The prior two were purely political, though. This one is more substantive.
The press conference where DeSantis was asked about Trump’s criticism of him actually was about a policy announcement, and it’s a policy that should warm the cockles of any conservative’s heart: banning the use of DEI principles in Florida higher educational institutions.
BREAKING: @GovRonDeSantis has announced a plan to abolish all DEI departments, coercive "diversity statements," mandatory "diversity training," and identity-based preferences at Florida public universities. pic.twitter.com/eWq3W25jGw
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) January 31, 2023
It’s a big deal because DEI and its associated ideological offshoots are a big problem.
The proposal is sweeping and sure to inspire a lot of whinging from the Left. Likely more than whinging; I expect that Biden’s Department of Justice is going to throw a hissy fit and sue the state to prevent its implementation on civil rights grounds.
The proposal has four pillars: requiring that general education courses avoid ideological indoctrination; requiring that degree programs prepare students for the workforce; prohibiting hiring decisions be based upon DEI statements of commitment; and prohibiting these institutions from promoting DEI or CRT ideology.
To put it more succinctly, Florida colleges and universities will promote the values of liberty and the Western tradition.
Sounds good to me.
Good, but is it possible to achieve these goals given how far down the path of cultural Marxism higher educational institutions have already marched?
I guess we will find out.
Even if it is impossible to root out the worst of DEI from educational institutions, given the generations it took for the Left to co-opt and eventually take them over, the efforts should bear fruit over time. Especially if DeSantis’ project of turning Florida into a deep Red state becomes even more successful over time.
Cultural Marxism has been a cancer, eating away at the guts of all educational institutions from the lowest levels to the highest. And as with cancer, the treatment will be long, arduous, painful, and uncertain. But it is also necessary.
Yet if anybody expects this project to succeed in the near term they will be sorely disappointed.
As critical as I am of the current state of higher ed, I also am confident that there remains a core of smart, competent, and curious intellectuals who can staff these universities.
DeSantis’ anti-woke policies may inspire some of Florida’s professors to seek greener pastures, allowing for the recruitment of more suitable candidates. Most, though, will stay put because mobility among academic jobs is extremely limited. There are more job seekers than jobs in academia, and any academic job is better than no job at all. It’s not like a trans-queer-Marxist-critical theorist has many marketable skills outside of academia. So it will take a long time to change personnel.
Politically this announcement is a masterstroke. It reminds people that DeSantis is committed to the fight, doing good work, is a winner, and has won over the majority of Floridians, many of whom used to be Democrats.
Any Republican who criticizes these announcements will look churlish–after all, this is precisely the sort of thing we all think should be done.
Finally, it proves that DeSantis is not just a winner, but a successful doer. His critics bay at the moon, but have no power to stop him.
All in all, it is a good policy and a good look for the governor.