Republican lawmakers are using free speech concerns in an effort to silence college professors.
Iowa Senator Jim Carlin wants to distinguish and identify college professors because of their political leanings.
Or at least that’s what I can do Senate File 292. This would order Iowa’s public universities to probe professors for their political beliefs.
Although Carlin plans to keep the bill in subcommittee until 2022, 292 SF and similar bills will not protect the rights of conservative students. Instead, it will allow state governments to target academics based on their political affiliation when it has not been proven to affect college students.
Republicans argued that the government has an obligation to protect students from university professors who are prejudiced against conservatives and to prevent professors from indoctrinating students into “socialism.”
While studies have shown that a the majority of conservative students censor themselves themselves for fear of reprisals from their peers and liberal professors, there is no evidence that political ideology plays a role in how a student is assessed academically.
Unsurprisingly, most evidence tells us that preparation for college is the most important indicator of college success. Political ideology, on the other hand, plays a negligent role in how students are evaluated.
Second, the argument that students are politically brainwashed by their teachers is a wacky argument concocted by the right. charlatans more interested in waging cultural wars instead of creating environments where the expression of free ideas can take place.
There is no empirical evidence that students get their political views from professors. In reality, studies contextualize that students get their political views from other students.
For these reasons, it’s safe to say that Republicans dramatically exaggerate the role of political ideology in classroom performance.
However, what cannot be overstated is that SF 292 shows just how undemocratic the GOP has become in the post-Donald Trump era.
State Republican parties have done so in recent years. As GOP officials in many states across the country have conducted a censorship campaign against those who denounced their ideals.
This current interpretation of the Republican Party has been consumed by McCarthyism.
Like the demagogic senator of the cold war, Republicans have shamelessly started accusing Democratic politicians, journalists, and college professors of turning the American people into socialists who hate America.
If history is any guide, the next step Republicans will take is to gain unchallenged control of cultural and government institutions regardless of the civil rights of their opponents.
In short, the party that claims to defend freedom, limited government and individualism has now become the party of totalitarianism, invasive government and radicalism.
Universities across the country need to realize that there is an issue where conservatism is being discussed on college campuses.
Students who identify as conservatives feel that they cannot speak for themselves or that they would be ostracized by their peers.
That being said, the argument that college professors are responsible for silencing conservative voices is completely devoid of fact because previous incidents involving professors targeting conservative views were isolated. They do not represent the broader practices of the regent universities.
Instead of promoting intellectual discourse and shielding conservative voices, SF 292 is a mark of government overtaking that would accelerate democratic erosion in the United States.
Columns reflect the views of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.