Knowledge scares conservatives

by | May 1, 2023 | Editor's Blog | 17 comments

Republicans are set on dismantling our public education system from the ground up. Their voucher plan subsidizes private schools at the expense of public ones while continuing to put more money in the pockets of rich people. Their plan to end tenure at UNC and give the Board of Governors more control over what is taught in the classroom will keep the best researchers and professors out of North Carolina. The community college system is the only one that is not being dismantled. 

Republicans have long despised public education. They believe the schools are a burden on the wealthy and they don’t really believe most people need an education to get employed. Despite research saying otherwise, they claim that young people are being indoctrinated by liberal professors and that’s why so many young people oppose their policies. In reality, those young people have learned to think for themselves and that’s why they are not conservatives.

The reason that conservative oppose education is that so much of their dogma fails to stand up to scrutiny. Throughout history, conservatives have been wrong on the big issues, especially those concerning how to treat our fellow Americans. Argue about party labels all you want, but conservatives supported slavery, genocide of native Americans, Jim Crow laws while opposing a social security and Medicare, voting rights for women, solutions to climate change, and marriage equality. 

Conservative policies lead to greater economic disparity, fewer individual rights, poorer health outcomes, and less educated populace.  For decades, conservatives told us that tax cuts for the rich would pay for themselves and bring broader prosperity. On its face, the premise seems ludicrous. Turns out it is. Conservative leadership has consistently left us with high debt and deficits and struggling middle class, all in the name of tax cuts for the rich.

First, conservatives told us that climate change wasn’t happening. Then, they said that it wasn’t that bad. Then, they claimed that it wasn’t caused by human activity. Now, they say there’s nothing we can do to stop it. They’ve been wrong the whole time, research proved it, and professors taught it. It just gets under their skin. 

Like they told us less taxes would bring broader prosperity, they also told us more guns would make us safer. They’re still in denial but the research is showing how wrong they’ve been. Today, firearms are the leading cause death among children and conservative tells us that’s the cost of freedom. Most Americans don’t believe they’re very free if they have to worry about mass shootings at malls or their children shooting themselves with easily accessible guns. 

Knowledge scares conservatives. There’s a reason that most academics and academies have liberal leanings. Empirical truth debunks reactionary reasoning over and over again. It also threatens fundamentalist teachings of any religion. The modern conservative Christian movement has more in common with today’s radical Muslim movements than it does with the forces of the Enlightenment that led to the founding of America. One is grounded largely in facts and an understanding of the world. The other is grounded in myths and the preservation of an outdated status quo dominated by men. There’s a reason that they come for the universities.  


  1. seaweavermarine

    Mr Mills can you pen an opinion without utilizing a deadly sin?
    To be clear, set aside the emotional drippings that feed the basal human tendencies and just be as rational as possible?

  2. Bill Cokas

    I love how being “open-minded” and “possessing the ability to think critically” makes you a member of “the left.” The much-feared “woke mob” has enacted zero laws. But the “small government Republicans” just can’t stop taking rights away. They’ve got all kinds of rehearsed words and scripted rationale, but…watch what they do.

    • Chris

      Democrats can’t defend their policies so they are forced to attack conservatives. No mention of how liberal immigration policies are bringing sanctuary cities such as New York and Chicago to the financial brink. They were fine when it was affecting Texas, Arizona and Florida.

    • ringlet86

      …”just can’t stop taking rights away….”

      What rights have been taken away? Please list them.

  3. Wayne

    It’s an intellectual stretch to take anything seriously which Mr. Mills writes. His unfounded allegation that Republicans are trying to dismantle education in North Carolina is factually absurd.

    As usual, it must be pointed out that ANYthing which Democrats say or allege is usually just a smokescreen, in order to divert the reading (and voting) public, and to deflect from what the Democrats themselves are really doing. “OH!”, they say—“Look over here!! Look at the bright shiny object over HERE!! Don’t look at US, and what WE are doing over THERE!”

