Government Education Or Learn A Trade?

16 August 2004

Screw everyone but the Amish
By Craig J. Cantoni
August 10, 2004

How does the government recognize and reward citizens who are model parents, spouses and citizens? It screws them.

For example, the government screws all of the many Americans who believe that they have a responsibility to themselves, their families and society to live below their means and save for retirement so that they don’t become a burden on anyone else or society. It also screws all of the many Americans who believe that they have a responsibility to take care of their elderly parents if they can no longer take care of themselves. And it screws all of the many Americans who believe that it is their responsibility to see that their children are educated, just as they believe it is their responsibility to see that they are fed, sheltered and clothed.

How does the government screw them?

By forcing them to participate in the Ponzi schemes of Social Security and Medicare, and to follow laws and regulations regarding K-12 education that harm their children. In essence, the government says, ”To recognize and reward you for being responsible citizens, we’re going to take your money, put it in the collective, and then pretend to be magnanimous by doing less for you than what you would have done for yourself with the same money.”

I exaggerate. The government doesn’t screw all of the many Americans who take responsibility for their own retirement, health care and education. An exception is the self-employed Amish, who are excluded from paying into, and participating in, Social Security and Medicare. The Amish also are allowed to educate their children for only eight years in one-room Amish schoolhouses, where the children are taught by Amish teachers who have only eight years of schooling and are not state certified teachers or members of a leftist teacher union. Interestingly, the students usually perform better than local public school students on standardized tests. And they certainly ”outperform” public schoolers in values and skills not taught in public school.

Why does the government engage in a double standard and screw all responsible Americans but the Amish? Because of convoluted logic.

The Amish are excluded from Social Security and Medicare due to the IRS deciding that since they take care of their own, the Amish don’t need the help of the state. And they are excluded from compulsory high school and other education regulations due to the Supreme Court deciding in 1972 that since they train their children to be homemakers, farmers and craftsmen, the Amish don’t need to attend high school.

These decisions are not convoluted, for it is entirely logical for the government to exclude people and groups from the coercion of the collective who take care of their own and teach their children to lead productive lives. However, it is illogical for the government to let the Amish escape from coerced collectivism but not all of the other people who take care of their own and teach their children to lead productive lives.

After all, there are plenty of non-Amish individuals, religions and organizations that take care of their own and teach their own, albeit far fewer than there used to be before the government began doing what people used to do for themselves.

Before the advent of the New Deal, the War on Poverty, the Great Society and compassionate conservatism, almost all Americans took care of themselves or were helped by neighbors, churches and mutual aid societies. After the advent of these programs, about 40 percent of Americans have become dependent on the government, with such dire consequences for society as skyrocketing numbers of out-of-wedlock births, single-parent families, obese ”poor” people, and other social pathologies. Now, because of our munificent government, Americans are immorally sending $40 trillion in unpaid entitlement bills to future generations instead of taking care of themselves and their children. Screwing other people has become a national pastime, thanks to the government being a role model for screwing.

In 1900, transfer payments were only two percent of government spending. Today, because of entitlements and welfare, transfer payments are 40 percent of government spending and growing. These payments do not include the $500 billion spent on public education, much of which is transferred from people without kids in public school to people with kids in public school.

Contrary to what Americans have been led to believe, all Americans do not need four years of high school to be productive members of society and support themselves and their families. Like the Amish, there are many young people who don’t plan on attending college, who don’t need algebra and science, and who would be better off skipping high school and learning a trade or taking the $40,000 that a high school education costs and starting a business.

Is it better for someone to graduate from high school and work in a call center, or for someone to skip high school and learn a trade or start a business? Judging from the intelligence, skills, hard work and business savvy of the Amish I visited this summer, that question isn’t as black and white as the government and the education establishment want us to believe.

But to the government, one size fits all. Thus, other than the Amish, it screws all Americans equally through coercive collectivism, whether or not they deserve to be screwed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of being screwed.

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Mr. Cantoni is an author, columnist and founder of Honest Americans Against Legal Theft (HAALT). He can be reached at

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