Daniel’s article “The Entitlement Mentality in Academia” analyzes the outrage of certain professors at cuts to their departments in 2010, despite the obviously strained economic circumstances of their universities. This mentality does not stop at faculty: on Wednesday night in Montreal, the two-month-long student protests over rising tuition turned violent once again.
The government wants to raise fees by about $325 a year for five years. In response, three major student groups have held a strike since February. Negotiations between them and the Quebec government were to be held on Wednesday night. But the Quebec government refused to meet with the most militant group, CLASSE. All talks then broke down. Thousands of students marched on the streets again.
Then the usual story repeats itself. A few protestors smash bank windows, destroy cars, and throw chips of pavement at cops. The police disperse the entire crowd with tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets. Whoever wins each night’s exchange, the neighbourhood home and business owners suffer.
But “society” owes these students an education, so the price they make others pay must be worth it, no matter how burdened private citizens already are by taxation, regulation, and a crumbling economy.
The protestors deny the existence of economic law, believing that any hike in costs can be paid for by taxing the rich. CLASSE has even declared that post-secondary education should be absolutely free for everyone. They must think the capitalists have an infinite supply of money (and nowhere to run); but the well is running dry.
Shattered windows and thrown rocks, tear gas and rubber bullets. This is what happens when the state tries to raise university tuition by $325 a year. What’s going to happen when it finally admits it can’t afford all the pensions and health care it’s promised us?
Whether the expansionist Quebec government and the socialist CLASSE protestors exchange demands in a boardroom or projectiles in the streets, they are both vultures fighting over the prostrate, exhausted body of Western capitalism. Nothing good can come of this struggle unless the great animal shakes them off and rises again.