When you support levies citizens benefit, not parasites
By Dwayne Liles

There are many signs out asking for support of candidates or programs. There is one with the buzz words: "overtaxed" "vote no on levies." "stopschoollevies.org." I understand the concern about taxes, but an anti-school Web site?

The site has links to home-schooling resources. There are also pictures of Dr. Johnston with the signs. You may not know he is running for state representative. The site is not just against school levies but fire levies and operational levies for villages, the senior center, Starlight programs and mental health.

The site opens with "The parasites are lurching for our jugulars again." The definition is given as a person who takes but gives nothing of value in return. Who is Dr. Johnston calling a parasite? The employees who work for or the people who receive services from these agencies. When do they become a parasite? Is the fire department only of value when your property catches on fire? There are statements about people raiding his wallet and stealing money.

No one really wants to pay more taxes and the people who work at the agencies are not exempt. The agencies are facing cutbacks and higher medical and transportation costs. Dr. Johnston is allowed to home school his children because of his beliefs. He chooses to use his time and money to undermine public education and services. Not everyone is as blessed as the doctor and his wife, who can teach their healthy children in a $500,000 house.

As for myself, I do not like being compared to a parasite or being accused of being a thief. I am not sure who appointed Dr. Johnston as the judge of a person's value in life. Maybe if you see him in a homecoming or holiday parade, you can ask him how he judged your life. Remember when you vote to support a levy it is not for parasites but citizens.

Dwayne Liles


Dr. Johnston responds:
Dwayne's letter to the editor is in response to a letter I wrote wherein I referred to the recipients of the levy as "parasites." (http://www.stopschoollevies.org/bloodsuckers.html)

Think about what a parasite is. A parasite is an organism that attaches to you and consumes your resources to survive. It cannot live without acquiring its nourishment from another being involuntarily. A parasite takes from you something to which you would not give willingly. If the various levy proponents don't want to be known as "parasites" by overtaxed Ohioans, then perhaps they should trying to use the confiscatory and prosecutorial power of the government to take money from us that we would not give willingly. If you want to give more money to your school district, you are free to do so. I think that parents should spend more - not less - of their resources on the education of their children. But to force, upon pain of fine or imprisonment, other overtaxed citizens to give to the government-controlled public education monopoly when those citizens would not give willingly is very parasitic indeed!

Of course not all of the beneficiaries of these levies are parasitic - no, not at all. But the bureaucracies are. And that overtaxed Ohioans consider these levy proponents to be "parasitic" in their lust for more of our dwindling wealth is not to say that the parasites provide nothing of value, but that it is not as valuable as they think. Zanesville's cost to educate one child per year is twice that of private schools in Ohio. Do you think that if you could send your child and your money to the school of your choice, would you spend $9200 a year to send them to Zanesville city schools or half that to send them to the intellectually and morally superior private schools? Do you think that Zanesville's system, exposed to free-market competition, would get more efficient, that the intellectual profiency of the students would improve, and the "skill gap" in our workforce would dwindle? You bet it would! Competition makes for better burgers, better building, better beauticians, and it will make for a better education for our children.

We need to resurrect the Reaganesque brand of Republicanism that wanted to defund and disband the N.E.A. and the Department of Education. Do you think that Reagan wanted to do that because he hated kids and wanted them to fail in life? No way! He realized what few of us realize today, that a billion-dollar government bureaucracy, self-serving, bloated, and inefficient, is one of the worst ways, morally and intellectually, to educate our nation's children! We had a 97% literacy rate before the inception of public education in our country, through church and home education, without a multi-billion dollar bureaucracy.

Moreover, with a separation of school and state you'd silence the objection of those who'd appeal to the separation of school and state to prevent the Christian worldview of the parents to be represented in the education they're paying for their children. For almost the first two hundred years of our nation's history, Christian prayers were prayed and the Bible was taught as factual by public school teachers. As long as public schools teach that sexual sin can be "safe sex" with a condom, pass out contraception, justify homosexual acts, and teach atheistic theories for the origin of life, Christians have no business paying for it. Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." Is that really such a radical statement? If not, why can't we apply it to the public shool system?

Even George Bush in his first presidential election campaign called for more "School choice" (though he betrayed his campaign principles with his subsequent increase in the size and scope of the educational bureaucracy). The present Speaker of the House in Columbus is a strong proponent of school choice. It's the right remedy for the moral and intellectual quagmire that is our government-controlled educational monopoly. If the bureaucracies would not make enough money to function from voluntary gifts from free Ohioans and from charges to the recipients of their services, if they could not compete in a level playing field with their privately run counterparts, then maybe their bureaucracy isn't worth as much to the public as they think. Maybe the levy's not "for the kids" after all - maybe its for the bureacracy and the unions.

Keep in mind that Ohio is number 1 in bankruptcies, number 2 in foreclosures. We have the 5th highest state and local tax burden in the nation, and has the 2nd highest business tax burden in the nation (www.TaxFoundation.org). Our state's death taxes are higher than the federal governments! Jobs are leaving our state for other states with lower state and local tax burdens - most recently, Pretty Products in Coshocton is losing over 200 jobs and American Homes in Zanesville is losing 100. And the parasites have the gall to psychologically manipulate us for more of our wealth "for the kids"? Enough already, we're getting anemic!

Take heart, taxpayers. The parasites can only succeed if we are apathetic. Shoo! Shoo!