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ernie

Is it moral to accept gov. aid for education?

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According to the Objectivist perspective, would it be immoral to advocate or accept government grants for college-education? I'm talking mainly about need based financial aid, rather than loans or scholarships. These loans aren't given for academic performance, but strictly based on income.

Edited by Groovenstein

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Whose money is the government giving away! Objectivism eschews the redistribution of wealth, pure and simple. If a private citizen or business wants to partner with a school of higher learning by providing funds for financial aid then it’s all right. The government ought not use our money for projects in social engineering.

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ernie, you should try reading a few of the posts before you ask all these questions. 4 minutes before you asked here if it is OK to accept government grants, you added a reply to the taxes thread directly adjacent to point 2. of my post in which I related Ayn Rand's answer to this very question.

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Now it seems very clear that it is immoral to advocate of demanded that the government pay for you're college, but would it be immoral to accept money the government offers you? This is to say if you don't believe it is your right to have this money can you still morally accept it. If the answer to this question is no then can on ever attend a state college since they are heavily government subsidized.

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Ayn Rand answered this specific question. I believe you will find the answer in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (someone please correct me if I am wrong).

I am wondering though - what is the purpose of your question? What prompts you to ask it?

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I believe the relevant article is "The Question of Scholarships" from The Voice of Reason. The idea is that you can morally accept scholarships or grants coming from taxpayer money only if you are not an advocate of taxation.

:D

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Quoting myself [Nov 9 post to "Can Objectivists Pay Taxes?] on Rand's position, as I learned it long, long ago:

The only ones who have a right to benefit from taxation are those who oppose it in principle. Anyone who advocates taxation and acts (votes) to enforce it is an accessory to a violation of human rights. Implicit in any such violation of human rights is that rights have no validity. The thief that acts as if the victim's rights are invalid cannot claim those same rights for himself. That is why no thief (or accessory to theft) has any right to the booty. And thus, no taxer has any moral claim on the benefits.

Those who oppose taxation, on the other hand, are the victims. All the benefits they can grab when the government offers them would never repay them for what was and will be stolen from them in their lifetime (and don't forget to include pain and suffering, punitive damages, and your fees!).

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I am attending college partly on achievment scholarships, but also by the help of a government grant. I also attemd a public college (I got into Drexel, but chose Temple because of the cost). I felt guilty at first for taking the money, but really if the government offers it to me it in my best interest to take it. The government realizes its in the interest of society to have eduacted members (but it acts like its members don't know its in THEIR interest to get an education). I plan to make money, so because of income tax as well as the multipler I will essentailly pay them back for their investment, so now I don't feel bad about it. Its the trader principle really. If there were no public schools i would have no probelm paying for a private one.

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Quoting myself [Nov 9 post to "Can Objectivists Pay Taxes?] on Rand's position, as I learned it long, long ago:

The only ones who have a right to benefit from taxation are those who oppose it in principle. Anyone who advocates taxation and acts (votes) to enforce it is an accessory to a violation of human rights. Implicit in any such violation of human rights is that rights have no validity. The thief that acts as if the victim's rights are invalid cannot claim those same rights for himself. That is why no thief (or accessory to theft) has any right to the booty. And thus, no taxer has any moral claim on the benefits.

Which is why one should not vote for Bush, Kerry, or any other candidate that that doesn't see such transgressions as a breach of individual rights.

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If you aren't going to take the government scholarships, someone else will. It might as well be you. You and your parents have paid so much in taxes that at least you can get some of it back. Just oppose all other kinds of welfare statism, and it's moral.

I go to a state college as well. Why? Because my parents are taxed to death (small business owners) and it would be a sacrifice to spend $20k-30k a year for something I can get for nothing. At least get the state college for lesser cost. You've earned it.

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Hi,

(I read some time ago a thread where there was a discussion going on about a similar subject; however, it did not specifically adress this issue, and I'm really in doubt regarding it. So, I'm sorry if I'm being redundant.)

I'm currently taking the entrance exams for a federal university (located where I live, Porto Alegre - Brazil). It is maintened and controlled by the state and is "free" (meaning no costs). It is a very good and reputable university, and the fact that I don't have to pay anything to study there is a major attraction; also, there are 43000 people taking the exams, and only 10% of those will be alllowed in.

My question is: is it immoral to study there, knowing that it is a completely state-controlled university and the costs are paid by everyone else? Or is morality out of this issue, as I'm being offered no choice but to pay taxes, to being with?

Thanks for your time.

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Hi,

(I read some time ago a thread where there was a discussion going on about a similar subject; however, it did not specifically adress this issue, and I'm really in doubt regarding it. So, I'm sorry if I'm being redundant.)

I'm currently taking the entrance exams for a federal university...

Considering that your parents have paid taxes all their lives, I think the cost of attending the university has long been extracted by the government. Therefore I don't think it would be immoral to study there.

P.S. Why don't you try for the US?

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Ayn Rand wrote an article on this very topic. In short, since you already paid for it via taxes, you don't have to feel bad. Just don't accept or repeat any bad ideas and don't advocate "free" school. If anyone asks, tell them you are against the idea.

Obviously, there's more to it, but that's the simple version.

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Considering that your parents have paid taxes all their lives, I think the cost of attending the university has long been extracted by the government. Therefore I don't think it would be immoral to study there.

Ayn Rand wrote an article on this very topic. In short, since you already paid for it via taxes, you don't have to feel bad. Just don't accept or repeat any bad ideas and don't advocate "free" school. If anyone asks, tell them you are against the idea.

Obviously, there's more to it, but that's the simple version.

