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No child left behind - Republican ode to socialism

By Steve Farrell
web posted February 4, 2002

If Republican political leaders were as honest and principled as their frequent appeals to moral values reflect, some things would never happen. Here's one of them: There would be never be a "No Child Left Behind" scam - that obnoxious compassionate conservatism ode to socialism that stinks to high Heaven - no way, no how!

We say there would never be such a scam among Republicans, but there is such a scam, and so, many old faithfuls are beginning to see the light, to see that it means much, much less today, than it did yesterday, to be a Republican.

Yesterday's Republican Party, or at least yesterday's Republican Party platform would never have tolerated such leftist rubbish to be the stuff of campaigns, legislation, and even, can you believe it, boasting, because, at least on a few items, on objects like education and welfare, the Republican position was like a Rock of Gibraltar - great, immovable, grounded in the principles of the ages. The old Republican stand on education was just like that. As such, it was simple and smart. It went something like this:

1. The Constitution grants no authority for the federal government to be involved in education, and for good reason: centralizing all learning in one distant spot is a stupid, narrow, dangerous, communist idea, one which has throughout all the world's history led to despotism and slavery. Thus our forefathers limited federal power to a few necessary objects like national defense and foreign policy, and not at all to education. That's simple, that's smart.

2. The 9th and the 10th Amendments to the Constitution specify that the states and the people are the ones to have power over education, and over every other power not specifically delegated to the federal government. Why? Because Americans back then believed free agency to be a God-given right, and consequently, self government, its natural offspring. As such, Americans believed that local government, free markets, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and unfettered educational establishments, each and every one of them catering to, or acting as expressions of the views and interests and convictions of so many different individuals (including parents!), represented the best of ways to uphold free agency and self government. Keep it local, and keep it free, that was the way it used to be, and so the old schools were better, the kids who graduated from these local and/or private schools could read and write, and get this, they were generally moral, patriotic, and respectful of the law, their parents, and their elders. This too, was simple and smart.

3. Consistent with the keep it local, keep it free, and keep it decentralized stance, Republicans used to believe it un-American, pro-tyrannical, and anti-progressive to trust one man or one group of men - no matter how moral, no matter how intelligent, no matter how trustworthy, no matter how pure their motives - to decide what must be taught, what must be said, what must be believed, and what must be contributed, i.e. to poor students (left behind) or any other students, for such would be a contradiction of everything the party espoused.

And to affix the same point to the "left behind" issue, it used to be admissible in Republican circles to defend the idea that we worship only God, not men, and certainly not the state, and as such we, each of us as individuals, make our own decisions on how to best serve our fellow men. We don't look to government moral know-it-alls, government professional do-gooders (who are adept at being "charitable" with other people's money) to push us around and tell us how we must be Christians, how we must be good participants in "civil society" or national service schemes - or else.

4. Thus, the Republican Party could be perennially counted on to oppose federal money for education, for by and by federal money translated into federal control, and the gradual erosion of state, local, individual, and private educational rights, and every other right. It was a Trojan Horse, and they knew it.

5. And so what about compassion? Shouldn't people be compassionate? After all, Republican conservatives generally referred to themselves as God-fearing. Well there used to be a few things which were generally understood.

a. Government is about justice, nothing else. That is, government keeps out of your business, until one decides his or her business is to infringe upon the rights of others. Then and only then the government steps in and punishes. This keeps government simple, limited, useful, and free.

b. Were the government to become benevolent, that is, the dictator of how to be good, government would be complicated, unlimited, ineffectual, and tyrannical.

c. So in truth, the best way for government to be compassionate is to stay out of the way of the people except when rights are violated, for intrusive government is never compassionate.

d. If we were to apply this principle to education, we would additionally say that government educational handouts or intervention robs the poor of the truer opportunity to lift itself, for true compassion breeds self sufficiency, not dependence. In this regard, the old adage "necessity is the mother of invention," applies.

e. Finally, if there are to be "hand-outs" of any sort, let it come from private, voluntary sources, for charity must be voluntary or else it is not charity but theft.

And so, we stop and take a look back at what used to typify an acceptable Republican Party discussion on education, and we compare it with the dominant compassionate conservative mantra that dominates the party today, and we are left to conclude that:

* Today's Republican Party has abandoned its constitutionally conservative foundation for a socialist one.

* Today's party would rob a family of the growth that comes of necessity. Or in other words, they would impair the ingenuity, the family work projects, the second jobs, the endeavoring for promotions, the self or after-hours education efforts, and the insistence upon excellence that comes only from parents who sacrifice all to give their children what they didn't have.

* Today's party would turn their back on the fundamental laws of nature and government which perpetuate liberty, the very laws they have always claimed to sustain, and become one with the agenda of Third Way "New Democrats" by demanding federal educational block grants, followed by the inevitable, deplorable federal educational standards and curriculum guidelines, and even worse, state and federal educational vouchers to "the poor" so that they can, at last, undermine that last bastion of educational liberty, every family, and every private school foolish enough to believe that "free money" aids freedom and that the claim of no strings attached is sincere and secure.

* But what more, today's Republican Party would undermine one last group, the middle class, who impoverished by taxes, find they can no longer afford to send their kids to the private schools the poor attend - and not only this - but if they in turn apply for the very vouchers they financed, their kids are ruled ineligible.

In short, the day is upon us when the Republican Party promotes precisely what Marx wanted, "a middle class left behind," and an educational establishment ruled by elite central planners. Our advice: Republicans, wise up, stand up, and speak out - for your party is no longer what it claims to be.

Contact Steve at StiffRightJab@aol.com.

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