RayK

Texas leads the way

144 posts in this topic

Not necessarily. "Evil" can be used as a synonym for any kind of badness or it can legitimately be one point on a scale of degrees of badness.
I would say bad is a synonym for a degree of evil, not the other way around. However that point is unrelated to the issue in dispute. The question was not whether evil may be used as a point on a scale of "badness". The claim has been made that it is wrong - it is an injustice - to identify as evil a system which, by its nature, is predicated upon and exists only through the initiation of force. The initiation of force is explicitly identified by Objectivism as "evil". Therefore, the claim that it is wrong to identify the institutionalization of the initiation of force as evil stands in contradiction to that ethical principle of Objectivism.

If CJ wishes to retract his assertion that it is wrong - that it is "brutally unfair" - to identify such a system as evil and instead agrees with you that it can validly be identified as evil, then the dispute here will be resolved. Until then, however, I will properly continue to identify the premise he puts forth as fallacious and in contradiction to Objectivism.

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As I said - and as phil's subsequent post certainly shows - the argument you presented for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school is simply a justification for unlimited government action in that context. What does the argument you presented NOT allow?

I don't have an argument for mandatory exercise. I have an argument that says if people are being forced to do mandatory anything, it's better to do one mandatory thing than another.

It is also important to identify and denounce injustice when we see it. This is just further encroachment of govt into the lives of individuals. Now we are not only being told what we should learn but what we must do with our bodies.

It's not a further encroachment of the government into the lives of individuals. If they were forced to do one thing, then they are forced to do another, they are still being forced. No new encroachment on their freedom has happened.

Your argument for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school applies just as validly to mandatory community service in school. If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for the other. You can't have it both ways - no cake and eating it too. That would be a contradiction.
I don't have an argument for mandatory exercise in school. I have an argument saying that if people are doing something mandatory, it ought to be exercise rather than community service, or reading instead of praying.
You would be against mandatory community service in school but would not be against mandatory exercise in school?

No, I am against both. But if an issue comes up where children are forced to exercise rather than do social studies, I don't attack the issue of exercise in itself as a new encroachment on freedom--because it isn't. I attack the fact that they are forced to do anything at all.

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I think public schooling would exist regardless of forcibly funding it, as would most other bad government programs (welfare, medicare, etc.).
I must challenge this premise completely. How would such an institution be created by government without the initiation of force?
Or to put it another way, the essential problem with public schooling that makes it bad isn't the forced support of it through taxes (because this isn't unique to public schools, it pertains to the entire sphere of our government), but that by its very nature it can't work well.
No. What makes a public school system evil is not that it "can't work well" - any more than what made the Soviet Union or any other Statist system evil is the fact that they "can't work well".
Last time I checked Brian you were the one claiming others were making errors. I'm not attacking others of making errors, I was just stating my disagreement.
Then you checked wrong. See my above post to Ms. Speicher. It is you who asserted my identification of public schooling as evil to be an injustice. In other words, it is you who claimed I and others were in error. I have simply been identifying the fallacious nature of your claim. Thus, contrary to your specious personal swipes at me, no "psychologizing" has been necessary to identify the fallaciousness of your assertion. Thus I would suggest you follow your own "recommendation" and "actually learn more about the nature of a disagreement with someone" before making such completely unfounded (and thus unjust) accusations against them.

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Well, rather than gym, I think it would be even healthier to have the kids go into the outdoors and walk around carrying signs promoting green thoughts, and perhaps picketing the local fast food joints serving that evil fast food.

I assume this is a response to me.

I would argue this is along the same lines as community service or prayer in school (a double evil). Teaching english (properly) in a government ran school is only a single evil--the initiation of force. But teaching kids about how to 'go green' is a double evil, because not only is force involved in funding the school, but they are being indoctrinated with crap that shouldn't be in a school anyway. That's why it would be more important for ARI to write a press release against prayer in school, but not against schools abandoning look-say to take up phonics. There actually is an improvement in the curriculum of the latter, even though the school is government-run. And that improvement would be a good thing.

