_Free_ Education? Be Careful What You Wish For

In Latin America, education is free, or partially free, in Argentina and Brazil, among other places.

The whole idea of free education is enticing. Sounds good, feels good. A number of countries already pay for universal education, from primary school to college, including Norway, Germany, and Sweden. In Latin America, education is free, or partially free, in Argentina and Brazil, among other places.

In Cuba, college was free up until a few years ago, when reality finally struck the island workers_ paradise. Even still, Latin-American countries like Chile are trying to make the move in this direction.

Yet, the great underpinning of this entire issue can be seen in one of the signs held by a protester during the November 19 demonstrations pictured above: _communism._ Others call it socialism, but is there really a difference?

Europe_s experiment with _socialism-lite_ has led many of its nations to bankruptcy or near insolvency. Just take a look at Greece and Spain. European socialism usually does not bring with it the full authoritarian-style dictatorships of communism, but the laws often become so numerous and complex that it may well have the same effect.

Nevertheless, progressive workers_ parties and free-education proponents are led and organized by socialists and communists. At least now they are being more open about their true identity. That is not to say that every person who supports free college education is automatically a communist, but they should, at the very least, understand who they are helping and what they are supporting.

It is human nature not to value those things that were granted without earning them. As free education goes, just like free health care or free anything else, it is only a matter of time before such education programs become worthless in the real world. The costs will either skyrocket _ because you never can tax those evil rich people too much _ or the quality will plummet, or both.

In today_s expensive Western college system, many are opting not to go to college at all.

While the current student loan system desperately needs repair, and there are reasonable questions about the quality and high cost of college-level education in the West, making it free for everyone will not solve any of the world_s problems. If it did, Cuba would truly be a paradise _ and it isn_t.

So, be careful what you wish for, and be careful what you ask others to pay for; the real price may be much higher than a few thousand dollars in tuition and loans.

The Canal | Fran Worley-Lopez

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