the definition of "democracy", is the cornerstone of tyranny. That the rule may be by majority rather than some vanishingly small minority adds no legitimacy; nor does it alter the fact that it is tyranny of the purest form. It is, in fact, tyranny of the highest caliber attainable because the fact of the majority will masks it ever so effectively and otherwise renders it resistant to question because it is the "will of the people". This grand nonsense carries with it great persuasive power in large part because for most people the fallacy is too subtle for them to comprehend, much less to identify. Add to this the shrieking that results in the wake of any questioning of the legitimacy of mob-imposed despotism and one finds that such systems tend to be very capable of maintaining that particular status quo.  The fatal factor in such systems appears invariable to lie in economics.

Is India a democracy? The USA is not. It is a constitutionally limited republic, which is supposed to mean that no matter how large a majority may be, they cannot in principle violate the rights of even a one-man minority. At least we have principle on our side.

If no, then why is democracy so popular?
Because people are, generally speaking, terminally ignorant of what "democracy" is, due in large part to the endless campaigns of propagandized deceit to which they are subjected by those in "government" and whose stolid and unwavering support the media provide.  They are told that democracy is rule "by the people", rather than the king or dictator.  The key factor of arbitrary and capricious will of the majority in violation of the natural rights of the minority is never brought up, and thereby the great mass of political consumers, unable or unwilling to think critically on an analytical basis, are rendered content with, and proud of the fact that "they" rule the nation.

Is there no political system which will protect rights at any cost?
Sure, but such systems depend almost exclusively on the moral fabric of the population. There is no formal system that can do as you ask without the active participation and material support of the people under which such a system ostensibly operates. One may draft the most perfect constitution imaginable but if nobody will abide by its principles and the dictates that follow therefrom, it is effectively nonexistent. Tribal cultures existed for thousands of years wherein the right of each individual was never to be questioned. It is the advent of that abstraction called "the state" in any of its many forms including the ancient monarchies and theocracies, that bore human freedom away on the winds of destruction into the hands of slavery, perdition, disease, and misery. Once the first individual or group thereof convinced the rest that he or they stood above the them, Pandora's box was effectively pried opened and the world would never be the same. At that moment the days of humanity's natural and proper state of individual freedom became numbered. Welcome to the paradise of "civilization".

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