Sunday, February 22, 2009

Selfish Students

Everyday there is talk about selfish, greedy businessmen interested only in profit. They say these selfish people should “give back” to the community and have “social responsibility.” These businessmen don’t need so much money and it isn’t fair.

What about the selfish, greedy high school and college students who are only concerned with grades? They get better grades than they need to graduate. They do nothing to help those who are struggling to get by. Students drop out of school everyday because they can’t make it and these selfish students are getting A’s and B’s. When will these students “give back” to their fellow students? Where is their “social responsibility” to sacrifice their 4.0 to help a struggling student?

In college, most students need a C or C+ to pass their class. In high school they need D’s in most cases. If these students only need a C or D to pass their class, why are they so selfish and get A’s and B’s? Rather than spending three hours every night doing homework, why don’t they do one hour of homework to get a C and spend the other two hours doing the homework of struggling students? Some students may not be as smart or as ambitious. They might work, play sports, or like to party and not have time to study and do their homework. Is it fair that they should fail while others get better grades than they need?

These selfish students then use their excessive grades to get into good colleges or graduate schools. They then go on to get good jobs and become the selfish businessmen. Other students have to go to community colleges or go straight to work after high school. Is it fair that some students should get to go to better colleges just because they spent extra time studying and doing homework?

In order to have the same type of fair school systems that many want in our business world, we need to denounce these selfish students just as we denounce entrepreneurs and CEO’s. These students should be responsible for the grades of their fellow students. The selfish, overachieving students should also be restricted to the number of hours they can study and do homework so that the other students have a chance to compete. In the spirit of “social responsibility,” those students who have the time to study more, should be required to do the work of those students who can’t or won’t. They should work according to their ability, to give to others based on their need.

These are the ideas that are expected of our businesses, why shouldn’t we expect it at all levels? We denounce the rich and the successful as having more than they need. Why do we celebrate students who get better grades than they need? We hate the rich and want the government to level the playing field, but we call the selfish students “valedictorians” and let them give speeches at graduation. We give them honors, respect, and pride them on their selfish pursuit of excessive grades.

The problem is not that we celebrate those who earn better grades than they need, but that we denounce those who earn more money than they need. We celebrate scholastic achievement but denounce productive achievement. We don’t expect students to go against their self interest and give back to the less fortunate students, but we expect it from the producers. Our heroes should be the people who live to pursue their own happiness and self interest; those who do not sacrifice for others or ask others to sacrifice for them. Ayn Rand described man as a, “heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”


  1. I would agree with you to a point. Yes, the smart kids could take some time to help those who need itif they are asked to. Why should they do the work for those who want to party,or play sports? Sports are way too over-rated and kids are basicly taught to "worship" athletes. Why shouldn't those who play sports help those who are not very good at them perhaps say a smart kid who studies all the time because he/she isn't good at sports and does not want to go through the riducle.

  2. You have apparently missed the point of my post. I was making an analogy between students who earn better grades than they "need" and businessmen who earn more money than they "need." If we expect businessmen to only earn as much as they "need," why do we not hold students to the same standard and demonize those who get A's as "selfish" and "greedy" while some students get F's? We should then redistribute their grades and force them to "give back" to those who get F's? It was meant to express the absurdity of the way progressives view success. They demonize productive achievement that makes people rich, but not scholastic achievement that earns good grades. Obviously if the student chooses to help other students that is fine, just as people should freely give to charity. Coercing people in business to "give back" should be as absurd as coercing kids in school to "give back."