Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Here's to the State of Missouri...*
According to Free Exchange on Campus, on April 12, "
the Missouri House passed HB 213, the ACTA-inspired bill that mandates annual reporting to the coordinating board of higher education on issues of 'intellectual diversity' including protecting the viewpoint that 'the Bible is inerrant.' Rep. Jane Cunningham, the sponsor of the bill, wants the good folks of Missouri to believe this is based on the views of students because she has an individual case that she misrepresents as a systemic problem."

Every academic in the country ought to write a nasty letter to the speaker of the Missouri House and to every major newspaper in the the Show Me state protesting this nonsense. And we should be vigilant about this bill becoming a template for other states around the country. Among other things, the act opens the door to the teaching of so-called "intelligent design" as science and legitimates "monitoring" of the content of university classes. Of course, those of us on the socialist left could perhaps use the mandate for "intellectual diversity" in this legislation to protest the pro-business propaganda that often passes for scholarship and teaching in economics and business departments (where many faculty treat, not the Bible, but the equally loony pronouncements of Milton Friedman as "inerrant").

[ * Phil Ochs, at the height of the civil rights struggle in the south, penned a delightfully pointed little ditty called "Here's to the State of Mississippi" skewering that state for clinging to its racist, segregationist policies. The title of this post is an allusion to that song. Below is a choice snippet from Ochs' lyrics:

And here's to the schools of Mississippi
Where they're teaching all the children that they don't have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
There's nobody learning such a foreign word as fair
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of]

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