The conservatives are at it again. Since science and reason don't support their political positions, conservatives are strongly anti-intellectual. God forbid the average American should learn the facts!
Today, they propose variants of a bill that I like to call the Academic Policing Act. They call it an "academic bill of rights," but, in standard Orwellian fashion, they really mean the reverse. The bill would limit the freedom of college professors to speak their minds, and creates new quota/affirmative action programs for right-wing ideologues who want to teach at university.
In Ohio, the state legislature is considering such a bill. The Ohio proposal would prohibit public and private college professors from presenting opinions as fact, and prohibit professors from introducing "controversial material unrelated to the course."
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Larry Mumper, questioned why lawmakers should approve funding for universities with "professors who would send some students out in the world to vote against the very public policy that their parents have elected us for." [emphasis added]
Hmmm. Let me see. Who will decide for students what constitutes controversial material, what facts are just opinions, and what subject matter should be regarded as relevant? Could it be... the same people who think Jesus was a philosopher?*
Not only is this this bill an attempt to politicize higher education, it is also hypocritical. Conservatives rail against government intervention in the lives of citizens, and whine at the slightest government regulation of business. Indeed, traditional conservatives would argue that if a business behaves in a manner in which you don't approve, go to the competition or start your own business. The Academic Policing Act shows that these neo-con hypocrites are all too happy to regulate when it helps them hold on to political power.
I suggest, in true conservative spirit, that Ohio right-wingers (and nutters like David Horowitz) start their own universities. Such universities will teach (with a straight face, presumably) alternative viewpoints, e.g., that the Earth is flat, that God made girls from sugar and spice, and that the true symbol of morality is the dollar sign. The parents who send their sons and daughters to such institutions had better hire their kids when they graduate because no one else will.
*Dear President Bush, I know it's hard work, but crack a book, Dude. Start with the New Testament, if you like, and see why literally none of your policies is consistent with the spirit of that book. Then, try to understand why Jesus was not a philosopher. Thank you. Signed, Your Punching Bag, Doctor Logic.