No Freedom for Me, No Freedom for Thee

Last Friday, the Texas Education Agency released its first “report cards” for government schools. As expected, education bureaucrats aren’t happy with the results. As one example, Katy ISD Superintendent Lance Hindt said:

Our legislators’ ‘ranking’ and comparing of public schools feeds the agenda of those claiming our public schools are failing and vouchers, tax credits, scholarships, etc. are the answer. Meanwhile, public schools are underfunded and overmandated by the state and federal governments. Our private school counterparts would never accept funding that tied them to the mandates the Legislature and the TEA place on our public schools – essentially eroding communities’ local control.

Hindt acknowledges that legislative and regulatory mandates are a problem for government schools, but rather than call for a reduction in those mandates, he complains that private schools aren’t subject to the same controls.

This is no different than taxi drivers arguing that if they must be licensed, then Uber drivers should be subjected to the same regulations. Rather than call for an end to the shackles placed on them, the taxi drivers want shackles placed on others.

This is an all too common phenomenon. One group sees another enjoying more freedom, but rather than demand an expansion of their own freedom, they seek to reduce the freedom of others.

Interestingly, government schools and taxi drivers enjoy monopolies. But their freer competitors—private schools and Uber—threaten their hold on the market. Rather than compete in a free market, they want government to protect their monopoly. Rather than allow consumers to have more choices, they want to stifle innovation and force everyone in the industry to operate by the standards established by government officials.

Altruism underlies this attitude. Altruism demands that we sacrifice for others. But that sacrifice is not only material, it is intellectual as well. Altruism demands that we sacrifice our own judgment to that of others—whether the “will of the people” or democratically elected officials. That sacrifice encompasses both producers and consumers.

Government schools give parents few choices. The same is true of the monopoly taxi companies. But private schools and companies like Uber give consumers choices. And that is what statists like Lance Hindt resent.

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