Phi Beta Cons

That Scary “Corporate Donors” Hobgoblin

What if someone at Yale had asked, “Would it be insensitive if I put on a Charles Koch mask for Halloween? Would I need to first provide a safe space for students and faculty members who believe that the Koch brothers are the worst of people?”

Lots of academics are wringing their hands, terrified at the effects of money from donors like the Kochs. “It’s a threat to academic freedom,” they wail.

Clemson professor C. Bradley Thompson argues in this Minding the Campus essay that it’s much ado about nothing. Thompson writes, “I publicly challenge the critics of these donations to name one faculty member anywhere in America whose academic freedom has been threatened by these grants.”

The griping about academic freedom, Thompson maintains, is merely cover for the desire of many professors to keep non-socialistic ideas away their campuses. “Those opposing these programs hope to cow administrators from accepting similar donations in the future; to rally liberal faculty to actively oppose these programs, and most of all, to perpetuate the ideological monopoly currently held by the Left on America’s college campuses. In other words, it’s all about power and ideology.”

Where the funding for an academic program comes from (and Thompson notes that leftists fund many programs) ought to be irrelevant. The intellectual integrity of any program depends on its content, not on whether funding for it was provided by supposedly benevolent leftists, supposedly evil right-wingers, or by squeezing money from taxpayers. Ideas stand or fall on their own merits.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular


Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More