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What’s mine is mine and what’s yours…is mine too

The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else
– Frederic Bastiat

Thousands of British students have gathered in London today in order to protest against a Government proposal to introduce university top-up fees. Coming from across the UK, they started marching at noon today (I am pleased to report it is pissing down with rain) in protest against a Government plan to require students to pay for at least some of their own university education. The protestors are backed by trade unionist and assorted socialist groups, who are claiming 20,000 students are marching. Police have said there are closer to 10,000 present.

Mandy Telford, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “Education should be based on your ability not your ability to pay. Going down that road is putting a price tag on degrees and that’s not positive for society.”

Society? It is not ‘society’ which takes money from one group of people by force and gives it to another, only the state (or organised crime) can do that to whole sections of the population by force. If students are entitled to take other people’s money in order to educate themselves, and the object of this education being to benefit themselves, why not also for food? For housing? For petrol? For clothing? In fact, why should they need to pay for anything from which they benefit? It seems they do indeed want that invidious form of outright theft called progressive taxation to fund the priorities of others and of course students are just the thin end of the paleo-socialist wedge being offered up here.

Ms Telford [of the National Union of Students] said students were converging on London from across the country. She said: “The march will send a very clear message to ministers. Students are angry and their families are angry.

Well I am bloody angry too! These ‘protestors’ are nothing more than parasites calling for the state to continue to engage in theft on their behalf. What makes their needs and priorities so much more important than mine that they feel they have the right to take my money for their benefit? Well up your, you scruffy leeches… you will get very little from me. Any future business of mine will be off-shore benefiting someone else’s economy, and 10,000 of the reasons are marching through London today.

17 comments to What’s mine is mine and what’s yours…is mine too

  • Kevin Connors

    I am of two minds on this: I feel strongly that the state has a legitimate interest in a well educated populus. On this I am joined my many influencal libertarian thinkers. Among them most of America’s founding fathers. However, to what limit does tis extend? Surely, an individual can function in modern society after only eight years of schooling. But, without some form of apprenticeship, he will likely be relegated to the most menial of jobs.

    High school is nice. But most that don’t go on to college or participate in trade classes find these years of education of little use in later life. If they are beyond the appreciation of the individual, can they possibly be of much value to the state?

    Surely, a university education is of great benefit. But how much of that benefit can be apportioned to the state? I know it’s not zero. But it’s also far less than 100%

  • Sorry Kevin but the notion education cannot occur without the deadening hand of the state is a classic statist fallacy. Seeing as I am in a ‘Bastiat-kinda-mood':

    Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all
    – Frédéric Bastiat

    I have no objection to people getting an education, but I do object to me being robbed to pay for it. Prior to state funded education, did no one get educated? Of course they did. Killing off private sector apprenticeships was one of the great evils of state education. In this amazingly wealthy and information rich age, the notion that but for the state there would be vast mobs of unschooled illiterate proles roaming the streets is just daft. People who want to learn can find a way, and whilst people who do not want to can be compelled to attend an educational conscription center (you probably call them schools) they cannot be compelled to actually learn anything useful. The fact is a vast chunk of state education is worthless… and worthless at my expense.

  • David Carr

    Kevin,

    It is precisely because I want to see a more educated society that I want to state to get out of the way.

    It is because the government does not subsidise food distribution that a great many people in this country (including me I hasten to add) have to struggle to keep from getting too fat!

  • When employers realise that most of the “degrees” they demand from applicants are about as valuable as toilet paper, many of the stupider universities will collapse, leaving good ones, which people can attend when they have the money. Maybe after a few years of working.

    A lot of time is wasted at educational establishments. If market forces impact on them, maybe more fast-track degrees and modular (one year on, one year off, perhaps) courses will become available.

    I’d like to see the end of state schools as well, eventually. When people realise that kids can learn more with an au-pair and a computer for one hour than they would from a week in a classroom, and the first option is actually *cheaper* too, all our lives will be much improved, IMO.

  • The first paragraph of Alice’s post is spot on. Over and over you hear people lament that many students will be deterred from taking degrees if they have to pay for them. I am just dying to hear someone shout “GOOD!”. For as long as there are degree courses in Golf Course Studies, Gardening Management, Media Studies and Surfing, there are *not enough* people being deterred from attending university.

  • RK Jones

    The thing that strikes me as most offensive is how sophomoric the statements from the Student’s Union are.

