Christopher Rufo's anti-DEI crusade visits University of South Florida
The activist who's helped frame critical race theory as a threat for conservatives has a new target: the University of…
As someone who lives in Florida and attended public school through and including graduate school in Florida, this rhetoric reshaping the academic integrity of public education in the state is beyond disturbing.
I would like to be measured and calm in my response, but these are not measured times, and the high ground has been obliterated by an increasingly diligent illiberalism that has gained a supermajority in the third most populous state in the country, with a governor who speaks out of both sides of his mouth for the sole purpose of attaining power.
There is a tendency to assume that men like Ron DeSantis and his shiny new dog whistle, Christopher Rufo, are Men of the People, down-home folks whose collars are blue blue blue. That their strategies for waging their culture war are shambolic and doomed to eventual failure. Men like DeSantis and Rufo weaponize this tendency to gain legitimacy through appointments and legislation. They use distraction, deception, and disinformation to seize power that does nothing but work against the interests of the people who support them. They are not Men of the People. They are the twenty-first century updates of twentieth century tyranny, and one of the best avenues to tyranny is to attack public education and diminish access to that education.
The ongoing crusade against public education, as an institution, has intensified in recent weeks, as DeSantis, emboldened by a supermajority in the state legislature, has turned his Sauron Eye on higher education. After infecting New College like brain-eating amoeba, he seeks to fundamentally alter public higher education in this state in a manner reminiscent of fascist regimes. From demanding data on transgender students to the chilling effect of the insidious and obnoxiously-named ‘Stop Woke Act,’ DeSantis has demonstrated what the erosion of academic freedom looks like.
I could delve into the College Board and AP African-American program quagmire, but that was just a shot across the bow. What DeSantis wants is to destroy DEI initiatives under the guise…