Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Transcript - If you’re going to use public funds at all, you give the public fund to the individual and let them choose. If I give it to you and you choose to go to whatever university you choose, or let’s say we go back to my proposition of earlier and you choose to use it to go purchase medical services. It is the direction of the public funds, to me, that is the flaw in the central planning. I’m still not a fan of it, but if you have to do it, you give it to the individual. When they’ve used it, that’s it, they don’t get any more. Check out the rest in today's transcript..
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
AG: However, I do see a problem that once an institution or business or school takes public funding or uses public dollars in any manner, you kind of give up the right to be discriminatory in your tradition or practices. If you want to stay private, you should have every right to do that. Once you give that up, I think you are treading in unsafe water in trying to be discriminatory. I don’t know if Paul would agree with that, but that’s where the discussion moved, then into military service and women on the frontlines.
Mike: I brought up that the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel were both fine, all-male organizations and institutions. There was a tradition derived from first principles from the citizen soldier that was the Roman. That is the tradition. The Citadel and VMI were great examples of that and they preserved the tradition. It may be that some students may use some public funds to get into the Citadel or into VMI. I have a different point of view than you, though.
Number one, I would discourage the use of public funds to start with. If you did have a use of public funds, you’ve got to remember, and this is part of the historical record, Thomas Jefferson believed, in the later part of his life, that there was a role for public education, but he did not believe in universal, everything is equal public education. What he meant and what he sought to establish in the University of Virginia was a university partially funded by the state and provided that entry for young men to continue their higher educations, where they may not have been able to before because of the station in life they were born into. Jefferson did not view the public education in the way we think of it, that it is compulsory, mandatory, has to happen and your kid has to go to it and all the other things we have with truancy here today.
My point yesterday was that institutions can be preserved with some public money if they carry on traditions that are beneficial to society. That’s why I said it is undeniable that the militia of Virginia benefited from Virginia Military Institute. It is undeniable that the militia of South Carolina benefited from the Citadel. Just as I would say it is undeniable that the next generation of mothers benefited tremendously from a proper liberal arts education at the formerly all-girl school Wellesley.
To me, the argument is one of preserving the institution. The public dollar can be used in any institution. Here’s the problem, to attach the change and the demand, as you just put it, that if you’re going to accept this public dollar you have to accept our terms and conditions, then you’re not using the public dollar in the Jeffersonian sense of the word, which is to support something that is part of a tradition and is something that preserves something good for the entire society or civilization.
AG: Could the government put restrictions on the use of the dollars. If they were to say, “Hey, Citadel, we’ll give you these tax breaks, but to get that comes these restrictions,” can they make the contract that way?
Mike: Again, I would discourage against the use of the public dollars to start with. Let’s say there’s some miracle and we’re able to form eight different confederations in this United States and the standing army we have is a thing of the past. Each state is once again responsible for first response inside its own state with the militia. To me, it’s not even arguable whether or not a public good is derived from training the militia and militia officers at a state-run institution. That is not a function of the free market. We don’t want mercenaries. We don’t want to hire an army, which the anarchocapitalist crowd is -- I don’t want to hire an army. I want an army of the citizen soldier. Could public funds be used for that end? Absolutely.
The other thing I would say, if you’re going to use public funds at all, is you give the public fund to the individual and let them choose. If I give it to you and you choose to go to whatever university you choose, or let’s say we go back to my proposition of earlier and you choose to use it to go purchase medical services. It is the direction of the public funds, to me, that is the flaw in the central planning. I’m still not a fan of it, but if you have to do it, you give it to the individual. When they’ve used it, that’s it, they don’t get any more.
AG: Is that the argument for charter schools and school choice?
AG: Is it similar?
Mike: I think it is a similar argument. I believe ultimately that if the Louisiana experiment carries through, we will someday come to the realization that it is futile to have these things called public schools and they will end. To me, that is a goal that we should all be marching to.
End Mike Church Show Transcript