I got to thinking the other day, and after the smoke cleared, yet another immutable truth dawned on me. For many things about which the public complains, "this is broken!" the fact is that said item is working in exactly the way envisioned by statist architects. Two quick examples are education and health care. (The fact that health care is currently under massive discussion and certain to undergo yet another statist restructuring, courtesy President Barack and his minions, just adds to the irony!)
Living in or near the inner city for quite some time, and being very interested in education for even longer, I've listened to--and participated in--my unfair share of debates, public meetings, discussions, and whining sessions about how poorly the U.S. public education system performs. It has been said that the U.S. performs worse than other industrialized countries in math and science. Some studies further suggest that 20 percent of the U.S. adult population have serious difficulty with common reading tasks. If public schools are for education, they ain't exactly working. But what if they aren't for that kind of education?
In the health care realm, similar poor performance seems to be the rule in the U.S. In fairness though, those WHO rankings are best taken with a shaker of salt, as more than a few commentators have already noted. Still, one would have to be really out of the loop to not understand that the U.S. health care delivery system leaves more than a little to be desired, using a number of measures. (I am not hopeful that the latest round of ideas from the Hill will help, but that's another post.) Putting it bluntly, health care is screwed up, particularly from the standpoint of cost.
How are health care and education related? Both are controlled, regulated, and in far-too-large part dispensed, directly by the GUNvernment. (Hat tip to David Kramer for that term!)
As such, I would assert that the poor performance of U.S. graduates is exactly what one should expect and is of no genuine concern to the GUNvernment. If you were in charge of the State, would you want schools to produce independent thinkers, all ready to challenge authority and take personal responsibility? Or would you rather produce needy, whiny bastards ready to take any hand-out they are given in exchange for installing bumpers all day? Would you want the number of people employed by the State to decline as more an more people took responsibility for their own livelihoods? Or would you "teach" that everyone is somehow entitled to statist financial support from cradle to grave?
If you were in charge of the health care market—or beholden to large campaign contributors who inhabit that market—would you want healthy, prevention-minded citizens who seek every natural (and cheap) remedy for their maladies while simultaneously enjoying a lifestyle that leads to personal health and little interaction with their pharmacist? Or would you want quick-fix junkies intent on eating Twinkies for lunch, chicken wings for dinner, and washing both down both with 2 liters of cavity-inducing, health-draining, corn-sugar water? If you can just pop a pill to compensate, why worry, right? Would you want health care costs to plummet as better and better cures were identified and rolled out? Or would you want people addicted to expensive, GUNvernment-regulated "cures" with no end in sight?
No, my friends.
Health care isn't broken and neither is public education. We are getting exactly the performance one should expect from systems designed by, beholden to, and benefitting the State. The sooner everyone realizes that, the sooner they can stop asking their executioner for a more comfortable blindfold.