No one has a right to a publicly-funded education.

Of course, if you pay mind to complaints from the left about Gov. Nathan Deal (of whom I am no fan) not increasing HOPE payouts to match rising tuition, you might disagree. Even Republican governors such as Rick Perry, Rick Scott and Scott Walker, who recently proposed guaranteeing their residents a four-year college education at the cost of $10,000, seem bound to the idea that the state ought to be providing college education in the first place.

I propose a simpler solution: end publicly-funded education.

Yes, I am well aware that I am receiving a public education. Yes, I realize my tuition is free due to HOPE. And yet, I am still publicly arguing for the total abolition of both.

We live in a system where individual rights are violated to provide us with the public goods we utilize — taxpayers are robbed of their income, and that money is allocated to this university. While it is immoral to compel a man to forfeit his property for the “public good,” such compulsion is already being carried out every day in the form of regulation, taxation and subsidization.

As my morality is that of self-interest — the only morality rooted in man’s nature and the requirements for his survival and prospering — the best an individual like me can do is live within the confines of the statism around me, while arguing for the consistent implementation of laissez-faire capitalism at all levels of government.

I anticipate objections to my proposal, one of which is as follows: if education is not publicly funded, how would anyone afford a college education?

First, the question is irrelevant. No man’s need makes him entitled to that which, of right, belongs to another man. No man belongs to anyone but himself, and this includes the consequences of his productive abilities. This is the essence of liberalism in its proper, classical sense — not the collectivist perversion of the term preached by the left today.

Second, those who raise this objection seem to overlook that it is their own quest to make education free that has distorted its costs and made it so expensive. Just as LBJ’s creation of Medicare led to price controls under Nixon to mitigate rising costs, so too has the creation of HOPE led to immense tuition increases across Georgia (this has occurred all around the nation with similar programs). Coupled with a funding formula best described as the “dig a bigger hole, and we’ll give you more to fill it” model in the midst of an economy which cannot fill the hole, tuition will necessarily rise.

Though it’s been a few years since I’ve taken economics, I do remember a few things: when you make something free (or pretend it’s free — the money comes from producers, not magic), the demand becomes nearly inelastic. This causes a problem because the supply itself has not increased; higher costs to prevent shortages are the inevitable result.

On the other hand, if you subject college education to market forces, elasticity of demand will increase, price will fall and suppliers (universities) will have no incentive to continue expanding perpetually with no regard for the costs. Freed from influence-peddlers and government constraints, universities will more readily cut unprofitable programs and better allocate their now-limited resources.

This is as it should be. The morality which tells man to pursue his self-interest is also that which allows him to best attain it — that which is moral is also practical.

The moral argument alone, however, should be enough. No man should be forced to serve another, whether the force is private or through public vote.

I do not believe that public education will be abolished anytime in the near future. The University of Georgia enjoys its status as the “first state-chartered university” in the United States, though I think it would be better served at the forefront of privatization.

But even if this ideal will only be attained in the distant future, it needs proclaiming in present: no one has a right to a public education.

—Brian Underwood is a junior from Evans majoring in political science and history

(14) comments


>"The morality which tells man to pursue his self-interest is also that which allows him to best attain it"

Prove it.

>"That which is moral is also practical."

Why? Because you said so? Because you are enamored with a certain author (Rand)? The burden of proof is on you before you make a statement of belief.


the goals of libertarianism are noble and all, but what is the practical outcome of your proposal. our dreadfully undereducated population is already falling behind in so many measures as legislators have gutted programs for decades. society needs a kick in the pants, but i don't think your proposal gets us any closer to that. knowledge is real power and we are not going to move forward by limiting that. i do agree that university education is not for everyone and needs some real adjustment, but that would also be bolstered by a more egalitarian society that values trash collection, teaching, construcation and many other basic building block professions that have become "low-class". money should not be ruling all of our decisions the way the right would want and capitalism's denial of externalities will lead us to some very perverted outcomes if "laissez-faire" was even close to implemented (which we are not even remotely near). interesting thought exercise though


Is this Ayn Rand being channeled from the dead?

"Second, those who raise this objection seem to overlook that it is their own quest to make education free that has distorted its costs and made it so expensive. "

False. Look at the balance sheet of any big state college and you'll find immense debt caused by unnecessary expansion, building, and projects, etc. It's been a while since I"ve been to Athens but is it fair to say that they're always building something? And for what purpose? Who's paying for that? Who's paying for the President's fat salary?

