DeSantis targets universities for their failures of 'viewpoint diversity'
Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis is as impressive as they come, and his record to show for it continues.
According to an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times by Scott Gerber, he's now targeting the leftist university monolith.
Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill to protect against indoctrination in the state's colleges and universities. The new law, which went into effect on July 1, requires Florida's public colleges and universities to conduct an annual survey measuring "intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity" on their campuses. The law's goal is to assess "the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented" and how free students, faculty, and staff feel "to express their beliefs and viewpoints."
The Florida law does not specify what will be done with the survey results, but Gov. DeSantis suggested that budget cuts could result if universities and colleges are found to be "indoctrinating" students. "It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you'd be exposed to a lot of different ideas," DeSantis said. "Unfortunately, now the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments."
It's the intolerable setup that forces taxpayers of all ideological persuasions to fund far-left universities, where only leftists can get hired, leaving a great void of "viewpoint diversity." Kids today go to college never hearing a word of conservative thought, and to please their professors and get the As they want, they must mouth leftist tropes, because who'd want to take a chance otherwise? Worse still, the lack of ideological diversity serves to drive the viewpoints farther and farther left, like a bus with no brakes, no checks and balances, no respectable opposition. That explains the state we've gotten to, with university professors the craziest people on the left, having no exposure to any tempering ideas. The only solution to this is to force at least the publicly funded universities to hire according to affirmative action criteria, which they have not been doing, to achieve diversity of ideas, given the abuses and discriminations taking place.
It's a longtime issue that has turned universities into cesspits of leftism with no serious reason to support them, given that, as DeSantis has pointed out, their educational product amounts to "indoctrination."
Here's how bad it's gotten, according to Gerber:
The problem DeSantis has identified is not unique to Florida — Indiana's Republican governor signed a similar bill last month — and it traces directly to the political biases of the processes by which faculty are hired. Many of the same colleges and universities that tout tenure as a way to encourage free thought censor it by not allowing conservative and libertarian faculty candidates who think freely to get in the door.
I once suggested on the ConLawProf group email list that law schools need to hire more conservative and libertarian candidates (with "more" meaning, at a minimum, at least one). The reaction? One law professor posted that I was "nuts" to suggest such a thing. Libertarian law professor Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz quipped at a Federalist Society conference on intellectual diversity in the legal academy that his leftist colleagues at Georgetown felt that three conservatives on a law faculty of 120 was "plenty — and perhaps even one or two too many."
That's flaming discrimination, and it's an outrage that taxpayers should have to bankroll it.
It's also of a piece with some of the other impressive things that DeSantis has targeted. According to his Wikipedia page, his achievements since his election on the cultural war front, which the late Andrew Breitbart always considered most important, have been numerous.
He's gone after social media and Big Tech censorship. He's scrapped Common Core. He's gone after males competing in girls' sports. He's ended sanctuary cities for foreign lawbreakers. He's protected Confederate monuments. He's scrapped sovereign immunity for municipalities that fail to provide adequate police protection and told violent protesters obstructing and abusing others that they're on their own. He's signed bills to make it harder for election cheats. He's recently targeted Chinese influence in Florida's universities.
While he's most famous for protecting Florida with all its elderly citizens from the abhorrent killings seen in blue-state nursing homes and getting his state back to normal, it's his narrowly targeted attacks on the far-left cultural monolith — the media, academia, and Hollywood — that stand out. Unlike President Trump, he works with a scalpel rather than an ax and targets the cultural roots of the problem. These problems weren't attacked all that much by President Trump during his presidency, because his focus was far broader and his obstructions were far greater, and he was not by nature a micromanager. He was, as American Thinker contributor Robert Weissberg memorably noted, a hotel manager adept at putting out flash fires, which was valuable and necessary, too.
But rest assured: these longstanding issues that DeSantis has targeted are extremely important. They are the true roots and foundations of the problem of an overbearing, unelected, entitled, and ever crazier left attempting to rule us with zero rightful claim to do so. These people own the culture now, and the walls they have erected to preserve their permanent fortress of power have gone corrupt and rotten in the absence of any intellectual cross-currents. They are overdue for a good wrecking ball, and DeSantis has carefully laid the groundwork for it. Perhaps it's his law degree and the kind of thinking of a legal mindset that enables him to be so narrow and precise. We know he's also nuanced — he recently vetoed a bill passed unanimously in both Florida legislative houses on civic education because the left could have easily co-opted it to allow students to get class credit for protests — even as the law's intentions were good. He knows an airtight bill from a bad one that the left can run circles around and acts accordingly.
DeSantis is a bit different from Trump with regard to his achievements. They are very different kinds of achievements, yet it's amazing how the two styles of the men complement each other.
The bill to diversify universities has been a long time coming, and it's wonderful to see action taken on it now — not a whole bill to force them to hire according to representative voter bases, but just a poll to expose what is going on, which the left will scream bloody murder about.
It's part of a plan, all right. They can see it, and DeSantis will steadily pursue it. With each and every one of these acts, his stature rises higher and his "presidenciability" goes with it. Others will follow his acts, which is part of what leadership is. Voters will eventually recognize that DeSantis is a foundation man, and he might just be the guy to save the country.
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