Using Federal Subsidies To Fund Higher Education Is Not A Good Idea Remarks prepared by Dr. John A. Howard, President of Rockford College, for delivery at the Illini Union Great Debate Forum Wednesday, April 3, 1963. It is remarkable how swiftly history is moving in our time and how rapidly the tides of opinion can reverse themselves. Fourteen years ago
The mere flow of Federal money has silenced the opposition….Is it possible that all faculty members in that day will feel some obligation to vote for whichever party promises the largest amount of additional educational subsidies regardless of other partisan differences?…Money is a good servant but a dangerous master.
The regulated society on the other hand may shield each person against his own and others’ failings, but it circumscribes his creative impulses and represses such characteristics as responsibility, initiative, and integrity. The free society is predicated on the predominance of the affirmative qualities in man’s nature. Its byword is opportunity. The controlled society, even in its best form, assumes the ascendancy of man’s baser motives. Its byword is protection. Unfettered opportunity or protection — they do not lie in the same direction. When we move toward one, we depart from the other.
The educational system prefabricates the national mind and spirit; it forms political and economic attitudes; it either fosters or smothers such personal qualities as initiative, courage, self reliance, pride, patriotism, and resilience.
In effect the bill discriminates against church related colleges and universities. How ironic that this pending legislation, so often claimed as a great boon to higher education, should downgrade the efforts of some institutions to act upon what is probably our greatest national need – a spiritual search that will lead the individual citizen to a philosophy of life that girds him with courage, confidence, serenity and a sense of human fulfillment in this new age of human doubt amid the eternal atomic fear. Harold Blake Walker has observed that America has mistaken a standard of living for the purpose of life. The proposed legislation will tend to confirm and perpetuate that grievous national pattern of values and may well lead us into America’s great educational leap backwards. Church and State have been proclaimed forever separate in our nation. As State involves itself in education, Church and Religion must be withdrawn.
The two groups within the free nations are identifiable by the philosophy of government to which they adhere. One believes that the unit of society, i.e. the nation, has become so large, so complex and the parts so intricately and intimately interrelated that the decisions pertaining to the various aspects of our living together must be made, and the programs determined, administered and paid for by a strong centralized government. I am confident that the vast majority of people who hold this view are honest, patriotic, thoughtful citizens who earnestly desire to maintain and advance in the United States as elsewhere a strong, dynamic society in which people may live in peace and prosperity.
The other group believes, with equal conviction and equal integrity that our society can only remain vigorous and can only be successful in meeting the same objectives if individuals are granted the largest possible measure of freedom and self-reliance in making decisions and in carrying them out, and if the functions which are assigned by the people to the government are carried on at the lowest effective level of government where the govern mental officers are closest to the people they represent and the problems they are responsible for resolving.