    ‘Mandy Telford, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “Education should be based on your ability not your ability to pay. Going down that road is putting a price tag on degrees and that’s not positive for society.”‘

    If you replace ‘education’ in this quote with any number of commodities not utterly socialized, it becomes ludicrous. “Eating should be based on your ability to eat, not your ability to pay.” Yada, Yada… “putting a price tag on food and that’s not positive for society.”

    Given the Marxian formula was ‘from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’, this isn’t even decent socialist dogma.

  • blabla

    Surely, a university education is of great benefit.

    Can you back up that statement? Because I see no proof of it. In fact, I would say the opposite based on my experience. Most kids are relatively bright coming out of high school. After 4 years of university education, they are downright stupid.

  • Kevin Connors

    There is another argument for public financing of education that musn’t be overlooked: that of maintaining a healthy sociatal population balance, follow:

    If parents are forced to pay for their own children’s education, it stands to reason that the marginal rate of childbirth will go down. With western Europe and industrialized Asia currently sporting birthrates below replacement levels, and the US not far behind, this could have detrimental effects on the balance of society.

    Note that I am not advocating government run schools here (I prefer the term indoctrination center to educational conscription center). Merely public finance of education. I firmly believe parents should still have a choice of education for their children.

  • RK Jones

    Kevin,
    Even if you stipulate (which, for the sake of argument I shall) that the demographic argument is important enough to justify subsidizing schools with taxpayer dollars; two questions remain:

    Is is possible for schools to be funded publicly without being controlled politically?

    And will the subsidy in fact increase the birth rate?

    The U.S. federal government has had great success using its control over the great sloppy trough of federal funding to coerce schools at both the primary and collegiate levels into following its dictates. These have ranged from mandates concerning class size and racial mixture to micro-level curriculum vetoes. I fail to see how any government funded setup, whether today’s or a straight voucher system will avoid this pitfall.

    Sweden, after ten years of subsidies aimed precisely at this demographic problem, doesn’t provide evidence supporting child subsidies in any form as an effective remedy.

    Public Schools delenda est

  • I see libertarianism as a philosophy which advocates an equality of oportunity over an equality of outcome (the latter be outright socialism). In most areas, this means a reduction in governmental spending to maximize oportunity, and to increase marginal incentives for success among individuals.

    Education is an important factor in the creation of oportunity, and I see it necessary that everyone get an education (something which government run schools in the U.S. seem impotent at doing). When parents have no abillity to pay for education, then the government should pick up the slack so that the child is not disadvantaged by having a poor or negligent parent. By the time that people get to college, however, they are adults, and should be expected to pull their own weight. There are ways to do this which allow this human capital investment to be amortized over a long period (for example low interest loans) which don’t take an unduly large amount of taxpayer money.

    As for whether the government can fund schools without too much political influence, I think the answer is probably yes (with a leaning towards maybe). A good example would be the proposed voucher system in the U.S., where the government distributes money to parents, and they can spend it at any school they wish.

  • blabla

    If parents are forced to pay for their own children’s education, it stands to reason that the marginal rate of childbirth will go down.

    Another bold assumption. You are saying that if the Govt introduces top-up fees, then some people will stop having kids?

    I think the libertarian argument would be to cut taxes at the same time as cutting state-funding of education. (Remember, parents already pay for their own children’s education. Right now though, the money is taken by the state which then gives them “free” education.) But even in the absence of a concurrent tax cut, I find your assumption on birthrates to be highly specious.

  • Not to worry everyone. As some of us know this argument is being made completely ridiculous by this wonderful internet thing.

    Anybody with a little nouse who is capable of independent study can now educate themselves far beyond degree level just by going online. Every bedroom will become a university.

    If you do a really good job you will then be able to get a funded place at uni. as they will be so cash rich with all the private money going into them that they will be able to afford to fund people who have the ability.

    So those with great ability who deserve to be at the best universities will be able to go there and everyone else will be able to increase their knowledge for free (or damn near it) online.

    It is a personal responsibility thing.

  • RK Jones

    Pell Grants were supposed to be vouchers from the federal government, to to spent at the school of choice. When the law enabling the program was written in 1973, Congress failed to mention that within fifteen years schools accepting the ‘string-free’ aid would be forced to fall in line with whatever federal cause de jure caught a politician’s fancy.

