Citizens across Idaho are facing upcoming votes to address proposed bonds, most of them school bonds. We have been impressed with the amount of public discourse around these, and specifically with some who have clearly thought it through, crunched numbers, and so forth, but what we have not
been impressed with, however, is the lack of discussion about principles
. This is actually the only discussion that needs to be had, since a proposition that clearly violates true principles is not a proposal to be taken seriously.
To begin with, we must clearly understand that voting in a bond means going into debt and paying it back through future taxation. Those are two enormous red flags right out of the gate. On the Dave Ramsey website, we read
What’s the legal definition of debt?
“Debt is a financial liability or obligation owed by one person, the debtor, to another, the creditor.” In other words, debt is when someone borrows money (a debtor) and is responsible for paying back the person or company who loaned them that money (the creditor or lender).
As we mentioned, in the case of bonds, the repayment comes in the form of future taxation. This is nefarious in several ways. One could easily vote in a bond and then move out of the area, thereby using the force of law to commit someone else to pay off the debt. The rising generation that becomes old enough to pay taxes also gets saddled with debt they had no say in. This is immoral. Others are also unfairly saddled with debts earmarked for public schools, including those who homeschool, or who have no children in school.
For homeschooling parents, the injustice is multiplied by the fact that they are forced to help pay for a service they do not use, and that spends wastefully its ever-increasing budget, while they themselves give their children an inarguably better education at a mere fraction of the cost.
"But education! We have to have schools! If we don't force everyone to pay for public schools, kids will be dumb because there is nowhere else on planet Earth where anyone could possibly get an education! Won't somebody think of the children?!?"
These are the types of comments that get thrown around when you start advocating true principles. You will notice that they boil down to the following:
- "My way is the best and only way!" This is clearly a falsehood. In our day, there are innumerable ways to get an education. Apprenticeship is one way into a lucrative career, and requires little to no money down. Oh! Ever heard of the internet? It's this neat place where you can literally learn anything for nothing or next to nothing. Colleges and kind people offer free or inexpensive courses and materials. There are low-fee things like coding boot camps, and master courses. The real problem these people have with this approach? There is no one to force things like critical race theory and gay porn on your kindergartener.
- "Everyone else has to pay for what I want! Especially since it is in the "public's best interest!"" This is one of the underlying principles of Socialism, and quite clearly violates the Constitution, no matter who espouses it. (Looking at you, every president of the United States for the past 90 years…)
[N]ow we come to the moment of truth. Suppose pioneer “A” wants another horse for his wagon, He doesn’t have the money to buy one, but since pioneer “B” has an extra horse, he decides that he is entitled to share in his neighbor’s good fortune, Is he entitled to take his neighbor’s horse? Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question. But so long as pioneer “B” wishes to keep his property, pioneer “A” has no just claim to it.
If “A” has no proper power to take “B’s” property, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. Even if everyone in the community desires that “B” give his extra horse to “A”, they have no right individually or collectively to force him to do it. They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have. This important principle was clearly understood and explained by John Locke nearly 300 years ago:
“For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life or property of another.”
This leads us to the correct approach to anything one might feel inclined to make everyone else pay for: "If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question."
In other words, when you want a new school building, you start collecting funds from those who want it, and are willing and able to pitch in. When you have enough money, you pay for it! That's it!
On the website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we read
Since the early days of the Church, the Lord’s prophets have repeatedly warned against the bondage of debt… Discipline yourself in your purchases, avoiding debt to the extent you can. In most cases, you can avoid debt by managing your resources wisely.
Can we not, as the Church itself exemplifies, save up the money and spend it when we have it? Would that not be wisdom?
Last year, Defending Idaho published a resource page on Education
that pointed out the following:
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have no excuse when it comes to public education. They were warned and forewarned by their leaders for decades to send their children to faithful teachers, and not people of the world, and that they should pay for their children's tuitions themselves. Why? They gave six reasons:
1. Taxes were not necessary… Brigham Young said to a group of parents, “Do not say you cannot school them, for you can. There is not a family in this community but we will take and school their children if they are not able to do it themselves.”
2. Taxing took away the opportunity of freely giving and, consequently, its attendant blessings.
3. Taxes create both waste and abuse.
4. Those disbursing taxes often assume undue authority to enforce compliance to additional or unrelated regulations.
5. Taxes foster indolence and recipients of public tax money frequently demonstrate dependency upon the state.
6. Parents and local community members have greater interest in their children and in their educational situation than does the government. Somewhat intertwined with the fourth principle, it is known that the closer parents are to the education of their children, the more viable and important it becomes.
Think of the wisdom in each of these statements. #6 alone would have kept trash like critical race theory out of our schools from the beginning!
Now, go forth and vote, applying true principles at every turn, and you will find yourself freer by the year! As a rule, always vote no on higher taxes, including bonds, even when they are for "good" things. True principles demand it!
Debt. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/debt?lang=eng, accessed 2022-02-17.
Education. Defending Idaho, https://defendingidaho.org/education, accessed 2022-02-17.
The Proper Role Of Government. Latter-day Conservative, https://www.latterdayconservative.com/ezra-taft-benson/the-proper-role-of-government/, accessed 2022-02-17.
What Is Debt? Ramsey Solutions, https://www.ramseysolutions.com/debt/debt-definition, accessed 2022-02-17.