    Yeah, sure. If ANYone can make a case for the dumbing-down of American school kids, the Democrats are the absolute champions of it. Let’s see: we aren’t s’posed to be so concerned about a student’s fundamental ability to do math, science, speak literate English, understand legitimate American History and Western Civilization, are we? Nope. No, instead, we are supposed to fret over their proper use of personal ‘pronouns’, and their sexual orientation on any given day. Seriously, folks??? But this is what has become C’mon, Mills—you want to talk about unsupportable myths? Is this article by Mills the best that you can do…?

    Case in point, I note that HUNDREDS of UNC Chapel Hill professors have signed a letter opposing HB 96. This bill, if enacted, would require a course in U.S. Civics to qualify for graduation from any of the state supported universities or colleges, and from the state’s community college system. It entails a three-credit-hour class in in which students would read the following texts (as noted in ‘

    “The Constitution of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence. The Emancipation Proclamation. At least five essays from the Federalist Papers, as determined by the instructor. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. The Gettysburg Address. The North Carolina State Constitution.”

    In other words, reading and researching the textual material that is central to American history, our republican form of government, and the fundamental political philosophy which undergirds our political system. Is this too much to ask of students who will eventually become leaders in their various chosen fields moving beyond their graduation from NC colleges and universities?? Apparently, this is beyond the comprehension of the academic wonks in NC, and they are too challenged and disturbed by the scary notion that their students might actually leave the school with an actual working knowledge of the founding principles and precepts that shaped our constitutional republic. OH, the sheer horror of it all!

    But Mills wants to make the argument that knowledge scares REPUBLICANS…?? I think not. If anything, it is Democrats who are PETRIFIED and TERRIFIED by actual knowledge and truth! Mills—like the rest of the commentators here—are nothing more than toadies and bootlicking sycophants for the Marxist/Communist Democrat Party.

    • TC

      Written by Rob Schwarzwalder. From that stalwart institution of higher learning, Regent University. As a mere lecturer, I guess Rob is pissed he doesn’t have tenure. Read, write, and research those materials in a semester? How long is that semester? I doubt if you could cover the Federalist Papers alone in a semester and do it justice; let alone the rest of the works. And if you cover the Federalist Papers, to be fair, you should also cover the Anti-Federalist papers. Besides, by the time those individuals reach that institution of higher learning, they should have already read all of those at some point and expounded upon them for depth and their understanding thereof. Helps to have the wheels on the wagon…first.

      “…Mills—like the rest of the commentators here—are nothing more than toadies and bootlicking sycophants for the Marxist/Communist Democrat Party.”

      It beguiles me to have to point this out to you, but, you are a commentator here too Chuckles. So, don’t be late for the party meeting and leave the Tricky Dick mask at home.

      • ringlet86

        I agree.

        ….” by the time those individuals reach that institution of higher learning, they should have already read all of those at some point and expounded upon them for depth and their understanding thereof….”

        But they are not going to get that in an NC public school. Nor any school maybe a private one.

        Personally I want the articles of confederation back!

    • Bill Cokas

      Gaslighters, unite!

      • ringlet86

        …”Gaslighters, unite!…”

        Where are you Mills and the rest of the gang meeting?

  4. TC

    Conservatives and conservatism are rooted in a by-gone era. They think and dwell in a time past, nostalgically. Society, people, and politics are viewed in the context of “the good old days.” Ever notice though how the mind selectively seems to cling to things positive and blanks the negative when we reminisce? That is until someone else busts that bubble and the only retort is likewise something from the by-gone era.

    Universities and colleges are almost universally accused of brainwashing. Indoctrination. A liberal/socialist/communist manifesto of teaching, according to the naysayers, what to think. Ultimately the antithesis to conservatism and which is, to a greater or lesser extent, patently false. You are taught how to think. You are taught to analyze, ask questions, inquire into the facts, roots, and background of all that you do. That is the foundational crux of empiricism. To question and seek answers and then, quantify those conclusions to see if you are correct in your hypothesis.