    Whatever the good intentions behind this sort of subsidy, it will eventually be used as a lever. And the bureaucrats at the local level will roll over for the feds every time.

    John Dewey delenda est

  • Robert Armstrong

    Shocked. That is my first feeling about this article. I assume the initial thread is from the UK, I don’t know why someone started mentioning US dollars, well thats the US for you. Obviously Perry does not have children of his own as he would then realise the pain and suffering that the tight financial restrictions causes to both parents and their children at university.

    Ok, where to start… Quickies first I think. Someone mentions people can work then go to Uni when they can afford it. I assume this person is of a working age and benefited from free Uni education, or was too thick to get into Uni so they feel they have to have a go at students now.

    Just to point out that if any of you have a social life it’s probably dependant on students for bar-staff and waiters. Think how much your pint will cost if they have to pay the glass-washers £10 per hour because there arn’t any students to do the work for almost nothing.

    Next! Home university? Oh yes I’ll just print this degree in bio-chemistry out, hmmm i’ll have a 1st with honours i think. See a problem with this?

    Students more thick after university than before? Well glad to see you backed it up with evidence – moron! Uni is a great way to develop excelent background knowledge on a individuals chosen subject. The only other way would be placements within companies but how many companies would be willing to hire people with no knowledge in the area? I believe that counters someones poor excuse that aprentiseships should replace uni.

    Back to Perry “the notion that but for the state there would be vast mobs of unschooled illiterate proles roaming the streets is just daft.” Go outside your room… muster up some courage and venture further – out of your house. Still with me? Oh look. whats that on the corner? A mob of unschooled illiterate beings! Yes they do excist and with the tuition fees causing more to abandon the Uni plans they lose interest to develop and drop out and become your street-corner decorations.

    RK Jones – Marxism is a concept that doesn’t work and wouldn’t work. Don’t try to analyse modern society with it. Your comments on the NUS are poor. In ancient times the workers would slave away to feed and keep in good health the brighter of the tribe. Maybe we should go back to those days – i’m sure you would love to have a life-expectancy of 30 just so i can sit about and think all day. I think we clever ones give you a lot more liberty than your tiny mind knows how to handle.

    Peter, Peter Cuthbertson. My sincere condolences on your unfortunate name. “The first paragraph of Alice’s post is spot on. Over and over you hear people lament that many students will be deterred from taking degrees if they have to pay for them. I am just dying to hear someone shout “GOOD!”. For as long as there are degree courses in Golf Course Studies, Gardening Management, Media Studies and Surfing, there are *not enough* people being deterred from attending university.”
    Ok – media studies not good enough for you? Well lets get rid off it. Better – now we have poor quality radio and tv, no internet etc… Of course we should pay for it now while we have no money rather than later so that people like you who did not receive an education but instead was raised by timber wolves do not feel as if you are paying for something you did not receive.

    As for Perrys off-shore business. I’m sure it would have to be off-shore as the kind of business i’m sure you would be setting up would be of poor taste and maybe illegal as you seem to be that sort of twisted, sick pervert who can’t see beyond the end of his own ****. Well i do hope you go abroad. I certainly wouldn’t want money I invest to go into your business startup loan, and god forbid you make a profit from the venture. Why should you make a profit from me. What makes you so important… blah blah.

    in conclusion. shut up all of you. if you missed your free uni education and feel grumpy now. HAHA. Who’s fault is that? Certainly not the students of today. Maybe you were all so drugged up you didn’t notice the first 20 years of your own lives. Well I’m done now. I may well sign on as unemployed now just so i can leach a little more of your money. After all the unemployed are much more use than a bunch of intelligent, forward thikning, motivated, educated students.

  • Some fisking is called for here:

    Shocked. That is my first feeling about this article. I assume the initial thread is from the UK, I don’t know why someone started mentioning US dollars, well thats the US for you. Obviously Perry does not have children of his own as he would then realise the pain and suffering that the tight financial restrictions causes to both parents and their children at university.

    And what of the pain and suffering of people whose money is stolen and given to you? What make you more deserving of someone else’s money than the taxpayer and his family from whom it is stolen?

    Ok, where to start… Quickies first I think. Someone mentions people can work then go to Uni when they can afford it. I assume this person is of a working age and benefited from free Uni education, or was too thick to get into Uni so they feel they have to have a go at students now.

