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Thursday, December 04, 2008
Thomas Sowell wrote an excellent piece this week on the new trend within college admissions committees to reject applicants who don't have any "community service" listed on their applications.
Most people on the left are not opposed to freedom. They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom.
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One of the most innocent-sounding examples of the left's many impositions of its vision on others is the widespread requirement by schools and by college admissions committees that students do "community service."
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The arrogance of commandeering young people's time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

Working in a homeless shelter is widely regarded as "community service"-- as if aiding and abetting vagrancy is necessarily a service, rather than a disservice, to the community.

Is a community better off with more people not working, hanging out on the streets, aggressively panhandling people on the sidewalks, urinating in the street, leaving narcotics needles in the parks where children play?

This is just one of the ways in which handing out various kinds of benefits to people who have not worked for them breaks the connection between productivity and reward, as far as they are concerned.

But that connection remains as unbreakable as ever for society as a whole. You can make anything an "entitlement" for individuals and groups but nothing is an entitlement for society as a whole, not even food or shelter, both of which have to be produced by somebody's work or they will not exist.
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The most fundamental problem, however, is not which particular activities students are required to engage in under the title of "community service."

The most fundamental question is: What in the world qualifies teachers and members of college admissions committees to define what is good for society as a whole, or even for the students on whom they impose their arbitrary notions?

What expertise do they have that justifies overriding other people's freedom? What do their arbitrary impositions show, except that fools rush in where angels fear to tread?

What lessons do students get from this, except submission to arbitrary power?
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I am sure those who favor "community service" requirements would understand the principle behind the objections to this if high school military exercises were required.

Indeed, many of those who promote compulsory "community service" activities are bitterly opposed to even voluntary military training in high schools or colleges, though many other people regard military training as more of a contribution to society than feeding people who refuse to work.

In other words, people on the left want the right to impose their idea of what is good for society on others-- a right that they vehemently deny to those whose idea of what is good for society differs from their own.

The essence of bigotry is refusing to others the rights that you demand for yourself. Such bigotry is inherently incompatible with freedom, even though many on the left would be shocked to be considered opposed to freedom.

2 comments:

Chris A said...

"Most people on the left are not opposed to freedom. They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom."

This is so true, and the hardest thing to get people to understand. But the same thing can be said of many people on the so-called Right. The War on Terror and the corresponding surveillance society come to mind. Of course, the Bush administration were making the argument that only the terrorists were being monitored, which turned out to be untrue. Even soldiers in Iraq calling home were recorded - not by the government but by a private company hired by the government. But then again, if you're not a terrorist you have nothing to worry about, right? Well, sure, as long as you don't mind losing your privacy and freedom. Some people from this company appeared on 60 minutes and talked about how many intimate telephone conversations of soldiers with their wives were recorded and passed around the office like a joke. But hey, we haven't had a domestic terrorist attack since 9/11, so...

Darius said...

To be fair, I don't view privacy as the same as freedom. And interestingly enough, neither do you from your words ("as long as you don't mind losing your privacy and freedom"). A "right" to privacy is (arguably) a made-up constitutional law.

"Some people from this company appeared on 60 minutes and talked about how many intimate telephone conversations of soldiers with their wives were recorded and passed around the office like a joke."

How exactly is this infringing on anyone's FREEDOM? Since those same soldiers can still call their loved ones and have more intimate phone calls (with no knowledge that they are being taped), that freedom is not being suppressed. In contrast, students' freedom to live their lives as they see fit is being controlled by admissions committees. Don't do the prescribed "community service," don't go to college.

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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables


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