UNC Students Rewrite the Constitution
In this week’s Clarion Call, my colleague Jay Schalin writes about a recent mock constitutional convention held at the University of North Carolina under the sponsorship of a sociology professor.
The students dutifully crafted a new constitution giving people all kinds of rights — affordable housing, health care, to the arts, leisure time, and so forth. Schalin attended the convention and tells me that there was no argument over any of this stuff. In this whole supposedly academic exercise, not once did any faculty member, student, or invited guest question whether there might not be adverse consequences to giving the state so much power. For instance, the conventioneers approved of giving government officials the authority to dictate “just” prices for agricultural products, but no one stood up to point out that setting prices through the political system is certain to lead to shortages or surpluses.
We’re told over and over how higher education is all about teaching students to “think critically.” This event belies that. The students were herded along to produce a “constitution” enshrining all the statist shibboleths without the slightest hint of any critical thinking.