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The claim has been made that it is wrong - it is an injustice - to identify as evil a system which, by its nature, is predicated upon and exists only through the initiation of force. The initiation of force is explicitly identified by Objectivism as "evil". Therefore, the claim that it is wrong to identify the institutionalization of the initiation of force as evil stands in contradiction to that ethical principle of Objectivism.

I don't know who's claim you are talking about here Brian, because I've made the point several times now that I don't consider forced taxation to be the important issue in regards to public schools, because I don't think that public schools are a system that "by its nature, is predicated upon and exists only through the initiation of force". Forced taxation isn't the defining feature of public schools, it is a general feature of our entire government. And even if we took away forced taxation to support public schools, I still think people and politicians would want to have them and people would want to support them. So what is bad about public schools isn't taxation, because it isn't unique to them. What is bad is the belief that the government is supposed to provide us with public education, and that it can do a better job than the private sector.

Please enlighten yourself to a person's actual views before making claims of supposed contradictions to the principles of Objectivism.

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I think public schooling would exist regardless of forcibly funding it, as would most other bad government programs (welfare, medicare, etc.).
I must challenge this premise completely. How would such an institution be created by government without the initiation of force?
By the benevolence of mankind paying for it of course. Isn't it the standard position amongst Objectivists that our military, police, and courts could be supported from voluntary contributions? If so, then why is it not believable that people could mistakenly support public schools out of benevolence? This is why I'm focusing not on the source of funding, but on the belief that it is the government's job to provide an education to everyone, and that the government can do it better than the private sector. This is the critical belief that must be destroyed and replaced with a proper one, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with taxation.
Or to put it another way, the essential problem with public schooling that makes it bad isn't the forced support of it through taxes (because this isn't unique to public schools, it pertains to the entire sphere of our government), but that by its very nature it can't work well.
No. What makes a public school system evil is not that it "can't work well" - any more than what made the Soviet Union or any other Statist system evil is the fact that they "can't work well".
I didn't say it was bad only because it didn't work well, I said public school is bad both in theory and in practice. It can't work in theory and it doesn't work in practice because it contradicts the nature of man.
Last time I checked Brian you were the one claiming others were making errors. I'm not attacking others of making errors, I was just stating my disagreement.
Then you checked wrong. See my above post to Ms. Speicher. It is you who asserted my identification of public schooling as evil to be an injustice. In other words, it is you who claimed I and others were in error. I have simply been identifying the fallacious nature of your claim. Thus, contrary to your specious personal swipes at me, no "psychologizing" has been necessary to identify the fallaciousness of your assertion. Thus I would suggest you follow your own "recommendation" and "actually learn more about the nature of a disagreement with someone" before making such completely unfounded (and thus unjust) accusations against them.

Please point out where I literally stated that you or others were making an error, and where I stated that you were contradicting Objectivist Principles. There is a fundamental difference here Brian; I don't accuse others of contradicting Objectivism, I don't tell them their claims are fallacious or that they are making errors, I just politely express my disagreement. Brian, I've spent the last page of posts trying to explain that you are arguing against a position I don't even hold, and never even said that I hold. Please read what I am writing more carefully.

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I don't have an argument for mandatory exercise. I have an argument that says if people are being forced to do mandatory anything, it's better to do one mandatory thing than another.
This does not address my complaint. I challenged your following assertion:
There are many rules in the public education system. Everybody has to take English, History, Science, Math. Everybody has to go to school.

So really and truly, what's so wrong with this law? It is not invading any individual's personal life. It is not stretching beyond the current sphere of the government.

I identified this assertion as a justification of unlimited government action. You have said nothing which contradicts or otherwise refutes this identification.

As it stands, the premises you have identified allows any and all violations of an individual because some violation is already occurring. This premise is the opposite of justice - which is why I identified it as false. If you are now retracting that assertion, fine. But my arguments against the stated premise stand as valid.