How are institutions supposed to recoup these massive costs? Raise tuition. Sure, there are other inputs that cause a rise in tuition, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the debt that building projects take on.

Your argument about HOPE and likening it to Medicare is the exact same argument the democrats made about the right-proposed voucher program and how it can't keep up with rising costs in healthcare. There are no GOOD reasons healthcare costs should be this high. Similarly, there's no good reason your tuition should be this high! Ask questions man!

You should be relating tuition increases to rising taxes. Follow the money, why is your tuition going up? Those are the right questions to ask. There is no practical application to creating metaphors based in academia and not in real life. You'll get nowhere to solving the problem.


I remember the first time I read "Atlas Shrugged."


Brian should not be given the credit of being a Libertarian. He turned his back on the cause of liberty when he endorsed Romney last fall. He is a small boy who constantly changes what he advocates for, and he does it without much intelligence.

Also, Brian, "Atlas Shrugged" is what we call in political science a "utopia" scenario in which government intervention is taken to its maximum ideological extreme. You should not take it so literally.

You should also note that it is now the 21st century, and we don't confine all of humanity to "man". Have you ever had a girlfriend, Brian? I don't think you have.


I'd love to see that smirk wiped off your face if you had to live out your moronic political ideas without an education and were stuck flipping burgers.


Why not take that argument, MZ. RAND, all the way and eliminate K-12 public education also. I hope then you will see your error. Not all of this country's future great leaders and inventors/innovators can afford a private education.
If we lived in an Ayn Rand bubble where we didn't have to worry about other countries (China) cultivating their geniuses with public money, and using them to attack us, then I might agree...
Don't get too crazy.


"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."


Is this a satirical piece? You know, like Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposition? If so, man this article is hilarious! Though you may have stopped too soon. Why not also get rid of any and all forms of regulation when it comes to admissions as well, all across the educational board! Also while we're at it we can build more prisons and allocate more funds into the criminal justice system for the inevitable runoff. This will be a great stimulant for the economy because it guarantees rural communities, who cannot hope to make money otherwise, a steady source of income as corrections officers, police, construction workers etc. Public schools are already failing youth in desolate communities why not cut out the middle-man?


Though I was raised in a stable middle-class white family, I attended public schools in inner-city Atlanta my whole life. In 2nd grade I had a sobering experience of class disparity. I invited a kid from class over to play. His parents couldn't pick him up because they didn't have a car, so we drove him home to the projects. I was confused by where he lived, I thought that he owned the whole building since I had only ever seen single-family homes.

"No man belongs to anyone but himself, and this includes the consequences of his productive abilities".
I would have received a college education wether or not I had been born smart, and pretty much regardless of wether or not i had focused myself on my studies as well as I did. Now I do believe I've earned my acceptance to UGA and the honors program (I don't want to sound snide) but only to an extent. Yes, I did put in some work (not really all that much mind you) but really I was born with a good brain, with parents that monitored me, and a social environment that didn't ruin me (i.e. tha hood).
If you believe in a meritocracy where every man gets what they deserve then you should support public institutions that allow people's potential merits to be realized. In your time at this school I'm sure you've met very many stupid people. I'm sure many of these stupid people will end up in possitions that demand from you - not your born social class, but of your capacity to provide your assets to not because of their abilities but just because that's what people of their class do.

Now since you seem a tad conservative you might write this off as liberal mumbo-jumbo but think about your interests. You believe in the productive powers of a free capitalist market, in which all people are able to secure their own well-being. I agree, I think it is absolutely human nature to seek your own best interests, and by supplying a practical means for educating the most capable minds in our society regardless of their God-given circumstances I believe that I am serving my own best interests. We all want roads, we all want security, and we all want a prospering community of the brightest minds.


go back to writing ayn rand/jesus fic brian.


Ayn is dead, brian, you can stop trying to impress her with your terrible columns


Thank God mankind only had to labor for a couple hundred thousand years under the misguided notion that working together for common goals was a good thing. If only early humans had read Ayn Rand or one of Underwood's columns we could have all been saved. Ugh.


This. Article. Sucks.

bottom line is; do you want your neighbors to be educated, smart, sophisticated, and informed individuals,


desperate, ignorant, and dangerous?

because that is the difference between a kid getting a standard, decent education and one who gets none.

even if your morality is strictly that of self-interest, heretofore all wise men have recognized that the tending of their society and the 'others' who constitute it does, indeed, serve their own self-interest.

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