Pope Puppets for Higher Education

I've notices a bunch of coverage recently of the Pope Center for Higher Education. They've weighed in on the Larry Summers debacle at Harvard . . . naturally opining that the ham-handed president was run out of town on a rail unfairly.

And just what IS the Pope Center for Higher Education? Well, it's just another chorus of the illustrious Art Pope Puppet Brigade, focused on driving higher education into alignment with Art's twisted, little view of the world.

And just look at some of the board of directors!

About the Board of Directors

Sen. Virginia Foxx has represented Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Watauga, Wilkes counties for five terms in the North Carolina Senate. She serves on the Education/Higher Education Committee in the Senate. Foxx owns a nursery and landscaping business in Banner Elk, NC.

Now where have we seen her name before? Hmmmm. Could it be here among the most conservative Congress people in the country?

And what Pope, Inc., board would be complete without the Mouthpiece-in-Chief . . .

John M. Hood is President and Chairman of the John Locke Foundation. Hood is a syndicated columnist on state politics and public policy for the High Point Enterprise, the Durham Herald-Sun, and newspapers in more than 30 other North Carolina communities. He is a regular radio commentator and a weekly panelist on "N.C. Spin." Hood also hosts “Carolina Journal Radio,” an hour-long newsmagazine that appears on 16 commercial stations each weekend. Hood is a graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a native of Charlotte and currently resides in Southern Wake County, North Carolina with his wife Lisa and sons Alex and Andrew.

. . . and, of course, the Puppetmaster himself.

J. Arthur Pope is senior vice president, secretary, treasurer, and a member of the board of directors at Variety Wholesalers Inc., which operates retail stores across the South. He is a former representative in the N.C. House, where he served as Joint Caucus Leader, and was the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor in 1992. He has served as special counsel to Gov. James Martin, on the state’s Economic Futures Study Commission and State Goals and Policies Board, and on the boards of the Institute for Humane Studies, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and N.C. Taxpayers United. Pope, a Raleigh native, is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and the Duke University School of Law.

If you haven't spent any time at the Pope Center, put on your hip waders and pay them a visit.

Here's the kind of nonsense you'll find:

Universities must be places where ideas can be exchanged and debated openly. Therefore, universities should defend the rights of faculty members to speak and write without fear of official sanction or retribution. In hiring and promotion, the criteria should be demonstrated capabilities in teaching and scholarship, not conformity to any particular ideology. Students have the right to expect that the courses they take will present the knowledge of the discipline fairly; where there are intellectual disagreements, professors should at least familiarize students with positions that differ from their own. Students should never be silenced or subjected to ridicule for questioning a professor’s ideas or voicing their own opinions.

Of course, the Puppets are all in favor of ridiculing faculty when they happen to disagree with their course content or direction. For example, right now they're taking a Duke course to task that is exploring some of the social and cultural dynamics behind video-gaming. So much for Pope's lofty ideals of academic freedom. I thought they were in favor of the marketplace of ideas . . . of supply and demand. If the course sucks, students won't enroll and the course would be dropped. Isn't that the way Freepers say things should work.


Interesting contradiction

Interesting (but not surprising) that they are against a particular course but for academic freedom, but I think that your argument would be better without the last paragraph. There is no need to make the personal attacks when they leave themselves so open for substantive attacks.

Aww, come on, Tar.

And I thought I was doing a good job being nice. You should have seen the first draft.



PS Seriously, the 'work for a living' comment is a real and substantive issue. As near as I can tell, the Puppets give away all their ideas, funded by the largesse of PopeCo. I suppose it's possible they're actually operating on a self-sufficient basis, but that doesn't seem likely given the funding levels we've seen reported. Which means their free-market talk is just that. Talk. They don't have to compete in the marketplace of ideas because they give their product away for free. Not a small point from my vantage point.

Two different issues

The center: It is a valid criticism that the center as an entity is not living up to the free market ideas it espouses and should be called on it.

The individual workers at the center (including John Hood): These people probably are working pretty hard. You and I can disagree with them and do so vehemently, but I do not want to attack whether they are working for a living. I am sure that they work very hard and that most of them would be able to find other jobs fairly easily if they needed to. For instance, John Hood is a smart and capable person, even if he is wrong 99% of the time. I would just not want a substantive debate with him to be thrown into the sewer of personal attack.

Fair enough.

I won't argue the point further . . . and I did ask you to help keep me in line on the ad hominem thing.

But I will keep and eye on Mr. Hood. He's part of the glue that holds Pope's house of cards together. And I have no doubt he could get a job selectively distorting the truth almost anywhere that sort of skill might come in handy.