The HEA Drug Provision denies federal financial assistance to any student with a drug conviction, even for simple marijuana possession. Since taking effect in 1998, over 160,500 students have had their aid denied or delayed as a result of this law, and countless others have simply failed to apply for aid because of their convictions. At the same time, it is illegal to deny financial aid based on any other criminal conviction, including murder, rape, or aggravated assault.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What the hell is the thinking behind this? Worse, from what I have been reading lately, there are lots of other instances where we treat minor drug users far worse than we treat rapists, murderers, and pedophiles. Where's the moral outrage of the religious right when you really need it? Oh, that's right, they're too busy assailing the dangers of gay marriage.
Why are drugs illegal in the first place? And I'm asking as someone who's never done a single drug and never will. I just don't see why I should give a shit if anyone else does. Why can't we treat drugs like alcohol? As long as you don't endanger anyone else or disturb the peace, go ahead and riddle your body with holes. But don't come crying to me for help when you're unemployable or burdened with astronomical health bills. We all make choices in life, some better than others, and we need to be made to accept the consequences of our actions.
On a related note, as ridiculous as I think it is that we deny financial aide to drug users but not rapists, I think we ought to scrap the entire aid system altogether. And this is coming from someone who has a great many student loans to pay back, so I recognize I'm on shaky ground here. But doesn't the vast array of student aid available just raise the price of education? Without aid, Jimmy might not be able to afford Harvard, but since when was Harvard an inalienable right? Let Jimmy band together with all his buddies and work his way through school--maybe starting at a community college. I know I could have gotten by without the aid--but it was there, so I took it. As long as there's a need for education, there'll be institutions ready and willing to meet that need--for a price. Different prices for different people. And there'll always be private scholarships to ensure that those who've worked their asses off can get the higher education they deserve. Bottom line is there's nothing government can due that the private sector can't do better. And the sooner we get government out of the business of our lives, the sooner we can get it to stop moralizing and dictating how we should live our lives. Freedom isn't freedom if you have to trust your government to give it to you.
Well, this isn't turning out to be all that coherent, so I'm going to end it now.