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Believing in Free Markets and Exploitation of Labor: A Conundrum

 

I am an adjunct history professor. I love my job. I love teaching. I love students. I love engaging with the material I try to help students understand. I have never minded the paltry sums I am paid because I also believe strongly in free markets and understand the invisible hand passes out checks to labor.

However, I’m starting to reconsider this position.

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Campus Free Speech Legislation Proposed—Finally

 

“The Campus Free Speech Act gives the First Amendment bite,” said Jim Manley, Senior Attorney at the Goldwater Institute and a co-author of the Act and report. “Where this bill becomes law, there will be real consequences for anyone—including protestors, administrators, or professors—who tries to prevent others from expressing their opinions. The legislation also provides robust due process protections for anyone accused of trying to silence speech.”

Following legislation that was passed in 2016 in Arizona regarding free speech on campuses, we now have hope of a state-level laws protecting free speech at public universities. The law, developed by the Goldwater Institute with the help of Stanley Kurtz at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was based on the University of Chicago’s 1967 Kalven Report and the 2015 Stone Report .

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Mob Censorship on Campus

 

In today’s political climate, there are sharp divisions of opinion over a range of issues, from health care and climate change to education and labor law. Ideally, a civil debate undertaken with mutual respect could ease tension and advance knowledge. Politics, however, often takes a very different turn.

One of the landmark decisions of the United States Supreme Court, New York Times v. Sullivan, was decided in 1964 at the height of civil rights movement. Writing for the majority, Justice William Brennan insisted that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech rested on “a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” He then concluded that the First Amendment offered extensive protection to the media from defamation suits brought by private individuals—a principle that was later extended to apply to public figures as well. Defamation suits in his view could chill public debate.

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FIRE’s 2017 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech

 

Unfortunately, it isn’t an easy undertaking deciding which schools belong on FIRE’s “10 worst colleges for free speech” list every year. This year was no exception.

This morning, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published our annual “worst of the worst” list, which can be read with detailed descriptions of each school’s misdeeds at The Huffington Post.

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Drain the Real Swamp: Academia

 

Suppose for the past half century or so you’ve been forced to pay the Acme Swamp Company to engorge all lakes, caverns, rivers, streams, and puddles with effluents, along with enough reptiles to put Jurassic Park to shame. Then, after you’ve discovered that the Acme Company has also supplied Wile E. Coyote with Roadrunner-catching equipment since the Truman Administration, you decide to “drain the swamp.” And then—surprise! surprise! —you’re devastated to learn that the swamp you tried to drain simply filled up again from tributaries that cannot be shut off. And you’ve been paying for those tributaries, too, for a long, long time. In fact, you’ve discovered that these streams are not only exorbitantly pricey, but frequently destructive, parasitic, and virtually impregnable. Question is, what can you do?

The “swamp” in question of course is Washington DC, but also includes much of the bureaucracy, judiciary, and cultural command posts of the country, such as the media and entertainment industries. The tributaries comprise America’s educational system, long dominated by the radical left and protected by tenure and union power. It is this ideological effluent center that has done so much to poison the discourse of American politics, smearing every institution that contributed to the country’s greatness, and radiating hatred of all things most citizens hold dear—family, patriotism, free enterprise, free speech, freedom of religion, the Bill of Rights generally, and of course America’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

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DeVos Nomination Is the Most Contested Because It’s About the Future

 

The Betsy DeVos nomination proved to be the most contentious; the hill Democrats have chosen to die on. Why? Because it’s about the future:

  • The future of the teachers’ unions, who had much of their power stripped from them in Wisconsin with the passage of Act 10, and who barely survived losing power in California due to 4-4 Supreme Court tie in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et. al.
  • The future of the Department of Education in whether it will be greatly scaled back or allowed to remain largely intact and in the future return to its practice of “Dear Colleague” letters to universities, school districts, etc. dictating the abandonment of due process for the accused and imposing radical social policy with the threat of federal lawsuits.
  • The future of whether states, municipalities, and most importantly parents will have the freedom to determine the opportunities available to children — charter schools, school choice, home schooling, in addition to public schools — or fewer choices due to further and further regulations dictated by federal bureaucrats in Washington beholden to the interests of teachers’ unions.
  • The future of what is taught to children — does the federal government know better than you what your children should learn in school? A federally determined curriculum reaches more students if more students are forced to remain in the public schools. Progressive ideology must be taught to the next generation. A DeVos-run Department of Education will hopefully abandon central planning style Common Core curricula and return that power to the states.

Betsy DeVos has the opportunity to do so much good and bring to an end so much Education departmental overreach and abuse of power. The Democrats were desperate to prevent this from happening. It’s all about the future.

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