    That’s nothing new to the folks that are regulars here. It’s not new to the ones that like to stir the pot and instigate either; it just doesn’t tell the story they want told. After all, if there is any thought control or indoctrination to be done, conservatives want to be the ones to do it. You can reach or derive any conclusion you want, as long as it’s the one they want to you to come to.

    The best of all outcomes though, is for people to just believe whatever it is you tell them. Theology and monarchs worked for centuries on that premise. Until Guttenberg, people noble and serf alike were uneducated. The written word didn’t develop until somewhere around 3,000BC. People believed what they were told. If you didn’t do that, there were ways of convincing you that to get along, you go along. Knowledge therefore was power. The monarchy and the church worked hand in hand to control everyone else by controlling access to knowledge.

    The “good old days.” You believed what you were told, you did what you were told. Life was much simpler under those circumstances, weren’t they? If that’s what you wanted to call living. Seems to me you simply existed to the make the life of someone else easier, simpler, more opulent.

    The voice of opposition and discontent has always been borne within education. I guess when you know for yourself, you’re not dependent on others for your thoughts and beliefs. So what is the easiest way to control that? Limit access to education. Limit what is taught and by whom. Don’t teach others academic curiosity and how to question. Teach them not think but to listen and obey. Educate them just enough to perform the routine tasks and do the jobs necessary to keep everything else moving and no more. If you need anyone to have an opinion, you’ll give it to them.

    Tom Campbell in the Wilmington Star News talks about the power grab currently underway by Republican power mongers.

    Except, that it is far more advanced, sophisticated, and capricious than anyone wants to think. With the ability of the courts to allow the legislature to do what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, the next phase is to limit education and control thought. As long as there are those that are able to dispel the sewage that is propagated daily about every conceivable aspect of our lives, conservative domination will never be achieved.

    Everything else, all of our rights, can be, as you have seen with abortion, stripped away. The only true right and freedom you have is to your own thoughts. Currently we have the ability to express them in a public forum. For now. Will the day come when a response such as this be considered sedition? Hostile to the State? An attempt to subvert the power and authority of the ‘leaders’ in the legislature?

    Education is the weapon and counter to all of that. It is the redeeming factor for the darkness that has descended on people in the ‘good old days.’ A holistic encompassing emersion for the student. Don’t tweak it, swag it, skew it. Present it, all of it, let them decide for themselves the path that is best to follow. I’m willing to bet it won’t be the path back to the ‘good old days.’

  5. cocodog

    It has always been a mystery to me as to why Republicans are not comfortable with public education. I have often thought it may be based on an elitist point of view. If you are not rich enough to send your kid to a private school, then your kid does not deserve a college education. Being the product of California public schools and colleges has never been a major setback. My education will work in any state, especially if I am seeking a job in the public sector. But I obtained this education when I was a Republican, back in the days when the party was not led by insurrectionist, folks who believe in lizards from outer space and religious fanatics. Before Republicans became bigots, hypocrites’, and religious fanatics, they were the loyal opposition that cared about this country. Base on Republican posting at this site, those days are gone and do not look like they will ever return.

    • ringlet86

      Well if I were to guess. Republicans probably feel that more diversity of thought and an individual tailored learning experience would suit the end goal of an educated populace better than a one size for all situation. I think they are perfectly comfortable with public education. I think they just want people who desire options to have them. There are some pretty horrendous public schools that I’m sure people want to be free of. Choice is good. Variety is the spice of life!

      As an aside most parents desire far more for their children’s future than to become a government functionary. A government job isn’t exactly a hotbed of ambition and drive. ( as opposed to becoming A doctor, Lawyer, Vet, a Dentist, etc.)
      To achieve an education that can attain more than a mere government job, they likely want BETTER than what a public school can offer. They should have the option using their own tax money, after all, it is theirs.

      The state can set the standards, and institute accountability, they don’t have to run it too achieve this goal. There are many ways to achieve the goal.

