What they have to offer is violence and lawlessness. Which is what this is about. It isn’t about the poor: the enriched bursaries that accompany the fee increase ensure nobody on low income would pay another nickel. It isn’t about accessibility: a smaller proportion of Quebecers attend university than elsewhere in the country, notwithstanding fees that are a fraction of the national average. It isn’t even about students, really, two-thirds of whom are not participating.Let's not forget that Canadian tuition subsidies are largely a transfer to the upper middle class. The Quebec thugs are rioting not for the poor but for a transfer to themselves.
Rather, it is about how we distribute resources in a society.
A civilized society distributes resources in two ways. One is through the market, based on mutually beneficial exchange. The other is through the state, based on need: the only moral basis of redistribution.But the coercive power of the state is all too easily diverted into other, less savoury schemes of redistribution: on the one hand, by lobbying, connections or outright bribes; on the other hand, by threats, whether of the lawful, pressure-group kind, or the unlawful, violence-and-mayhem kind. In either case the aim is the same: to enlist the state to extract from others what we could not persuade them to give us freely. This has nothing to do with need, and everything to do with raw power.
Friday, 11 May 2012
Quebec student thugs
Andrew Coyne takes on the Quebec student thugs who have been rioting against tuition increases.