30 June 2013 ~ 2 Comentarios

Education and cynicism

By Carlos Alberto Montaner


(FIRMASPRESS) Chilean students habitually protest against their government. They did it against Mrs. Bachelet, a leftist, and they’re doing it against Mr. Piñera, a rightist. Sometimes, the protests are peaceful; others, like last week’s, they turn into serious vandalistic acts committed by violent minorities infiltrated into the student movement.

” The young Chileans demand good universities and quality education but they don’t want to pay for those services. They want others to pay for them. (That’s always nifty.) They’re 18 and older. They’re young adults, can vote, elect and be elected, go into the army, marry without anybody’s permission, create businesses, invest, conceive children whom they’re obligated to raise, go to jail if they commit a crime, and consume alcohol or tobacco, but they take it for granted that the responsibility for paying for their education falls on others. They are responsible adults in everything, except in that.

” Really, this is incoherent behavior, or at least strange. Why should the whole of society pay for the college education of a minority of privileged adults who, after graduation, will earn an amount of money that’s considerably greater than the average earnings of those who haven’t gone through academia? Isn’t it a stinging immorality that the ordinary workers should pay with their taxes for the studies of those who will eventually become their bosses and employers?

” But there’s an even worse incongruity. The Chilean university students don’t want education to become an object of profit. If Plato and Aristotle were teaching in Chile right now, not in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., they would be accused of being greedy exploiters for creating the Academy and the Lyceum for the purpose of earning money while teaching their students.

The Chilean students don’t realize that they’re posing a contradiction. There is nothing morally censurable in profit. Profit is a synonym for achievement, for mission accomplished. If they want quality education that is creative, original and imparted by competent professors, most of the times they’ll have to attract the best ones with good remuneration, public recognition and the possibility of enrichment.

There are some exceptional human beings, endowed with an intense vocation, generally religious, willing to teach for a plate of food, a wooden bed and a roof over their heads, but they are few. Princeton University recruited Einstein by sending him a blank check that he made out himself.” 

” What’s wrong with some people deciding that they want to create an enterprise to sell education if other creatures are willing to pay the asked-for price to acquire that knowledge? One of the best schools in Central America is Guatemalas’ Francisco Marroquín University, an institution that is a private enterprise and managed like one.

” Why is it immoral to sell education instead of water, food, medicines or shoes, goods that are undoubtedly more important for survival than college knowledge?

” The argument that private universities for profit sometimes lack sufficient quality and must be shut down lacks any sense. We don’t shut down unsatisfactory restaurants for profit, much less the dining halls for the poor, which usually serve pretty awful food.

” In Latin America, many public universities are extremely bad, yet we don’t ask that they be shut down. As Andres Oppenheimer tirelessly complains, among the world’s 500 best universities you might find three or four Latin American schools – and they’re at the tail end of the list.

” There is something terribly authoritarian and hypocritical in the behavior and demands of those Chilean students. What’s awful is that they, who expect others to pay for their education and condemn those who are willing to risk their capital and labor to create profitable educational institutions, once they finish their studies try to become (or do become) economically successful professionals.

” To them, profit is bad only when someone else seeks it. That’s called cynicism.

2 Responses to “Education and cynicism”

  1. heberto rios 30 June 2013 at 11:21 am Permalink

    Es la triste de la realidad de la mentalidad socialista, que pretende que el gobierno les de de todo, gratis y sin responsabilidad alguna, como si el gobierno recibiera del cielo los recursos para invertir en los beneficios sociales.
    Para ellos solo se trata de pedir como ninos chiquitos, pero ninguno de esos manifestantes esta pensando en ir a trabajar de gratis una vez se gradue. La verda es que la sociedad no vive del gobierno, sino el gobierno de la sociedad que es la financia mediante el pago de impuestos

  2. Carlos 8 July 2013 at 3:25 pm Permalink

    Juraría que la foto de tu artículo en LD es la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Zaragoza

    Aulas 10, 11 ó 12

    Enhorabuena por tu labor y sigue así

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