I wasn’t going to publish this item for a few more weeks, but after listening to a television interview this evening with my state’s lieutenant governor – whom I respect, but who is making a mistake – I have added a section and decided not to wait.

On one hand.

Governors and lieutenant governors who oppose Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming in the public schools have been criticized for racism and suppression of academic freedom.  The question is framed, “Should DEI opponents be allowed to continue to practice racism and to exclude all approaches to the study of race but their own from discussion?”

This question is like “Have you stopped beating your wife?”  It assumes the answers to the really important questions before discussion begins.  A  better way to frame the question would be like this:  “Are any persons trying to practice racism and to exclude all approaches to the study of race but their own from discussion?”

The answer is “Yes.”  One group is.  Not the opponents of DEI – its practitioners.

What those interested in the controversy need to understand is that contrary to the claims of its supporters, DEI is not a way to promote racial fairness, and its associated dogma, usually called Critical Race Theory, is not just one academic approach among others to the study of race.  DEI is a total indoctrination system, beginning in the elementary schools, intensifying in the secondary schools, and pervasive in most universities.

The practitioners of this approach use tendentious definitions, according to which only white people can be racists – which is racist.  They attempt to smear all those who disagree with their racist definitions -- as racists.  Instead of encouraging students to achieve, they foster a perpetual sense of grievance and victimhood.  They patronize students of minority ethnicity by having low expectations for them, assuming that they need to be evaluated by different standards.  (The racist assumption is that they aren’t smart enough, but the pretense is that the existing standards are racist.  Did you know that arithmetic can be racist?)  Often, they even separate students by race, as in the days of Jim Crow -- but this time for woke reasons, which is supposed to make it good.  This is just the tip of a big, oily iceberg.

The controversy is not about whether one opposes old-fashioned racism, nor is it about whether one supports academic freedom.  It is about whether one supports the new racism of the left, which wants to convert public schools into political indoctrination centers.

On the other hand.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick proposes that in order to oppose this system of racist indoctrination, the tenure system should be abolished.  After its abolition, university faculty would be re-evaluated every year, and such things as teaching Critical Race Theory would be grounds for dismissal.  This proposal is supposed to put an end to the empire of tenured radicals.

I’m sorry, your honor, but it won’t do that.  One must be realistic about how universities actually work.  Annual faculty re-evaluations wouldn’t increase viewpoint diversity; they would reduce it.  After all, who conducts faculty reviews?  Other faculty do.  It is hard enough for a scholar who is not politically correct to get a job, and it is harder still to get tenure.  At least the few non-woke scholars who do get tenure have a certain amount of security.  However, it would be virtually impossible for one of them to hold onto his job if he were up for dismissal at the discretion of his woke colleagues every single year.  The legislature might declare the criteria for dismissal, but the faculty would interpret them.

If you want to introduce viewpoint diversity into the public universities, the only way to succeed is to get the universities to do it on their own.  I can think of only one way to get them to do that:  If they don’t, cut their budgets.  Believe me, administrators will listen then.