In 2014 I wrote this upon the occasion of Germany eliminating college tuition:
My reaction to the parts of Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko”, where he shows how other countries provide universal healthcare to their citizens as a right, was disgust and the realization that Americans are suckers. We’re being screwed by our government and the assumptions that we live with that we’re all on our own and our government is not really there to help the individual succeed, no less thrive. Germany, and other Western countries, have a different view of government. Which is odd because many of them got their constitutions from ours, but their interpretation of it is 180 degrees different from our Supreme Court and the traditional pre-New Deal 19th century understanding that stubbornly persists today.
One of the Polislice progeny applied to a psychology program at one of those universities that involve flaura that climb up their ancient walls. He got in. He’s become very interested in exploring the subject and he earned his way in (maazel tov!) and that’s a lovely, lovely thing!
However, said program costs $50,000.
He doesn’t necessarily want to be a psychologist. He already has a calling in music. He’s just fascinated by the subject and wants to explore it. No job at the end of it is guaranteed to justify it. (Although that’s also true for the people who DO want to pursue it as a profession, isn’t it?) So a loan is impractical.
In Europe what would it cost? In some countries nothing, in others a nominal fee, nothing prohibitive. But here in exceptional America, if you have a curiosity to study something, a desire to learn at the highest levels, even if you are accepted you still may not be able to swing it because of the outrageous cost of attending such prestigious university that, by the way has a billion dollar endowment and owns huge swaths of uptown Manhattan.
It just sucks to be hindered from exploring every intellectual, avocational or professional avenue – by money! Such hindrance does not exist for the 1 percenters out there. Just the rest of us. “Hey state university for you, pal!”
Meritocracy my ass.
We are still suckers and will be for the foreseeable future.