I was talking earlier about the anti-Obama / anti-government video making its way around the internet, where some out-of-the-blue comedian, Tim Hawkins, does a parody of Sammy Davis Junior’s 1972 hit, “Candy Man”. (“The Candy Man can!”)
Tim Hawkins changes this into “The Government Can!”. Except it’s a load of crap about how the government is taking 100% of your money and you aren’t getting anything for it, and then being told to shut up and like it while they spend it on environmental issues or “free college!” Please.
If Tim Hawkins knew anything, he’d know that most of the major colleges in the South and West were set up with free money from the Federal Government.
This was done starting in 1862, through something called the Morrill Land Grant College Act. The Morrill in question was Senator Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont (a Northern state).
This is the Senator more responsible for securing free college for thousands and thousands of young college students from the South and West than maybe anybody else. And yet is there any appreciation? No.
If you don’t want to read about it on the Wiki, the basic facts are these.
Republicans during the Lincoln Adminstration (1861-1865) saw a value to providing cheap (i.e. inexpensive) higher education to the masses for the purpose of promoting agriculture and industry. Something they associated with “internal improvements”—that was the buzzword of the day. (Now, we say “invest in education”.)
So Morrill sponsored a bill that would have federal land in every state set aside to endow a college. If the state didn’t have enough of the right land, they were issued a right to acquire land in another state and use the proceeds to endow their college.
Originally, the South was excluded from the program because they were in open rebellion with the real United States. But after the war, they were also let into the program.
The total amount of land given away by the feds in 1862 was $7.5 million. This was the initial endowment. If you put a 7% annual return on that, which is not unreasonable for an endowment, in 2009 money that’s $157 billion. Billion with “B”. They obviously had to use some of that money over the years to get a college going and pay instructors. But the point is, it was “free college”.
“Hey, you want free college, Southern boy? Well, here’s the guvvvv-er-mennnnnnt to get it for you!” Like that.
Of course, with these ingrates, along the way they forgot who punched their meal ticket for them. And decided to make a stink about a later Morrill-style federal program, the Higher Education Act of 1965, the one that has been providing the bulk of the federal student loans.
The Southerners decided to screw around with this federal act because most Northern colleges (which weren’t Land Grant) charge a higher tuition than the Land Grant ones. The bottom line was that the North had excellent universities before the government ever got in the business, but the South (and West) didn’t. So you have to pay to access these in the North, and the HEA-type loans helped out.
It’s the same principle as how the South got a benefit, but the North for some reason is expected to return the principal over time.
Even though the South is generally thieving and conniving in our history, the South also seems to honor stupidity—a lack of knowlege. It’s not just the conniving part that grates, bit the deliberate stupidity, the deliberate refusal to take a fact for what it is.
But that doesn’t mean people in the North have to be too.