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Brian, are you aware that is not my assertion?

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Last time I checked Brian you were the one claiming others were making errors. I'm not attacking others of making errors, I was just stating my disagreement.
Then you checked wrong. See my above post to Ms. Speicher. It is you who asserted my identification of public schooling as evil to be an injustice. In other words, it is you who claimed I and others were in error. I have simply been identifying the fallacious nature of your claim. Thus, contrary to your specious personal swipes at me, no "psychologizing" has been necessary to identify the fallaciousness of your assertion. Thus I would suggest you follow your own "recommendation" and "actually learn more about the nature of a disagreement with someone" before making such completely unfounded (and thus unjust) accusations against them.

Please point out where I literally stated that you or others were making an error

Certainly. That is very easily done:
I just want to say that while it is perfectly proper to call public schools to be wrong in the context of modern day America, but to call them evil is brutally unfair. Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.
I don't tell [others] their claims are fallacious or that they are making errors
The above contradicts this assertion.
I've spent the last page of posts trying to explain that you are arguing against a position I don't even hold, and never even said that I hold. Please read what I am writing more carefully.
Given the above, I would suggest you take your own advice not only in regard to what others (like myself) have written, but to what you yourself are writing. Doing so would save everyone a lot of needless grief.

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Certainly. That is very easily done:
I just want to say that while it is perfectly proper to call public schools to be wrong in the context of modern day America, but to call them evil is brutally unfair. Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.

I will make the same request again: please point out where I literally stated that you were making an error. There is a difference Brian. If I disagree, I try to do so politely without making it personal in regards to making statements like "you are making an error".

I don't tell [others] their claims are fallacious or that they are making errors
The above contradicts this assertion.
If you pay closer attention it doesn't.
I've spent the last page of posts trying to explain that you are arguing against a position I don't even hold, and never even said that I hold. Please read what I am writing more carefully.
Given the above, I would suggest you take your own advice not only in regard to what others (like myself) have written, but to what you yourself are writing. Doing so would save everyone a lot of needless grief.

Who is the "everyone" that is experiencing grief right now? Why do I need to take my own advice? Am I the one that has been attacking a misinterpreted position for the last page of discussion?

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Brian, are you aware that is not my assertion?
But it is the premise I was challenging and which you defended. To make the issue clear, here is the progression of the debate again:

It began when JRoberts claimed:

There are many rules in the public education system. Everybody has to take English, History, Science, Math. Everybody has to go to school.

So really and truly, what's so wrong with this law? It is not invading any individual's personal life. It is not stretching beyond the current sphere of the government.

To this claim, I responded:

This same argument, made for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school, can be made for 2 yrs mandatory "community service" or anything else in school. In other words, it is not a valid argument. It is simply a justification for unlimited govt action.

And it is to my response about JRoberts argument that you voiced your disagreement.

Not at all. The law does not represent the violation of any new freedoms. It is simply replacing one violation of freedom with another.
With your claim "that is not my assertion" are you now retracting your disagreement to my response about JRoberts argument? If not, then your point that it was not you who made the assertion seems meaningless.

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I will make the same request again: please point out where I literally stated that you were making an error. There is a difference Brian. If I disagree, I try to do so politely without making it personal in regards to making statements like "you are making an error".
This is a non-sequitur once again.

You made an assertion. Your assertion was wrong. That error was pointed out to you. Now you complain that this identification of fact is somehow "personal" - ignoring the fact that the assertion you made was wrong. Using bogus claims of ad hom do not change the facts. They only serve as attempts to distract away from them. Reason requires that you stick to the facts. And the facts are these:

After I indicated that the public school system is evil, you claimed it is "brutally unfair" to identify the public school system as evil (though you admit it is "wrong"). As Ms Speicher points out, there are two context in which the term 'evil' can be used. One which identifies a degree of immorality and one which identifies an entire category of immorality (in this case, all instances of the initiation of force). Your assertion falsely limits the use of the term 'evil' only to the former context, eliminating the latter context entirely. This is the premise I disagreed with and which I have properly identified as a violation of an ethical principle of Objectivism - the one which identifies the initiation of force as evil.

