The notion presented by the Right over and over again that universities are places devoted to the brainwashing of gullible, vulnerable students by nefarious (Leftist) professors is deeply stupid. Students are smarter than that, and professors tend not to be committed to shutting down thought.
In fact, the notion that teaching can occur at all without some ideology coming into play is deeply stupid as well. Sorry, but there is no such thing as a pure Reason that exists outside of some ideological worldview (definitions of Reason, in fact, are fundamentally ideological, as is the notion that Reason is to be prized).
Howard Zinn said it well with the title of his book You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.
And for history or literature or sociology to be vital and worthy of study, the train had better be moving. Or rather, those studying had better recognize that it is moving, whether they like it or not.
So, in the end, this legislation
is worthless, at best a testament to the ignorance of those who vote for it. At worst, of course, is that it's one more tactic by which the Right intends to attack and intimidate those who don't toe their party line:
A national movement that supporters say protects college students from indoctrination by college professors but opponents say stifles debate made its way to Minnesota on Wednesday when two legislators proposed legislation that they call the "Academic Bill of Rights."
Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and Rep. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, said their bill would require the state's publicly funded colleges and universities to adopt policies that would mandate that professors not use their classrooms to promote their personal political or ideological beliefs. It also says that students would not be punished for disagreeing with their instructors' politics.
While Bachmann, who has announced that she is a candidate for Congress, said the law would apply across the political spectrum, the focus nationally has been complaints from conservative students that left-wing professors have tried to use their classrooms to indoctrinate young minds with liberal propaganda.
Lawmakers in 21 other states have introduced similar bills, part of a national movement spearheaded by Students for Academic Freedom, a Washington-based student network founded by conservative activist David Horowitz.
"I find this very puzzling because it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist," Livingston said. "The purpose of college professors is to help students think. We help them by presenting divergent perspectives. Sometimes we believe those perspectives, but a lot of times we don't. We just need to present our students with perspectives so they can think them through and understand them."
It is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, except in the fevered brains of "persecuted" Right-wingers.
And a very problematic one, at that.