More on Privatizing Public Libraries

Both pro and con.

8 Responses to “More on Privatizing Public Libraries”

  1. joshua m. neff
    October 5, 2007 at 10:35 pm #

    I seriously don’t understand fiscal Libertarians who think things like libraries, education, and health care should be completely privatized. It makes no sense to me, and I find arguments for that position to be logically unsound.

  2. Mike Z
    October 7, 2007 at 11:03 am #

    Health care WAS private until he 1980’s. That is when the cost skyrocketed and the quality started going down.

    Private schools have a better record of teaching than government indoctrination centers (public schools) at less than half the cost on average.

    Benjamin Franklin started the first lending library in the US. You took a book and paid a fee. When you return it you get part of the fee back. Rental centers have been doing this with other things, how is this different?

    Logically, it is the most sound way to do it. If you will get part of your money back when you return it, there is a much greater reason to return it on time. If you don’t return it, you bought it.

    Or set it up like Blockbuster Video. Buy a membership and they know where to go if you don’t return it.

  3. joshua m. neff
    October 8, 2007 at 10:40 am #

    Rental centers have been doing this with other things, how is this different?

    Because the point of having public libraries with open stacks is to give all citizens, regardless of how much money they have, access to information on their terms. Just as the point of having free, public education is to give all citizens, regardless of income, access to a basic education. Now, the quality of public education does vary, often depending on the income level of the community, and I think that’s a real problem (although not a problem that is solved by private education). But if you don’t think all citizens, regardless of what they personally can afford to pay, should have access to education and information (and quality roads, police service, firefighters, garbage disposal, and health care), then, frankly, I think that’s insanely selfish, turning your back on society as a community that works together for the benefit of all citizens. I think it’s to your benefit and mine to live in a society where all citizens are freely informed, educated, healthy, housed, fed, employed, and protected.

  4. John
    October 8, 2007 at 5:31 pm #

    But if you don’t think all citizens, regardless of what they personally can afford to pay, should have access to education and information (and quality roads, police service, firefighters, garbage disposal, and health care), then, frankly, I think that’s insanely selfish, turning your back on society as a community that works together for the benefit of all citizens.

    Forced charity is no charity at all. People should not be selfish; they should give to those in need. But no one is generous by reaching into another person’s pocket.

  5. John
    October 8, 2007 at 5:36 pm #

    free, public education is to give all citizens

    freely informed, educated, healthy, housed, fed, employed, and protected

    What an interesting use of the word “free”. None of it is free. As I argued in my post, taxpayers paid for every penny of every public library and school.

  6. joshua m. neff
    October 8, 2007 at 7:05 pm #

    “Free” as in “I don’t have to write a check or put cash in someone’s hand directly.” Yes, it’s paid for by taxes. Taxes are your price for living in a community. If you want to take advantage of being in a community–paved roads, police protection, fires put out–then you pay taxes. If my taxes go towards providing public libraries for all members of a community, regardless of how much money each person has, then I am happy to pay taxes. If my taxes go towards all children in a community having access to education without people having to write a check to the school each month, then I’m happy to pay taxes. If my taxes mean I can call 911 and get the fire department to put out my house if it catches fire, regardless of what I have in my wallet, then I’m happy to pay taxes. That’s what being part of a community means.

  7. joshua m. neff
    October 8, 2007 at 7:52 pm #

    But I can’t see any point in continuing to argue about this (and clutter up Steven’s blog with our comments). It’s pretty obvious you and I are coming from two very different points of view, two very different value systems. Your certainly not going to convince me that public libraries (or education, health, or whatever) shouldn’t be public, paid for by taxes.

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