If you have a problem with the identification of any of these facts, please state them.

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...public school is bad both in theory and in practice. It can't work in theory and it doesn't work in practice because it contradicts the nature of man.
Really? This is important: how does a public school system 'contradict the nature of man'?

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I will make the same request again: please point out where I literally stated that you were making an error. There is a difference Brian. If I disagree, I try to do so politely without making it personal in regards to making statements like "you are making an error".
This is a non-sequitur once again.
Brian, you can't wave everything off as a non-sequitur when someone rightfully points out that your arguments aren't making any sense.
You made an assertion. Your assertion was wrong.
According to you.

That error was pointed out to you. Now you complain that this identification of fact is somehow "personal" - ignoring the fact that the assertion you made was wrong. Using bogus claims of ad hom do not change the facts. They only serve as attempts to distract away from them. Reason requires that you stick to the facts.
Brian, if you are going to attempt to represent me or speak for me do it at least half-way well. I objected that you claimed that I was in disagreement with a fundamental principle of Objectivism when

A: You don't know me, so aren't really qualified to make such an assertion

B: You were misinterpreting my position and arguing against the misrepresentation repeatedly.

Please, either pay closer attention to what I write or stop posting replies to me altogether, because this is fast becoming tiring; I think I've explained everything I had to say reasonably well, so I'm genuinely at a loss as to what you continue to argue about.

Let's agree to disagree.

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This is a non-sequitur once again.
Brian, you can't wave everything off as a non-sequitur when someone rightfully points out that your arguments aren't making any sense.
I have merely pointed out what I identify as a logical fallacy. If you disagree that your assertion is a non-sequitur, you need to do more than say 'nu uh' here.
You made an assertion. Your assertion was wrong.
According to you.
Yes. And I have provided my argument to back up my conclusion.

Put simply, you claim it is "brutally unfair" to identify public schools as evil. Both Ms. Speicher and I have identified how, contextually, public schools may indeed be validly identified as evil. You have yet to identify how these arguments are wrong.

You were misinterpreting my position and arguing against the misrepresentation repeatedly.
You keep making this assertion. However, I have identified your explicit statement (see above) and I have identified the specific facts which stand in contradiction to that statement (see above again). You have yet to identify how your statement supposedly does not contradict those facts. As such, your repeated accusation of "misrepresentation" is quite unsupported.

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I will repeat this question so it does not get lost in the clutter of non-essential posts here. I believe a resolution to our dispute may lie in your answer to this question:

...public school is bad both in theory and in practice. It can't work in theory and it doesn't work in practice because it contradicts the nature of man.
Really? This is important: how does a public school system 'contradict the nature of man'?

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There really is no such thing as a communist government. You can have a governmental system that follows the ideology of communism, but the very

Your quote from above that is in bold is the reason for calling it a communist(ic) government.

Oh true, just like you can call something a Christian Fraternity.

Communism describes the ideology behind the framework. The framework is government.

The reason I bring this up is this: When you have a larger, or representative government (comprised of more individuals than a Monarchy or Oligarchy), you will have many different individuals in that government. Every individual will bring in and promote their ideology. So unlike a Monarchy, where the ideology of the King is the say of the government, in a representative form of government (especially a Republic), the ideology will always be mixed. Can there be a prevailing ideology? Of course. But the point is that the brilliance of our Founding Fathers was to create a system that would gridlock ideological battle. Change happens very slowly, and bills/laws are fiercely debated in a system such as this. Thus it is intellectual laziness and dishonesty to try and equate a purely evil government (Stalinist Russia) with a mixed government (The modern USA).

Thus, under the context of such a system, the passing of a law such as this is not, in any way, under any circumstances, remotely similar to the actions of Soviet Russia or Maoist China. Furthermore, two extremes are being overlooked:

1.) This law was not passed for all children in the privacy of their homes (an invasion of private property and liberty)-it is a change in policy within the governments sphere.

