I spent yesterday thinking about why the “Occupy Wall Street” protests bother me: I usually don’t care about protests as long as they stay non-violent on both sides. At some point I realized why I was so bothered: it’s the myth of “all people being born equal”. While there is a tad bit of truth (everybody is born naked, covered in junk and (hopefully) crying, after that, nothing is ever again equal until the final resting place of the body. Every thing between is a combination of luck (as most of us railed at some point, we didn’t ask to be born or pick our families), fortune and effort.
For some reason, most people believe the idea of equality. Ok, let me say this. I don’t. Equality is a myth. We all do not posses equal talents (if we did, would there be awe in the innate talents of some people?). Where are we failing as a society? Has anybody ever seen a kid’s baseball game where all the kids play? There is something for having every kid have an at bat and in the field but learning that as a person you are not good at something is, I would argue, is one of the more important lessons of childhood. There is failure when there is failure of effort: NOT failure of skill (I’m speaking about children than people like, oh heart surgeons).
The ideal of a utopia is just that: an ideal. Can the world be made more equitable? Yes. But don’t for a minute think we are all equal: we are all unique and with different opportunities. Our goal should be to maximize the potential.
But on the student loan side: here is a simple solution. Before being allowed to take out a student loan, parents and students need to take a course demonstrating where they have to pass a test understanding the loan repayment and the needed income (net) to repay, rent a home within a 10 mile radius of the 5 most populated areas for alumni and receive information on the average monthly loan re-payment for graduates in the past 10 years. Right now, students have to show they know the ‘evils’ of alcohol before enrolling at schools such as the University of South Carolina and Texas Tech. How about mandating a valuable skill before handing over the fees?