      • cocodog

        Ringlet. Doctors, Lawyers, Vets, and Dentists, etc.) are employed by public agencies. Google it, don’t take my word.
        Your underlying thought is that people who hold public jobs are not as good as someone who holds a similar job in the private sector. They lack ambition, etc. You are out of touch. Public employment offers far more benefits than the private sector. The salary may be higher in the private sector, but public sector retirement and health care is far superior.
        Believe me when I tell you many of the folks, I went to law school wished they were hired by Dept of Justice or one of the many public agencies.
        Furthermore, the big advantage of a good education is individual options. Their fate is not determined by a boss man who suffers from jealously and ignorance. They can leave that private sector job and find another with little or no problem. They have a marketable skill. Education frees you from economic slavery. The same holds true with individuals who possess skills in the industrial disciplines, like die makers and others.

        • ringlet86

          I doubt the BEST Doctors lawyers etc go into government service. I never mentioned anything about the benefits.

          I’ve worked public sector and private industry in my career. (Scientific) In every case I found private employment was filled with hard chargers driven to excel. In public sector not so much, it was slower and less driven. Some was the nature of the work. Some was the people. One is not better than the other, just different people and different expectations.

          However I have found far more lazy, unproductive people in government service (where is no profit motive, and there isn’t a great promotional path and an onerous bureaucracy in the way) in governemnt service. Those types simply don’t last in industry, its not tolerated.

          Different worlds, with different people and different mentalities. Both are needed.

          • cocodog

            Gee, ringlet, those publicly employed, uninspired, lazy, mediocre attorneys and investigative staff appear to be doing a great job putting to-gather an airtight case against a former Republican president Trump and his band of marry co conspirators! I am sure those uninspired lazy correctional personnel will do an excellent job housing him after he is convicted. How could something like this happen to a self-styled, genius of the private sector and author of “The Art of the Griff.” Oh, and by the way, those public employees over at NASA who put this country into space and on the moon must have done so by accident. Get real man, your criticisms of public sector jobs are stereo type images that have been around for years. You are a waste of time!

          • ringlet86

            To cocodog:

            I must be close to the truth for you to go off like that. I am only stating my truth and lived experience.
            Sorry that you can’t handle it. Maybe your were naive to believe that people don’t know what your guys are up to, or maybe you’ve an inflated opinion of yourself and working for the government. I know many people in meaningless dead end jobs often play up their significance as a way to cope. Maybe that is what you are doing. regardless I don’t understand your vitriol.

            If your are guilty about it, which is very possible, simply do better. Everyday is a new start. Perhaps leave government service and join the productive economy? If you are good enough and have the nerve to work without a net sometimes.

            As to all the Trump stuff. I don’t care. It matters not a whit to me if he goes to jail, or not, or lives or dies.
            He is a non-entity in my life and beneath my notice frankly. So save it for someone who cares.

            Now if you are retired. Go enjoy the pension I’ve supplied to you.

            If not. Get back to work you are wasting my hard earned taxpayer dollars! Remember you work for me and ultimately I’m your boss! Without me you are nothing! There is ALWAYS another lawyer. Anyone can fill out boiler plate forms! You know what they say; “If its easy everyone would be doing it.” and well…There is an over abundance of lawyers, and a dearth of scientists…I think you should be able to make the connection….Maybe.

            Now be sure to get that motion for a continuance ( lord knows we don’t want to go to trial) filed between your morning break and your mid morning-break! and try to do at least one other work related thing before you go home! Afterall we don’t want to be TOO productive!


  6. ringlet86

    I read the bill. Its a change. But I think a good one. Maybe put a reevaluation point in it, say 20 years examine the cdata to see if it worked as intended. If it didn’t adjust.

    It should do well to keep university fresh and up to date, and focused on what they should be doing, spend money where it should be spent, and bring accountability where there is very little. Its public money after all. And the best thing is it will enable the school move along those who can’t do the job to standard.

    As for the …”your job would be too tenuous”. ( from the N&O article) Welcome the party pal! You’ll get no pity from anyone on that point!

    Getting popcorn, to watch the standard knee jerk, unhinged, screeching.

    After all Universities are hotbeds of the left, a scared temple as it were.


Add a Comment

Related Posts


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!