Dennis Prager delivered an amiable and thought-provoking presentation to a large audience at the University of Wyoming on Thursday, in keeping with University President Nichol’s endorsement of “widening the circle of voices, including more perspectives from different backgrounds, all free to speak, free to disagree, free to discuss and debate.” The protest was firm but restrained, serving to further highlight the importance of divergent views rather than to silence those with whom we disagree.

It was incongruous, however, to find so many of the attendees at this venue sporting “Socialism Sucks” buttons. UW students pay only a small fraction of their cost of education, if that. And “big government” picks up the difference by demanding tax dollars from our industries and hard working citizens.

At the K-12 level, it’s even “worse” - the state compels attendance, everyone is entitled to this public service, and the individual financial contribution is zero. Government provides the buildings, faculty, staff, equipment - the whole nine yards. Government decides the classes, the graduation requirements, and the textbooks. The state even maintains expensive sports programs, ministering to our precious self-esteem with weekend football victories.

“Socialism doesn’t produce wealth” is one of Prager’s bumper-sticker applause lines. So what are we to make of the 12,000-plus students at the University, who have chosen to avail themselves of this conspicuously socialistic enterprise, presumably in the interests of improving their ability to produce wealth?

Perhaps skipping public education entirely, learning to read and figure on their own, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, and letting their innate entrepreneurial acumen bloom would produce a better result and save us all a pile of money.

In short, “Socialism and Capitalism - Finding the Balance” would be a far more enlightened slogan than the sophomoric, “Socialism Sucks”. Go Education.

Bern Hinckley


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