    That is absurd. You do not need a university education to get a job.

    Just to point out that if any of you have a social life it’s probably dependant on students for bar-staff and waiters. Think how much your pint will cost if they have to pay the glass-washers £10 per hour because there arn’t any students to do the work for almost nothing.

    Oh right… the fact student provide labour justifies student robbing others to finance the education from which they benefit? How do you figure that? And just for the record, I rather think immigrants rather than students are the main source of cheap labour in Britain.

    Next! Home university? Oh yes I’ll just print this degree in bio-chemistry out, hmmm i’ll have a 1st with honours i think. See a problem with this?

    What on earth are you talking about? If you have a coherent point, I am still waiting to see it.

    Students more thick after university than before? Well glad to see you backed it up with evidence – moron!

    You seem to be providing the evidence yourself.

    Uni is a great way to develop excelent background knowledge on a individuals chosen subject. The only other way would be placements within companies but how many companies would be willing to hire people with no knowledge in the area? I believe that counters someones poor excuse that aprentiseships should replace uni.

    That does not really address the issue of why the hell do I, or anyone else who does not give a damn if you live or die, have to pay for your education?

    Back to Perry “the notion that but for the state there would be vast mobs of unschooled illiterate proles roaming the streets is just daft.” Go outside your room… muster up some courage and venture further – out of your house. Still with me? Oh look. whats that on the corner? A mob of unschooled illiterate beings! Yes they do excist and with the tuition fees causing more to abandon the Uni plans they lose interest to develop and drop out and become your street-corner decorations.

    We must live in different worlds… you know, there I am running a business and employing people, there you are doing… well, living off other people’s money. Strange that I seems to be able to find lots of people to employ eh?

    Peter, Peter Cuthbertson. My sincere condolences on your unfortunate name.

    Are you trying to make yourself look like a prat?

    “The first paragraph of Alice’s post is spot on. Over and over you hear people lament that many students will be deterred from taking degrees if they have to pay for them. I am just dying to hear someone shout “GOOD!”. For as long as there are degree courses in Golf Course Studies, Gardening Management, Media Studies and Surfing, there are *not enough* people being deterred from attending university.”
    Ok – media studies not good enough for you? Well lets get rid off it. Better – now we have poor quality radio and tv, no internet etc… Of course we should pay for it now while we have no money rather than later so that people like you who did not receive an education but instead was raised by timber wolves do not feel as if you are paying for something you did not receive.

    I rather doubt he cares if media studies exists as a course… but why make him pay for someone else to take it?

    As for Perrys off-shore business. I’m sure it would have to be off-shore as the kind of business i’m sure you would be setting up would be of poor taste and maybe illegal as you seem to be that sort of twisted, sick pervert who can’t see beyond the end of his own ****. Well i do hope you go abroad. I certainly wouldn’t want money I invest to go into your business startup loan, and god forbid you make a profit from the venture. Why should you make a profit from me. What makes you so important… blah blah.

    Hilarious! I would hardly mention it if it was illegal, but then logical deduction does not seem to be the hallmark of your comments so far. I actually produce wealth whereas parasites like you just steal it from others.

    in conclusion. shut up all of you. if you missed your free uni education and feel grumpy now. HAHA. Who’s fault is that? Certainly not the students of today. Maybe you were all so drugged up you didn’t notice the first 20 years of your own lives. Well I’m done now. I may well sign on as unemployed now just so i can leach a little more of your money. After all the unemployed are much more use than a bunch of intelligent, forward thikning, motivated, educated students..

    Not only does this little thief think he has a right to the money of others, he stamps his little feet and tells us to ‘shut up’. The only reason I did not delete this risible blogroach’s comments is that they provide a splendid example of the sort of self satisfied, semi-literate twerp who wants to use the state to take your money to fund their miserable existence. He does a far better job with his own misspelled word of illustrating the vacuous nature of young supporters of the kleptocratic state that I ever could.

  • Rob

    OK Perry. Lets get one thing straight, a graduate will earn on average £400,000 more than a non-graduate. That means that with a highly paid job and 40% tax, graduates pay £160,000 more than non-graduates. That covers the £16,000 needed to support a student at University PLUS SOME.

    As for your accusation of stealing – how about the millions of people who have passed through the university system over the last decades? You say you do not need a degree to get a job? Well here’s news for you! Yes you do. If you want any decent employment then ‘degree and experience is necessary’.