2.) This content of the law (ends) is not bad...exercise. But the way in which this (end) was brought about (the means), was bad. Duke has made an excellent point about the first (compare exercise versus forced prayer), and not a single person in this entire thread has tried to justify the second (that the means of this was okay, or right).

To dramatically quibble over this law as if it were the straw that will break the camels back, leading us back to the dark ages, also purely makes no sense! Ought we now start tearing our hair out because the schools force students to use pens and pencils, not computers? Should we hold back the tears in our eyes because students aren't allowed to bring their guns for show and tell? Must we pack our bags and leave this hell hole of America because the government requires that students take tests? When you realize that the immoral has already occurred (forced public education), then you must automatically blanket the judgment of immorality to the operations of this entity. Changes in the operation of the entity are just that...changes-but they are not (for reasons posted here and in other posts) "steps in the wrong direction." To claim so is to fall into a pessimism so antithetical to Objectivism that the spread of Objectivism happens in spite of, not because of, these wailing, moaning pessimist.

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And that improvement would be a good thing.

The time is long past for half (or quarter or tenth) measures. The public school system - which I identify as not just bad or unpalatable but an active, malevolent cancerous evil responsible more than any other single factor for the dissemination of evil philosophic ideas in America and elsewhere (alongside with the corollary of turning minds into anti-principle subjective mush) - needs to be completely dismantled, period, and any philosophic approach to the problems of such schools need to focus on that approach (which may include advocacy of specific political means to make private schools financially possible - e.g. tax vouchers - for those who are taxed to death to support the public schools.)

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With your claim "that is not my assertion" are you now retracting your disagreement to my response about JRoberts argument? If not, then your point that it was not you who made the assertion seems meaningless.

With my claim "that is not my assertion," I am not retracting anything I have previously said. I am, however, pointing out that the post you quoted does not represent my view (because it was not written by me nor did I quote it saying I am in agreement with it!). My view is contained in the posts I have written in this thread. If you would like to know my view, please look to the words I've written. If I replied in disagreement to you, that means that I disagree with you, but do not necessarily agree with someone with whom you are arguing.

But now is my time to leave this thread.

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...please look to the words I've written.
Obviously there is some confusion over what it is you were supposedly trying to communicate. The above advice does nothing to clear up that confusion. It only repeats the obvious fact that there is a disagreement over your words.
If I replied in disagreement to you, that means that I disagree with you, but do not necessarily agree with someone with whom you are arguing.
You disagreed with me that JRoberts argument justifies unlimited government power in the context of public schools. That would mean your position is that JRoberts argument does not justify unlimited government power in that context. Yet, when asked, you provided no support for that position. Well, I cannot 'look to the words you have written' if they do not exist. Of course, if your position is not as I have identified it, that would explain the lack of support for it. However, that would then leave your reason for your disagreement with my characterization of JRoberts argument unidentified. And, again, I cannot 'look to the words you have written' if, in fact, you have not written them.

Either way, your directive to 'look to the words you have written' fails to identify how I am supposedly wrong in claiming JRoberts argument justifies unlimited government power in public schooling. I would suggest writing more words to help clear up that mystery.

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Jason,

The brialliance of the Founding Fathers was not that they created a government that "would gridlock." The brialliance of the Founding Fathers is that they recognized man's right to his own life and created a "government of laws, not of men" to protect those rights.

And, no one has said that this one law is the first step in the wrong direction, but one of many. But, there is a point when passed that a government which is moving in the wrong direction can never return to it's principles. In other words, there is a point when a government becomes so corrupt that it discards it's principles and can never return to it's original state. This is not pessimism, this is reality and history has shown me that.

At this point in time there are thousands of pages of federal laws, not to mention state and local, that keep piling up every year. When do you think it will end? It will not end by stating that it is no big deal and only one of many so who cares. All these laws and the ones to come in the future can only be fought and beaten from a principled stand, which it seems some people no nothing about.

