Here are my comments on my attempt to prevent $5M from going to the Koch-funded propaganda schools at ASU and UofA. Note that every Republican voted against my attempt.
This happened at about 11pm as we voted on the last of the budget bills. The bills, of course, were pushed through quickly with little input from Democrats.
I’m glad to see this debate about what many see as propaganda schools.
More importantly, when students in universities have debates about big questions about economics and politics, the schools should resist taking a side –certainly not taking one side in an attempt to indoctrinate new generations of students.
This debate demonstrates the difference between what we have done for two centuries in America, namely create a space for students to learn through read debate versus creating government-funded ideology schools.
We can debate whether universities are bastions of liberal thought, but our universities should not push one set of ideas over another by funding entire schools. That’s not their job.
You don’t like the Marxist marching in the quad? So what? Others don’t like displays from the other side of the spectrum on campus. They too can tell stories of how they’ve been wronged by somebody pushing ideas they don’t like. But that’s what happens in a space designed to allow ideas to clash.
In fact, if we are trying to push one ideology over another in universities then we are showing a lack of faith in the process. So many people leave college and let go of their youthful, radical ideas –both on the left and the right—because they have to live in a practical world.
To support a school like this speaks more to the fear in some that its particular ideas may not take hold on the strength of its own arguments against other ideas.
Further, our university system is anything but a left wing commune, at least as far as the existing schools are concerned: WP Kerry School, Thunderbird, Eller MBA are all prominent business schools which graduate thousands every year –presumably NOT to feed a communist takeover of the country.
“But”, you say, “who can be opposed to freedom? Of course we should push a freedom agenda!”
Well, you may be shocked to find that there are different views of what constitutes Economic Freedom even within a vibrant capitalist system. For instance, is it freedom to hand out millions of dollars of government money to industries that distort the very neutral marketplace upon which our economy depends?
I say no.
Further, I don’t want a university-funded school with a mission to teach Marxism any more than I want a school with a mission to teach the type of radical economic libertarianism that I’ve seen demonstrated so far from the group pushing this school.
In other words, this school pushes a very narrow interpretation of freedom –to the very point that the word “freedom” begins to lose its meaning.
In the end, we do best by creating an atmosphere in our universities where students can be exposed to many ideas, rather than showing preference to just one.
After all, “uni” is root of the words “university” and “universal”-- the philosophical underpinning of a university is to expose ourselves to a broad universe of ideas, not stamp us out like ideological gingerbread men.
At the very least, we should save the average in-state student from being forced to pay an extra $50 per year for a school who’s leaders have a stated goal to dismantle our education system as we know it.
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