Tax supported conspiracy theory?

Since I’m new here it’s only fair that I admit up front to being libertarian. So, I’m not exactly a big fan of publicly funded anything. However, I have mixed feelings about the follow story. It seems a college teacher in Wisoncsin is being fought by the state legislature because he believes that 9/11 was a government ploy. (See story.)

This actually illustrates one of my many, many complaints about publicly funded education- why I should I have to pay for this idiocy?

Question: should the prof be given a chance to say/teach/espouse whatever he wants under the guise of education at taxpayer expense?

[pats head]

There, there! It’s not as bad as all that! Psychotherapy and recovery-support groups are widely available! :slight_smile:

We’ve had a great many GD threads about that! Do a keyword search, here or on Snopes.

Oops! Sorry if this is monotonous. Are you telling me that you’ve debated this particular story before or the general concept or the conspiracy theory itself?

Guests can’t search. And I don’t think the OP was asking for a debate on whether 9/11 was a government conspiracy, just expressing disdain about helping pay someone for imparting that “wisdom” to others. I’m not sure we’ve had a thread about the teacher.

Although we’ve certainly hashed out 9/11 conspiracy theories (and assorted other conspiracy theories–in fact, we’ve got some going on the front page now) I don’t believe we’ve had any threads specifically on the Kevin Barrett case, which is pretty new. Also, the issue Biblical seems interested in debating isn’t the merits of the conspiracy theory itself, but more the issues of academic freedom and taxpayer dollars.

(Also, Biblical being a guest, he can’t do searches here. And BrainGlutton notwithstanding, we actually have a strong libertarian contingent on the boards.)

True. Thanks for clarifying.

Yeah, Fuck You, UW-Madison

We’ve had lots of threads about moonbat 9/11 conspiracy theories, but not so much about the underlying question raised in the OP:

Steve MB, you nailed the issue that I tried and failed (?) to address. Why should my money be wasted on this crap? Am I morally/legally obligated to fund any wacko’s agenda just because he’s labeled an educator?

Still, in the Barrett case it doesn’t seem like you are paying all that much, really.

If we estimate the number of taxpayers in the US at 170 million (I have no idea, of the exact number, but anyone is welcome to provide a more accurate figure), the OP has spent about .five one-hundredths of a cent funding Barrett and his eccentric views on 9/11. Seems like a bargain at half the price, what with the side benefit of generating Internet discussion threads and all.

Seriously, though, someone explain to me the litmus test for determining what types of ideas are permitted to be expressed with government funding. The article makes it clear that Barrett’s propose course passed a review process, and that his admittedly silly view on 9/11 are only a small part of the planned curriculum. Seems a bit of a teapot tempest, if you ask me.

If what the OP is saying is that becasue of this one, isolated, highly limited case, there is no justification for goverment funding of education at all, well, that’s just silly.

You’re already funding all sorts of wacko agendas, in an indirect way. Churches, for example, are tax-exempt. Guess who pays the taxes that they don’t pay.

If he advocated Holocaust revisionism as only a “small part” of his planned curriculum, would you be still be so unperturbed about it?

What if he were a grade school science teacher who planned to teach that evolution was a secularist hoax? Or that blacks are genetically inferior to whites? As long as this was only a “small part” of his program, this would still be all right with you?

If any of these scenarios had been the case, an awful lot of folks around here would have their bowels in an uproar. Really, it all comes down to whose ox is being gored.

Indeed and in truth. 'Twas actually intended for their benefit. :wink:

Taking that in broad terms, outside the specifics of this case: Legally you’re obligated to pay your taxes. You get to vote for the people who set the taxes, sometimes you get to vote on actual taxes. You get to vote for the people who make policy and who appoint the people who make hiring decisions and craft school curricula. But you don’t get to withhold taxes because you object to how they’re being spent. Many do just, that of course. Thoreau spent a night in jail because he wouldn’t pay a tax to support the Mexican-American War. That takes us into moral territory. If you’re tempted to be a tax protestor, you have to weigh moral considerations in both sides of the balance. I’d say it’s only worth doing if it’s about something you find really, really abominable, and even then you have to be prepared to suffer the consequences. You might also find, in some cases, it’s not only unpleasant but impossible not to pay your taxes. The IRS can sometimes garnish your salary, levy on your property, etc.

Surely less than he pays to support this libertarian full professor.
It seems there’s a lot of those sucking at the public teat.

If we accept the libertarian assumptions about the role of government, then obviously the answer is “no”. If we don’t accept the libertarian assumptions, then the answer is “maybe”. The competency of the prof is up to the department head and the board of regenets to figure out. There’s lots of shit we pay for that we don’t like. Them’s the breaks in a democracy.

But let’s not pretend that politics doesn’t play a role in determining who gets to suck at the public teat. In the academic world, it’s much easier to get away with being a left-wing crank than a right-wing one.

Hmm, maybe, maybe not. Show where Barrett is teaching Hoocaust revisionism and I’ll consider your point.

Anyway, I think John Mace pretty much expressed my thoughts on the subject. Again, show me a workable mechanism by which the public can reliably decides the apporpriate content of a particular educational course, and I’ll listen.

We have a process to get rid of any cranks we don’t want, and these guys usually get dealt with. We just spent $200B on a war I didn’t support, so I’m not too worried about spending some money on one kook’s salary.

Well that’s fairly simple, get rid of public funding and open up an industry for privatized schooling. That way any nutbag can send there child to any nutbag school they want to reinforce there nutbag ideology on their children. What, don’t think children should be saddled with there parents beliefs like that? Well me neither, but to propose a Federal solution is to suggest that it’s the governments job to indoctrinate, and then what happens when the christian right finally gets there way with public schools? :smack: