September 03, 2007

In April of 1990 I visited Sverdlovsk, now Yekaterinburg, where the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed by the Communists. My colleagues and I created a school for Boris Yeltsin and his people, teaching them how to win elections.  The director of the school requested that I return for a few weeks sometime during the year to teach his students how we govern. The director’s intelligence was superb. He had learned that I liked trains and had arranged for me to ride trains throughout the Soviet Union. As I quickly imagined being arrested in a remote rural town, I declined.

I asked what they taught at their school. He stated that they prepare young citizens for civil service jobs within the government. He mentioned that a person can opt out of military service if he enrolled in the program. That idea stuck in my head throughout the years. I thought it was a uniquely Soviet way of thinking. I checked with some Eastern Bloc nations and they had no such program.

I did not hear of such a proposal again until Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) proposed the same idea for the United States. Senator Clinton stated, similar to military academies, we need to provide an all-paid education for young men and women who would serve their country in a public-service position.

I asked the director of the Soviet school what was taught there. He told me the curriculum supported the government. How much do you want to bet that any such academy would re-enforce the Administration’s position on universal health care, raising taxes and so on? Surely, I never would be invited to lecture on how to promote individual freedom. I am sure that Arthur Laffer would never teach the Laffer Curve at such academies. The Laffer Curve demonstrates that, up to a point, the more taxes cut the more revenue is generated for government. Do you think someone from the Chamber of Commerce would be asked to lecture on deregulation business? Anyone of a conservative viewpoint would be excluded from the schools. As the director of that Soviet school said, the academies supported the government.

There are now thousands of bureaucrats on the government payroll who produce very little. According to Clinton the baby-boomers are retiring, we must train people to take their place. Why? We managed just fine for more than 200 years without academies to train bureaucrats. Clinton already has offered a bill to create the United States Public Service Academy. A Democratic Congress would pass such a bill.

The fact is such an academy or academies would serve Clinton. Somewhat as the school in Sverdlovsk (named after the first Secretary of the Communist Party) served the government, this measure would serve her.

We continue to move further to the left. One reason is that there is no conservative to stop the leftists. Surely a Presidential candidate could say something about this travesty. Or are they, as Newt Gingrich suggested, pygmies?

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.


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