Can’t Leftists Argue with Civility?

One could point to countless examples of leftists’ tendency to impugn their opponents’ motives. Here’s a recent one. Cato’s Neal McClusky writes here about a debate he participated in at Hofstra over the issue of federal student aid. Neal argued that federal aid has proven to be counterproductive, but another participant, law blogger Elie Mystal, characterized his view as, shall we say, insensitive to the needs of the poor. (For the actual language he used, read the piece.)

The facts about federal student aid are that it contributes to the ever-rising cost of college and that it leads, by luring far larger numbers of young people than will ever find jobs that really call for advanced education, to credential inflation. Put those things together and we have a system that is injurious to students from poor backgrounds who would actually gain in human capital from going to college (because it costs far more than it should) and even more injurious to people from poor backgrounds, who, owing to credential inflation, are shut out from decent work they could learn but aren’t allowed to try for because they can’t get the expensive credential.

Make that argument to a leftist and what’s the response? That you just want to **** the poor.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. He holds a B.A. from Carroll College (Waukesha, Wis.) and a J.D. from ...

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