    As for immigrants doing the bulk of labour? Not in the catering and bar industry. Bar managers prefer students as they are cheap, willing to work, dependable and most importantly over immigrants – can speak English.

    I think you, like most people hate paying tax. You look at what you pay tax for and try to blame it all on anything you do not use yourself. Well if we all did that then you are likely to be stealing money from myself and my parents for many things you take for granted that we do not use. I believe a higher amount of the money you pay in tax will go towards paying for the NHS to treat people with obesity or smoking related health issues. Neither of which affects my family however we still have to pay. I think you should seriously consider some anger management as you seem to be very stressed. Students do not steal money from you. Your taxes pay for unemployed – who contribute NOTHING! Surely they should be the ones being complained at. Especially as a 18-24 year old on unemployment benefits receives around £30 per week more than a student; who is only enduring circumstances of poverty (£29 per week to live on is below the governments poverty line) to better their education and contribute more to the country both economically and socially.

    Apologies to anyone I offend with my comments however such blatant lies as saying students steal money is unaceptable. Even someone with a degree in “Golf Studies” if such a degree exsists, can expect to end up with a well paid job, and then pay lots more tax, which in the end pays back the government, and in turn reduces the ammount of tax needed from you people.

    I will be pleased to answer any other questions you have, however I do ask that you think of all the other things being “stolen” from you before you attack students. How many people with lung-cancer from smoking can say they will be able to give £160,000 more to the country to pay for their treatment than the regular Joe?

  • Rob: Safe to say I do not agree.

    I think you, like most people hate paying tax. You look at what you pay tax for and try to blame it all on anything you do not use yourself. Well if we all did that then you are likely to be stealing money from myself and my parents for many things you take for granted that we do not use.

    All completely irrelevant. You did not extract money from your parents under threats of violence, they gave it to you from a sense of duty or love. This is a category error.

    I believe a higher amount of the money you pay in tax will go towards paying for the NHS to treat people with obesity or smoking related health issues. Neither of which affects my family however we still have to pay.

    And if you had read this blog for longer you would know the depth of hostility here of several of our writers (including me) to the NHS… it is theft. Money I would rather spend on insurance is taken by the state and put into a scheme I both dislike and would never contribute to of my own free will.

    I think you should seriously consider some anger management as you seem to be very stressed.

    Gee… I get upset when people threaten me with prison unless I give them money for things I don’t want. That makes me crazy eh? Riiiight. Are you aware that the Soviets used to send people who disliked their system to psychiatrists? Are you seriously trying to pathologize dissent from a state centred view of the world?

    Students do not steal money from you. Your taxes pay for unemployed – who contribute NOTHING! Surely they should be the ones being complained at

    Sure, that is also theft… however the fact someone ‘contributes’ something in return for taking my money without my prior consent is irrelevant. If the Mafia offers to contribute to my ‘protection’ in return for my money, that does not make it less of a theft than if they ‘just’ mug me and offer me nothing. If I did not ask for it, I should not be forced to pay for it.

    Apologies to anyone I offend with my comments however such blatant lies as saying students steal money is unaceptable. Even someone with a degree in “Golf Studies” if such a degree exsists, can expect to end up with a well paid job, and then pay lots more tax, which in the end pays back the government, and in turn reduces the ammount of tax needed from you people. I will be pleased to answer any other questions you have, however I do ask that you think of all the other things being “stolen” from you before you attack students.

    Well you make a contention that it is not stealing but do not explain why. You may not like it but I simply think your view of the world is based on a comfortable delusion… when money is extracted without prior consent and that extraction is backed with threats of force, that is not materially different from robbing someone. You may not like the fact things you regard as clearly good, like the NHS for example, are not in fact objectively and indisputably so. I certainly do not think these things ‘provided’ by the state are good. I simply do not accept the axioms you clearly think make our social world go around.

    How many people with lung-cancer from smoking can say they will be able to give £160,000 more to the country to pay for their treatment than the regular Joe?

    Huh? What bearing does that have on anything? Life is full of tragedies… why do I have to finance the mitigation of them for other people if I do not what to? I do not expect others who I do not know to subsidise my life… and if other people elect to help me, let it be from charity (i.e. something I would hope for but cannot demand as a ‘right’) for my misfortunes and not the proceeds of theft from the unwilling.