Thank you for your answers. In fact, I had already some basic understanding on the issue, but I was in fear of rationalization. Can this line of thought be aplied to most other forms of government-provided services?

P.S. Why don't you try for the US?

I certainly want to. But my planning is to get a degree and make some good money here, first. Although I'm a nice "middle class" citizen, with much more acquisitive power than the vast majority of brazilians, and with access to goods such as computers, cable tv, dsl connection, etc., the costs of traveling overseas and paying for living and education is prohibitive. The difference between the exchange rates of the dollar and the "real" (brazilian currency) is high, and worse yet, the "real" buying capacity is many times lower. Which means I have to make tons of "reais" here before dreaming with sweet green dollars.

Of course, I could just move to the US and get a job at a McDonalds. Who knows. :)

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Can this line of thought be aplied to most other forms of government-provided services?

Yes, absolutely. You can accept (for example) pension checks from the government, but do not advocate government pension plans (speak out against them when possible). If memory serves, Miss Rand covered this question in that same article, as well.

But do not work as a pension collector or a tax collector or any other such position which cannot be practiced without violating rights.

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Yes, absolutely. You can accept (for example) pension checks from the government, but do not advocate government pension plans (speak out against them when possible). If memory serves, Miss Rand covered this question in that same article, as well.

The work you are speaking of is "The Question of Scholarships" it is included in The Voice of Reason.

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If a criminal steals from you and then offers to give some of the money back, is he offering it for free? The concept, 'free', does not apply here; 'reinbursement' is the proper concept.

Also, If you know that this criminal has stolen from others as well, but you don't know whether the specific pieces of paper (money) he is offering back to you were originally theirs or yours, does this alter the situation? Clearly not.

In both cases, which are actually the same, it is proper to accept reinbursement for a crime that was commited against you, as long as you do not advocate crime.

If you advocate crime, or in this case taxation, then you are saying that man does not have rights. If man has no rights, then neither do you, and then what basis are you left to claim that the money is yours and should be returned?

Thus you are free to accept government money or assistance of any kind assuming you do not advocate taxation.

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This is an issue I have though about some since I attend a federal institution as well. In my case, I am paying for my education with my 5 year commitment to the Army after I graduate. In addition to the payment of taxes, this will be the method through which I pay for my "free" education.

I would imagine, as it has been stated, that your payment of taxes should cover the benefit you receive.

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I would also add to what others have already confirmed. Federal schools tend to be liberal, be wary. They advocate the welfare system, as they must in order to survive (since they are state funded). So you will run into a lot of bad ideas, which can be confusing. But you can turn it to your advantage by learning how to defeat those ideas.

For example, my philosophy class just consented in general that Socrates advocated a life of anti-materialism, which is a good thing. My task in that was to identify why materialism is A.) a non-negative and more importantly B.) a positive, and to point out that in fact Socrates made no such claim.

Just be careful, such things aren'y always so easy to see through. If you get confused, don't give it up for loss, talk to someone about it. :dough:

~Aurelia :nuke:

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The very act of government running free or nearly free schools creates a government monopoly, shutting out of the free-market competitors who would have to charge tuition for the same kind of education.

Obviously, if a government enforces a monopoly on food, giving it out for free and covering the costs via taxes, and forcing all other food-sellers out of the market, you still have to eat. You have to get your food from somewhere, even if it is the government. It is the same with every government-enforced monopoly.

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Are programs such as FAFSA and other government student aid programs moral?

They draw mostly if not wholy on tax money.

And perhaps, to check my premise, is taxing moral in any form?

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It is not moral to force one person to pay for another person's college education, or to subsidize it or underwrite it in any way.

However, given that such a system exists, it is perfectly moral to accept scholarships. This thread (link) has some discussion about accepting scholarships.

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It is not moral to force one person to pay for another person's college education, or to subsidize it or underwrite it in any way.

However, given that such a system exists, it is perfectly moral to accept scholarships. This thread (link) has some discussion about accepting scholarships.

As SoftwareNerd has said, the question of accepting government aid has been explored at some length on another thread.

SoftwareNerd and I agree that "it is not moral to force one person to pay for another person's college education." But I do not see how can we go from that unambiguous premise to the position that "it is perfectly moral to accept scholarships" as long as "such a system exists"?

How far can we go in justifying individual actions on the basis of what the "system" allows? How about collecting subsidies to raise bees or not to grow wheat? How about collecting a check paid from the tariffs imposed on a company that imports goods competing with mine? How about blowing the whistle on my competitor who employs illegal immigrants or pays less than minimum wage? How about using the threat of a racial discrimination claim against an employer who is about to fire me?

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How far can we go in justifying individual actions on the basis of what the "system" allows?  How about collecting subsidies to raise bees or not to grow wheat?  How about collecting a check paid from the tariffs imposed on a company that imports goods competing with mine?  How about blowing the whistle on my competitor who employs illegal immigrants or pays less than minimum wage?  How about using the threat of a racial discrimination claim against an employer who is about to fire me?

I think we should make a distinction between cases where 'exploiting the system' causes additional damage to others, and cases where it doesnt. If I accept a scholarship, no extra damage is being done - taxation has already occurred and noone is going to suffer further injustice as a result of my actions. The same applies to social security fraud and suchlike. However if you blow a competitor for employing illegal immigrants, or take advantage of racial discrimination laws, someone is suffering damage as a direct result of your action. It differs from the scholarship case because here the damage has NOT already been done

There are some borderline cases (does accepting a grant for your business make your competitors suffer?), but a lot of instances can be broadly classified in this way.

Edited by Hal

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