The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Editor's note (10/28/19): In the original column the author based some of her criticism on use of a textbook titled "Ethics, Economy & Entrepreneurship" by University of Arizona faculty members and economists David Schmidtz, Cathleen Johnson and the late Robert Lusch, an expert in marketing. That textbook is no longer used, according to a spokesman for the UA Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. The following column has been edited to reflect the updated information.
In an Oct. 16 opinion piece, Professor Richard Vatz wrote about the “unremitting effort to eliminate conservatives and conservative thought in the humanities and social sciences in American academy.” He called for “fairness to conservatives,” “ideological equity” and “political fairness.” He gave no examples of which conservative thoughts are being suppressed at universities.
Does he believe that “equity” means giving equal time and resources to teaching creationism as is given to evolution? Does he mean the theory of “trickle down” economics should stand proud with other economic theories, even though the numbers do not support its premise? Is he suggesting that the philosophy of the Westboro Baptist Church should be taught as equal to the philosophy of Plato and Descartes? Should climate change deniers be given equal billing in science classes? And should political science classes give credibility to governance by oligarchies or the divine right of kings?
Professor Vatz obviously is not familiar with the over 300 campuses and 800 faculty positions supported by the Charles Koch Foundation.
The University of Arizona was one of the recipients and used the funds to establish the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom (better known as the Freedom Center). Review of donor documents and publications by the Center show conservative donor influence on public education is substantial. The Center covers philosophy, economics, history, political science and business.
I suggest that the reason conservative thoughts do not get equal academic recognition is because they cannot be substantiated by academic rigor or subject matter experts.