Nazi, Schmazi

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A very well done reflection by Silke-MarieWeineck on the refusal of two distinguished University of Florida trustees to allow faculty members under their jurisdiction to testify in a Florida voting case. In eerily similar language, they argue that university employees cannot be involved in anti-state activities, as the university is a state agency. As stated, “UF will deny requests from its employees to engage in outside activities when it determines that the activities are contrary to its interests. Since UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is contrary to UF’s interests.”

 

Think about the implications of this and it won’t take you more than a few seconds to see it

 

a) “state”, in this case, means Governor Ron deSantis and the Republican-controlled legislature. Whether overturning some specific voting restrictions is “against the state” depends on what you think the interests of the state are, which do not necessarily agree with the authority of its current leaders. This is the central point of the dispute.

b) The wording would also include any form of political activity, including public speaking, writing editorials, magazine articles or letters to the editor, giving interviews, campaigning for political candidates, lobbying lawmakers or, taken literally, voting against the operators in charge.

 

c) If “outside activities” contrary to the interest of the ruling party are prohibited, why are “internal activities”, such as researching, publishing academic articles and teaching students, allowed? Logically, they should be even more strictly prohibited.

 

As Weinecke says, “Synchronization it is the process by which institutions are brought under the control of totalitarian ideology. It is often translated as “coordination” or “synchronization”, but these terms lack the terrifying connotation of switches being activated, one by one, until the same ideological current flows through each previously independent institution. “Continues:

The implications of the claim that the faculty must not act contrary to the regime’s interests – “activities that may pose a conflict of interest to the Florida state executive branch create a conflict for the University of Florida” – are staggering. If you are not allowed to testify against voter suppression in court, why should you study the effects of voter suppression in the first place, or teach them to your students? Such research and teaching are not even in Ron DeSantis ‘interest, and by Richardson’s logic of denial, any activity that is not in Ron DeSantis’ interest is not in the interest of the University of Florida. Nor, it is assumed, is research on the environmental balance of its climate policies, on the human balance of its welfare policies, or on the death toll of its Covid policies. A university declared an arm not only of the state but also of its partisan government ceases to be a university.

But that’s where we are. This is the republican concept of freedom.

 

 

 

 

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