Liberty or Literacy

During a recent town hall sponsored by CNN, Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made the following statements and asked the following questions:

“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba,” Sanders said, “but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

Commentators expressed such rightful outrage about his support for the oppressive regime of Castro that they failed to give a direct answer to his underlying question. Is a massive literacy program implemented by an authoritarian government a bad thing?

Some might acquiesce. Literacy tends to help societies and economies develop. So, people might gain some benefits from forfeiting some, or all, of their liberty.

I would say no, no, a thousand times no. The loss of liberty negates any benefit of increased literacy rates—if, in fact, literacy did increase.

In a libertarian society, individuals can achieve literacy if they wish to. Having the skills to read and write, they can examine and express controversial viewpoints. The benefits of literacy come only from its use.

In an authoritarian society, literacy creates no benefit for the individual. The government controls what people read. The government limits what people speak or write.

People gain more benefit as illiterates in a free society than they ever could as literates in an unfree society.

You should keep this point in mind if you favor public schools, voucher programs, or “free” college. What good do you get from any form of education provided by a government that steals other people’s property to pay for it and controls what education you get and how you can use it?

Consider that the government, either directly or indirectly, controls all of the education system—public and private—in the United States.

Should we allow socialists to increase that control?

Read the complete New York Post article:

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