Earlier this week President Obama participated in a summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. During the conversation, President Obama took the opportunity to attack families that had decided to send their children to private schools. Among some of the President’s criticisms were that kids who go to private school end up with “an anti-government ideology,” and that sending kids to private school make it more difficult for other non-private school kids to have the same opportunities.
It’s a wholly ridiculous and completely fallacious argument… but he made it nonetheless.
We don’t dispute that the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history — it has lifted billions of people out of poverty. We believe in property rights, rule of law, so forth. But there has always been trends in the market in which concentrations of wealth can lead to some being left behind. And what’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better — more skilled, more educated, luckier, having greater advantages — are withdrawing from sort of the commons — kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids.
It’s amazing that he could begin this small-minded and idiotic screed by defending free market principles and the rights of a free people to choose their own path, because in the very next breath he advocates for the exact opposite of a free market! In fact, it seems that he is even arguing the benefits of government forcing people to act AGAINST their self interest in some perverted version of working for the “greater good.”
Thankfully it wasn’t just us who noticed the disgusting display of hypocrisy from the President. Over at MSNBC, Joe Scarborough decided to go straight to the source and ask White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the President’s ridiculous comments.
Joe Scarborough: Were you, I am sure you will be asked this question many times in your next press briefing, but the president was critical of people who went to private schools and sent their children to private schools and plays at private clubs and well every alarm should be going off. Do you have that clip? Let’s play that clip first.
President Obama: Those who are better and better, more skilled, educated, luckier, having greater advantages are withdrawing from, sort of the commons, kids start going to private schools. Kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government idea old disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together, and that, in part, contributes to the fact that there is less opportunity for our kids.
Joe Scarborough: Obviously, the man that said it, went to the best prep school in Hawaii and went to the best private colleges in the United States, his children who I don’t think it’s anybody’s business where they send their children, but if the president is going to criticize people who send their children to private schools he has to recognize, obviously, that he sends his children to the best schools in Washington, possibly America. How does he, is there a self-critique against himself, the mistakes he’s made? What was the president trying to get at there?
Josh Earnest: Joe, the point the president was making is it’s important for us to recognize it as a country. We all have an interest in investing in the common benefits that our country has to offer.
His point is that even if you send your kids to private school, we all have an interest in making sure we have good high quality public schools available to everybody. It’s not that far from the White House that we do have some of the best public schools in the country over in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Joe Scarborough: So did the president consider sending its children to public schools? Again, none of my business unless he is criticizing Americans who send their children to private schools.
Josh Earnest: Again, I don’t think he’s criticizing sending people to private schools.
He’s suggesting all Americans need to keep in mind; it’s in our collective interest as a country and as citizens for us to invest in the common good, for us to invest and make sure we have good quality public schools available for everybody so that everybody has a fair shot. Everybody has a fair shake. Everybody has an equal opportunity to succeed and will let their ambition and hard work take them as far as it will carry them. That is what this country is all about. we start to lose sight of those basic values in this country the we start to retract into our own private clubs and schools and lose sight of the fact if we lose interest that we want those public schools to be good.
I love the way Earnest ends this conversation – by talking about our shared “basic values.” As if Josh Earnest or President Obama had any concern about the basic values of the American people. Our most basic values all start and end in the home with family. The president and his government schools are not the arbiters of American values, they are simply a cog in the wheel of American life. This entire debate that the President has initiated is exactly the problem with modern liberal politics today. They’ve forgotten what America really is. America isn’t about public programs and collectivism. America is about responsibility, liberty and the freedom to choose our own destiny … even if the government doesn’t like it.
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