Dr. Ben Carson has a rather awful (and I mean awful) idea for the Department of Education: have it become the thought police for colleges and universities! Carson made the suggestion during an interview yesterday on Glenn Beck’s show. Here’s the interview right before Beck answers the question, plus I’ve transcribed Carson’s answer below.
“It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.”
Carson’s a smart guy, he’s a retired neurosurgeon and has had a movie made about him starring Cuba Gooding Jr.(which is pretty cool). But this idea is just repugnant. If a Democrat proposed it, the Right would be up in arms over this. It’s not the federal government’s job to monitor political speech! This might as well be Section Two of the Sedition Act all over again, which is posted below.
SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.
Yes, there are leftists in education who do their best to indoctrinate students into thinking the government should be involved in everyone’s business, whether it be how much people get paid or redistribution of wealth. Yes, free speech is being silenced on campus by “trigger warnings” and “free speech zones” and a litany of other ridiculous ideas. But wanting to have the Department of Education become speech monitors to make sure it’s not “extreme political bias” is not the way to fight back. The way to fight back is to slowly get conservative and libertarian teachers into teaching positions (whether it’s history, philosophy, government, law, what have you), have them challenge students, and make them think. The Right needs to slowly take over (or at least balance out) the Left in education. This means thinking long-term, not looking towards the government to do a quick fix.
But here’s the bizarre thing; just seconds before Carson’s Department of Education answer he discusses how he doesn’t want national standards for education because, “the closer education is to home, the better the education is.” This completely flies in the face of what he wants the Education Department to do when it comes to colleges and universities. It’s like he’s saying he’s perfectly fine with local education, as long as it’s not run by people who have “extreme political bias” and he doesn’t even define what that means. This goes against the “secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves” written in the Constitution and it’s completely unenforceable unless Carson wants to put microphones or cameras in every classroom to monitor what’s being said. That’s the only way the Department of Education (or universities) would be able to monitor what’s going on. There’s no guarantee that would work either, because universities could consider bribing the “extreme political bias” police to make sure no professor gets kicked out. If it’s left up to the university administration itself, then all they have to do is say, “No extremists here,” unless there’s going to be an extreme political bias hotline to investigate anonymous complaints of that sort of thing. That would cause even more of a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Probably the biggest problem with Carson’s idea, outside of the entire unconstitutional part, is it’s the type of directive which can come back to hurt conservatives and libertarians. Carson is promising under his administration the Department of Education would probably only go after leftists, who have “extreme political bias.” But what happens if a Democrat comes into power after Carson? Would that Democrat use the “extreme political bias” directive to force out people who might be conservative or libertarian? If someone says they think “trigger warnings” are a bad idea, would the university they work for be forced to fire them or turn them over to the thought police for “reeducation”? Carson’s idea is just completely short-sighted, and it’s unfortunate because the guy isn’t an idiot. He’s a very smart man and a good guy who’s got a great story. But this is one of those ideas he should toss in the incinerator and hope no one else steals it. The Left operates the war on free speech. There’s no reason for the Right to get involved in it unless it’s to defend those who are speaking.