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The kingdom of heaven vs. the fiefdom of man

"The kingdom of heaven vs. the fiefdom of man" Continued...

Issue: "A warmer Chile," Nov. 9, 2002

As municipal school leaders complain about students, so private school leaders complain about governmental education officials-but students can change, and bureaucracies rarely do. Heard repeatedly: The government doesn't have good standards, just bureaucratic content requirements. The government gives free books, but they are at times politically loaded, and in small municipal schools government is god and a book from the government is treated like a saint. Since parents do not receive the vouchers directly, they feel that education is free and they don't have a right to ask for something different. Government officials say they want only a minimum curriculum under their direction, but their minimum may not allow time for anything else.

But back to the municipal school in Buin: It is owned by "the people," but the people do not seem pleased by it. "Last week we had people cleaning all our roofs," Mr. Quiroz said. "During the weekend people came here and threw more stones on the roof." Mrs. Milevsic smiled sadly upon hearing that and said, regarding the Fundación Miguel Kast building, "The best sign of what we're doing with people here is that they do not destroy the place. We don't have guards and night watchmen, for the community sees the place is for them." She added, "In government programs, no one has ownership. But a private program is like our houses. We take care of our houses."

In a sense, those center-left government slogans-ASI CRECE DE CHILE 2002-2006 ("Chile grows up like this with you")-are an attempt to make Chileans think that the government's house is their house, the government's office is their office. But few are readily fooled: The office is that of the person who sits in it. Salvador Allende three decades ago deliberately said that the government's house was no longer for the middle class or the affluent: "I am not the president of all Chileans." Since, in Allende's Marxist faith, "the existence of classes and social sectors with antagonistic and opposing interests" is irrefutable, he declared that the government's house was now owned by the working class. Allende and his associates would now take care of it, and anyone who threw stones on the roof would be shot. Furthermore, he deemed a fool anyone who thought that rich and poor actually needed each other, could help each other, and could visit each other in their own houses.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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