The Power of Independent Thinking

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Debating Progressive Dominance on Campus
Prof. John Ellis is right but doesn’t go far enough. The left is no longer able even to recognize opposing political thought as thought.

Dear Editor:

Mr. Ellis notes that university faculty have drifted substantially to the left politically over time. Why? I think a large part of the answer relates to the fact that universities, even so-called private ones, are largely wards of the state. Federal student financial-aid programs have grown more than 10-fold adjusting for inflation since 1970, enabling large tuition hikes and adding to the already substantial support from state governments and federal research grants.

Academics correctly believe their self-interest is promoted by big government. Hence faculty increasingly endorse left-of-center policies that inevitably mean more and larger government programs, including support of higher education. Academics don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them so well.

Richard K. Vedder, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Ohio University

Richard K. Vedder is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Economics at Ohio University, and co-author (with Lowell Gallaway) of the award-winning Independent Institute book, Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America.

From Richard K. Vedder
CAN TEACHERS OWN THEIR OWN SCHOOLS?: New Strategies for Educational Excellence
In Can Teachers Own Their Own Schools?, Richard Vedder examines the economics, history, and politics of education and argues that public schools should be privatized. Privatized public schools would benefit from competition, market discipline, and the incentives essential to produce cost-effective, educational quality, and attract the additional funding and expertise needed to revolutionize school systems.