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When you realize that the immoral has already occurred (forced public education), then you must automatically blanket the judgment of immorality to the operations of this entity.
This is a false generalization which seeks to treat any initiation of force as equivalent to any other initiation of force. While it is true that all initiations of force are evil, as has already been pointed out, there is an enormous range of degrees of this evil. Your principle ignores this fact.
Changes in the operation of the entity are just that...changes-but they are not (for reasons posted here and in other posts) "steps in the wrong direction."
According to your principle, if a man holds a gun to your head and forces you to hand over your money, you must "realize that the immoral has already occurred." As such, if he then rapes you while he has his gun to your head, that is just a "change in the operation" of this criminal. It is NOT a 'step in the wrong direction'. And if he then murders you, well that too is just a "change".

Put simply, your premise ignores the differences between different forms of initiations of force, it ignores escalations of force, and it ignores multiple instances of force. If a system of justice were to practice the principle you have put forth, it would treat shoplifters, rapists, and murderers all the same. In other words, it would not be a system of justice at all.

To claim so is to fall into a pessimism so antithetical to Objectivism that the spread of Objectivism happens in spite of, not because of, these wailing, moaning pessimist.
As has already been pointed out, ARI and many prominent (as well as 'rank and file') Objectivists were quite active and 'worked up' about "changes in the operation of the entity" when it came to mandatory community service for students. Is your claim that ARI and all these other Objectivists were simply "wailing, moaning pessimists" who had fallen "into a pessimism so antithetical to Objectivism that the spread of Objectivism happens in spite of, not because of" them?

That would be quite an accusation!

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I would say bad is a synonym for a degree of evil, not the other way around. However that point is unrelated to the issue in dispute. The question was not whether evil may be used as a point on a scale of "badness". The claim has been made that it is wrong - it is an injustice - to identify as evil a system which, by its nature, is predicated upon and exists only through the initiation of force. The initiation of force is explicitly identified by Objectivism as "evil". Therefore, the claim that it is wrong to identify the institutionalization of the initiation of force as evil stands in contradiction to that ethical principle of Objectivism.

If CJ wishes to retract his assertion that it is wrong - that it is "brutally unfair" - to identify such a system as evil and instead agrees with you that it can validly be identified as evil, then the dispute here will be resolved. Until then, however, I will properly continue to identify the premise he puts forth as fallacious and in contradiction to Objectivism.

CJ stated he was using "evil" to denote the greatest degree of badness. Since that is the case, it would be "brutally unfair" to identify public schooling as "evil." Public schools are bad alright, but as initiations of force go, how does it compare to the military draft?

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I think public schooling would exist regardless of forcibly funding it, as would most other bad government programs (welfare, medicare, etc.).
I must challenge this premise completely. How would such an institution be created by government without the initiation of force?
By the benevolence of mankind paying for it of course. Isn't it the standard position amongst Objectivists that our military, police, and courts could be supported from voluntary contributions? If so, then why is it not believable that people could mistakenly support public schools out of benevolence? This is why I'm focusing not on the source of funding, but on the belief that it is the government's job to provide an education to everyone, and that the government can do it better than the private sector. This is the critical belief that must be destroyed and replaced with a proper one, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with taxation

Jordan, correct me if I am wrong, but by "public schools" do you mean private schools that are open to the public, and funded by parent-paid tuition and/or voluntarily provided scholarships?

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And, no one has said that this one law is the first step in the wrong direction, but one of many. But, there is a point when passed that a government which is moving in the wrong direction can never return to it's principles. In other words, there is a point when a government becomes so corrupt that it discards it's principles and can never return to it's original state.

I used to think that until Ronald Reagan and Maggie Thatcher and the fall of Communism in Europe.

Ayn Rand was right when she wrote:

Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth. It may sleep, but it will awaken. It may wear chains, but it will break through. And man will go on.

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