I have always maintained that diversity is good and discrimination is bad. Seeking out different perspectives helps us broaden the universe of potential solutions to the problems we face. Meanwhile, discrimination is not just wrong on a moral level – it runs counter to the twin pillars of individual freedom and free markets upon which any safe and prosperous society must rest.
Having said that, as a libertarian I have also argued that people are free to discriminate … up to a point, anyway. As a society we cannot (nor should we try) to police morality or regulate thought – nor should we attempt to legislate tolerance or mandate mutual respect.
These are virtuous objectives, of course, but barring evidence of some unlawful incursion upon another’s life, liberty, livelihood or property, we must leave it to the marketplace of ideas to sort out competing perspectives … which I know is hard for my “woke” friends who bow before the “new orthodoxy” to acknowledge.
Also, I also have zero tolerance for pointless, institutional virtue signaling …
Sound and fury, people …. sound and fury.
Anyway, while I continue to maintain the marketplace of ideas should be allowed to do its job – separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to free expression – I must return to the breeding ground of so much of the “compulsory wokeness” in our society: College and university campuses. Specifically, I am referring to the campus of my alma mater, the University of South Carolina – an increasingly unruly and undignified rodeo of goats.
Not to mention an increasingly expensive cathedral of “woke …”
Here, independent thought has all but vanished – replaced by a dangerous new conformity which strives not to unite but divide (and in some cases vilify people who have done absolutely nothing wrong).
At South Carolina, an institution which is ostensibly under “Republican” control, an effort is underway to rewrite courses in the name of “diversity and inclusive excellence” – or in the words of one professor, to make sure they are not geared toward “a lot of white males.” This effort is being subsidized by a new university grant program – which means it is being funded at least in part by South Carolina taxpayers.
I’ll return to the funding source in a moment …
The new courses must be “centered around marginalized voices,” must reflect “inclusive and non-traditional teaching methods” and must promote “understanding of inequality in broader contexts” (a.k.a. critical race theory).
News of the grant program was first reported by The Daily Gamecock, a student paper which readers will recall actually shut down a few months ago because its staff was, well … emotionally tapped out.
No seriously … that happened.
Anyway, The Snowflake Tribune is apparently back in action … reporting on this curriculum rewrite with nary a dissenting voice allowed.
“We owe it to our students, we owe it to our faculty, we owe it to our staff to better educate ourselves to what is appropriate,” said professor Nate Carnes, who is leading the effort to rewrite courses.
Carnes, incidentally, retweeted a message during last June’s race riots arguing that “protesters” were not trying to “start a race war” but instead “trying to end one.”
As this effort is still in its formative stages, I have no idea what these new courses will ultimately look like – so I cannot comment on whether they will be better or worse than the courses they are seeking to supplant. Also, on a personal level I have absolutely no problem extending the benefit of the doubt to “inclusivity” efforts like this one. Why? Because as I noted in my lede, I support diverse perspectives and I do not discriminate.
However, I fear the true objective of this effort – like far too many of these “inclusivity” campaigns – has little to do with promoting equality and inclusivity and everything to do with sowing division and indoctrinating young minds. And again … demonizing people who have done absolutely nothing wrong.
Whether I am right or wrong, though, here is the fundamental rub: Why on earth are taxpayers compelled to subsidize any of this?
As I have repeatedly argued, higher education is not a core function of government – especially not the wasteful, duplicative way it is administered in South Carolina. Against a backdrop of skyrocketing tuition costs and unsustainable student debt, Palmetto State institutions have been blowing money on an assortment of wasteful spending items – including spectacularly failed “economic development” projects, speculative real estate deals, Confederate submarine “research” and all manner of socialist indoctrination.
Again, I do not take issue with colleges and universities engaging in such frivolity … so long as it is exclusively backed by a private endowment. The second it gets subsidized via taxpayer appropriations, federal grants, tax breaks or government-guaranteed loans … I have a huge problem with it (no matter the direction of its ideological bent).
Sadly, I have a good idea of what will happen in response to this latest example of “woke” taxpayer-funded indoctrination. South Carolina’s “Republican” leaders will make a lot of noise … but end up doing absolutely nothing to school leaders.
That’s too bad … whether your goal is to indoctrinate America’s future generations from the right or the left, my message for you is the same: Do not make taxpayers pick up the tab.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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