Trustee Truthiness

I find this sentence, from the ACTA’s official blog, fascinating: “Our curricular study, www.whatwilltheylearn.com, documents that less than five percent of schools insist their students even study economics, let alone free markets.” This claim is a part of a larger argument that says, roughly, if you can’t directly prove something called “donor intent” then you can’t complain that private foundations and donors can have an ill effect on academia.

More specifically, Cary Nelson, president of the AAUP, can’t complain about the detrimental influence of the Koch brothers, and certainly can’t complain about the Kochs’ ongoing attempt to promote anti-scientific, and anti-intellectual ideas about everything from global warming to health care. The ACTA’s argument is simple. Just because the Kochs’ continually work at poisoning reasoned debate doesn’t mean they will try to do the same through targeted donations in academia.

It’s trustee truthfulness at it’s very best and it’s not too far from the specious logic– another favorite of the Koch brothers and their allies– that says that creationism and evolution are two “competing theories” that should be given equal time in the classroom. The tell-tale ideological marker is the phrase, “much less free markets.” I think it would be great if economics were taught more often and that would have to include discussions of markets. It would also debunk the notion of a “free market.”

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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